In June and July, WWE tried two new Pay Per View concepts. Fatal 4 Way and Money in the Bank. It is hard to beat the spectacular nature of a Money in the Bank Match. Even though July will feature the second and third Money in the Bank matches of the year, the concept has not grown tiresome. I think it help that Swagger cashed in his WrestleMania MITB earlier in the year and Kane cashes his in moments after winning it, leaving only Miz running around the company with a briefcase. Alternatively, if three people had been carrying briefcases at the conclusion of this show, the novelty may have worn off. Money in the Bank is a very tightly booked show. Each brand has their MITB Match, their respective Worlds titles, their Women’s titles, and we even get a match for the tag titles. The only problem is, all of the mid card programs on both shows get folded into the Money in the Bank match and those personal issues don’t really get a chance to develop. Compare that to Fatal 4 Way, where the top two programs get folded into World Title Matches, giving the rest of the roster a chance to build matches and storylines, I think Fatal 4 Way works better as a concept.
After Money in the Bank, the focus turns to building towards Summer Slam. Raw is dominated by the Nexus storyline, while Smackdown is carried on Kane continuing to hunt down whoever put The Undertaker into a vegetative state.
Nexus is at the core of everything that happens on Raw in July of 2010. As so much of this month is focused on story, the in ring action suffers. Matches are either tragically short, never get started, end by outside interference,
If You’re Not Nexus.
The Anonymous Raw General Manager determines the only way to keep Nexus from interfering in John Cena’s WWE Championship Match against Sheamus is to have it in a Steel Cage. The Raw GM has a lot of strange decisions which don’t seem to be very consistent. He asks Cena and Barrett to shake hands and make peace, which goes about as well as you would expect, which is to say it was an all out brawl involving much of the roster. Then he books Cena in a 6 on 1 match against the Nexus. The Anonymous Raw GM will do a lot of messing with John Cena, which makes it all the more strange that the angle is blown off as Hornswoggle being the Raw Anonymous GM in a comedy spot. Cena should have seriously wanted to punt Hornswoggle into the crowd for all of the grief he is given during this time.
Much will be made next month of The Nexus being neutralized as a legitimate heel threat by the booking at Summer Slam. This month, Sheamus is really treated as a non entity even though he is WWE Champion. In a segment, Nexus surrounds Sheamus and he immediately runs to find John Cena to help him. How does this help their championship match on pay per view? How can anyone take Sheamus seriously as a heel when he hides behind his chief rival when threatened by another group of heels? Sheamus is featured somewhat better in his second title reign than his first in that he is given priority promo time and featured in a pretty good spot every week. It’s hard to ignore the time Sheamus ran to Cena for protection though. His build for this match is some mild dueling on the mic with Cena to open Raw in which Cena refers to Sheamus as a giant jar of mayonnaise.
Of course, Nexus finds a way to get involved in the John Cena vs Sheamus Steel Cage Match at Money in the Bank. The next night on Raw, a dejected John Cena tells the world that he just doesn’t have what it takes to defeat the Nexus. They offer him a spot on the team but Cena was just playing them all along. John Cena has assembled a crack team of the best Monday Night Raw has to offer to face The Nexus at Summer Slam. Cena’s Squadron included The Great Khali, Bret Hart, R Truth, John Morrison, Edge, and Chris Jericho. Almost immediately Cena’s team starts falling apart. Heels Edge and Chris Jericho start causing problems. Jericho wants to be the leader of the team to feed his ego. Edge still hates Jericho over their issues dating back to WrestleMania. He also has problems with Great Khali being on the team. Even Truth and Morrison rub Edge the wrong way. Truth and Morrison begin fighting with each other after John Morrison loses a match to Ted DiBiase Jr. Team WWE does not look unified. On the other side, Nexus is focused and on the same page. They easily sweep a team of Raw’s C Squad to prove the point, a 7 man team with Mark Henry, Evan Bourne, Yoshi Tatsu, Goldust, Jerry Lawler, and the Hart Dynasty.
Mr.Money In The Bank.
