So to start the live blog, I'd like to address an extremely embarrassing and unfortunate coincidence. A few days ago I needed something to post for that day (still somehow keeping up with our post-per-day minimum almost two and a half years later) but I was at work that day and leaving directly from work to go to a concert in Oakland (John Carpenter LIVE!!! My god), so wasn't going to be able to write anything new. So I scoured my drafts for something and found several Jerry Lawler reviews that I had written 3+ years ago. I read them through, they seemed quality, so I posted a couple. The next day - to my horror - I went on PWO for the first time in a couple days and immediately saw a thread about Jerry Lawler being suspended indefinitely under accusations of domestic violence, news that would have been broken BEFORE I posted those reviews. Yeesh. So I just want to make it clear that I WAS NOT taking any sort of stance, no silent support for Lawler, nothing weird. I was just "lucky" enough to post something about him the same day as the news came out. I could have posted those damn reviews any day over the last three years, but I just happened to need content on the day THAT news breaks. Good grief. So, if for some reason anybody out there was icked out by my poorly timed Lawler post - and to be clear not one person to my knowledge has accused me of doing anything untoward - but if for some reason there is a reader out there who thought I was being gross, please know that it was just an unfortunate coincidence.
ER: I just received a text alert from WWE stating "The greatest Money in the Bank event in history starts NOW!" WOW!! The greatest PPV on the greatest night in the history of our great sport!?!? How can I afford to NOT watch and write about this!?
1. The Golden Truth vs. Breezango
ER: Breezango are working an extreme sunburning gimmick, playing up that they got roasted earlier while tanning their bods. This leads to Goldust amusingly working a chop heavy style while Breeze and Fandango scream. Goldust throws some amazing chops all throughout so it works, and for speaking for all the people who have ever lobstered themselves, you get it. The match wasn't much beyond that sadly. Goldust got to be the hot tag, which is nice since he's easily the best hot tag in the fed, but I wish I could just see an actual 8+ minute match between these teams.
2. Lucha Dragons vs. Dudley Boyz
ER: "Game of Thrones isn't the only show with flying dragons!" Ugh, Mauro's had that line in the can for weeks I assume. There are also ads on the bottom of the screen FOR the Money in the Bank PPV. How many people who subscribe to the Network, who happen to be watching the network LIVE at 4:47 PM on a Sunday, wouldn't know they are about to see Money in the Bank? There was a production person in the back who was paid to put these graphics up on the bottom of the screen. The only way they could be watching this match was if they clicked the large "Watch WWE Money in the Bank LIVE NOW" button on the homepage. These teams don't seem to gel very well, and the Dragons seem to be holding back on their flying offense. Everything is landing super soft. Bubba is still good but has lost a step, but he's doing a good job of trying to make up for any ability loss with an increase in shit talking. It works. But yeah the match as a whole really doesn't. The heat segments aren't compelling, the comebacks are light. There were a couple decent individual moments, but this was a throwaway pre-show match for certain.
3. Enzo & Cass vs. The Vaudevillains vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson vs. The New Day
ER: Love the new waistcoat/vest/pocket watch entrance gear on the Villains. Entrances take a full 9 minutes for everybody so I magically leap forward in time. Anderson and Gallows have to wait almost that long as Enzo and Kofi set up dual crossbodies off the top. There's an annoying segment where Kofi and Enzo do a tug of war, each trying to tag out to their partners. So just a long segment of two guys just not fighting each other, while holding hands. Neat. Things "break down" just 4 minutes in, despite next to nothing happening. Kofi is really sandbagging the Villains. Anderson seems to be the only one who understands that it's a one pinfall finish, as he tries to tag guys whenever they get close. Kofi and English were fighting right next to Enzo and Cass and they just stood there thumbing their butts. Can't win the match from the apron, doodz. Cass and Enzo go on a run and Gallows looks late on a save, plus the ref did a bad double clutch count. Looked bad. They wisely have English take most of the finishers, as that guy is really good at taking offense. The last two minutes of this got good as WWE multiman structure is usually good at handling those big finisher trading runs, but this really wasn't that good for the time allotted.
ER: I really liked Owens during the MITB promo, even though they were just going for yuks instead of actually building to much of a match. "Perro means dog? You know Spanish now?" "No, I just learned that word because [Alberto Del Rio] always calls people that."
4. Baron Corbin vs. Dolph Ziggler
ER: When did the "super wet hair" scourge start sweeping through WWE? When did that start being a thing? Was it HHH? Is he the Wet Hair Mary? Did he start demanding everybody with hair just dunk their heads under a sink pre-match? Even Flair has been horribly sporting this look for years now, which only adds to his incredible melting man look. Let's all get together and try to pinpoint this wet hair outbreak. Corbin's work looks really good in this. I like his measured straight rights, even if the crowd is chanting boring at him. Did I miss something with Ziggler? Why is he wearing what appears to be an actual HBK outfit from 1996? That's weird, right? I get guys wearing their influences on their sleeves, but just dressing exactly the same? How is that even allowed? Ziggler takes a hot shot really great, really looked like his neck snapped across that rope. Also really like Corbin being a step ahead and countering all of Ziggler's offense, tossing him off from the famouser, blocking the follow up superkick. Oh god Ziggler is even stomping to set up sweet chin music? What the fuck did I miss? What a fucking dork. Corbin plants him with a nasty spinning back suplex, really twisting him right into the ground. I'm really starting to love all of Corbin's running punches, and I liked the superkick reversal off Corbin's finisher. I think Corbin might be quite good, but it's tough to tell since I've only ever seen him against Ziggler and even though I ended up liking this match, it's a match-up I'm already tired of.
