-My how things change in a year. In 2011, CM Punk was Stone Cold 1996. Now he’s Stone Cold 2003: he looks the same, but is missing everything that fans covet in a game-changing star. On the bright side, the show should be pretty good tonight, as long as the action wins out over any potential screwiness.
-WWE Money in the Bank 2012 is live from Phoenix, former home of Nashitude.
Match 1: Christian vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Tensai vs. Sin Cara vs. Tyson Kidd vs. Damien Sandow vs. Santino Marella (World Heavyweight MITB)
Booker called Tyson Kidd “Dynamic”. Dynamic Kidd? I’m down. Tensai brutalizes the opposition early, and slingshots Kidd into a ladder from the corner. Yeouch. Kidd gets his revenge with an assist from Christian, bashing Japanese Bullet Train with the giant ladder. Christian, Santino, and Kidd go up (with Kidd standing on the easel-fold!), but Sandow tips them. Ziggler dropkicks Sandow off, and Cody flapjacks Ziggler into a standing ladder. Cara goes all lucha madness on Ziggler and Cody, and then he and Ziggler badly mess up a superplex. What was THAT about? Christian messes up his ribs on a ladder, and Kidd goes wild with dropkicks and acrobatics on Rhodes. Tensai impedes Kidd’s climb, and he and Santino blow a powerbomb spot. Yeesh, please nobody die? Kidd and Tensai go over on a rana, and Cara prevents Sandow’s climb. Christian and Sandow try to one-up each other in a sequence that ends with Sandow ripping Christian off the ladder and dropping him back first. Christian prevents a slam onto a ladder from Sandow, countering with the dropout DDT. Sandow takes a spear onto a leaning ladder from Edge’s Little Brother. Ziggler and Rhodes then violently drop Christian off, and Tensai mauls both of them as they climb, mangling Rhodes inside the rungs. Kidd springboards onto the other side of the ladder to stop Tensai, but is knocked off. Santino and Cara manage to stop him, and Christian drives a ladder into Tensai’s back. Santino hits his comeback offense on Ziggler and brings Cobra out, striking Dolph. Santino goes up, but winds up scared of heights. He bats at the briefcase until Sandow goes up, but the Cobra takes him off. Rhodes dropkicks Marella off, and he wipes out bad. Rhodes goes up, but Vickie climbs the other side to prevent him. Ziggler takes advantage and knocks Rhodes off. Dolph almost has it, but Christian shoots up the ladder to stop him. Kidd then steals the show at 8:24 EST by catapulting off one ladder and powerbombing Dolph violently off in one motion. Christian and Sandow take each other out, and Tensai clears a table outside. In a repeat of last year, Tensai powerbombs Cara onto a ladder bridge, and then he THROWS Ziggler over the table. Rhodes front suplexes Kidd off, and Christian spears Rhodes off. Everyone is dead. Ziggler gamely crawls toward the ring with the crowd chanting his name. Santino and Christian are headed up, Santino is headbutted off, but Ziggler launches Christian off and claims the briefcase.
WINNER: Dolph Ziggler via briefcase retrieval
Rating: ****. Depite the botches, there were many heart-stopping spots, and that’s what you want, right? Ziggler winning will provide some optimism for those sick of WWE.
Talk Segment: The Miz
Nice to see Miz drop the faux-hawk for the Vince pompadour. Miz confirms what we all learned earlier, that he’s been added to the other MITB ladder match. Because he’s awesome. And he’s a movie star.
-Raw 1000: Foley’s title win is repeated.
