TJR Best WWE PPVs of the Decade: Money in the Bank 2016 Review

Welcome to another look back at one of WWE’s best pay-per-views of this decade. As I mentioned last time when I posted the SummerSlam 2013 review, I’m going to be re-posting some of the best WWE PPVs of the last ten years. This version of TJRWrestling (the .net period) started in February 2015. Everything I wrote before that was on the .com site, which unfortunately we lost because I trusted somebody that ended up screwing me over and we lost everything. The good news is I was writing at other sites too, plus I have everything saved going back to around 2006 or so, which means I can re-post older stuff once in a while.

Today, I’m posting my review of WWE Money in the Bank 2016 as one of the best WWE PPVs this decade. They aren’t going to be posted in any particular order. I don’t know if I’m going to post five of them or ten of them or what I might do. It’s just a way to look back on a good show. At the end of the month, I’ll post the ranking of the top 10 or maybe 20 WWE PPVs this decade. I think there’s a very good chance that I’ll be doing that column.

Here’s Money in the Bank 2016, which is the PPV that took place right before the 2016 WWE draft/brand split that occurred because Smackdown moved to Tuesday nights live on USA Network.  What you’ll see here is the play by play, my reactions at the time, my star ratings and then I’m going to add some 2019 thoughts in blue as well. Let’s roll.

WWE Money in the Bank
T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada
June 20, 2016

The opening video package focused on the three key matches that have the most interest.

There’s no elaborate set other than a bunch of ladders around the entrance.

Enzo Amore and Big Cass made their entrance. Enzo said he had a mean poker face saying that you couldn’t read that even if you were on Hooked on Phonics. He said he was love-struck by lady luck and he’s a little tired. Amore said that he and lady luck were up all night long. Cass said if anybody gets in their way they are going broke. He ended it with the SAWFT bit with the crowd chanting along.

(It was smart to start the PPV with Enzo and Cass because they were so popular with the crowd thanks to their catchphrases.)

The Vaudevillains made their entrance. The announce team of Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield and Byron Saxton welcomed us to the show. The Spanish and German announce teams were ringside as well. Gallows and Anderson made their entrance.

The New Day did a promo prior to the match saying all Enzo does is talk while Cass does all the work. Then Woods did a Chewbacca impression. Big E called The Vaudevillains the Monopoly men. Kingston said they’re going to send the hereditary baldness of G&A back to Japan. Xavier said they’ll show us why they are “the elite” team in the industry today.

Analysis: The reason “the elite” part is interesting is because that’s what Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks call themselves in New Japan and Ring of Honor. Those guys like to mention New Day, so nice job by the champs teasing something down the road.

Fatal 4-Way for the Tag Team Titles: The New Day (w/Xavier Woods) vs. Enzo & Cass vs. The Vaudevillains vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson

For this match, two guys are in the ring while the other six watch on the apron. Kingston with the double boots to Gallows and he nailed a cross body block while Enzo did one at the same time. Double dropkick by Kofi and Enzo on the Vaudevillains with Kofi and Enzo as the legal guys. Big E and Cass got the tags with the announcers getting excited for it as a showdown. English tagged himself in, right into a belly to belly suplex by Big E. Apron splash by E on English. All eight guys were in the ring at the same time after that pin attempt. They brawled in the ring. The four faces all hit clotheslines over the top to knock the heels out. The face teams started brawling. English and Gotch worked over Kingston in their corner. Anderson tagged in and he did a double clothesline spot with Anderson. Enzo was legal against English. Gallows sent Enzo to the floor and Gallows nailed a kick to Enzo’s head for two. Tornado DDT by Enzo on Gallows. Cass tagged in against Anderson with a body slam, clotheslines for the others, back body drop sent E over the top to the floor and a body slam on Anderson. Gallows hit the Empire Elbow on Anderson. Big boot by Cass sent English off the apron onto the floor. Cass launched Enzo over the top onto a bunch of guys on the floor. Cass big boot to Anderson. Enzo with the Rocket Launcher splash, but Gallows pulled him out of the ring. Great spot. Cass got sent into the ring post. There was a mistake when Enzo was pinning Gotch, Kingston went for the Trouble in Paradise and Enzo went down before getting hit because he may not have known it was coming. Oops. English was legal with Kingston. The Vaudevillains hit their Whirling Dervish finisher as Anderson made the save. Big E hit a Spear on Gotch on the apron leading to them crashing to the floor. Kingston with a floatover DDT on English. Anderson blind tag on English and Anderson kicked Big E in the back. They took out Woods on the floor too. Gallows and Anderson hit the Magic Killer on English. The ref counted the pin and Big E broke it up. Cass with a big boot on Gallows sent them both to the floor. Big E and Kofi hit the Big Ending on Anderson. Kingston covered English for the win at 11:43.

Winners by pinfall: The New Day

Analysis: **1/2 It was a pretty good tag match with a hot ending although there were a few spots that were messed up in there. I’m not a huge fan of the fatal fourway rules for a tag match because it’s too difficult to build up the big spots like they would in a regular tag match. The spot where Enzo almost won was pretty cool and the crowd was into it. As for New Day winning, I thought it might be a good time to put G&A over for the titles. I guess WWE disagreed because they chose to keep the gold on New Day. There’s nothing wrong with them. It’s been ten months with them as the champs. I still think G&A will win the titles soon.

(This match was average, but it’s still a good choice for the opener because New Day and Enzo/Cass were so popular. That New Day title reign was a record-breaker that continued for 483 days until Cesaro and Sheamus beat them for the titles in December 2016. Gallows and Anderson won the titles in January 2017 while Enzo and Cass never won tag team titles in WWE. That’s surprising considering how popular they were.)

