We’re jumping in our TARDIS’ and DeLorean and travelling back to the time of the birth of Prince George, The rise of Bitcoin and the start of Netflix original TV shows.
We are going back to 2013 and reviewing Money In The Bank!
After overcoming the woes of 2012 and finally defeating The Rock at Wrestlemania 29 for the WWE Championship, John Cena was to go face-to-face with Hall of Pain founder, Mark Henry. After being duped by Mark Henry’s ‘retirement speech’ (THAT salmon jacket though), the hype of Henry’s match for the only major title he hadn’t won was high. Over on Smackdown, Dolph Ziggler was facing off against Alberto Del Rio to try and reclaim the World Heavyweight Championship he had lost.
In terms of the ladder matches themselves, we were in a time where women weren’t afforded these chances and we had two separate matches for both major titles. On the WWE Championship side, we had a full cast of face challenges in CM Punk, Sheamus, Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan, Christain, Kane and a returning Rob Van Dam. For the contract for the Big Gold Belt, we had an all heel roster of wrestlers, with Cesaro, Cody Rhodes, Damien Sandow, Dean Ambrose, Fandango, Jack Swagger and Wade Barrett all vying for the illustrious briefcase.
Just a note, we did get a pre-show Tag Team Title match between The Usos and The Shield, but the WWE Network didn’t want to seem to let me watch up, so I’ll be skipping it for this review and focusing on the main show.
We start the show proper with your typical WWE promo, hyping the fact that all the challengers in the WWE Championship match are all former World Champions. We have a recap of the shocking moment of the faux retirement. And that’s all that is hyped. Nothing for the World Championship, nothing for the corresponding Money in The Bank match. Seems as if they are stacking their cards on one particular brand…
World Heavyweight Championship Money In The Bank Ladder Match
Fandango and Dean Ambrose are already in the ring! No proper entrance. The rest of the entrants make proper entrances. I did forget that The Real Americans were a thing at this point, including the racist undertones of Zeb Colter’s promos. Sorry, not undertones, the OUTRIGHT racism on show. We also have the Rhodes Scholars out here, so it’s more of a tag team MITB match in essence.
We start with Fandango showing his swivelling hips before it all breaks out. Eventually, we are left with the two tag teams facing off with ladders in the ring. The Real Americans throw there’s at the Scholars and proceed to beat them down, with Cesaro deadlifting Cody into a ladder set up in the corner, with Swagger slamming Sandow following this. Going for a double team ladder squash, the RA miss Cody, who hits a Disaster Kick on Cesaro before getting chucked out by Swagger. Ambrose then joins the fray, showing how he is used to this chaotic approach. Having the first chance to climb the ladder, Barrett enters the ring and boots Ambrose in the face whilst he’s stuck between the legs of the ladder. This seems to be a match so far of who can control the ring, with Barrett knocking two others from the apron before having Fandango hitting a ladder into Barrett’s face with an enziguri, followed by an over the top leg drop.
I could go into step-by-step detail of the match but it’s your typical high risk, high stakes kind of affair. We get a suplex into a ladder in the corner and ladder shots to the head. In what seems like a gimmicked ladder, Barrett using the bottom step of a ladder to beat upon Sandow. We had Swagger dragging Barrett down into a Cesaro uppercut and then Ambrose hitting a DDT on Swagger when jumping from the ladder. Cesaro hits what I like to call the ‘Shayna’ spot, draggling Ambrose from the top of the ladder by just a sleeper. Cody hits a massive muscle buster on Cesaro onto a ladder. In what I would say is a potential match costing move, Swagger is on top of the ladder when Barrett spends time pulling UP his elbow pad to hit a Bull Hammer on Swagger, but he then gets high with a sunset flip powerbomb from Fandango.
