Chair Shots: WWE Money in the Bank review -- Cena, Ziggler are money

In terms of pure in-ring action, the 2012 edition of WWE's Money in the Bank pay-per-view delivered an above average show. But if you were looking for swerves and surprises, well, you likely walked away wanting your money back.

So, with that in mind, I have to say I am a bit disappointed with the show. No titles changed hands. AJ called things right down the middle. And the Miz was the only surprise entrant into the WWE Championship Money in the Bank match. Part of my disappointment is my own fault for building up the possibilities in my head, knowing the chances of those happening were slim (Damien Sandow winning the World title MITB briefcase, or the Rock returning to claim the WWE Championship contract), but the show was more or less in-line with my predictions. Heck, I even nailed two of the unadvertised bonus matches!

Raw could go either way tonight, but I feel like it will set the stage for a major reset button to be hit on WWE. With a huge 1000th Raw planned for next week, and at least the knowledge of who possesses each briefcase now, I think some angles -- CM Punk, Daniel Bryan and AJ, for example -- need to be wrapped up and new ones started. But I do think tonight's episode will be more of a transition one, with some big matches set up for next week's 1000th show.

Here's the rundown of Money in the Bank.

Pre-show non-title tag team match: Kofi Kingston and R-Truth vs. Hunico and Camacho

I missed most of this, but caught enough of the end. It was a basic Superstars tag team match that got a decent amount of time. As I mentioned, it was more or less a showcase for the tag champs, Kofi and Truth, who hadn't wrestled as a team in a while because of R-Truth's foot injury. It seemed to warm up and the crowd, and it wasn't the last of Truth and Kingston.


WINNERS: Kofi Kingston and R-Truth

World Championship Money in the Bank contract ladder match

Definitely the right choice for the hot opener, as you knew there were going to be some big spots in this one. The most memorable to me were watching Tensai powerbomb Sin Cara onto a ladder propped between the ring apron and the announce table, then tossing Dolph Ziggler over the announce table and onto one of the chairs, looking like he nearly broke his neck. Tensai and Sin Cara, two people who have struggled to get over, did some good work in this match, although Sin Cara definitely had a few botches that will get him grief from the web fans. Christian also speared Rhodes off one ladder from another in a fun spot.

An interesting spot occurred when Cody Rhodes -- other than my dark horse Sandow, the guy I was rooting for -- had a clear shot to the briefcase and Vickie Guerrero started climbing the ladder, allowing Ziggler to recover and Zig Zag Rhodes off the ladder. You don't see a lot of heel on heel interaction. I'm not sure the crowd exactly knew how to react to that one, but Ziggler certainly has a lot of fans.

At least that's what it seemed like when Ziggler finally grabbed the briefcase. I would be more excited about this if he hadn't spent the last month taking beatings from the World Champion Sheamus. It's unfortunate Randy Orton was suspended, because he really could've used a program with him to look like he belonged in the upper echeleon before winning the briefcase. Instead, he jobbed to Sheamus for four straight weeks and looks like the only way he can win is cheaply. And that bothers me.

Don't get me wrong, I like Ziggler and have for a while, but everyone seems to be heaping an abundance of praise on him right now, deserved or otherwise. He's very good. He's not Shawn Michaels as some would like us to believe. He's also not going to be a good babyface (at least not one booked successfully -- there are too many guys ahead of him in the pecking order) which seems to be what a lot of people want to do with him. But he makes a terrific bumping heel and he's going to be a world champion before the year is out.

WINNER: Dolph Ziggler

In between matches, Miz came out sporting a new look (longer, darker hair and traces of a beard) and announced he's been gone becoming a movie star, but now he's back and going to be in the WWE Championship Money in the Bank match later in the show. Works for me. Short, simple to the point promo for the Awesome One.


World Championship: Sheamus (c) vs. Alberto Del Rio

Something was off with Sheamus last night. He picked things up by the end of the match, but he looked like he'd either been battling the flu or just didn't get any sleep the night before. He was noticably sluggish and it hurt the match early on, in my opinion. By the end of it, the pace really picked up and it was enjoyable, although you never really felt like Sheamus was in danger of losing the title. No real false finishes here hurt the match. Instead, Sheamus ended it with the Brogue Kick before Del Rio could use his most deadly manuevers.

Del Rio attacked Sheamus post match, which lead to Dolph Ziggler coming out to cash-in. He slugged Del Rio with the briefcase, but then took a Brogue Kick from a recovered Sheamus before his cash-in match could officially begin. I thought for sure when he and Del Rio started arguing Ziggler was going to become the first to fail to cash-in, leading to a face turn and feud with Del Rio. That might've been the only way to garner him some sympathy (similiar to Daniel Bryan losing in 18 seconds at WrestleMania), but more than anything, it might've turned the crowd on Sheamus, which WWE doesn't want.

As is, Sheamus is still champ; Ziggler is still Mr. Money in the Bank and Del Rio? Well, who knows where he goes from here. Rey Mysterio is apparently back on Smackdown in his hometown of San Diego this week -- coincidentally the same place Del Rio took him out nearly a year ago. Hmmm.

