Welcome, cats and kittens, to yet another installment of the only reviews that totally liked Daniel Bryan better when he was called American Dragon for some reason, Cewsh Reviews! We have a special treat for you tonight as we set our sights on what has become the fourth biggest show of the WWE year, WWE Money in the Bank 2013. For the past several years, this show has been a yearly turning point for WWE, with incredible events taking place, and the seeds being planted for storylines months in advance. As such, they have quickly created a show that truly matters in the middle of the dreariest part of the wrestling calender. Tonight is no different, of course, as we have two different Money in the Bank ladder matches, a heated John Cena/Mark Henry match, a whole bunch of undercard goodness, and a pre show match so good that we’re forced to review it. With all of this goodness on the table, it’s obviously far too much for me to handle on my own, so I’m bringing up a hot prospect from the minors. You may remember him from our NXT Scouting Reports earlier this month, and he enjoys long walks on the beach, death metal and spirited debates about Kamen Rider. His name is Artie. And he is both the hero we need right now AND the hero we deserve. So with my new sidekick by my side, and a night full of intrigue ahead, there’s only one thing left to say.
So without any further ado, let’s do a motherfucking review!
Cewsh: Alright, now let’s dig into this show, what’s the first thing we’re reviewing. What? A pre show match? A PRE SHOW MATCH?! We’re amazing journalists with amazing insight and unchecked libidos, we don’t lower ourselves to reviewing…what’s that? This match is really good? Ha, I doubt it. Let’s see here.
Oh hey, actually this match is really, really good. Alright, let’s review a pre show match then.
This match is fast paced, dramatic, gets some solid time and by the end of it the crowd is genuinely going nuts for a tag team half of them probably couldn’t have named before the show started. The well balanced team of Rollins and Reigns did their usual thing of being effortlessly dominant in all the right ways, and then perfectly vulnerable in all those right ways too. The fans clearly buy into the idea that the Uso Brothers might actually emerge from obscurity to win the tag titles against The Shield on a pre show, and that is such a hard to swallow idea that it says everything you need to know about the excellent job these 4 did.
In the end, the Shield take it, but the Usos made a name for themselves here. There was a real sense of disappoint from the crowd to see their new favorites lose, and somehow it actually made Rollins and Reigns bigger heels than before even though they won clean. That’s how wrestling is supposed to work. All of the overbooking is just froth. When a heel is hated more for winning clean than you would be for cheating, then the machine is working just right. Whether anything will come of this for the Usos is beyond me to guess, but I’ll be damned if they didn’t hit all the right notes here.
85 out of 100
Cewsh’s Seal of Approval
Artie: Now, I watch all PPVs at Hooters, with a pretty good sized group of friends and there’s usually some 50+ other wrestling fans there too. The Pre-show usually isn’t shown on TV and a few of us will just watch it on our phones as our waitresses badger us to spend more money. This time, though, the pre-show aired on TV and the packed room LOVED it. The Shield, even when split up, are a very over team and due to all their interactions with main eventers, they are viewed as very legitimate threat. While The Usos have only recently gotten a push, their over-the-top entrance, bright ring gear, and fast-paced style has gotten them over fairly quickly with the WWE Universe.
For a pre-show match, this match was hot, hot, hot and made both teams look great. The ending sequence with Rollins giving an Uso a cornerbomb and Roman Reigns follows up with a big spear was just tremendous. Even with just the two man team here, we still saw plenty of that tight-bond style that makes The Shield so dangerous and feared.
Segment 2 – Money In The Bank Ladder Match – Cody Rhodes vs. Damien Sandow vs. Antonio Cesaro vs. Jack Swagger vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Fandango vs. Wade Barrett
Cewsh: Our first OFFICIAL match of the show is the Smackdown Money in the Bank ladder match. You may have noticed from the names involved that they saved all of the really big name talent for the Raw ladder match later on, but having this match be between a bunch of midcarder who range between no momentum and some momentum creates the odd effect of a completely unpredictable MITB match. It’s weird to look at this field and have no clue as to who will win or to what end, but it’s actually pretty refreshing, and none of these guys have anything to lose. Let’s break the match down with some Cewsh Notes.