Moving on, we get Ambrose hitting the windmill on all around, before a pretty inventive spot with Swagger and Cesaro picking him up via the ladder and tossing him out of the ring. Showing that it doesn’t matter which teammate wins Cesaro gets on he shoulders of Swagger, who walks him to the centre of the ring, just touching the briefcase before a flying missile dropkick puts an end to this. We then get a succession of Crossrhodes before the big daddy of ladders enters the fray. Rhodes starts climbing before being stopped in his tracks by Ambrose with punches and headbutts, where we see Rhodes has been busted open. He fights off this onstage until Ambrose Shield brothers appear and stop anyone from entering the ring. It looks as if Ambrose is posed to win the contract until the Usos return from payback for the pre-show match. everyone involved gets involved in a scuffle outside the ring while Ambrose climbs the ladder, just until Rhodes pushes him to the outside. Cody is Mr Money In the Ba … WAIT! Sandow doublecrosses his best friend, pushing Cody from the ladder and claims the briefcase for himself.
Watching this match back, it’s hard to disagree with the fact that this completely felt like Rhodes’ time to make the step up but the WWE love a twist in the tale. This match is good, solid but at the end of the day, it gets bogged down in the memory of other MITB matches. It’s a good start to the show, gets the crowd hyped for the rest of the event, but in the end, it’s a bit forgettable.
We then have Raw General Manager Brad Maddox (remember him!?) makes his way down to the ring, and cuts a promo thanking Vince McMahon for the opportunity and rubbing this fact in former GM, Vickie Guerrero’s, face. Honestly, why they thought this was a good idea is beyond me. We are then presented with a video package where Vicky is made a complete fool of. It’s honestly depressing how much of an idiot they made Vicky look at this time.
Intercontinental Championship – Curtis Axel (c) with Paul Heyman vs The Miz
How times have changed. Firstly, I forgot that Curtis Axel being a Heyman guy was a thing. We have the Miz attempting to win back the Intercontinental Championship he lost the previous month in a triple threat match.
At the start, we get to see a very aggressive Axel out of the gate but Miz stops this with a single man flapjack and the Miz turns into the aggressor, meeting Axel out of the ring. The commentators seem to want to big up the fact that Axel is a promising young talent. Suddenly, Miz pulls an Eddie, pretending he’s hit by Heyman and Paulie’s OUTTA THERE! The Philly crowd and NOT happy,
The lack of Heyman has really cooled this crowd and now Axel takes control with a back body drop. He gives knees in the order and then a jumping knee to the face. The pace has slowed from the opening exchange and Axel is showing some of that ability that was sorely lacking from most of the WWE run. locking in a rest hold, it’s Miz’s turn to try and change the ride and reverses a back body drop and then reigns down clubs to the face of Axel. Miz is picking up pace with a running knee and a big boot and then a jumping clothesline to the corner.
The crowd support is slowly growing for Miz. Goes for the skull crushing finale, but Alex reverses, goes for the PerfectPlex, Miz reverses again, goes for the figure-four leglock, but another reversal and Alex hits the Perfectplex for the 2 count. How I miss seeing legacy finishers in wrestling. Suddenly, Miz damages the knee and locks in the figure-four. It’s synched in tight (for The Miz) but Axel counters and the pressure is now on the Miz but he turns it back around and Axel makes it to the match. We now have a decent little contest going here.
Axel baits Miz to the outside, tricking Miz as he re-enters the ring and hits a Hangman Facebuster to retain the Intercontinental Championship. It seems a shame as I think these guys could have could another 5 minutes and it would have shown more of Axel’s ability between the ropes to solidify him as a credible champion.
Divas Championship Match – AJ Lee (w/ Big E Langston) vs Kaitlyn (w/ Layla)
Before this starts, I forgot how much I was into this feud back in the day. Also, who else remembers Layla coming to ringside with Kaitlyn?
