Bonus Backlash: WWE Money in the Bank Review (John Cena vs. CM Punk) and Thoughts Heading into Monday Night Raw

Now is the time for a quick bonus Backlash. Earlier, I urged fans to just enjoy the moment, but a couple of hours before Raw, I think it’s time to be able to look critically at the show and see where WWE may go from here. Let’s do a quick WWE Money in the Bank 2011 Review.

Daniel Bryan Wins Money in the Bank for Smackdown defeating Wade Barrett, Sheamus, Justin Gabriel, Heath Slater, Kane, Cody Rhodes and Sin Cara. (*** ½)

This was a giant spotfest without a real cohesive story. Segments of the match had stuff going on – the momentary reuniting of Corre, the smaller guys working together against Kane, and Bryan stopping folks from winning – but they really were only small segments. The Bryan finish, knocking off two competitors, as he was in the perfect position to win because he was being so annoying, was excellent.

Now, we are just left to hope Bryan isn’t the first guy to lose Money in the Bank. He’d be a perfect good guy to cash it in on Christian in advance, thus headlining a major show. Another option seems to be that with Henry on a rampage, he could cash in against him and give Mark a career defining big vs. little performance on par with his matches against Takeshi Morishima. In either event, this firmly establishes Bryan as the #2 face on Smackdown, hopefully keeping us from having to sit through Christian vs. Kane. This also, however, might be a way to get the MitB onto Cody Rhodes in time, as he seems to be the future of that brand, and it’s a way to let Cody face Orton down the line, as that’s the most obvious feud. Ideally, though, Cody and Orton can have a top feud without the belt, while Danielson gets to rise up the card.

Sin Cara also seems to be gone with a wellness violation. That’s fine, as he was a fairly generic spot machine during his time in WWE. If he’s back, great, as he’s mildly over. If not, it’s not huge deal. WWE could literally stick multiple indy stars under the mask and just continue the push without any major issues. The guy won’t main event, but whether he was planned to or not, Sin Cara shouldn’t either.

Mark Henry defeated the Big Show. (*** ½)

I understand that no one really likes big guys, but this was an excellent power match. Both men brutalized one another, with Show seeming to really want to hurt Henry for all he was put through and Henry, for his part, taking a more measured approach, eventually hurting the knee, and finishing Show with multiple World’s Strongest Slams and splashes. The post-match assault was absolutely great and even made the one later in the night seem bad. Henry is on the biggest roll of his career, even better than his ECW run.

Alberto Del Rio won Raw Money in the Bank defeating Rey Mysterio, Evan Bourne, The Miz, R-Truth, Kofi Kingston, Alex Riley, and Jack Swagger. (****)

This was a better Money in the Bank match, but shows the problems with how we rate wrestling because it was simply not as memorable due to who won. More guys got important roles in this one, with Truth seeming dangerous, Miz’s injury comeback, Bourne’s insane spots, Kofi’s constantly threatening to win, Riley’s general thwarting of Miz, and Rey’s seeming ready to come out on top. Swagger was the only person who wasn’t really important here, and even he got some nice moments with Bourne. Del Rio’s this match was, and the story of that is ultimately why this got the higher rating. As a jerk heading in, everyone was gunning for him, right from the start, but he persevered and even managed to be cheap as a heel to finally grab the briefcase, ripping off Rey’s mask. Del Rio is a star and ready for the top tier. Miz is already there. Truth can continue to be entertaining while he works his way up, and everyone else is who they are and got to show it in this match.

Christian won the World Title by defeating Randy Orton via Disqualification (****)

Christian wrestled a mostly clean match here, despite supposedly being the heel. He did, however, work in enough mind-games to make it clear that he would absolutely get Orton disqualified if possible. Beyond that, Christian tried to win clean, and the story, as developed, is that he couldn’t put Orton away, but it was a matter of time before Orton beat him. Once it became clear to even Christian that he wouldn’t be winning cleanly, he decided to go for the DQ and got it, sacrificing his body afterwards as Orton savagely beat him.

Christian will, ideally, hold the title for awhile, beating Orton in a three-way with Sheamus or Barrett, and then moving on to a new contender. If he just loses it back again immediately, the fans will think he’s dead, and WWE knows that. Hopefully, they have something creative in store.

With Punk seemingly ready to leave, the title of best in the world is once more up for grabs. Randy Orton is staking an early claim, but since moving to Smackdown has put on incredible matches and maintained his top guy aura. If he were a bit more consistent, he’d be a lock, but best in the world is a column for another time.

CM Punk won the WWE Title from John Cena (**** ¾)

Okay, remember how at Wrestlemania 17, when the Rock faced Stone Cold in a match that is at the absolute pinnacle of must-see for wrestling fans? This match is that good and on that pinnacle. However, just like that match, it was just sloppy enough that in RATING, I can’t go five stars. It’s as good or better than many five star matches, regardless, even if not technically.

Early on they focused on the best wrestler in the world stuff, with a real NWA feel to how they performed, going hold-counterhold, then using the ropes and speed to pick up the pace, then back to wrestling. Both men ended up mostly even at these portions, with Cena a bit ahead, because he’s the golden boy, of course, and Punk willing to take the advantages he found, because he isn’t.

That transitioned into a sequence where each man traded control, trying to find weakness to probe and finish the match. It didn’t happen, as both laid their exhausted into the finishing sequence. During that sequence, although Punk fought back, he was trying mostly for a quick win on a counter, as Cena controlled and hit him with everything. Punk would just not lose, reminiscent of how he won the title from Austin Aries in his “final” ROH match.

Punk surviving was the theme into the final moments as he clawed towards the ropes when Vince McMahon and Johnny Ace emerged from the back. Cena wouldn’t accept a Montreal finish, but upon stopping it, turned into a Go to Sleep and lost. Awesomely, although Punk got to kick out of multiple F-U’s, the Go to Sleep, once, cleanly, was enough and Punk got the win.

Alberto Del Rio was forced to cash in by Vince McMahon, but a quick strike from Punk, followed by a run through the crowd meant the gold would stay with CM Punk… who had just proved himself the best wrestler in the world.

My sincere guess is a re-match at Summerslam, perhaps in a 4-way (Truth or Miz, Cena, Del Rio), as Vince somehow manipulates Punk into coming back. That’s not my preference though. A better idea, one that will not happen, is for Punk to stay gone, WWE to create an interim WWE title until Wrestlemania. At Wrestlemania, Punk can be lured back to go after the interim champion, the Undertaker, and his Streak, or, if not Taker, the interim champion Triple H for control of the company.

But then, Raw’s in 2-hours, so the speculation won’t last long. Let’s see what they do. Keep it with InsidePulse Wrestling for all the Raw coverage, including live play-by-play and my review tomorrow morning

Tags: , , , ,