Once the spot-fest highlight of the WrestleMania showcase, Money in the Bank was a chance for a number of WWE wrestlers (anything between six and ten guys) to get on the card, make their mark on the show and, for one of them, the promise of a future World/WWE Championship run.
Ever since Edge cashed in his contract in a legitimately shocking moment, the holder of the case has gone on to win the big one. As you read this, Miz became the latest man to achieve this goal with a very heated win over Randy Orton to garner his first WWE Championship.
With the exception of Rob Van Dam, who announced his intentions in advance, and Mr. Kennedy (who said he was going to wait until WrestleMania the following year – although a misdiagnosed injury put paid to that), every single person who has won the match has used the element of surprise to reach the top of the mountain. CM Punk did it brilliantly two years running, first on the heel Edge and then against the face Jeff Hardy, going on to turn heel himself in the face of the genuine hypocrisy of the fans (they cheered when he did it to Edge, yet booed Punk when he did the exact same thing to Jeff Hardy). Some have gone on to stay in the main-event after cashing in, others have actually taken a step backwards (I’m looking at you, Swagger), but winning the MitB match is usually a sign WWE is backing you for bigger things.
With that in mind, Money in the Bank has stepped out of the shadows of WrestleMania and is going it alone. Was it the match itself or when it took place that made it special?
That was the million-dollar question in 2010 when the first Money in the Bank PPV took place. Nowadays, with know that the match itself can stand on its own two feet, it’s just a question of how great would the matches be in comparison to those that had gone before.
Running Time: 164mins (excluding extras)
- World Heavyweight Championship Contract Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Christian v Dolph Ziggler v Tensai v Santino Marella v Damien Sandow v Tyson Kidd v Cody Rhodes v Sin Cara
- Josh Mathews Interviews Sheamus
- The Miz Returns
- World Heavyweight Championship Match: Sheamus v Alberto Del Rio
- Josh Mathews Interviews Daniel Bryan
- Epico & Primo v The Prime Time Players
- Matt Striker Interviews AJ
- No Disqualification Match for the WWE Championship: CM Punk v Daniel Bryan with Special Guest Referee AJ
- 2-on-1 Handicap Match: Ryback v Curt Hawkins & Tyler Reks
- 6-Diva Tag Team Match: Layla, Kaitlyn & Tamina v Beth Phoenix, Natalya & Eve
- WWE Championship Contract Money in the Bank Ladder Match: John Cena v Kane v Chris Jericho v Big Show v The Miz
- Home Video Exclusive: Matt Striker Interviews Dolph Ziggler – Money in the Bank (July 15th, 2012)
After the stunning effort put forth in the lead up to Money in the Bank 2011 and the fact WWE actually went with outcome the majority of fans wanted to see (let’s ignore the fact they didn’t let it run for much longer after the PPV), it was always going to be an uphill struggle for 2012 to surpass the legacy of “The Summer of Punk”.
Of course, that was just one match and one angle, but it dominated (and rightly so) much of the event, so even something as monumental as Daniel Bryan’s win seemed lost in the shuffle.
In 2012, as per the previous two MitB stand-alone events, there were two ladder matches, with the winner of each being given a guaranteed contract for a championship match at any point over the next calendar year. This, as always, brings up the question of who do we want to win, who do we think will win and when will they cash it in? Would they do what Kane did in 2010 and cash it in on the same night or would they do what Mr. Kennedy said he would do and wait until next year’s WrestleMania and cash it in on the biggest stage in professional wrestling?
As an aside, when a wrestler says he’s going to cash in at WrestleMania, why doesn’t he just give the case to Vince McMahon and state that they are cashing it for WrestleMania there and then? That way, they would guarantee themselves the shot at that time. If only logic existed in pro-wrestling for more than a few seconds at a time.
Anyway, this year’s event had an intriguing concept surrounding the ladders matches. On the World Heavyweight Championship side, you had eight guys who were not considered main-event talent (an argument could be made for Christian – a former World Heavyweight Champion in his own right) but could have the potential to reach there virtue of the MitB rub… while, on the WWE Championship side, you had five (originally four) main-event level wrestlers who were at one point the king of the hill. This created a unique dynamic for both matches and lessened the chances of the WWE Championship match being repetitive as this was obviously going on after the World Championship version.
