After a really good Raw that showcased the Wyatt family, Money in the Bank is here. With the Wyatt’s arrival is the update that Kane will not be able to compete in the All-Star MITB match for the WWE Championship, due to injuries he suffered during the Wyatt’s attack on him. Legit or not, we are rumored to have three options to replace him. A Wyatt of your choosing (Bray I guess), Kofi Kingston, and Khali. Khali can barely climb steps so forget a ladder. Meanwhile I really hope the Wyatt’s are not put in the match just because putting them in the title picture already seems too soon, and you can’t have them lose already. Kofi makes the most sense. Aside from that though, I’m pumped for another real Ziggler match (Sin Cara/Del Rio excluded), how an all heel ladder match will play out, and of course the return of Rob Van Dam. There is a lot to like going in.
We start off with the MITB match for the World Heavyweight Championship contract, and Dean Ambrose was sitting in the ring before the show even started. What a boss. Fandango came out next but was introduced first somehow. Cesaro and Swagger walked out together (awwww) with Zeb Colter walking them down the ramp to talk more about immigrants. Does he realize the only foreigner in this match is Cesaro? Colter isn’t even feuding with any other wrestler. He’s feuding with the fans! Well guess what? The Philly crowd gave a pretty loud “We the people” for him. Sandow and Rhodes came out together and continued the trend of Damien cutting off Cody whenever they spoke. Barrett came out on his own. Borrrrrrringgggg. I’ve never had so much to say about introductions.
It starts off with everyone brawling in the ring, eventually leading to Swags and Cesaro clearing house as a team with another big “We the people” chant from the crowd. The ladder came out next and we had a Mexican standoff (sorry Zeb) between the Rhodes Scholars and Cesaro and Swagger, as each team held a chair. Cesaro then slammed Cody into a ladder, and Swags (after Rhodes hit Antonio with a Disaster Kick) knocked him out of the ring. Ambrose jumped in before Jack could climb the ladder, tossing him out before being stopped by Barrett. Cesaro and Swagger got a lot of the early offense in the match, but it’s now considerably more spread out. Wade cleared the ring with a ladder but got hit with a spinning kick by Fandango, who following with a springboard legdrop onto a ladder that was on Wade. Sandow got some offense in on ‘Dango in the ring (including a suplex onto a ladder) while Barrett and Ambrose traded blows outside. Wade then ripped and rung off a ladder and started clubbing Sandow with it. Haven’t seen that before. Barrett and Ambrose met at the top of the ladder in the ring, but Swagger pulled Wade off it and right into a Cesaro uppercut. Jack then tried to slam Ambrose off the ladder but Dean turned it into a DDT to take Swagger out for a while. Ambrose then ran up to stop Cesaro at the top of the ladder, but Antonio took out Dean with a sleeper hold. Rhodes then put Antonio upside down on his shoulders, and dropped him onto a ladder. Pretty devastating looking move. Barrett then slammed Cody onto a ladder on the ring floor, while Swagger hurled Sandow into the opposite side of the same ladder sticking out off the apron. Swagger then went to the top of the ladder in the ring, so Barrett climbed up and hit him with a Bull Hammer Elbow. Fandango then went up to drop Wade with a sunset flip power bomb off the top of the ladder. Huge move. Ambrose then took out ‘Dango with his front facing DDT off a ladder rung, then proceeded to stick his head in the middle of the ladder and swing it at everybody. Cesaro and Swagger then grabbed each end of the ladder, so Dean skinned the cat (after one failed attempt) and was trying to reach the briefcase with Antonio and Jack held him up. Realizing that plan, the Real Americans walked over to the ropes and dumped him out of the ring. After throwing the ladder at Barrett outside the ring, Cesaro stood on Swagger’s shoulders, who walked toward the briefcase so that Antonio can get it. Rhodes spoiled the effort with a dropkick that took them both down but that was awesome. Cody then hit Fandango and Barrett with Cross Rhodes. Cody then grabs the biggest ladder from outside the ring and brings it in. Ambrose meets him at the top of the ladder and they exchange blows, with Rhodes pulling Dean’s