wrestling / Columns

411’s Instant Access 07.17.11: WWE Money in the Bank 2011

July 18, 2011 | Posted by Scott Slimmer

Hey kids, I’m Scott, and this is 411’s Instant Access: WWE Money in the Bank 2011. Instant Access is the companion piece to 411 Live Pay-Per-View Coverage and features immediate reaction to wrestling pay-per-views. The focus in Instant Access is on first thoughts and initial reactions instead of play-by-play with the goal of providing you with instant access to one two three four FIVE writers’ thoughts on the show. Wait… FIVE?!?! It’s almost like people think something important is going to happen… Anyway, here’s the team for Money in the Bank:

Scott Slimmer, author of Don’t Think Twice.
Tony Acero, author of 411’s WWE NXT Report and The Low End Theory.
Michael Ornelas, author of 411’s ROH on HDNet Report and editor of 411’s Match of the Week.
Chad Nevett, author of 411’s Instant Analysis: Monday Night Raw and 411’s Instant Analysis: Impact Wrestling.
Mike Uphoff, author emeritus of 411’s WWE Smackdown Report.

Okay kids, enough with the explanations. Let’s get to the wrestling.

Smackdown Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Kane vs. Justin Gabriel vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Sin Cara vs. Wade Barrett vs. Heath Slater vs. Sheamus vs. Cody Rhodes
Match Result: Daniel Bryan wins the Smackdown Money in the Bank Ladder Match.
Match Length: 24:29
Match Analysis:
Slimmer: This was a solid, “traditional” Money in the Bank Ladder Match and a great way to open the show. The crowd was on fire from the very start, and you could tell that they were going to do their part to make this a hell of a show. The Sin Cara / Sheamus powerbomb spot was the only truly insane MitB-style spot, but the rest of the match was filled with smart spots that were impactful and exciting without being overly risky. Like most of the IWC, I was certainly happy to see Daniel Bryan pick up the unexpected win, although I initially assumed that Bryan’s win was going to be Vince McMahon’s way to appease the IWC before letting Cena defeat Punk clean in the main event. We always say that someday a MitB winner is going to have to cash in and not win the title, and I could see a case being made for that happening to Bryan. However, I think he’ll hold the case for several months before his time comes. Randy Orton seems to be a lock for a rematch with Christian at SummerSlam, and after that Mark Henry seems poised to challenge for the title if not actually win it. If Randy Orton does regain the title and then defend it against Mark Henry, would he be weary enough after a successful defense for Bryan to cash in his contract? Or will Bryan play the true face roll and challenge the champion in advance like RVD did in 2006?
Acero: My immediate reaction is wow. This was as good as I could want it. Of course, I really wanted Cody Rhodes to win, but Bryan is as good a choice. My house erupted with disappointment which was interesting. Let’s talk about the match. We started with the powerhouses in the ring then with the smaller guys before finally mixing it up. Also, Sin Cara, what the fuck! lol. For anyone expecting some high flying shit due to Cara’s placement in the match, those expectations were shot away quickly after an intense powerbomb onto a ladder from Sheamus! I was one of those, so I was a bit disappointed, but better to leave the possibility of a botch to the big boys than to someone who can possibly hurt someone else. And how about that 450 Splash off of a ladder, I truly thought he would fuck it up but no, Gabriel did a great job. All in all, I really liked this match and how it played out. Again, I would have preferred Rhodes, but that’s just personal preference speaking.
Ornelas: Man, I want to start by saying that the chorus of boos when Heath Slater had the ladder in the ring by himself made me smile. I feel that too much time was spent at the start of the match not using ladders, but once Wade set up the bridging ladder to the announce table, the ladder spots picked up. That Sin Cara bump was SICK and I hope he’s okay. The jerk with the “Sin ENOUGH Cara” sign in the crowd probably enjoyed it though. The Corre reunion was something I wasn’t looking forward to, so I’m glad they imploded. Cody hada hell of a showing in this match, and I was SO skeptical of Justin Gabriel’s450 Splash hitting properly, but he nailed it. And Jesus, I am so happy for Daniel Bryan. He deserves it and I really couldn’t believe it.
Nevett: Out of the two Money in the Bank matches, I was looking forward to this one the most. It looked like it had a more diverse group that could lead to some spots that the Raw one wouldn’t be able to pull off. They made good use of the three bigger guys in Kane, Sheamus, and Wade Barrett, each delivering some power moves at different times and coming through as dominant physical threats. I liked the continued teasing of an alliance between the former Nexus/Corre members, how they naturally fell into a pack when they triple-teamed various guys. This one had less big spots than the Raw one, but felt a little more organic in what happened, less throwing stuff at you. Which has its advantages and disadvantages. The finale was definitely energetic and could have gone a few different ways. Also, kudos for teaser Heath Slater a couple of times and making everyone freak out at THAT possibility. Daniel Bryan winning was a surprise — a pleasant one. I’m curious to see what they do with him now.
Uphoff: This exceeded all the expectations I had for this match. It’s very hard to not have a good MITB match, and this certainly continued the tradition of great MITB ladder matches. Each man worked very hard in this match, and everyone played his role. Kane was dominant, and Cody Rhodes was great as well. Sheamus continued his rampage on everyone, and Sin Cara and Justin Gabriel provided some amazing high-flying moves. I have to give major props to everyone in the match, including Sin Cara for taking that sick powerbomb through the ladder from Sheamus. The true MVP of this match was Bryan Danielson. Some people will bitch and moan about how he doesn’t deserve it, but in all seriousness, go fuck yourselves. He took a Doomsday Device, Heath Slater’s finisher off a ladder, and the C4 2000. He showed some great heart in this match taking some truly sick bumps and now has a chance to become World Heavyweight Champion. I was rooting for him to cash this night, and since he didn’t, I am glued to SmackDown on Friday. This was a great match from everyone involved.
Match Rating:
Slimmer: ****
Acero: ***½
Ornelas: ****
Nevett: ****
Uphoff: ****¼
Average Match Rating: ****

