El Patron, the former Alberto Del Rio continues to make headlines. Patron made his first US post-WWE appearance over the weekend at a House of Hardcore show and according to the former WWE star, you can expect to see a lot more of him in the United States real soon.
Patron made his first U.S. appearance this past weekend only a week after receiving a full release from his WWE contract. Prior to the release, Patron was barred from appearing on any pro wrestling shows in the United States for one year. Patron and the WWE settled, lifting that stipulation and opening up the door for some big things here in the States.
Patron talked to Bill Apter on the Apter Chat where they talked about his future. Patron gave a quick interview and told Apter that he will be signing deals with two pro wrestling companies in the United States. Patron revealed that both company have television and the deals will be signed in January.
This immediately set the Internet on fire with several reports concluding that Patron was signing with TNA Wrestling. The speculation would seem to make sense. TNA is expected to sign a new deal imminently with Destination America. However, TNA may not be the only game in town from what I hear.
It is just as possible that Patron will be signing with Jeff Jarrett’s Global Force Wrestling. Jarrett is looking for a television deal and looking to make a splash. Now I am not really sure what Jarrett has to offer at the moment without a TV deal. However, I have heard rumblings that it is actually Jarrett’s GCW that is expected to land Patron and not TNA.
Patron is also expected to sign with the Lucha Underground promotion. That was expected from the start, some even speculating that before he left the WWE. Patron will appear on their U.S. television sometime next year. He is expected to be the centerpiece of the promotion, along with Rey Mysterio if Rey can get out of his WWE deal.
Check out the interview with the legendary Bill Apter and brace yourself for a heavy dose of El Patron in 2015.
It didn’t take long for the superstar formerly known as Alberto Del Rio to exercise his right to appear on pro wrestling events in the United States. El Patron made a surprise appearance Saturday night and blew the roof off of the House of Hardcore.
Patron (Del Rio’s new working name) made an unannounced appearance Saturday night at Tommy Dreamer’s House of Hardcore show. The show took place in Philadelphia at the old ECW Arena and in ECW-fashion, was full of surprises. Dreamer and company promised surprises to make up for a slew of injuries that marred the event. Yet Patron was arguably the biggest of the show.
A fan-filmed video captured the moment as you can see below. The segment played out with Patron’s ring announcer Ricardo Rodriguez coming out after the former Curt Hawkins lost to Christian York. Ricardo cut a promo and then introduced Patron in clever fashion by rolling out the Alberto and letting the fans complete the intro. Del Rio then appeared to one of the biggest reactions you will ever hear on a pro wrestling event in 2014.
My old friend Rob Feinstein who works with the event commented that Patron was super jacked up about the appearance. Patron told Feinstein that it was the most fun he had in a locker room in a long time and was blown away by the reception he received from the crowd in Philadelphia. I would assume that the appearance will lead to something in-ring down the line for Dreamer’s company.
The appearance comes a week after it was announced that Patron and the WWE had come to terms on a settlement. Patron was fired from the company in August for slapping an employee who made a racist joke about Del Rio. The WWE believed that their contract with Patron prohibited him from appearing on any pro wrestling shows in the United States for a year. That contract was settled last week allowing Patron to appear and wrestle wherever he wants. His first U.S. stop was appropriately in Philadelphia at that old Bingo Hall.
I have a couple of takeaways after talking to people who were there and watching the video. My first thought is that this crowd that loved Patron were probably the same ones who criticized him on social media during his WWE tenure. It’s funny how quickly he becomes beloved by his same critics. That said, no matter what you thought of him as a WWE star, the reasons behind his departure make him one of the most sympathetic figures in the business right now. I could have guessed that the fans would welcome him but I never imagined that the fans would react as loud as they did.
