The second annual Money in the Bank pay-per-view had much hype due to CM Punk's extolled promos leading up the event, and the hype did not let us down as MiTB 2011 turned out to be arguably the best post-attitude era PPV—and overall one of the best ever.
I will review each match using this scale: 1 = poor match, 2 = slightly below-average match, 2.5 = average match, 3 = good match, 3.5 = very good match, 4 = great match, 4.5 = amazing match, 5 = all-time match.
The first match of the night was Smackdown's ladder match for the MiTB briefcase. This was a very good match and an excellent way to start off the PPV. Although some of the wrestler's in the match clearly had no shot at winning—looking hard in the direction of Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel—the match had many good spots and an unpredictable ending.
Going in it seemed like Sheamus was the favorite as he has been featured on Smackdown as of late; however, he did not win, which was a positive. Smackdown has been in a lull recently and had Sheamus won it would have simply been a continuation of the current boring storylines. Daniel Bryan, surprisingly, stood tall on the ladder and snatched the briefcase for the victory. This result gives Smackdown something new and interesting to build on. I am not a Daniel Bryan fan, sorry IWC blockheads, as I think he is overrated, but I can still appreciate the result here.
I will give the Smackdown ladder match a 3.5 / 5.
The second match of the event was the Diva's title match between champion Kelly Kelly and challenger Brie Bella. So yeah, this match went five minutes and I used that free time to go eat some chocolate cake won at a bazaar and take a dump.
Mark Henry taking on the Big Show was the third match. I am a Mark Henry Mark. (Get it? Mark Henry Mark? Pretty creative, huh?) I was pleased to see him pin the Big Show clean. It was a short match and wasn't overly exciting, but the right man won. I'm not saying that as a fan of the World's Strongest Man, but in terms of storyline. Henry hasn't received a push in five years, and when he's on his game he's a monster heel. This is a step in the right direction and I hope Henry can slam some more people through cages in the future.
Mark Henry vs. The Big Show gets a 2.5 / 5—mainly because of the splash onto Big Show's chair-infused leg after the bell had rung. Nice touch there.
The RAW ladder match for the MiTB briefcase was up next. I have read reviews various places online and most are saying the Smackdown match was better, but I disagree. I think they are saying that as the state of arousal they are in from Daniel Bryan's victory is clouding their vision.
The RAW match was 10 minutes shorter, but there were better spots throughout. Jack Swagger and Kofi Kingston getting dumped hard off the ladder toward the end did not look planned. It was a great bump. The Miz making a run out after possibly injuring his leg was a nice touch as it gave Miz a "moment" in a match he was never going to win. The spot where everyone in the match was up a ladder trying to get the belt was exciting. Evan Bourne's airborne onto everyone was nice.
Alberto Del Rio ripping off Rey Mysterio's mask, the non-planned fall, throwing the mask and winning was a somewhat-predicted result, but the way they went about the result was, as I said, non-planned. This match was more unpredictable in terms of in-ring moves than the Smackdown match and there was an air of danger to this match as it seemed like multiple wrestlers got legitimately hurt a few times.
I'm having a hard time giving this match a rating, but I think it deserves a 4.25 or 4.5 / 5.
The WWE World Heavyweight Championship match between challenger Christian and champion Randy Orton was the fifth match. This match-up has been somewhat played out, so the new rules Christian had instituted were a nice change of pace. The bout was 12 minutes in length and was of good quality as these two always seem to be put on a good match. It ended with Christian spitting in the face of Orton causing Orton to kick Christian in the gonads in a fit of rage. This was a disqualification, and per Christian's stipulations, awarded him the championship.
Orton proceeded to RKO Christian on top of the Spanish announcer's table twice and had a deranged look on his face. This is a great way to mix things up on Smackdown.
This match gets a 3.5 / 5 from me, due to the future storylines that can come about.
The much anticipated main event was finally up next. CM Punk came out to a raucous reception. The crowd was all for him, and he knew it, as his pre-match in-ring mannerisms were very face-like. (Wow, a sentence with three en dashes, dayyuum.) John Cena came out to a chorus of boos, except for that one dude at ringside who looked like his twin.
The match was more than 30 minutes long and was kind of unusual in that Punk was the one doing the comebacks that Cena is known for. Punk kicked out of two Attitude Adjustments, fought off multiple STF, and appeared to be on the end of a screw job when Vince McMahon and John Laurinaitis (is Laurinaitis a species of dinosaur?) walked to the ringside.
McMahon ordered the dinosaur to ring the bell prematurely. Cena noticed this, jumped out of the ring, clocked Dinoaitis, gave VKM a mouthful and entered the ring to a Go-To-Sleep. Punk got the three count and the WWE championship.
McMahon, irate, ripped off Jerry Lawler's headset and called for Del Rio to come down to cash in his MiTB briefcase. Punk saw this coming, kicked ADR in the head, mocked VKM and ran through the crowd belt in hand. The show faded to black with VKM looking on in anger and Punk celebrating amongst the crowd.
This was, simply put, an all-time match. It was long, but never boring. It had perfect pacing. It had multiple near falls. It had an ill-fated run-in. It had it all.
Cena and Punk really worked well together and made this a classic.
I give it 5 / 5.
As I said in the beginning of the article, this PPV was one of the best ever. Probably the best since the Attitude Era. CM Punk proved why he is indeed the best wrestler in the world. He sold the match with his astounding promos, and he backed it up in the ring.
Money in the Bank 2001 gets a 5 / 5.
- I wonder if the IWC's arousal has subsided yet after Daniel Bryan's victory?
- The ladder Sin Cara was smashed though was made of wood. You could see the brown color when the ladder broke in half. The WWE should have used a silver-colored tree for the ladder.
- So yeah, isn't Mark Henry awesome?
- Heath Slater, pack your bags.
- Dolph Ziggler was left out. Maybe he was using this time to get a personality?
- Punk is leaving the WWE, but had a new shirt? Something tells me he will be back.
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