WWE Money in the Bank: 5 Biggest Creative Failures from the Event
There's no two ways about it: WWE put on a hell of a show last night.
Fans certainly got their money's worth watching this years Money in the Bank, whether they were in the Wells Fargo Center or sitting at home in their armchairs, with twists and turns around every corner and the most dramatic of finishes. But there's always room for improvement, right?
As I watched the event, the perfectionist in me started to look for ways that WWE could have turned the 2013 edition of one of their flagship pay-per-views from great to truly special.
So, powered by the beauty of hindsight, here are five instances where I believe creative missed a trick or dropped the ball last night.
The Pre-Show Shines
And we'll start with the most obvious error.
Apart from the two ladder matches last night, what match do you think got everyone out of their seat the most? Unless you tuned in half an hour early, you'll have no idea.
Money in the Bank's "Kickoff" pre-show event featured the tag team champions, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns, defending their title against the Usos, and what a match it was.
As is so often the case when members of The Shield are in the ring, we were treated to an extremely entertaining match, but it takes two great teams to make a great tag match, and the Usos really upped their game in this one. It was outstanding to watch, and, if you haven't seen it yet, here's what you missed out on.
Rollins and Reigns were predictably cheered on by the crowd in Philly, but while the Usos made their way to the ring with little reaction from those in attendance, they had seriously earned their respect by the time they were done. Jimmy and Jey gave the "Hounds of Justice" everything they handle and a little bit more, coming so close to stealing the titles, but in the end it was the champions who came out victorious, in typically chaotic fashion.
This match probably deserved to be on the main card on potential alone ahead of the Axel-Miz match, and, after it was over, the powers that be behind the curtain must have been kicking themselves for essentially making this a televised dark match.
Speaking of Axel and Miz...
We all know that the ECW mastermind Paul Heyman eventually got his moment in Philadelphia last night, but I think that sending him to the back in Curtis Axel's match with The Miz was still a mistake.
Axel's run since his reformation under Paul E. Dangerously should have taken a page or two from The Miz's run as WWE Champion. Thanks to cashing in his own Money in the Bank contract, The Miz was in a position higher than his reputation and recent results suggested he should be at—and managed to stay there by all manner of underhanded tactics.
Now look at Curtis Axel: He's the Intercontinental Champion, even though he's barely beaten anyone of note cleanly, and has yet to truly prove that he deserves to be champion.
It would be fun to watch Axel continue to go on a string of wins and title defenses where Heyman gives him a helping hand. It helps generate more interest back in the title, it does Axel's heel status a world of good and he's still got all the time in the world to truly show us what he's got to offer.
Instead of that, Axel found a way to win cleanly last night after The Miz tricked the referee into ejecting Paul Heyman from ringside. That's impressive, but it wasn't really needed right now.
I'm guessing they were just trying to make the viewers think that Heyman's involvement in Money in the Bank was over at that point, so we would all be even more shocked when he showed up in the main event. But that still would've been the case if Paul helped Axel win, if not more so.
More Money, More Matches
Everyone likes getting more than they paid for.
While it's always a good idea for WWE to mention every match that's on the card of a pay-per-view when they're advertising it, there's nothing wrong with giving the paying audience something that they weren't expecting.
In years gone by, PPVs would often include a cruiserweight or tag team match with some midcard crowd favourites, that would really go down well and give the event a sense of "not settling for the bare minimum".
Nowadays, there seems to be little room or desire for any surprise matches—the tag team tables match at TLC last year is the only one that springs to mind over the last couple of years—but they can always be exciting and a selling point for future events to come.
Barring any injuries we don't know about, performers like Justin Gabriel, Sin Cara, Rey Mysterio, Ted DiBiase, Big Show, a recovering Kofi Kingston and even 3MB were all not involved last night when a surprising appearance by a few of them in a match would have done the event (and themselves) no harm at all.
Henry Cleaning House
Well, the WWE Championship match was all a little too...predictable, wasn't it?
As I stated in an article earlier this week, John Cena was never going to drop the title at this point in time—right before Summerslam, and in the middle of this "return year" that he's talked about so much. This was always going to be just another title defense to fill the gap before the next pay-per-view that needed to be made interesting beforehand by champion and challenger.
Mark Henry did a fantastic job of making this match relevant and had a lot of people convinced it was "his time" to be the WWE Champion, so he deserves a lot of credit for that. Henry made himself looked like a legitimate contender, but as the match began to conclude, it became clear that the match portrayed Henry to be "just another big guy" that Cena got beaten up by, then rallied back and overcame.
This should not have been the case.
The end of the match should of been closer, for a start. I know Henry hit the World's Strongest Slam, but did anyone think that the Cenation leader wasn't going to kick out? A good outcome would've been for Henry to snap and lose the match by a disqualification, but after we'd already seen a DQ loss in the Ziggler-Del Rio match, viewers would've probably felt a little shortchanged if they saw it twice.
I would've had Cena beat Henry cleanly, then, as he celebrates with his section of fans, Henry would pick himself up, attack Cena, and proceed to beat the tar out of him. Cena would get medical help and be assisted to the back and look as defiant as ever when he would turn up on Raw the next night.
Come on, how well would that have gone down in the Wells Fargo Center? They would've eaten it up! Cheering on every chair shot and slam, and it's the moment of dominance that Mark Henry deserved after all his hard work over the last few weeks.
Follow the Buzzards
This complex, disturbing and very fresh gimmick is something that WWE clearly want to throw their weight behind, and why not? It pleases those who have watched Bray Wyatt, Erick Rowan and Luke Harper in NXT, and who wouldn't have wanted their characters altered or toned down for a larger audience. And it's something that those who watch WWE more casually are not used to seeing whatsoever—genuine fright stemmed by such simple nuances like music, distorted images and a lack of knowledge of their motives or potential power.
That last point is very important in the Wyatt Family's persona: Knowledge is indeed power. So quite often when you don't have the knowledge about something, you feel powerless, and therefore much more afraid.
The new trio have a ton of momentum after just one appearance in person since their move to the big leagues, so why not keep that momentum going at Money in the Bank?
Before they arrived, Michael Cole often liked to tell us before we watched promos of the Wyatt Family that the rest of the Superstars found them very "Disturbing". That little fact leaves the entire roster open to be targeted by Bray and his "brothers", and they don't even have to show up. They've already shown the damage they can do by taking out Kane, so all other performers can be affected and frightened by even a hint of their presence.
I really liked the idea of the lights going out, the Wyatt Family's music hitting, and one of the guys in the ring losing focus and dropping the match to their opponent. This could have been done in absolutely any match, but I'd have done it in the main event, when each superstar was being taken out in different ways, to leave the way open for Orton.
So, as an example, instead of Sheamus being sent flying through a ladder, he could've been about to claim the briefcase, then spooked out by the Wyatts music, giving someone else time to throw him off the ladder.
This doesn't affect the end result of the match, and the Wyatts continue to be their scary, elusive and mysterious selves.
As I said at the start, last night's Money in the Bank was brilliant. It delivered in almost every department and was great viewing throughout.
But those five failures or overlooks are things that could well have left everyone feeling even more satisfied, and some could also be considered for future pay-per-views.
Let me know what you think, and if there's anything I haven't mentioned that you would've done differently at Money in the Bank.