Monday, June 20, 2016

Money in the Bank Review

Money in the Bank
June 19th, 2016 | T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada | Attendance: 14,150

During the Kickoff Show, the Golden Truth defeated Breezango in a match that saw Breezango wrestle with sunburns. It was short and inoffensive (*). Then the Lucha Dragons bested the Dudley Boyz (**).

WWE Tag Team Championship: The New Day (c) def. Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady, Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows and the Vaudevillains in 11:43
It was pretty clear that this would open the show and for good reason. Three of the four teams are pretty over and the champions and Enzo and Cass are so much fun. The champions ran down all six of their opponents beforehand, which was funny. With a match featuring this many moving parts, a lot of it needs to be timed perfectly. This was missing that. There were more than a few awkward moments. A particularly bad one saw Gallows just stand around for no reason just before the finish. The crowd was surprisingly dead for most outside of a burst of energy from Enzo. The two teams that should be champions next were protected as New Day pinned English to retain. Fun enough, but disappointing in the end. **¾

Baron Corbin def. Dolph Ziggler in 12:24
Both guys are capable workers but this feud has gone on for too long. Luckily, this felt like the end and it was probably their best outing together, though that isn’t saying much. Ziggler and Corbin put in a lot of effort here but there was one glaring issue. The crowd gave zero fucks. I can’t blame them either since the feud and booking has done neither guy any favors really. I did like Ziggler countering the End of Days and nailing a superkick for a near fall, as well as the Deep Six (Corbin’s best move honestly) on the outside. Ziggler bumped around like crazy to try to wake up the fans who chanted “boring” at times. Corbin eventually won the match and rivalry with End of Days, cleanly. Fine match. **¾

Charlotte and Dana Brooke def. Becky Lynch and Natalya in 7:00
I’ve made it clear that I’m not Charlotte fan but the one thing she does well is work in the ring, outside of her atrocious selling. Unfortunately, she hasn’t had many good matches since winning the title. The Roadblock defense, one Becky Lynch match and WrestleMania match stick out. This fell victim to the same thing a lot of Nikki’s old PPV matches did. Nobody cared. This didn’t feel like something that belonged on PPV. This was better served for Raw or Smackdown. Like with Nikki’s reign, this felt like a filler feud until something better happens in the summer. Charlotte pinned Natalya after Becky was thrown into her, mercifully ending this. The most interesting thing about this was Natalya turning heel on Becky “Female Sting” Lynch. Becky’s mid-match fire was kind of fun too. 

Apollo Crews def. Sheamus in 8:36
Who laid out this Pay-Per-View? That’s three straight filler matches. Considering the lackluster build and angles for them, they should be placed in between big matches to give the fans a rest. Now you’ve got an already silent crowd on the verge of falling asleep. Sheamus is in a similar spot as Ziggler. Mid-carder who has made it big in the past but was ruined by horrible 50/50 booking over the years, so the fans don’t treat them like former World Champions. Crews played the fiery newcomer, while Sheamus was the brute veteran. It’s a fine story that usually works, only again, the crowd was dead. Plus, Crews’ character is still just “I’VE GOT A BALD HEAD AND I SMILE”. Not very interesting. He won with a rollup, doing no real favors for him. Another pretty good match but nothing special. **½

AJ Styles def. John Cena in 24:11
Finally. Not only did we finally get this match but it was finally something that really stuck out on the show. I loved the way this was done. John Cena is used to being the man that it’s in control, but Styles had him expertly scouted and had an answer for everything. His brash attitude when gaining control was perfect. There were a few awkward moments in the first few minutes that had me worried they wouldn’t click, but they found their footing quickly. It followed the typical big Cena (or big WWE) match format. Lots of near falls and finisher kickouts. They were headed towards a match of the year contender, but then the finish came. I understand that it sets up a rematch but it felt so cheap and, the bigger issue, it felt very anti-climactic. Gallows and Anderson show up, hit Magic Killer, and that’s it? Still, almost everything else about the match was top notch. ****¼

Money in the Bank: Dean Ambrose def. Alberto Del Rio, Cesaro, Chris Jericho, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn in 21:37
This had to be one of the best Money in the Bank fields in history. Six very talented individuals. This featured the obvious big spots we’ve come to expect in these ladder matches, but it didn’t feel like they were just setting up spot after spot. It all felt natural. Add in the emphasis on the personal rivalries (Jericho/Ambrose and Owens/Zayn) at times and you got something unique. Cesaro’s uppercut barrage, Owens’ cannonball barrage, Del Rio’s armbreaker on the ladder and Cesaro jumping from the ladder into a springboard uppercut all stood out to me. The best highlight was either Cesaro swinging Jericho into a ladder or Sami’s Michinoku Driver on Owens onto an open ladder. I love that Sami has basically murdered his rival in their past two ladder matches. After knocking his old nemesis Owens off of the ladder and onto another one, Ambrose retrieved the briefcase. An excellent match that was probably my third favorite MITB ever behind the original and the 2013 Smackdown one. ****¼

