Heading into this PPV I wasn't expecting a whole lot overall. While I was still looking forward to it and expecting the two Ladder matches to deliver, I felt there wasn't enough quality on the card compared to other years.
It had a bit of a MITB 2010 vibe to it in many ways. The two MITB Ladder matches being the big attraction matches, with everything else lacking that extra something. In the end, the PPV did felt exactly like that. The event definitely had its moments throughout and the two Ladder matches did deliver for the most part, but everything else lacked that extra spark to make the entire PPV feel that match better.
I guess the reason I feel this PPV was almost disappointing because of the potential it had to be stellar. Some shaky parts, questionable booking, and bad endings held this down from being one of the best WWE PPVs of the year.
Still though, despite all that it was still an enjoyable PPV overall. We got some exciting action, surprising moments and Brad Maddox singing. I guess it's hard to ask for too much more after getting the latter.
WWE Tag Team Championship
The Shield vs. The Usos
People will complain that this was put on the pre-show, and I guess they have every right to be upset, but the fact remains that WWE want to make their kick-off shows must-see, and they succeeded in doing that last night.
The Shield and The Usos put an an extremely fun match which was thankfully given a lot of time. This enabled both teams to structure a well worked match which kicked into another gear in the final few minutes.
One of the big positives about The Shield's booking is that they're a team that people want to see lose. It's happened so few times since their debut that even The Usos are able to get the crowd behind them. All of that made for a really exciting bout which had a hot Philly crowd behind every move. The action was quick and smooth, and the spots were nicely placed throughout the match to make for a good balance. Great stuff all round. 7/10
Smackdown Money in the Bank Ladder Match
I have to say, I really wasn't sure how an all-heel match-up would go over with the crowd, but in the end it didn't seem to matter, because it was all about the action in the ring. And what great action it was.
Many Ladder matches in the past have failed due to innovating spots coming across cheap botch-ridden, but all seven men in this bout were able to successfully able to pull off the innovative side of the match. Bar a few tiny mistakes here and there, everything came off extremely well. The pace of the match was kept at a fast pace, the storytelling was solid, and the action was terrific between everyone involved. All of that rolled into one made for a highly entertaining match.
The ending was also perfectly executed as well. Cody Rhodes did an excellent job of showing off some face mannerisms throughout the match which enabled the crowd to get fully behind him once he went to retrieve the briefcase. The sudden appearance of Sandow to take the victory away from Rhodes made for a great moment which made Sandow look like the opportunist and Rhodes the sympathetic babyface who had his dreams crushed by his friend. To be able to tell that much in an all-heel Ladder match is very impressive. 8/10
The Miz vs. Curtis Axel
The latest Heyman protégé needs top quality opponents if he's going to succeed as the next break out star this year, and this match clearly showed that. While The Miz isn't the worst opponent to have, the chemistry just wasn't there between these two last night and once again left Curtis Axel looking less than strong as a champion.
He's to fault as well for this of course. For the 10 minutes that they were given neither man were able to do anything exciting or memorable, with the closest being a Figure-4 spot which saw both guys try to reverse it.
The action was that bad, but rather just felt non existent. Let's hope that this is the end of their little feud together. 4/10
AJ Lee vs. Kaitlyn
Another fairly decent match between these two given the lack of time that they were given. It wasn't nearly as good as their match last month at Payback, but it was still a good effort from both women.
I liked the way AJ went after the injured arm of Kaitlyn, but Kaithlyn's selling of it wasn't there apart from a slight arm grasp after her Spear. AJ's Black Widow to finish the match was also applied on the wrong arm, but maybe that's just me being too picky on that one, as the execution of the move was still well done.
Apart from that there's not a whole lot left to say. It's good to see AJ win cleanly as I felt she needed to look a bit more dangerous to take that extra step as champion, and hopefully she moves on from here. 4/10
Chris Jericho vs. Ryback
This match would have been a lot better if they actually continued on from the story they were telling regarding Ryback's leg, but apparently it wasn't worth bringing up during the match. Instead, we say Ryback walk with complete ease and Jericho hardly focus on the injured leg at all.
From that point it was very hard to get into the match. Both guys wrestled a fairly standard match and never really kicked it up a notch. They had the time to do it as well, but in the end they just seemed to be biding there time until the end, which unsurprisingly, wasn't very good either. A monster heel winning by a schoolboy. Genius. 3/10
World Heavyweight Championship
Alberto Del Rio vs. Dolph Ziggler
Last month I said that Del Rio doesn't work that well against many people on the roster, but Ziggler is one of them. Last night proved the be the case once again as both men put on a really solid bout.
The match was slow enough to start off with I felt, but as the match went on it gradually got a lot more exciting. The focus on Ziggler's head was there, the action was there, and the close cals towards the end of the match were as well. Since both guys have turned face/heel, both have been perfect opponents for each other. Del Rio has been able to showcase his ruthless side by focusing on the slightly weakened Ziggler, and Dolph has been able to show gutsy and entertaining comebacks because of it. Last night all of that was highlighted once again.
Despite all that though, I felt the ending was pretty poor. I get that they want to end the AJ/Ziggler relationship, but I felt there was a smarter way for her to accidentally cost Ziggler the match. To me it just felt like lazy booking, as they wanted to give Ziggler a reason to get angry at his girlfriend.
An entertaining match no doubt, but the ending drags it down quite a bit. 6/10
John Cena vs. Mark Henry
Honestly, I was expecting worse. After WWE once again teased another 'Cena can't lift him!' kind of story heading into the match I was already rolling my eyes. Of course, the unexpected did happened (or rather, the painfully expected), as Cena was able to lift Henry up for the AA, but despite the predictable manner of it all there were still some decent moments in this match.
The two nearfalls from each others finishers were pretty good (especially Henry's World's Strongest Slam attempt), and Henry did play up his heel monster roll quite well also.
That's why it was a shame to see the match end on such a low note, as Henry tapped out to the STF (after the man who can't lift Henry pulled him back into the centre of the ring with complete ease). It would have been much better to end it with another AA from Cena in my opinion. It may have been predictable, but it would have been better than Henry tapping out.
There's been worse Cena title defences, but there's also been a lot better. 5/10
Raw Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Where to start? A lot of good stuff happened in this match, a bit not so much.
The match was a bit slower to begin with compared to the Smackdown MITB, but once it got going it never stopped. There were so some nasty falls, a good share of who was in action at the same time, and some really good spots throughout.
Not everything came off smoothly of course. The broken ladder spot has been done to death at this point and Sheamus falling knee first through it was probably the worst one yet. Other moves didn't come off as smooth as I'm sure they expected, and some of the spots felt anti-climatic in their execution.
I also wasn't a huge fan of Heyman's turn on Punk. It was surprising to see, and pretty brutal to look at as Paul smashed the ladder over Punk's head, but I don't see why he'd have Axel take out Bryan beforehand. If Heyman didn't want Punk to win then why not just leave Bryan to retrieve the briefcase. It just didn't make that much sense.
Apart from that though, it was still an entertaining match to watch. Each man had their fair share of momentum building offence, the returning RVD was on top form, and some of the spots came off looking really well.
I'm also OK with the finish of the match also. I know it all happened after the Heyman ordeal, but set up was done quite well. From here it'll be interesting to see what they do with Orton next.
Overall, this was an enjoyable match that just falls short of being great. 7/10