Money in the Bank is live from Chicago, Illinois. This is my first PPV journal, so I'll probably spend more time watching and less time typing. Fifty-five bucks is a lot, considering that I probably could have spent it on some good Scotch.
The big match tonight, of course, is Kelly Kelly vs. the Bella Twins. The other big match is CM Punk vs. John Cena. The WWE Creative department has a golden opportunity here to bring some of its estranged viewers back into the fold. Don't screw it up, fellas.
This CM Punk angle is the best thing that's happened to the WWE in a while. The thing that makes it so great is the small pinch of real life that CM Punk has injected into it. That promo on RAW three weeks ago got the Internet community talking. And when we talk, the WWE makes money.
My predictions tonight for the main card matches are as follows:
1. SmackDown Money In the Bank: Wade Barrett
2. Raw Money in the Bank: Alberto del Rio
3 World Heavyweight Championship: Christian def. Randy Orton
4. WWE Championship: CM Punk def. John Cena, Alberto del Rio cashes in and defeats CM Punk. Book It!
7:00: I've got a full pot of coffee and a box of those new blonde Oreo's. Tonight is going to be a sugar- and caffeine-fueled journal. I just hope I can sleep tonight.
7:02: Punk's new mustache is pretty incredible. When his contract is up, he should join the Oakland A's bullpen.
7:04: Just a prediction, CM Punk will be the crowd favorite. I know, that might be too bold of a statement.
7:05: SmackDown MITB match is first. Is it just me or have all the recent PPV's started with a big SmackDown match? Sin Cara comes out first. He better bring it tonight because he won't have those lights to hide any mistakes.
7:07: Here comes the Edge from U2. No wait, that's just Sheamus. I wonder if he was jamming some "Vertigo" before he came out. Probably not. He looks like a Lil' Wayne fan.
7:09: Seriously considering switching over to the Spanish broadcast. Every sport is better in Spanish, unless it's called by Gus Johnson. Booker T says "Que Paso." Somebody who struggles to speak English should not attempt a foreign language. Can we make this a national law?
7:12: Pretty good match so far. Wade Barrett's haircut makes him look like he belongs in a '60's mod band.
7:15: Cole just mentioned that anyone who has won this match has cashed in to win a championship 100 percent of the time. That trend has got to end sometime. I'm thinking whoever wins this SmackDown MITB briefcase will be the first unsuccessful cash-in. That's just going by the current roster and storyline trends on SmackDown this year.
7:18: Sin Cara just took a nasty powerbomb through a ladder to the floor and is having a spasm on the ground. Doesn't look planned. I hope he wasn't supposed to win this thing.
7:19: Bringing the stretcher out now for Sin Cara. After Sheamus did it, he looked genuinely concerned.
7:21: The Corre is teaming up again briefly and are now in the ring alone. Barrett is trying to convince the others to let him climb the ladder. He gets to the top and is dragged down by Slater and Gabriel.
7:22: Cody Rhodes hits his special move twice and climbs. He's stopped by Sheamus.
7:23: Everyone who climbs is being stopped by a different run-in. I'm still on Team Barrett.
7:26: Crowd is chanting for Daniel Bryan. I've always thought that PPV crowds are more aware of quality talent than the weekly show's crowds. Especially at WrestleManias.
7:27: Barrett back in the ring and stomping Slater. There are now three ladders in the ring, for those keeping count.
7:28: Sheamus is Brogue Kicking everyone in the ring. Hide yo wife, hide yo kids...
7:30: Sheamus and Kane at the top of the ladder punching each other. Kane chokeslams Sheamus on a suspended ladder. I love ladder matches.
7:32: Going on 30 minutes now. Somebody needs to win this thing because I need to get up and get some more cookies and coffee. #willneversleepagain.
7:34: Daniel Bryan wins the Briefcase! Internet wrestling fans everywhere are weeping for joy. Is WWE giving a push to the Indie stars? We have CM Punk in the main event and Daniel Bryan winning the MITB Match. Right now, they need to use what they've got, indie or not. (Yes, I realize that my last sentence rhymes.)
7:40: Divas championship is up next. Kelly comes out with Eve as her manager. Hoping that Kelly doesn't scream for the entire match.
7:41: So much for hope. For real, it sounds like bloody murder, or a Williams sister at Wimbledon.
7:44: The Bella Twin (I still can't tell the difference) is hitting Kelly in her abdomen. Her taut, tan abdomen.
7:45: They botch a bulldog. The Bella goes for a pin and doesn't get it. The Bella Twins are good showmen (or show women for the feminists) if anything.
7:47: Next is Mark Henry vs. Big Show. Should be a high-flying affair.
