Welcome, cats and kittens, to yet another installment of the review blog that learned everything they know about wrestling from 2XL, Cewsh Reviews! We have a special treat for you tonight, and for once we mean it, as we find ourselves smack dab in the middle of the most intriguing wrestling storyline in recent memory. CM Punk has held the imagination of the collective internet wrestling community hostage for the past month after his incredible promo on Raw where he buried the company and threatened to take the title and leave simply because he can. Weeks of hype and confusion followed and here and now we’ll find out what happens when this all comes to a head in Punk’s hometown of Chicago, on his very last night as a WWE employee, here at WWE Money in the Bank 2011. Will Punk truly be able to beat John Cena and take the WWE title hostage? Will this just be another “Cena pulls out the improbable win” sort of occasion? What the hell will the Money in the Bank winners do? Only one way to find out, boys and girls.
Cewsh: Tick tock. Tick tock. Its funny how the seconds slip by and when you look up, everything has changed.
As the minutes ticked down to the end of Monday Night Raw on the night of June 17th, 2011, R-Truth and John Cena grappled in the ring, continuing their somewhat newfound feud in a tables match. Things proceeded as they do until CM Punk ran down to the ring and helped R-Truth win. This was surprising, but CM Punk was far from done. As John Cena lay crumpled amongst shards of broken table, CM Punk took a microphone, sat down on the stage in his Stone Cold Steve Austin t-shirt, and proceeded to rip apart World Wrestling Entertainment to its very foundations. He spoke about how he had been passed over for more marketable stars like John Cena, as had his friends like Colt Cabana. He spoke about how WWE had become a corrupt institution of ass kissers who didn’t appreciate real talent in the face of guys children might cheer for. But mostly, he spoke directly to Vince McMahon, suggesting that not only had he lost his grip on his company and reality, but that his company would be better off if he just keeled over and died already. And finally, Punk made clear that when he met John Cena in their scheduled title match at Money in the Bank, it was his intention to win the title and leave WWE with it, taking it wherever he pleased, simply to watch WWE burn. From that moment, the countdown to that fateful meeting began.
Tick tock. Tick tock.
On Raw the next week, John Cena insisted that Vince McMahon allow the match to go on, asserting quite rightly that it was what the fans wanted to see, and that if he didn’t meet this crisis head on as the WWE Champion, it would undermine the title and the champion in irreparable ways. Vince angrily agreed, but told John Cena that if he should lose the title to CM Punk, and should Punk get away with it, then Cena would be fired for failing his company. Now the stakes were set, and the time grew nearer with every passing second.
Tick tock. Tick tock.
As a last ditch effort to not have all of his eggs in John Cena’s brightly colored basket, Vince attempted to negotiate with Punk, to give him everything that he asked for, from his face on the turnbuckles, to the return of WWE Ice Cream Bars. But Punk never had any intention of doing business with Vince McMahon, and after goading John Cena into getting physical, it was all the impetus he needed to declare that he WOULD be taking the title and leaving and there wasn’t a damn thing that any of them could do about it.
And now we’re here.
This video brilliantly captured all of this, making CM Punk rightfully look like the most dangerous man in wrestling any time he touches a microphone, and alongside it, making use of the very effective ticking clock device that I have been shamelessly aping here. We have been counting down the weeks, days, hours, minutes and seconds to this match ever since CM Punk exploded awesomeness all over all of our faces, and with only a few hours standing between us and the most important match result in modern times, the anticipation is at a fever pitch. Can CM Punk do it? Will he get away with it if he wins? Will John Cena be fired? What does McMahon have up his sleeve? What the fuckshit fuckbricks is going to happen?!
Tick tock, dearies. Tick tock.
Cewsh: Welcome to yet another installment of the legendary Cewsh Notes: Money in the Bank edition. Note. There is no validity to the rumor that Cewsh Notes, when read backwards will lead you to buried treasure (probably).
– Sheamus comes out to the biggest babyface reaction of any of these guys. Pushing a big, tough badass who the fans respect and like as a face would be pretty much be exactly what the doctor ordered these days. So say hello to a future Superstars main eventer!
– Slater and Gabriel were, until recently, teammates. So a lot of this match revolves around them teaming up and then turning on one another. In an interesting extension of this, at one point Barrett attempts to reform the Corre in the ring and convince them to let him win. They let him get halfway up the ladder before they beat him into oblivion, because they’re just hard like that.