The other is how nice it is to see a pro wrestling event with passion. Take WrestleMania out of the equation and I can’t tell you the last time I saw a WWE crowd exhibit that kind of passion. I guess you could say that Daniel Bryan inspired that kind of passion last winter-Mania at live events, but that seems so long ago. What this video tells me is that there is still a market out there for a “cool” wrestling product and there are still fans willing to pay to see it.
TNA is the first company that comes to mind as a company that really blew it and could have promoted differently to take advantage of this. Ring of Honor has the in-ring but they don’t have enough recognizable faces to attract these fans. I would love to see what Dreamer’s House of Hardcore could do with a television deal. The base is hungry, someone just needs to serve them the right meal.
Regardless, I think this video is a lot of fun and it is great to see Patron *(and Rodriguez together) back in a U.S. wrestling ring.
It appears what could have been an ugly public relations war for the WWE has been settled. Former WWE superstar Alberto Del Rio tweeted that he and the WWE have come to a settlement, avoiding would could have been a public relations nightmare for the WWE.
Del Rio tweeted on late Sunday evening. It is in Spanish but it essentially says that he and the WWE have come to terms on a release, specifically when it comes to booking Del Rio. Del Rio wished the WWE future endeavors which you have to think is a bit of a pun over the WWE’s public policy when it comes to reporting on departures.
Mike Johnson over at PWInsider.com reports that part of the deal includes a provision that prevents the WWE and Del Rio from disparaging each other in public. Del Rio was expected to continue unleashing allegations of racist against the WWE should the WWE continue to hold Del Rio to his contract. The company has gotten fairly lucky in that national media in this country has not picked up on the story. It was inevitable that a story was going to get picked up and it could have been a major blow to a company that appears more concerned about public perception than quality booking these days.
Del Rio was fired from the WWE a couple of months ago after slapping a social media employee in the face. Del Rio has told the story in numerous international interviews and most of us have heard it before. The gist of it is that this employee left trash at catering and when asked to clean it up told someone that it was Del Rio’s job to clean it up. Del Rio got wind of this, demanded an apology, and when the employee refused Del Rio nailed him with a hard slap. Del Rio was fired days later and the employee kept his job until recently.
The kicker to the story is that the WWE wanted to hold Del Rio to a clause in his contract which prevented him from working in the United States for a year. TNA Wrestling reportedly made Del Rio an offer for whatever it is worth and it is highly likely that Del Rio could clean up on the U.S. independent scene. It would appear that this new agreement would allow Del Rio to seek opportunities where he pleases starting today whether they be in America or television elsewhere.
The irony here is that the tweet comes a day after Alberto filmed a Shoot Interview for RF Video. It will be interesting to see if Del Rio took this video as a last attempt to get his story out there and take shots at the WWE or if he avoided anything disparaging. The timing is certainly interesting to say the least.
Unfortunately the pro wrestling industry in the United States isn’t what it used to be and there aren’t any real enticing opportunities for Del Rio. TNA is a nice thought but the company has no television deal in place for 2015. Dixie Carter has also missed her deadline for making an announcement which certainly doesn’t appear to be good news for TNA. Lucha Underground is making its way into America but they have a long way to go before they become viable. Del Rio was scheduled to be a part of the group but terms of his deal prior to this settlement would have prevented him from doing so in the U.S. until August 2015. It should be noted that if Rey Mysterio can get out of his deal as he desires, Lucha Underground could make a heck of a splash with both Del Rio and Mysterio on their TV and touring in the U.S.
It is a bittersweet ending to one of the most fascinating stories of the year. There is a part of me that feels that the WWE got off a little too easy here considering the facts behind Del Rio’s firing. Nonetheless, cooler heads finally prevailed and an amicable parting will benefit everyone moving forward.
The controversial WWE firing of Alberto Del Rio is getting interesting. Alberto Del Rio spoke out for the first time since his release and the former WWE superstar’s recap will certainly not help relations between the WWE and the Latino market.