Leading up to Money in the Bank, Miz let’s us know he is serious by laying out his opponents before the match can begin causing a no contest. He does this to R Truth and Mark Henry in consecutive weeks. Miz dumps garbage on Mark Henry which really sets the tone for what Mark Henry will be facing the next month or so. It seems Mark gets beat down by heels a lot this year. Miz captures the briefcase, winning the Money in the Bank match over Randy Orton, Mark Henry, Ted DiBiase Jr, John Morrison, Chris Jericho, Evan Bourne, and Edge. Following Money in the Bank, Miz is very entertaining when mocking WWE Champion Sheamus. Miz taunts him with the possibility of cashing in the briefcase at any moment. His impression of Sheamus is entertaining enough that it could have been the building blocks of a Miz vs Sheamus feud. A Miz face turn isn’t something we need at this point though. Miz attempts a couple of cash ins on Sheamus but Randy Orton ruins those efforts. In other Miz news, he is still one of the best things on NXT as the Pro for Alex Riley.
Randy Orton and Sheamus.
After Fatal 4 Way ends with a Nexus attack, Randy Orton and Edge continue their issues on Raw going into Money in the Bank. This chapter of their feud doesn’t really reach a satisfactory conclusion and just kind of peters out as Jericho steps in to bicker with Edge. After Money in the Bank, Randy Orton faces Edge and Jericho in a Triple Threat Number One Contenders Match. Orton picks up the victory, moving on to face Sheamus at Summer Slam. Following a meaningless match with Jey Uso, Sheamus tried to sneak attack Randy Orton. It doesn’t work well for Sheamus and Miz shows up with thoughts of a Money in the Bank cash in. Miz eats an RKO for his efforts, canceling the cash in attempt. Orton is easily the second most popular face on Raw and perhaps in the entire company at this point.
Edge and the Joy’s of Long Term Booking.
This is a bit of some personal philosophy here. Because at this point in the year, it doesn’t seem the company knows if they are coming or going with Edge. The TL;DR version is that there is no way they could have planned out what has happened with Edge this year beyond week to week.
One of the biggest moments of the year was Edge returning from out of no where to win the Royal Rumble. From there, he loses at WrestleMania to Chris Jericho. Then Edge turns heel and moves to Raw. Since then, he has feuded with Randy Orton. At Over the Limit, they have a match that ends in a double count out. From there, they are in a Fatal 4 Way for the WWE Championship which ends with Nexus interference. Kind of hard to reach any kind of satisfactory conclusion in that scenario. Then they move on to the Money in the Bank Ladder Match at the Money in the Bank pay per view. As 2 of the 8 competitors, its even more difficult to reach any kind of conclusion to this feud. More or less, the whole issue ends in a Triple Threat Match on Raw also featuring Chris Jericho. Now, months later, Edge is back where he started, in a feud with Chris Jericho. Except even that only lasts for like a week before John Cena recruits both of them to be part of his faction to fight back against the Nexus. I’m not going to engage in any fantasy booking but does any of this sound better than riding the wave of good feelings after Royal Rumble? Wouldn’t have Edge as the top face on Smackdown be a better plan? If it was so necessary to have an Edge vs Randy Orton feud, shouldn’t there be a conclusive match to blow it off?
True to form, Smackdown places more emphasis on the mid card and match quality. This month it is more pronounced as Raw has some shows that can barely manage a 2 star match or any match that lasts longer than 5 minutes. A bit more story is put into the Smackdown Money in the Bank Match with each participant given a rival or story going into the match.
I Didn’t Do It But If I Did..
Kane is about to enter one of the better pushes of his career. One thing I appreciate that they do here is in Kane’s promos which open the show, they turn the house lights red and use a lot of editing, adding in footage in a creepy, horror movie like montage. Let’s face it, Kane for all his strengths and weaknesses, is not the guy you want cutting a 20 minute promo to open Raw. I think adding in some extra effects and carefully editing his promos is quite brilliant.
