The SmarK Rant for WWE Money In The Bank 2013
Eh, I wasn’t terribly feeling this one, but then had one of my famous changes of heart and decided to order the replay after avoiding all internet contact tonight. (Replay? Oh man, life before the WWE Network…)
Live from Philly, home of cheesesteaks.
Your hosts are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler & JBL
Money In The Bank No-Stars: Fandango v. Dean Ambrose v. Jack Swagger v. Antonio Cesaro v. Wade Barrett v. Cody Rhodes v. Damien Sandow
Team Zeb is now “The Real Americans”, complete with mixtape version of their video. For some reason Fandango and Ambrose are lacking in ring entrance tonight, even though Zeb gets yet another long dull pre-match promo. Ambrose gets the big babyface reaction, and the entrances build to Wade Barrett, who gets no reaction. This might get ugly. The Americans and Rhodes Scholar have a ladder duel and poor Cody gets suplexed onto a ladder by Cesaro. Swagger cleans house with the ladder and climbs, but Ambrose saves and tosses him. Barrett ties up Ambrose in the ladder and throws knees, but walks into a Fandango high kick. Fandango climbs and gets stopped by Sandow, who suplexes him onto a ladder. This doesn’t seem like a smart career move for someone recovering from a concussion. Barrett grabs a piece of broken ladder and uses it like a lead pipe, which is certainly a unique spot, but can’t make the climb. Ambrose climbs and runs afoul of the Americans, leading to Cesaro choking him down on top of the ladder. Cody suplexes Cesaro onto a ladder to save, but Barrett beats him up, and we get the Barrett-Swagger series.
Swagger climbs and Barrett puts him down with the elbow, but Fandango takes Barrett down with a powerbomb off the ladder. Ambrose takes Fandango out with the bulldog driver, but again it’s the Americans foiling his plans. So Ambrose pays tribute to Terry Funk with the swinging ladder spot, leading to an incredible spot where he skins the cat onto a horizontal ladder that’s on the Americans’ shoulders. That would have been an awesome finish, but instead he gets dumped. Cesaro tries standing on Swagger’s shoulders, but Cody breaks that up with a dropkick. They’re burning through some wicked finishes here. The finishers start coming fast as Cody takes two guys out with the Crossroads and he climbs, but Ambrose recovers and slugs it out on top. Cody is a bloody mess and wins that battle, but the Shield swarms him and takes out the other scrubs in the match. And then we get the Usos making the save for a big brawl at ringside with everyone, leading to Cody dumping Ambrose onto the pile. Cody makes the climb on his own…but here’s Sandow, who wins Money In The Bank at 16:23. I suspect their friendship is in jeopardy after that.
Cody turned himself babyface in a big way there. The match was less cohesive than it was a bunch of unrelated spots, but the storyline was great and there was tons of innovative stuff on display. **** Seemed like kind of a waste of Ambrose, who didn’t participate in the buildup at all and is just kind of fading into the midcard at this point. (It ended up being an even bigger waste of Sandow.)
Brad Maddox joins us for some reason. I think it would be kind of funny if they had start aping Eric Bischoff’s mannerisms as GM. Maddox spotlights Vickie on the pre-show panel to make sure we know she’s in the building before the Ryback match. Brad wants a “Thank you Vickie” chant, which dies faster than this brutal segment. And then we get a video package of Vickie, which I guess is the payoff for this. $55 for HD, ladies and gentlemen. (Man, think of how many monthly streaming services I could buy for that amount every month! Actually, between WWE, New Japan, Netflix, and CBS All Access, I think I do.)