– The most obvious thing about this match is that Cody Rhodes steals it from start to finish. I’ve never seen a guy go from uncared about heel to over babyface in one match like this before. Everyone in the group I was watching with was going crazy for Rhodes by the end, and some of them didn’t even know who he was.
– Cesaro and Swagger actually showed some great chemistry as a team here. A real tag team with those two could revive Swagger’s career in a big way.
– Rhodes does a muscle buster onto a ladder. I just want to make sure we’re all clear on how awesome that is.
– Speaking of people getting over from nowhere, towards the end of the match, the Shield interferes to help Ambrose and the Uso Brothers run them off to a HUGE reaction. Seriously, what are they putting in the water here?
– Sandow basically spends this entire match cowering behind the announce table, only to pick his moment when Rhodes is inches away from the briefcase to betray his best friend and steal the case for himself.
The reaction to this in the room I was in was similar to if we had been watching a video of someone kicking a puppy. There was RAGE going on.
– Rhodes looked so sad at the end when he realized what happened that I wanted to give him a hug.
If you can’t tell from my Rhodes-heavy notes, this match was phenomenal. They kept it fun and energetic all the way through, and they truly made a star out of Cody Rhodes with this match. I had no idea it could really be done, and Rhodes and Sandow executed a double turn masterfully. And it WAS a double turn, because before this their alignment had been “nobody cares.” Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes walk out of this with a ready made feud and a rocket up the card strapped to their backs. Even if only one of them makes something of it, this might be among the most important MITB matches ever to take place.
Oh, and if you ever think that WWE is bad at foreshadowing, go back and watch the entrance of Team Rhodes Scholars here. They beat us over the head with this turn and we never saw it coming.
88 out of 100
Cewsh’s Seal of Approval
Artie: Holy high spots and story-telling, Batman. This match may just be one of, if not, my favorite MITB ladder match ever. EVER. That includes 2 MITB matches in which CM Punk won! Here’s a basic rundown of all the little things that make this one great:
– The Real Americans stick to working together, despite the fact that only one can win. They see greater goal above individual desire.
– The Shield runs in to save the match and (try to) help Dean Ambrose win. Again, the teamwork factor was very important here.
– Cody Rhodes absolutely dominates here, giving 125% and making himself LOOK like a winner. You honestly believed he’d win.
-After taking a little beating, Sandow, the intellectual savior, runs and hides for the remainder of the match.
-Turning on Cody to win made Sandow an absolute heel and Cody a new babyface. Seeing how the other two teams factored into the this match, the effect of betrayal created here was 10 times greater than the usual turns we’d expect in this type of match.
Just a brilliant little ladder match with a big surprise win. I absolutely adored this and consider it my MOTN. Sandow winning got a very audible “YEAH, FUCK YEAH!” from the people around me.
Cewsh: Brad Maddox, in his first solo segment as the general manager of Raw, makes fun of Vickie Guerrero for about 5 minutes and shows a video of her lowlights. Maddox can be pretty great, (see: NXT commentary,) and he seems weirdly impervious to awkwardness or embarrassment, but there really isn’t any rhyme or reason to this in kayfabe or real life except to get some mild heat on Maddox.
We were never given any reason to like Vickie, so endlessly bashing her doesn’t do anything but make people uncomfortable. And seriously, this is the best video department on the planet. They don’t need to be spending their time making videos of all the times you made Vickie wear a bathing suit and sit on cake.
Segment 4 – WWE Intercontinental Championship – Curtis Axel (c) vs The Miz
Cewsh: I feel like I’m piloting The Miz’s bandwagon by myself, and everytime we stop for passengers people just turn their noses up and wander away. But god dammit, no matter how look it takes me, I am going to convince every last one of you that you are missing out on something special in the Miz right now. Since his comeback at Money in the Bank last year, the man has frankly been on fire in the ring. Asked to play a babyface definitively against type, he rose to the occasion by becoming one of the best babyface wrestlers in the company. He incorporated the Figure Four and changed his style to suit it and while, admittedly, there were some growing pains with it early on, it has added hugely to his matches and crowds are responding to him. If you don’t believe me, go back and watch his match on Main Event with Kofi Kingston last year. The man is money.
Of course he’s purely unlikable on the mic, but hey, nobody’s perfect.
