The Law Reviews: WWE Money in the Bank 2016

wwe-money-in-the-bank

Money in the Bank representing possibility. Someone new could break through and become world champion. Edge in 2005, Rob Van Dam in 2006, CM Punk in 2008, Jack Swagger in 2010…the list goes on. This year we’re looking for someone who can break the monotony of WWE’s main event scene. Roman Reigns is the WWE Champion and no one is especially happy about it.

This show is stacked as far as Money in the Bank cards go. Cena/Styles and Reigns/Rollins both feel like Wrestlemania matches and the Money in the Bank match is stacked this year. There’s possibility in the air. Opportunity to be had. Can WWE grab it tonight and build some momentum going into the draft?

WWE World Tag Team Championship: The New Day (c) vs. Enzo & Cass vs. The Club vs. The Vaudevillians

Good choice for the opener, Enzo & Cass and New Day are always going to get the crowd going.

I was a bit let down by the verbal jousting between New Day/Enzo & Cass both on Monday and tonight. Not their best stuff.

Big E vs. Big Cass feels like it could be a main event match some day. I see big things for both guys.

It’s almost bizarre to see Enzo take a hot tag. I’m sure it happened at some point in their NXT run but this was the first time that I can remember it. Of course it lasted about ten seconds before he got knocked out.

Cass’s hot tags get spicier every single month. The crowd is getting more behind him every single week.

I feel like these big tag matches are almost the perfect opening match. It never bogs down with so many people in there, everyone gets to feature, the crowd is fired up.

Big E scooping up English into the Big Ending was fantastic. Incredible display of strength. No complaints about New Day keeping the titles. I do think their run should end in the next few months, but it probably wasn’t time yet.

Rating: **1/2. Fun match, though there was some sloppiness. I don’t think it was the legal Vaudevillian who got pinned there at the end.

Baron Corbin vs. Dolph Ziggler

Upgraded from the pre-show after the last two months! This feud has been going for months now with no real progress, if they want to get Corbin over they should probably just have him beating different people every week.

Crowd wasn’t really into this match and I can’t blame them. They’ve had so many matches in the last few months and have basically been 50/50 booked to death. Nobody gets over when guys trade wins. Corbin should have just won this feud definitively and moved on.

Like the feud, this match went on for way too long.

Rating: *. I don’t think anything about this rivalry has been beneficial for either man.

Charlotte and Dana Brooke vs. Natalya and Becky Lynch

Charlotte vs. Natalya is another feud that’s overstayed its welcome, but they’re dealing with so many injuries in this division right now that there aren’t a lot of alternatives. I probably would have preferred another round of Charlotte/Paige though.

Not much to this match, but nothing wrong with it either.

Rating: ¾*. We don’t just want Sasha, we need her.

Surprising Natalya heel turn. Sure, I’ll take it. Natalya vs. Becky would be a fine feud.

Sheamus vs. Apollo Crews

This show is structured differently from a normal WWE pay-per-view. Normally they’d put one of the big matches early. Here they’re doing the entire undercard first. Think I would have spaced out the top matches more, I think the undercard is getting tedious.

Crews actually got a bit of a pop here, which is kind of a surprise because I don’t feel like he has any momentum right now. He’s a guy who desperately needs the brand split, there’s just no room for him to get a push right now. Crews has a great look, he’s fun to watch, but absolutely no character or talking ability.

That Moonsault Crews hit off the apron was sick. And that’s all I have to say about this match.

Rating: *1/2. Can we get to the matches that matter now?

John Cena vs. AJ Styles

It’s almost like anything less than a Match of the Year would be a letdown here. That’s how great AJ is and how great Cena was last year.

Absolutely electric in there. Big fight feel in Vegas. You know the crowd is fired up when they pop for the bell.

I love the way Cena keeps breaking out new stuff. Monkey Flip? That’s how you make a big match feel even bigger, when it’s not the same moves as always. AJ is sticking and moving like Muhammad Ali.

Whenever Cena gets something going he gets shut down by Styles. AJ is being shown to be the superior wrestler. It’s starting to feel like the match against Del Rio at Hell in a Cell.

That fall AJ took to the floor didn’t look right. Not sure what he was going for but landing right on his side probably wasn’t it. Somehow didn’t seem to phase AJ at all.

Cena is performing a lot more subtly than usual, and he’s doing a good job expressing that he’s unsure of himself against Styles. Just always a step slow.