5. Charlotte & Dana Brooke vs. Becky Lynch & Natalya
ER: I really liked Charlotte's knees/cravate combo on Natalya, but there is really not much to care about in this match. Becky's hot tag offense doesn't look that good. After seeing her a few times I still can't get any sort of read on Brooke. She seems good at doing lackey type stuff, bitchily making saves for Charlotte, but nothing has stood out about her wrestling ability. Lynch doesn't do a lot for me either. Brooke does make me laugh postmatch by yelling "I'm the greatest protege ever!!" That's awesome. Oh and hey Nattie turned on Lynch, meaning there are......is Lynch the only babyface in the division? Paige is a face, right? I think? Nattie's forearm to the back of Lynch's head was probably the best looking thing in the match. This was a bunch of nothing.
6. Sheamus vs. Apollo Crews
ER: Crews doesn't do a lot for me but Sheamus is good enough to get something out of him, and they oddly seem like a good match for each other. I really really dug all the violent opening headlock takeovers, they all looked so good. Crews throws a nice tight elbow that knocks Sheamus to the floor and Sheamus snags him off the apron and hits a backbreaker. And I am into this. Sheamus knows how to work a compelling headlock as he keeps shifting his weight and position to build for Crews' comeback. Sheamus is really good bumping all around for Crews' lariats, and then takes a wild bump to the floor off a belly to belly. Holy cow then Crews hits an awesome moonsault off the apron to the floor, that really couldn't have hit any better than it did. Man I am into this match. Crowd appears to not give any one of their fucks about it, but they're busting ass in there. It's really quiet though. Can't blame them though as Sheamus really has been an afterthought for some time. Which is too bad, as Sheamus is awesome. OOF, lame as hell finish with Crews just getting a roll up while Sheamus argued pinfalls. Man that is a lame finish. Shame as I was into the whole thing, up until that.
7. AJ Styles vs. John Cena
ER: Cole on commentary also calls this "The greatest Money in the Bank event in history!" What is the actual justification for using this exact phrasing. It's a weird thing to say about a show before it happens, and then again before it's over. Is there a kayfabe reason? Like are they acting like the matches on this card are the biggest ever when compared to past MITB? Or is it just hyperbolic horseshit? Cena looks smaller, which is good. He was looking freakish for awhile there. And this is really good so far. I loved Styles punching him when Cena waved his palm, and Cena selling that punch was great. On the floor AJ gets tossed into the steps but ably leaps over them and then casually rolls back into the ring and man Styles is playing this up so great. Styles pacing in this match is perfect, and then AJ gets launched by a backdrop. But the structure kinda falls apart after that backdrop. And then Styles hits a plancha where...I didn't really know what was supposed to hit whom. It looked like AJ changed his momentum to purposely not hit Cena, but then Cena sold it. Styles does crash and burn spectacularly on a missed dive afterwards though. Boy the pace I enjoyed so much at the start of the match sure has turned quite methodical. Cena is working like he's hurt, not in selling injuries, but just in a way that feels like he's not fully healthy. We have hit the part of the match where finishers are hit followed by lots of lying around. Styles catches knees on a 450, which is probably because he waited 90 seconds to hit it after Cena kicked out of the Styles Clash. And more lying around. I'm all for selling, but they're not laying this thing out in a very interesting way. A ref bump was not something I was personally hoping for, either. Club interferes, puts AJ on top for the win. At least AJ won? I'm sure they will have several matches so I understand not doing a good finish in the first match, but the final 5-7 minutes of this were just really boring to me. It felt like they were going for drama that they hadn't earned. The long lying around selling followed by getting up and running around felt like the worst terceras of the worst CMLL main events. Both of these guys are good, and I'm sure they have a real good match in them. This started out like that match, but it wasn't that match by the end.