– Sin Cara is fantastic in this match. The spottiness of it, and the other guys involved really allows him to shine, as he is brilliant at executing high flying spots that look great, but don’t require a huge amount of transition or storytelling. Matches like this really may be the perfect showcase for the man as he learns the new style. By the middle of the match, the crowd was going batshit for him as he fired up and gestured to the briefcase.
– Did I say that they cheered Sin Cara? Because after Sheamus powerbombs Sin Cara THROUGH a ladder off the apron, the crowd comes completely unglued for the Irishman and puts everything else to shame.
(Cewsh Note: Also, this is how they storyline wrote off Sin Cara after he failed a Wellness Test.)
– Kane and Sheamus giving Daniel Bryan the Doomsday Device was an awesome surprise. It was naaaaasty.
– DANIEL BRYAN DRAGONSAAAAAAAAAAN!
These matches are such a great way to open a wrestling show. They have no real story or flow, so they don’t step on the toes of anything after them, and everyone clearly understands the gimmick and the actions of the wrestlers in relation to it. As a result, this match is a ton of fucking fun and gets you fired up for the show.
It isn’t a match so much as a collection of ladder related spots, so the score can’t be too high, but come on. Do you really need anyone to tell you that a ladder match where DANIEL FUCKING BRYAN wins is worth checking out?
Cewsh: Alright let’s get into this backstory. See, the Bella Twins are super mean and Kelly Kelly took issue with this and got a title match. She won and this is the rematch.
Is…is that the whole story? Yes? Well fair enough, let’s move on.
Now, at first glance, this match doesn’t appear to be anything particularly special. We’re all pretty accustomed to zoning out during Divas matches, and neither Brie nor Kelly has ever been accused of being a wrestler so skilled so as to set the soul aflame. But what is here is a solid Divas match, where Kelly keeps the crowd interested, and winds up looking pretty good as the plucky and firey babyface. It may have helped more if the announcers had been paying attention or had even recognized her finisher (which she has done repeatedly for months now) when she did it, but it the abyss of badness that is the Divas division these days, beggers can’t be choosers.
Give this match, and these women, a chance sometime while scrolling through to other things. It wont blow your doors off, but there’s something here.
65 out of 100
MichaelC Notes: Shortest match of the night. Just as well.
Kelly is the 3rd best active diva on the roster. This is exceptionally damning of the women’s roster.
Cewsh: The build to this match is fucking awesome.
During his feud with Alberto Del Rio, the Big Show was out of his mind with frustration. Mark Henry tried to get into a ring that Big Show was in, and Show promptly clubbed him half to death before knocking him out with one punch, humiliating the man, and lighting a fire under him that nobody could have expected. Show was all apologies the next week, feeling sorrowful that Mark Henry was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but Mark wasn’t interested in his apologies. In the weeks to come, Mark waged war against Show at every opportunity, doing everything from slamming him right through an announce table, to ripping the door off of a cage and using it to ram Show so hard that the wall of the cage broke off of its hinges. Mark Henry has had a beast awoken inside of him, and Show, who has had more than his fair share of embarrassments and frustrations lately, is more than happy to stand in his way and rumble.
These two behemoths get into the ring, and immediately Richter Scale technicians begin to have themselves an interesting day. Big Show actually takes advantage of the fact that he is the more agile of the two men, as he quite surprisingly flies through the air with first a huge shoulder block off the ropes, and then another one off the second rope, a strategy that totally staggers Henry for awhile. Eventually, though, the Silverback shakes off the daze and begins attacking Show’s right knee, at one point getting him in a half Boston Crab and damn near trying to pull Show’s leg out of its socket. Show tries to rally, but now he’s got a bad wheel, and he can’t hold Henry off properly. Two effortless World’s Strongest Slams and a huge 747 Splash later and Henry has left Show in ruins. But that isn’t going to be enough. Oh no, not tonight.
Henry strolls over to ringside and grabs a chair, and without even the slightest hint of hesitation, Henry wraps the chair around Show’s right foot and proceeds to Vader Bomb the fucking beejesus out of it, dropping with a ton of force, and obliterating the unfortunate foot of the World’s Largest Athlete.