Curtis Axle, for his part, has done a truly admirable job of shutting everyone right the hell up. You remember the things people were saying when he first debuted in his new gimmick. “It’ll never work” “He’s rotten” “He’ll never get over.” All of that stuff. Hell, I even said plenty of it. But here he is a few months on, and he’s delivering everything that they wanted him to. He’s not ready to move any higher on the card yet, but there are few people on the roster who would be a better fit for the IC title right now, and he’s doing a great job with it.
This match isn’t really anything special. It’s an outgrowth of the triple threat match from last month, and reads much the same. Miz does his plucky babyface thing, gets Heyman ejected through trickery to a huge pop, and then Axle eventually wins by being a cunning bastard. It’s not going to make anyone’s Best Of anthology, but it accomplished exactly what it needed to without letting the fans down too far after the exciting ladder match. Being a transition match on a wrestling card is one of the hardest things to do. And here, they both showed that they are more than capable of it.
These bandwagons aren’t going to be so easy to get onto down the road. I advise you all to join me now.
76 out of 100
Artie: I’m not gonna lie, I did not give one ounce of a shit about this match. Axel has not impressed and Miz hasn’t relevant since late 2011. I am happy to report that this match was not only interesting, but was a damn fine wrestling bout. There was lots of great psychology here with Miz working the hell out of Axel’s leg, Axel countering the figure four, and a nice little spot where Axel gets Miz in the ropes and uses his ring prowess to set Miz up for his new finisher.
I liked the little spot where Miz got Heyman thrown out and the important thing here is that Axel won a match CLEAN. I understand that they’ve been putting Curtis Axel over the big names, but those have been cheap victories. Giving him a solid clean win over someone like The Miz after a 10-minute wrestling contest like that will do much more for making him credible.
Segment 5 – WWE Divas Championship – AJ Lee (c) vs. Kaitlyn
Cewsh: Hey, so remember last month when these two had an impressive match and I praised it as a great and surprising blow off to their seemingly everlasting feud? Well apparently we aren’t even close to said blow off. So this match is a continuation of their feud, which is based on a friendship they established on NXT and in internet interviews, and then ended in a few throwaway segments on Smackdown. In other words, 90% of the audience has no real idea of why the hell these two women hate each other so much, and WWE hasn’t even bothered to try to explain it. So the fact that this feud is over and working is a testament to the performers, because they are getting zero favors.
This match is very similar to the last one. In fact, the only major difference between them is that the crowd is noticably less invested this time out. AJ does her thing, and she truly is getting to be next level great at playing to her strengths, (character work, selling,) and minimizing her weaknesses, (being ridiculously tiny.) Kaitlyn works hard to keep the pace and I actually thought this was a better performance from her than we saw last time, and she seems to improve whenever WWE deigns to give her any time to work at it. But ultimately, this match just didn’t have the atmosphere of their match from the month before, and AJ winning again sucked the life out of the fans a little bit, even with AJ’s crazy over finishing move.
73 out of 100
Artie: Ok, let me let you in on a little secret: Unlike my colleague, I do not like women’s wrestling. I try to, I really do, but the WWE women’s division is usually so devoid of interesting feuds that I just can’t care enough to actually watch women’s matches. This feud, like Mickie/Trish and the antics of Laycool, has been one of the few things the women’s division has done in the last 10 years that has interested me. That being said, these two had another wonderful, wonderful match. AJ’s finish looks god damn devastating, I swear. I’ve never seen a restaurant full of wrestling fans who not only stayed to watch the match, but were actually god damn interested in and going wild for a submission move.
Cewsh: Alright, WWE, we need to talk. What are you doing with Ryback, exactly?
Starting last May, Ryback tore through jobbers and undercarder alike in a vicious winning streak that evoked Goldberg’s in a good way. He was getting over gradually, and people were beginning to buy into him as a major threat. It’s not hard to see why.
Then, with John Cena injured and unable to wrestle CM Punk, you move him into a feud with the champion to see how the people react. They go BALLISTIC. The reactions for Ryback during the feud with Punk were flat out nuclear, as a fanbase that hated Punk was thrilled at the idea of seeing him get destroyed by this new monster. The booking up through Hell in a Cell was perfect, and you had to keep the title on Punk for his feud with the Rock, so you came up with a reasonable way to screw over Ryback and keep him losing strong. No problem there, he still looked like a can’t miss star on the brink of super stardom.