Match 2: Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio (World Heavyweight Championship)
ADR drives in a 1966 AC Cobra, which may be the coolest looking car he’s ever driven. ADR tries to work the arm, but Sheamus slugs him, knocking him through the ropes emphatically. ADR tries to go blow for blow with a slap, and gets a pounding in return. Del Rio manages to get a hold of the arm with a side armbar, but Sheamus powers out, landing a high elbow for 2. Sheamus manages to drop Del Rio and lands a nice sliding knee to the head for 2. Del Rio regains the edge with a series of kicks, but a misses charge leads to a Sheamus suplex. Battering Ram off the top gets 2. Ricardo distracts Sheamus for just a moment, and Del Rio high kicks him off the apron. Taking advantage, ADR batters Sheamus outside, and brings in to work the arm some more. Del Rio brings back memories of Shane Douglas in 1996 with a single-arm-DDT (singalong DDT!). Sheamus works his way back, but is grounded by a buzzsaw kick for 2. Sheamus mounts the comeback, landing a swinging neckbreaker. Sheamus prevents the Cross Armbreaker, but runs shoulder first into the corner. A cover gets only 2 for the challenger. Sheamus prevents a second Cross, but falls over the top rope on a charge attempt. Sheamus tries a slingshot Battering Ram, but falls into a singlearm DDT in mid-air for 2. Sheamus comes back with a knee lift and turnover powerslam for 2. Sheamus gets the Dublin Clubs on the apron, but ADR avenges by dropping the arm across the rope. Sheamus immediately comes back with a backbreaker for 2. Sheamus misses a Brogue Kick and ADR gets a backstabber for 2. A frustrated ADR kicks away, but misses a corner enzuigiri, and Sheamus comes back with White Noise. Brogue Kick kills ADR dead.
WINNER: Sheamus via Brogue Kick (Still World Heavyweight Champion)
Rating: ***1/4. Slow start, but a strong remainder with great counters and a perfectly clean finish. I like those.
-Ricardo and ADR attack afterward…..and HERE’S DOLPH. ADR gets mad at Ziggler for some reason, and Sheamus Brogue Kicks Dolph before the bell can ring. So no cash-in yet.
-The first Tout mention tonight. F—k Tout.
-Daniel Bryan waxes poetic about marriage proposals and AJ. Say, isn’t there a World Title match in there somewhere? Yeses ensue.
-Ghana Get Got make their way out in suits to commentate on the next match. It’s like the NFL draft: three dapper black men in suits, and a creepy white guy (Lawler/Chris Berman). Cole even says “upside” to bring a Mel Kiper-ish presence.
Match 3: Prime Time Players vs. Colon Blow
O’Neil and Epico start off as Kofi makes Seabiscuit jokes about Titus. Young tags in and mauls Epico in the corner, but Epico comes back with a spinning headscissors. Primo tags in and gets a suicide dive to Young outside. Titus spills to the floor, and Epico dives onto the pile. The PTP take over on Epico as the crowd dies off until the “boring” chants try and drown out AW’s annoying ramblings. Double teaming slowly continues as AW tries to work the crowd, unsuccessfully. Amusing bit as AW picks Young’s hair while he has Epico in peril. AW makes a Taco Bell joke, which I’m sure he’ll have to apologize for tomorrow. Rosa saves the crowd by gyrating. Primo tags in and mounts the comeback, and takes Young out with a nice legsweep. Primo throats Young on the middle rope, but Young catches him off the springboard with a gutbuster. Primo manages to get a front roll cradle to steal the win.
WINNERS: Colon Blow via front roll cradle
Rating: ½*. AW had his moments, but this was just awful and awkward. The guys tried, but it was a weird mishmash.
-AW turns his anger to Kofi and Truth, and Truth sends a drink into AW’s face. Truth restrains Little Jimmy. Insert Jerry Sandusky joke here.
-AJ assures us that she’ll be fair tonight, despite being unhinged.