Kevin Owens was interviewed backstage by Tom Phillips. Owens said that last year he Powerbombed Cena on the apron at Money in the Bank. He said he’s very special – that’s what his mom tells him. Chris Jericho showed up with the scarf. Jericho told Owens he’ll get another chipped tooth. Jericho said that he is the spotlight and he’s the genius that created the Money in the Bank ladder match – Owens said he knew. Owens mocked Jericho for not winning a MITB ladder match. They kept on arguing as Alberto Del Rio walked in. Owens said here’s Del Rio to speak Spanish. Del Rio was trying to say the same thing he always does, so Owens cut him off saying both of them just repeat themselves all the time. Owens said he’s actually interesting. Del Rio said he’s going to rip off his shoulders. Owens said he’s shocked Del Rio didn’t call him a perro – that’s a dog in Spanish as they mentioned. Jericho said the only perro he sees are the “perro idiots” that will see him win the contract. He said he’ll give us the gift he wants – the gift of Jericho. “Drink it in, maaaan.” Owens said he’ll stick to water. Jericho held his arm pose as the other two left. Jericho: “Stupid idiots!”

Analysis:  That was pretty funny with Owens and Jericho typically doing great in comedy segments while Del Rio is usually not in that situation. It worked because of how serious he is, though. I also find it comical that they point out that wrestlers repeat themselves all the time because that’s what all wrestlers do. Repetitiveness is their job (Simpsons reference, people). Well done by everybody.

(Owens and Jericho had amazing chemistry together. This was in the early stages of what became an alliance that led to a betrayal by Owens in February 2017.)

As Baron Corbin and Dolph Ziggler made their entrances, Cole mentioned other announce teams in the arena. They showed the Portuguese announcers, then the Russian announcers and the Japanese announcers featuring Funaki.

Baron Corbin vs. Dolph Ziggler

This is match #247 in their series. I may have made up that number. Ziggler went for a superkick early, so Corbin bailed to the floor. Big punch by Corbin gave him control. Huge clothesline gets two for him. Corbin sent Ziggler stomach first onto the top rope to keep him grounded. Some fans were chanting “boring” as Corbin did his methodical offense. The announcers talked about Corbin being a Gold Gloves champion. Ziggler with a couple of clotheslines, a neckbreaker and an elbow drop. Corbin escaped the Fameasser, blocked the superkick and nailed a huge clothesline for two. Corbin sent Ziggler into the turnbuckle, Ziggler moved on a Corbin charge attempt and Ziggler nailed the Fameasser for a two count. Outside the ring, Ziggler stumbled on the ring steps a bit, but they went right into the next spot as Corbin hit the Deep Six slam on the floor. They both got in the ring before the ten count. They each went for moves and Ziggler nailed a superkick for two. Good action here. Corbin hit Ziggler with a forearm shot while Ziggler was on the turnbuckle. Ziggler tried to fight him off. Ziggler was trying to hit something off the top, but Corbin tripped him up. Corbin hit the End of Days for the pinfall win at 12:25.

Winner by pinfall: Baron Corbin

Analysis: **3/4 That was a solid match that was very competitive. Corbin winning was no surprise. They told a good story in a big man/little man type match. This was their longest match or at least the longest one I can remember. That’s probably why they did it again because they felt like giving Corbin more of a chance to have a good match. Those “boring” chants aren’t a good thing, though. Ziggler’s the right kind of opponent for Corbin because he’s one of the best in WWE in terms of selling moves and making people look great in the ring. This feud has been about elevating Corbin. I think it definitely helped him, but whether he’s elevated that much depends on what he does next.

(I don’t have much to add here. It’s a solid match done to elevate Corbin, who was newer on the main roster.)

Seth Rollins was backstage getting ready for the main event.

A commercial for Gold Bond aired because it’s a sponsor for the show.

Charlotte & Dana Brooke vs. Natalya & Becky Lynch

As Natalya and Brooke locked up, the fans chanted “We Want Sasha.” Me too. I like the other faces in this match, but I miss Sasha. Seated dropkick by Natalya on Brooke. Nice Hart Attack clothesline by Natalya and Lynch. Brooke held onto the leg of Natalya, so Charlotte nailed a boot to the face. The heels worked over Natalya in their corner. Charlotte did the dreaded hair whip on Natalya and then knocked Lynch off the apron. Natalya came back with a forearm on Brooke, she avoided a Charlotte charge and here’s the hot tag to Lynch against Charlotte. Lynch with a forearm smash, then a corner kick and a Bexploder suplex for two on Charlotte as Brooke made the save. Lynch with a missile dropkick on both heels gets two on Charlotte. Natalya tagged in with the Nattie by Nature clothesline. Charlotte came back with a rollup using the ropes for two. Sharpshooter by Natalya on Charlotte, but Brooke broke it up. Brooke tossed Lynch into Natalya so they collided and both went down. Charlotte hit Natural Selection for the pinfall win on Natalya at 7:00.

Winners by pinfall: Charlotte & Dana Brooke

After the match, Brooke was calling herself the best protégé ever.

Analysis: ** It was a basic tag match that really didn’t get enough time to allow them to stand out. It’s pretty obvious that Brooke has a lot of work to do compared to the other three women. I don’t mind Brooke, though. She’s done pretty well and keeps improving. The outcome surprised me a bit…until what happened after the match.

(I almost forgot about Charlotte/Brooke alliance. They did nothing with it when Brooke split from her. It was too short to be anything memorable, but the work was fine.) 

Natalya was sad after the match with tears in her eyes. Then Natalya nailed Lynch in the back with a forearm smash! Heel turn! The crowd let out a big “ohhh” for that. Natalya pounded her with hard punches in the corner. The crowd was booing her. Natalya walked away from the ring wiping the tears from her face while Lynch sold pain in the ring.