But then he lost at Survivor Series. And TLC. And Royal Rumble. And Elimination Chamber. And Wrestlemania. And Payback. At Extreme Rules he tied, so I guess that’s something, but the point is that, coming into this show, Ryback had not won a pay per view match in 364 days. This would be the unbeatable monster you built. Somewhere in there you also inexplicably turned him heel to face John Cena, and while he tried his best with it, the fans had no reason to care or see him as a threat. And now, as we bring the ship around for another year, he is a whiny crybaby who refuses to finish matches.
With all of this in mind, I would like to reiterate my question. WHAT IN THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING WITH RYBACK?!
Then there’s this match, where Chris Jericho, a man who does jobs for passing breezes and uppity broomsticks, basically beats the shit out of Ryback for 10 minutes. It’s not even that the match was bad, it’s that this character seems to have been steered out into traffic and left to dodge as well as he can until he eventually gets flattened. He’s an afterthought on the shows now, and seems to be the main casualty of the mad series of head writer changes that WWE went through in the past year. And that’s a shame, because a can’t miss star was missed on badly. And it wasn’t any fault of his.
This match is fine. It a vacuum it might even be pretty good. But it isn’t worthy of either of these guys, and it is plainly too little too late for Ryback. But hey, at least Ryback got to win this one. With a rollup. Yeah. Just, yeah.
70 out of 100
Artie: After his last couple of PPV appearances, where Ryback dominated John Cena, I was actually pretty interested in seeing Ryback get in there with a guy who is not only much smaller, but far more experienced and better in the ring.
The odd thing here, happened to be just how hard Jericho beat Ryback down. We’re used to seeing the monster Ryback on the offense, but he was Jericho’s whipping boy here and it made for a damn interesting dynamic. Some of the chops from Jericho were just brutal and Ryback got in some beautiful power moves as well. This was Ryback’s second best match of the year, in my opinion and a great final PPV match for Jericho before taking his leave once again.
Segment 7 – WWE World Heavyweight Championship – Alberto Del Rio (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler
Cewsh: Dolph Ziggler has had a rough year. After winning the Money in the Bank and capping the year off with an improbable victory over John Cena, Ziggler didn’t do much in 2013 until the day after Wrestlemania when he cashed in his briefcase and beat Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship. That should have been the start to an amazing summer of joy and success, but the man hardly got to enjoy it before a stray kick from Jack Swagger robbed him of his first title defense. That same concussion proved his undoing the next month as well, as Alberto Del Rio went off the rails to get his title back, bashing Ziggler’s skull in and turning heel in the process. Now, a newly babyfaced Ziggler is eyeing doing Del Rio one more time for the rematch that could turn his fortunes around or sink him further.
Now the important thing to take from this match, and from the entire feud, is that Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio have chemistry. No, that doesn’t quite say it enough. These two men seem to be so terrifyingly in sync that I’m amazed nobody has started demanding access to WWE’s telepathic technology. Don’t believe me? Well see for yourself.
Yeah. YEAH. These guys are crazy together, and as you might imagine they haven’t had a PPV match anything short of great thus far. This time around, things were much more evenly matched between the two, and they just went all out. Ziggler played a great underdog babyface and Del Rio killed it as a bullying heel, and it all built to the finish where Dolph seems to have everything well in hand, only to see AJ come down to the ring. He pleaded with her to stay out of things and almost lost the match because of it, but after a rally he had everything set up for the Zig Zag that would give him back the championship he held for such a painfully short while. Unfortunately for him, AJ decided to help out and bashed Del Rio in the face with her Divas title belt as Ziggler was running forward for the Zig Zag. Boom, disqualification, and, through no fault of his own, Ziggler finds himself back at the end of the line for title shots.
Afterwards, Ziggler is understandably furious with AJ, as she apologizes profusely. Obviously, these two are speeding down the road to a breakup, (Spoiler Alert: Doesn’t end well for Ziggy.) But while the finish may sound overbooked, it was actually a great touch. Ziggler still looked strong, as he had victory JUST inside of his grasp, and it put major heat on AJ for ruining his title chances in front of a very pro-Ziggler crowd.
