WWE Champion John Cena Called Out Mr. McMahon
One week earlier, CM Punk cut his famous "pipebomb" promo and was immediately "suspended" by the company, effectively calling off his scheduled WWE Championship match with Cena at Money in the Bank. Cena cut a promo here basically demanding McMahon to reinstate Punk so they could have their matchup. It was a logical open to the show that set up McMahon's appearance for later in the night.
Divas Champion Kelly Kelly and Eve Torres def. The Bella Twins
Kelly and Eve were feuding with Nikki and Brie at the time and Kelly wound up facing Brie in a rematch for the Divas Championship at Money in the Bank. Kelly won this match as well as the week prior, so it was nice to see her booked to look strong in her first few weeks as champion, but it did nothing to make the Bellas look like a threat. This was surprisingly better than I thought it would be. It was serviceable and all four ladies held their own.
WWE Tag Team Champions David Otunga and Michael McGillicutty def. Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov (Non-title)
The commentators noted how The New Nexus' status was "up in the air" after Punk's storyline suspension the week prior. Punk never ended up leading the group again when he returned to TV the following week, so the group quietly disbanded in early August. Otunga and McGillicutty were champs for a few months, yet you would never know because they rarely defended their titles. This match was perfectly fine and at least Nexus actually won for a change. Afterward, Zack Ryder emerged and simply said his signature catchphrase. I have no clue what the purpose of that was because I don't remember it leading to anything.
Jack Swagger def. Sgt. Slaughter
I don't think anyone was clamoring to see Slaughter in the ring in 2011, but it was cool with it being Independence Day and all. Besides, it was kept short and sweet and Swagger went over in decisive fashion as he should have, so I have no complaints whatsoever. Swagger and Evan Bourne were feuding at the time, which is why Bourne made the save for Slaughter afterward.
Alberto Del Rio def. Rey Mysterio and R-Truth in a WWE Championship No. 1 Contender's Triple Threat Match
With Punk "suspended," Cena needed a new challenger to the WWE title at Money in the Bank. I guess it made sense from a storyline standpoint at the time, but what's weird is that Punk was in fact reinstated by McMahon at the end of this very episode, rendering the outcome of this contest irrelevant. He wasn't even added to Cena vs. Punk at the pay-per-view, so in retrospect, this was pretty pointless. Nevertheless, this was a very entertaining Triple Threat with the right result considering the roll Del Rio was on at the time.
Kofi Kingston Crashed United States Champion Dolph Ziggler and Vickie Guerrero's Independence Day Celebration
Vickie threw a Fourth of July bash for Ziggler since he was the United States Champion and thankfully it wasn't long before Kingston interrupted them. Ziggler beat Kingston for the belt at Capitol Punishment a few weeks earlier, but I don't think their rivalry was ever properly resolved. They both competed in the Raw Money in the Bank Ladder match later that month, but that's about it. This was a decent segment but nothing special. That said, I'll take this over the usual holiday silliness WWE tends to do any day.
Alex Riley def. The Miz
Maybe this was just me, but I really liked the chemistry Miz and Riley had both as allies and as rivals in 2011. Their clash at Capitol Punishment was solid and I'd argue this was even better. There was more intensity and a sense of urgency about it that I enjoyed. It could have been given more time, but it was another notable win for Riley. Sadly, WWE failed to build off his momentum and abandoned his push all together after this.
WWE Champion John Cena Convinced Mr. McMAhon to Reinstate CM Punk
It was smart to not drag this out and instead get straight to the point. Cena mentioned how his match with Punk was something everyone wanted to see, so with Punk "suspended," McMahon was doing the WWE Universe a disservice. McMahon eventually agreed to reinstate him under the condition that Cena would be "fired" if he fell short of beating Punk at the event. It would have been a bigger hook had Cena not already been fired in storyline less than a year earlier and appear on every episode of Raw thereafter until he was rehired. Even still, this segment provided more strong build for Money in the Bank.
It's hilarious to note that there was an extended video package that aired early on in the episode hyping up "Silent Rage" Andy Leavine, who never actually ended up officially debuting on WWE TV before getting suspended later on in the summer and released in April 2012. As for the rest of this show, virtually everything outside of the stuff with Cena and McMahon was skippable, which was expected since it aired on a holiday and was taped the same night as the June 27 edition. As far as matches go, the Triple Threat was a treat, but even that was a waste since Punk was reinstated soon after.
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