We get a very classy ten-bell salute to Dusty Rhodes with the entire roster on the ramp to start.
Live from Columbus, OH
Your hosts are Michael Cole, JBL & Jerry Lawler
Money In The Bank: Randy Orton vs. Neville vs. Kane vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Sheamus vs. Roman Reigns
Dolph immediately loses cred for his 80s hair metal jean jacket by spelling “Megadeth” wrong on it. COME ON, DOLPH. Rather mixed reaction for Roman, which has actually been a change from shows as of late. Everyone sprints for the briefcase right away in a nice bit of business, but Kane manages to clean house. Sheamus gets rid of him in turn and fights off the field with a ladder, but Kofi climbs while Sheamus is busy. Sheamus breaks that up and beats on Kofi, but Neville comes back in with a missile dropkick. Kofi takes out Sheamus with the Trouble in Paradise and we get a nice sequence with Kofi and Neville before Reigns breaks it up to a chorus of boos. Tough crowd. Reigns powerbombs Kofi onto a ladder, and then powerbombs Neville onto HIM, and that finally earns him some respect. Kane takes Reigns out with a chokeslam, but Orton returns from the ether and hits the RKO OUTTA NOWHERE on both Kane and Kofi. Neville climbs and Orton gives him more of the same. Next up, Sheamus and Orton continue their insomnia cure feud and slug it out until Sheamus hits the Brogue Kick to end Orton’s run. Sheamus and Ziggler fight on top of the ladder for some near-finishes, and Dolph takes him down with a Zig Zag off the ladder, kind of. Neville adds the Red Arrow onto Sheamus, which has the crowd chanting for NXT. That’s a dangerous thing to do. So now Neville and Ziggler fight on the ladder, but Kane breaks that up and disposes of them like a couple of jobbers. Back to Roman, the real star, who gets rid of Kane with the Superman punch and then takes everyone out with a dive. Hey, the man’s doing his best, no one ever accused him of being lazy. The New Day heads out to assist Kofi and Roman beats them up as well, then tosses Kofi onto everyone, spears Orton, and looks to claim the briefcase…but Bray Wyatt appears out of the dark and takes him out. And with everyone else done, that leaves Sheamus, who wins the briefcase at 20:30. Jesus, they had Roman blow ANOTHER one? They’re gonna Luger this poor guy if they don’t let him get a big win soon. I’d call this a huge waste of the briefcase considering how directionless Sheamus has been and the groan that his win got. Like really, does any human being on earth believe that they’ll actually have SHEAMUS cash in and win against someone? Usual good MITB match, built more around the drama of the climb rather than the crazy ladder spots this time, but nothing special. ***1/2 Also, what’s the point of having Lana come out as Ziggler’s new manager and then having him do nothing and lose?
Meanwhile, Paige vows to end the Bella Twins’ reign of terror. Wait, are they heels again? She also dedicates the match to Dusty, which is probably not a good sign for her chances.
Divas title: Nikki Bella vs. Paige
Paige gets some boots in the corner and tosses Nikki, then follows with a somersault off the apron. They fight on the floor and Nikki does some pushups while we cut to the other women watching the match in the back. Why punish the rest of the division? And really, the only other person with any kind of cred is Naomi, the rest are just there as managers and TV actors at this point. Paige comes back with a Shining Wizard, but Nikki goes to a lengthy bodyscissors on the mat. Paige fights out and now Nikki goes to the chinlock and hits a spinebuster for two, but a blind charge misses. Paige wraps her up in an STF, but Nikki quickly makes the ropes and gets another spinebuster for two. Paige escapes the Rack Attack and gets the Rampaige for two. She stops to cry about it and the announcers are like “Oh man, she hit her one move and didn’t try anything else and that didn’t work, what is she gonna do now?” Truly a conundrum. The twins switch off and Paige pins Brie, who quickly reveals that she was stuffing her bra, and thus the match continues. Nikki then finishes with the Rack Attack to retain at 11:16. So was that our tribute to Dusty? What kind of an idiot referee would not only mistake Brie for Nikki at this point, but then allow the match to continue after someone else interfered? Boring match, stupid finish. *1/2 Also you have to love that the top babyface is portrayed as friendless and the champion is portrayed as being unworthy and dragging down the entire division.