Divas Championship Match
Kelly Kelly (Champion) w/ Eve Torres vs. Brie Bella w/ Nikki Bella
Match Result: Kelly Kelly defeats Brie Bella with the K2.
Match Length: 4:44
Match Analysis:
Slimmer: Was this a good wrestling match? No. Did it accomplish anything that couldn’t also be accomplished on Monday Night Raw? No. But was it a passable wrestling match that did a fine job of filling time between insane spotfests? Absolutely. You can’t have a PPV with just two MitB Matches and two championship matches, and this match was a swell way to burn some time. And besides, there was gratuitous Eve Torres. And we all need a little more Eve in our lives.
Acero: I feel bad because no matter how much work these guys try to put in, it’s nowhere near as good as it should be. I did notice the gold and green color scheme that Kelly and the twins pulled off to fit the PPV, but thaaaaat’s bout it.
Ornelas: was too busy marking out for Bryan’s win to really pay attention here, but I still saw it. It didn’t suck, and I guess since the general opinion is that this show will deliver, the girls decided to bring it. Still wasn’t great, but I think it earned a decent rating.
Nevett: Not horrible, but definitely the low point of the show. Then again, did anyone expect anything different? This was fine for what it was, though the finish seemed a bit abrupt.
Uphoff: For a Diva’s match, this was pretty decent. Only one botch, and it was not really that important. They had a decent match, kept it short and inoffensive, and nice to see Kelly Kelly retain the championship as she has been steadily improving in the ring since she first started.
Match Rating:
Ornelas: **
Average Match Rating:

