Opportunity was the name of the game as the third annual WWE Money-in-the-Bank came to you, live on pay-per-view, from the U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix, AZ. In the most star-studded Money-in-the-Bank Ladder Match in history, four former WWE Champions would do whatever it takes to get a guaranteed WWE Title shot for the upcoming year as Money-in-the-Bank first-timer John Cena, the ever dangerous and unpredictable “World’s Largest Athlete” Big Show, “The Big Red Monster” Kane, and the man credited with inventing the Money-in-the-Bank Ladder Match, Chris Jericho, all wage war in the WWE Championship Contract Money-in-the-Bank Ladder Match with the victor earning himself a future WWE Title shot.
Amid a confusing and bizarre love triangle, the WWE Championship would be decided as CM Punk defends the WWE Title against Daniel Bryan in a No Disqualification Match, but in the epicenter of the title warfare is the Special Referee and the unbalanced love interest of both champion and challenger as A.J. will be calling the shots in the ever important matchup.
Eight Superstars will take any and all risks for the right to call themselves “Mr. Money-in-the-Bank” as the self-proclaimed “Intellectual Savior of the Masses” Damien Sandow, the last graduate of the Hart Dungeon Tyson Kidd, Intercontinental Champion Christian, United States Champion Santino Marella, the dangerous and destructive Tensai, second-generation star Cody Rhodes, “The Show-Off” Dolph Ziggler, and the high-flying Sin Cara would all take part in the World Heavyweight Championship Contract Money-in-the-Bank Ladder Match with the victor getting a guaranteed shot at the World Heavyweight Title that can be cashed in at any time for the next year.
After months of missed opportunities and multi-man title matches, Alberto Del Rio finally gets his one-on-one match for the World Heavyweight Title as “The Mexican Aristocrat” challenges Sheamus for the World Heavyweight Championship.
- World Heavyweight Championship Contract Money-in-the-Bank Ladder Match: Dolph Ziggler (with Vickie Guerrero) def. Damien Sandow, Tyson Kidd, Christian, Santino Marella, Tensai, Cody Rhodes, & Sin Cara to earn a guaranteed shot at the World Heavyweight Title.
- World Heavyweight Championship: Sheamus (c) def. Alberto Del Rio (with Ricardo Rodriguez) by pin following the Brogue Kick to retain.
- Primo & Epico def. The Primetime Players by Primo rolling up Darren Young.
- WWE Championship: No DQ: Special Referee- A.J.: CM Punk (c) def. Daniel Bryan by pin following a back suplex through a table to retain.
- 2-on-1 Handicap Match: Ryback def. Curt Hawkins & Tyler Reks by pinning Tyler Reks following Shell Shocked.
- 6-Diva Tag: Layla, Kaitlyn, & Tamina Snuka def. Beth Phoenix, Natalya, & Eve by Layla pinning Beth Phoenix following the Lay Out.
- WWE Championship Contract Money-in-the-Bank Ladder Match: John Cena def. Big Show, Kane, The Miz, & Chris Jericho to earn a guaranteed shot at the WWE Title.
The show kicks off with Money-in-the-Bank’s namesake as “The Show-Off” Dolph Ziggler, United States Champion Santino Marella, second-generation Superstar Cody Rhodes, the self-proclaimed “Intellectual Savior of the Masses” Damien Sandow, Hart Dungeon graduate Tyson Kidd, “The International Sensation” Sin Cara, the destructive Tensai, and Ladder Match veteran, Intercontinental Champion Christian, would battle in the World Heavyweight Championship Contract Money-in-the-Bank Ladder Match with the man who climbs the ladder and retrieves the briefcase earning a guaranteed World Heavyweight Title match at any time in the coming year. During the match, all eight competitors would get close to the briefcase, but none closer than Christian as the Intercontinental Champion actually gets his hand on the opportunity, but Damien Sandow cuts Christian off at the pass moments before the veteran hits the Spear on Sandow, sending Sandow into a steel ladder propped up in the corner! Shortly after this, Dolph Ziggler and Cody Rhodes would take Christian out of the match for the time being, but Tensai would take out both Ziggler and Rhodes before the big man ascends the ladder. Tensai would fight off Santino Marella and Sin Cara before Christian and Santino were finally able to use a ladder to take Tensai down. Despite an apparent fear of heights, Santino would fight off Damien Sandow on his way up the ladder, but Cody Rhodes re-emerges, taking Santino off of the ladder. Rhodes then climbs the ladder, but Dolph Ziggler’s manager, Vickie Guerrero, actually gets in the ring, climbing the ladder to distract Rhodes long enough for Dolph Ziggler to hit the Zig Zag on Rhodes!
