Damien Sandow and Randy Orton left Philadelphia with Money in the Bank briefcases, all the champions retained, and Paul Heyman finally and decisively turned on CM Punk. WWE’s Money in the Bank pay-per-view delivered all of that plus some very solid matches. Below is a match-by-match breakdown of the card:
Kickoff Show: The Shield defeated The Usos to retain the World Tag Team Championships
The kickoff show tag team match was an excellent starter. The crowd was into it and it featured some great false finishes, with the Shield eventually coming out on top. The Usos showed that they have the potential to be a top tag team and, as we saw later in the pay-per-view, they are likely going to continue their program with Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins.
Damien Sandow defeated Fandango, Cody Rhodes, Wade Barrett, Jack Swagger, Antonio Cesaro and Dean Ambrose to win the World Heavyweight Championship contract Money in the Bank ladder match
The way this match ended was perfectly done. The Shield interfered to try to assist Dean Ambrose, which brought out the Usos to fend off Reigns and Rollins. While that all turned into a big schmozz on the outside, Cody Rhodes pushed over the ladder, catapulting Ambrose onto the crowd of wrestlers. It seemed at that moment that Rhodes was about the grab the blue briefcase. Alas, we had all forgotten about Rhodes’ tag team partner and “best friend” Damien Sandow, who entered the ring, knocked Rhodes off the ladder and grabbed the contract.
Sandow is a good choice to win the match. He’s great on the mic and can wrestle. It also allows for a face Rhodes v. heel Sandow feud and a likely SummerSlam match – perhaps even with the briefcase on the line.
While I thought Dean Ambrose was the obvious and most logical choice to win, he probably doesn’t need the briefcase to enter the main event title picture.
Curtis Axel defeated The Miz to retain the Intercontinental Championship
For some reason, WWE decided to bring out new Raw General Manager Brad Maddox for a talking segment in which he mocked Vickie Guerrero with a video package and attempted to get the crowd on his side. Needless to say, the Philly faithful were not having it. The segment was so bad, it was the first time in a long time I’ve actually been happy to hear Miz’s theme song hit.
The match itself was okay, but the crowd had died thanks to the Maddox segment. Axel retaining is the right move, as Miz really provides no boost to the title and Axel is solidifying his position as champion.
AJ Lee defeated Kaitlyn via submission to retain the Divas Championship
This match wasn’t as good as their previous encounters, and the crowd basically sleeping through it didn’t help, but it told a solid enough story. The way AJ applies the spider submission hold is awesome and makes it seem like it’s a move that can actually come out of nowhere, as WWE announcers love to say.
Ryback defeated Chris Jericho
I know a lot of people hated this match and its ending, but I loved it. The monstrous Ryback winning via rollup is great and it helps evolve his heel persona. It’s a “cheap” victory, which is what heels – and all WWE heels – do. Plus, it allows for maybe one more Jericho-Ryback match at SummerSlam, if Jericho fits it in his schedule.
Alberto Del Rio defeated Dolph Ziggler by disqualification to retain the World Heavyweight Championship
The match itself was great. Ziggler is just an excellent worker and he and Del Rio have great chemistry. It’s a shame we got a DQ ending but it fits nicely into the story. Keeping the belt on Del Rio makes sense and AJ costing Ziggler the match moves along their impending breakup storyline. Obviously AJ looks like an idiot with her “I was trying to help” defense, but it’ll be revealed down the line that it was all a plan. We might get one more Del Rio-Ziggler match for the title, but it might be time for both of them to move on. Ziggler’s next feud will likely be with Big E. Langston.
John Cena defeated Mark Henry via submission to retain the WWE Championship
Cena and Henry brought their respective “A Games” to Philadelphia and put on a great match. I thought it moved a little quickly into Mark Henry becoming frustrated with not being able to put Cena away but that’s nitpicky. While I agree that keeping the belt on Cena at this stage is the right move, I hate that it ended with the big monster tapping out to the always poorly applied STF. Hook his chin, Cena!
This probably moves Henry right back out of the title picture. While Daniel Bryan didn’t win the MITB match as many expected, I think he’s Cena’s likely SummerSlam opponent.
Randy Orton defeated Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, Christian, Rob Van Dam and Sheamus to win the WWE Championship contract Money in the Bank briefcase
I know since this is the internet I’m supposed to be outraged that Randy Orton won the briefcase. Honestly, though, I’m fine with it and even predicted it. (Not bragging… Yes I am.) We’re likely going to get a heel Orton sooner than later and just because he has the briefcase and Cena has the title, it doesn’t necessarily mean we’re getting a Cena-Orton feud. Even if we did, it’s been long enough since they feuded that it might feel fresh. Although I admit I don’t want another Orton-Cena feud.
As for Daniel Bryan, as I said on Twitter last night, so many people complain about everything being predictable but when the predictable Bryan win doesn’t happen, they’re upset. Bryan doesn’t need the briefcase to get a title match based on his buildup. I wouldn’t be shocked if he’s announced tonight (or wins a #1 contender match to earn a shot) during Raw. Curtis Axel interfered to cost Bryan the briefcase and try to help CM Punk, which was more about the Punk-Heyman storyline than Bryan-Axel. I doubt we’ll see an Axel-Bryan feud come out of this.
Speaking of Bryan, the ultimate heel turn for Orton would be Daniel Bryan defeating John Cena to win the WWE Championship at SummerSlam and then Orton cashing in the briefcase. That would, of course, have the internet in an uproar, but it would also make sense from a storyline and set up a great Orton-Bryan feud.
Rob Van Dam looked better than I expected and pulled off all his signature spots. He got a huge pop from the crowd, as did Bryan and CM Punk.
Heyman turning on Punk and costing him the match finally gave us the full blown breakup we’ve been expecting between the two. We’ll likely get Brock Lesnar v. CM Punk at SummerSlam and tonight’s Raw should be interesting as the fallout between Heyman and Punk is dissected.
All in all, this was a good pay-per-view. There was a lot of intrigue for tonight’s Raw (and beyond) created while also giving the fans solid payoffs for some of the angles that have been building.
(Image courtesy WWE)