The Big Show vs. Mark Henry
Match Result: Mark Henry defeats the Big Show with a big splash.
Match Length: 5:56
Match Analysis:
Slimmer: I’ll admit, I was kind of dreading this match. Mark Henry and the Big Show have been booked like absolute beasts as of late, but I still had the feeling that a PPV match between them would be slow, plodding, boring, and forgettable. We’ve seen WWE attempt these kind of monstrous collision matches in the past, and they’re almost always a disaster. This match certainly wasn’t a five star classic, but it definitely exceeded my expectations. Both Henry and Show worked at an admirable pace, and they both broke out more technical moves and more (relatively) high flying moves than I ever would have expected. Henry’s dominant win and subsequent Pillmanization of Show’s ankle would either seem to set up a big rematch at SummerSlam or give Show an excuse to take some time off. Either way, I have to believe that Henry will be in a line for a shot at the World Heavyweight Championship after SummerSlam. I’m not sure if he’ll win the title (although I wouldn’t mind if he did), but I think it’s a safe bet that he’ll get a PPV title shot at some point this fall.
Acero: Good Lord, what a start with some left and rights and a pounce. We knew what to expect here and I think we got it. Henry went to work on the knee of Show which helped keep him grounded….at least until he hit the shoulder block from the top ropes. Short lived, of course as Henry got the win. The match was short, but the after match splash on a chair was dastardly. I guess Henry continues his monstrous ways and Show gets a rematch at SummerSlam. The EMT’s are busy tonight, ain’t they?
Ornelas: These two guys chose to wrestle this match as if they both were 100 lbs lighter when it started. I dug it, and they were visibly motivated. I’ve been liking this feud, and Mark Henry has been great since he turned heel. The match had some great psychology, and the entirety of Henry’s offense was focused on the left leg of Big Show. I think the crowd should have been more into this, but there were periods of downtime, so I get why they weren’t super hot. Either way, this was much better than I expected it to be, and I actually thought it’d be pretty decent. The post-match leg/chair splash was pretty unbelievable as well.
Nevett: I liked the build to this and they basically put on the best match you could expect from two monsters. Lots of power moves, some good psychology with Henry working the leg, and one hell of a finish with the two World’s Strongest Slams and two splashes. During the match, I wished they had the Big Show tap to the single-leg crab, if only because he has so little experience with withstanding submission holds that you wouldn’t expect him to last that long, but the more impactful finish was the right way to go. The post-match attack was that little cherry on top that leaves Mark Henry looking like an unstoppable beast.
Uphoff: This was a really good big man power match that was smartly booked. Show initially brought it, and Henry looked like a man on fire. They wrestled a decent match for the both of them with their size, and I am glad to see Mark Henry get the pinfall. He also was made to look even more like a monster with the destruction of Show’s leg after the match, which I am happy to see him actually having some fire for once.
Match Rating:
Slimmer: **½
Acero: **½
Ornelas: **¾
Nevett: ***
Uphoff: **½
Average Match Rating: **¾