Analysis: I enjoyed that a lot. It was a very believable attack with Natalya throwing some believable punches. The Natalya character had become a bit boring through no fault of her own. They just didn’t give her much to do or say. Turning heel after a loss is a good time for it. I think a heel turn is exactly what she needs at this point. Plus, the women’s division needed more heels, so this evens things out a bit. As for Lynch, she seems to be locked in as the girl that loses friends all the time because they turn on her.

(This was a great turn. I didn’t see it coming although there were obvious signs for it since Natalya wasn’t doing much at that point. Natalya and Becky went on to be two of the best women on the Smackdown brand over the next couple of years.)

There was a plug for AJ Styles on the Stone Cold Podcast on WWE Network after Raw this week.

Dean Ambrose was interviewed by Tom Phillips. He said Money in the Bank is the jungle and he said the briefcase is his. He said there’s no fear or hesitation. He said all the times he’s been beaten up is going to be worth it because he’s the king of the jungle. When asked about Reigns vs. Rollins, he said beating up Seth is fun – trust me I know.

Analysis: If I watched this live I would have wondered if that last part could be considered foreshadowing. We found out later.

Sheamus vs. Apollo Crews

They were aggressive at the start with Crews hitting a dropkick a clothesline over the top to the floor. Sheamus with a backbreaker on the floor gave him control. Back in the ring, Sheamus wore him down with a chinlock. Forearms by Sheamus leading to another chinlock. Crews tried a comeback, but Sheamus nailed a running senton. Another chinlock by Sheamus. Crews with clotheslines, then a corner splash, a cross body block and an enziguri kick gets two. Big spot as Crews hit a belly to belly suplex over the top to the floor. Crews nailed a perfect moonsault on Sheamus on the floor. Crews with an Angle Olympic Slam (not called by Cole) that gets two. Sheamus came back with a powerslam for two. They battled on the top rope with Sheamus coming down with White Noise off the middle rope for two. Sheamus was stunned that it wasn’t enough. Crews rolled him up with a crucifix pin for the victory at 8:36.

Winner by pinfall: Apollo Crews

Post match, Sheamus was angry with the referee after the loss. JBL put it over as Crews’ biggest win and a big loss for Sheamus.

Analysis: **1/4 It was a solid match to put over the younger guy in less than ten minutes. Crews showed his incredible athleticism a few times. In my preview of the match, I wrote about how I thought Crews was going to win in a manner that wasn’t decisive, but could be considered more of a crafty win. Sheamus can call it a fluke. It’s a way to keep the rivalry going. That’s exactly what happened. Sometimes WWE is predictable. That’s not a bad thing, though. That finish made sense for this storyline.

(This was one of WWE’s attempts to get Crews over. I didn’t even remember this match taking place on this show until I read about it. Crews has so much potential physically, but character-wise they have done nothing with the guy and it’s over three years since this match. They need to figure out something for him to do that’s more meaningful than not being used at all. Good job by Sheamus working hard and putting over Crews clean like this.)

The WWE Champion Roman Reigns was shown getting ready for the main event.

A commercial aired for Battleground on July 24. It’s five weeks away.

Analysis: The brand extension starts on the July 19 edition of Smackdown, so it will be interesting to see how they set it up with the draft.

An excellent video package aired to set up Cena vs. Styles.

The heel AJ Styles made his entrance alone. It’s interesting to see a streamer tossed into the ring by a fan. That doesn’t happen in WWE. JBL said this is the biggest match of AJ’s career. That’s an arguable point since he was just in two WWE Title matches the last two PPVs, but I get why he’s saying it.

John Cena made his entrance wearing his new shirt. Fans chanted “John Cena suuucks” for his entrance as he said he’s been waiting for this for a long time. His first televised match in over five months. Cole said that he will unabashedly say that Cena is the greatest of all time.

Analysis: Now that Cena’s at 39 years of age and may not have that many years left as a full-timer, they are probably going to throw that “greatest of all time” phrase around often. I’m not saying I agree with it, but it doesn’t bother me either.

AJ Styles vs. John Cena

The crowd was really loud for this one. It felt right for Cole to call it “electric” because it was. Dueling chants from the crowd. Slow start to the match since they are getting a lot of time. Cena launched Styles across the ring with a monkey flip. When Cena did his “you can’t see me” gesture, Styles nailed him with a forearm shot to the face. Another dueling chant from the crowd as Styles used his speed and then Cena slowed it down with a belly to belly suplex. When Cena tried to toss Styles into the steps, Styles jumped over them to avoid them. Styles was in control in the ring with a knee drop and then a suplex. Styles was cocky: “Is that all he’s got?” Cena missed a corner charge as he sold a left arm injury. Cena started a comeback with a back body drop. Cena with a shoulder tackle, but Styles came back with a dropkick. Styles with a chinlock for about one minute. You could see Cena calling spots with him. Cena with two shoulder tackles, but then Styles came back with an enziguri kick. Cena with his suplex into a slam. Cena paused, so Styles sent him out of the ring with a headscissors takedown that sent Cena to the floor. Styles launched himself over the top with a Phenomenal Forearm smash. Styles went for a corkscrew dive through the ropes, but Cena moved and Styles took a hard bump on the floor.

Back in the ring, Styles fought out of an Attitude Adjustment attempt from Cena. Styles with a corner clothesline, then he missed a forearm as Cena applied the STF in the middle of the ring. Styles got out of it. Cena was able to slow Styles down by sending him crashing into the ropes. Cena was heard calling a spot against the ropes. Cena caught Styles, was looking for the AA and Styles turned it into the Calf Crusher. That was a sweet transition. Really well done. Cena got to the ropes. Styles kicked Cena in the left knee repeatedly, but then he ran the ropes and Cena crushed him with a clothesline. Cena with a weak version of the Five Knuckle Shuffle as he didn’t bounce off the ropes. Cena connected with the Attitude Adjustment and Styles kicked out at two. Awesome nearfall! Cena went up top for his leg drop move, but Styles caught him and dropped him with a Powerbomb for two. Another very good nearfall. Styles connected with a Pele Kick. That’s such a cool move. Styles Clash hits! One…two…no! Cena out at two. That was an even better nearfall than the other two. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for them.