8. Money in the Bank Match: Chris Jericho vs. Cesaro vs. Sami Zayn vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. Kevin Owens vs. Dean Ambrose
ER: Jericho is doing some of the more interesting character stuff than at any time over the last several years, but his ringwork has gotten so lousy, and he hasn't adapted his style in the least, that it makes me just hope he decides to stop wrestling. He just looks so slow and bad in there. There are some big moves to start, but also notice that everybody taking the big moves is REALLY bad at occupying themselves while waiting to take a move. Jericho just stands there holding a ladder forever while waiting for Cesaro to hit his senton off the apron, 4 guys just stand at ringside patiently waiting for Zayn to hit a flip dive, they just aren't even pretending they're doing anything other than waiting to get hit. Cesaro hits running uppercuts on everybody and Sami Zayn has been gone for like 5 minutes. Owens too. Ah, now Owens comes in a hits cannonballs on everybody, and then Cesaro takes a nasty running face first bump into a ladder set up in the corner. I'm not sure what possibly kept Zayn hurt for so many minutes, because when he reappears he is a house of fire. But pretty soon we're back to 4 guys disappeared and selling injuries off camera. Man you expect that kind of stuff in these but it seems really bad here. But holy cow Cesaro jumping from the ladder into a springboard uppercut looked amazing. We do get plenty of big moves into ladders, but the layout with guys just waiting around doing nothing until it's their turn to do a stunt is just out of control. I get it, shit hurts. But the way they're playing it you can literally predict who's turn it is to come in and take their turn to do something painful. I've only missed one of my guesses so far. We take a preposterously long time to set up all 6 guys fighting while standing on ladders. ADR takes a flat out lunatic bump off a falling ladder, trying to land feet first on the top and basically doing a split legged moonsault to himself. We get many minutes of guys failing to climb well, until Ambrose climbs better than them to win! Well, this stunk.
9. Rusev vs. Titus O'neil
ER: Lana's faces while standing behind Rusev are the best. And Rusev and Titus smack into each other really hard to start, and Rusev gets tossed into the barricade. Before long Rusev is smothering him in the ring while trash talking Titus's kids. Rusev throws a lot of really good knees. Rusev's high kick and superkick both look great, Titus looks like he's scared of tearing a lat most times he does a move. And WOW Rusev won clean in the middle on Father's Day in front of Titus's kids!! Holy cow, they brought in his kids to watch their dad lose!! That's vicious shit right there. Happy Fathers Day!!! Rusev couldn't have looked much stronger in victory. He mostly steamrolled Titus here. Back down the card you go, O'Neill. Shouldn't have touched Vince that one time.
10. Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns
ER: According to chants, Roman apparently can't wrestle. Which not coincidentally sounds like the feeble screams of hundreds of micropenises. This was worked a little slower than I was hoping for, and I'm still confused who is supposed to be booed and who isn't. Rollins has some pretty light offense here, but there are some nice sequences. Loved Reigns backdropping Rollins, Rollins landing on his feet, but then getting blasted by a Superman punch. Rollins countering a spear with a kneelift was nice too. Rollins is really working as gutsy babyface returning from a knee injury, and the whole announce crew is selling it as such. Except for Byron Saxton, who I swear is just most useless fucking body. The whole PPV all he did was occasionally loudly say somebody's name when it was quiet. It would go quiet and then in an over-annunciated speech you would just hear. "ROMAN...REIGNS." Saxton is such a fucking zero. Those spots where they fight endlessly on the turnbuckles really don't look good. I'm honestly pretty bored during this one. It just feels way too long. Certain sequences feel repeated. Some stuff is looking really impressive, like Reigns brutal missed spear into the rail. The brawling has looked pretty sloppy. The fighting on the knees spot was pretty flimsy, especially after watching Black Terry do an expert version of the same moment earlier in the day. They went out and tried to have an epic war, and there was a lot that worked. I think they should have consolidated things a bit, maybe trimmed like 25% of the match, got to some things quicker. But I do actually like how they handled the ending, as I definitely didn't expect Roman to lose. It seems like such an anti-WWE move to give a guy like Rollins the title after being laid up for 7 months. The Money in the Bank stip does nothing at all for me, but I like that Ambrose immediately cashed it in, as then I won't have to see any stupid months and months of suitcase teases, and a guy dorkily carrying around said suitcase. And it makes the main event scene more interesting than it otherwise would have been with a Reigns win. Maybe I'll have second thoughts after thinking about it for a bit, but this seems like a neat way to freshen things up a bit. And maybe Ambrose will start looking better now that he's away from Jericho, and into actual important programs.
ER: So, I didn't like the PPV. A lot of it was boring. The two big singles matches fell flat with me, and the ladder match was a bunch of guys killing themselves in a stupidly laid out bad spotfest. And the undercard matches weren't really put in a position to succeed. There were individuals I liked, but nothing at all that I really liked. BUT, I'm oddly optimistic about things going forward, as even though I didn't care for the overall matches I'm excited for a Styles/Cena rematch, excited for the various Shield clashes, excited to see different stuff from Corbin and Rusev, so it's an odd feeling to not really enjoy much of what I just watched, while being interested in what's to come. So I guess I couldn't call it a failure.
Labels: Aiden English, AJ Styles, Baron Corbin, Cesaro, Dolph Ziggler, Goldust, John Cena, Kevin Owens, Lucha Dragons, Luke Gallows, Money in the Bank, Roman Reigns, Rusev, Sami Zayn, Seth Rollins, Sheamus, Vaudevillains