The match starts with a slap from Kaitlyn and straight away hits a gut buster to AJ. Kaitlyn throws AJ to the outside and goes to long dart her into the ring post. AJ reverses and shoves Kaitlyn into the post and starts to work on the injured arm. The pace is slow in this one as AJ locks in a submission on the arm but Kaitlyn makes it to the ropes. AJ locks in an armlock and goes to ground. you can tell they are going for the psychological approach. Kaitlyn shows her strength and deadlifts AJ on her back shoves her into the corner several times and hits a backbreaker to create some space.
High elbow and a dropkick to the current champ followed by a jumping tackle, then a reverse DDT for a 2 count. A slap by AJ but gets a receipt in the form of a clothesline. Kaitlyn goes for a suplex but AJ shows her technical ability and hits a reversal onto the arm. AJ goes to the top rope but is shoved to the outside but Big E is there to catch. Kaitlyn gets her into the ring and hits a spear by the arm is hitting too much to take advantage. Kaitlyn finally gets back onto the attack by AJ locks in the Black Widow and she has it in tight and after 20 seconds Kaitlyn finally taps out. AJ retains.
Not the best match from the two fo them as the pace didn’t feel right but they went for the methodical approach with the injured arm.
We get a brief chat with the pre-show panel (Josh Matthews, Big Show, Kofi Kingston and Vickie). They recap the events of the evening.
Chris Jericho vs Ryback
A brief recap on the feud. Who else remembers the ‘Cryback’ insult? I don’t. We start off with some clubbing blows from both men but Ryback takes control. Hits shoulder blocks in the corner. Irish whip to the opposite corner by Jericho reverses and Ryback retreats to the outside. He takes his time to get back into the ring. When he does, however, he’s met with a dropkick to the face. Back in the ring, Jericho takes the big man down from the top rope and now Jericho is on top. As soon as he tried to slow it down, Ryback explodes out of the corner with a shoulder tackle.
The Philly crowd start with the ‘Goldberg’ chants. Jericho goes for the springboard dropkick but Ryback hits him with an arm and now Ryback has control with a sleeper in the ring. Jericho tries to counter but Ryback slams him to the mat and jumps on him form the 2nd rope for the 2 count. you can tell this match was built upon trying to make Ryback look like a complete beast. Every time Jericho turns to build back some momentum, Ryback hits back with that explosive power we became accustomed to seeing.
Ryback proceeds to throw Jericho around the ring and locks in another sleeper. You would think Ryback is a little gassed at times. Jericho counters and tries to get the Big Man to the ground and finally does with a suplex with a bridge, getting a 2 count of his own. He tried to lock in the Walls of Jericho but Ryback is too big and powers out. The pace is picking up now and Jericho goes to the top rope, but he’s caught and gets hit with a belly to belly for his troubles. Straight after, he’s met with a meathook clothesline and goes for the Shellshock. Jericho goes for a quick codebreaker but Ryback just throws him to the ground and picks him up to for a powerbomb and gets the 2.
Ryback tries to build a head of steam by 2J goes back to the injured leg and hits an enziguri. Ryback is on the apron and gets met with a codebreaker and falls to the outside. The ref starts his 10 count but Ryback gets back in just before he’s counted out. Y2J goes to the top rope and hits a cross body but again only gets two. Jericho thinks he has control but Ryback presses Jericho over his head, goes to hit the Shellshock but then a lovely counter into a DDT. Both men to their feet, Y2J with punches to the head, takes him down, goes for the Lionsault but lands on his feet and Ryback rolls him up for the 3 count! This match showed that Ryback can take some damage but the roll-up looked weak.
We now get a promo package for the newly opened Performance Center. I wonder if this will go anywhere?
World Heavyweight Championship – Dolph Ziggler vs Alberto Del Rio (c)
We get another promo package, highlighting how Dolph won the title with the MITB briefcase by his concussion issues led to him losing the championship back to Del Rio. They try to get over that this feud has turned personal. You forget how hot the crowd were for Ziggler at this time in history.