Raw Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Rey Mysterio vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Evan Bourne vs. Alex Riley vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. R-Truth vs. Jack Swagger vs. The Miz
Match Result: Alberto Del Rio wins the Raw Money in the Bank Ladder Match.
Match Length: 15:41
Match Analysis:
Slimmer: The Smackdown Money in the Bank Ladder Match felt like a more traditional MitB Match, whereas the Raw MitB Match felt as though it was an experiment in focusing on the use of the ladders as weapons rather than precipices for high spots. Del Rio may have been an obvious choice to win given the fact that he’s one of the golden children at the moment, but I’m just glad that he didn’t cash in tonight. He’s the kind of guy that can talk a big game using the MitB contract, and he’s also the kind of heel that will have no problem cashing it in at the most opportune moment.
Acero: Smackdown’s Money in the Bank was great, but this…..this was both breath taking AND edge of your seat. I seriously didn’t know who was going to take it and I loved that! They played me like a fucking harp. Amazing match. There was a hell of a lot of high risk here, there really was, but it made the match all the more exciting. Even the end of the match with Alberto taking the fall with the ladder was ok by me, because anything can happen. I really think the only complaint I have was the beginning of the match with the “everyone bring their own ladder” party. Other than that, we had more flying in this match than the Smackdown one. The Shooting Star Press was beautiful and Rey Mysterio’s 619 using the ladder was pretty sweet. Also, I don’t know if Miz really hurt himself or not, but it was a GREAT sell job if he didn’t. We also had a photo op of a lifetime with all 8 men atop ladders reaching for the swinging ladder. Seriously, great match and the right man won. This rating may be premature, but hey that’s what INSTANT ANALYSIS is all about, right?
Ornelas: This match started off a lot better than its SmackDown counterpart and I loved the ladder-wielding at the start, and there wasn’t a low spot for the first five or so minutes, starting with Bourne’s Air Bourne off the ladder. I fear Miz may have torn his ACL on that drop, so unfortunately he’s out. Hopefully it doesn’t throw the booking off in this match too much. Swagger kinda screwed the pooch on that spot with Truth trying to seesaw the ladder into him, but they recovered, I guess. Kofi’s Boom Drop was also a thing of beauty. All in all, this was a GREAT match in terms of all the spots that were planned, but so many things were botched. They tended to get botched though just because of ladder balance, and they didn’t really affect the spots too badly, so it didn’t really take too much enjoyment out of the match. In some cases, it made things more interesting. This could have been up to a 1/2*higher if it hadn’t been for the botches. I liked it more than the SmackDown match, but the mistakes brought this to the same level.
Nevett: Holy spotfest, Batman! And I mean that in a good way. This was nothing but insane moves, awesome chains, and a whole lot of botches that, thankfully, didn’t screw anything up. All of the guys beginning with ladders was a little silly, but they made it work and, from there, it was balls out action. Because the moves were so big, so crazy, they didn’t need the organic flow of the Smackdown match; crazy move after crazy move for the sake of it worked very well. If this had started the show, I think it would have been too much. We needed the tamer/calmer MitB match to ease us in before this ridiculous spotfest. The finish obviously didn’t go the way they wanted with Del Rio’s ladder tipping over, but even that didn’t lessen my enjoyment in any way really. A highly entertaining match that I look forward to watching again to see what I missed in all the action.
Uphoff: I was actually let down by this match. Perhaps it was because it got ten less minutes than the SmackDown MITB match, but I digress. Everyone worked well in this match, and I legitimately hope that the Miz is not hurt from the sick fall that he took off the ladder. I marked out when he came hopping back out and almost won. I think everyone picked Del Rio to win, and it was a good choice because it didn’t foreshadow the main event at all. Bourne, Rey, and Kingston brought some amazing high-flying moves, and Rey sunset-flip powerbombing Miz was another nice spot. Not as good as the opener, but still continues to add to the library of good to great MITB matches. Very entertaining, and Truth pulled out some great stuff as well. Also, I think that is the second time in my life that I have seen Rey Mysterio booed by a crowd. Good stuff from RAW, but better from SmackDown.