Intercontinental title: Curtis Axel v. The Miz
As expected, the crowd throws its support behind ECW and doesn’t give a shit about either guy. (Wait, CURTIS AXEL was Intercontinental champion?!? Managed by Paul Heyman? I feel like I’ve blocked this out of my mind.) Miz gets tossed and Miz fakes a cheapshot from Heyman, so the ref ejects him. The crowd is NOT happy about that. As they should be, that was some atrocious refereeing. Back in the ring, Axel gets a suplex for two and now the crowd is SILENT. Axel continues on as the heel, hitting the Hennig necksnap into a dropkick for two. Like, they basically went on RAW this past Monday and all but admitted that Miz was gonna get booed out of the building, and yet they’re wasting everyone’s time trying to babyface him here. Miz makes his comeback, and sure enough people hate him. Double axehandle gets two. Axel and Miz trade finisher attempts, leading to a Perfectplex for two. Jesus, how many times do I have to say “You need to yell out the name of the move first” before he takes the hint? Miz takes out the leg and gets the figure-four, but Axel reverses it and they have a dramatic battle over that with Miz getting booed out of the building until Axel makes the ropes. It’s like they’re having an entirely different match than the crowd thinks they’re watching. They do a chase and Axel catches him with the McGuillicutter to retain at 9:30. As my toddler would say, I no love this. *1/2
Divas title: AJ Lee v. Kaitlyn
Kaitlyn attacks and hits the gutbuster, then tosses her, but AJ runs Kaitlyn into the ringpost and goes to work on the injured arm. The arm, which according to Cole, was injured when she was performing her own finisher. Vintage Cole! Back in, AJ goes to work on the arm with a hammerlock, and turns it into a sleeper until Kaitlyn escapes with a backbreaker. She makes the comeback with an inverted DDT for two as Cole goes on a weird rant about how AJ should have gone after the title “the right way”. Didn’t she win the belt by clean submission? AJ goes back to the arm to cut off the comeback and goes up, but Kaitlyn dumps her onto Big E. Back in, AJ gets a small package for two. She’s no Daniel Bryan. Kaitlyn gets the spear, but hurts her elbow again, and the BLACK WIDOW finishes at 7:00. This is quite the booking Kaitlyn has been getting. So she hurts herself doing her own finish…TWICE…and then taps out cleanly and people wonder why she’s not getting over as a babyface? Way too long, but it was fine otherwise. **1/4 (And then she left the business and people were SHOCKED.)
Chris Jericho v. Ryback
Ryback clubs him down, but Jericho fights back with chops and Ryback bails. Jericho attacks with a baseball slide and does something approximating a bulldog off the top, and that goes pretty badly for both guys. Ryback comes back with a clothesline out of the corner and now the crowd gets all over Ryback. He gets a necksnap and big splash for two, and we hit the chinlock. Remember when Ryback was getting over in short matches with interesting explosive offense? Now he’s a guy. That CM Punk match ended up destroying his career. (He ended up doing a bang-up job of finishing that himself, though.) Ryback goes up to the middle with another splash and gets two. He tosses Jericho and beats on him outside, and back in for more dull abuse. Jericho comes back with a northern lights suplex for two, but can’t get the Walls. Ryback cuts him off with an overhead suplex and puts him down with the clothesline, but Jericho fights out of the Shellshock. Ryback counters the Codebreaker with a spinebuster, and a powerbomb gets two. Jericho keeps fighting with an enzuigiri for two. Codebreaker puts Ryback on the floor, but he beats the count. Jericho with a flying bodypress for two. Ryback tries another Shellshock, but Jericho turns that one into a DDT for two. Lionsault misses and Ryback gets the cheap rollup to finish at 11:30. That rollup looked TERRIBLE on replay, like Ryback was barely able to roll him over on his own. Well, Jericho tried, literally wrestling himself for large portions of the match to try and get it over. Didn’t work, but it wasn’t terrible or anything. **1/2
World title: Alberto Del Rio v. Dolph Ziggler
Ziggler gets a quick rollup for two. Criss-cross and Ziggler gets the dropkick for two, and a corner splash for two. Ziggler drops the 10 elbows for some good crowd participation, and dumps ADR. Back in, Del Rio with the enzuigiri and Ziggler goes all ragdoll physics on the floor. Back in, that gets two. Del Rio goes to the chinlock, but Dolph gets a sunset flip for two before missing a charge and knocking himself out on the top turnbuckle. I hope he keeps the concussion specialists on retainer wrestling this way. Del Rio misses his own charge, but comes back with a necksnap and goes up, allowing Dolph to pop up with the X-Factor, for two. They slug it out and Ziggler sends him into the post, and a neckbreaker gets two. Del Rio counters the Fameasser with a german suplex and gets two. Ziggler with the Fameasser for two. Del Rio blocks the Zig Zag and gets a backbreaker for two. ADR goes up and lands on a dropkick, and that gets two. And then as expected, AJ skips out to set up the screwjob, as Dolph sends her back and then gets a DDT for two. Dolph goes up and gets caught, and Del Rio brings him down with an inverted superplex for two. Faceplant sets up the superkick for two. Del Rio tries to cheat to win, so AJ comes in and draws the DQ at 14:43. These are some EPIC terrible finishes tonight. Match didn’t really get to where they wanted because there wasn’t a finish. *** And yeah, Ziggler loses yet again. This would have worked way better if AJ had just turned on him instead of doing the “try to help but screw it up” deal. Like really, in one match she’s the confident and conniving champion, but in another she’s the clingy girlfriend who costs her boyfriend the match?