We start the match off with a quick roll-up from Ziggler for a 2 count and the cockiness of Dolph is at full force tonight. Del Rio with his own cover and takes the action to the mat and tried to keep the action slow. The men get back to their feet and we get an inch-perfect dropkick from Ziggler for another 2 count. You get the feeling Dolph wants to get the win quickly here.
The crowd are firmly behind Ziggler as he hits repeated elbow drops to the delight of the WWE universe. Del Rio gets knocked to the outside of the ring and Ziggle promptly follows, throws Del Rio back in but is met with an enziguri from Del Rio. Del Rio is now on the attack doesn’t give Ziggle a moment to breathe, throwing him into the barricade, getting him in the ring and delivers knees to the head.
He locks in the sleeper but Dolph gets back to his feet and gets a sunset flip for a two count and hits another great dropkick. Ziggler goes for a splash int he corner but misses and his head bounces off the turnbuckle. Del Rio follows with stomps to the head. Del Rio is being very aggressive, really targetting the head in this one. It’s honestly amazing how hot fans were for Dolph and now looking back and seeing how this was messed up by the WWE.
Del Rio mocks Dolph and goes to flatten him on the ropes but completely missed and eats it on the outside, getting Dolph some time to breathe. Del Rio goes to the top rope but Ziggler jumps up for a facebuster from the top rope. You don’t see that every day. Both men are on their feet and we get a proper slugfest into the corner. Del Rio charges but Ziggler sidesteps and gets all of the ring post and for extra measure gets a neck breaker for a 2 count. Ziggler senses a finish, going for the Fameasser but gets reversed into a German suplex. Del Rio backs Dolph into the corner and goings for the kick, Dolph ducks and hits the Fameasser this time but only gets a 2 for his efforts. Dolph wants the ZigZag but Del Rio holds onto the ropes and hits a beautiful tilt-a-twirl backbreaker. His guys understood each other in the ring. Del Rio senses an opportunity from the top but eats a dropkick.
Suddenly, AJ Lee’s music hits and Dolph is completely confused! Remember, these two are a couple in storyline terms right now. A lovely countering sequence where Dolph hits a DDT for another 2 count and AJ is still hanging around, taking his attention off Del Rio, who hits him off the top rope and follows up with blows to the back of the head. Del Rio then hits a lovely over the head reverse DDT but again, it’s only a near fall and the crowd come alive for Ziggler! Alberto goes for the cross-arm breaker, Dolph reverses, goes for another DDT but gets planted face first and takes a kick straight to the face. The crowd think it’s over but, again, Dolph kicks out and Alberto cannot believe it! Del Rio lowers the knee pad and shows the knee brace, goes for another kick but Dolph blocks and out of nowhere AJ hits Del Rio with the belt and Dolph is disqualified! Dolph is heartbroken.
This was a really enjoyable match, plenty of near falls and it sucked the crowd into the action. It told the story of Dolph having the heart of a champion and in some ways, him regaining the championship would have cemented him as a proper main eventer for the following years. As Dolph leaves the ring, a chorus of ‘You sucked Ziggler’ chants rain down upon AJ Lee.
WWE Championship – John Cena (c) vs Mark Henry
After another video package highlight the story behind this championship match (AGAIN, THAT SALMON JACKET) we have Cena vs Henry. The challenger is out first, and the Philly crowd are firmly behind him here. The story of the bout is the fact that Henry has yet to win the WWE Title in his career. Cena makes his entrance, and being we are in Philly, the crowd shower him with heat. We know who the crowd want to win here.
The bell rings and Cena charges are Henry but he’s met with a knee to the midsection and straight away, Henry is asserting his own, slow, methodical pace to the match. Henry hits open hand chops in the corner and hits a powerful Irish whip to the opposite turnbuckle that knocks Cena down to the ground. He climbs back up but is met with a running splash for this troubles. Cena is thrown to the outside and picks up Cena, holding him int he air and drops him ribs first into the steel steps. It’s all Henry so far and the crowd are loving it.