Match 4: CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan (WWE 10 PM EST Championship/No DQ/Special Referee: AJ)
Why is Bryan wearing Travis Bickle’s jacket to the ring? Cole puts over Punk holding the title for 238 days. AJ staring at Punk while taking the title is a nice touch. Punk gets a leg whip on Bryan, and mauls him outside the ring. Bryan reverses a whip, and lays in some Yes Chops. Bryan attacks Punk with a folded arm stomp and some kicks, but Punk manages a roll-up for 2. Vicious strike exchange ensues with woos and yeses from the Phoenix crowd. Punk gets a backbreaker, but misses a diving legdrop. Bryan lays the wood to Punk via kicks, and he can only get a 1 count from AJ. Punk manages to dropkick Bryan outside, and he follows that with a suicide dive. Bryan takes a walk and Punk follows, with the brawl leading to Punk throating Bryan on the rail. As Punk sends Bryan in, but Bryan shoves Punk into AJ on the apron, sending her careening off. Other refs and a medic run out as Bryan lands an axe handle off the apron on the champ. Chad Patton takes over as Bryan lands the Sagat Tiger Knee off the apron. Dualing chant breaks out, with Punk’s being considerably louder. Bryan is backdropped into the timekeeper’s station. Bryan gets crotched on the rail, and Punk spring-clotheslines him off (after shoving a fat security guard away). The crowd wants tables, so Punk continues his newfound pandering ways by getting one (that’s a joke btw). Bryan works Punk’s injured ribs, and gets a kendo stick. Punk avoids a series of swings, but after a standoff, Bryan finally connects. Corner reversal sequence leads to a Punk springboard into Bryan slamming the stick into his ribs for 2. Bryan does his best Sandman impression for a bit with repeated shots, only getting 2. Bryan grinds his forearm into Punk’s face for a bit, before going back to the kicks. Swandive headbutt misses, but Punk can’t capitalize. The two exchange hard kicks, and Punk catches fire with a leg lariat and neckbreaker for 2. Punk gets the corner knee, but Bryan avoids the bulldog. Punk comes back with the snap-slam for 2. Bryan counters a GTS into a hurrachanrana for 2, then follows with a head kick. Bryan gets the stick back to lay in some more shots, and he applies the Romero Special. Punk manages to get partially free, gets the stick, and whips the vitiligo off of Bryan for 2. Punk tries for the Savage Elbow, but Bryan catches him up top, and lands a superplex. That’s AJ’s cue to make her way back out, and she replaces Patton. After skipping about, AJ goes out and gets a steel chair. She eyes both men, and lays the chair in the middle of the ring. Bryan gets it and batters Punk’s torso. That gets 2. Bryan demands a three count calmly, and Punk gets a roll up for 2. Bryan berates her again. He kicks at Punk, and AJ shows concern. Punk comes back with a diving clothesline, and he gets the chair. Three whacks to the back later, and Punk wedges it in the turnbuckle. Punk goes to whip Bryan into it, and AJ stands in front of it. Punk is confused, and Bryan lands a straight dropkick. Bryan gets to get the stick, and AJ steps on it to stop him. Punk kicks Bryan behind the ear, and gives him a chair-assisted slam (Nice!). Savage Elbow misses, and Punk slams into the chair. Bryan gets a cane-assisted Yes Lock, but Punk escapes and slingshots him into the post. Punk lands the GTS. Punk slowly crawls over and gets only 2. Punk brings the table into the ring, and sets Bryan upon it. Punk tries again for the Savage Elbow, but Bryan leaps off and crotches him. After knees to the head, Bryan heads up, but Punk crotches him and slides out. Punk lands a back suplex off through the table and both men are out. Punk wins without further incident from AJ.
WINNER: CM Punk via back superplex through the table
Rating: ****1/2. Huh, and many thought Bryan was gonna win via screwjob. Violent, thrilling match, and I’m out of breath just watching it, even if my writing doesn’t convey it. I wonder where the AJ part will go from here.
-Note: AJ’s conflicted face > Katy Perry’s any face.
Match 5: Ryback vs. Reks and Effeks.
I was in dire need of a piss. I come back to Ryback *le gasp* in peril! But no worries, Ryback came back and killed them dead.
WINNER: Ryback via Sustained Booking
Rating: Who cares? Jobbers died, Ryback looks deadly, time to give him a legit feud, methinks.
-Raw 1000: Jericho’s debut. Finally, a moment I loved.
Match 6: Layla/Kaitlyn/Tamina Snuka vs. Pin-Up Strong/Eve Torres
Hey, look, a division! Layla, Kaitlyn, and Tamina = the all female remake of Encino Man. Natalya mocks the Snuka pose, and Cole just HAS to play the “her dad is Jimmy Snuka” card. SHE WILL NEVER BE OVER! STOP IT! Kaitlyn slaps everyone and lands a crossbody on Eve for 2. Layla in, and she gets a double jump crossbody on Beth. Beth gets a gorilla press, but Layla turns it into a sunset flip for 2, broken by Natalya. Tamina superkicks Beth and Layla wins with the Lay Out.