Alberto was fired a couple of weeks ago seemingly out of nowhere by the WWE. Rumors circulated and details were quickly confirmed regarding the incident. The short story is that the social media manager of the WWE made a racist comment about Alberto which got back to Alberto. ADR confronted the employee who refused to apologize and was slapped for it.
Things heated up over the weekend when Alberto made an appearance at Triple Mania. What does this mean for Alberto’s non-compete? With Triple A coming to the United States, can Alberto be their franchise player? What happens next? Will there be a lawsuit?
Alberto appeared recently on a Mexican morning news show and gave his side of the story for the first time. Transcripts of his Primero Noticias of Televisa appearance have finally become available and here are just some of the details from the lengthy interview.
“Yes, I continued being one of the top guys in USA. But there was an incident in which there was an altercation with a WWE employee. I won’t give all the details just yet. I’m still assessing which is the best way, legally, so that nothing that I say can be used against me. You know that US laws are completely different than the ones in Mexico. It was an incident in which I was offended. I was completely the victim. I have not spoken or said anything due to the same situation. They went ahead and said that I had unprofessional conduct. It’s true. Yes, I slapped this WWE employee because, I always say, that you can take my job, but no one will take my dignity, or my pride. And I won’t let anyone offend or humiliate my homeland, which is Mexico. I don’t forget my roots. Like I said, I am defending myself. This problem led to the end of my contract with them in one of the moments where I was at the top of the tier, just like I have always been throughout my 6 years with them.”
Alberto was then asked whether he was a victim of racism. “Yes, yes. These were comments that this guy made. And I reacted in an inappropriate manner. I will never say that someone should conduct themselves the way I did. I slapped him, and I feel completely embarrassed of my attitude and my reaction. But in that moment, after his comment, I demanded an apology. I didn’t just stand there and slap him outright.”
What may be the most damaging part of his side of the story to the WWE is that there was an incident prior to this one with the social media manager. I” had an incident with him in the past where he pretended, I think, to read his computer. He said “Alberto is a such and such.” And I was like, “What did you say, man?” He stands up and says, “No, it’s something from Twitter.” He then wants to give me his hand, and I just said, “Don’t touch me.” And I left to the ring, because I was on my way to the squared circle. This was about 7-8 months ago. When he says this comment, the same person again, I’m like “What’s this guy’s problem?” So I stand up, and don’t think I’m going to come to blows with him. I stood up demanding an apology.”
Alberto tells the interviewer that he did indeed slap him. “He was already standing up. He was about to leave when he said that comment. The only thing he does after his comment is, with his face as close to me as mine is to yours right now, he does a douchey smirk with one side of mouth. And then I hit him. I’ll say it again, I will always be embarrassed of the way I reacted. I’m not regretful. Sure, it costed me my job. But they are the ones that lose more in this situation.”
Now according to Dave Meltzer in a recent podcast Alberto didn’t just slap this employee. Alberto slapped the heck out of him. Meltzer compared the slap to the David Schultz-John Stossel slap.
Alberto said that he spoke with Vince McMahon after the incident. He said Vince told him he understood what he did and suspended him. Alberto said that Triple H called him later and told him he was being fired. Alberto said that Triple H claimed it hurt WWE more to release him due to the time and money they invested. Telling a guy who is getting fired for standing up for himself after a racist remark that the company is hurting more is a bit absurd and arrogant if you ask me.
Meltzer speculated that the social media manager threatened to sue the company if Del Rio wasn’t fired. Thus Del Rio was fired. It’s a real tough one here. I am sure the guy has a case but I can’t imagine how the WWE can keep a guy who is making racist remarks openly within the company. That seems like just-cause to me.
Alberto told the reporter he is suspended for a year. He isn’t sure whether he is going to fight that. Now keep in mind that the WWE has fired him. I am not sure that they can legally prevent him from making a living without paying him. They tried to do the same thing to Brock Lesnar years ago and they lost in court over their non-compete.