Before the PPV begins, the WWE production staff (who, as anyone who has read my reviews over the years will know I adore these guys) earn their bread early with a stunning video looking back at the history of the Money in the Bank concept. From Edge doing it first to Daniel Bryan doing it last year (although RVD is never mentioned) and all the insane stunts from over the years, this is a great crash course (pun intended) for those coming into their first experience of the premier ladder match in pro-wrestling today.
As with each previous year, the Smackdown Money in the Bank Match started the show and was filled with great spots (mostly from Ziggler, although Christian’s spear to Cody was amazing) and Sin Cara getting hurt again. The finish was fantastic and the people really got into it, which is the job of any great opener. Each guy got a chance to shine and no-one really suffered from not winning the match.
Miz shows up unadvertised and throws his hat into the ring for the WWE Championship MitB match, making a five-man event rather than the advertised four-man match before we lead into the first title match of the evening; Sheamus v Alberto Del Rio. The lead up to this was pretty good as Del Rio had unleashed a more pronounced mean streak to add to his persona, although few thought he would take the title from Sheamus on this night.
The story of the match was as basic as it comes, but when the basic stories are executed well, they never fail to deliver. Del Rio targeted the left arm of Sheamus whenever he could and each time the Irishman got some momentum, a quick shot to the arm brought things back to the Mexican. This match was better than I thought it would be and had a satisfyingly clean finish too.
Praise must also be given to possibly the most overlooked talent on the roster; Ricardo Rodriquez. Alberto Del Rio is a great talent, but Ricardo adds so much to the overall package and the day he breaks away from his employer (much like Virgil back in the day), he’ll have a great run as a mid-card face.
The third match of the night continued the resurgence of the tag-team division in WWE. Over the last few months, tag-team wrestling in WWE has become much more prominent, with some actual teams competing for the first time in a long time. Alongside the teams competing here, there is (at the present date of 18/10/12) The Rhodes Scholars, Team Hell No, The 3MB, The Usos, Justin Gabriel & Tyson Kidd and Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara. Sure, it’s not the glory days, but it is a division, so that’s something to be thankful for.
A little point regarding teams that are comprised of two singles guys being put together is that it is almost universally deemed to be a negative thing, but some of the greatest teams in history were two singles guys who were put together. Again, I’m not saying any of the teams competing today are on the level of the names I’m going to mention, but they could be if given the time to leave a legacy.
Teams like The Road Warriors, The Brain Busters, The Rockers, The Hart Foundation, The New Age Outlaws, The Hollywood Blondes, Money Inc, The Natural Disasters, The Quebecers, (arguably) The Steiner Brothers, Owen Hart & Yokozuna, Owen Hart & The British Bulldog, The Brothers of Destruction, Edge & Christian, The Dudley Boys, America’s Most Wanted, Beer Money, The APA, Too Cool, Rock ‘n’ Sock, Londrick, Miz & Morrison, Jeri-Show, Motor City Machine Guns, Simon & Swinger, LAX, Bad Intentions, Balls Mahoney & Axl Rotten, Sabu & RVD, The Impact Players, Tajiri & Mikey Whipwreck and Doring & Roadkill were all comprised of singles wrestlers who were put together as a tag team.
Some of them were more successful than others, but each of the above teams made a lasting impression to some degree, so when someone complains about singles guys being put together, you can remind them of the names on this list and advise them to exercise some patience. Of course, this will only work to full effect when WWE decide to stick to the assembled teams like they did with the older teams from the 80s, The Outlaws in the 90s and Londrick in the 2000s.
Now that this little digression has been addressed, the tag match on the card tonight came about because AW (who has since been released, which is a shame as the gimmick was one with phenomenal potential) turned on the Colons to become the manager of The Prime Time Players.
The match itself was a disappointment and the wrong team won, but the fact there even is a division to follow is a bonus we can all be thankful for.
Another thing we can all be thankful for is the “that’ll never happen” occurrence of Daniel Bryan and CM Punk fighting out for the WWE Championship on a WWE PPV event. If you’d said in 2004, when both were in Ring of Honor, that these two guys would not only compete in WWE, they’d be World Champions and main-event a WWE pay-per-view, you’d be carted off to the loony bin. But lo, here we are in 2012 with two former RoH champions doing just that.
