Something is stirring within the world of professional wrestling. It isn't yet another amazing promo delivered by yours truly or even a deadly hurricanrana given to Vince Russo (also by yours truly). It is, however, a truly dynamic angle that is panning out to change the face of the WWE entirely. Money in the Bank could very well serve as a turning point in the history of the company. Or it could be business as usual. El Jefe de Santo digs in and finds out for you, his adoring fans.
I tend to look back on pay-per-view events with an investigative eye that most other wrestling news outlets apply. Break down the matches one by one, give a rating and let you know what was good and what wasn't. It is a format that works, but honestly, this PPV was more than just a "good night" for the WWE. Oh no. This was something way more. I think this deserves a different approach.
The night started with the Titantrons ablaze with a message from CM Punk. The video production department did a magnificent job with putting together this video package to sum up, and do so quite nicely, the recent events surrounding the most important man in all of wrestling, Punk. It flashed things like "autocrat" as Vince swaggered into frame and provided a truly electric opening to the broadcast. The crowd, a small 14,000+ in Chicago, was absolutely insane. The night would prove that Chicago, yet again, is one of the better places for WWE to travel to what with their honesty in supporting whomever they like. Heels were cheered openly as the night would go on, and, of course, the hometown boy received pops that were near deafening.
The first match of the night was the Smackdown MITB Ladder match. The lineup for the Smackdown dustup was quite strong considering the Friday night show is usually considered the "B" program. There were moments of sheer brutality mixed with high flying pyrotechnics that were truly dazzling. We got to see Sheamus absolutely destroy Sin Cara via a powerbomb through a ladder along with strong showings by Cody Rhodes (A true rising star I feel), Sin Cara and others. Daniel Bryan ascended the ladder to claim his prize and, frankly, I couldn't have been happier.
Bryan is one of those guys that you just feel is on the precipice. He is that new blood that this company so desperately needs to be big and I think this could be the start of a long and successful run in this company for him. Fantastic match overall.
There was a Divas match, I'm sure, but honestly I couldn't care less now that Kharma is out of the picture for a while. There is no offense meant to the beautiful ladies of the Divas division but there are few that actually put on a good show. The ones featured here aren't among those. I know there are some that are high on Kelly Kelly but I'm just not one of them. I just don't find her in-ring work that interesting. She retained her title against Brie Bella and, well, that's that.
This, of course, lead to the match between Big Show and Mark Henry. I, honestly, didn't expect much out of this despite being impressed by Henry as of late. The World's Sexiest Man (as the letters on his unitard CLEARLY STAND FOR) was dominant over the very OVER Big Show. It was an alright match that ended with a bone shattering drop onto Show's leg via a big drop from the top rope by Henry. Somebody got their ass kicked.
The drama of the CM Punk story continued to unfold backstage as Vince let Josh Matthews know in a brief but effective segment that the ingrate (Vince's words) told him to get out of his dressing room. Why I never!
This gave way to the RAW MITB Ladder match. The lineup here was also strong, but I was a bit worried about the results considering the Smackdown match that happened prior was so damn good. Evan Bourne was the guy I really wanted to win but, in all honesty, he's not ready for the big time just yet. He did, however, make his mark with a Shooting Star Press from the top of a RATHER tall ladder onto a heap o' bodies. Del Rio, the clear favorite, started off the bout being absolutely buried by ladders leaving the rest to fend for themselves. Kingston and R-Truth both had very strong moments in this match and, at times, appeared to be getting quite close to claiming victory for themselves.
Mysterio, too, gave a strong performance and it all came down to the Masked Man and Del Rio. A true heel tactic saved Del Rio's chance (He unmasked Rey while on the ladder and forced Rey to cower and cover his face for fear of being dishonored) and claimed the briefcase. I was fine with the result honestly though not that surprised. The match was good but just seemed to lack the electricity of the first ladder match.
On to one of the worst booked feuds in years! Orton v. Christian. I like Christian a lot and I even consider myself a peep but I'm just not loving this storyline really. The abysmal PPV known as Capitol Punishment spawned this rematch due to a rather questionable call by the ref. There was a stipulation placed on the bout that if a DQ was called by the ref that Christian would still win. The writing was on the wall.
There was a heated back and forth going on much as before, but it felt very familiar. This gave way to Christian spitting in Randall's face and enraging him to the point of delivering a low blow. Christian is your new World Heavyweight Champion. Randy then went to work after the match spending some time putting Christian through, or trying to, the Spanish announce table.
It was a good match up until the point that the rather predictable ending began to unfold. Damn it.
