WWE Money in the Bank is officially behind us, and the 2013 edition provided more thrills than we could count. From awe-inspiring spots to stunning finishes, we witnessed one of the most influential pay-per-view events of the year.
While not everyone could emerge victorious from their matches, numerous wrestlers won in their defeat.
To be clear, there is a major difference between being protected during a loss and gaining momentum in the process. Numerous wrestlers fall under the former, as they were not damaged by their respective failures in achieving victory.
On the other hand, a select few superstars actually improved their standing during their losses.
Approaching Money in the Bank, no superstar had built up the type of momentum that Daniel Bryan had formulated. With this in mind, it was imperative that Bryan perform at the pay-per-view in a manner that justifies his recent push.
He didn't disappoint.
Bryan was sensational from the opening bell, giving the Ring of Honor fans in attendance a match featuring a memorable one-on-one showdown with CM Punk. From there, Bryan did everything from execute the high-risk moves to sell his ultimate demise with precision.
It certainly doesn't hurt that the only thing that prevented him from winning the match was outside interference from Curtis Axel and a steel chair.
If not for that attack, there truly was nothing standing between Bryan and taking the briefcase home. With this form of protection, Bryan can exit Money in the Bank and maintain his powerful momentum heading into future pay-per-views.
It's hard to lose ground in a six-man ladder match, but if anyone gained more momentum while losing, it would be Bryan.
Normally, at a pay-per-view as influential as Money in the Bank, it would be hard to pick anyone out as the best of the pack. From Daniel Bryan's in-match dominance to to Damien Sandow and Randy Orton winning big, we saw it all.
With that being said, there's absolutely no question that Cody Rhodes stole the show.
Coming from a writer who has never believed in Rhodes' legitimacy as a superstar, I was transformed into a fan at Money in the Bank. At every turn of the opening match, Rhodes pulled out something that made those in attendance and everyone watching at home stop and say, "Wow."
Whether he was hitting springboard dropkicks or perfectly selling one of the better twist-endings we could've imagined, Rhodes did it all.
Rhodes has received pushes before, and his generic look does play a factor in his lack of world title success. After tonight, however, Rhodes made himself some new fans, proved that he can stand out amongst the best and thus catapulted himself into what could be the feud of the summer.
Owning the Money in the Bank briefcase was the goal, but what Rhodes did for himself is beyond a consolation prize—it's a victory in its own right.
Rob Van Dam
If there's one thing that we learned from Money in the Bank, it's that Rob Van Dam still has it. From nailing the Rolling Thunder on top of a ladder to hitting the Five-Star Frog Splash from the top of a ladder, we saw vintage RVD.
The fact that he lost the match means absolutely nothing, as Van Dam came back with a bang and can now proceed as a top-tier superstar that's still on his game.
It's unclear whether or not Van Dam will compete as a weekly performer, as the 42-year-old has experienced a significant amount of wear-and-tear on his body. Regardless of what type of schedule he goes on, RVD made it clear that he can still compete with the best in the business.
With the raw ability Van Dam possesses, even a fraction of what he showed at Money in the Bank is enough to create momentum moving forward.
When you're making a comeback and have already built up legendary status, expectations are often tempered. While wrestlers such as The Rock and The Undertaker receive that benefit, Van Dam is the high-flying maestro.
At Money in the Bank, RVD proved that he still rules the air.