Randy Orton captures the Money in the Bank briefcase.
By Graham "GSM" Matthews
WWE Tag Team Champions Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns def. The Usos (Kickoff Match)
While the match started off slow, it picked up the pace down the stretch and the Philadelphia crowd ate it up. There were plenty of awe-inspiring spots and The Usos were made to look like equals against The Shield. I'm glad they were also given a significant amount of time in order to have one of the best tag team matches in recent memory. The Shield going over was predictable, but the right move at the moment. This is just nitpicking things, but what purpose did the commercials during the pre-show serve? The whole pre-show is meant to be one giant commercial for the pending pay-per-view, so the commercials that aired promoting the event during the bout were useless.
Damien Sandow Won the World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank Ladder Match
The SmackDown Money in the Bank Ladder match has kicked off the event every year since the inception of the pay-per-view in 2010 and this year was no different. Despite the lackluster build-up to this bout, the match ultimately delivered in a big way. The Philly crowd had no problem cheering almost every heel in this bout, which was cool to see. Dean Ambrose had a handful of unique spots while others such as The Real Americans had standout moments as well. To say Sandow costing Cody Rhodes the blue briefcase was brilliant booking would be an understatement. I had Barrett winning this match (what happened to him anyway?), but I'm very happy Sandow emerged victorious. He's more than ready for the main event scene and I'm highly anticipating his upcoming feud with Rhodes. The commentators showed great sympathy for Rhodes and stressed the fact that it should have been his night. Here's hoping these two former friends face off for the briefcase at SummerSlam.
Raw General Manager Brad Maddox Addressed the WWE Universe
Well, this was painfully pointless. I like Maddox and find him entertaining at times, but he was horrendously bad here. His video tribute to Vickie seemed to be his way of giving her a proper farewell, but she has been fired far too many times in the past for any fan to take her "departure" seriously. She'll be back on television in a regular role sooner rather than later, but I surely hope it's not in an authority position. This segment was pure filler, killed the crowd and shouldn't have even happened to begin with.
Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel def. The Miz
Banning Paul Heyman from ringside probably wasn't the best idea, as it turned the crowd against Miz more than it helped him. Regardless, the match was fine for what it was and was basis back-and-forth action for the most part. It wasn't as enjoyable as the Triple Threat Intercontinental Championship match from WWE Payback, but both competitors put forth a nice effort. Miz has been featured in the mid-card for far too long and I hope to see him move on to bigger and better things going forward.
Divas Champion AJ Lee def. Kaitlyn
Similar to the previous match, AJ and Kaitlyn tried their best to outdo the bout they had against one another at last month's WWE Payback event. That match had more of a story to it, but that's not to say that this contest was bad by any means. It was still a good match and AJ retaining the title was expected yet logical. They've had an entertaining feud in recent months, but I would like this to be the end of the line and for other fresh faces challenge AJ for the belt, such as a debuting Paige or someone else.
Ryback def. Chris Jericho
These two had a solid outing, but it's a shame that the crowd wasn't into it. I don't blame them whatsoever, as they weren't given an incentive to care about this feud in the weeks that preceded the event. They have good chemistry together and the final few minutes were fun, but the roll-up finish was strange. However, this was Ryback's first pay-per-view victory in almost exactly a year, so it'll do. Ryback didn't sell the leg injury throughout the bout and didn't complain from what I saw, so that's a plus. Jericho will be leaving the company soon to tour with Fozzy, so I hope to see Ryback write him off television by viciously attacking him at some point in the next week.
World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio def. Dolph Ziggler by Disqualification
You've seen a Del Rio vs. Ziggler match once, you've seen it a thousand times. Seriously, these two have had countless matches against one another this past year that most of the match was nothing out of the ordinary. However, it was much more entertaining down the stretch and the live crowd was heavily behind Ziggler, which was nice to see. AJ Lee's interference felt random (unless her intention was to screw over Ziggler), but it helped plant the seeds for her eventual split from Ziggler. Once the bleached blonde Superstar ditches her, he can finally become the full-fledged face he was destined to be. The disqualification finish protects both guys and allows Ziggler to contend for the strap once again at SummerSlam if that's the route they ultimately take.
WWE Champion John Cena def. Mark Henry
Henry dominated a good portion of this match and came close to winning the title. Cena has great matches when he works with the right opponent, and Henry was that guy. Cena overcoming the odds was a bit too predictable, but I didn't expect Henry to win anyway, so I wasn't vastly disappointed by the result. Having Henry cheat at various points in the contest was baffling to me, as I always thought he was one of few heels that didn't have to resort to dirty tactics to win matches. It appears I was wrong. Not only that, but was it really necessary to have The World's Strongest Man tap out? It killed any momentum he had going and doesn't set up a rematch between the two, which I guess would be fine if they move away from this program going into SummerSlam.
Randy Orton Won the All-Stars Money in the Bank Ladder Match
I would have liked to see Rob Van Dam enter last, but even still, the reaction he received upon entering the arena was nothing short of amazing. As for the match itself, it was filled with exciting action and everyone was given the spotlight over the course of the contest. RVD's Five Star Frog Splash was a sight to see and was the move of the match as far as I'm concerned. Daniel Bryan was made out to look like a star in this match by taking everyone out within a mere minute and looked incredibly strong coming out of the bout despite not winning. Curits Axel's interference was unexpected, but it was a nice foil for those that thought that Bryan might win it. It was only a matter of time before Paul Heyman turned on CM Punk, so it was cool to see the turn occur here rather than on tomorrow's Raw. Orton's mid-air RKO on RVD was excellent and I am perfectly fine with him capturing the briefcase. He hasn't been featured in the title picture for close to two years and cashing in the briefcase on a prone John Cena or Bryan would be a great way to turn him heel. He could always face RVD at SummerSlam and play off the fact that Orton nearly ended RVD's career in 2007.
Every installment of Money in the Bank since its inception in 2010 has been entertaining and this event was no exception. Sure, it wasn't as monumental as 2011's installment, but it was certainly better than last year's. In fact, it lived up to the hype by being a great show. Both Money in the Bank matches were a ton of fun and there was plenty of well wrestled matches in between. Most of the matches were predictable, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, as every outcome on this show made sense and built towards SummerSlam next month. I was genuinely surprised by the Money in the Bank Ladder match winners and the match order was very well constructed. This show continued the strong streak of enjoyable pay-per-views and I can't wait to see what kind of card WWE can muster up as the biggest blockbuster of the summer quickly approaches.
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