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June 15, 2015

WWE Money in the Bank review: Rollins regains championship as Sheamus gains his ticket to it

Wrestling WWE
061515_MITB_WWE WWE/Twitter

The Celtic Warrior, Sheamus, came down the ladder with the Money in the Bank briefcase on Sunday night.

WWE didn’t wait until Monday Night Raw to give Dusty Rhodes a tribute – they did it Sunday evening at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, OH. Money in the Bank started off with a 10-bell salute to the legendary wrestling icon, and I would be surprised if there was a dry eye in the building. In fact, on the pre-show, Renee Young could barely speak after this tribute video to Rhodes aired. [Note: Get some tissues ready.]

After this video aired, Renee Young couldn’t speak coherently, so she quickly sent it backstage to Tom Phillips, who was with Kevin Owens. There are times where showing emotions when you’re an on-camera figure is okay. I’d say this was one of those times. Renee Young undoubtedly had a close relationship with Rhodes, as she’s bounced back and forth between WWE and NXT. Hearing her try to get those words out while crying was heartbreaking.

Here’s the 10-bell salute that opened the show.

Let’s now move toward what happened inside the ring.

Money in the Bank Kickoff Preshow

R-Truth vs. King Barrett

It never ceases to amaze me how ridiculous WWE makes Wade Barrett look on a weekly basis. He’s a five-time Intercontinental Champion, the current King of the Ring, and led one of the best factions of the last twenty years, the Nexus.

Sure, he’s battled nagging injuries, making him miss months at a time, but what wrestler hasn’t? It really seems to me like he’s Vince McMahon’s personal toy, someone he can just play around with but make look important whenever he wants. That’s why I didn’t think he would win the King of the Ring tournament this year, but since he’s won that, he’s done nothing of note. He’s a joke, and it’s not fair to him because he’s talented and deserves better.

And, of course R-Truth would beat him here. Dolph Ziggler is probably the only other guy I can think of off the top of my head to do the job so much yet still have the decency in him to not quit the company. One week, these guys are important. The next week, they aren’t. I still don’t get it. End rant.

Your winner: R-Truth

Predictions: 1/1

Money in the Bank Ladder Match

Randy Orton vs. Neville vs. Kane vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Sheamus vs. Roman Reigns

This match placement really surprised me. Earlier this past weekend, I had a thought that there were only seven participants in this match announced because we were going to see something historic. Based on the match placement, I had thought maybe Brock Lesnar would make his return and grab the briefcase, setting up a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match with Seth Rollins in July at Battleground, since that’s the current rumor going around. Judging by the lack of top name talent in the match, I figured that would have been WWE’s idea to make the match more memorable.

Well, WWE didn’t need that. And it knew it.

Kingston thought to go and grab a ladder right away once the match started while all of the other competitors were beating up on each other. It didn’t take long for them to realize what Kingston was doing and each superstar prevented him from climbing the ladder. Then, each of them tried to climb the ladder, and each unsuccessful in their attempts.

Kingston would eventually eat a ladder right in the back in one of the more painful looking moments of the match.

After some good action, things got really good. Orton had an RKO party, serving RKOs to Kane and a picture-perfect RKO to Neville off of the ladder.

After Sheamus intervened and gained control of the match, Ziggler applied a sleeperhold to him while on the ladder, and then Neville hit him with the Red Arrow [I love that move]. So far, it was pretty much as advertised, but a lot better than I thought it would be. Reigns would fly through the air onto everyone on the outside of the ring, and then Big E and Xavier Woods, who came out to help their partner from The New Day. As they were trying to get Kingston up the ladder, Reigns recovered from his aerial assault to not only prevent Kingston from getting the briefcase, but also speared Orton in the process. The only thing between Reigns and the Money in the Bank briefcase was air.

But, that’s when the lights went out and Bray Wyatt appeared. I said in my Money in the Bank preview that Wyatt should have been involved in this match, but he made more of an impact in this capacity, so I’m OK with it. It looks like they’re already moving him onto his next feud, but whatever happened to Wyatt’s feud with Ryback, anyway?

Wyatt pushed the ladder over and gave Reigns a Sister Abigail before leaving. Sheamus then ascended the ladder, and fought off Neville briefly, before unhooking the briefcase for the win.

