WWE Money in the Bank HITS:
Money in the Bank Contract Match: On each 2014 WWE Pay Per View, there has been a match of the year contender. This would be that contender. An absolute car-wreck that had the live crowd on the edge of their seat throughout. The tension between Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose was palatable, and the storytelling between them was absolutely excellent. There were plenty of innovative spots, and career shortening bumps (namely Rollins being back-body dropped from the top of a ladder onto another ladder suspended between the first ladder, and the middle ring rope). I have seen argument that the finish hurt the match, but I disagree. Given the story being told of Rollins being Triple H’s new golden boy, and Kane being at Triple H’s call, his interference was the right call. It also added another layer to Rollins/Ambrose’s feud, which has exploded into the most interesting and dynamic feud in WWE right now. My pick for match of the night.
The Usos vs. The Wyatt Family: Awful new Wyatt Family theme music aside, this match provided a hot kick-start to the Pay Per View. Both teams let it all hang out, and created a big fight feel that has topped all previous encounters from these two teams (and there have been some good-to-great matches in their history already). Are their better facial expression in professional wrestling right now than Luke Harper’s? Harper might actually be certifiably crazy, and that’s not a bad thing, at all. Plenty of carnage in this contest, as well, and some of the best tag team wrestling WWE has seen in years and years.
World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank Match: This match was exactly what I expected it to be, which means it met my lofty expectations. WWE had all of it’s top guys in one match, which exposed it’s weaknesses in the midcard (more on that below), so I felt like this match needed to stand out in order to save what could otherwise be a one match PPV (the contract ladder match). It suffered from the fact that the contract match was so well executed, and featured a bunch of motivated midcard guys trying to prove themselves, but did manage to find a place on the PPV to be different and entertaining. Was Cena the right choice to become World Heavyweight Champion? Your guess is as good as mine. I’m not wholeheartedly against it, as I’m curious to see where WWE goes leading into SummerSlam. But I also wouldn’t have been against another Randy Orton reign (who has become Mr. Dependable when it comes to putting in top notch matches against practically anybody), Bray Wyatt solidifying his star in WWE, or the first reign of eventual champion Roman Reigns. Regardless, this was a good PPV main event, and is absolutely worth going out of your way to see.
Goldust/Stardust vs. Rybaxel: A minor hit. Stardust really creeps me out. Cody is so invested in the character, that it is beginning to take a life of it’s own. He has completely changed his offensive repertoire (which should go to note to WWE officials that wrestlers should be allowed to perform more than their 5-6 signature moves in a match), and creates interest the moment he is tagged into the match. For me, though, if this is to become a permanent gimmick for Cody Rhodes, it must exist outside the shadow of his brother, Goldust. I believe that this character was created in effort to finalize the build towards Cody Rhodes vs. Goldust at SummerSlam, but given it’s immediate popularity, may end up staying around much longer than originally intended (which will subsequently continue to extend the career of his brother, which is an unintentional hit for me). If that’s the case, the sooner they can differentiate Stardust from Goldust, the better. Different colour (but matching style) outfit would be an excellent start. But beyond Stardust, both teams here worked well together, and had the best best-card match of the night. On the “new gear” note, Curtis Axel’s new attire is awful. Back to the drawing board on that one.
Money in the Bank MISSES:
Overall Show: The big matches you expected to deliver did, but the rest of the card was very ho-hum. Only one match stood out as particularly bad, but nothing else really jumped out as particularly good, either. In comparison to last month’s effort, this PPV felt like it was produced by an entirely different creative team. We still have one more PPV to go before SummerSlam, too, so my concern is that an already stale midcard will continue to be overexposed with no protection, before the eventual mid-summer reset of storylines.
Summer Rae vs. Layla: While generally, womens wrestling in WWE has taken an overall upswing, this match set the Divas Division back 10 years to the trash that was Candice Michelle and Christy Hemme. I don’t think anyone ever anticipated this match to be a show-stealer, but the stinker we got was below even my lowest expectations. If it wasn’t for the fact that every midcarder with any focus, and every main eventer with any focus, were both crammed into the two ladder matches on the card, this match would have never seen the light of day.
Big E vs. Rusev: Individually, both of these guys are impressive. Big E has explosive speed, and incredible power. Rusev has explosive speed, and incredible power. When you mix that together, you get a clunky match where both guys aren’t quite sure what to do with the other. Think about it like this. You have a bowl of vanilla ice cream. You like vanilla ice cream, but to liven it up a little bit, sometimes you put chocolate syrup on it (chocolate representing the opposite of vanilla). Rarely do you put chocolate syrup on chocolate ice cream, because at the end of the day, you’re just mixing two of the same flavours, that are trying to accomplish the same thing. For Big E matches to be entertaining, he needs someone opposite of him across the ring from him. The same can be said for Rusev. That is, of course, until they’re more established both with the fans, and confident within themselves, with their characters, and then a power vs. power match can be fun. Until then, we’re going to see more of this. Two guys, confused, literally beating the hell out of each other, hoping to get a reaction out of the crowd.
Damien Sandow vs. Adam Rose: In NXT, I loved the Adam Rose character. It played well, and was well protected. On the main stage, it feels very low budget. And who in the world did Damien Sandow piss off to draw this ridiculously bad draw he has? You want to talk about wasted potential of a guy like Dolph Ziggler? At least he can go out there and have an actual match, and show off (no pun intended) his amazing athletic ability (whether it results in a loss, or not). Sandow has been lowered to dressing up as historical figures that most children (WWE’s primary target audience) don’t know/remember, given very limited offense, and made to put over talent well below his potential. WWE pretends to be above professional wrestling’s notoriously dirty political atmosphere, but then parade out a character like this that just reinforces that they will always be what they have tried so hard to distance themselves from being known as; a professional wrestling company.