The revelation that Alberto had a previous incident with this guy is very damaging to the WWE. The fact that the WWE kept this employee on staff after such an incident is remarkable. That part of the story is going to hurt if this story blows up in the press. The Latino market make up a big part of the WWE audience. This is a story the WWE will probably want to keep quiet. It will be interesting to see who moves first in the upcoming weeks.
The more details that emerge surrounding Alberto Del Rio’s WWE release, the more strange this story gets. New details have garnered ADR some sympathy and are putting the WWE in some real hot water.
The wrestling was stunned last week when Alberto Del Rio was released by the WWE. Guys at Alberto’s level aren’t often released without good reason by the WWE, especially at a time when the company is razor thin on heels. Now that the dust has started to settle, accolades are quickly turning to criticism and anger towards the WWE.
Here is what we knew at the time. Alberto was reportedly released after a physical altercation with a non-wrestler employee. Alberto reportedly got physical with someone who worked on the social media end of the company. Rumors were swirling but none of the earlier reports had ample detail or confirmation to be taken as facts.
A few days later details were reported by several sources which gave credence to some of the earlier reports and painted a better picture on others. It was at this point fans and media took a step back and wondered why this was playing out as it was.
According to some reports, a social media manager was asked to clean off his plate in catering, which says a lot to me about how this employee conducts himself at work. The employee remarked that it was “Del Rio’s job”, an obvious racial slur aimed at Del Rio’s Latino ethnicity. The “joke” got back to Del Rio who confronted this employee and demanded an apology. Allegedly the employee didn’t apologize and was slapped by Del Rio. ADR was released shortly thereafter.
While nobody can condone Del Rio physically assaulting anyone, it is hard not to empathize with him. I can certainly understand why the WWE needed to take action but if these circumstances are true, dismissal seems like an overreaction although to be fair their hands may have been tied legally. Even stranger is that this employee is allegedly still with the company. Where I come from, a racist joke is grounds for suspension or termination, especially when it is directed towards one of the guys keeping the lights on. What is even stranger is that the WWE Twitter account took shots at Del Rio after this happened, retweeted by Triple H. Considering the actions of the social media manager, those actions are just downright strange.
I mentioned in an earlier blog post that I think Del Rio’s contractual status had something to do with action. Del Rio’s contract was coming due and he reportedly was planning on leaving the company. The WWE were well aware of this and have had an axe to grind with him over it. I wonder what would have happened if Del Rio was planning to stay?
F4WOnline.com reported that Del Rio has immediate interest from Triple A and of all places TNA Wrestling. Del Rio could be a last minute Hail Mary attempt by TNA to create buzz and interest in hopes that Spike either changes their minds to renew or another network takes a shot. Otherwise it makes absolutely no sense to me why they would pursue someone at high dollar knowing that their future is in serious jeopardy.
Regardless, this is turning out to be a much bigger story. The WWE is slowly starting to get media attention for the story. Unfortunately for them the media attention is for the racist joke and apparent tolerance and not for SummerSlam or RAW. Keep an eye on this one. If the wrong group decides to make a cause out of this, it could get ugly quickly for the WWE.
It’s a good thing to have someone in the wrestling business fighting for Old Glory again. The idea to make Jack Swagger a “Real American” in terms of fighting for his country and having the thousands in attendance each week cheering for the USA is one of the trademark spot of the older wrestling generation.
Whether it was Hulk Hogan or Sgt. Slaughter or Jim Duggan, there has always been someone to jump at the chance to fight for the country he loves and create controversy. But what happens when the man who fights for our country doesn’t have anyone to fight anymore?
The program between Swagger and Rusev has been good for the WWE over the past month, but it should end at SummerSlam. What happens to Swagger then? Fan support in this case is not as much for Swagger as it is for Zeb Colter, who has tugged at the heartstrings of the WWE Universe. What combination or individual comes in and takes Rusev’s role as antagonist? Wrestling used to be famous for that. The Iron Sheik. Nikolai Volkoff, and Ivan Koloff were famous for challenging America and challenging the faces of promotions – generating heat from the crowds during the era of Kayfabe – and guaranteed bank at the gate.
