WWE Money in the Bank – June 19th 2016
T-Mobile Arena: Las Vegas, NV.
The “biggest” and “greatest” Money in the Bank PPV of all-time unsurprisingly failed to live up to its lofty hype, as the show was a complete dumpster fire until the top three matches. For whatever reason, the decision was made to have the show run long, so the main event didn’t get started until five minutes before the top of the third hour (fourth if you count the pre-show). It would appear that going against the NBA Finals was the main cause of the extended run-time, as Titus O’Neil & Rusev were sent out with two minutes left in the game and they basically stalled for time until the game was over. The longer format also meant that the two matches scheduled for the pre-show were bumped up to the main card, which meant we got two even more insignificant matches on the pre-show and a surplus of undercard nonsense of the PPV.
Obviously the big story is Dean Ambrose winning Money in the Bank and cashing in at the end of the show on Seth Rollins, who had just pinned Roman Reigns clean to regain the title he never lost. It is too early to tell whether they have given up on Reigns as the top babyface, but I would suspect not as they have come this far with the guy and we all know how stubborn Vince McMahon can be. Still, perhaps they took a look at the plummeting ratings and dwindling house show numbers and decided something had to be done immediately. The way Ambrose has been booked over the last couple of years hardly puts him in position of a strong babyface champion, so this could also be just a short-term deal to build towards the inevitable Shield Triple Threat match, which in turn could also lead to the creation of a second World Champion for the brand split. All three former Shield members held the WWE World title on the same night, which is a pretty cool story to lead to the three-way. The only thing I fear is that there will end up being some convoluted deal during the finish of the three-way which causes the World title to be split. Either way, it was a great ending to a pretty hit and miss show.
John Cena & AJ Styles had an excellent wrestling match, which was marred by a ref bump and run-in finish from the Club. For me, this match had been built up better than anything the WWE had done in years and they did a great job of selling the idea of a WrestleMania sized dream match. Apparently, some people were let down that they didn’t get the WWE big match formula of starting the near-falls 5 minutes in and kicking out of multiple finishes. Instead, Styles & Cena told a wonderful story of Styles out-wrestling Cena the whole match, but still needing help from his buddies to win. Naturally it would have been better for styles to go over clean, but this is the WWE and John Cena, so we should just be grateful that AJ went over at all.
As noted, Dean Ambrose won the Money in the Bank ladder match. It was an entertaining display, but perhaps the biggest positive is that we don’t have to endure months of predictably phony cash-in teases or the winner of the briefcase losing every match on TV for a year. The rest of the show ranged from boring to a complete disaster, but the top three matches and the cash-in are worth checking out.
The panel was Renee Young, Booker T, Lita & Corey Graves, and when they weren’t talking absolute garbage they were all flubbing lines left and right. They showed a skit of the Golden Truth messing with Breezango’s tanning booth, so the heels were all sun-burnt for their match. Truth & Goldust worked over Breezango’s sunburn and Goldust pinned Fandango with the Final Cut in 5:10. It sucked and the crowd were not interested in the attempted comedy (*). Lucha Dragons beat the Dudley Boyz in 8:48 in a total TV match when Kalisto hit Bubba with the Salida del Sol and Sin Cara pinned him with a Splash off the top (**).
WWE Tag Team Championship Fatal Four-Way: New Day (C) vs. Enzo & Big Cass vs. The Vaudevillains vs. Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows. – New Day retained in 11:43. Match was decent, although it was very sloppy in places and started to fall apart down the stretch. It broke down early with all eight guys brawling. Enzo & Cass hit their Rocket Launcher finish on Anderson and Gallows pulled Enzo off to stop the count. The referee hauled his count, so the fans were one second ahead and they all thought Enzo got a three count and the air went out of the room when they realised that was not the case. Vaudes hit the Whirling Dervish on Anderson, but Kofi broke up the pin. There was a horribly botched Trouble in Paradise spot with Enzo then Big E nearly killed himself again doing his Spear through the ropes on English. Things fell apart even more when everyone seemed to forget what they were meant to be doing and they all just stood there like chumps. Finish saw the Club hit the Magic Killer on English, but Big E took out Anderson with the Big Ending and Kofi, who was not the legal man, pinned English to retain the titles. – It’s clear that New Day are keeping the belts until they break London & Kendrick’s record, which the announcers have been mentioning for weeks. The story of the New Day retaining because the stole the win from the Club was a decent way to set up a traditional tag match, but the match was extremely clunky and was a sign of things to come for the rest of the undercard. (** ¼).