Then, with Christian and Dolph Ziggler fighting their way to the top of the ladder, Tyson Kidd uses a ladder to travel from the ropes to Dolph and Kidd hits a modified springboard powerbomb on Ziggler that saw “The Show-Off” land face-first on the mat! On the outside of the ring, Tensai was once again set on total annihilation as Tensai bridges a ladder between the ring apron and the announce table before Tensai powerbombs Sin Cara on the ladder! Tensai was not done there, however, as Tensai would hurl Dolph Ziggler over the announce table, making the commentators scramble as Dolph landed upside down against the ringside barricade! It was Cody Rhodes who finally slowed Tensai down, hitting the Disaster Kick on the big man, leaving Tensai prone on the ladder as Rhodes heads back into the ring. Rhodes would be met at the top of the ladder by Tyson Kidd, but Rhodes uses a modified suplex to drop Kidd from the ladder’s peak. Christian then takes advantage of Rhodes’ positioning, taking Rhdoes off of the ladder with the Spear. Christian and Santino Marella are then battling for the briefcase, but Christian knocks Santino off of the ladder. Then, just as it looks like Christian would survive the war, Dolph Ziggler makes his way back into the ring, tossing the Intercontinental Champion off of the ladder moments before Dolph retrieves the briefcase, earning Ziggler a guaranteed shot at the World Heavyweight Title that can be cashed in at any time in the coming year!
Money-in-the-Bank also featured an ‘awesome’ return as, for the first time in two months, “The Awesome One” The Miz appears on the pay-per-view. Miz reveals that he has been off filming The Marine 3. Miz continues that he is a “movie star” and he was treated with the “respect” he earned and deserved, saying that he has cashed in the Money-in-the-Bank contract in the past. The Miz then makes the blockbuster announcement that, as a former WWE Champion, he will join John Cena, Kane, Big Show, and Chris Jericho in the WWE Championship Contract Money-in-the-Bank Ladder Match! Miz then vows to win the Money-in-the-Bank briefcase because he is a “movie star” and he’s “awesome”.
Then it was time for the World Heavyweight Championship to be determined as Sheamus defends the gold against “The Mexican Aristocrat” Alberto Del Rio, with Ricardo Rodriguez in his corner. Despite a bad arm, Sheamus was able to power through Alberto Del Rio’s best efforts, hitting the Brogue Kick on Del Rio en route to picking up the win and successfully retaining the World Heavyweight Title. After the match, Sheamus would start to leave the ring, but Ricardo Rodriguez jumps on the back of the World Heavyweight Champion, allowing Alberto Del Rio to assault the champion as both Del Rio and Rodriguez double team Sheamus. What Del Rio and Rodriguez did not realize, however, was that their post-match attack provided the perfect opportunity for the newly crowned “Mr. Money-in-the-Bank” Dolph Ziggler to cash in his title opportunity. Dolph looked to do just that as “Mr. Money-in-the-Bank” marched to the ring with a purpose, ready to hand his briefcase over for his guaranteed title shot, but Del Rio would try to stop Dolph from taking advantage of his handiwork and Ziggler would respond by blasting Del Rio in the shoulder with the briefcase. Ziggler then hands the briefcase to the referee, but before the bell can ring for the impromptu title match, Sheamus would protect himself and the title by blasting “Mr. Money-in-the-Bank” with the Brogue Kick!
