June 15, 2015 by Joey Keogh
Considering it’s been just two weeks since the last PPV, we could be forgiven for not being overly enthused by the prospect of Money In The Bank 2015. There hasn’t been much build-up and the card isn’t exactly packed but, then again, most of us went into Elimination Chamber with low expectations and were pleasantly surprised. Rumours have been swirling that Roman Reigns, AKA New Cena, was being lined up to win the briefcase and, as a result, the revelation that that match would be taking place first didn’t exactly fill us with hope. Before that, however, we have to suffer through the hour-long Kickoff show, during which Renee Young rather sweetly cries over a tribute to the late, great American Dream Dusty Rhodes, Corey Graves makes fun of teenage girls in spite of looking like one himself, and Booker T and Byron Saxton sit there a bit bemused while not adding much to the proceedings. There’s also a lively Social Media Lounge segment, starring Kevin Owens, which solidifies the idea, following Sheamo’s appearance last time around, that these things are better when heels are featured – particularly if they outright refuse to answer fans’ questions as they feel like they’re below them. King Barrett dresses like a sexy jacket potato for his match with R-Truth and, following a paltry seven or eight minutes of okay-ish wrestling, the latter emerges as champion, confirming that Barrett is definitely in trouble with someone for something (there are whispers he injured Super Cena recently). The show ends with a super-weird, super-long promo for…the ladder.
Money in the Bank ladder match for a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match contract: Dolph Ziggler vs. Neville vs. Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Sheamus vs. Kane
Why this match is first tonight is anyone’s guess, especially as, right up until its screwy ending, it’s pretty much exactly what you’d expect it to be only even less inspired than usual. Kofi remains mostly on the ground, there are a tonne of dull ladder spots that pale in comparison to the injury-causing ones featured at Wrestlemania and Reigns is his usual Superman self, disposing of everyone with a quick flick of his meaty fist. Everybody gets their spots in, in an orderly fashion, with Ziggler hitting both his own Zig Zag and Sheamo’s infamous White Noise, while Neville knocks out the Red Arrow then quickly resumes blending into the background, but it’s Reigns’s much-maligned Superman Punch that makes the most (read: least) impact, as it seems capable of knocking basically everyone within a five-mile radius out. The match momentarily gets interesting when Big E and Xavier Woods show up and cheat to give Kofi a leg up the ladder, but naturally Reigns gets rid of them too, stopping Kingston just as he’s reached the top and chucking him out to tackle everyone on the outside. Orton steals his chance to hit an RKO, but Reigns counters with a Spear (he looks totally bored, and who could blame him?). Then, Bray Wyatt shows up, resplendent in his Leatherface apron, to get rid of Reigns, allowing none other than Sheamus to steal a victory.
WWE Divas Championship Match: Nikki Bella (c) vs. Paige
It wouldn’t be hard to follow that complete load of shit, but man do the Divas deliver tonight. Not only are they given a lengthy time slot (by womens’ matches standards, anyway) to play around in, but they hit spot after spot after spot, each one improving upon the last for skill and shock value. It begins with Nikki hitting a gnarly Suplex, after which she slams Paige‘s head into the barricade before chucking her into the apron. The Brit manages to catch her breath long enough to retaliate with a swift knee to Nikki’s jaw, which she follows up with a superkick leading to a close two-count. Undeterred, Nikki hits a Spinebuster. Paige manages to lock her into the PTO, but she counters with a kick, after which Paige reverses her attempt at a Rack Attack into the Rampaige. The action moves to the top rope, where they trade blows for a bit, until they are both knocked onto the outside where Nikki steals her chance for a bit of the ol’ Twin Magic and Brie slides in to take her place and get pinned. Paige is celebrating her victory when Brie reveals her tissue-filled bra and shitty pelvic tattoos – the only differences between she and her sister, for sure – and, in all the confusion, Nikki decks Paige from behind and hits the Rack Attack to win and retain the championship. She then uses her sister’s discarded, boob-enhancing tissues to wipe away Paige‘s non-existent tears.