face into the ladder and yelling “see ya, bye” before tossing him off. The rest of the Shield run in to stop Cody though, beating him to a pulp. Rollins then hit Barrett with an enziguri and Fandango got speared, leaving only the Shield in the ring. It really looked like Cody was going to win for a second. All of a sudden, the Usos (who lost to the Shield in the pre show) ran in to take Rollins and Reigns out of the match, with Cesaro and Swagger helping them out. Meanwhile, Ambrose is climbing the ladder (which is a several feet off center toward the ramp) but Rhodes pushes the ladder over, sending Ambrose into the brawl outside, taking them all out (ohhhhh!). Cody is again alone in the ring and the crowd is buzzing as Rhodes climbs the ladder. He is about to win again when DAMIEN SANDOW of all people pushes his best friend off the ladder and grabs the briefcase to win the contract. Great great great match. Cody has slowly been changing my opinion of him and tonight was his moment for me. He was really good and was way over with the crowd. Sandow then gets major heat after barely doing anything for the entire match, sending Cody a dirty look before walking off. So it looks like Rhodes is now a face and will feud against Damien Sandow, who is now on the verge of winning the WHC. I love it.
New Raw General Manager Brad Maddox out to the ring in his first appearance since getting the position after Vickie Guerrero’s firing. He makes a bad joke about not being able to fill Vickie’s shoes because he can’t wear heels, then shows Vickie, who is in the arena as a pre-show panel member. He then acts like a dope and makes a big deal to thank her and plays a “tribute” video to make her look like an ass (no problem there), complete with sappy music which I think was sung by Maddox (the only truly funny part of this). Brad then has the crowd give her a standing ovation before the Miz finally comes out (I’ve never said that before) to start his Intercontinental Championship match against Curtis Axel. This looked like something that should have been on Raw tomorrow instead of the second segment of a PPV.
The crowd chants ECW from the start thanks to Paul Heyman being ringside. This is the most old school manager/wrestler relationship I’ve seen in a while, as Heyman is constantly pulling Curtis back to give him advice. Very Bobby Heenan of him. Miz is the first to take control of the match as he hits a big leg sweep then causes Axel to do a back flip. Miz then decides to put that to a stop outside the ring, pretending to get hit while the ref is dealing with Axel on the other side of the ring. When the ref turns around it looks like Heyman popped Miz in the mouth, and Heyman is ejected from the match. The crowd is pissed and chants “We want Heyman” while Miz smiles like the natural heel he is. Axel actually thrives from this point though, hitting a back body drop to take the momentum. Curtis goes for another back body drop but Miz back flips out of it and starts hitting his assortment of kicks and forearms while the crowd boos the crap out of him. Miz eggs them on as he hits the jumping clothesline in the corner and the double axe handle off the top rope for a two count (he really needs to be a heel). Axel then evades the Skull Crushing Finale and goes for a Perfectplex, but Miz counters and goes for a figure-four leglock. Axel pushes Miz into the corner however and applies the Perfectplex but only gets a two count (seriously, some moves have to work a majority of the time and this is one of them). A frustrated Axel goes for a neckbreaker but Miz pushes him away. Curtis then tries to give him a big boot but Miz catches the boot and drops it down onto his shoulder. Miz then grabs the other leg and applies the figure four (because he can only do it on the right leg I guess) in the middle of the ring. Axel flips him over to put the pressure on Miz, but Miz flipped it back and Curtis had to reach the ropes to break it. Curtis rolled out to recover but Miz pursued, chasing Axel back in the ring. As Miz went back in, Axel kicked Miz in the face and retained his title with yet another new finishing move which is something like Cross Rhodes if the opponent stayed on your shoulder instead of under your arm. I can’t keep up with him. It was an okay match. The Heyman ejection spot was good, but other than that it was just kind of there. Miz is distractingly annoying.