The match was great and built beautifully from beginning to end, with AJ Lee (who is physically stunning with her petite figure just defying description) as the guest referee not taking anything away from the match (which was a fear as the character was a pretty strong one going into the show). The last ten minutes were brutal, with the No-DQ stipulation being used to full effect, especially for the awesome finish.
Having to follow that would be a nightmare for anyone, so WWE deserve credit for booking a squash match as Ryback (one of the highlights of WWE television for me at the moment) to keep the momentum going without the need for a bout to match the preceding 30mins.
The former Skip Sheffield has been a revelation since his return under his old Ryback persona,with the “Goldberg” chants from the fans actually being rather apt (if not for the reasons the chant is actually being used). He’s an ass-kicker who doesn’t care who is across from him in the ring; he’s going to do damage and that’s that.
From the “Feed Me More” mantra (which as thankfully caught on with the masses), his dominating physical presence and the fact he is believable in the role to the various power moves he’s been allowed to show (especially doing his Shell Shock finish to two guys at the same time), Ryback has captured the fans’ imagination and he is getting the desired response from virtually everyone. A special mention must go to his Meat Hook lariat as it’s a thing of brutal beauty that pops me off my seat every time. His powerbombs (both the deadlift version and the shoulderbomb) aren’t a bunch of flowers either.
As per the concept of a squash match, the result was never in doubt, it was more how Ryback would destroy his two opponents before nailing the finish. Highlights included the deadlift powerbomb and the Meat Hook, although he sold for too long in this match for my liking… which is a strange thing to say for a sub-5min match.
Before the main event, there was a Six-Diva Tag Match that ran for a total time of 3mins 19secs, but credit to the ladies involved because they actually managed to get a decent amount of work into that time period, with Tamina’s superkick being the stand-out move of the match.
Finally, we come to the Five-Man All Star Money in the Bank match and this stood out from the previous MitBs simply due to the concept of the entrants all having reached the summit before (with Miz having done it via the titular briefcase). It was also interesting because John Cena had never been in the match before, but had been a victim of the match two years running, with both cash-ins happening five months apart in 2006.
There were some great spots (as you’d expect), with the literal burial of Big Show being a mid-match highlight and the appearance of Big Show’s custom ladder raising a smile. All five guys worked hard and paid the physical price for falling repeatedly from ladders, but it was the genuinely spontaneous finish that lingered in the memory as the briefcase handle broke during the actual finishing sequence, handing Cena a victory by accident.
A great end to another great show. Alongside Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber, this is another great advert for event-specific PPVs.
Now if they’d only dump Hell in a Cell…
The only extra on the DVD is a short interview with Dolph Ziggler backstage after his MitB win and it’s as you’d expect it to be.
A great show, although not as great as 2011’s event (which was widely considered the best WWE PPV of last year, so that’s not really a slight). All of the matches served a purpose and in all cases elevated at least one of the participants involved.
The backstage segments are what they are, and the finish of the PPV added some much needed “realism” to pro-wrestling.
In hindsight, writing this three months after the even took place, it’s easy to see what actually didn’t do anything in the longer term (the treatment of Dolph Ziggler since this night has been a sin on WWE’s soul), but it’s also interesting to see where the wrestlers are now in comparison to only three months ago (Cena cashing in and failing, Kane and Bryan being the current tag champs, half the Divas no longer in the company, Sandow and Rhodes in the tag title hunt, etc)
As with most WWE PPV DVDs, this is worth buying if you can find it for around £10 or you wish to have a complete collection.
Blu-Ray owners also get -:
Monday Night Raw (23rd January, 2012)
- AJ Proposes to CM Punk
- John Cena & Kane v Big Show & Chris JerichoHealth Slater Challenges a former WWE Champion
- Jerry Lawler v Michael Cole
- CM Punk & AJ v Daniel Bryan & Eve
SmackDown (27th January, 2012)
- Sin Cara v Alberto Del Rio
- Ryback v Tyler Reks
- Sheamus v Chris Jericho