Your winner and Money in the Bank briefcase holder: Sheamus

I’m not thrilled about Sheamus as the Money in the Bank winner, but there were really not many, if any, participants here that I would have been thrilled about. I liked my idea about Kane winning just to stick it to Rollins, but it’s clear they’re distancing Rollins and The Authority after what happened later in the show.

Predictions: 1/2

WWE Divas Championship

Nikki Bella (c) vs. Paige

So, if Nikki wins, we riot, right?

How’d that riot go? We actually had a pretty damn good Divas match between the two, but it was marred a little bit by the ending. Once again, we were subject to “Twin Magic” as Brie subbed in for Nikki , but this time it actually backfired on the duo. Paige pinned Brie, and we all thought we had a new Divas Champion.

The one thing I said on Twitter after the match was I was OK with it because I’m going to allow myself to believe it was the creative team’s tribute to Dusty Rhodes. Perfector of the Dusty finish, Rhodes made match endings like this infamous. One person wins, but then the decision is either changed or reversed. In this instance, the referee inexplicably didn’t disqualify Nikki for having Brie come in and wrestle for her, and instead re-started the match. Of course, Nikki got the win.

Your winner and STILL Divas Champion: Nikki Bella

It’s old. It’s tired. We need a new Divas Champion.

Predictions: 1/3

Intercontinental Championship

Ryback (c) vs. Big Show

This hit the nail on the head for my expectation for this match – it sucked. In fact, the match started with a couple of big moves by Ryback [a spinebuster and meathook clothesline] and almost saw him set Show up for Shell-Shocked less than a minute in, and I was actually hoping that’s the finish they were going for.

But here’s another instance of ‘what the hell is the babyface doing?’ With The Miz at the commentary table, not getting involved in the match at all, Ryback decided to attack him. After the Show takes control of the match, which included a knockout punch that sent Ryback to the outside of the ring, he warned Miz to not get involved. Of course, once Show got Ryback back in the ring, Miz attacked Show for a few moments before leaving, causing the disqualification and the win for Show.

Your winner by disqualification: Big Show

Ryback keeps the Intercontinental Championship, but this finish is going to lead to more Ryback/Show interaction, and even with Miz involved, nothing good will come of it.

Predictions: 1/4 [I’m thinking to myself at this point, “What the hell did you do, Nick?”]

Non-Title Match

John Cena (c-US) vs. Kevin Owens (c-NXT)

OK, I’ve come around. I thought with the way WWE started their push of Kevin Owens, he would need not lose any matches, ala Rusev.

Boy, was I wrong.

This match completely blew away their Elimination Chamber encounter. Tons of near falls, great moves, and amazing counters made this match five stars easily. Cena even pulled off a somersault powerbomb, which completely caught maybe 100 percent of the people watching by surprise.

Cena also took a few big bumps from Owens, but it wasn’t enough to keep him down. Owens also took a lot of big bumps, but popped right back up to make this match one for the ages.

Eventually, though, Cena was able to hit Owens with an Attitude Adjustment after hitting him with his springboard stunner to get the pin.

Your winner: John Cena

Cena went for a handshake after the match, and Owens obliged. But then he kicked Cena out of the ring and did this.

Owens is such a badass. A badass this company sorely needed. While I initially hated the outcome, I can absolutely watch these two in a ring a million more times. For the people who say Cena can’t wrestle, he’s proven you wrong. And me.

Predictions: 1/5. I quit.

WWE Tag Team Championship

The New Day (c) vs. Prime Time Players

With Big E and Xavier Woods representing The New Day, I wasn’t sure how they would win, I was just certain that they would.

Silly me.

WWE made the decision to go with the Prime Time Players to win their first ever Tag Team Championship Sunday night, and nobody should really be complaining. While I thought The New Day had a great act that was finally getting over with the fans and taking the Tag Team titles off of them would be detrimental, I think the act can work without them having the titles. If the group stays together, great. If this is a quick decision to break them apart, I’m not sure how I’d feel about that. I haven’t heard anything like that happening, but you never know. This win for the Prime Time Players was very surprising, but well-deserved. Let’s hope they can have a lengthy run with the straps.

Your winners and NEW WWE Tag Team Champions: Darren Young and Titus O’Neil, the Prime Time Players

Predictions: 1/6. It’s comical at this point.