Styles went up top for a springboard 450 Splash (Cole called it a shooting star for some reason), but Cena got his knees up to counter it. Cena went for AA, Styles landed on his feet, Styles went for Pele Kick and Cena avoided it. They kept going for big moves. Cena had Styles on his shoulders when Styles hit the ref with his feet leading to a ref bump to the floor. Cena connected with the AA and went for a cover, but the ref was out of the ring. Styles wasn’t moving. Gallows and Anderson went into the ring. They hit a Magic Killer on Cena. They put Styles on top and then they left. The ref crawled back into the ring, counted the one…two…and three. Styles wins at 24:10.

Winner by pinfall: AJ Styles

Analysis: ****1/4 That was an outstanding match as expected. It wasn’t the match of the year, but it’s another incredible match by Styles on PPV. He’s on quite a roll while Cena hasn’t missed a beat. I liked the pacing of the match because they were given nearly 25 minutes. Both guys have a lot of experience in a long match, so they took their time to make it work. I liked all of the great nearfalls they had like when Styles kicked out of the AA and Cena kicked out of a Styles Clash. The right man went over too as I predicted because Styles lost three straight PPV matches in a row, so he should have won. I’m not surprised that it was a cheap win because Styles is the heel and that’s how he should win a match like this. That finish also sets up the obvious rematch that should be just as good if not better than this one.

(This was an excellent, but it’s the third-best in the Cena/Styles trilogy of matches that existed during this time period. The Cena/Styles match at SummerSlam 2016 is one of the best matches of the decade and then I think they might have topped it at Royal Rumble 2017 as well. I rated both of those matches at five stars out of five, so that tells how much I love these Cena/Styles matches. The finish to this match was fine with Gallows and Anderson getting involved, but I found it so strange that WWE would put Styles on a different show from Gallows & Anderson for the next few years. Anyway, these guys had natural chemistry together. I think you can argue about who the best opponent is in Cena’s career whether it’s CM Punk, Edge or AJ Styles, but I think I might go with Styles just because of how special their matches were.) 

Post match, both guys were selling fatigue after the match. JBL was ranting about Gallows & Anderson robbing the crowd of a fair match. They wonder if AJ even knows what happened. JBL kept on ranting saying it was a BS way to finish it.

Analysis: It’s weird for the heel announcer to be ranting about it. I guess WWE felt like he could do a better job of putting it over compared to the other guys.

They aired the Gold Bond powder spray commercial with Shaquille O’Neil again.

A commercial aired for the second season of Swerved on WWE Network. I’ve seen all the episodes. It had some funny moments.

An excellent video package aired about the Money in the Bank ladder match. That was really well done.

Order of entry for the Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Chris Jericho, Cesaro, Sami Zayn, Alberto Del Rio, Kevin Owens and Dean Ambrose. As a reminder, the way to win the match is climbing the ladder and pulling down the briefcase.

Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Chris Jericho vs. Cesaro vs. Sami Zayn vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. Kevin Owens vs. Dean Ambrose

Ambrose took out Owens with a suicide dive on the floor. Cesaro with two backbreakers to Del Rio. Cesaro with a running attack on Jericho on a ladder on the floor. Four guys brawled on the floor, so Zayn hit a somersault dive over the top to take them out. Owens nailed Zayn with a superkick on the floor. Jericho attacked Cesaro in the ring with a ladder. Ambrose slammed Jericho on a ladder that was in the ring and then Jericho suplexed Ambrose’s legs into the ladder. Jericho repeatedly slammed a side of the ladder onto Ambrose’s head. Cesaro with the uppercut train on Del Rio, Jericho and Ambrose. Then Owens nailed a superkick on him and tossed him into a ladder that was on the top rope. Owens with cannonball splashes on Jericho, Ambrose and Del Rio. Zayn with an overhead suplex on Owens onto Jericho. Zayn with a Helluva Kick on Ambrose and then a Helluva Kick to both Owens and Jericho. Zayn set up a ladder in the ring. Del Rio pulled him off the ladder and nailed a kick. Del Rio hit Ambrose with a ladder on the floor. Del Rio trapped Zayn upside down against the ladder as Del Rio dropkicked the ladder into Zayn. Del Rio hit his double foot stomp on Cesaro against the ladder. Del Rio did the slow climb, Jericho stopped him and Del Rio did a double foot stomp to his back. Cesaro went up the ladder with Del Rio, so Del Rio put the Cross Armbreaker on Cesaro on the ladder. Owens kicked Del Rio in the face. Cesaro came back with a springboard uppercut to knock Owens down. Cesaro up, but Ambrose gave him Dirty Deeds. Jericho sent Ambrose out of the ring, he climbed up and Ambrose climbed up. Jericho with a Codebreaker on Ambrose.