Intercontinental title: Ryback vs. Big Show
Glad to see Ryback at least wears the belt instead of carrying it around like a prop. Ryback flies out with a spinebuster, hits the lariat and dumps Show to the floor right away. He stops to beat on color commentator Miz, but walks into a spear in the ring. They slug it out and Ryback actually takes him down with a cross armbreaker, but Show makes the ropes. Ryback with a suplex and a splash for two, but he walks into the chokeslam for two. Ryback tries the Shellshock, but Miz runs in for the DQ at 5:40. That was no good, a crappy RAW match with a crappy RAW finish. DUD
The Biggest Rematch In The History Of Our Sport: John Cena vs. Kevin Owens
To be fair, Cole downgrades it a bit to “one of the most anticipated rematches in recent memory”. Clearly a pro-NXT crowd tonight. They trade shoulderblocks to start and Owens works a headlock while laying down the trash-talk, but Cena escapes with a clothesline. Owens fires back with a dropkick and senton for two, but Cena gets his own dropkick, so Owens fires back with Cena’s usual sequence of offense, including a five knuckle shuffle. Cena reverses him into the STF and gets an inverted suplex for two. Owens with a codebreaker for two. Cena escapes the powerbomb and hits his own, but Owens counters the FU with a german suplex and cannonball into the corner for two. Sideslam gets two. Owens tries a swanton bomb and lands on Cena’s knees, and that had to hurt. Cena with a faceplant out of an electric chair for two, and the FU gets two. Cena actually argues with the ref over that one, then tries a superplex and gets reversed into a powerbomb for two. We get the “This is awesome” chant, which I always hate. Cheer the babyface or boo the heel to show your support, but don’t break the fourth wall like that. Owens tries a powerbomb, which Cena turns into a rana, but Owens drops him with a kick for two. Cena goes back up with a flying shoulderblock for two. Cena goes up again and misses the guillotine legdrop, and Owens gets two off that with a powerbomb. Owens goes up and misses a moonsault, and Cena gets another FU for two. Cena tries another superplex, but Owens reverses into a fisherman’s buster for two. Yikes. Cena gets the STF, but Owens makes the ropes and Cena is getting angry now. Cena gets a sunset bomb for two after a fight for the move, and Cena is finally showing some real emotion. Owens takes advantage with the Pop Up Powerbomb for two. Owen slugs away, but Cena comes back with the stunner and FU to finish at 19:13. Cena wins, LOL. Like really, they seriously beat Owens ALREADY? Incredible match, but why waste the rub that Owens got from the first one? ****1/2 Cena offers the respect handshake, but Owens thankfully turns on him and puts him down with the apron powerbomb to redeem the loss. And then mocks Cena from the ramp. Just make this guy the champion right now. Doesn’t matter which one, all of them really.
Dusty Rhodes tribute video, which is pretty great.
WWE tag team titles: The New Day vs. The Prime Time Players
This feels like it’s going to be the death slot before the ladder match. Funny bit with the New Day getting mad at the crowd’s lack of positivity, as Xavier almost tells them that they suck before Big E cuts him off with some therapeutic clapping. The champs quickly work Darren Young over in the corner and double splash him for two. Big E with an abdominal stretch and belly to belly for two, and Woods goes to a sleeper on the mat and gets a clothesline for two. Big E with an STO for two to keep Young in the heel corner, but Young sends him into the post and makes the hot tag to Titus. He throws the champs around with his usual grace and precision, but Big E spears Young through the ropes and Woods rolls up Titus for two before Titus comes back with Clash of the Titus to win the titles at 5:47. There are some weird booking decisions tonight. Titus is just awful, but I guess they need some kind of babyface stars with the Usos and Tyson Kidd both out. *1/2
WWE World title, ladder match: Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose
Rollins pounds away in the corner and tosses Ambrose, and they fight on the floor, where Ambrose gets the first dive. At this point I actually get the first glitch in the Matrix from the Network tonight, as the stream has been impeccable and crystal clear up until now. Must not be anyone watching. Rollins tries his own dive, but Ambrose blocks it with a ladder to the head. We get the first climb as they both go up the ladder, but Dean brings him down and suplexes him onto the ladder. Ambrose drops an elbow off the top of the ladder and makes another climb, but Rollins breaks it up with a chair and goes after the knee. That’s pretty smart. That goes on for a while, actually, and Rollins gets a figure-four before Ambrose reverses out. Finally he goes for a climb, but Ambrose saves and fights back before accidentally walking into the ladder on his rebound clothesline. Rollins goes back to the knee, but goes up and gets crotched and clotheslined off the top. Ambrose makes another comeback and takes him to the floor with a Cactus Clothesline, but Rollins goes to the knee again and heads back in to climb. He changes his mind and tosses the ladder at Dean instead, but gets hit with the rebound lariat. And it’s back to the floor again for a brawl into the crowd. Did they go really short on this show and just decide to stretch this out by having nothing happen for the first 20:00 or something? So Seth wins that brawl and heads back to pull out another ladder, but Ambrose returns from the crowd to stop him again. The ladder gets put between the apron and the table, and Rollins takes a backdrop through it, so Ambrose has to find yet another ladder. Seems unfair that the MITB match has 18 of them strewn around the ringside area but these poor guys have to dig them out from under the ring. Dean does the dramatic slow climb, but Rollins saves and they tumble to the floor again. Their next victim is the spanish announce table, as Dean hits Dirty Deeds on the table and fails to break it. Ambrose tries another climb, but Rollins saves with Ambrose’s mortal enemy: A TV set. Rollins adds a Pedigree and climbs, but Ambrose pulls him down and tosses him again. Rollins has just had enough of this shit and sends him into the ladder and then powerbombs him into the railing in a sick spot…and then does it again. You’d think that would sufficient, but Rollins is nothing if not thorough, so he pulls out a pile of chairs and powerbombs him on THOSE. Cole calls it a “symbolic burial” as Rollins dumps a pile of chairs on him. I think that word does not mean what you think it does, Michael. So Rollins climbs, but Ambrose somehow manages to revive from THREE POWERBOMBS on the floor and comes back to fight on top. That’s a little silly. They fight for the belt and both fall holding the belt, but Seth holds on for the win at 35:45. Weak ending after a setup that should have been a clean win for Rollins. I wasn’t a huge fan of this one, as they took too long to get where they were going, but it was a great effort from both guys and at least Rollins won by himself. ***3/4
Everything mostly delivered, although the booking was really weird tonight and there was some epic garbage in between the great matches. Thumbs up, but nothing I’ll want to watch again as a whole.