Match Rating:
Slimmer: ****
Acero: ****½
Ornelas: ****
Nevett: ****¼
Uphoff: ***½
Average Match Rating: ****

World Heavyweight Championship Match
Randy Orton (Champion) vs. Christian
Match Result: Christian defeats Randy Orton (and wins the World Heavyweight Championship) via disqualification (nut punt).
Match Length: 12:21
Match Analysis:
Slimmer: I can’t tell you how happy I am that Christian has been in every World Heavyweight Championship Match on PPV since WrestleMania, and I can’t tell you how happy I am that he and Randy Orton continue to have incredibly solid PPV matches. Some will complain about the disqualification finish in this match, and normally I hate disqualifications in PPV matches. However, there is an exception to every rule, and this is definitely that exception. The disqualification in this case made good use of the stipulation, played off of Randy Orton’s longstanding “anger management issues,” and even subtly linked Christian’s opportunism to that of his best friend, the Ultimate Opportunist. All of this sets the stage for Orton and Christian to have a blow-off match at SummerSlam. My guess is that Orton will regain the title, but Christian should be proud that he has been given the chance to be Smackdown’s top heel for almost half a year.
Acero: Essentially, this was a beautiful match marred by a horrible finish. I guess we should have expected this considering the stipulation. Although, the after match beat-down was nicely done especially with Orton channeling his inner Bushwacker face. I can only guess that this means we’re getting a rematch or so. A twitter friend of mine (follow her, she’s hot, is a wrestling fan and has a genuine sense of humor. I’ve laughed more than once reading her. @Miss_Dani_Baby) said, “Can this be the last Orton/Christian match for this year?” but I can see these guys lock up numerous times afterwards and be okay with it. Christian finally has his title and Orton – even if he is Cena-lite – can still wrestle.
Ornelas: Wow, after two **** matches on the card, I didn’t know if this would top them, but I think it did. This was excellent and they played off their previous encounters perfectly. I saw the ending coming, but that didn’t take anything away from the match at all. Great stuff. It was only a matter of time before a stipulation like this actually led to a title change, and I’m glad it happened here, because Christian really needed the title to keep his character strong.
Nevett: The stipulation suggested a finish like this and they teased it nicely at the beginning of the match with Christian grabbing the chair. Throughout the match, I was really impressed with Randy Orton and some of the inventive counters and variations on moves he pulled out. He was really going all out to show us a different side of himself, that he’s really matured into one hell of a wrestler. I really liked the inverted RKO off his shoulders. I thought the finish worked, but needed another tease in the match. They needed Christian to make one more effort to piss Orton off. Like when he did his slap on the outside (like he always does), maybe add in another one for the purpose of pushing Orton over the edge. The abruptness of the kick to the balls sold it for me, though. Just the anger in Orton’s eyes as he went for the cheapest (and most painful) of moves. The post-match attack was electric. We’ve seen these two have some really good matches and they did not disappoint here.
Uphoff: We knew what we were going to get with these two, and we got another great match to add to the feud. This one was more counter-heavy than the last two, if that’s even possible. Orton getting DQ’ed might have not been the best way to go with the end result, but I can see why they did it. Plus, seeing him go bat shit insane and destroy Christian afterwards was nice, to set up the Daniel Bryan cash-in tease. Great stuff from the two again, but that is the usual. However, it never really kicked up into the higher gear, and I was kinda disappointed. Still, great stuff.
Match Rating:
Slimmer: ****¼
Acero: ***½
Ornelas: ****¼
Nevett: ****
Uphoff: ***½
Average Match Rating: ****

