August 8, 2011
Alexander Settee

Money In The Bank 2011, July 17, 2011, Allstate Arena, Chicago, IL
Announcers: Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, & Booker T

The CM Punk angle made this one of the more anticipated PPV's in a while, and with two big ladder matches, plus another Orton/Christian match, it was also looking to be a great in ring show as well. Obviously by now nearly everyone who's seen it agrees that it was awesome, so let's get straight to the rundown.

Opening Match, Smackdown Money In The Bank Ladder Match: Sin Cara vs. Wade Barrett vs. Justin Gabriel vs. Sheamus vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Heath Slater vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Kane

The Setup: No qualifiers or anything for this as they were all simply announced as the participants. Which in many ways is better then having them win 3:00 matches against the likes of Trent Baretta or Jey Uso.

The Action: They did note in the intros that the winner here gets a shot at the World Title specifically so that threw out all theories on multiple cash in attempts if Punk won later on. I think that eight guys is too many for this type of match as it makes it harder to stand out, but it does give us constant action as the moment someone is laid out, another guy takes his place. In the first really big spot, a ladder gets set across the apron and Spanish announce table so that Sin Cara can be powerbombed through it by Sheamus. He ends up doing a stretcher job and is either on the shelf for 30 days, or suspended 30 days for a Wellness Policy violation depending on which wwe.com story you're reading. The former Corre members take control for a bit, but that only lasts until Barrett wants them to let him win. Everyone else then gets their turn at climbing/getting cut off, and during this part we get Kane and Sheamus combining for a Doomsday Device on Bryan, which gets a huge reaction here in Chicago. We've got several ladders scattered around the ring now, which Sheamus uses to his advantage to lay everyone out. He climbs, but Kane makes it there to save and chokeslams him on to one of the ladder he setup. We go on into a sequence of guys pulling out the finishers, but everytime someone climbs, someone else is there to save. Rhodes and Bryan fight their way up the ladder, with Barrett joining them. Bryan manages to fight both of them off, taking Barrett down with a kick to the head, and then he gets the briefcase at 24:28.

The Verdict: It's pretty hard to screw this match up and they certainly pulled it off well. There wasn't really much drama at the end or anything, but it was still a great effort. **** Now as for Daniel Bryan having the thing, he of course has generated a lot of talk about being the first guy to fail since he doesn't fit the mold, but hopefully not as it would be cool to see him get a shot.

We see Vince McMahon, John Laurinaitis, and "a man who would later be identified as an attorney for WWE" arriving at the building earlier today and are told that they are in a meeting with CM Punk as we speak regarding a new contract.

Divas Championship Match: Kelly Kelly (w/Eve Torres) vs. Brie Bella (w/Nikki Bella)

The Setup: Kelly won the Title from Brie on the Power to the People Raw, so Brie gets here rematch here.

The Action: Kelly starts with a brutal looking headscissors and then wipes both twins out with a dive off the apron. Brie dumps her to the floor to take over and hooks a bodyscissors. She works her over until Kelly jawjacks her and starts the big comeback. She gets a neckbreaker for 2, an ugly bulldog for another 2, and then finishes Brie off with a Rocker Dropper at 4:49.

The Verdict: These are not the women who should be getting put out there to wrestle on live PPV. DUD

Mark Henry vs. The Big Show

The Setup: Show killed him on Smackdown last month while in a bad mood because of Alberto Del Rio, but Henry didn't accept that and killed him back during his match at Capitol Punishment, transforming into a killer in the process.

The Action: No finesse here as they just clubber each other to start. Henry kicks the steps into the injured knee, and then clips him in the ring to gain control. He hooks a half crab, but Show makes the ropes. Show comes back with a shoulderblock off the 2nd rope, but land on the knee and can't get the chokeslam as a result. Henry nails the World's Strongest Slam, but Show still manages to kick out. He's undaunted though and simply hits another one, followed by two big splashes and that gets the pin at 5:58. After the match, he grabs a chair an Pillmanizes the leg, presumably to put Show on the shelf for a while.

The Verdict: It was not a good match, but if the goal was to put Henry over as a killing machine, it certainly accomplished that. *

Josh Matthews gets a word with Vince McMahon who lets us know CM Punk turned down the most lucrative offer he's ever made, and then kicked him out of the locker room. He then says that whatever happens is on John Cena, and reminds us that it's then end for him of Punk leaves with the belt.

Raw Money In The Bank Ladder Match: Alberto Del Rio vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Jack Swagger vs. Evan Bourne vs. R-Truth vs. Alex Riley vs. The Miz vs. Rey Mysterio

The Setup: Again, they were simply announced as the participants for this one.

The Action: Everyone brings a ladder into the ring with them to start and they battle with them, mostly ganging up on Alberto. There's lots of ladders here that are way too short to reach the case, which makes you wonder why they're out there. They do the trainwreck bit where everyone everyone follows each other out to the floor with dives, culminating with Bourne hitting an SSP on all the guys off the ladder. Miz sells a knee injury after falling off a ladder and becomes the third guy helped out tonight. We trade off climbing attempts and saves with the story alos being that everytime Alberto gets involved, he's immediately disposed of. We get multiple ladders setup and then everybody climbs for it at the same time with Alberto again being the first guy laid out. Everyone then goes down one by one until only Kofi is left, but Swagger sprints up the ladder to stop him. Then Miz hobbles back out and the crowd goes nuts as he climbs and they actually boo Mysterio making the save. They then cheer when Alberto stops him so I guess Chicago just hates Mysterio. Alberto ends up unmasking him in the fray and I think he was supposed to hang on and win, but he tumbles over too. So he has to set the ladder up again, but indeed he makes it up and wins it at 16:53.