Kane’s investigation into the case of who put Underaker in a vegetative state now turns to Jack Swagger. Swagger gets kidnapped by Kane while Jack is trying to get away from an angry Big Show. Kane interrogates Swagger, really humbling Jack Swagger in the process. Jack says he can prove he had nothing to do with the attack on the Undertaker. Next week, Jack Swagger comes down to the ring with his father, also named Jack Swagger. You may know Papa Swagger better as Jimmy Golden or Bunkhouse Buck. This segment ends up being a really good character moment for Swagger. He shakes off whatever they were trying to do with him as World Heavyweight Champion and Jack returns to form. Swagger shows a series of pictures of all the wholesome, father and son activities that the Swagger family was doing on Memorial Day weekend. So obviously he couldn’t have attacked the Undertaker. Kane either doesn’t believe it or doesn’t care. The Big Red Machine attack Swagger Sr. and Jack leaves his dad to the mercy of Kane, watching as his dad gets chokeslamed and Tombstoned. Kane goes on to win the Smackdown Money in the Bank briefcase. Rey Mysterio survives his World Heavyweight Championship Match against Jack Swagger. Swagger had been focusing heavy on Rey’s ankle. Jack refused to remove the Ankle Lock one week and then attacked Mysterio the next week in the trainers room, putting the Ankle Lock back on. Through sneaky tactics, Rey retains his title. Swagger appears to be looking for some post match revenge but before that can happen, here comes Kane. Kane runs Swagger off then realizes he has a Money in the Bank briefcase and the champion is in the ring with an injured ankle. Kane cashes in his MITB briefcase and wins in short order.
For the first time in over ten years, Kane is the World Heavyweight Champion. The next night on Smackdown he dedicates this title reign to his brother the Undertaker. Then yells out “I DID IT! I DID IT!” He may not be talking about winning the belt. Kane vows to continue his search for whoever put The Undertaker in a vegetative state.
The next week, Kane reveals that The Undertaker sat up for a brief moment and said the name of his attacker. It was Rey Mysterio. Rey denies all wrong doing. Meanwhile, he has a Falls Count Anywhere Match against Jack Swagger. And we do mean anywhere. They brawl all through the building, out into the streets, and into the Gulf of Mexico. Rey does a flying head scissors that sends Swagger out into the Gulf. Jack hilariously yells for help. Kane then throws Rey into the Gulf of Mexico, leaving him to drown. I kind of loved this match. This segment received some groans of the Internet Wrestling Community at the time. I really enjoyed the wild nature of it all. Also concerning online chatter at the time, the general feeling was that giving Swagger the Ankle Lock as a new finisher really solidified him as a Great Value Kurt Angle. I’ll let you be the judge.
The Man Behind The Mask.
The mark of the true greats is how much they can get out of a feud with The Big Show. For Punk, the month starts off with being accused by Kane of putting The Undertaker in a vegetative state. In a true to life scenario, Serena clears Punk’s name by showing footage of Serena in a bar and Punk confronting her. Hilariously, during this very dramatic moment, some fan shouts out “She’s a drunk!” Soon Serena will be ending her run with the company because she couldn’t stay in character off screen and may have been caught partying after the shows.
CM Punk is suffering a broken arm as a result of multiple attacks from Kane. So unfortunately he will not be able to participate in Money in the Bank. Punk comes out to the ring to cut a promo, telling us that if he were in the match that he would get his third Money in the Bank briefcase. Punk is interrupted by Big Show who is carrying a heavy duty ladder. Acting like Punk isn’t even there, Show sets up his ladder and gives us a demonstration. I appreciate this part of the segment. One of the logical challenges of having Big Show in a Money in the Bank match is can he climb the ladder and what happens to him and everyone else if he falls off. Big Show has an answer though. He commissioned the construction of a special ladder that will hold up under his weight. Punk is unimpressed, distracting Big Show while the Straight Edge Society jumps the giant from behind. With Show getting beat down, Punk decides to climb the ladder, with one arm, and grab the briefcase. I guess just for bragging rights. Show comes back on his attackers and sends them outside the ring. Punk is now stranded in top of the ladder with Big Show coming up after him. In an awesome moment, Big Show takes this opportunity to unmask CM Punk. Punk’s reaction is priceless. His facial expressions really sells this segment. Even Big Show and that giant smile makes his segment so much fun.