WINNER: And STILL World Heavyweight Champion, Sheamus

Prime Time Players vs. Epico and Primo

The crowd was dead for this match, possibly because of the near cash-in that wasn't to be moments beforehand, or maybe just because these guys haven't really been on TV enough to further this feud. I know part of that is WWE's fault, but when crowds are dead for tag matches, it leans credence to Vince McMahon's thoughts that they don't like tag team wrestling. I thought this was actually a well-worked match. AW being miked up during the matches is great. He's like a modern day Jimmy Hart, just with a headset microphone instead of a bullhorn. I love it. Rosa Mendes danced a little, which is always awesome.

Primo stole the victory with a roll-up, after the PTPers dominated. AW shook it off, because his team was still the number one contenders. They went to talk trash to Truth and Kofi, who were ringside for commentary (although they didn't say or add much). After some jaw-jacking, Truth threw water on AW, which set him off. Truth "held back" Little Jimmy, was was pretty funny.

I enjoyed this entire segment and think it sets the stage for a Triple Threat Tag Team Championship match either at Raw 1000 or SummerSlam.

WINNERS: Epico and Primo

No DQ WWE Championship match: CM Punk (c) vs. Daniel Bryan w/ AJ as the guest referee

The no disqualification stipulation was added during the day. I'm guessing when they started putting the match together, they thought having an "extreme" match would make it different from past encounters. It was, and it was a really good match. However, I think a lot of people were looking forward to the pay-off with AJ in this one, and we just didn't get it. I know I was. AJ was largely a non-factor. She was bumped early, but came back to ref a majority of the match. She did an interesting spot where she introduced a chair and let both guys fight over who would use it. She also kept Punk from throwing Bryan into a chair set-up in the corner. She seemed to be loosely favoring Bryan, but never outright.

There were some really good false finishes. Bryan locked Punk in the Yes Lock, but he escaped with the help of the kendo stick Bryan introduced earlier. (By the way, why are there kendo sticks hanging out under the ring? Trash cans, chairs, tables, ladders and even sledgehammers are all plausible because the ring crew might use them during set-up ... but not a kendo stick.) Punk also hit the GTS, but was slow to cover and only got a two-count from AJ.

The finish came when the two battled on the top rope with a table set up in the ring, and Punk ultimately back suplexing Bryan through it and covering him. AJ made the count at a regular pace, but seemed confused as Punk celebrated after the match. Perhaps she was angry he didn't show her more love for making the three count? She seemed concerned about Bryan as well.

I guess the good news is this isn't over. I still suspect the blow-off match will take place on Raw 1000, even though Punk has beaten Bryan twice now on PPV (three if you count last month's Triple Threat, although he technically pinned Kane).

WINNER: And STILL WWE Champion, CM Punk

Ryback vs. Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins

WWE should've just announced this one ahead of time, although anyone with half a brain that follows wrestling should've seen it coming. For some reason, Reks and Hawkins had to tag in and out, even though the jobbers Ryback faced didn't have to. Ryback actually had to do a little bit of selling in this one, but not much. Ultimately, he won when he hit Reks with his Shell-Shocked finisher. Nothing to see here, but Ryback does keep building momentum, and seems to have a legit feud, even if it is with Reks and Hawkins.

WINNER: Ryback

Six-Diva tag team match: Layla, Kaitlyn and Tamina vs. Beth Phoenix, Natalya and Eve

Raise your hand if you forgot Tamina was on the roster. Not much to say about this one. I think, beyond AJ, these are all the Divas left on the roster. I was thinking Kharma might show up, with so many Divas in one place, and WWE would've trolled the IWC with the whole "moving her profile to the alumni section of the website" flap this week, but no can do. I was hoping Eve might pin Layla, setting up a SummerSlam match between these two beauties, but instead, Layla pinned Beth for what feels like the 45th time.

WINNERS: Layla, Kaitlyn and Tamina

WWE Championship Money in the Bank contract ladder match

I'm one of the few who supported this going on last. To me, this was the headlining match because it had a lot of star power and was also the match from which the PPV takes its name. That's how it should be. TLC should also end with a tables, ladders and chairs match, Hell in a Cell should end with a cell match and Extreme Rules should end with an Extreme Rules match. Night of Champions should end with a WWE title match (it's worth noting, that's one of the few PPVs that CM Punk did headline in the past year -- in a nontitle match).

But enough with justifying the order of the card. I thought this match was about as good as it could be. It was different from the World title ladder match because of the players involved. It still had some really good high spots. Cena giving the Big Show an Attitude Adjustment is impressive every time. Doing it through a table then burying him with ladders was even more awesome.

There were no more really huge spots in the match other than that, and business didn't really pick up until Big Show rejoined the fray, ripping ladders in pieces before bringing out a huge, reinforced ladder for himself to climb. Each man took their turn trying to climb until a neat spot where Jericho leapt on Cena's back and put him in a sleeper, ultimately climbing over Cena to fight with Miz for the briefcase. At one point, Jericho swung from the briefcase, which was pretty cool. Big Show then made his way back up the ladder and stared down Jericho, who made an awesome face when he saw Show.

WMDs to Jericho and Miz had Show positioned to win it all before Cena ran up the ladder and started smashing the giant in the head with the briefcase. This caused the handle to snap off, giving Cena the win, and after briefly stopping to celebrate, continuing smashing it on Show's head to knock him off the ladder, leaving a huge dent in the briefcase.

Where to go from here? Seems like an inevitable crossing of paths between Cena and Punk on Raw tonight. Expect Cena to cash-in honorably, announcing his intentions beforehand. I'm still banking on Night of Champions in Boston, although the prevailing thought seems to be SummerSlam.

WINNER: John Cena

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