Wednesday, August 30, 2017

WWE Money In The Bank 2016 Review

WWE comes to the brand new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas for their annual Money In The Bank event!!

WWE Money In The Bank 2016
Las Vegas, Nevada 6/19/16

Kickoff Show

1.) Breezango (Tyler Breeze & Fandango) vs. The Golden Truth (Goldust & R-Truth): *

So there was this backstage segment on either the week leading up to this show or on the pre-show itself (not entirely sure) where Goldust & R-Truth trapped Tyler Breeze & Fandango in a tanning bed. Thus, both were suffering from serious “sunburns” here (which were clearly fake). This was just….silly. It was nothing more than a comedy match that featured Goldust & R-Truth chopping the “sunburned” chests of Breezango repeatedly, before picking up the victory. Move along….nothing else to see here.

2.) The Dudley Boyz vs. The Lucha Dragons (Kalisto & Sin Cara): **¼

Here we have a second meaningless tag team bout on this Kickoff Show. While it wasn’t notable in any way, it was at least better than the match that came before it. This went about eight or nine minutes, and as a whole, it was ok. Eventually, The Lucha Dragons scored the victory, which was the right call. At this point, The Dudley Boyz were just being used to put over newer tag teams, which was a good role for them.


1.) WWE Tag Team Titles - Four-Way Tag Team Match - The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston with Xavier Woods) vs. The Club (Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows) vs. Big Cass & Enzo Amore vs. The Vaudevillains: ***

The first match on the PPV itself was actually the third straight tag team match on the card as a whole. Of course, we got the usual pre-match promos from Big Cass & Enzo Amore as well as The New Day, which featured Xavier Woods proclaiming that The New Day was the one true “elite” team in wrestling (obviously a fun little shot at Kenny Omega & The Young Bucks). As an opener, I thought this was pretty solid, though to be completely honest, I was expecting this to be a little bit better. It went about the perfect length (around eleven minutes or twelve minutes), and there was entertaining action throughout, but it just felt like something was missing. There were a few rough patches here, the most notable being a botch where Luke Gallows was just left standing in the ring, waiting for what felt like ages for Big Cass to come in for a spot. That looked really bad. Plus, there was also some confusion as to who the legal man actually was by the end. In the end, The New Day got the victory to retain the WWE Tag Team Titles. Aside from those minor complaints, this was still a relatively solid opener, though as I already mentioned, it could’ve been better.

2.) Baron Corbin vs. Dolph Ziggler: ***

These two have been engaged in a feud since the RAW after WrestleMania. What’s amazing is that on the previous two PPV’s (Payback & Extreme Rules), the Corbin/Ziggler matches were related to the Kickoff Show. Well, they finally made it to the actual PPV, and they ended up having their best match to date. It was by no means spectacular, but it was certainly a step up from their aforementioned Kickoff Show clashes. They seemed to work pretty hard here, but the crowd just didn’t care about this one at all (and honestly, up to this point, they’d been given no reason to care). Corbin would ultimately get the win after hitting Ziggler with The End Of Days.

3.) WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte & Dana Brooke vs. Becky Lynch & Natalya: **1/4

It’s a little odd that we weren’t getting a defense of the WWE Women’s Title on this card. I believe this was shortly after Charlotte had ditched her father, Ric Flair, as her manager. With three out of the four women involved being really good wrestlers, you’d figure this would be pretty solid. Well….it wasn’t. This match was just barely ok. It was by no means horrible (it certainly wasn’t the worst bout on this card), but it wasn’t even close to being good. The fact that the crowd started chanting for Sasha Banks as soon as the match began didn’t help them that much either. This was (for the most part) a dull and dry women’s tag team affair. Towards the end of the match, Dana Brooke shoved Becky Lynch into Natalya, and this allowed Charlotte to take advantage, pinning Natalya after hitting the Natural Selection.

After the match, Natalya turned heel when she attacked Becky Lynch. With the brand split on the horizon, it was probably a good idea for Natalya to turn heel, but poor Becky Lynch. She has absolutely no friends.

