WWE went rolling right on through the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, last night (Sun., July 14, 2013) with Money in the Bank, featuring Damien Sandow and Randy Orton winning ladder matches for guaranteed title shots, and every champion on the show retaining their belts.
Click here to check out the live blog.
Let's not waste any more time with pleasantries and get right to reactions to the show:
- What is there to say about The Shield at this point? I guess this: They've literally never had a bad match. Not one, and really, I'm not sure they've ever even come close to having a bad match. The Usos were also amazing and there isn't much more to say about the pre-show. Really great way to get the crowd going heading into the main offering.
- Here is what's funny to me about the world heavyweight championship Money in the Bank ladder match: The guy who won, Sandow, is the guy who did the absolute least to make the match great. In fact, I hardly remember him doing anything at all, other than screwing over his sometimes tag partner Cody Rhodes who, incidentally, did the most to make the match great. Perhaps it's part of a story arc and Sandow will simply say he outsmarted his contemporaries. I would like that, actually. But if you were to rank the performances of the seven guys in this match, Sandow would be last and he won the damn thing.
- If I could pick just one GIF coming out of this show to watch on a loop, it would be Antonio Cesaro hitting Swiss Death on Wade Barrett coming off the ladder. Awesome spot.
- There is a such thing as momentum during a pro wrestling show, and it's an underrated and often unnoticed phenomena. If you've got the crowd hot and buzzing on the strength of the opening two matches, it makes sense to try to keep it going before hitting that period where you want the crowd to cool down to get excited what for what's to come. For some reason, WWE felt it necessary to go into a cool down segment after that insanely hot world title Money in the Bank ladder match, which was the PPV opener and just the second match on the card. It's possible they wanted to protect Curtis Axel vs. Miz, seeing as the two matches before them were incredible and there was no way they could live up to the standard set by them, but I would have rather gone right into it than that terrible segment with Brad Maddox shitting on Vickie Guerrero.
- By the way, Maddox is still a hero around these parts. But that entire segment was beyond overkill and while I'm glad to be (mostly) rid of Vickie, I don't care to throw dirt on the grave.
- I loved Eddie Guerrero's lie, cheat, and steal days. I do not ever want to see someone like Miz borrowing from him, even if it was a clever enough spot that made some sense for the match. Miz is so far away from Eddie's level it's almost as insulting as his trying to use the Figure Four as his finisher.
- Jerry Lawler is still really bad at his job. That's about all I've got coming out of that Diva's match.
- Ryback vs. Chris Jericho was really good for a number of reasons, most of all the continued progression and overall improvement of Ryback both as a character and a worker. Not only is his timing on point, he's showing he doesn't have to rely on brute strength at all times to win matches. He worked through his (kayfabe) injury and when his usual overwhelming offense failed, he found a way to win on a smart counter to one of Jericho's signature moves. And, in true heel fashion, it felt cheap. No, they didn't blow the doors off and steal the show, but they came as close as they were going to. It's time to admit Ryback is actually getting pretty good at his job.
- Is it just me or has Ricardo Rodriguez's absence really exposed Alberto Del Rio for the bland wrestler he's always been?
- So I guess I'm supposed to think AJ Lee is the dumbest person on Earth? Because if she's interfering on Dolph Ziggler's behalf with genuinely good intentions, in the hopes that she would help him win as opposed to make him lose, that was the worst booking I've ever seen. She hops into the ring in plain view of the referee and does something totally illegal, causing a disqualification and her boyfriend to lose, and her reaction is to cry and act all upset about it? This was dumb. I get why they did it, because they need to split the two up and all that jargon, but there was a better way to go about it than making AJ look this silly and stupid. I don't know, maybe that was the point but I'm no fan of it. I'll change my tune if there's a good storyline explanation for it, but I'm not seeing one right now, not one that makes sense for her to do something so obviously dumb, anyway.
- Absolutely loved the match between Mark Henry and John Cena. The psychology was pitch perfect and their timing couldn't have been better to make the match as effective as it could possibly be. Going from Cena failing on the AA to battling back and hitting it only to get a two count and straight into a high risk maneuver that backfired into a World's Strongest Slam that didn't get the finish was genius. It was executed so very well, I couldn't even be upset as a fan that Cena kicked out. I would have rather Henry not tapped to lose the match, but that's a minor gripe that doesn't at all take away from how incredible both men were. Really, really well done.
- Rob Van Dam is proof of WWE's ability to make a wrestler look like a huge star when he's really nothing close to it.
- Adored the start of the WWE title Money in the Bank ladder match. Van Dam going into his schtick and the rest of the wrestlers beating him down and sending him out of the ring. Such a good troll job from WWE.
- Loved the crowd chanting "NO" for each of the forearm blows Sheamus delivered to Bryan on top of the ladder. Literally no one in that building wanted Sheamus anywhere near that briefcase and even less wanted him doing any sort of damage to Bryan. And after the way RVD nearly killed him earlier in the match, "Big Irish" was working stiff as a board. Then again, he took the sickest bump of the match by the time it was over, so I can't even be mad at him.
- Really liked the Paul Heyman turn on Punk. That moment when Punk looked at him with those pleading eyes, filled with disappointment and despair at an outcome he always sort of knew was coming in the back of his mind but never wanted to cop to, was amazing. Heyman giving it right back with pure, unfiltered anger at what has become of them was equally as impressive. It's these little things that add so much to a story that so many performers currently working for WWE are missing.
- I don't know how to feel about Randy Orton winning. On the one hand, I've really been enjoying his work since he entered into that feud with Bryan but on the other, I just don't see what it does for him to have the briefcase. In a match like this, no one "needs it," necessarily, but I had become quite attached to the idea of Bryan winning it and telling us on Raw tonight that he would be cashing in at SummerSlam. But that's just the fan in me being a mark for Bryan and wanting him in that spot. Then again, they can get to that same point without the briefcase, so what does it really matter? Then again, I couldn't help but leave the show last night feeling disappointed, so I suppose that's why it matters.
It was an awesome show, though, all told. The end wasn't exactly what I wanted but I can't complain after how great everything was before it.
That's it from me, Cagesiders. Now it's your turn to sound off with all your thoughts in the comments section below. How did you feel about Money in the Bank?