Divas title match next as AJ (with Big E Langston) defends against Kaitlyn (with Layla in a short dress, so you know she’s there to fight). Kaitlyn man-handles AJ immediately and chucks her out of the ring. It’s like Mark Henry versus Daniel Bryan. Kaityln lifts AJ up to bring her back in the ring, but AJ slips out and shoves her into the ring post, taking control and working Kaitlyn’s arm. Despite the different variations the middle of the match is all just one big arm lock as AJ whispers in Kaitlyn’s ear and essentially cuddles with her. Eventually Kaitlyn powers her up and hits a back breaker to regain momentum. A dropkick and a diving shoulder lead to a two count, and an AJ slap is countered with a clothesline for another two count. AJ then comes out of nowhere to drop Kaitlyn by her arm again. AJ then goes to the top rope where Kaitlyn pushes her off. Langston catches her to keep her from getting hurt though. Back in the ring, Kaitlyn hits a spear but further injures her shoulder and can’t cover. AJ then applies the Black Widow and gets Kaitlyn to tap out (on the mat, not her ass) to retain her title. Another fun and engaging Divas match between these two. They work really well together and we may finally have a legit Divas division again. Good stuff.
By the way, Kofi Kingston is part of the preshow panel with Big Show and Vickie Guerrero. So I guess he’s not replacing Kane tonight.
Chris Jericho and Ryback square off now in a battle of guys that need to be on the card but have nothing to do right now. This was a match that had been considered for WrestleMania, so let’s see if it can top the matches Jericho and Ryback had with Fandango and Mark Henry respectively (not asking too much). Ryback has this crybaby gimmick running lately where he keeps overselling injuries and telling the refs to stop his matches. He also could be gettin Vickie Guerrero in his corner as a manager. They are kind of throwing everything at his character and seeing what sticks. Ryback overpowers Jericho early (much like Kaitlyn did AJ), but retreats after taking a few chops (wow they really are making him weak). Jericho gets tired of waiting for Ryback to come back in so he drop kicks him through the ropes to the outside and brings the fight to him. Back in the ring, Jericho lands a forearm off the top rope into the back of Ryback’s head, and starts dominating until Ryback explodes out of the corner to clothesline Chris and the tide is turning. Jericho then goes for a springboard dropkick but Ryback, who was selling a leg injury, drops Jericho’s throat on the rope and hits a splash for a two count. Ryback then hits a powerslam and drops off the top rope for a splash (literally just drops down). Jericho then takes a knee from Ryback but holds on to it to roll him up for a two count. Ryback then knocks Chris off the apron and into the announce table, where he seemed to injure his ribs. Jericho fights back with a belly to belly bridge for a two count, but when he goes for a single axle handle off the top rope, Ryback catches him and hits a belly to belly suplex. Jericho gets tagged with the Meathook clothesline, but escapes Shellshocked. He goes for the Codebreaker but Ryback catches him in the air and power bombs him a couple times for a two count. Ryback goes for another clothesline but Jericho counters with a knee to the “injured” leg, follows up with an enziguri and hits a Codebreaker on Ryback from the apron, causing Ryback to fall out of the ring. Ryback makes it back in on 9 and is met with a cross body splash for another two count. Ryback then caught Chris again running at him and got him up for Shellshocked, but Jericho reversed it into a spinning DDT for yet another two count. Ryback then rolled away from the Lionsault and rolled up Jericho to get the victory. Whaaaa? This was very similar to the Fandango match at Mania, as Jericho dominated most of the way only to make one mistake and fall to a quick roll up for the upset. It was a fine match, but it made Ryback look pretty vulnerable for a guy that is supposed to be a beast.