WINNERS: Layla/Kaitlyn/Tamina via Lay Out
Rating: ¾*. It was a match.
Everyone’s cleared out until the giants remain, and Cena runs in to knock Show over. Everyone fights outside except Miz, who heads up, but Cena stops him. Show runs in and mauls both. Show even throws a ladder onto Jericho on the floor, who’s either selling well, or he broke his hand. Finally, the battle of the giants ensues, and Show slams Kane. Jericho manages to hit a Codebreaker on Show, and Miz flattens Show further with the Stump DDT. Cena further neutralizes Show with an AA through the Spanish table. Then everyone throws ladders onto Show to bury him. Ryder: “Ba ha ha, I’VE HAD WORSE!” Miz stops a Jericho climb, so Y2J goes all Wallsy on him. Jericho has total control, suplexing Miz. He battering rams Cena with a ladder while Miz climbs, though Jericho yanks him down. And Miz eats the ladder mounted on the buckle. Cena takes Jericho out and heads up, but the crooked ladder disrupts Cena’s balance and Miz lays him out with a sick DDT. Miz almost has the case, so Kane throws a ladder at him. Kane is suplexed onto a ladder by Jericho and Miz after a stopped climb for the monster, and Cena goes nuts on everyone afterward. Ten Knuckle Shuffle lands on Jeri-Miz, and then he AA’s Kane on Miz on the ladder. Jericho quickly takes Cena out and everyone is dead. Jericho slams a ladder onto Miz, and goes to climb unimpeded, but FrankenShow crawls from the wreckage. Show rips the ladder apart with Jericho on it and knocks him off. We get Show and Cena inside, and Cena is avalanched behind a ladder on Show’s hip charge. Show chucks ladders to the floor, and then reaches under the ring to fetch….MECHA-LADDER, returning from MITB 2010! Show begins the slow climb, but Kane races up the other side. Double goozle, but Show WMDs Kane off. Cena runs up the ladder next, and he gets knocked off. Jericho whacks Show with the chair, and finally gets him down. Cena and Jericho head up Mecha-Ladder slowly, and Cena tries to AA Jericho off. Y2J turns it into a sleeper, but Cena piggybacks Jericho back up. Cena, however, fades, and Miz heads up the other side. Jericho manages to knock him off, and Cena falls off himself. Jericho heads up, but Miz jumps back up, and they fight over the case, with Jericho swinging like Tarzan with the case over the ring! Jericho resets on the ladder, but Show knocks both off. Cena’s up, and he bashes Show with the case until it snaps off the hook. One more shot knocks Show off and it’s his.
WINNER: John Cena via briefcase retrieval.
Rating: ***1/4. Decent spots, but pretty slow overall. Not so much a spotfest as it was a smartly worked match. Call it good, but not great.
Overall: Hey, two **** matches are the hallmark of a thumbs up, right? Nothing sucked except for the tag match, and what was good delivered.
Full WWE 2012 Money in the Bank results & winners…
John Cena defeated The Miz, The Big Show, Kane, and Chris Jericho to win Money in the Bank
Layla, Kaitlyn, & Tamina Snuka defeated Beth Phoenix, Natalya, & Eve Torres
Ryback defeated Reks and Hawkins
CM Punk defeated Daniel Bryan in a No DQ match
Primo & Epico defeated the Prime Time Playas
Sheamus defeated Alberto Del Rio
Dolph Ziggler defeated Christian, Cody Rhodes, Tensai, Sin Cara, Tyson Kidd, Damien Sandow, & Santino Marella to win Money in the Bank
R-Truth and Kofi Kingston defeated Camacho and Hunico
Justin Henry is a freelance writer whose work appears on many websites. He provides wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture columns for CamelClutchBlog.com, as well as several wrestling columns a week for Wrestlechat.net and WrestleCrap.com. Justin can be found here on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/notoriousjrh and Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/cynicjrh.