Cena tries to build some momentum, with a couple of punches and a dropkick, but just runs into a forearm from the World’s Strongest Man. He follows it up with a giant swing on Cena. He’s throwing him around like a ragdoll. Cena tries to escape to the outside but Henry follows and just swings him again, ut this time right into the barricade with force. That pace is slow, but as a fan, you are completely pulled into the action. This period of Henry’s career is amazing, as everything just clicks.
Henry goes for another splash in the corner and Cena dodges. He goes to pick Henry up but he just buckles under the weight and is squashed by the former Sexual Chocolate. Both men are on their feet and we have both men throwing firsts at each other, and Cena hits two running blocks, knocking Henry down with the second, and now we are in Cena territory as Cena helps the side suplex, followed by the Five Knuckle Shuffle. HE attempts to get Cena up for the AA but his legs give way and for the 364th time in his match is squashed.
Henry goes for a power slam, but Cena counters for a very messy DDT. I’ve seen Cena hit cleaner. Suddenly, Cena gets Henry up again and hits the AA, he hooks the leg but only gets a 2 count! Cena is in disbelief (no one has EVER kicked out of the AA…what!?) so Cena goes to the top rope and goes for the crossbody, but is caught but Henry. World’s strongest slam! 1 … 2 … KICKOUT! Now Henry is in disbelief and the crowd are baying for one more.
He makes his way to the corner and rips the cover from the turnbuckle, followed but retrieving two steel chair from ringside. What is he thinking here? The ref is distracted as Henry removes another turnbuckle. Henry goes to slam Cena’s head into the exposed steel but Cena counters and locks in the AA. It’s all over him Henry reaches the ropes. Henry throws Cena into the ref and hits a massive low blow but, again. only gets the two count. It’s always funny how the commentators judge the heel for this, but don’t say a word about Cena using the exposed turnbuckle.
Henry goes for another World’s Strongest Slam, but Cena jumps out of it and takes the leg and locks in the STF. It takes time, but Henry has no choice to tap out. This was the wrong decision. Henry deserved that championship and giving him a run with the main title is no less than he deserves. Cena is ready for Henry to go after him, but Henry retreats to the back.
WWE Championship Money In The Bank Ladder Match
We start with a reminder that Kane is no longer in the MITB match due to being taken out by the newly debuting Wyatt Family on Raw the week before.
The entrances begin and this time we don’t have any men in the ring so everyone gets there time, starting with the returning Rob Van Dam and the Philly crowd are very happy here. A reminder that all the competitors were faces at the time so it’s going to be interesting to see how the match pans out. No doubt that the crowd favourites though are Daniel Bryan and CM Punk.
The all-star MITB gets underway and each one is apprehensive and the crowd start with the RVD chants. RVD goes to respond but everyone else kicks onto him, taking out the emotional crowd favourite. We are at a stalemate again and all the men start staring at Sheamus and take him out of the equation, which leaves four in the ring. Now we the men splitting off and we are left with Bryan and Punk in the ring. RVD tries to get back in the ring by the two men in the ring see to it that doesn’t happen. They meet each other with kicks and the punk starts chopping Bryan in the corner. and the pace picks up, with both men going for finishers, but Sheamus enters with the first ladder of the match and takes them out, along with Christian but then he’s met with a dropkick from Orton.
Orton picks on RVD next but it’s time to for RVD to show he hasn’t lost a step and we get monkey flips, jumping kicks and the crowd love it! He panders to the crowd and hits baseball slides to ladders out the outside. Christain tries to sneak a Killswitch but is pressed straight onto a ladder. Bryan tries to sneak attack but is much with a kick and then a rolling thunder on the ladder! Orton thinks he can take RVD out but another kick and he lands on a ladder of his own. RVD goes to the top rope and it’s a five-star frog – NO, Christian knocks him down to the outside with a ladder.