DOLPH ZIGGLER TIME!!! The Show Off gets his rematch against Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship. Ziggy comes out to a big pop (and not with AJ or Big E in his corner). They start fast, going back and forth until Ziggler gains control with a dropkick and the crowd is fully behind him as he hits ten elbow drops (the crowd counted) and clotheslines Del Rio out of the ring. Dolph pulls him back in the ring but as he goes back himself, Del Rio clocks him with an enziguri to knock him off the apron. Alberto then follows up with more blows to the head and Dolph is on the ropes. Ziggler bounces back with a dropkick but misses a splash in the corner, allowing Del Rio to continue working the head. At this point I must mention the guy in the front row with a “Dolphin Uranus” sign. Love it. Del Rio mocks Ziggler’s taunt, but misses on a leaping kick and falls through the ropes. Alberto recovers to drop Dolph’s neck onto the top rope, however when he goes to the top rope, Ziggler runs up and hits an X-Factor off the top rope. Dolph then dodges Del Rio coming at him, sending Alberto into the ring post. Ziggler follows with a neck breaker for a two count, but Del Rio counters the fame-asser into a german suplex bridge for two. Ziggler then ducks under an enziguri and hits the fame-asser for two. This match has been back and forth the whole way. Dolph tries to apply the sleeper but ends up falling into a tilt-a-wirl back breaker for two. Del Rio then goes to the top rope for an axe handle, but Ziggler meets him with a drop kick coming down off the top rope. With both men down, AJ decides to make her grand entrance, skipping around the ring before stopping ringside to be in Dolph’s corner. Ziggler tells her to leave because he has things under control (uh oh, she does not look happy) and spins out of another back breaker to hit a jumping DDT. Dolph continues waving AJ off as he climbs to the top rope, and Del Rio shoves him down. Del Rio then hits an inverted superplex but only gets two. Alberto calls for the arm breaker which Ziggler avoids, only to be kicked in the head for another two count. Del Rio goes for one more kick to the head, but Dolph catches him, and pushes him into the corner, where AJ runs it and hits him with the Divas title for some reason, and gets Ziggler disqualified. Good lord. I knew AJ was going to cost Dolph the title but I didn’t think it would be this blatant. Ziggler could have wanted her out there (like he seemed to on Raw) and then an AJ distraction could have allowed Del Rio to win by pinfall. Now AJ looks like an idiot for running into the ring while the ref is right there. It’s a shame because this was a pretty good match that the crowd was really into. Dolph tries to argue with the ref while AJ tries to apologize and Del Rio celebrates the “win.” Dolph walks out as the crowd yells “you screwed Ziggler” at AJ, who is left alone in the ring as a hot mess. Cray-J is coming back with a vengeance.
The WHC match is followed by the much more important WWE Championship match between challenger, Mark Henry and champion John Cena. The Philly crowd loves Henry to death and how can you blame them. He’s killing it lately. Henry dominates early (like Kaitlyn). Very slow pace, as Henry would do one move, then stalk, do another, rinse and repeat. A lot of head butts, with one sending Cena out of the ring, where Mark would follow and drop him onto the steps. With John on the second rope, Henry ran at him and jumped through the ropes onto John’s neck. Cena then started fighting back, hitting a dropkick that pushes Henry back (not drop him). Cena went to follow up but was met with a clothesline. Mark then swung John by his legs out of the ring and the crowd is chanting Henry’s name. Henry then went to the outside again and swung Cena into the barrier by his legs.This is stuff Cesaro would do to Zack Ryder or something. Back in the ring, Cena dodges Henry in the corner, then tries to body slam him but the weight is too much as Cena drops back. It’s hard to forget to Cena has already lifted Henry before, as well as the Big Show and Edge at the same time. Cena again fights back, hitting a couple of shoulder drops and a side suplex to finally drop Henry, hitting the five knuckle shuffle. He again tries to lift Henry for an AA but can’t get him up. The story