Unfortunately, I do not see Swagger doing that for the WWE, mainly because there is not as much charisma in his talent and act as there is in his manager. Maybe a program with Kofi Kingston, who we finally may see turn heel, or Big E makes more sense. If the WWE wants to tweak Swagger’s character more, that would make plenty of sense.
This coming week, the Hardy’s and Team 3D will meet again in another historic tag team match. Whether you want to admit it or not, if you want to see “good” tag team wrestling outside the Uso’s or Rhodes brothers, turn the channel on your television on Thursday nights.
While the contract with Spike Television does not run out until October, Impact wrestling has turned up its game in the tag team division and has brought two great matches in three weeks to Thursday night.
If the match with Bully Ray and Devon is half as good as the match between the Hardy’s and The Wolves, there may still be some hope for TNA keeping its contract with the current cable channel.
I am not going to rehash anything that has already been said about the release of Alberto Del Rio other than I am not bothered by his release. What I can say is this, the WWE is a business and a publically traded one. It acted like a business and did what was best for business.
Personally, I did not like the character from the start and thought Del Rio was stale and boring and dropped from a heavyweight to a lightweight in a nanosecond within the company. Part of that problem became evident when Del Rio became a world champion first and did not work his way up the WWE food chain.
Happy Birthday Hulk Hogan
And finally, a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Hulk Hogan. The 61-year-old Hogan continues to be part of the center of the wrestling world. This past week Hogan announced that he would entertain the idea of wrestling at WrestleMania 31 – his opponent none other than John Cena.
While this would be the ultimate “passing of the torch” I beg the WWE and the wrestling world to not allow this to happen in any way, shape or form.
If this is the WWE’s idea of replacing Undertaker on the card with a match like this, then the ultimate “jumping the shark” event will take place and ruin everything the company is doing to change the culture of the business. JUST SAY NO!
For those of you who haven’t heard, former WWE and World Heavyweight Champion Alberto del Rio has been released by the WWE.
Rumor has it (according to Ring of Honor founder and RF Video President Rob Feinstein’s Facebook page) that Del Rio was “100% let go” because of an incident that took place at Tuesday’s Smackdown! tapings in Laredo, Texas.
Apparently, Del Rio had a run-in with a .com employee. Things were said and Del Rio reportedly slapped him.
This has fueled rumors as to why it happened – the biggest being that Del Rio wanted out of his contract early since he has been doing nothing of note anyway and this was his way of getting it – but the prevailing thing to take away from this is that it’s for the best.
As I said above, Del Rio has been treading water for the last little while. He shows up, has his match, hits his spots and he’s gone again. He hasn’t had a significant storyline in ages and doesn’t seem like he was going to get one any time soon, either. Unless you count “holding the cross arm-breaker for too long” as doing something of note, that is. In which case he’s been doing that all day, every day.
This is for the best. Del Rio is a fantastic performer…in the ring. He has the capability of putting on a fantastic match with anyone at any time and is probably one of the more underrated in-ring performers going today simply due to his lack of a push or any real storylines.
But the simple fact of the matter is that Del Rio was too boring to really elevate in the WWE. Even during his greatest feuds, he struggled to make an impact on the mic as basically the Hispanic JBL. He could get his point across just fine, but conveying it an interesting manner was not his forte. Think about it for a second: Dean Ambrose can turn “I want to destroy your face, Seth Rollins” into a compelling, passionate and interesting promo that leaves you clamoring for more. Del Rio could cut that same promo, but it would be missing the passion and the over-the-top attitude WWE’s best have on the mic. Del Rio is just there to tell you “I don’t like this guy” in so many words before he can get to doing what he does best.