Jericho climbed the ladder. He got his hands on it, but Zayn stopped him. They were both on the ladder, so Owens shoved the ladder and they went crashing into the top rope. Del Rio with a Backstabber on Owens. Cesaro uppercut to the back sent Del Rio into the ladder. Cesaro Swing time on Del Rio. Cesaro did the Swing to Jericho and tossed him head first into a ladder. Ouch. A ladder was set up by the turnbuckle, so Ambrose jumped off with a flying elbow smash on Cesaro. Owens tossed a ladder into the back of Ambrose. Owens with a Six Star Frog Splash (his name for it) onto Ambrose on a ladder. Owens and Zayn battled in the ring. Zayn nailed Owens with a Michinoku Driver into the side of a ladder. Ouch! That one looked brutal. The crowd chanted “Holy Shit” for that. I agree with that sentiment. Zayn climbed up and got his hand on the bottom of the briefcase. Del Rio attacked him with a ladder to knock him down and then hit a DDT. Del Rio set up a ladder bridge from the turnbuckle to the ladder in the ring. Cesaro did it on the other side of the ladder. All six guys were on ladders throwing punches. Cesaro and Del Rio were knocked off. Cesaro set up another ladder beside them. All six men were reaching for the briefcase. Cesaro got knocked down and crotched on the top rope. Del Rio landed with his feet on the top rope and then he crashed on the mat. That looked bad.  Zayn and Owens were left to fight on the ladder. Zayn climbed up and got his hand on the briefcase. Jericho knocked him down. Ambrose nailed Jericho with Dirty Deeds.

Zayn climbed the ladder. He was close again. Owens pulled him down and Owens nailed a Powerbomb on a ladder that was bridged from the turnbuckle to a vertical ladder. Ambrose climbed up and slammed Owens face first into the ladder. Ambrose was all alone at the top of the ladder. He reached up, unclipped the briefcase and he grabbed it. Ambrose wins at 21:38. Huge pop for him.

Winner: Dean Ambrose

Post match, Ambrose held up the briefcase. I noticed Del Rio getting helped to the back by some refs and a doctor. Hopefully he’s not injured. JBL was ranting on about how if you put Ambrose’s face on a billboard, children would cry. JBL said this is bad because the idea is Ambrose is crazy.

Analysis: ****1/4 Wow that was awesome. I loved that match. I don’t remember my ratings for every MITB match, but that was definitely on the high end of MITB matches. It’s one of the better ones for sure. They built it up really well with all six guys looking like they had a legit shot to win. I thought one of the better false finishes was Zayn’s climb when he had his hand on the briefcase, which led to others getting involved. He came so close a few times. Others did as well. As for the result, I have no problem with Ambrose winning. For weeks I said it was probably going to be Owens or Ambrose. I ended up picking Ambrose because typically WWE doesn’t book a guy to win matches before a big match, but in Dean’s case he won on both Raw and Smackdown. I’m actually surprised they booked a guy to win matches leading up to a PPV win because it’s so rare. That’s what they should do more often, though. Great match. Awesome job by all six men.

(This was an excellent match. That shouldn’t be a surprise since there were four World Champions and then guys like Zayn/Cesaro are two of the better in-ring performers in WWE this decade that just haven’t got that big push. You know they’ll always have a good match, though. This was when Ambrose was the most over during his WWE career and at the end of the night, it would become an even better night for him.) 

A commercial aired for SummerSlam on August 21. It’s in Brooklyn.

The Kickoff Panel consisting of Renee Young, Corey Graves, Lita and Booker T discussed what happened so far.

The ravishing Russian Lana introduced the US Champion and her fiancé Rusev. This is a tough spot for this match following the two matches we just saw. Titus O’Neil greeted his two sons at ringside on Father’s Day.

United States Champion: Rusev vs. Titus O’Neil

Rusev talked trash to O’Neil’s sons at ringside. They started with a double clothesline spot on the floor. O’Neil tossed Rusev into the barricade. Rusev slowed him down outside the ring using the steps. Rusev with a spin kick knocked O’Neil down in the ring. Rusev grabbed a chinlock for a minute to slow it down. It’s already slow. O’Neil with shoulder tackles, then he avoided a corner splash and a slam gets two. No reaction for that nearfall. O’Neil with a boot to the face followed by a spinebuster for two. Rusev went for the Accolade and O’Neil fought out of it. Powerslam by O’Neil gets two. Not much of a reaction. O’Neil sent Rusev into the steps on the floor. Rusev with a kick to the head and then a running superkick. Rusev applied the Accolade submission. O’Neil passed out. That’s it after 9 minutes.

Winner by submission: Rusev

Analysis: *3/4 It was just okay. Going into it I thought O’Neil was just a guy for Rusev to beat and that’s really all he was. I don’t see this feud continuing past this show. It’s really not necessary. It’s not like the crowd cares much either because there was no reaction to the nearfalls that O’Neil was getting.

Post match, Rusev had a microphone. He went over to O’Neil’s kids and told them that O’Neil is a loser. Rusev: “Happy Father’s Day.”

Analysis: I’m a Rusev fan and I’m glad he’s getting more comfortable talking. He can be a top heel in WWE.

(They were just lining up guys for Rusev to beat, basically. Too bad Rusev’s heel run didn’t lead to him becoming a World Champion.) 

A commercial aired for WWE Network shows.

The video package aired for the WWE Title match between Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins. Another awesome video. That’s no surprise.

The challenger Seth Rollins made his entrance first. There were mostly boos, but definitely some cheers. Roman Reigns entered last. More boos for him even though he’s the face champion. They had Lilian Garcia do the in-ring intros.

(When Rollins came back from his knee injury, WWE should have booked him as a face, but they had him act like a heel again. He would become a face fairly soon after this.)

WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins

Reigns was aggressive early while Rollins kept going into the ropes to avoid him. The pacing was really slow early on. Rollins with a dropkick, then a knee sent him to the floor and a suicide drive to the floor. Rollins nailed Reigns with a couple of forearms, but then Reigns came back with a Samoan Drop. Reigns with a suplex. Reigns with a leaping clothesline. Reigns with a tilt-a-whirl slam for two. The PPV broadcast was right around three hours at this point, so they are going past the three-hour mark. It turned into a bit of a slugfest with Rollins getting in some slaps to the face. Reigns with an uppercut on Rollins sent him outside the ring. Reigns tossed Rollins over the Spanish announce table and into the chairs. Reigns broke the ref’s count to continue the attack. Rollins sent Reigns shoulder first into the steps. They went back into the ring as Reigns did a Razor’s Edge into a sitout Powerbomb. That was sweet. Rollins came back with a kick to the face and then a dropkick that sent Reigns to the floor. Rollins with a suicide dive into the barricade. Then Rollins ran the ropes and hit a somersault dive over the top to take out Reigns. That was awesome. So glad seeing Rollins back in the ring. Rollins hit a Sling Blade takedown that Finn Balor uses. Reigns backed out of a Pedigree attempt and connected with a Superman Punch for two.

Reigns talked trash to Rollins by telling him to quit. Rollins came back with a kick to the head and a flying knee attack off the top rope. Rollins hit a perfect Frog Splash for a two count. Rollins nailed a Buckle Bomb (powerbomb into the turnbuckle) and a standing side kick for a two count. Rollins with a forearm smash in the corner. Rollins with a superplex followed by a Falcon Arrow suplex into a pin for two. Amazing offense by Rollins all match long. Reigns came back with a rollup into a one armed Powerbomb for two. Great power shown by Reigns.

They had a staredown as they were on their knees. Rollins with a forearm smash. Rollins hit a Buckle Bomb again, but Reigns came back with a Superman Punch for two. Rollins went outside the ring. Reigns charged in, Rollins moved and Reigns went crashing into the barricade at ringside. The referee checked on Reigns and then a doctor checked him as well. That’s likely a work just to sell the idea of a possible head injury. Rollins attacked Reigns and rolled him back into the ring. Reigns drove Rollins back first into the ref Mike Chioda in the corner. Reigns hit a Spear. Reigns covered, Chioda was still groggy and made a slow count, so Rollins kicked out at two. Reigns ran in for another Spear, but Rollins countered it into a Pedigree. That gets one…two…no! Wow that was really cool. That was so unique. Rollins hit another Pedigree on Reigns. Rollins covered for the one…two…three! Rollins wins the WWE Title at 26:01.

Winner by pinfall and New WWE World Heavyweight Champion: Seth Rollins

Analysis: **** That was a great match. I liked how they went back and forth throughout the match with all kinds of believable nearfalls. Rollins was very impressive in his first back match since returning from injury. I’m so glad he’s back in action because he’s one of the best performers in the company. Reigns did his best to keep up with Rollins, but it was pretty clear who was carrying this match. That’s not a knock on Reigns at all. I just think Rollins is at such a high level even after missing seven months with a serious knee injury. Reigns also worked like a heel for much of the match. Finishers were kicked out of just like in the Cena/Styles match. Reigns losing clean is a big shock and also losing the title in less than three months is an even bigger shock. I just figured it would be a lengthy title run for Reigns. I was actually surprised that Rollins won in a clean manner because I was expecting Reigns to kick out there. The surprise left me pretty quickly because of what was next.

(I think it’s fair to say that this was a match that is forgotten by a lot of fans now because of what happened after the match. That’s understandable, but give these credit for working their asses off. What’s also noteworthy about this match is that it was when Roman Reigns was suspended for 30 days for a Wellness Policy violation. It was reported two days after Money in the Bank and WWE knew about it before this show. I think it’s fair to say Reigns wasn’t punished that much since he got to drop the WWE Title after going over 25 minutes with one of his best friends.) 

Rollins celebrated with the WWE Title. Before he could really celebrate a lot, Dean Ambrose’s music played.

Rollins looked at the entrance waiting for Ambrose. Instead, Ambrose showed up from behind with the briefcase in his hands. The crowd was going crazy as Ambrose nailed Rollins in the head with the briefcase. Ambrose gave the briefcase to ref Mike Chioda for the cash-in attempt.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins

Rollins was groggy with a shocked look on his face. Chioda called for the bell to be rung. Ambrose hooked Rollins in his arms and Ambrose hit Dirty Deeds. One…two…three! Ambrose wins the WWE Title! It went 0:09.

Winner by pinfall and New WWE World Heavyweight Champion: Dean Ambrose

Ambrose celebrated with the title. Ambrose was on his knees in the ring with the WWE Title by his side. JBL was doing over the top commentary about how this is the “darkest day in WWE history.”

(The reason for JBL’s commentary being like that was because he was a heel announcer reacting to a “lunatic fringe” babyface like Ambrose winning the title. JBL didn’t like a guy that was like Ambrose.)

Ambrose celebrated with the WWE Title by walking across the announce table and holding it up in the air for the crowd to see. Rollins was furious in the ring. Ambrose held up the WWE Title again. The show went off the air at the 3 hour, 23-minute mark with Ambrose holding the WWE Title in his hands.

Analysis: This was excellent. No rating for the match since it was so short and simple. What a moment for Ambrose. I didn’t see it coming, but I’m glad they did it. The crowd went wild for it while I’m sitting here smiling because it was the right time for a change. While I’m not a Reigns hater like some people are, it was pretty obvious that he wasn’t connecting that well as champion. Ratings are down, attendance numbers aren’t great and crowd reactions also show that people are tired of Reigns in this role. Moving the title onto Ambrose is the right move for right now.

As for the future, it’s likely going to lead to the Shield triple threat match for the first time. Former champions usually get rematches, so they can easily set up a triple threat for both guys getting rematches. I just think it would be better to do that at SummerSlam rather than Battleground, but I’m not sure what they might do at Battleground.

(They did do it at Battleground 2016 and Ambrose retained the title. I always felt like the first Shield triple threat match should be at a WrestleMania or even a SummerSlam, but instead, it happened at Battleground 2016. I don’t think that was the right call by WWE.)