All of the events before this were great, but now it was time for the hype of the prior weeks to be delivered upon. There have been brilliant promos from both men, Twitter bashings by Chavo to Cena and a sense of urgency to this match that we haven't seen in some time.
Vince made it VERY clear to Cena in his reinstatement of Punk that if the title strolled out of Chicago on Punk's waist that Cena was DONE. FIRED.
Time to deliver. This is where I'm going to say something that those in the IWC and probably most adult fans of WWE will find ridiculous. I wanted, so very badly, for Cena to deliver. We all knew CM Punk was going to bring it, but was Cena going to just phone it in or really be the Man. CM Punk referred to him as a dynasty, the face of the company. If that is the case then why is it that in big match situations we get the same tired routine? Damn it. It was TIME for Cena to show that in-ring work that we've seen in the past. The era of the Dr. of Thuganomics saw that, but ever since he transformed into WWE's version of Kal-El he's been rather stale.
I'll be honest. This is already a heavy contender for Match of the Year. We not only got the quality we've come to expect from the Chicago-born Punk but also the sort of caliber in-ring work that we SHOULD get from the face of the company. If you're going to be the top dog then damn it make it seem, at least, like you SHOULD be there.
There were countless near falls, kickouts of finishers and a back and forth that rivaled a few of the matches at Mania earlier this year. Cena was on the top of his game and so was Punk. We, the Universe, are the benefactors of their hard work. They left it all on the mat and for that El Jefe de Santo thanks you.
McMahon and Lauranitis (VP of Talent Relations) made their way out to the ring as Cena locked Punk into the STF yet again. He knew what was happening right away and made sure that no such interference took place. A quick right to the jaw of Lauranitis as he lunged to stop the match made sure of that. It also let Punk regain his composure and nail the champ with a GTS.
Match over. CM Punk is your new WWE Champion. The match started with nothing but hatred raining down from the fans on Cena, but as the grueling 35+ minute contest unfurled the chants from the Cenation started being heard and, honestly, there were a lot more folks cheering Cena's name at the end than one would think. Fans appreciated what was put on display and the chants of "You Can't Wrestle" gave way to "Let's Go Cena". Nonetheless the hometown fans got what the wanted to see their boy holding the WWE title.
McMahon called for Del Rio to come out right away and cash in the briefcase. He obliged accordingly only to get a swift kick to the head by Punk. The Chairman of the Board had been defeated. Punk made his way through the Chicago fans with the biggest grin on his face. A defiant fist raised into the air, WWE title grasped firmly within his bandage-wrapped wrist, and the PPV went off the air with McMahon absolutely stunned.
This was, after the horrific night that Capitol Punishment was, a reminder that this company can still deliver the goods. Creative has been on a roll lately and the booking of the matches was, for the most part, spot on.
The fallout of all of this, though, was even more interesting.
The following night Raw comes on the air to find that Vince is wanting to move on rather quickly. Tournament time! Most of the Money in the Bank participants from last night are set to compete in a 3 round tournament to see who is the new champion. R-Truth and Mysterio would claw their way to the finals in a really SOLID Raw only to be interrupted at the end by the Chairman.
He stopped the tournament and told Rey that his time would come next week. There was business to handle. Cena is brought out and he goes on a tirade. It was a blistering promo that lead him to say that if he couldn't work for the WWE he would walk to somewhere else he could be on TV, BROTHER. Strong words.
McMahon was already getting ready, smacking lips in anticipation of getting to yell his patented catchphrase when we hear, none other, than Motorhead hit and the green strobes flash. Triple H makes his way to the ring and delivers what will, ultimately, be a bombshell.
The Board of Directors filed an injunction and a vote of "No Confidence" was passed down. Vince is relieved of duties. Trips will take over the day-to-day operations and, frankly, I nearly fell out of my damn chair when this happened.
Cena wasn't fired after all, but Vince was. WHAT?! The segment had huge impact and was also very emotional what with Paul (HHH) telling McMahon "Love you Pops" and exiting the ring.
The fans began their obligatory "Na na na hey hey goodbye" chants, but thankfully that gave way to appreciation as the 65 year old executive stood in the ring, tears streaming down his face.
MY GOD! as JR would say.
What does this all mean? I think it means that Money in the Bank was a turning point for this company. It is the start of a massive turnover in the culture and possibly a humongous change in what we see on a week-to-week basis and I cannot be more thrilled to see it.
Will HHH be the saving grace for the company that has faltered as of late? Maybe. Time will tell, but I can tell you this I will be watching every RAW and every Smackdown until then to find out. There are a lot of questions that remain to be answered now that this monumental change has been made at the top and I know that I'm not only the one who is thrilled to see what happens next.