And really, how was he ever supposed to be a character people would clamor for (or to hate) if he can’t convey his message in a way that captivates the audience? In wrestling, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a heel or face: if you can make yourself interesting and different, fans will love and appreciate you whether they’re supposed to be booing or cheering you. With Del Rio, fans just had an appreciation for his in-ring abilities but could never get behind the character. He was just Hispanic JBL until the bell rang. We get it, you’re a rich jerk. Now add some layers.
All of that is leaving out the fact that he pretty much wrestles one guy for months on end even without a story in place. Want to see Del Rio vs Kofi Kingston? Here you go, 400 times in a row. Liked Del Rio vs Sheamus? Good, because that’s the only match you’ll get for the next six months.
Ultimately, Del Rio’s departure works out for everyone. He didn’t need the money, really – he was wealthy already thanks to his success in Mexico – and wasn’t being used in a way that justifies his in-ring talent. Meanwhile, we’re spared from another boring “paint by numbers” ADR promo and a match ending featuring him holding the cross arm-breaker after the bell because grrr, he’s a mean guy.
I wish Alberto the best in his future endeavors and thank the heavens that I won’t have to see him wrestle Dolph Ziggler 14,000 more times.
Ricardo Rodriquez may have a chance to reunite with Alberto Del Rio sooner than he expected. Unfortunately it won’t be in the WWE as the company officially parted ways with Del Rio on Thursday.
News broke late Thursday afternoon that Del Rio had been released from his contract. WWE.com put up a brief statement that reads as follows.
“WWE announced the release of Alberto Del Rio due to unprofessional conduct and an altercation with an employee.”
There aren’t a whole lot of details out about the alleged altercation but there are a number of rumors floating around. According to several unconfirmed reports, Del Rio had a physical altercation with someone who works on the website or in social media for the company. At some point the altercation turned physical which resulted in Del Rio being terminated.
On the surface this seems like an overreaction from the company. At the same time the WWE is a corporation and corporations have zero tolerance for that kind of behavior. This could also be as a result of a lawsuit a former employee brought against the WWE last year which alleged that he was attacked by the Big Show.
Del Rio spent five years with the WWE. He came into the WWE in 2009 with a big contract and high expectations. Del Rio immediately started off his tenure with a bit of controversy. Del Rio had told media upon signing that he would go directly to the main roster, yet he did wind up going to FCW and spent some time in FCW before heading to the main roster.
Del Rio received a mega-push when he came up to the main roster. Del Rio was reportedly Vince McMahon’s favorite wrestler on the roster during that time period. Del Rio won the 2011 Royal Rumble and went on to wrestle Edge at WrestleMania 27. Timing worked against him here as Edge got hurt and plans to put the WWE world heavyweight title on him were scrapped and he wound up moving to RAW while the company figured out what to do with him. Unfortunately bad timing would be Del Rio’s biggest obstacle and rear its ugly head again.
Del Rio finally bounced back and won Money in the Bank. He was just starting to get his momentum back when something happened nobody expected. The Summer of Punk knocked Del Rio right out of his spot. The company hit on something that summer with CM Punk and Del Rio was once again an odd man out. Del Rio eventually won the title but the fans wanted Punk and Del Rio’s momentum had finally come to a screeching halt.
Unfortunately for Del Rio he was never able to capture that magic he had on his way to WrestleMania 27. Numerous start-stop angles and feuds relegated Del Rio to just a “regular guy” on the cards. Even his big babyface turn was botched when after turning him babyface the company booked him in a match against John Cena, turning him babyface again but this time against perennial jobbers 3MB. Many have called this one of the worst booked babyface turns in WWE history.
Del Rio has bounced around from mid-card to headliner in recent years yet again never reaching the level of success he had when he arrived. Somehow he managed to creep back into the main-event recently at Money in the Bank. It had been rumored that Del Rio was planning on leaving when his contract expired in the near future. Some are already citing that was the reason for the WWE’s short leash on Del Rio as a result of this incident.
