With this year’s instalment of Money In The Bank just around the corner, Matthew Roberts fires up the Retro Review time travel machine to look back at the inaugural MITB pay-per-view from 2010.
Unlike some of the “gimmick” pay-per-views, at least the Money In The Bank one makes a little sense. It’s the kind of match that doesn’t need a feud to make logic of it, or to make it a match that is “necessary”. No, “oh well it’s October so we’ll have to have a Hell in a Cell match” style logical holes here. And whilst some still lament the matches absence from WrestleMania, it’s definitely a gimmick that can carry a PPV on it’s own.
2010’s event had two MITB matches, and any fears of overkill proved to be unfounded. The Brand Split meant that both matches had a purpose and reasons to exist.
The show kicked off with the Smackdown version, featuring eight men. In 2018 it’s probably most interesting to consider that the one man who isn’t retired or no longer associated with WWE is the one with the biggest upside eight years later in the form of Cody Rhodes. With the acknowledgement that whilst Kofi Kingston and Matt Hardy may be nowhere near the World Title in 2018’s WWE they are as perhaps as popular as ever. What was great about this match is that there were a lot of storylines weaved within the usual highspots. The “smaller” guys in the match made constants beelines for Kane and The Big Show, realising that working together to take the two monsters out would benefit the rest of them. Also Kofi’s feud with Cody was played upon and Kane was continuing his investigations to find out who had attacked his brother, The Undertaker. Yes the prize on the line should focus minds of participants in a match like this, but there’s no reason why other on-going issues should be ignored. The one real issues with the match were that it perhaps went on a little too long and the winner, at the time of the match at least, seemed a little bit of an easy option. Of course we would soon find out that Kane had big plans in store for his title opportunity.
The Raw MITB match perhaps didn’t have the depth of storyline that it’s Smackdown equivalent did, but you could argue that it had the more memorable highspots and was a little more conscise that it’s drawn out opposition. There is also the fact that the choice of winner was a lot more daring. And even The Miz climbing the ladder here is one of those moments that has more historical importance placed on it due to rose tinted glasses than it perhaps deserves (it did not make Miz a star, led to a pedestrian title reign that few cared for, and it was actually years before the Miz would genuinely become a respected “superstar”) you cannot watch his post-match interview and not feel pleased for some one who was “never supposed to make it” actually making it.
It was a night of “doubles” on the undercard, with both men’s World Titles and both women’s World Titles on the line. The World Heavyweight Title clash between Rey Misterio and Jack Swagger was perhaps a lot better than you might imagine. Set up nicely by a series of angles and matches that made Jack look like a monster and Rey the plucky underdog (rather than, you know, just lazily pointing out the size difference on commentary) it started off really well but lost it’s way slightly when Rey decided to stop selling the storyline ankle injuries in order to hit all his high octane moves. He rallied through for the win, but his fun was soon cut short when a post-match attack by Swagger led to Kane making his way in to cash in his MITB contract and win the belt in a sub one minute bout. It was certainly a moment to remember.
A WWE Championship Steel Cage Match between Sheamus and John Cena is a decent effort, albeit one that suffers from that old booking anomaly. A feud reaches a point where outside interference becomes so bad that the only way to settle it is in a Cage match, where no-one can interfere. People then interfere. But wasn’t it ever thus when John Cena was at his peak; you simply can’t let someone have anything that even remotely resembles a clear win against him. It’s a pity that the show had to end like this.
Mind you, even that match was a hell of a lot better than the two Women’s Title matches. Held at a time when the Women’s were still considered card fillers but at the same time the WWE had tried to move on from the attitude era “tits and ass” division if you’re expecting much from either Alica Fox Vs Eve Torres or, good grief, Layla Vs Kelly Kelly then you don’t know your WWE. In actuality, Fox Vs Torres isn’t that bad, and seems like the second coming of Flair Vs Steamboat in comparison to the other match. When current day female performers talk of disprespect given in the past to women who had to go out there with only four minutes to play with they are not referencing the latter of these two matches. Four minutes was at least four too many for Layla and Kelly.
The only other match was the Tag Team title affair pitting The Hart Dynasty against The Uso’s. It’s formulaic tag team stuff, but done with aplomb and at a fast pace. Of course both teams could have been allowed to do so much more but you can’t fault what they did with the time they were allotted.
Featuring two very good entries into the Money In The Bank canon, this inaugural PPV is well worth a watch. The two men’s World Title matches are both watchable, if ultimately unfulfilling and no-one needs to see the Women’s Title matches once never mind treat themselves to a repeat viewing. So whilst you will find yourself making use of the “skip” button, it’s well worth paying close attention to the gimmick matches that give the show it’s name.