WWE title: John Cena v. Mark Henry
We’ve had all heels going over so far, so of course Cena gets to triumph here I’d bet. Henry pounds away in the corner and follows with a corner splash for two. Cena bails and Henry suplexes him onto the stairs, because that’s what he does. Back in, that gets two. Cena slugs back, but Henry SPLITS HIS WIG. We get a GIANT SWING and Cena rolls out again, apparently needing a new gameplan. Henry gives him the giant swing into the barricade. Back in, Henry misses a charge and Cena tries a slam, but Henry falls on top for two. We get the neck vice, but Cena keeps fighting and finally puts him down with a shoulderblock. Backdrop suplex and five knuckle shuffle set up the FU, but Henry falls on top again and gets two. Henry gives him quality demotivational trash talk, but Cena counters out of a slam with a DDT and this time he hits the FU and only gets two. Cena goes up…and lands in the World Strongest Slam for two. That would have been a great finish and the crowd was READY for it. Henry gets mad and grabs a chair, but ends up hitting his own exposed turnbuckle as a result, setting up the STF. Henry quickly makes the ropes, however. Ref gets bumped and Henry goes low for two. Mark is good and mad, but Cena reverses the slam into the STF again and Henry taps at 14:42. Because of course he does. Cena worked his ass off here to make Henry look like a monster (before beating him cleanly by submission in their first match, of course) and this was Henry’s best match in forever. ***1/2
Money In The Bank All Stars: Rob Van Dam v. Christian v. Daniel Bryan v. CM Punk v. Randy Orton v. Sheamus
No seventh guy to replace Kane, apparently. The reactions for RVD and Bryan are something to behold. Everyone gangs up on RVD in a funny bit to start, and then the mob picks off Sheamus next. Everyone gets tossed and we’re left with Punk and Bryan, and they slug it out with kicks. They trade finisher attempts and Sheamus hits people with a ladder before Orton takes him out and steals it. RVD comes back in and throws kicks to everyone, finally getting to finish his taunt. Good for him. Christian attacks and gets slammed onto the ladder, but Orton tosses RVD, who ends up splatting on a pile of ladders. Christian grabs a stepladder for some damage before making the first climb, but Sheamus saves. He threatens to bring back the Razor’s Edge, but Christian escapes, so Sheamus basically punches him in the face to get rid of him. Sheamus climbs and RVD saves and Sheamus takes a FUGLY bump on the ladder on the way down. Poor guy. He’s apparently fine and slams RVD on the ladder.
Sheamus heads out and brawls with Daniel Bryan, which ends with Bryan getting the running knee off the apron as they disappear into the ether again. In the ring, Punk fights with Orton and soon everyone is climbing ladders for the big trainwreck and the briefcase is swinging all over the place. Sheamus is the first one up and he destroys everyone and climbs, taking out RVD to turn himself heel with the crowd. Bryan saves and they REALLY do not care for Sheamus. Sheamus ALMOST gets it, but Punk thankfully saves. I can’t live in a world where Sheamus has that thing. Punk puts him into a ladder with the running knee and then rides the ladder down, but stops to take a bow and gets attacked by Orton. Orton suplexes him into the ladder to set up the draping DDT, but Christian gets the spear. RVD cuts him off, and now the crowd wants TABLES. They’re not really getting what they want tonight otherwise, so I wouldn’t hold your breath. Christian puts Rob down and climbs, but Van Dam cuts him off and jumps onto another ladder, setting up the five star frog splash from there. Now the crowd can go home happy. Rob climbs and Sheamus cuts him off, but Bryan takes out both guys with the kicks. He hits Orton with a crazy dropkick into the ladder and then takes out Punk with the suicide dive, then flies back in with a double missile dropkick on RVD and Sheamus! Sheamus goes up and Bryan puts him THROUGH a ladder outside, and he’s all alone to climb…but Curtis Axel runs in and stops him. Really? Bryan gets saddled with this guy now? Punk puts Axel out with the GTS, which brings Heyman out to bitch out Axel about how Punk is his best friend and not to be messed with. So now Punk is alone to climb with Heyman cheering him on…until he turns on him. So no Punk tonight. Rob climbs and falls into an RKO in a cool spot, leaving Orton the lone guy now, and as the betting line predicted he’s the Money in the Bank winner at 26:38. This of course makes no sense based on anything leading up to the show except for people inside the company fucking with everyone to win money on the betting lines, but it was the hell of a match and that’s what I wanted out of the show. ****1/2 (And then the cash-in happened…)
I’d call this one a resounding thumbs up despite itself. The booking was weird and nonsensical a lot of the way, but two ****+ matches and two ***+ matches? I’ll take that every day of the week and twice on Sunday. I have no faith in them rehabbing Sandow into a contender or Bryan v. Axel leading to anything I want to watch, but with all good matches and no bad, this was a home run show in the ring, which is what I pay the money to see.