6/6/16 – Andrew Berg – @WrestleRosters
Money in the Bank Participants Square Off
Raw opened with all six MITB wrestlers sitting atop ladders in the ring and arguing with each other. They exchanged barbs until Teddy Long interrupted them with some nonsensical booking ideas. Stephanie McMahon dismissed Teddy and put each of the six men in a match with one of the others for later in the night.
Cesaro def. Chris Jericho
Cesaro got the early upper-hand on Jericho with a senton off of the apron and a series of uppercuts. Jericho dropkicked Cesaro coming off of the top rope to turn the momentum. They fought back and forth until Cesaro put Jericho in the swing and transitioned to the Sharpshooter, which forced Jericho to tap. Jericho has been so good on the mic and in the ring lately that he hardly needs wins. Nonetheless, it felt important for Cesaro to beat him, particularly in a competitive, longer match.
Alberto Del Rio def. Sami Zayn
De Rio and Zayn worked a very fast-paced match. Zayn got on track with a moonsault off of the barricade. Later, Del Rio hit a beautiful enziguiri to Zayn, who was perched on the top turnbuckle. He followed it with a superkick and a stomp in the corner to get the pin. It was a fairly decisive victory for Del Rio. Due to Zayn’s role as a permanent underdog, that’s not such a bad thing.
Dean Ambrose def. Kevin Owens
Ambrose absorbed a great deal of punishment from Owens, including an early senton and superkick. Ambrose tried to mount a comeback with a lariat, but another Owens superkick set up for his cannonball. Ambrose countered the Pop-Up Powerbomb into a hurricanrana and Owens caught a suicide dive to slam Ambrose into the apron. He followed it with a frog splash to the floor. As they came back into the ring, Ambrose hit Dirty Deeds out of nowhere to get the win against the run of the match. It was a good win for Ambrose and a really solid match. In spite of the result, Owens is my pick to win the match at MITB.
The Club def. New Day
New Day vs. The Club broke down into a brawl before the match could even start, including a Styles Clash to Xavier Woods on the floor. When the match actually started, only Big E and Kofi Kingston were available for their team to take on the three members of The Club.
Even without the numbers in his favor, Kofi was able to stay out of The Club’s corner and use quick tags to Big E to isolate Karl Anderson. The Club eventually gained control of Big E. Kofi got the hot tag and hit a Boom Drop on Styles. He tried a springboard cross-body, only for Styles to sidestep it. Kofi hit the SOS for a near fall. All five wrestlers got in the ring and Kofi managed to clear it out. Styles immediately hit him with a Phenomenal Forearm to get the win.
Cena made his way to the ring to cut off a most-match beatdown on Kingston. He fought through Gallows and Anderson, but Styles retreated. After Anderson and Gallows came after Cena again, Styles beat him down like he did in their first confrontation. Kofi came to the rescue, Big E recovered, and New Day stood tall with Cena to end the show.
Features on Rollins and Reigns
A pre-taped interview with Seth Rollins distilled his history with Roman Reigns into a well-made vignette. Many of the clips came from the WWE 24 documentary on Rollins, which was a good use of the footage. As good as the segment was, it highlighted the fact that Rollins is the more sympathetic of the two wrestlers and seemingly the more natural babyface. It also made the match feel too big for the MITB PPV.
The promo package for Reigns reinforced the same idea. Even though it portrayed him as the victim of Rollins’s vengeful streak, the fact remains that Rollins is the one who lost the title to injury and fought his way back.
-John Cena said that the energy he shared with AJ Styles was reminiscent of his rivalry with The Rock until AJ turned on him. Styles said that it was all part of his plan. Cena said that he refused to be the fallback for Styles after he failed to win the WWE Title. Styles angrily said that The Club is his insurance policy against Cena burying him. They cornered Cena, but New Day came to the rescue. Cena was right about one thing- the narrative chemistry between him and Styles is clicking from the start.
-Teddy Long, dancing to his theme song playing on his cell phone, gave Stephanie McMahon the idea for a fatal fourway Tag Team Title match. She made the match for MITB between New Day, The Club, the Vaudevillains, and Enzo and Cass. I would rather see New Day vs. The Club straight up, but I think we will get that one eventually, as well.
-Charlotte clarified that she still wants to have Ric Flair in her life, but that she wants to stake out on her own as Women’s Champion without him by her side. Becky Lynch and Natalya tried to get Dana to abandon Charlotte, but Dana stayed loyal and the two women beat down their rivals. The crowd was completely dead, probably because they care as little about the Charlotte-Dana relationship as I do.
-Several bumpers into commercial breaks showed highlights of the impact Muhammad Ali had on professional wrestling. It was a nice way to honor the champ and it showed how much he means to wrestling without being a wrestler.
-Enzo and Cass gave a characteristically great promo honoring Muhammad Ali. Aiden English tried to injure Enzo again and Cass snapped. He stomped English in the corner until the referee DQ’d him. The aggressive side of Cass is a good look for the team, even if they took the loss.
-A match between Tyler Breeze and R-Truth immediately broke down. Teddy Long tried to turn it into a tag match before security had him removed. Everything that happens between the Golden Truth and Breezango is weird, dumb, and enjoyable. They can continue to feud for the rest of the year.