Ladder Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship

Seth Rollins (c) vs. Dean Ambrose

Before the match, Triple H approached Rollins backstage after Kane poked him a little bit about being alone out in the ring. Triple H gave a passionate promo to Rollins about doing it and being able to do it alone, something that I felt was pretty obvious in telling the audience Rollins was going to win.

The Authority kept to their word and Rollins’ want, and didn’t come down to help him once during the match. It was a great match that went into the crowd and had some great spots inside and outside the ring. It honestly felt like an NXT match with all the spots we were seeing, because it’s been a long time since we’ve seen main eventers take a sit-down powerbomb onto a ladder and chairs or get powerbombed into the safety wall around the ring or flown into a ladder over the top rope.

With a great selling job by Ambrose in regards to his left knee, it would’ve been a miracle had he won the match. And it almost happened. The match was booked perfectly and nobody enjoyed the finish, from what I can tell based on the reaction on social media. Rollins buried Ambrose under a ladder and chairs on the outside of the ring after powerbombing him onto said ladder, but Ambrose was able to get out and get to the ladder as Rollins was ascending to try to regain his title. Rollins used the Pedigree once again to try to keep Ambrose down, but it didn’t work.

They both battled for the title, while on the same side of the ladder, and both had ahold of the championship belt as they fell to the ring. So close. Who had the title? At first I swore I saw Ambrose with it, but Rollins actually had it in his grasp and was declared the winner.

Your winner and STILL WWE World Heavyweight Champion: Seth Rollins

Predictions: 2/7. I can always count on Seth as my saving grace.

Ambrose wasn’t happy and he sounded off after Money in the Bank went off the air.

Here’s why I love the finish: Everyone wins. Imagine Ambrose really did win the championship at Payback, or even Elimination Chamber. We know he wasn’t going to get a significant reign with the belt, especially with Lesnar coming back soon. Lesnar will most likely be babyface when he returns, and it wouldn’t make sense to me for him to go after Ambrose – because that’s what he wants, the title. If Ambrose won the title and then lost it rather quickly, it really wouldn’t mean much. Ambrose’s title win [hopefully] should be treated as Daniel Bryan’s title win at WrestleMania XXX. Maybe not all the confetti and balloons and fireworks, but Ambrose should have a legitimate run with the WWE Championship. Could that time be now? Sure. He’s hot and over and the crowd doesn’t seem like it’s getting tired of him. But let’s not forget right now is Rollins’ time and he’s getting every opportunity to prove himself as the next big main-eventer in the company behind Cena. He deserves the title just as much as Ambrose does.

People might not like the ending just because, but are OK with Rollins retaining his title. I thought it was more interesting having two competitors both having the championship in their grasps while falling, because nobody knew who won until Rollins’ music hit. It was something different, because we always see those high spots in a ladder match where one move proves the finish, and we clearly see who gets the title. For a few seconds, we weren’t sure. Both Rollins and Ambrose fighting for the title on the same side of the ladder made it an even more interesting angle, because Ambrose had his hands on the belt until the very last second. Rollins didn’t beat him with a move. He got lucky. Sure, he proved in this great match he didn’t need The Authority’s help, but he also proved that Ambrose is right on par with him. Nobody’s better. They’re both on the same level. And I think that helps Ambrose out in a huge way moving onto his next feud, with whomever.

So, yeah, it was a pretty bad prediction night for me. Embarrassing, even. But, I still think this was a good show, saved by an amazing Cena-Owens match and a great main event with a finish I thought was fresh and didn’t rehash a lot of past angles.

While this event wasn’t as good as previous Money in the Bank events, or even the last two special events, I think the two matches helped make this show better than it had any right of being. The Money in the Bank Ladder Match pleasantly surprised me, but Sheamus really needs to do something people care about to make it mean anything. At this point, if he cashes it in, I doubt there would be any reaction. He used to be one of the most over guys on the roster, and now it’s like pulling teeth to get a crowd to react to him. Give him something good to do. Make people hate him. He’s just blah at this point.

What’s next for The Authority? Seth Rollins? Dean Ambrose? Tune into Raw tonight at 8pm on the USA Network to find out, or just wait for my review tomorrow morning. It’s always a good way to start your day.

Wanna talk wrestling? Sports? Follow me on Twitter @nickpiccone