There was a backstage skit with Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho & Alberto Del Rio. All three men were fantastic, but Owens stole the scene and was this was a rare occasion of WWE produced comedy that was actually funny.
Baron Corbin vs. Dolph Ziggler. – Corbin over in 12:15. This went way too long and the crowd didn’t care at all. There were “Ziggler sucks” and loud “boring” chants. Corbin got he heat and put everyone to sleep with some long chinlocks. Ziggler nearly tripped over on the stairs, however Corbin did a great job of saving him and hit the Deep Six on the floor. Finish saw Corbin counter a Superplex and hit the End of Days for the clean win. – Hopefully this feud is dead and buried, because it has done both guys no favours at all, especially Corbin. I don’t know what they have lined up for Corbin next, but whatever it is they need to do a much better job at getting him over as a monster heel. (**).
Charlotte (WWE Women’s Champion) & Dana Brooke vs. Becky Lynch & Natalya. – Charlotte & Dana over in 6:55. Another TV match here on PPV, although this one had a distinct “SmackDown” feel about it. It was clunky and rushed, presumably because they had their time cut which seems to be a running gag with the women. Heat on Nattie; comeback from Becky. Finish saw Nattie put Charlotte in the Sharpshooter, but Dana broke it up and shoved Becky into Nattie then Charlotte pinned Nattie with Natural Selection. Afterwards we got a “big” angle, with Nattie turning heel on Becky and she beat the hell out of her and left her lying. – The fans got into the turn, so it worked in the building at least. I just don’t know how well Natalya will do as a secondary heel. At least now both Nattie & Becky are out of the title picture, which should free up Sasha Banks to come in for the long awaited program with Charlotte (* ¾).
Sheamus vs. Apollo Crews. – Crews over in 8:40. Nothing match with a bunch of crowd-killing Chinlocks. Crews got a decent reaction but the fans soon lost interest, probably because he was in there with Sheamus. Sheamus jumped Crews before the bell in an attempt to heat up this cold program. Crews sent Sheamus over the top with a Belly-to-Belly and hit a nice Moonsault off the apron. Finish came when Sheamus hit a Super White Noise for a near-fall; he argued with the referee and Crews rolled him up for the pin. – Crews is another guy who needs to be positioned a lot better and it would help immensely if they actually gave the fans a reason to care about him. A multi-match series with Sheamus is certainly not going to help in that department. (**).
John Cena vs. AJ Styles. – Styles over in 24:10. Excellent match, with a typical WWE dumbass finish. Story of the match was tremendous and they worked it to a tee. AJ delivered on his promise of wrestling circles around Cena and was one step ahead of him the entire match. Styles dominated the early stages and continuously countered all of Cena’s trademark spots. Styles hit a Pescado into a Forearm on the floor then went for a Tope, but Cena moved and it appeared that Styles had made a mistake to allow Cena to get back in the match. Styles shut Cena down again with a flurry, but Cena caught him in the STF. Cena avoided the Phenomenal Forearm and Styles countered the AA; Styles applied the Calf Crusher then threw some legs kicks to the injured leg. Cena hit the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but didn’t hit the ropes to sell his bad leg. They did some great neat-falls, with Styles kicking out of the AA and Cena doing the same for the Styles Clash; there was a scary moment when I feared that Cena was about to tuck his head while taking the Clash. Styles went for a Springboard 450 and Cena got his knee up. Cena went for the AA but AJ landed on his feet and went for the Pele, which Cena managed to dodge. Finish was lame: Cena tried the AA again, however AJ’s feet sent the referee tumbling to the outside; Cena hit his finish to get a visual pinfall with the referee down. Anderson & Gallows hit the ring and laid out Cena with the Magic Killer. Styles crawled on top of Cena and the ref got back in to count the fall. The announcers were disgusted at how the match ended, however they speculated whether Styles knew what happened. – Unbelievably, some people were disappointed with this match. Was it a blow-away WrestleMania main event that it had been billed as? No. Still, they couldn’t have told a better story for the first meeting between these two. It would have been preferable if Styles beat Cena clean, but evidently they want to firmly establish Styles as a heel so the finish was at least understandable by WWE logic (****).
Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Dean Ambrose vs. Sami Zayn vs. Cesaro vs. Chris Jericho vs. Kevin Owens vs. Alberto Del Rio. – Ambrose grabbed the briefcase at 21:45. Everyone brawled early and Zayn did a huge Tope con Hilo over the top onto the pile. Cesaro landed the Uppercut Train on Ambrose, Jericho & Del Rio then Owens cut him off and hit a round of Cannonballs on the guys in the corners. Zayn then gave Owens an Exploder into Jericho in he corner and nailed Owens & Jericho with a Yakuza Kick. First big ladder spot saw Del Rio hit his Tree of Woe Ghetto Stomp on Cesaro, who was set up on a ladder. Del Rio caught Cesaro in the Armbar on top of the ladder. One of the best spots of the entire match saw Cesaro dive off the ladder into a Springboard Corkscrew Uppercut on Owens; it looked awesome. Cesaro gave Jericho the Giant Swing and flung him into a ladder in the corner then Ambrose dropped his diving Elbow off another ladder onto Cesaro. Owens hit Ambrose with a Frog Splash onto a ladder then the most insane spot of the whole match saw Zayn hit Owens with a Michinoku Driver onto a ladder that was on its side. It looked brutal and Owens body bent in a nasty position over the ladder. Zayn tried to get the briefcase, but was constantly cut off. They built a double ladder bridge in opposite corners which looked awesome and all six guys brawled on the triple ladder contraption. It ended somewhat anticlimactically, as everyone just sort of fell off the ladders; Del Rio in particular took a nasty spill. Owens Powerbombed Zayn onto the ladder bridge then went for the briefcase. Ambrose cut him off and knocked him off onto one of the ladder bridges then retrieved the briefcase to win the match. – Fun spectacle. Not as crazy or dangerous as a lot of other ladder matches, but that is of course not a bad thing (*** ¾).
WWE US Championship: Rusev (C) w/Lana vs. Titus O’Neil. – Rusev retained in 8:00. Match utterly sucked. Titus was terrible as usual and was not over one bit. Titus had his kids in the front row here on Father’s Day the Mega Dad of the Year tapped out to the evil Bulgarian clean. Afterwards, Rusev told Titus‘ kids that their dad was a loser and laughed at them because he is a great man. ( – *)
WWE World Heavyweight Champioship: Roman Reigns (C) vs. Seth Rollins. – Rollins became the new WWE Champion at 26:01. Good match, but it went way too long and dragged considerably. Reigns was completely despised and Rollins was a hero. Reigns worked like the clear heel and dominated the beloved smaller man. Reigns threw Rollins over the announce table then hit a huge Black Tiger Bomb for a near-fall. Rollins did a big dive over the top and used the Slingblade then hit a Frogsplash for a near-fall. Rollins did the Sunset Flip Powerbomb out of the corner (the same moved that he injured his knee on) and got another near-fall with the Falcon Arrow, which Cole called the “Falcon’s Arrow.” They continued to do stuff and ended up at ringside; Reigns went for a Spear but crashed through the barricade. We got another ref bump for no reason whatsoever, other than to tease a near-fall off a Reigns Spear. Finish saw Reigns go for another Spear, but Rollins countered in mid-air into a modified Pedigree for a great near-fall; the announcers made sure to point out that Seth didn’t hit all of the Pedigree to protect Uncle Paul’s finish. Rollins picked up Reigns and gave him a second Pedigree and pinned him as clean as a sheet to win the title. Fans went crazy and Rollins celebrated with the belt. – Both guys worked hard, but the match would have been much better with at least 7 or 8 minutes being shaved off (*** ½).
Dean Ambrose’s music hit and the crowd exploded. Rollins turned to face the entrance way, but Ambrose sneaked in from behind and nailed him with the briefcase. Ambrose handed over the briefcase and the official announcement was made that he was cashing in.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Seth Rollins (C) vs. Dean Ambrose. – Ambrose became the new WWE Champion in 0:09. Ambrose picked up Rollins and delivered the Dirty Deeds DDT to get the pin and everyone lost their minds. Show went off the air with Ambrose celebrating and the announcers putting over the shocking turn of events. (N/A).