I’m genuinely happy for Ambrose because he’s such a hard-working guy that has won over the crowd. While I will maintain that he would do even better as a heel, if they keep him as a face champion that would work well too.

(I didn’t have anything against Ambrose as a heel. I just knew he could succeed as a heel. A few years later when Ambrose went heel, it was underwhelming and ultimately led to him being so frustrated with the company he went on to work for AEW instead. It was smart to keep him as a face during this time because was very popular with the fans and he was an easy guy to root for. This was one of the best moments of his career for sure.)


Five Stars of the Show

1. Dean Ambrose

2. AJ Styles

3. Seth Rollins

4. John Cena

5. Roman Reigns


Final Thoughts

It gets an 8 out of 10 from me.

That’s the best WWE PPV of 2016 so far. Three matches got over 20 minutes and all of them hit the four star (out of five) level. If you would have told me before the show that all three Shield guys would have the title on the same show I would have said no, so I’m glad they did something memorable.

It was nearly a four hour show if you count the Kickoff Matches. That’s a long night of action and I’m not sure if it was really necessary. The three big matches were placed in the second half of the show, which meant the first half was a little slow. I just think the quality of the three matches was so strong that it really carried the show.

There’s a lot to be said about ending on a high note. Ambrose cashing in that briefcase and winning the WWE Title is a big deal that will get people talking. I’m excited for the next Raw just because I don’t know what’s next. Plus, as I said earlier I’m pretty happy for the guy. WWE knows they needed to change things up, so I’m glad they did.

I enjoyed Money in the Bank like I usually do. Great work by the WWE crew, especially the men in the three big matches that carried this show.

(I think my rating is justified. When you have three matches at the four star level on the same card, plus a memorable ending with a Money in the Bank cash-in for Ambrose’s first WWE Title, I think that’s an outstanding wrestling show. Was everything great? Of course not. That’s why it’s an 8 and not a 9 or 9.5 out of 10. I enjoyed this show a lot.)


That’s all for now. Check out the Best WWE PPVs of the Decade archive right here to catch up on the others and I’ll be adding more to that section all month long.

The post TJR Best WWE PPVs of the Decade: Money in the Bank 2016 Review appeared first on TJR Wrestling.

The Curious (Brief)Case of Brock Lesnar as WWE’s Mr. Money in the Bank by Mike Holland

Going into Money in the Bank, there were many valid choices to lay claim to the briefcase and thus assert claim to a championship opportunity during the next WWE calendar year. None of those valid choices were Brock Lesnar, who as we all know by now was indeed the “up-and-coming” superstar who reached out and grabbed that brass ring. Lesnar, whose focus on professional wrestling could most nicely be described as a flirtation and as honestly as a Plan B when UFC isn’t allowing him to compete, served as a bulwark of sorts for WWE for much of the last couple years. Their desire to have a “credible” champion in the eyes of other sports commentators and viewers (read: not wrestling fans) far outweighed the rather elementary need to have your top champion defend his title regularly to keep credibility intact. That argument is, perhaps, for a different day. I would merely posit this: being a Universal Champion isn’t nearly as impressive when you’re not even regularly defending it on your home planet.​

As a fan of both wrestling AND WWE, it would be my hope that sacrifices such as this would lay the foundation for the greater good. If Lesnar, Ronda Rousey, or anyone else brings pizzazz and star appeal to a pro wrestling championship, that is a very good thing indeed if those eyeballs stick around and buy merchandise. We’re not talking WCW and David Arquette here. The issue as I see it is that Vince and friends (or just Vince, if the scuttlebutt is to be believed) seem to be using that presence alone as the driving story behind their character. Generally, in wrestling, even accepted characters that have been around for eons get some sort of reason or motivation behind their actions. Those storylines can both elevate the talent in some cases and turn very good talent into exceptional talent in others. In my experience, most wrestlers worth their salt appreciate taking the reins of their character and directing it while creative fluffs it out and provides suitable opportunities for them to grow and blossom. ​​

Some of these talents are currently on WWE’s own roster. Both former WWE Champion Daniel Bryan and current WWE Champion Kofi Kingston are excellent examples of organically grown talent that blossomed into stardom. Bryan had an enormous indy following before he ever stepped foot in WWE. Many wrestling fans knew of him and had tons of respect for him long before the “Yes!” movement was even a thing. But it’s been that movement and his hilariously appropriate vegan heel turn that have kept him both relevant and eminently watchable since then. As for Kingston, the jury is out on whether his individual prowess as champ outside the friendly confines of New Day will be a lengthy journey. We can clearly say this, though: There was more than enough story naturally told with Kofi up to that point that by the time creative made their move, much of the heavy lifting was complete. The fans already wanted to support someone they saw as underutilized and underappreciated.

This, then, is part of the issue under the current WWE regime: Letting the fans and their feelings partially dictate what you do. There is no question that fans (like any group) can be a fickle bunch, and certainly the more you’re into something, the harder it can be for you to accept that there are other ways to go about it. One need look no further than the finale of HBO’s Game of Thrones to bear witness to the idea that you ignore fans at your peril. It doesn’t necessarily make one side or the other “right,” but it does mean that in alienating your core you run the risk of making them prefer something else. Whether that something is in-house (as NXT’s massively excellent TakeOver once again demonstrated), or outside (AEW), the premise is the same: by refusing to listen to what is being said and pretending that in itself is a storyline, you’re creating one hell of a potential mess. And to what end?​