I really enjoyed Del Rio during his initial run but never felt he lived up this potential in the ring. I can’t recall many Del Rio matches that I thought were very good or show stealers. I did enjoy his matches with Dolph Ziggler and his Mania 27 match with Edge, other than that all of his matches were pretty bland.
That said it is a big loss to a company who is struggling to find top heels. Del Rio may not have been a top guy but he was a heel you could plug in at any time. It should also be pointed out with Rey Mysterio’s career winding down, the company is now even more desperate for a Latino star.
Don’t be surprised to see Del Rio and Rodriguez hit the convention circuit in the near future.
The WWE Money in the Bank match has produced some of the most exciting moments of the last ten years. The glorified ladder match features daredevil heroics, extreme punishment, and intense action. Today I look back and celebrate the top five Money in the Bank matches in WWE history.
I don’t think anyone realized in 2005 when the WWE announced the first Money in the Bank match the significance this match would have on wrestling history. Stars were made, history was written, and memories have been cemented forever thanks to this innovative match. With two new matches around the corner I thought today would be a great time to look back and count down the top matches in MITB history. Since we aren’t quite ten years into MITB I went with a top five as opposed to a top ten. Leave a comment if you agree, disagree, or want to mention your favorite Money in the Bank match memory.
Edge defeats Chris Jericho, Shelton Benjamin, Chris Benoit, Christian and Kane – WrestleMania 21
I can’t think of another MITB match that was more exciting than the one at WrestleMania 21. I think the big difference here was that it was the first. The match just had more intensity and crowd emotion than any other due to the fact that nobody knew what to expect. The match was full of crazy spots that fans hadn’t seen before or lumped into one match. It is hard to replicate the element of surprise that the first match had at 21. Spots like the Benoit diving headbutt and Benjamin running up the ladder had fans stunned in amazement at this new kind of match.
Not that this should be part of the criteria but it also had the biggest impact in regards to elevating a star. Edge won and once he cashed in became an established WWE elite superstar for the rest of his career. No other winner has taken as much away from this match as Edge did in 2005.
Mr. Kennedy defeated CM Punk, Edge, Finlay, Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy, King Booker and Randy Orton – WrestleMania 23
I liked this match a lot and even though it was one of the longer MITB matches, it kept me interested from bell to bell. Edge and Orton bumped up the star presence here while the Hardys brought a ton of excitement to the match with the anticipation alone of what these guys would do in this environment. In terms of MITB moments, the spots between Jeff and Edge were some of the best in MITB history. Jeff’s jump on Edge is arguably the greatest spot in MITB history. What those guys did alone made this match great, yet it was a great effort from all back at 23, and the surprise winner in Kennedy was a nice touch.
CM Punk defeated Shelton Benjamin, Carlito, Chris Jericho, Mr. Kennedy, John Morrison and Montel Vontavious Porter – WrestleMania 24
I was surprised at how much I liked this match when I went back and watched all of the old MITB matches. On paper it looks pretty average but these guys went far beyond anything I expected going into the match. It did get a little spot-crazy at times but that is to be expected in such a match. Shelton Benjamin really stepped it up here and John Morrison was in his element, delivering a moonsault with a ladder in his hand at one point. Matt Hardy’s spectacular 20-foot Twist of Fate remains the highlight of this match for me.
Alberto Del Rio defeated Rey Mysterio, Kofi Kingston, Alex Riley, R-Truth, The Miz, Evan Bourne and Jack Swagger – Money in the Bank 2011
I debated a bit about the four spot here but in the end I went with the RAW MITB match from last year’s memorable show in Chicago. This match delivered on a lot of levels with the guys going out of their way to give fans plenty of breathtaking memories. Between Evan Bourne’s shooting star press 20 feet in the air, The Miz falling off the ladder, Mysterio and Kofi’s double leap, and Rey Mysterio getting unmasked, this was one of the more fun Money in the Bank matches. The hot Chicago crowd certainly didn’t hurt this one from entering the top five either.