Henry stalks off, his anger neither quenched nor sated, and Show is assisted to the back to rousing chants of “CM Punk” from an impatient crowd.
This was booked about as well as it was possible to be booked. Henry came into this looking like an angry man with something to prove. He came out of it looking like an unstoppable monster with no heart or conscience who can and will destroy you for chewing your gum too loud. Theoretically, Show gets some time off out of this, which is all to the good as the man has been working his ass off, and its going to be extremely interesting to see where Henry goes from here. Wherever it is, though, if he looks this badass when he gets there, the fans will follow.
77 out of 100
– In the wild, you get epic hippo battles as they jump into each other. No, never seen one either, but I can’t help but think they are exactly like Big Show vs Mark Henry.
– Gorilla Monsoon wouldn’t have called this “Unstoppable Force vs Immovable Object”, as none of the big man in his day bounced around this much. Except for Gorilla himself. And Bam Bam. And One Man Gang. And Bundy. And Brody. And…. never mind.
– Many people have performed the Single leg Boston Crab, but no one has performed it quite like Mark Henry.
– Mark Henry has been around for 15 years, which is 14 years and 11 months longer than just about everyone in the wrestling world expected him to last. He is also on the roll of his career apparently, says Michael Cole, who doesn’t remember 2006 at all then.
– Stretcher jobs. Ah. Remember when Big Show beat up Rey, Rey was put on a min-stretcher – because he is so tiny – and then Big Show smashed it against the ring post? Good times.
Cewsh: …has a face so incredibly punchable, that if you were somehow able to harness the power of the world’s combined desire to see him punched in it, you would be able to power a car from here to the Orion fucking Nebula.
But I digress.
Vince McMahon is backstage with some flunkies, and Josh Matthews comes in to ask him if he managed to sign CM Punk to a contract before his match tonight.
Vince reluctantly admits that he hasn’t and furiously rants about what an ingrate Punk is, and about how Punk rejected what was essentially the most lucrative contract ever offered to anyone in WWE history. Then his ire shifts to John Cena, for putting him in this situation in the first place , and he makes it clear that if CM Punk manages to somehow win tonight, then Cena is well and truly fucked beyond belief. Then he turns back to resume not firing John Laurenitis FOR SOME FUCKING REASON THAT I DO NOT UNDERSTAND.
Cewsh: Cewsh Notes! Not to be confused with Cewsh Totes, our line of signature handbags for only the most stylish of hamsters.
– Everybody brings a ladder into the ring. My speculation is that they’re going to measure them, and then whoever has the biggest gets to win the case. My money is on Bourne.
– Immediately, everybody just smushes Alberto Del Rio and then promptly throw all of their ladders on top of him outside the ring in an awesome display of dickishness.
– Evan Bourne doing Air Bourne off of impractical places could be a sitcom, as far as I’m concerned. I would watch every week.
– Miz takes a nasty fall and appears to seriously injure his knee. Thus far there have been nearly as many stretchers as ladders involved on the show tonight. Later, he comes running/limping/doing the sprinkler down to the ring to try to win the match again, only to be immediately stop and bounced out of the ring, poor guy.
– After a ton of craziness, it comes down to Del Rio and Mysterio battling on top of the ladder. Mysterio gets the upper hand, but out of nowhere, Del Rio reaches out and snatches Mysterio’s mask off of his head, causing Mysterio to have to cover up to keep from being seen. Unfortunately, Mysterio falls to a new ladder, which knocks over the ladder Del Rio was on, derailing the finish a bit, but Del Rio recovers splendidly, climbs the ladder and becomes your Raw Briefcase Carrier, as was his destiny.
– My destiny involves a sandwich.
– Turkey, to be precise.
Just like the other Money in the Bank match, this thing was thoroughly fun without containing anything that you might mistake for substance. This one had maybe more cool moments, while the other one was more consistent all the way through, but ultimately, it about evens out in the end. Fun is fun, and these matches always know how to party.
Cewsh: You may be aware that it is Alberto Del Rio’s destiny is to win the WWE title. But are you aware of what else his destiny may hold? I took the liberty of tracking down an online fortune teller to give us more insight into his future.
Cewsh: Thank you for agreeing to this session, Mr. Online Crystal Ball.
OCB: I am the Magic Online Crystal Ball and I am here to help make your decisions, answer all your questions…and predict your future.