Honestly, this is just a great match. The ending was neat and different, the characters were right on the money, and everything they did was just insanely, insanely smooth, and it managed to be completely different from their previous match and still tremendous. I’ll take 6 more months of this, please.
89 out of 100
Cewsh’s Seal of Approval
Artie: First off, what in the holy hell is Ziggler wearing? That orange top is so short cut and matching to his skin that is looks like Ziggler is wearing saran wrap.
Onto the match itself, another epic from these two. I swear, Del Rio has no right to have this many great PPV matches when he’s such a bland character, but he always delivers when it’s go time. I like the fact that neither man had a manager with them, for the first time. Del Rio’s new-found aggression and Ziggler’s ability to sell anything told a fantastic story, while giving ADR heat and Ziggler sympathy.
The ending of this match is one of the absolute best screw jobs I’ve ever seen. The final moments of this match, where Del Rio stumbles to the corner as AJ hits him with the title, were made made even more dramatic as we see Ziggler behind Del Rio, literally inches away from hitting Del Rio with the Zig Zag and winning back his championship. An absolute must watch from this PPV.
Dolph Ziggler Over Alberto Del Rio Following A Disqualification.
Segment 8 – WWE Heavyweight Championsip – John Cena (c) vs. Mark Henry
Cewsh: Have you seen the segment that set this match up? Have you? Well I’m showing it to you anyway. This is required viewing.
For those afflicted with work, or who are Buzzkilly McNofuns and don’t want to watch the video, basically Mark Henry tells everyone he’s retiring, gives a touching speech, raises Cena’s hand, and then promptly slams him with a grin on his face. Now, Mark Henry has done some great stuff, you may remember me freaking out about him during his World Heavyweight title run, but this is head and shoulders above anything else Henry has ever done. He suckered everyone in attendence and at home and got himself a WWE title shot, and now shit is real, real on between the World’s Strongest Man and the Champ.
Artie: A big bout heavyweight battle brought on by one of the most badass swerves we’ve ever seen. This match was a hard-hitting bout, with Henry doing everything possible to make himself into a dominant monster. I thought the story of Cena not being able to lift Henry was just stupidiculous, as we’ve seen Cena AA him before. Then again, it gave us the match ending with Henry tapping to the STF, which puts that move over as extra deadly a month before Cena gets in the ring with the submission specialist, Daniel Bryan. Good match, but on a card so stacked full of ‘em, this one was actually one of the less impressive ones.
My big issue with this match, though, is that we all knew how it would end. The feud was superb, but there was no chance in hell of Henry winning with the build of DB in the background and Summerslam coming up. I really wish they’d held off on this for a few months.
Cewsh: Artie pretty much covers it here. It was a good match, not anywhere near a great one, where the ending was never remotely in doubt. I enjoyed it, and Henry definitely tried his best, but there’s nothing about this match that anyone is going to remember. That’s a shame, considering how awesome the angle that kicked all of this off was, but it was only ever built to be a one match transition program. And while it didn’t knock my socks off, it isn’t anything to complain about either.
75 out of 100
Segment 9 – Money in the Bank Ladder Match – Christian vs. CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Sheamus
Artie: Here we are, folks: Main Event time! At this point, we’d had a full card of fantastic matches and here comes the ALL-STAR MONEY IN THE BANK LADDER MATCH. With all the big names in the match and the return of RVD, you’d think this would be the absolute greatest match ever. Unfortunately, it was not. Allow me to explain:
If it weren’t for the fact that everyone in the world wanted Daniel Bryan to win this, no one would really care. This match was an absolute “biding time” ladder match on the Road to Summerslam. The WWE needed something for all of these guys to do before Summerslam, while keeping them out of any major feuds. Unlike the WHC MITB, which truly felt like a battle between mid-carders for a shot at main event glory, this match just felt like another spotfest ladder match, with everyone just cheering on Bryan, assuming he’d win.