WWE Championship Match
John Cena (Champion) vs. CM Punk
Match Result: CM Punk defeats John Cena with the Go To Sleep.
Match Length: 33:37
Match Analysis:
Slimmer: We all know that the build to this match has been incredible, and all of the buzz coming into this match had to do with the booking and the finish. We almost seemed to neglect building up an expectations of Cena and Punk actually having a good match, and maybe that helped them to greatly exceed my own personal expectations (or lack thereof). Cena and Punk were given enough time to properly build a match, and I will give John Cena credit for hanging with CM Punk every step of the way. Cena needs to right opponent to have this kind of match, but I won’t go so far as to say that Punk had to carry him. They each contributed to this match, but the Chicago crowd contributed just as much. I honestly can’t remember the last time I heard a crowd that was so electric throughout an entire match. There were no down times or dead spots. That crowd was popping for shoulder blocks and chin locks, so you just knew they were going to blow the roof off the place when the finishers started making an appearance. But as great as this match was between the ropes (and it was), and as great as the crowd was (and they were), the real story here is the booking. WWE had the courage to go out on a limb. The built this match masterfully, and the had the grapefruits to stay away from the safe, predictable finish. Vince McMahon, John Cena, and CM Punk all deserve credit for giving us an incredible moment in professional wrestling history. And that’s exactly what this match was – a moment in history. There are good matches, there are great matches, and then there are matches that become moment’s we’ll always remember. This was one of those matches. This was one of those moments.
Acero: This match had all the hype in the world and there was really only a few select ways to fuck it up. I can’t honestly say it was without mistakes, because there were quite a few of them and from what I saw, a majority of them were Punk’s fault. They were not glaring enough to take from the match, though. The match started with one too many rest holds, but considering this had to fill about an hour, I can let it slide. Ok, enough negativity. This shit was epic…and I NEVER use that word. Seriously. The crowd was on fire, I was on the edge of my seat, and the back and forth was just amazing. McMahon came out and tried to retread 97, asking for the bell but Cena wasn’t having it and it cost him the match. They pulled the trigger on a Punk win, something I truly did not believe. They even teased Del Rio cashing in. This was one of the moments where everything was done right and we all have to applaud Vince for allowing everything that has been going on this past month. I hope the buys reflect the story that was told this past month, because they deserve it.
Ornelas: First of all, this has a big match atmosphere that I haven’t felt in years. This was very reminiscent of Cena vs. Rob Van Dam at one Nightstand 2006. I’m typing this as the match is happening, so bear with me if I mark out. Cena “wrestling” looks awkward, but I dug what they were trying to accomplish. The feeling out process was a different pace than what we’re used to from Cena, and trying to match Punk was great. He obviously wasn’t going to, but he’s doing something different, and it really makes this match special. The match, midway through, is a lot slower than I had hoped, but it doesn’t feel like a typical Cena match, so I’m happy for that. Cena’s suplex to the outside on Punk was nasty, but a great moment. A couple botches in this match that I think were caused by Punk’s nerves/excitement, but this is a really great match. It’s amazing what a hot crowd can do for wrestling. The atmosphere in this place is unbelievable. I can’t believe Punk kicked out of that second Attitude Adjustment. This match is unreal. I can’t believe they pulled the trigger on the Punk victory, and I really hope tomorrow’s Raw rating is really high, because they are going in a GREAT direction.
Nevett: If you ever wondered what a hot crowd can add to a match, this shows you. Punk basking in the adoration of the crowd; Cena keeping demure and serious. I didn’t know what to expect from the match itself here. Would we get Super-Cena? We did not. These two delivered a fantastic wrestling match. Anyone who doubts Cena’s abilities still does so out of spite. He hung in with Punk throughout the match. They started slow and built up to some of the bigger moves. I wish Cena sold the knee a bit more, but even that was explained by him trying to hide it from Punk so Punk wouldn’t pounce on it. As the match progressed, what the finish could be seemed even more in question. The Attitude Adjustment didn’t end it, nor did the Go to Sleep… what would? The variation on the screw-job finish was booked very well with Vince using a flunky / ass-kisser / yes-man to do his dirty work and Cena stopping it. Totally in Cena’s character and, of course, that would be his downfall. The post-match use of Del Rio was something people predicted and they managed to have Punk leave without ‘wasting’ the Money in the Bank shot. This was one of the most enjoyable, entertaining matches I’ve seen in a long time. Pure electricity, excitement, and suspense. And, it left me wanting more.
Uphoff: OH MY GOD. HE DID IT, HE DID IT, HOLY FUCKING HELL HE ACTUALLY DID IT. I certainly didn’t think that Vince would have the balls to end the PPV that way, but props to him and how he sold it. I wanted this match to be great, and I wanted it to be phenomenal. It completely blew my expectations out of the water. This may be Cena’s greatest match to date in his career, and maybe Punk’s as well. The Chicago crowd was MOLTEN for anything that Punk did, and the atmosphere amped the match up to insane levels of awesomeness. These two men busted their ass for over half an hour and went Broadway and gave us a truly great match to remember. If Punk never comes back, he can hang his hat on this match, as can Cena. These two provided counter after counter after counter that had everyone on the edge of their seats. I have never doubted Cena’s wrestling ability, and he absolutely showed why Vince has made him a 10-time champ in the WWE. Punk brought his A+ game, and I have to admit, when Punk hit that top-rope Frankensteiner, I thought he was going for the Pepsi Plunge. This was a great match, and I actually liked Cena stopping Vince from screwing Punk over. Also, that counter from the GTS to the STF was sheer genius. I loved Punk kicking Del Rio in the head when he tried to cash in on him, and him running away through the crowd. I can only give this match one rating, and if you don’t like it, that is your opinion. This is the greatest match I have seen not at WrestleMania in my life, and I have been watching wrestling since 1997. This match made me suspend disbelief, stop being the bitter wrestling fan that I am and become a mark again. Again, I can only rate this match one way.
Match Rating:
Slimmer: ****¾
Acero: ****
Ornelas: ****¾
Nevett: ****½
Uphoff: *****
Average Match Rating: ****½