Cewsh: Oh good. First question. Will Alberto Del Rio ever win the WWE title?
OCB: There’s a good chance.
Cewsh: Excellent. And will Alberto Del Rio ever conquer his crippling fear of ties?
OCB: Either you tell us what you know about Agent Mulder’s whereabouts or you will be held in contempt of congress.
Cewsh: …okay. I don’t know where he is. Let’s try asking that question again.
OCB: Bewitched does not promote satanism.
Cewsh: Why do I get the feeling that you aren’t a very reliable source of future information?
OCB: Why didn’t you tell me it was your sister?
Cewsh: What the fuck did you say about my sister, you fucking ball?!
OCB: I think that you appreciate that there are extraordinary men and women; extraordinary moments when history leaps forward on the backs of these individuals.
Cewsh: If any of that means sex with my sister, we’re going to have a problem.
OCB: Poles are useful for more than just poling!
Cewsh: I wonder if this is what a conversation with Vince Russo is like.
Cewsh: If you recall from last month, the storyline here shakes out like this. Christian won the World title for the first time in his career and was on top of the World. Teddy Long put him in a match with Randy Orton the very next Smackdown and Orton beat Christian for the title. Subsequent attempts to beat Orton to win it back have always fallen short, causing Christian to descend further and further into obsession, and to go further and further to goad Orton into one more match. Finally, after mocking, taunting, baiting and trapping, Christian finally got another match, and in this one, if Orton is disqualified, then Christian will automatically become the new World Heavyweight Champion. Keep that in mind as we proceed.
Now the idea here is that Orton has to keep himself from getting too worked up and getting himself disqualified, which is more than a tad bit difficult for a man with noted anger management issues. Luckily, Christian doesn’t bother to, say, try to exacerbate this in any way at all, choosing instead to try to beat Orton the same way he has unsuccessfully several times to date, in a fair one on one match. They go back and forth for some time, not really recapturing the chemistry of their previous matches, but not boring me to sleep either, until finally, in a fit of desperation to keep Orton from pulling out the win, Christian reels back and spits right in Randy Orton’s face.
From there an incredibly odd sequence of events occurs. First, Orton pounces on Christian, beating the shit out of that Canadian bastard, until the ref reminds him that he’s about to get disqualified if he doesn’t stop. With evident frustration, Orton stop, gets up and steps back, looking right at the referee and seeming to compose himself a little for several beats. Then, for no clear reason, he hauls off and kicks Christian straight in the Mean Bean Machine right in front of the ref.
This causes him to be disqualified, obviously. Orton doesn’t handle this well, and proceeds to take it out on Christian by RKOing him not once but twice into the World’s Sturdiest Announce Table. He then walks off looking like a crazy hobo in search of the Jesus lizards or a sandwich, whichever comes first.
My objections to this ending boil down to this. For the record, I think it was an ending that COULD have been wonderful, and was simply not done effectively. The concept at work and the interplay of the characters was fine, but the problem was that, first of all, Christian spitting in Randy Orton’s face didn’t come across to me watching it at all at first, and i’m sure the majority of the crowd had no idea it even happened. So when Orton walks back, looks directly at the ref for a bit, and then charges in to kick Christian in the balls, it seemed totally out of nowhere, and was entirely deflating.
Then there’s the ball kick in general. Why would Randy Orton, a guy whose number one kill move is a legal maneuver and puts people on the shelf for months and has been established as the thing the voices make him do, ignore that and instead kick Christian in the balls, the ONE FUCKING THING HE CAN’T DO? Not only does it look strange to see face Randy Orton kicking a dude in the balls to get revenge like a stranger is trying to bad touch him, but he knows going in that he cannot get himself DQed here, and the ball shot was just such a ridiculous way to play it. Why not just have Orton start punching Christian and keep going no matter what anyone tells him? That’s a better visual and in character. It just came off really strange and weak.
Like I said, I like the IDEA at work here, but the execution just left a ton to be desired. Which is a shame, because it kept a good match from being great.
74 out of 100
– Orton DQ defeats in title matches are nothing new. His 2008/9 title run was full of them, including a few blatant lowblow DQs, and the epic “slap to the ref” tactic he used to keep the belt against Cena.