CM Punk defeated Shelton Benjamin, Christian, Finlay, Mark Henry, Kane, Kofi Kingston and Montel Vontavious Porter – WrestleMania 25
I struggled quite a bit with the final spot here. I went back and forth between this one, last year’s MITB match, and the SmackDown match from the Chicago 2011 pay per view. In the end, the MITB WrestleMania 25 match was just too good to leave off the list. Shelton Benjamis was the show stealer in this one giving fans some of the best spots of the night in this match. One moment in particular saw Benjamin leap off the ladder placed in the aisle onto his MITB opponents. Watching these MITB matches reminded me how good Benjamin was and had me wondering why he isn’t the WWE today! Kofi also had his moments, one in particular had Kofi deliver a kick through the side of the ladder and climb the ladder while it was closed. Another saw Kofi run up the ladder and fall into a World’s Strongest Slam. Christian also had his moment hitting an Unprettier to Punk off the ladder. This match had a lot of great moments and is often one of the more underrated matches of the MITB series.
Now that we all know the seven participants in the Money in the Bank Ladder match for the WWE World Title, let the handicapping begin.
Everyone has their favorites and why. Include me in that process. But my thoughts may be different from those who put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. Here is a look at the seven wrestlers and how they should fare in the Money in the Bank match.
He won’t win – it would be too easy and the WWE Universe would hate it. A 15-time champion is nice, but it’s Cena and the fans want a new champion. If it cannot be Daniel Bryan, it should be someone new. The WWE’s mantra need to be “Anybody but Cena.” I see him playing the role of spoiler, making sure Bray Wyatt does not walk away with the title.
He has the potential to be one of the best WWE champions of all time. Cesaro has been involved in other pay-per-view events where he has proven he is title worthy. If he wins the title (and here is where it can play to the advantage of the WWE), this could be the opening for Brock Lesnar to return to face Cesaro and his former advocate. SummerSlam would be huge and ratings would jump through the roof. Lesnar as a face certainly saves the WWE.
Now that Reigns got himself into the Battle Royal on Monday night and won the match by sweet talking Vickie Guerrero into giving him a slot, it means two things. First, this is probably the last time we see Guerrero on television. Second, Reigns wins the title and challenges the Authority, setting up a war with Seth Rollins, thus leaving Dean Ambrose in the cold. Reigns was screwed at the Royal Rumble by Batista. The WWE should not make the same mistake twice. Put the strap on the big man.
This works if Sheamus turns heel. The Big White is more aggressive lately. I think the WWE has done us a great justice by having him face Cesaro on a weekly basis because the two work very well together. But something tells me in the end, what is best for business is for Sheamus to turn heel and either join Paul Heyman or become a tag team partner with Wade Barrett. That would be some bad news for the WWE roster.
The Viper was “given” a spot in the MITB match because of his dedication and loyalty to The Authority. Randy Orton is a contender, but he will not win the title. It would be too easy to put the briefcase back in his hand, which would lead to another Orton/Cena or Orton/Bryan feud. The ratings would be good, but in the end, people want to see more matches, new blood and a different feud from this pay=per-view.
Wyatt is the one who makes most sense other than Reigns. Wyatt’s charisma and the high he is on right now is something the WWE needs to take and continue. I can see John Cena and Wyatt trying to eliminate each other in this contest, but Wyatt has real potential to be a WWE champion. If the masses flock to him in Kevin Sullivan-like fashion, not only should he have the whole world in his hands, he should have the World Title for a long run.
Alberto Del Rio
The wild card in all of this madness. I was not sure why he was included in this group, but he makes perfect sense, mainly because the numbers are thin for real superstar talent. I don’t think he stands a chance in hell, but stranger things have happened. My fear is Del Rio Wins and there is a feud between Bryan and the Mexican Aristocrat. That is bad news for the WWE and ratings.