of the match is blatantly clear and it’s a old one. Henry goes to slam Cena but John escapes and finally hits the Attitude Adjustment, only Henry kicks out on two. Why do guys act confused when their finisher gets kicked out of now? It happens all the time! Punk has kicked out of the AA multiple times in the same match. Why should Cena be shocked when Mark Henry gets out of one? Cena goes for a splash off the top rope but Henry catches him in mid air and hits the World’s Strongest Slam. Cena kicks out on two however and Henry is in disbelief (what did I just say?). He rips the pads off the turnbuckles and throws a couple of chairs into the ring. The ref then starts getting rid of the chairs, and Henry’s plan becomes clear as he tries to throw Cena into the exposed turnbuckle while the ref is distracted. Cena reverses it however and sends Mark into the turnbuckle, then applying the STF. Henry reaches the rope however and Cena has to break the hold. Mark then pushes the ref aside, kicks Cena in the nuts and covers (just as the ref turns around again), but still can only get a two count. Henry then goes for another WSS, but Cena leaps out of it and applies the STF. Mark was going to reach the rope, but Cena got up and pulled him to the middle of the ring and reapplied the hold, forcing Henry to tap out to win the match. Easily one of the better Cena matches I’ve seen in a while that didn’t include CM Punk or Dolph Ziggler. Henry almost made me think he was going to win, which is tough to do whenever Cena is the other guy in the ring. John meanwhile acted desperate, and was smart in the end to escape with the win, instead of winning with a smile like he normally does.
The WWE Championship contract MITB match finishes the show, and ROB VAN DAM is the first one to the ring. I’m really curious to see if he still has it. Obviously the crowd is in his corner. Christian came out next and promptly killed the crowd. If he was a superhero he would be Aquaman (and yes I know his comic is great now but you get the idea). Thankfully, Daniel Bryan gets the crowd up again as Orton, Sheamus, and Punk follow in that order. It turns out that nobody can replace Kane. I’m fine with that. The bells ring and with the crowd chanting his name, suddenly all the other wrestlers are staring at RVD. Rob notices and starts to do his “Rob-Van-Dam” taunt, but only gets as far as “Rob” before everyone gangs up on him. Nice. He gets kicked out and now Sheamus is the one getting ganged up on. With him out, Punk and Christian face off on one side while Bryan and Orton do the same. Christian and Orton get tossed out and now Punk and Bryan are alone in the ring (OH MAN!). RVD starts to come in and they both knock him back out onto a ladder and they start exchanging kicks to the legs. Punk gains control and starts working some chops in, then Bryan back flips (and falls on his ass) off the turnbuckle over Punk, who counters by putting Daniel up for a GTS only for Bryan to escape and try to apply the YES Lock, that is broken up when Sheamus hits them both with a ladder. He tags Christian as well but Orton dropkicks the ladder into Sheamus. Finally RVD gets involved, hitting Randy with a shoulder and superkicking Sheamus from the top rope. Punk and Bryan get kicks to the head, while Christian gets monkey flipped and Orton gets a spinning kick to leave Rob Van Dam all alone in the ring to eat up some praise. He doesn’t look great, but he does look good and is eating up the crowd. He baseball slides ladders into Punk and Sheamus, then avoids a Kill Switch to Gorilla Press Drop Christian onto a ladder (shades of his friend the Ultimate Warrior) and hits Bryan with Rolling Thunder onto a ladder (kind of. he only got part of him). It’s all RVD right now. Randy tries throwing him out but Rob holds on and kicks Orton onto a ladder. He goes to the top rope for a frog splash but Christian knocks him off onto some ladders on the outside. Christian then provides his first offense of the night, hitting Orton with a small ladder to start climbing a regular ladder. Sheamus stops him the two go back and forth up the ladder. Sheamus blocks Christian from shoving the ladder into him, and delivers a punch through the ladder to take him out. RVD then pushes Sheamus off the ladder, but Sheamus fights back and hits a rolling senton