– Christian is now a 2 time World Champion, which is twice the number of World titles (or WWE titles, you pedants!) that Andre, Warrior, Eddie Guerrero, Buddy Rogers, JBL ever had. Of course, bar Andre’s epic 42 second reign, Christian’s 2 reigns to date are massively shorter than all of their one reigns.
– This isn’t the first time the exact same stip has been on a title match. It was also used at Fully Loaded 2000, in Rock vs Benoit. Benoit, with use of Shane McMahon, nearly won the title on a DQ via shenanigans, but Mick Foley was on hand to restart the match, and Rock won.
– It isn’t the first time a WORLD title in the WWF/E has changed hands on a DQ though. The deciding fall in the 2000 Iron Man Match between Rock and HHH – a classic match, incidentally – was a DQ, meaning the title changed hands.
– Titles changing on DQ isn’t as annoying when you watch old school 80s 2/3 fall title matches, where a DQ 30 seconds into a 30 minute match the challengers win means the belt doesn’t change hands.
Cewsh: Here we go. No more waiting, no more speculation, and no more hype. The moment that may well define this generation of professional wrestling is here.
Let’s do this.
After the opening video package, we are shown an arena that is loudly calling for CM Punk, just as they have been nearly all show long. Is this a pro-Punk crowd? Let’s take a quick look at the crowd signs to find out.
Yep, that seems pretty definitive. But the full force of this doesn’t hit home until CM Punk walks out in front of this jam packed arena and is met with the single loudest and most sustained reaction that I have ever heard for a wrestler outside of Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania 19. The ovation goes on, and on, and on, and on with Punk’s every gesture just egging it on all the more. The only thing that stops it is the arrival of John Cena, who is met with the kind of boos you’d more expect from Hitler marching in a Passover Day parade. Cena meets this with utter stoicism, clearly prepared for this and not willing to let it psyche him out. He is very much in the same mode he brought with him to One Night Stand 2006 when he faced Rob Van Dam in another hostile environment. But there is so, so much more at stake here. To say this match has a big fight feel to it, does it a disservice. This match has an atmosphere of history unfolding in front of us. And John Cena stands at the center of it all.
Meanwhile, CM Punk and Colt Cabana are applauding him at ringside, because they’re fancy gentlemen.
The bell rings and the match gets started. The curtain goes up on this drama, and they have us in the palm of their hand. They don’t rush things, they know they have the crowd and your attention, so they feel one another out. The key here is that both men know full well that the other one can beat them out of nowhere and capitalize on a single mistake, because they’ve both won matches against the other in just that fashion. So with a company and a revolution on the line, both of these men are the very picture of caution to start things out. Punk keeps taking small moments to draw the crowd even further behind him, making things even harder on Cena, but if it shakes Cena, he doesn’t show it, staying on his game, and even trying to outwrestle Punk.
Fast forward nearly 15 minutes, and they remain locked in much the same stalemate, with both men leery of going for their big offense lest they be caught unawares while vulnerable, but both men are also now starting to wear down. A mistimed crossbody by Punk lands on Cena’s knee, causing Cena much pain and painting a target on his leg for the moment. As Punk goes in for the kill, and Cena realizes that the situation is slipping away from him, both men begin to drop their guard and just start going for the home run on one another. They both go for every big move they have, from the springboard clothesline to the top rope leg drop, and from the Anaconda Vice to the STF. But these two have game planned things out too well, and know each other too well, and neither man can get anything lasting going on the other man. At one point John Cena evens reverses the Go 2 Sleep INTO an STF, in a counter so awesome that it briefly, and spontaneously, turned Vice into a John Cena fan.
Finally, after CM Punk incredibly kicks out of an Attitude Adjustment and lays crumpled on the ground, John Cena begins to show something that he has never truly shown before.
Cena stands up and walks to the corner, muttering to himself, and clearly trying to come up with a plan of action as confusion and worry flit across his previously stoic face. He hits ANOTHER Attitude Adjustment and CM Punk kicks out again, shattering Cena’s composure completely as this match passes the 30 minute mark. The crowd comes unglued for their hero, trying to will him back to his feet as Cena sets him up for a Super Attitude Adjustment off of the tope rope. Somehow, though, Punk manages to fight his way out and deliver a Frankensteiner to put Cena on his heels, and you can see in their eyes that the tide has turned. Cena looks lost, Punk looks triumphant. Punk gets Cena up for a Go 2 Sleep and blasts him with it, but Cena falls out of the ring, costing Punk precious seconds. And then, just as CM Punk is rolling Cena in, out from the back comes Vince McMahon and Johnny Ace. Here come the shenanigans we all knew were going to come. What will come of this?