Winner: Nikki Bella (retaining)
WWE Intercontinental Championship Match: Ryback (c) vs. Big Show
The Miz shows up where he’s not wanted yet again to greet members of his home state before trashing it and all of its inhabitants. As much as it pains me to admit this, Miz being on commentary for this match is easily the best thing about it – and he barely even says two sentences throughout. The two giant Mr. Potato Heads thump each other for a bit and then Ryback locks Show into an arm-bar and it’s super weird because they’re both so huge and oh my god it’s so hard to care about this shit. It just raises so many unanswerable questions. Why is this for the IC title? Why would Show even care about that belt? Hell, why does Ryback even care about that belt? It’s not like anybody else does. It has no prestige. It’s worse than the US title. The end (eventually) comes when, after Ryback Suplexes Show, Miz can’t take it anymore and attacks both of them with his mic and runs away.
Winner: DQ (Ryback retains)
John Cena vs. Kevin Owens
Let’s face it, even if tonight boasted the best card in the history of PPVs, Cena/Owens was always going to be the biggest match of the night. It doesn’t matter that it isn’t a title match, or that the Superman’s victory was pretty much guaranteed by virtue of the fact he lost (clean!) at the last PPV. These two could have the worst match of the night and it’d still be the best. That’s just how it is. Anyway, all hyperbole aside, they totally killed it. Locking up in the beginning before resigning themselves to absolutely tearing the shit out of each other, it was a great, consistently entertaining bout that, even though it didn’t see Owens emerge victorious, still made him look super strong opposite the biggest face in the company. Considering Kevin Owens is such a monster heel, goading Cena with sneers of “Come on, John” as he has him locked up and hitting moves like the 5-Knuckle Shuffle just to piss him off, it’s great to see Cena stepping outside of his comfort zone to raise the bar alongside him. Owens might be hitting everyone else’s moves tonight, including a Codebreaker and a White Noise, but Cena, arguably, outdoes him with a shocking Canadian Destroyer that is without a doubt the spot of the match, if not the night. Every near fall feels like the match is in its final moments, but the end comes when Cena, after kicking out of a Pop Up Powerbomb, hits the AA to win – boring, sure, but what were we expecting anything less? Afterwards, he foolishly raises his opponent’s hand in celebration only to get kicked and then Pop Up Powerbombed into the apron for his trouble. Owens laughs maniacally all the way up the ramp, tossing the US title aside as he does so, before doing the U Can’t C Me at the top. It’s a moment that is emblematic of not just his undeniable strength as a heel, but Cena’s oft-unseen skill to put someone over while simultaneously making himself look like the biggest bad ass in the company. The match of the night for sure.
Winner: John Cena
Although this, thankfully, wasn’t a very RAW-esque PPV, stylistically speaking, the backstage promos are still totally unnecessary as they take away significantly from the action. Paige cut one before her match, which added absolutely nothing, and Ambrose shows up now to wax lyrical about how he was screwed last year and how he’s going to show ’em all how it’s done tonight or some shit. The two of them might as well have come out, smiling proudly from to ear to ear, and proclaimed with absolute certainty: “I’m going to LOSE tonight!” because that’s essentially what this is; it’s a method of lulling us into a false sense of security so we think there might be a chance. A more effective method would be leaving longer than two weeks between PPVs, to allow for some actual fucking build-up, or foregoing the backstage promos entirely so there’s at least a semblance of intrigue. When everything is sign-posted like this, it makes the outcome laughably obvious.
Tag team match for the WWE Tag Team Championship: The New Day (Big E and Xavier Woods) (c) vs. The Prime Time Players (Darren Young and Titus O’Neil)
A replay of the MITB match precedes this one, just to remind us that the show sucked for the first hour or so. Kofi Kingston doesn’t accompany his buddies to the ring as, Xavier Woods explains, he was cheated out of winning the briefcase yet again and cheaters, much like whatever Ohio sports team these people care about, never win. Although the presence of an all-black tag match on the card is something to be celebrated, and the two teams involved are fantastic, there isn’t much to write home about here. Unfortunately, it’s just a standard tag bout with nothing to shock us into paying much attention. E and Woods strand Young in the corner for much of the match, taking turns laying into him, before eventually Titus gets the hot tag and wins it for them with a no-nonsense powerbomb into a pin. Although it’s wonderful to see the Prime Time Players emerge victorious here, the match could’ve benefited from at least another five minutes of action, not to mention the fact that absolutely nothing about it, aside from maybe the ending, was new or different. Hopefully this is the start of something big for all involved but, if nothing else, we can at least take solace in the fact that The Usos didn’t feature in the tag title match for the first time in, well, ever.