Christian now has a step ladder and is hitting men around the outside and takes control of the middle of the ring. Christian sets up the first ladder but is met by Sheamus from behind, who takes his turn at climbing the ladder but Christain returns the favour and now both men are on the ladder. After some tussling, they are back down on the mat and Sheamus punches Christian through the ladder and proceeds to clam it into Christain’s whole body. Sheamus sets up the ladder again and tries to climb in but RVD returns and pushes the ladder, Sheamus coming rashing down. RVD tries to take control but Sheamus hits a running Senton onto the steel ladder. It’s now Sheamus turn to take control and outs to the outside and has visions of destroying the other competitors. This match has a slower pace than the first one of the night. Sheamus goes to powerbomb Daniel Byrn but he reverses and pushes Sheamus off the ropes, who avoids the ladder but can’t avoid the following knee from Bryan.
We have CM Punk and Orton fighting over a ladder in the ring and Christain enters and takes down both men. Now Bryan sets up another ladder and we end up with all 6 men somehow ending up at the top of the ladders. Everyone goes for the briefcase but in a smart move, knowing he can’t win it from here, Punk swings it away.
All six men are still trying to reach it but both ladders fall and all men go tumbling to the ground. Sheamus is the first to his feet and takes control, hitting everyone with forearms and Irish Curse backbreakers before picking up Christian, backing him up into a ladder and hitting White Noise. RVD wants to knock the ladder down again, but Sheamus preempts this and slams the ladder in his faces and hits the Brogue Kick. The next person up is Bryan, who garners ‘yes’ chants with each punch, but Sheamus weathers the storm and hits him to the ground. Sheamus has his hands on the briefcase but it stopped by CM Punk who moves the ladder from below him. Punk hits the running knee in the corner, wit the back of Sheamus’s head bouncing off the steel and then Punk falling with the ladder on top of him.
Orton enters, and this ends with Punk getting T-Bone Suplexed into a ladder, follows by a hangman DDT. Then Christian comes into the ring and dishes out some spears and now he climbs the ladder, believing it’s his time, but RVD ruins that with a ladder right to the coccyx. RVD now climbs while the audience breaks out into a ‘We Want Tables’ chant. Christian drags him back down and lays in some boots. The two men end up on top but the ladder falls, but RVD lands on a second ladder set up in the ring and ends a five-star frog splash from the 15-foot ladder!
RVD senses that this is his chance, slowly climbing up the ladder but Sheamus is there to stop it and the men trade punches at the top, Sheamus falls but then pushes the ladder over and RVD gets caught up on the top rope. Bryan enters and delivers ‘Yes’ Kicks to both men before hitting a returning Orton with the ladder and delivering a suicide dive to Punk. He is on fire as he kicks a double missile dropkick and he is a man unhinged as he hits Sheamus off the top rope with a ladder, and Sheamus crashes through a ladder on the outside!
Bryan has a clear road to the Briefcase but the Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel comes to the ring and starts destroying Bryan with a steel chair! No-one knows the meaning of this. Axel looks on cocky by is met with a GTS from Punk. Heyman comes to the ring and berates Axel and orders Punk to collect the briefcase.
Everyone is down as Punk gingerly climbs to the ladder. With each step, the crowd grows in noise, orchestrated by Heyman. Just as he reaches the top, Heyman enters the ring and without warning starts slamming a ladder into Punk! The audience is complete dumbfounded as Heyman leaves the ring, Punk laid out after multiple shots. RVD returns into the ring and starts climbing but outta nowhere Orton hits an RKO from the top of the ladder. He climbs it himself, checks his surrounds before claiming the briefcase and Randy Orton is your Mr. Money In The Bank.
A very different feeling from the first match, much less of a car crash but it still kept your attention.
This was a decent PPV, with two good MITB matches, a compelling WWE Championship match and a very engrossing World Heavyweight Championship match. However, by the end of the event, I had forgotten the other matches. Philly was as always a great crowd and helped boost this Pay-Per-View.
You can find me on Twitter @TDWalton. Thanks for reading.