WWE United States Championship: Rusev (c) w/ Lana def. Titus O’Neil in 8:13
See, this is where filler belongs. Titus stopped to kiss his sons before the match because he’s a celebrity dad and it was Father’s Day. I expected a good old fashioned hoss fight and that’s what I mostly got. One of the biggest issues that this match suffered from is what everything but the three big matches had. A dead crowd. The fans were mostly quiet for Rusev’s offense and even didn’t seem to care when Titus did his moves. Decent match that Rusev won with the Accolade. The best thing about it was Rusev’s post-match promo on Titus’ kids. Rusev is a grade A savage and it’s beautiful. **¼ 

WWE Championship: Seth Rollins def. Roman Reigns (c) in 25:59
Like Styles/Cena, this had a big fight feel to it. It started a bit too slow for my taste. I like a slow build sometimes, but it didn’t seem to fully click here. However, once they got past that and started playing to their strengths, this picked up. Rollins showed no ring rust and having him back is very welcome. Reigns is at his best when being led by a superior, more experienced performer, which he had here. For some reason though, I found his 2015 matches (Bryan, Lesnar, etc.) better than his 2016. The Styles matches were good, but had issues that kept them from being great (lack of selling and overbooking). This didn’t suffer from those issues, but never quite got into the next gear. The best part was Rollins countering the Spear with a mid-air Pedigree. Though Reigns kicked out of that, he fell to another Pedigree, taking his first clean loss ever. A really strong main event. ***½

WWE Championship: Dean Ambrose def. Seth Rollins (c) in 0:08
So, the Shield really ended up taking over the WWE. All three members held the WWE Title at one point on this show. Dean cashed in and used Dirty Deeds to win his first WWE Title. It worked perfectly to complete the Shield trifecta. Seth pinned Roman for his first WWE Title, Roman pinned Dean and now Dean pinned Seth. Plus, Dean finally got revenge on Seth after all this time.

Overall: 7/10. The show was, as expected, highlighted by the three major matches. The main event was good, the Money in the Bank match ruled and AJ/Cena lived up to the hype for the most part. Unfortunately, the rest of the show is something that could mostly be skipped. There isn’t really anything outwardly bad except for the women’s tag, but nothing else really stands out, making for an above average show at best. I was mostly entertained after the filler match barrage in the middle stopped though. The great finish to the show is what made me bump up the score a bit.

Fave Five 6/13/16-6/19/16

1) Dean Ambrose: I don't think that it's ever been easier to select a number one choice in such a busy week. Dean Ambrose won a great Money in the Bank Ladder match to win the coveted briefcase at the Money in the Bank Pay-Per-View and this was after being part of a great segment on Raw with Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins. After Rollins handed Reigns his first ever clean pinfall loss, Ambrose took the opportunity to cash in his briefcase and win his first WWE World Heavyweight Championship. As a cool note, all Shield members beat each other for their first titles. Seth pinned Roman at WM31, Roman pinned Dean at Survivor Series last year and now Dean pinned Seth.

            2) Katsuyori Shibata: Probably the best match of the week was the NEVER Openweight Title one at Dominion. It was between Yuji Nagata and Katsuyori Shibata at Dominion. Shibata has been at war with the older generation of NJPW guys, including Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima and Manabu Nakanishi. Nagata beat him for the belt last month but Shibata made good on his rematch. Shibata won back the title but, more importantly, got the ultimate seal of approval from all of the legends. It even made the commentator cry. It was just a fantastic moment that highlighted a good show.

3) Seth Rollins: I was close to putting Kazcuhika Okada here. He did walk out of Dominion as a four time IWGP Heavyweight Champion. Instead, I went with Seth Rollins. Rollins hasn't competed on television since back in October but looked like he didn't really miss a beat. His match with Roman Reigns was damn good and he won back his title. The bigger story though was that he was the first person to hand Roman Reigns a clean pinfall loss. Not even in NXT or early Shield days had seen that happen. Granted, Seth did end up dropping the belt right after to Ambrose, but he became a two time champion and bested his Shield "brother" which has to count for something.

4) Kazuchika Okada: Like I said, he nearly made the top three thanks to leaving Dominion as IWGP Champion. Kazuchika Okada now has four IWGP Heavyweight Title reigns before the age of thirty, which is kind of insane. He defeated Tetsuya Naito to take home the title again in a booking decision that I disagreed with. Naito is the hottest thing in wrestling right now and taking the title off of him is a shitty move. This now kind of makes the G1 Climax seem obvious as many pick Naito to win so we can get their third match in this series at Wrestle Kingdom. Anyway, Okada wanted a one on one match. No Los Ingobernables, no Gedo or Chaos. He got it and won after hitting four Rainmakers.

5) Pentagon Jr.: Won the "Six to Survive" match to earn a shot at the Lucha Underground Championship at Ultima Lucha Dos.