The Verdict: This one wasn't quite as good as the Smackdown one due to some botchery, but there was still some pretty good stuff here. And I like Alberto, so it's great to see him get the chance to shine. ***3/4

World Heavyweight Championship Match: Randy Orton vs. Christian

The Setup: Christian filed last time at Capitol Punishment, but had the excuse that his foot was under the ropes. He maneuvered his was into another shot and got the added stipulation that if Orton is DQ'd or if there's a bad call by the ref, Christian gets the Title.

The Action: Christian immediately hands Orton a chair and dares him to use it, but he thinks better of it and takes it to him legally instead. Christian takes over and actually seems to have a fair amount of crowd support here tonight. He goes for a Killswitch, but Orton escapes and takes it to the floor. Back in, they trade off, with Orton finally getting the better of it by hitting a dropkick as Christian comes off the 2nd rope for 2. Christian gets him with a top rope headbutt that gets him a close 2 count. He then gets the Killswitch, but Orton kicks out to boos from the crowd. A spear misses though and drops him with a gutwrench suplex into a neckbreaker for 2. Orton sets up for a punt, but Christian is up. Orton gets a powerslam anyways, followed by the hanging DDT to setup the RKO, but Christian lays back to avoid it. He spits in Orton's face, which sets Orton off and he boots Christian low for the DQ at 12:19. That makes Christian the new Champion, so now Orton is even more pissed off and he kills Christian with a monitor, then RKO's him on the Spanish table. Now the crowd gets behind Orton and chants "One More Time", so he goes back and does it again. The table still doesn't break, so it was well constructed tonight.

The Verdict: It was probably the weakest of their series, but even so it was still very good. Babyface Christian who won the Title clean got no shot to run with the belt, so we'll see if they treat heel Christian who backdoored into the Title any better. ***1/2

Main Event, WWE Championship Match: John Cena vs. CM Punk

The Setup: Punk earned the shot here in his hometown on his last night with the company and promised to leave with the Title if he won it. Vince McMahon tried suspending Punk and cancelling the match, but Cena insisted that the match go down. Vince gave in, but with the stipulation that if Punk leaves with the Title, Cena will be fired.

The Action: The crowd is solidly behind Punk here in Chicago, giving him a huge reaction for his entrance. Cena, naturally, gets booed out of the building, and actually does a much less energetic entrace than usual to kind of acknowledge that. It's mostly back and forth work on the mat early on. They both tease the finishers, but the other one escapes. Cena gets 1 off the bulldog and works a headlock. Punk suplexes out for 2. They trade a few more nearfalls and then Punk works a headscissors. Cena gets tossed and then Punk drops a knee on to him on the apron for 2. Punk goes to suplex him in to the ring, but Cena suplexes him out to the floor instead in a crazy fall. That gets 2 back in the ring and Cena lays in more shots, but can't put him away. He starts with the shoulderblocks, but Punk escapes the Protobomb and gets a rollup for 2. Cena then gets the move, but now Punk kicks off the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Cena goes to the floor and Punk follows with a suicide dive. Back in, he misses a springboard and Cena drops the Shuffle. Punk avoids teh AA though and puts Cena down with kicks for 2. Cena escapes the GTS and hits a gutwrench suplex, but Punk kicks out at 2. Punk nails a couple of knees and a bulldog, then hits a springboard clothesline, but again Cena kicks out. More kicks are laid in, but Cena hooks the STF out of nowhere. Punk valiantly makes the ropes for the break and nails a kick to the head for another close 2. He goes up, but Cena rolls through a crossbody, they trade finisher tries, which ends with Cena hooking the STF again. He drags him to the middle, but Punk won't tap, and in fact breaks the hold. Cena does end up nailing the AA, but Punk kicks out of that too as the crowd is losing its mind. Cena goes up, but gets caught and powerbombed as he tries the legdrop for 2. Punk calls for the GTS, but Cena makes the ropes and necks him. Now he gets the top rope legdrop, but Punk still won't die and kicks out again. He hits a second AA, but Punk still has another kickout in him as they're putting him over like nuts here. Cena goes for the Super AA off the 2nd rope, but Punk fights him off and takes him down with a rana. He follows with the GTS, but it puts Cena to the floor so he can't follow up with a cover. As he rolls Cena back in, we're joined by McMahon and Laurinaitis. Punk is momentarily distracted and gets hooked in the STF, so McMahon sends Laurinairis to ring the fucking bell, but Cena breaks the hold and decks him as he refuses to win it that way. That gives Punk the opening he need and he catches Cena with the GTS, which gets the pin and the Title at 31:45. McMahon is in shock, but collects himself and calls Alberto out to cash in his briefcase, but Punk lays him out with a kick and escapes through the crowd as the Champion as the show ends.

The Verdict: This was a great match and a great angle to go along with it, and I'm really excited to see how it all plays out in the end. I don't know that it's a perfect match, but certainly it's something worth going out of your way to see, and it probably ends up being the WWE's best match of the year. ****3/4

Overall Thoughts: Well, I've thought for a while now that WWE PPV's have been getting stale. They're rarely bad or anything, but they also don't blow me away anymore. This one, however, changed that as we have a great show here with four matches that are awesome, and on a six match show that's just tremendous. It's a big Thumbs Up for Money In The Bank 2011, and if you missed this one, go watch it immediately.

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