Money In The Bank (2016) – Night of The SHIELD

Money in the Bank (2016)Last Sunday night, the WWE held its annual Money in the Bank event live on the WWE Network. I, like the majority of the people in Cleveland, was busy watching our Cleveland Cavaliers pull off the impossible and coming back from a 3-1 deficit to win the franchise’s first NBA championship.

This was the first event in quite some time that Mark and I haven’t watched together which is sort of a bummer, but I’ll take NBA titles any day over watching a WWE PPV. I watched the event over a couple of evenings at home. I don’t typically watch the pre-show matches when watching live so I was able to take those in as well. At least for this particular event I think it’s fair to say that skipping them would probably be a wise move.

The WWE is headed into uncharted territory with a brand split and draft on the horizon as well as a slew of new PPVs coming up as well. I’m honestly not sure how I’m going to handle that. Not sure that I’ll be able to devote ANOTHER Sunday a month to watching wrestling… but time will tell.

(All photos courtesy WWE.com) 

MITB 2016 Golden Truth vs BreezangoGolden Truth Defeated Breezango

A relatively short pre-show contest at just over five minutes I think it’s fair to say that this was nothing but a filler match but I think that’s essentially what the pre-show is for. Apparently both Tyler Breeze and Fandango had really bad sunburns (?) so the entire match revolved around the gag of Goldust and R-Truth slapping them and them reacting as if it hurt really bad due to the burn. I suppose having a match like this is better than watching a promo of the upcoming show, but it really just cemented my typical decision to not watch the pre-show.

MITB 2016 Lucha Dragons vs Dudley BoyzThe Lucha Dragons Defeated The Dudley Boyz

I feel bad for the Dudley Boyz. They came back to the WWE full time a while back and seemed prepped to snag their 10th tag team championship as they were thrust into a top program with The New Day. That still may happen eventually but at this point they’ve been demoted to a pre-show appearance with The Lucha Dragons. They’re also teasing a breakup of Bubba and Devon which wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. This nearly nine minute match included a mid-match commercial which is irritating to be sure. This was a solid match for what it was, but it felt like nothing more than a RAW match. Certainly better than the opener but nothing that will convince me to watch the pre-show in the future.

MITB 2016 Fatal 4 Way Tag MatchThe New Day Defeated The Club, Enzo & Cass and The Vaudevillains To Retain The Tag Team Championship

The New Day has held onto the tag titles for quite some time now and I was really expecting them to lose the title here. I’m sort of surprised that they held onto them but this match did a couple of things. First, if felt like the beginning of a bigger program. Not sure if that makes sense seeing as we had the top four tag teams in one match but this one served to make everyone look good and kept the smooth talking New Day on the top of the division. I’m sort of over their act but I know most folks love them. I’d love to see them go into a one on one program with Enzo and Cass cause those guys are gold in my opinion but if I had to put my money on it I’d guess we’ll be seeing The Club (stupid name) put into that spot. Another brutal looking bump by Enzo which had to worry anyone who watched Payback. The ending of this one was sort of a mess and I was sort of surprised to see Anderson take the pin. Not sure if that was by design or just a fuck up but it didn’t really take away from the overall excitement of the match. Great way to start off the main card.

MITB 2016 Baron Corbin vs Dolph ZigglerBaron Corbin Defeated Dolph Ziggler

Jesus… this match again? This has been going on since WrestleMania on what feels like every PPV and RAW. That said, this match was pretty outstanding. They went just over 12 minutes and once again Dolph Ziggler proves that he’s one of the best in the world at what he does (sorry Jericho). Sadly, “what he does” at this point is lose to up and comers and look like Shawn Michaels. I mean it’s REALLY crazy just how much he’s channeling the Heart Break Kid these days. He looks like him and wrestles like him…. and he pulls it off. Even though this was a great match, I’m hoping this decisive victory by Corbin marks the end of this rather boring feud.

MITB 2016 Women's Tag MatchCharlotte & Dana Brooke Defeated Natalya & Becky Lynch

Um… what? I’ve missed a couple of RAWs recently but I can’t for the life of my understand why we’re getting a women’s tag match on a PPV rather than a title match. Especially when there are SO many good gals lined up to go after Charlotte’s title. This looked and felt like a RAW segment through and through and didn’t deliver much more than that. I love me some Becky Lynch and I’m loving seeing some actual attention being paid to Natty but this was garbage from the word go. You know what’s really gonna piss me off? When Charlotte gets screwed out of the title by Dana Brooke. You wait…. they’re gonna build up one of the longest title reigns in history and then have her lose it in some screwy finish just to set up the next feud. Women’s wrestling and the “Diva’s Revolution” deserves better than this. Holding out hope that the forthcoming Becky Lynch vs. Natalya feud will deliver, but with story telling like this I can’t say I’m overly excited.

MITB 2016 Apollo Crews vs SheamusApollo Crews Defeated Sheamus

Sheamus shouldn’t ever be allowed to wrestle a black guy. The contrast hurts my eyes. This was a pretty standard match using the vet to build the new guy. Both worked hard but it was tough for me (and apparently the crowd) to get invested here. Had some great looking power moves here including a brutal looking White Noise from the top rope which was followed by a weak finish where Sheamus argued with the ref and got rolled up. I’d be shocked if we don’t see this one a least a couple more times but there’s enough here to get behind and possibly build something from.