After emerging victorious in a pre-show exclusive match against Hunico & Camacho, WWE Tag Team Champions R-Truth & Kofi Kingston would be guests on commentary as the #1 Contenders for the WWE Tag Team Titles, The Primetime Players, with A.W. in their corner, faced Primo & Epico, with Rosa Mendes in their corner. In the end, it was another veteran move by Primo that would ensure victory for Primo & Epico as Primo rolls Darren Young up for the win. After the match, The Primetime Players would confront the WWE Tag Team Champions at ringside, but R-Truth would throw water in the face of A.W. and The Primetime Players would keep A.W. from trying to fight R-Truth & Kofi Kingston.
Then it was time for the bizarre love triangle to come to a head as CM Punk would defend the WWE Championship in a No Disqualification Match against Daniel Bryan with the unbalanced Diva in the middle of it all, A.J., serving as the Special Referee for the title match. During the match, both champion and challenger would battle on the outside, but shortly after both men returned to the ring, Daniel Bryan would shove CM Punk, who inadvertently knocks A.J. off of the ring apron! This results in A.J. being helped to the back while a new referee takes control of the match. The match would then take an ‘extreme’ turn as Daniel Bryan produces a kendo stick from under the ring, but Punk is able to dodge the stick shots from Bryan until Punk tries his patented springboard clothesline as Bryan quickly grabs the kendo stick, catching Punk in the ribs with the weapon. Bryan then shows his sadistic side by waylaying the WWE Champion with countless kendo sticks shots to the back and mid-section.
Later on in the match, CM Punk gets his hands on the kendo stick as Punk lays into Daniel Bryan with several stick shots to Bryan’s mid-section, but Bryan is still able to regain the advantage, using a superplex off of the top rope to further punish the ribs of the champion. With both men down, A.J. marches back to the ring, ordering the referee from the ring so that she can resume her duties as the Special Referee. A.J. then gets a steel chair out from under the ring, placing it in the center of the ring before A.J. gleefully stands back and watches as both champion and challenger scramble for control of the chair. Daniel Bryan gets to the chair first and Bryan uses it to further punish the mid-section of the champion, but Punk is still able to kick out. Bryan then pleads with A.J. to count Punk’s shoulders faster, but the distraction allows Punk to roll Bryan up with Bryan still able to kick out. CM Punk is then able to get his hands on the steel chair, waylaying the spine of Bryan with the chair before Punk sets the chair up in the corner, but when Punk looks ready to send Bryan into the steel chair, A.J. stands in front of the chair! This allows Bryan to take advantage as Bryan delivers a dropkick to the champion that sends Punk rib-first into the steel. Any thoughts of biased officiating then go out the window as A.J. keeps Daniel Bryan from getting his hands on the kendo stick. Punk then takes advantage, delivering a kick to Bryan’s head before using the chair to aid him in a suplex on Bryan on the chair!
The champion then goes for the elbow drop off of the top rope, but Bryan moves out of the way and Punk’s elbow connects with the steel. Bryan then locks in the Yes Lock on the WWE Champion, using the kendo stick for added punishment! CM Punk then manages to get out of the Yes Lock, using the kendo stick on the ankle of Daniel Bryan before Punk launches Bryan into the steel ring post. Punk then follows it up with the GTS, but Punk has a hard time making the cover, which allows Bryan to kick out at the last second! Punk then brings a table into the ring, doing his best to set the table up before Punk places Bryan on the table. Punk then climbs the top rope, ready to deliver the elbow drop, but Bryan pops up, hammering the champion before Bryan meets Punk at the top rope, but Punk is able to avoid disaster with a shot to Bryan. Punk then climbs the top rope again, delivering a back suplex to Bryan through the table before Punk manages to crawl to the pin en route to successfully retain the WWE Title in a hellacious war! After the match, CM Punk celebrates his successful title retention, but Punk pays no attention to A.J., who is visibly disappointed over no longer being the center of attention.
