Tonight features exactly what a main event is supposed to be. A match that overshadows every other bout on the card, that has you, no matter how good each other contest is, looking forward to an ending just to be one step closer to the final contest.
So it is that the Chicago crowd, after oohing and aahing at the appropriate moments, is finally let loose from their seats as their hometown favourite CM Punk heads to the ring to challenge John Cena for his WWE Championship. Cena is understated in his entrance, as there’s really little point in him gesticulating to the crowd for points. Even the opening bell gets a cheer from the electric crowd, while Punk and Cena stalk each other slowly to milk the anticipation.
The first minutes are the type that may not come across well on paper: alternating headlocks, a hard clothesline by Cena and a back suplex by Punk. The pace is methodical, but the purpose is served as the crowd gets more and more anxious for someone to take charge. That first advantage goes to Punk, as he scores the first near-fall after a knee drop across Cena’s neck. For a match that has straddled the line between script and reality, it’s only right that a seemingly botched moonsault by Punk looks to have hurt Cena’s right knee. Still, Cena’s upper body strength is fine as he suplexes Punk from the apron over the ropes to the floor.
This lets Cena start his finishing sequence, but Punk proves that Cena doesn’t really turn invisible as he kicks the champ in the head in mid-Five Knuckle Shuffle. A missed cross-body later, though, and Cena drops his funky fist on Punk after all. The challenger is up for an Attitude Adjustment, but manages to land partially on his feet to stay alive. As Punk follows up with a cross-body off the top, Cena rolls back with him and comes up with Punk on his shoulders. The challenger slips away and after a series of reversals, Punk ends with on the bad end of an AA – only to kick out at two.
Cena tries it again, but Punk kicks out again and proves that you can dress up a body slam any way you want, but it doesn’t make it a finisher. Punk connects with a GTS, sending Cena to the floor. As Punk rolls the champ into the ring, the other shoe drops as Vince McMahon walks out with John Laurinaitis. Cena clamps on another STF, and Vince sends Laurinaitis to go ring the bell, but Cena slips out to the floor and decks Laurinaitis before he makes it. Cena tells McMahon to back off, but then walks back into the ring and right into a GTS to end the match.
McMahon gets on the mic and calls for Del Rio, who runs down with his briefcase but is knocked down and out by Punk before a bell is even rung. Punk makes his escape with the belt through the crowd and we are left to wait for Monday night for the ramifications.
The next WWE pay-per-view is SummerSlam on August 14th.
Chicago, IL, hosts Money in the Bank, with Michael Cole, Booker T, and Jerry Lawler providing the verbal sparring and commentary.
Match #1 – Sin Cara vs. Wade Barrett vs. Justin Gabriel vs. Sheamus vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Heath Slater vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Kane – Smackdown Money in the Bank Ladder Match
The bout starts like a battle royal with wrestlers flying out of the ring. Bryan, Gabriel, and Cara all leap over or through the ropes to attacks those on the floor catching their breath. Cara lands the first finisher, dropping Bryan with his moonsault sideslam. As Cara retrieves a ladder, Barrett boots him to the floor and arranges a ladder between the apron and Spanish announcer’s table. Although Cara dodges Barrett’s attacks, Sheamus grabs the masked wrestler and powerbombs him off the apron onto the bridged ladder.
As Cara is taken away on a stretcher, Gabriel, Slater and Barrett temporarily renew their alliance to stop Kane and Bryan from reaching the briefcase, but the team falls apart as quickly as it was formed. Sheamus goes on a Brogue Kick roll and finds himself in arm’s reach of the case , but last year’s winner Kane stops his charge with a chokeslam onto a ladder. Kane, though, is dropped by a Beautiful Disaster, Wasteland, and 450 Splash. Rhodes, Barrett, and Bryan climb up together, but Bryan unceremoniously drops the other two to stand alone and take the contract.
Winner via briefcase retrieval: Daniel Bryan
Match Rating: 6/10
Match #2 – Brie Bella (w/ Nikki Bella) vs. Kelly Kelly (w/ Eve Torres) (champion) – for the Divas Championship
Kelly is wrestling angry tonight, but Brie stops her early momentum by sending her off the apron and pancaking the champ on the floor. Brie doesn’t follow up with anything effective, and Kelly slips in a K2 for the easy win.
