Money in the Bank is perhaps the second most important event after Royal Rumble for signposting future champions. The event is focussed around two Ladder Matches, each with a number of contestants (varying from match to match), a briefcase containing a contract which can be cashed in at any point within one calendar year for a shot at either the World Heavyweight Championship (Smackdown Match) or the WWE Championship (Raw Match). The briefcase must be retrieved from it’s hook above the ring by using ladders. The man who manages to capture the case is the winner and can cash in his prize at any time. This includes after gruelling matches or during an injury which makes the Money in the Bank holders the most dangerous and unpredictable Men on the WWE roster.
Previous winners have gone on to bigger and better things, winners include Edge, CM Punk, The Miz, Alberto Del Rio and Daniel Bryan. Until this year every single man who cashed in became world champion, so the stakes are even higher as nobody wants to be the first failure. John Cena decided to throw his name in the hat for the first time as a competitor in the Raw MitB match which somewhat changed the flow as previous winners had all been fresh to the title scene, Cena is a 10-Time Champion and his inclusion gave the Raw match a different feel.
So it’s with great anticipation that the show kicks of with the Smackdown Ladder Match which features some great young talent as well as Ladder Match veteran Christian and Big Man Anchor Lord Tensai. Everything you need for a good MitB contest. Sin Cara is impressive here as is newcomer Damien Sandow, the favourite going in was Dolph Ziggler who many people consider to be the next big thing but once the match begins it is difficult to see who will be victorious as it turns into a real dogfight. Since most of the competitors are young and great aerial technicians they are perfectly suited to this match-type and seem to revel in the task at hand. Cody Rhodes is my MVP in this contest and winner or not solidifies his place as one to watch in 2013.
The Raw briefcase match spoils nothing to reveal the winner, since it’s the cover of the DVD (why do you do this, DVD cover designers? It’s infuriating). John Cena won in what was the most obvious and ultimately pointless MitB contest of all time. Cena is on a late-80s Hulk Hogan level now where you know he will win any gimmick/special match he enters. He did, however, take the heat off the younger and less high-profile winners by becoming the first cash-in to fail. That’s something that had to happen eventually, and better to befall a man who has done it all and can simply brush off the loss without denting his armour than a newer talent who could be ended by such a loss.
So those are the titular matches out of the way, now let’s focus on the other matches which stack the card. First of all we have the return of The Miz who looks more aggressive, mature and threatening then ever and is a very welcome addition to the card as he sets himself up as a secret last minute participant in the Raw MitB match. Sheamus defends his World Heavyweight Championship against former champion Alberto Del Rio in a solid match that is very much a Sheamus match and not an ADR match which shows up the differences between them. I am a great fan of Del Rio and was somewhat disappointed that his style was compromised here, but they had an absolute barnstormer at Summerslam the following month so it’s all fine. The end of the match with a cash-in tease is excellently played.
Daniel Bryan vs CM Punk for Punk’s WWE Championship was set to be a screw-job affair with AJ Lee as special guest referee. This was the culmination of a months long feud between a bizarre love triangle consisting of lovestruck and unstable AJ, her boyfriend Daniel Bryan and the apple of her eye CM Punk. Thankfully AJ played it completely fair and the match was excellent with no cheap referee spots. Very good indeed.
The rest of the card was rounded off with a nothing 6-woman Divas match, a Ryback squash match and a decent tag match between Primo & Epico and the Prime-Time Players. The running order of this event was totally ridiculous. In no way, shape or form should a World Title match play ‘cool-down’ to a scintillating Money in the Bank contest, especially when tailored cool-downs like Ryback and the Divas are booked on the show anyway. Also, the Raw Briefcase match was the main event, now fair enough the event is called ‘Money in the Bank’ but Smackdown’s Ladder match was the opening contest and led to a threatened cash-in on that show’s Title Match. This could have come in to play again for the Raw Main Event had the Champion gone on after the Briefcase bout. More tellingly however is that earlier this year (any regular review reader shall know) I went mad because in an event titled ‘Elimination Chamber’ the main event was a rubbish Ambulance Match between John Cena and Kane, with the Chamber matches (both World Title Matches) playing second fiddle.
The Raw Money in the Bank match did not headline the show because it was a Money in the Bank PPV. It went on last because it was a John Cena match. That’s where WWE’s priorities lay, and until they sort that out, the muddled card placement will continue. This helps push a 8/10 event down to a 7/10 event for me. The event was a jumble and a cash-in teaser or opportunity was missed. A good event, perfect sound and video, but low on features (again) so overall the DVD scores a:
World Heavyweight Championship Contract Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Christian vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Tensai vs. Santino Marella vs. Damien Sandow vs. Tyson Kidd vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Sin Cara
Josh Mathews Interviews Sheamus
The Miz Returns
World Heavyweight Championship Match
Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio
Josh Mathews Interviews Daniel Bryan
Epico & Primo vs. The Prime Time Players
Matt Striker Interviews AJ
No Disqualification Match for the WWE Championship
CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan
with Special Guest Referee AJ
2-on-1 Handicap Match
Ryback vs. Curt Hawkins & Tyler Reks
6-Diva Tag Team Match
Layla, Kaitlyn & Tamina vs. Beth Phoenix, Natalya & Eve
WWE Championship Contract Money in the Bank Ladder Match
John Cena vs. Kane vs. Chris Jericho vs. Big Show vs. The Miz
Home Video Exclusive
Matt Striker Interviews Dolph Ziggler
Money in the Bank 15th July, 2012