That Phenomenal Forearm/AA/Calf Crusher sequence was amazing. AJ preys on the wounded Cena immediately until Cena Clotheslines him out of his boots. We get the obligatory AA kickout, which I won’t complain about in a match of this importance. AJ did a great job of waiting until the absolute last moment to kick out there.

STYLES CLASH!!! Of course it doesn’t get the win. The Springboard 450 should probably be AJ’s finisher, it’s way more impressive than the forearm.

Things are going great until the ref bump. Ban ref bumps. AJ gets the win in a way that I’m not sure means a lot.

Rating: ****1/4. Hell of a match even though I didn’t particularly like the finish. Cena has gone to another level from his previous work and AJ is one of the best opponents he’s ever had.

Not sure why heel commentator JBL is so angry about AJ cheating to win.

Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Kevin Owens vs. Chris Jericho vs. Cesaro vs. Sami Zayn vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Alberto Del Rio

This feels like the strongest field for a Money in the Bank match in awhile. Other than Del Rio, I feel like all of these guys have some momentum going in.

A lot of the typical spots early with guys diving to the outside, the series of uppercuts and KO cannonballs in the corner.

Del Rio’s finisher actually makes a little bit of sense when there’s a ladder there to hold the guy up. He’s getting a surprising amount of offense here. I said I thought he was the darkhorse because he’s going to need to play a bigger role after they split the rosters up and this would be a chance to heat him back up.

Jericho getting thrown into the ladder off that Swing looked rough.

These matches are almost always enjoyable, but they’re really suffering from fatigue at this point. There have just been so many of them. From the TLC series in the early 2000s to Money in the Bank and other variations like the IC Title Ladder matches at Wrestlemania the last few years we’ve just seen dozens of these multi-man ladder matches. It’s pretty rare to see something new anyone.

And right as I say that Owens takes a Michinoku Driver on the side of the ladder. Maybe there’s a trick to that but I’m pretty sure the trick is not minding that it hurts like a motherfucker.

Nasty bump Del Rio took from the ladder. I feel sorry for these guys having to kill themselves to try to top the previous matches.

Ambrose win is the biggest Money in the Bank win pop in a long time.

Rating: ***. A good match, nothing that blew me away. I wouldn’t mind if they retired Money in the Bank at this point, I don’t think it’s worth the risks guys are taking.

United States Championship: Rusev (c) vs. Titus O’Neil

Rusev getting back to his roots of squashing African-American wrestlers. Hey, it’s how he got over in the first place, can’t blame them for trying to recreate it.

There is absolutely no time for this match. But it ends up going for awhile anyway. I don’t feel like there was any reason for this match to be competitive, but WWE seems to be compelled to make every match competitive.

Rating: *. Nothing wrong with it, just letting the crowd rest before the main event.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Seth Rollins

Brutal reaction for Reigns, which is pretty much the norm at this point. The silliness of what WWE is doing in this program would be unbelievable if it wasn’t so typical. Over ten years of top babyfaces being booed out of the building in every single big match. I just don’t get what they think is going to happen.

An odd thing, but I love JBL saying Rollins has been sparring to prepare for the match. They just never seem to talk about guys actually training for their matches.

Rollins is getting a babyface-esque shine segment to start the match. Are they just going to work here with Rollins as the face and Reigns as the heel?

Yeah, Reigns is wrestling super heelish as he throws Rollins all around ringside. Rollins makes the babyface comeback with high-flying moves. This has a very Shawn Michaels vs. Diesel feel to it.

And then mid-way they sort of switch and Rollins starts dominating while Reigns makes the comebacks. Unsurprisingly the crowd gets flat.

And then Reigns dies hitting the barricade. Another ref bump? Two in one night? Is Russo now running things?

The Pedigree/Spear counter was executed beautifully. It looked just ugly enough to seem real.

HOLY SHIT ROLLINS WINS CLEAN!!!!

Rating: ***½. Wasn’t amazing, but quite good. I’m genuinely stunned by the outcome, but ecstatic. Our long national nightmare is over.

AMBROSE CASH IN! WE’RE ALL MARKING OUT!

They went there. Ambrose is the new world champion.

They just threw a gallon of gasoline on the fire. Dean Ambrose hit the jackpot in Vegas.

Overall: Very good show. The undercard was soft and the show was too long, but the big three matches all delivered. A hot angle in the main event (and when is the last time we had one of those?) does a world of good for a show. When you’re cold, sometimes you need to do some crazy stuff to get things going again. Their viewership can’t go any lower than it has, flipping the title to Ambrose is worth the risk. Maybe it doesn’t deserve the A, but I’m going there because I’m just that fired up right now.

Grade: A

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