Winner via pinfall and still WWE Divas Champion: Kelly Kelly
Match Rating: 4/10
Match #3 – Mark Henry vs. Big Show
A surprisingly quick start sees Big Show actually flying through the air with shoulder-blocks off the mat as well as the second rope. Henry stops the madness by attacking Big Show’s knees, and even lifts him up for the World’s Strongest Slam. Big Show kicks out, so Henry hits the finisher again and follows up with two splashes for the impressive win.
Winner via pinfall: Mark Henry
Match Rating: 5/10
Henry isn’t satisfied with a win tonight, and wraps a chair around Big Show’s ankle before dropping down off the second rope on top his leg, leaving Big Show in agony. Backstage, Josh Matthews gets a few words with Vince McMahon, who reveals that Punk has refused a new contract. McMahon insists that Cena is to blame for this entire mess.
Match #4 – Alberto Del Rio vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Jack Swagger vs. Evan Bourne vs. R-Truth vs. Alex Riley vs. The Miz vs. Rey Mysterio – Raw Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Every wrestler attacks Del Rio with a ladder, squashing him collectively, and even when he moves to the floor, a few ladders fall his way. Miz and R-Truth have a duel with miniature ladders, and Riley is soon the first to attempt the slow climb to the top, only to be stopped by The Miz. The fight collects outside the ring, giving Riley and then R-Truth a chance to dive out on the crowd, then Mysterio and Kingston, but Evan Bourne puts them to shame with Air Bourne off a tall ladder, taking everyone out. As Bourne makes his run for the suitcase, Miz stops him near the top rung. Del Rio gets back in the ring and topples the ladder, causing Miz to land awkwardly and eventually be helped to the back by officials.
|WHAT YOU THINK|
We asked SLAM! Wrestling readers who would win.
What did you think of WWE Money in the Bank?
It was great – 63%
It was okay – 6%
It was disappointing – 5%
Didn’t see it – 26%
The pace slows down as the focus changes from climbing the ladder to grounding the opposition. R-Truth works over Mysterio in a corner with a ladder, but Mysterio bounces back with two 619s, one on Kingston as he stood underneath a ladder. Moments later, though, four ladders set up in the middle allow all the remaining contestants to climb and try to unhook the case. Kingston is left standing after bodies fall by the wayside, but Swagger rushes up to stop him, and the two crash down with Swagger landing hard on his side. The Miz tries to take advantage, hobbling to the ring and limping up the rungs, but Mysterio brings him down (much to the displeasure of the majority of fans). Del Rio has one more trick up his sleeve, though, as he climbs up and pulls off his nemesis’ mask. Mysterio forgets about the championship and covers his face, and, although the ladders fell down in a large heap, Del Rio regroups and grabs the case.
Winner via exuberant climbing: Alberto Del Rio
Josh Matthews gets a few predictable comments from Alberto Del Rio – his victory is a formality on his road to destiny.
Christian vs. Randy Orton – for the World Heavyweight Championship
Christian opens the bout by bringing a steel chair into the ring and turning his back on Orton, goading him regarding the stipulation in this match that would award Christian the title if Orton is disqualified. Orton refuses to bite, so Christian resorts to a series of punches and a spinebuster. Orton retaliates by clotheslining the both of them over the top rope. Christian tries to re-group with two attacks off the top rope; Orton stops the first with a dropkick but Christian lands a flying headbutt with the second. A Kill Switch isn’t far behind, but Orton kicks out to the utter disbelief of Christian.
Orton seems to improvise a gut-wrench RKO, but it can’t keep Christian down for the count. Orton readies another RKO, but Christian readies a loogie and spits in the champ’s face. Orton tries to control himself, but kicks Christian right in the Timbits. The ref is forced to call for the bell and disqualify Orton.
Winner via disqualification and NEW World Heavyweight Champion: Christian
Match Rating: 7/10
Orton isn’t a happy camper, and sends Christian into his second championship reign with two RKOs on the Spanish announcer’s table.
CM Punk vs. John Cena (champion) – for the WWE Championship
Winner via pinfall and NEW WWE Champion: CM Punk
Match Rating: 8/10
Event Rating: 6/10