Cena locks in the STF to a distracted Punk, and Vince immediately sends Johnny Ace to call for the bell and set in motion the Chicago Screwjob. But before Ace can make it to the timekeeper, Cena rolls out of the ring, and decks Laurenitis in the face so fucking hard that the entire island of Fiji got spontaneous erections without ever knowing why.
Cena tells Vince that it isn’t going to go down like that, as Vince stares dumbfounded at his champion. Cena glares him down and rolls back into the ring. But, fixated on Vince, he’s just a second too slow in following events. Before he even realizes what hit him, he’s up on Punk’s shoulders. Nap time. 1…2…3. CM Punk has just beaten not only John Cena, but Vince McMahon, the WWE, and the malaise of modern day wrestling. Against all possible odds, and thanks to John Cena’s do good spirit, CM Punk has won the WWE title.
Not ready to give up just yet, Vince races over to the announcer’s table and calls through the headset for Alberto Del Rio to cash in his Money in the Bank contract. Del Rio comes racing down to the ring, only to be met by an enormous right foot from Punk, knocking him right the fuck out. And now Punk look Vince right in the eye, blows him a kiss, and escapes through his people into the Chicago night. Punk beat them all, and now he’s free. The world is officially upside down.
This match is a lot of things. Its emotional, its significant, its incredibly memorable, and it is booked so faultlessly that a mouse could starve on the amount of complaints you could actually find with the plan of action here. This match is also overly slow in the middle, a tad bit botchy from Punk and contained copious no selling from Cena. So what the fuck do we make of the tangled web of insanity that is this match, exactly? The truth is that I can only speak for me in this. If you want flawless technical wrestling, or fun spotfests, or hard hitting puro style, or a heel led southern style, then you wont get what you want from this. That isn’t what this was and it isn’t what it wanted to be. This match is a perfect example of what WWE is at its very greatest, and are able to accomplish that no other wrestling company that has ever existed has even been able to get a glimpse of. This was spectacle. This was a match that will live on in your head years from now. It’s a match that grew itself past the bounds of a wrestling formula and became something truly riveting. In short it what every WWE main event aspires to be, and only a very few precious handful ever are. All the bullshit, all the mediocrity, all of the annoyances and trifles, and petty complaints that we levy at World Wrestling Entertainment, it all disappears when matches like this happen. Because this is what we’re in it for, for the splendor and the spectacle that we know only WWE can pull off. And on this night, on a little gimmick PPV in the middle of the summer, CM Punk and John Cena captured a little bit of that Wrestlemania magic. And caught the wrestling world on fire.
Cewsh: So this was a show. No doubt about that.
When people look back on this show, they’re going to remember it as something truly special and awesome and spectacular, because amazing main events that change the industry are known to have that effect on people. Frankly I’m glad they will and I hope I do too, but the reality is that this was a solid show, with three good matches, one great match, and two decent matches with problems. If we’re talking about you average WWE PPV, this cumulative grouping makes most of them look like total dogshit, but if we’re talking about the better show from top to bottom, I think that somehow, TNA still won the day this month.
Of course they won with a one time only PPV, and WWE did this with a normal PPV that was simply masterfully booked, so I think that says more about the actual competition level here than anything else. But regardless of who won or what the score is, the important thing is that the Chicago Made Punk made good tonight. And that’ll keep me warm long after there is no more TNA around anyway.
Well that’ll do it for us this time, boys and girls. We hope you enjoyed the most surreal month of wrestling imaginable as TNA and WWE enagaged in a dogfight to see who could be more shockingly awesome in the space of one month. Next week we’ll be taking a step away from the national promotions and focus, instead on WSU, or Women Superstars Uncensored, the second biggest all female wrestling promotion in the United States (and despite the name, they are not porn stars, I checked.) We’ll be covering their 4th Anniversary iPPV, so buckle down, because when we go to the indies, you know very well how THAT tends to go.
In the meantime, be sure to keep reading and be good to one another. VIVA LA PUNK.