MITB 2016 AJ Styles vs John CenaAJ Styles Defeated John Cena

Did anyone really believe that The Club (stupid name) wouldn’t get involved in this match? If you did I’ve got some investment opportunities I’d like you to take a look at. That said this match was nothing sort of… wait for it… phenomenal. This one really showcased just how good Styles is but folks shouldn’t overlook the fact that Cena more than held up his end of the bargain in this match and that’s after being out for an extended period of time. Dude is a straight up machine and I gain more and more respect for him every time I see him. You may not like the character and may hate “Super Cena” but damn this guy’s good. The fact that AJ got the win here via The Club (stupid name) interference will clearly set up the rematch at the next show. Guessing Cena will get that win and we’ll be headed toward a rubber match at SummerSlam. Seeing programs last months at a time can sometimes get boring (see Corbin vs. Ziggler above) but when we’re getting 25 minutes matches of this quality it’s a welcome treat.

MITB 2016 Ladder MatchDean Ambrose Won The Money In The Bank Ladder Match

I was sort of surprised at the placement of this one on the card especially knowing what I know about how the show finished. That said, I tried to watch this one without letting my knowledge of the show’s events cloud my judgement. Participants here included Ambrose, Alberto Del Rio, Cesaro, Chris Jericho, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn and damn did they all work hard for 21 minutes. Even after the outstanding Styles vs. Cena match this one was great and stands out. We got moments where everyone looked like they were going to win, moments where each guy got their focus and moments where everyone was showcased. That’s exactly what a match like this is supposed to do. I’ve gone on record many times about how Ambrose is my current fav in the company and I’m SO glad that he finally got a big win when it counted. When my non wrestling fans friends talk about how wrestling is fake I’ll point them to matches like this. The ladders aren’t “fake” and gravity isn’t “fake” and there was nothing “fake” about the danger these guys put themselves in. I honestly don’t know how these guys walk away from matches like this. Even though this was a spot fest it’s truly a sight to be seen. I’ve only watched this one once so far but I’ll be going back again.

MITB 2016 Rusev vs Titus O'NeilRusev Defeated Titus O’Neil Singles To Retain The US Championship

Talk about a shitty spot on the card. Coming off Cena vs. Styles and the MITB match this one was bound to be a let down. I thought when Titus got suspended and came back right into a US Title program there was some good things on the horizon for him. After this I’m not so sure. He was made to look like one step above a jobber here. Maybe he’s still got heat with Vince after his suspension? I’m glad to see Rusev back to the bad ass heel that he was during his first run but I can’t help to feel bad for Titus. Not sure where Rusev goes from here as I can’t see this one continuing. Guessing the brand split will provide some new opportunities for both guys.

MITB 2016 Seth Rollins vs Roman ReignsSeth Rollins Defeated Roman Reigns To Win The WWE World Heavyweight Championship

I’m really upset that I knew the results of this one before I watched the match. It was simply outstanding as it was, but without the knowledge of the outcome it would have been that much better. Knowing that Rollins was going to go over, clean no less, had me excited and sort of bummed all at once. I’m not the biggest Roman Reigns fan in the world but I see him for what he is… the next John Cena. That is until his suspension which may derail everything. I’ve got nothing but mad respect for Rollins but I really didn’t enjoy his smarmy heel run the last time he had the belt. This was a tremendous match full of false finishes and showed both guys in a great light. I love seeing the final match on the card being the longest (26 minutes) and we really did get something for everyone here. Seeing Roman spear the barricade was scary when it appeared that it didn’t give the way it was supposed to and seeing Rollins counter a Spear into a Pedigree was a thing of beauty.

MITB 2016 Dean Ambrose vs Seth RollinsDean Ambrose Defeated Seth Rollins To Win The WWE World Heavyweight Championship

To steal a line from Daniel Bryan… YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! I couldn’t have been more pumped to see this when I read the results. Knowing it was a possibility was one thing but seeing your favorite wrestler capture the top title is why I watch wrestling. I’m not going to compare it to my Cavs winning a title but it’s ironic that it happened on the same night quite literally minutes apart. Just think about the possibilities moving forward. Without the knowledge of Reigns suspension it was shocking to see Rollins win the the title and even more shocking to see two title switches in one night. One can’t help but ask if that was the plan all along. I can’t imagine that it was, but this Dean Ambrose fan couldn’t care less.

Final Thoughts

SHIELD Triple ThreatMy personal viewing experience was taken away from as I knew the results going in and I couldn’t help to view the show through that lens. As they say, it is what it is. I will say that seeing all three former members of The SHIELD hold the title in one night was pretty special. As I said in the intro, I don’t normally watch the pre-show and this one didn’t convince me that I should moving forward. The low point for me here was clearly the women’s tag match which did nothing but eat up time. I’m really hoping they kick the gals back into high gear or we’ll be back to pre Diva’s Revolution in short order. At this point the only hope for the division in my eyes is to get folks like Sasha involved with the title race. Not sure what they’re waiting for there. While everyone worked hard, Money in the Bank was about three matches: Cena vs. Styles, the MITB ladder match and the title match. It was a top heavy card but it was ultimately very satisfying. Cena and Styles clearly aren’t finished yet and there’s a slew of possibilities with Ambrose as champ. I really hope that Reigns doesn’t get punished too much for his infraction (whatever it is) because there’s some really outstanding matches in the future between the former members of the SHIELD. Lesnar is set to return for SummerSlam after UFC 200. If Ambrose still has the title at that point I’d love to see a rematch of their WrestleMania 32 contest. In the meantime we’ve got Battleground to look forward to where the members of The SHIELD will go at it in a triple threat match. With Reigns being suspended I’m not quite sure how they’re going to build that match but I’m guessing it will mean either Ambrose retains or it goes back to Rollins as I can’t imagine them putting the title back on Reigns (for the fourth time) a couple days after coming off suspension.

Did you watch Money In The Bank? Leave me a comment and let me know what you thought!

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