After failing to defeat Ryback individually over the past couple of weeks, Curt Hawkins & Tyler Reks would simultaneously try to stop “The Undefeated War Machine” Ryback in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match. Despite the toughest match in his career thus far, Ryback was able to fight back, tossing Curt Hawkins out of the ring before hitting Shell Shocked on Tyler Reks en route to picking up another impressive win.
The Divas were in action at Money-in-the-Bank as Divas Champion Layla, Kaitlyn, & Tamina Snuka faced the team of “The Glamazon” Beth Phoenix, Natalya, & Eve in a 6-Diva Tag Match. In the end, it was Layla hitting the Lay Out on Beth Phoenix en route to picking up the win for her team.
Then it was time for the unprecedented main event as five former WWE Champions would take part in the WWE Championship Contract Money-in-the-Bank Ladder Match as “The Big Red Monster” Kane, the inventor of the Money-in-the-Bank Ladder Match Chris Jericho, surprise entrant The Miz, “The World’s Largest Athlete” Big Show, and Money-in-the-Bank first-timer John Cena would go to war with the winner earning a guaranteed WWE Title opportunity that can be cashed in at any time in the upcoming year. Early on in the match, Chris Jericho would hit the Codebreaker on Big Show, followed by The Miz planting Show with a DDT and Kane knocking Big Show out of the ring with a big boot. With Big Show prone on the outside, John Cena would seize the opportunity to neutralize the giant as Cena hoists Show up and delivers the Attitude Adjustment to “The World’s Largest Athlete” through the Spanish announce table! The other four combatants would then actually work together to bury Big Show under a pile of steel ladders! Later on in the hardcore war, John Cena would hoist Kane up, delivering the Attitude Adjustment to Kane onto The Miz, who was laid out on a ladder!
After taking out all of the opposition, Chris Jericho began his ascent to the Money-in-the-Bank briefcase, but Big Show emerges from the pile of ladders, coming back into the ring where he snaps the ladder in half, using the pieces to take Jericho out. Big Show then tosses a whole ladder on top of Kane on the outside before he takes The Miz out of the equation, as well. The match then came down to Big Show and John Cena with Big Show using the ladder to sandwich Cena between the steel and the ring ropes. Big Show then continues to hurl ladders out of the ring before Big Show exits the ring and re-introduces his own personal, reinforced, gigantic ladder. Show painstakingly slides the monstrous ladder into the ring, managing to set it up in the center of the ring.
However, in the time it took Big Show to get his ladder, Kane received some much-needed recovery time as “The Big Red Monster” meets Big Show at the top of the ladder, but Show is able to send Kane from the ladder. Cena then meets Big Show at the top, but Show tosses Cena off of the ladder as well. Jericho is then the one to finally make a difference as Jericho uses a steel chair to knock Big Show off of the ladder. Jericho and Cena then ascend the giant ladder with Cena attempting the Attitude Adjustment, but Jericho saves himself with an elbow to Cena’s head. Jericho then locks in a sleeper hold on Cena, but Cena is able to power through, continuing his climb to the top of the ladder. However, the effects of the sleeper hold catch up to Cena as Cena is rendered near-unconscious. Jericho is then finally able to put Cena to sleep, tossing Cena aside before Jericho gets his hands on the briefcase, but The Miz meets Jericho on top of the ladder and both men nearly unhook the briefcase. Jericho then latches onto the cable that suspends the briefcase in the air and The Miz knocks Jericho off of the ladder, leaving Jericho twisting in the wind before the veteran regains his footing on the ladder! Big Show would then re-assert himself in the match as Big Show meets both Jericho and The Miz at the top of the ladder, first leveling Jericho with the W.M.D., then The Miz, but when Show tries to deal the same fate to John Cena, Cena uses the briefcase to block the shot. Cena then uses the briefcase as a weapon, repeatedly swinging it into the skull of Big Show. Then, to the surprise of everyone, including John Cena, Cena would inadvertently snap the handle of the briefcase completely off, breaking the briefcase free from the cable and into the hands of a stunned John Cena as Cena is crowned RAW’s “Mr. Money-in-the-Bank”!
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