Winners: The Prime Time Players (new champs)
Ladder match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Seth Rollins (c) vs. Dean Ambrose
Just in case this is your first time watching WWE content, or you’ve only just tuned into the Money In The Bank PPV, for whatever, reason, there’s a handy little replay to catch you up on the Ambrose/Rollins feud thus far. Before the latter can make it to the ring, though, he’s accosted by; mean Uncle Kane who, rather confusingly, tells him “the future is history”; Ma Steph, who tells him the weight of the entire company is on his shoulders and if crazy Ambrose wins it’ll be all his fault; and Mad Dad who is not actually mad, just disappointed. Elsewhere, Ambrose blesses himself as he passes under a ladder, as JBL comments that he isn’t dressed appropriately for a world heavyweight championship match. It’s clear that Ambrose is intent on making his ex-BFF his bitch tonight (you’re welcome, Tumblr) but, refreshingly, ladders don’t even feature in the match until a good ten or fifteen minutes in. For the most part, the two ex-Shield members are content to just beat the living shit out of each other. Ambrose pays homage to Dusty by hitting a Bionic elbow, after which Rollins focuses on disabling his knee/leg so he can’t climb the ladder, sneering like a school-yard bully, “Come on Ambrose, you can’t climb with a broken leg”. In fact, he’s so committed that he continues to yell and snipe even when Ambrose has him locked in a Figure-4 leg-lock. These two have terrific in-ring chemistry – all those years of working each other on the indy circuit have definitely paid off – and it’s easy to forget what they’re even fighting for when the in-ring action is this tight. To his immense credit, Ambrose sells like his leg is broken in half, and when the action spills out into the crowd and he’s left, apparently, incapacitated, it seems like it really might all be over for him. Naturally, as this is Dean Ambrose, he doesn’t go down that easy and soon leaps out of nowhere to tackle Rollins just as he’s using a ladder as a bridge from the announce table to the ring. It’s not long before Rollins finds himself being powerbombed through it, and he later eats the Dirty Deeds on top of the announce table, for good measure. However, Rollins later manages to fire back by powerbombing Ambrose into the barricade twice before sending him flying into a ladder on the outside. He then sets up a load of chairs and a ladder in a pile on the outside and powerbombs Ambrose into them. The Lunatic Fringe sells like he’s dead, allowing Rollins just enough time to drag his ass into the ring and climb towards the title once more. Ambrose hops up for, presumably, the final time and drags his leg like it’s broken. Echoing a million other crucial moments in this match, they climb the ladder simultaneously only to reach the title at the exact same moment. This time, they both grab the belt, pulling it down together. Rollins manages to hang onto it a bit tighter and is re-crowned the champ. Mad Dad comes out to congratulate him and Rollins grabs a mic to be like “I told ya so!”. Much like every other decent match on this card, however, this is only just a taster for the madness to come.
Winner: Seth Rollins (retaining)
It wasn’t a bad PPV overall, but Money In The Bank didn’t exactly leave much of a mark, either. There was a sense that Reigns was either going to win the briefcase or interfere in the Main Event, so at least we can bask in the knowledge that neither of those things happened. And Wyatt showed up, which is great to see. The Divas kicked ass and Paige‘s loss can probably be chalked up to her upcoming role on Tough Enough, which will take her out of action for a bit. Sheamo’s win was nonsensical, but he’s coming into his own as a heel so it may give him even more scope to beat up every mid-carder in sight before taking a shot at the title. The tag bout needed more time, and the less said about that rubbish IC non-event the better. As expected, Owens/Cena stole the show, with Rollins/Ambrose coming in a very close second. Both matches were packed with cool spots, nail-biting near falls, demonstrable in-ring ability from each participant and, above all else, they were consistently entertaining and unpredictable. These are the two biggest main roster feuds right now, so hopefully they’re going to rumble on nicely for a bit. Everything that happened tonight could easily have occurred on RAW too, but it’s kind of nice to give most of this stuff some PPV time. Now we just need to hope that there’s enough of a gap before the next event so we can actually build towards it.