onto the ladder. Sheamus knocks Bryan around and props a ladder between the apron and announce table. Sheamus then looks to slam Daniel into the ladder, but Bryan slips away and shoves Sheamus over the ladder, following up with a flying knee off the apron. Back in the ring, Punk, Orton and Christian are all trying to climb a ladder, as Bryan and Sheamus come in with a second ladder. RVD jumps in two and all six men are on two ladders reaching for the briefcase (it looks like the MITB poster). Punk shoves it away and all parties fall off the ladders. The idea of it was cooler than it really was. Sheamus is the first one up and starts bashing everyone, hitting a couple of axe handles and Irish Curse backbreakers. Christian gets backed into a ladder before being dropped with White Noise, and Sheamus is climbing the ladder to a chorus of boos. RVD tries to stop him but Sheamus drops down and hits him with a Brogue Kick. Bryan then meets him at the top of the ladder and Sheamus beats his chest to more boos. Sheamus had his hands around the case when Punk ran up to pull him down and they start trading shots. Sheamus missed with a ladder in the corner, and Punk followed a running knee by climbing on the ladder in the corner and dropping it down on Sheamus (Punk then bowed for the crowd). Orton and Punk now go at it, and Randy lands a suplex into the ladder. A second rope DDT sends Punk out of the ring, and a bloody nosed Randy gets speared by Christian. Bryan gets the same and Christian is climbing he ladder. RVD stops him by stabbing him in the ass with another ladder. The crowd chant for tables as Christian now pulls RVD off the ladder and starts stomping his face, appearing to hit one a little too full, as you hear RVD yell in pain. He gets to the top of the ladder with Christian though and tilts the ladder over. Christian falls to the mat, while Rob (now with blood from an errant kick) leaps over to another ladder propped up in the corner (oh boy). RVD stands up on the top of the ladder (OH BOY) and hits Christian with a frog splash for the spot of the night. It wasn’t a full on five star frog splash, but anytime you jump off the top of a ladder onto someone you’re going to get high marks. RVD climbs the ladder but Sheamus pushes it over, and Daniel Bryan steps in to clock them both with roundhouse kicks. He then hits Orton with a ladder and dropkicks it into him, then jumping through the ropes at Punk. Daniel then goes to the top rope and missel dropkicks both Sheamus and RVD, popping back up to hit Orton, RVD and Sheamus out of the ring with a ladder. Daniel Bryan is in that place where only Daniel Bryan goes.
He climbs up the ladder and is about to win the match when Curtis Axel runs in and hits him with a ladder. He pulls him out of the ring, taking him down and this is all another chapter in the Punk/Heyman squabble. Punk the hits Axel with a GTS, and Paul Heyman runs out to chew Axel out. Meanwhile, Punk is starting to climb the ladder, very slowly. Just when he is close to the top, Heyman gets in the ring and attacks Punk with a ladder. He throws it into his leg a few times, then with Punk looking him in the eye, Heyman delivers one last blow in the face.
So now everyone else is getting back into things. RVD is the first one up the ladder, but Orton comes in, knocks him off the ladder and meets him with an RKO on the way down. Orton then climbs up the ladder, and with nobody else standing, Randy Orton wins the WWE Championship contract. This was very main event worthy. Lots of spots, lots of blood (Punk and RVD needed their head stapled afterwards), a big plot point and a well done return for Rob Van Dam. If it wasn’t for Christian having no impact on the match it would be even better. As for Orton, it’s been a long time since he’s gotten a real push, and this is definitely it. He was one of the premere title contenders for a long time and it looks like he’ll be getting some gold again soon.
Overall I have very little to complain about with this PPV. I could have done without Cena/Henry, Ryback/Jericho and Miz/Axel, but there was nothing wrong with any of them. I’m really excited and surprised about Sandow getting into the main event picture, as well as Cody getting a face turn. Also, the Shield/Usos match was absolutely fantastic in the pre show. Crowd was all over it.