Need something to put the Attitude Era in perspective? When Henry was in the Nation of Domination, the only time he saw TV time was as a run-in or a manager. Now he's one of SmackDown's top stars. Some of that is due to his long run with the company, and he deserves it. But it also speaks to the lack of charismatic talent in the WWE in the PG era.
7:52: Henry and Big Show sprint toward each other to start the match. Henry is out of the ring looking for an oxygen tank.
7:53: In a feat of athletic superiority, Henry does a front flip over the stairs. Note to Creative: Don't book anything that involves Mark Henry leaving his feet. My 11-year-old nephew probably has a better vertical than both of these guys.
7:56: Big Show hits a flying shoulder block from the top rope. He must have watched a John Cena match earlier today.
7:58: Henry hits two World's Strongest Slams in a row. He pins Big Show for the win. That was a pretty one-sided match and also pretty short. These two probably can't go for more than 10 minutes at a time.
8:00: Henry gets a chair from ringside and puts it on Big Show's ankle. He jumps on it from the second rope. Big Show lets out a really big "F-Bomb." The stretcher comes out. For those keeping count, that's two matches and two stretchers. Now that's what I call a PPV!
8:02: As Big Show is put on the cart, a "CM Punk" chant starts. This crowd is going to go nuclear when Punk comes out.
8:03: Cut to Vince in the back talking and is interrupted by Josh Mathews. Vince says he hasn't signed CM Punk yet and is acting dejected. Vince blames all of his problems on John Cena.
8:06: Raw MITB match is next. So far I'm 0 for 1, Alberto del Rio has to bail me out. Del Rio comes out first in a yellow Lambo. I've never liked Lamborghinis. Or Ferrari's for that matter. Give me an Aston Martin any day of the week. It's all about class people.
8:09: Jack Swagger comes out to some Rage Against the Machine. Which is awesome. Suddenly I want to start a revolution...
8:10: Alex Riley's titantron film says "A-Ry." That's the most original nickname I have ever heard IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE AND ON THE WHOLE PLANET!
8:12: Everyone in the ring has a ladder in their possession. They all gang up on Alberto del Rio. That's racist.
8:14: So far, this match is better than the SmackDown one. ADR is curiously absent so far...
8:16: Evan Bourne just cut a backflip off the top of the ladder on the entrance ramp. Best moment of the night so far.
8:17: Bourne and Miz are fighting at the tip of the ladder and are both knocked down by del Rio. Miz has a pretty serious knee injury. Three matches, three injuries. Miz is helped to the back.
8:19: Bourne and Mysterio hit double hurricanranas, or "Hurricane-rana's" according to Booker T.
8:21: Everyone is really performing hard tonight. So far, this PPV is 10 times better than WrestleMania. The WWE probably realizes the importance of this event, due to all the publicity they've gotten recently.
8:24: Everyone is at the top of the ladders reaching for the case. It looks like the scene from Black Hawk Down where all the locals are reaching for the rice bags. Hectic.
8:25: Swagger takes a huge bump as the Miz hobbles back into the ring (they got me!). He got a huge pop when he came out. Mysterio knocks him down and gets booed! Gotta love Chicago.
8:27: Del Rio and Mysterio at the top now. Del Rio unmasks Rey and they both fall. Whew this is tiring. Even with all the sugar and coffee.
8:28: Del Rio wins! There are twisted ladders everywhere. That was a great match. Everyone had a highlight reel moment. That bump that Jack Swagger took was real nasty. If he's not injured, then he's tough as nails. There are lots of big bumps tonight. They should fill up a swimming pool with ice and have an injury party.
8:33: Next is Christian vs. Randy Orton for the World Heavyweight Championship. I don't care what they call it, it's still the WCW Championship to me, dammit! [starts sobbing].
8:39: I still have no idea what everyone's fascination with Randy Orton is. He is one of the better ring performers, but he has the charisma and mic skills of a catfish. Maybe it's his Affliction tats.
8:41: Orton is starting to draw boos from crowds just like Cena. Hopefully Creative learned from the Cena situation and doesn't let it go beyond the point of no return.
If the news sites are to be believed, part of the reason that CM Punk is dissatisfied with the WWE right now is due to a real-life feud between himself and Randy Orton a few years back, which almost came to blows on at least one occasion. I wonder who the WWE sided with on that one?
8:44: A "Randy Sucks" chant starts. Chicago is definitely a heel town.
8:47: Decent match so far. I hold title matches to a higher standard than most matches though. If it were an undercard match, I would say it's good.
8:50: Christian has been on offense for the majority of the match. Could we be seeing the end of WonderOrton?
8:51: Christian hits the Killswitch, but Orton kicks out. Christian is setting up for the spear, but Orton sidesteps.