Final Thoughts

Match of the Night:
Slimmer: John Cena vs. CM Punk (****¾)
Match of the Night? Hell, right now, at this very moment, this is my pick for Match of the Year. The in-ring action was outstanding, but I will admit that there have been a handful of better in-ring matches this year. However, when you couple the great in-ring action with absolutely phenomenal booking, as far as I’m concerned there’s absolutely nothing else out there that can compete with this match. Undertaker / Triple H felt epic, but it didn’t have the buzz and the unpredictability that this match did. Edwards / Richards was better between the ropes, but even the story of the Wolves colliding can’t compare with the build Punk provided and the fact that he actually left with the title.
Acero: John Cena vs. CM Punk (****)
I really wanted to say the MitB for RAW, but how can I choose that when there was the main event!? This match was everything we could have asked for and more! And again…they LET PUNK WIN! lol. Seriously, this was great on both guy’s part and they played it amazingly.
Ornelas: John Cena vs. CM Punk (****¾)
I didn’t know what to expect coming in, but what we got was unbelievable. My rating isn’t just for the in-ring portion of the match, but the atmosphere, story, and outcome. I am so excited to be a wrestling fan right now and I can’t wait to tune into Raw tomorrow night.
Nevett: John Cena vs. CM Punk (****½)
Uphoff: John Cena vs. CM Punk (*****)
See above.

Trash of the Night:
Slimmer: None.
There’s no way on earth to call either Money in the Bank Ladder Match or the WWE Championship Match trash. Some might make a case for the World Heavyweight Championship Match based on disqualification finish, but that finish made perfect sense in the context of the Orton / Christian feud. That only leaves the Divas Championship Match and the Big Show / Mark Henry match, and both of those matches were perfectly acceptable filler. In fact, Show / Henry was much better than I expected. Nope, no trash here at all.
Acero: Kelly Kelly vs. Brie Bella (*½)
Only by default, really, as it was the worst match on the card. Not that they had a good match, but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.
Ornelas: None.
Nevett: Kelly Kelly vs. Brie Bella (*½)
Uphoff: None.
Everything was well-booked, well-executed, and nothing was offensive, not even the two filler matches.

Final Analysis:
Slimmer: Wow, I really don’t even know if I can do justice to the show. There were two filler matches, but they were fine filler matches. There were two spotfest ladder matches, but they delivered exactly as you want spotfest ladder matches two deliver. There was a World Heavyweight Championship Match that found a way to continue the surprisingly hot feud between Randy Orton and Christian while maintaining the high in-ring standard that they have set over the past few months. And then there was a WWE Championship Match that far exceeded expectations between the ropes and culminated with one of the most memorable finishes of this generation. This was just a flat-out great show. It’s definitely my pick for Pay-Per-View of the Year, and my only hope at this point is that WWE continues to try to top it.
Acero: This was a one match show going in, but leaving, I can honestly say that they did way more than ANYONE expected. I loved it and I am extremely anxious to see where this is all going. They let Punk Win. Let that sink in for a minute….they LET. PUNK. WIN. I’m extremely happy with the result and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one.
Ornelas: This is your WWE show of the year and one of the better PPVs I’ve seen from a televised company in quite some time. Better than the last few Manias. If this PPV can’t get a full boat, then your standards are unattainable.
Nevett: One of the best top to bottom pay-per-views I’ve seen in a while. Not just from the WWE, but from anyone. The Divas match was what it was, but even something that could have brought the show down like Mark Henry/Big Show was done well. They didn’t add any surprise matches and gave everything the time it needed to be great. I had a few quibbles here and there, but none that really detracted from the show in any significant way. All I was left with when the show was over was a big stupid grin as I thought of tomorrow night’s Raw, wondering what happens now, and thinking back on the fantastic three hours of wrestling I just witnessed.
Uphoff: This has to be the greatest WWE PPV of the last few years, shit one of the greatest PPV’s of the last ten years. There was nothing bad on this PPV, and everything delivered in its own way. MITB was great as usual, and Orton/Christian was great as well. We had two matches at ***1/2, one four-star match, and one five-star match. TNA had a great PPV in Destination X, but it was knocked out of the park by WWE MITB. Punk/Cena is my pick for MOTY. Greatest WWE PPV in the last several years. The booking was great, the crowd was ELECTRIC, and everything was just amazing. Everything came together on this night to create one of the greatest PPV’s of all time. BUY THIS PPV.

Slimmer: ****½
Acero: ****
Ornelas: *****
Nevett: ****½
Uphoff: ****¾
Average Verdict: ****½

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Scott Slimmer