Lesnar’s ring work is what it is. I personally have enjoyed a few of his matches, but most aren’t even the third best thing on the card. This is not entirely his fault. Wrestling has departed the era of “big men rule,” and having Lesnar execute a competitive and believable matchup against someone a third of his size is possible but challenging to say the least. Toss in age, injuries, and a general ennui, and you have all the hallmarks of a major issue. Look at it this way: Brock has in his corner one of the most effective and entertaining talkers in all of professional wrestling’s HISTORY. When is the last time you were excited about whatever angle he was involved in? I rest my case.​​

Monday’s Raw was a prime example of this nonsense. WWE spent a week essentially negating the whole purpose of the briefcase by openly telling us that Lesnar was going to cash in. Whether he actually did or not is silliness: of course he didn’t. Beyond the obvious ratings grab by WWE at a time when their competition is fiercest, my even larger issue is that it doesn’t make any strategic sense. WWE has teased Lesnar/Heyman friction before, granted, but no advocate worth their salt would allow their client to be so cavalier about when the cash in will happen. The whole point of it is that it’s a surprise. WWE exhausted similar avenues with Braun Strowman, which was a mess of a similar ilk. If you’re not going to book the briefcase properly after the win, it becomes just another silly and meaningless gimmick match. That’s why Lesnar is exactly the wrong choice to have it in the first place. The best option is a heel too weak to win it by regular means, or a fan favorite struggling to take the jump to the next level. That builds anticipation and makes things interesting for the viewer. Having your marquee talent walking around with it is foolish, because it’s obvious Lesnar will get another title shot even without the case.

There is some truth to the idea that creative is in a bit of a no-win situation at times. I have never as a writer or a viewer claimed that anyone adhere to my choice in order for me to be satisfied. Make it interesting and I will watch and support it. It’s just that simple. Perhaps it’s timing, but Jon Moxley’s recent interviews have pointed out this problem even more boldly. Say what you like about Moxley’s in-ring abilities, as I realize they may not be for everyone, but you’d be hard-pressed to back up a claim that he’s not interesting. The very idea that he is limited or strictured in his presentation due to soap opera writing is ridiculous. There must be a give and take between the writers and the talent in any entertainment: I’m fairly sure most big movie stars aren’t ignoring copious sections of the script and replacing them. That said, there is an opportunity to ad-lib when you’ve earned it. Lesnar is not and has never been a talker. He’s not ad-libbing anything. That puts the onus squarely on the shoulders of creative to make his character compelling, particularly when he’s not even on the show. I don’t know that WWE could have pulled that off on their best day. They are completely at sea on it now.​

As I write this, we’ve moved to Friday’s international event as the date and place Lesnar will cash in. Much has been made of WWE wanting Brock to be champion in time for their debut on Fox, and that’s a fair assessment whether truthful or not. The larger and more pertinent issue looming over these proceedings, though, is whether Lesnar NEEDS the title to be interesting. That is a poser that WWE seems intent on ignoring. You can decide for yourself whether Brock Lesnar being Intergalactic Champion makes anyone not into wrestling opt to buy the Network. I’m fairly sure you know where I stand on that question. What matters far more is whether the fundamental pro wrestling component of building an effective story has been reached.​​

Lesnar winning the MITB briefcase should have, for all intents and purposes, been a shock moment. The irony is that nobody who regularly watches WWE was at all shocked. Even though Brock wasn’t in the match, we’re all too familiar with how they have carried out business of late, largely ignoring the opinions of the majority of their fanbase in a futile effort to curry favor with those who won’t be sticking around for the long haul. The death of WWE has been predicted before and it will be predicted again: When you’re on top by a country mile, it’s basically a fait accompli. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t perform like every event is your last. Vince McMahon knows that all too well, as some of his best creative came at a time when his very business was on the line. Perhaps he should take a page from the book his soap opera writers are cobbling together for his talent: You have to earn the respect before you will get it. And once you get it, you have to keep earning it. Resting on your laurels will be the death of you. Brock winning the briefcase isn’t just bad business, it’s also a bad storyline. We can (and should) expect better.


The post The Curious (Brief)Case of Brock Lesnar as WWE’s Mr. Money in the Bank by Mike Holland appeared first on TJR Wrestling.

Brock Lesnar Destroys Seth Rollins And Reveals He Will Cash In At WWE Super ShowDown

Brock Lesnar was set to cash in his Money In the Bank title shot on WWE Universal Champion Seth Rollins during tonight’s RAW, but looks like the cash in will now come at WWE Super ShowDown on Friday in Saudi Arabia. As seen below, Lesnar came out to destroy Rollins following a beatdown from Baron Corbin, who will challenge Rollins in… Read More Brock Lesnar Destroys Seth Rollins And Reveals He Will Cash In At WWE Super ShowDown

Corey Graves Calls Out Plot Holes With Brock Lesnar – Stephanie McMahon Angle

WWE commentator Corey Graves took to Twitter to point out some major plot holes with the current Brock Lesnar – Stephanie McMahon storyline. Lesnar and Paul Heyman had said that they would announce on last Monday’s RAW if Lesnar would be cashing in his Money In the Bank title shot against WWE Universal Champion Seth Rollins or WWE Champion Kofi Kingston. That announcement never happened as during… Read More Corey Graves Calls Out Plot Holes With Brock Lesnar – Stephanie McMahon Angle

Paul Heyman Says Brock Lesnar Will Cash In His WWE Money In The Bank Title Shot On RAW

Paul Heyman took to Twitter this afternoon and announced that Brock Lesnar will cash in his Money In the Bank briefcase on WWE Universal Champion Seth Rollins during Monday’s RAW from Austin, Texas. As noted, Stephanie McMahon released a video that condemned the actions of Lesnar and Heyman on this week’s RAW. Stephanie promised that the McMahon Family and the WWE executive… Read More Paul Heyman Says Brock Lesnar Will Cash In His WWE Money In The Bank Title Shot On RAW