8:53: Randy is entering his finishing move cycle. Both he and Cena do this. It wouldn't be a problem if they weren't all in a row. Stone Cold and the Rock had their signature moves, but they came at random times during the match. Split it up.
8:54: Christian spits in Randy Orton's face. Orton kicks Christian in the family jewels and gets DQ'd. When's the last time that Randy Orton lost cleanly? I don't even remember...
8:55: Orton jumps Christian on the outside and has gone mental. He hits Christian with the announcer table monitor. Orton RKO's Christian on the table, but it doesn't break.
8:57: Randy goes back to RKO Christian again. The table still doesn't break. Randy drops the second "F-Bomb" of the night then calls Christian a lucky "S.O.B." He's so lucky that you kicked him in the wedding tackle. If that's luck, then I'm going to walk under a ladder with a black cat then break a window. That makes me two for three so far. It's not how you start, it's how you finish!
9:02: One match left and there's still an hour left in the show. One match shouldn't last an hour. Perhaps two matches?
9:03: Chicago is going to blow it up when CM Punk comes out. And Cena will be booed harder than anyone in history. If he gets booed in Boston, it should be at a new level shortly. The only person that would get booed harder right now would be Casey Anthony at a PTA Meeting.
9:05: The last time I heard chants like that were for Goldberg. Real loud and together.
9:06: Punk comes out to a huge pop, wearing a new shirt and sans moustache.
9:07: A sign in the crowd says, "If Punk loses, we RIOT!" Listening to this crowd, I'd believe that. Best sign I've seen since "Triple HIV."
9:08: Punk is working the crowd and hugs what appears to be his mom. That's purely a guess.
9:09: Cena's music hits. Everyone boos in unison. It's terrific.
9:10: Cena walks down to the ring slowly with no salute.
9:11: Formal introductions. Cena is shadow boxing for some reason.
9:14: Anytime Cena does anything he gets booed. It reminds me of the Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Couture UFC fight a few years ago.
9:17: Slow match so far. Just a bunch of holds and shoulder blocks for Cena. Punk turns the tables and lands a headlock.
9:18: Cole mentions the "Montreal Screwjob." Very interesting...
9:21: The most lopsided "Let's Go Cena/Cena Sucks" chant of all time.
9:25: Don't worry, I'm still here. There's really not all that much action. The excitement is all atmospheric. If you're not watching, then I can't explain it to you.
9:26: Punk and Cena botch a body splash and Cena may have tweaked a knee.
9:27: Cena vertical suplexes Punk onto the floor from the rope. Big bump.
9:34: Cole is cheering for Cena. Does that mean that Cena is the heel now? I'm confused.
9:37: They're making it look like a war. My del Rio prediction is looking real good right now.
9:39: Cena has Punk in the STF, but Punk counters and the crowd erupts.
9:40: Cena hits AA, but Punk kicks out.
9:43: Cena hits another AA but Punk kicks out again. No way Punk loses now. As a general rule, if anyone kicks out of two finishers, they're not losing.
9:45: Punk executes GTS but misses as Cena rolls out of the ring. Punk pushes him back in and follows. Mr. McMahon comes out on the ramp with John Laurinaitis and watches from a distance.
9:46: Cena gets Punk in the STF, and McMahon starts calling for the bell just like in Montreal. Cena lets go and confronts McMahon. He goes back to Punk.
9:47: Punk counters and hits GTS and pins Cena for the win! Chicago explodes. McMahon looks dejected.
9:48: McMahon takes Jerry Lawler's headset and calls for Alberto del Rio to come and cash in his briefcase.
9:49: Del Rio runs down to the ring and gets clipped by Punk.
9:50: CM Punk blows Vince a kiss and leaves through the crowd. The ref never rang the bell, so he can't get counted out. The logo comes up as CM Punk leaves the arena with the WWE Championship.
My "Jerry Springer" Final Thoughts: Even though it ended 10 minutes too soon, this PPV was easily the best of the year so far.
The WWE did a tremendous job building up the rivalries and booking solid matches. The Money In The Bank Matches were both good, although I do think that the RAW one was better. The Divas match was, well, a Divas match.
Henry and Big Show did as well as they could, given that it was like a triceratops trying to wrestle another triceratops. Even though the main event was just a decent match (boring at times), when a crowd is into it like Chicago was tonight, sometimes it doesn't really matter. I think of the Rock vs. Hogan at WrestleMania XVIII, which was a terrible match, but the atmosphere made it memorable.
All that being said, I hope Punk re-signs with the WWE, but he really needs some time off. Let him take a six-month mental health vacation and come back to challenge for the title. He is the most talked-about wrestler in a while and is good for the company.
Go eat a GTS Pizza, Punk! You deserve it! If you're into Twitter, you can follow me @codymusgrove. Do it.