With that out of the way, this was a decent little ladder match. We finally got to see Punk GTS Curtis Axel, Paul Heyman turning on Punk, Christian and RVD bled something fierce, and Bryan absolutely sold management on himself as a main eventer, as the crowd chanted for him over everybody. The finish of Orton winning was heartbreaking and sucked the absolute energy out of the crowd in the arena and the crowd of people with whom I was watching this. Normally, after a PPV, most people will take their time paying their checks, as we excitedly discuss the highlights for the PPV. This time, the restaurant went quiet as everyone paid for their food and shuffled out to their cars.
Not a bad match, by any means, but compared to the earlier greatness of the WHC MITB, the ending just fell flat.
Cewsh: There are a lot of things to talk about here. The incredible overness of Daniel Bryan, even compared to RVD in Philadelphia, the betrayal of CM Punk by Paul Heyman, Randy Orton’s improbable victory, the general entertainment of a star studded ladder match. But before I get to those, I just want to take a moment to issue my most heartfelt sympathy to Sheamus’ left leg, which had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
Okay, now that we’ve covered that, let’s cover the rest in gifs and pictures too. First there was Daniel Bryan who might be starting to get a little bit over.
And the match which was a ton of fun. Rob Van Dam looked a little rusty, and Christian pretty much disappeared next to so many bigger stars, but generally it was an enjoyable match that was lots of fun. And then we came to the ending. Now during the match, Curtis Axle had run down and tried to help Punk, only to receive a major Go 2 Sleep for his troubles, as Punk has repeatedly said that he does not want any help. Heyman came down and yelled at Axle for going against orders and being an idiot, and stayed around to cheer Punk on. And when CM Punk had finally fought off all other comers and was climbing the ladder, almost to the top, Paul Heyman crept into the ring, grabbed a nearby ladder, and shattered a friendship with it.
But that wasn’t enough. As a battered and exhausted Punk turned to face Heyman with questions filling his eyes, Heyman finished the job with another ladder shot that knocked Punk to the ground with a nasty gash in his head.
Moments later, Randy Orton would take advantage and climb the ladder himself, securing a victory that nobody expected.
We’re in the future now, so we know that Orton has used the briefcase to become a dangerous wildcard in the title scene and Punk has moved into a feud with Lesnar, so it’s hard to find any fault whatsoever in what happened here. And it says a lot about the skill and planning here, that even though we all saw the Heyman turn coming a million miles away, the way they did it here still got a shocked and angry response from the crowd.
This wasn’t as good of a match as a whole as the one earlier in the night, which was more focused and had more inventiveness. But this match accomplished a whole bunch all at once, and every single person in it, (except for Sheamus,) came out of this better off and headed towards a big money match up. Considering WWE could hardly push one person effectively a few months ago, doing it with 5 at once is something we’re going to chalk up as a huge win.
82 out of 100
Cewsh’s Seal of Approval
Randy Orton Over Everyone Else Following His Retrieval Of The Briefcase.
Cewsh: Seriously now, Money in the Bank has become a yearly exercise in WWE getting things right. For three years in a row now, this random pay per view in the middle of the summer, where shows have always gone to die, has stolen the attention from just about everything else in the WWE year. I don’t know if they pay extra attention to this show every year or what, but this was another great example of a WWE show done right from start to finish. And as we roll on into Summerslam, things are looking damn sexy indeed. I don’t know why these shows are so damn good, but don’t tell anyone I asked. I don’t want to jinx it.
Oh, and this score makes this show one of the 5 best we’ve ever reviewed, in case you’re keeping track.
Artie: All in all, fantastic PPV. While the final two matches were slightly disappointing for differing reasons, the show was, on a whole, just superb. I’d recommend to anyone to watch any and every match on this card. Only lost points for the feelings of disappointment with Orton winning.
Well that’ll do it for us this time boys and girls. We hoped you enjoyed reading a 3 hour discussion about men’s business accessories stuffed with paper. Next week is our very own version of Wrestlemania, as we at last unveil our reviews of the matches that you rat bastards submitted to us in the Cewsh Reviews Super Mega Ultra Technicolor Dream Card IV. We’re proud to announce that EVERY MATCH will have a special guest reviewer, including 5 Cewsh Reviews all stars, and 3 very special guests from other amazing blogs around the internet. Which blogs, you might ask? Well you’ll just have to come find out. And until then, remember to keep reading and be good to one another.