The next week, Big Show answers the question no one was asking. He unmasks the Straight Edge Societies Masked Assailant. It was Joey Mercury. The internet savvy fans already knew this and the rest of the crowd didn’t remember who Joey Mercury was or didn’t recognize him without his hair. The Masked Assailant had been lurking around for months and was rarely addressed in commentary or in storylines. I don’t think this run with the SES helps or hurts Mercury’s GWWE 100 rankings.
CM Punk addresses the recent failures of the Straight Edge Society. Punk demands results from his minions. They respond by breaking Big Show’s arm during a match with Luke Gallows.
Dolph and Vickie
Dolph Ziggler continues to use Vickie Guerrero, Smackdown’s consultant to the General Manager, for his own purposes. Vickie interfered in a Triple Threat Match with Dolph against MVP and Chavo Guerrero to get Dolph into the Money in the Bank Match. She also helps him out in a fairly meaningless match with Matt Hardy. Dolph is unsuccessful in the MITB Match then turns his focus on the Intercontinental Title and Kofi Kingston. Vickie helps Dolph win a non title match against Kofi. The next week she does the same and Kofi snaps. He gets angry when Vickie slaps him in the face. Kofi issues an epic beat down on Dolph Ziggler. This causes a disqualification and next month Dolph will finally get an Intercontinental Championship Match next month. Spoiler, they don’t really follow up in August on what set Kofi off. He shows a mean streak in that match which hasn’t been seen before or since.
And The Rest.
Matt Hardy appears as a guest on the Peep Show. Christian expressed mutual respect for Matt for all the ladder match experience both men have. Both believe they will win Money in the Bank. This was a nice little piece of conflict for the MITB match that could have been a bigger story going into and coming out of the match. Instead it was one segment on the Peep Show and they tag together in a pretty uneventful match.
Rosa Mendez can be seen working out in various segments. She is trying to lose weight so LayCool will accept her. For LayCool’s part, they seem to have forgotten her all together. They are focused on Kelly Kelly, who they renamed Smelly Kelly. Teddy Long has ordered they can’t both be Women’s Champion. Instead, they split one belt in half like a friendship necklace.
Alberto Del Rio is coming to Smackdown soon at a Glacier’s pace.
Cody Rhodes gives us grooming tips and keeps winning matches. His tips are meant to make us more dashing. He also pretty involved as a coach for Husky Harris on NXT, bullying rookies and Matt Striker.
Drew McIntyre has a great month in ring on TV. It won’t get him a match at Money in the Bank or Summer Slam.
For the month of July, NXT turns its focus to corny challenges such as who is the best at kissing a fat girl or make shift obstacle courses or that thing you see at bars that measures how hard you punch. The most interesting thing that happens is the Nexus shows up on NXT to show the season two rookies a thing or two. They participated in a 20 man Battle Royal.It was probably one of the better matches on NXT in a while in that it got the Nexus over as a force to be reckoned with and was cleverly put together for a Battle Royal. Eli Cottonwood gets eliminated at the end of the month. He goes nuts and attacks everyone. It was a disordered segment that fell flat. I can’t see why Eli wasn’t someone they found a use for on the man roster. They have had/currently have worse 7 footers on the roster.
- Raw Money in the Bank Match. Money in the Bank.
- Rey Mysterio vs Jack Swagger. Smackdown. 7/23.
- Drew McIntyre vs Kofi Kingston. Smackdown. 7/9.
- Rey Mysterio vs Jack Swagger. Money in the Bank.
- Smackdown Money in the Bank. Money in the Bank.
- Christian vs Drew McIntyre. Smackdown. 7/30.
- John Cena vs Sheamus. Steel Cage Match. Money in the Bank.
- Rey Mysterio vs Jack Swagger. Smackdown. 7/30.
- Kofi Kingston vs Dolph Ziggler. Smackdown. 7/23.
- Randy Orton vs Edge vs Chris Jericho. Triple Threat Number One Contenders Match. Raw. 7/19.
- Drew McIntyre vs Christian. Smackdown. 7/16.
- 20 Man Battle Royal. NXT. 7/13.
- Dolph Ziggler vs Matt Hardy. Smackdown. 7/16.
- Nexus vs John Cena. 6 on 1 Match. Raw. 7/12.