4.) Apollo Crews vs. Sheamus: ***

The former Uhaa Nation was brought up to the main roster after WrestleMania following a several month stint in NXT, and hadn’t done anything of real significance since. Fortunately, he was finally given something to do in the form of a program with Sheamus, leading to this match. Similar to some of the earlier matches on the card, it really didn’t stand out, but as a whole, I thought it was a relatively solid bout. There was some decent back & forth action throughout, it didn’t go very long (it was only about eight or nine minutes), and the closing stretch was mostly entertaining. Crews managed to pick up the victory after catching Sheamus with a rollup. This was certainly a big win for Apollo Crews, but of course, WWE didn’t capitalize on this, and Crews went back to doing nothing in the undercard.

5.) “The Phenomenal” AJ Styles vs. John Cena: ****1/4

After the first half of the show featured a number of pedestrian matches, we FINALLY got something exciting!! This was Cena’s first real program since his return from injury (minus his one-off appearance with The Rock at WrestleMania), while AJ Styles was just coming off two losses to Roman Reigns in PPV title bouts. This initially started as a “dream match”/“friendly rivalry” scenario, but Styles soon showed his true colors when he turned heel and reunited with his former Bullet Club stablemates of Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows (who were banned from ringside here). This match was awesome, and featured some great action throughout, which shouldn’t surprise anyone, since these guys are two of the best in the entire world. Not only was the match itself great, but they told a pretty good story as well. In the buildup, Styles proclaimed that he was so much better than Cena, saying he could wrestle circles around him and that Cena wouldn’t have obtain all of his various achievements/accomplishments in WWE if AJ Styles was around fifteen years earlier. That story really played into this match, as Styles appeared to be very prepared for Cena, and really showed him up a few times. Even with some of the great stuff we saw in this one, the finish did hurt it. The referee got knocked down towards the end of the match, and this (of course) led to Anderson & Gallows getting involved. They hit Cena with The Magic Killer, put Styles on top of Cena, and referee recovered to make the three count. Again, this was a fantastic match with a crowd that was into every second of it, but the finish definitely took away from it. Fortunately, we would get rematches down the line.

6.) Money In The Bank Ladder Match - Alberto Del Rio vs. Cesaro vs. Chris Jericho vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn: ****1/4

Aside from Alberto Del Rio (whose stock in general had fallen so much at this point, compared to his run on the independents in 2014-2015), this was a great lineup for a Money In The Bank Ladder Match. There was no way that this was going to be less than great, and to the surprise of nobody, they delivered. I thought this was fantastic!! I would put it slightly ahead of the AJ Styles/John Cena bout that came before this, just because that match was hurt by the interference towards the end. Of course, there was a ton of crazy action throughout this one, which is exactly what we’ve come to expect with a Money In The Bank Ladder Match. Plus, you have so many competitors in here that either have a plethora of experience when it comes to Ladder Matches (Jericho, Owens, Zayn, along with Alberto Del Rio and Cesaro to lesser extents), or a background in hardcore matches (Ambrose). Everyone had a chance to shine, and the crowd was hot for this one from beginning to end. Ultimately, Dean Ambrose eventually emerged victories and secured the Money In The Bank Briefcase! There were too many cool spots to describe. It wasn’t the greatest version of this match that we’ve seen, but all six competitors certainly did an awesome job here. The Money Bank Ladder Match, nine times out of ten, always proves to be (at the very least) entertaining, and this was no exception.

7.) WWE United States Title - Rusev (with Lana) vs. Titus O’Neil: **

In case you missed it, Rusev won the United States Title from Kalisto back at Extreme Rules 2016. This was essentially a reset of sorts, as Rusev & Lana were basically back in the same roles they were in prior to their feud with John Cena (though not nearly as prominent). As this show took place a few weeks before the 4th of July, we had an American stepping up to the plate to challenge Rusev, and that man was….Titus O’Neil (please contain your excitement). I believe O’Neil was also wearing some wacky USA attire. Additionally, this PPV was also being held on Father’s Day, and O’Neil (who is lauded as being the “Father Of The Year”) had his sons sitting at ringside. While the match was by no means awful, it was the definition of painfully average. Rusev eventually got the win when he locked in The Accolade and made O’Neil (the American babyface) pass out in front of his sons….on Father’s Day. What a loser.

In a great moment after the match, Rusev went to the outside after the match and berated Titus O’Neil’s children, mockingly wishing them a Happy Father’s Day. What an amazing heel!

8.) WWE World Heavyweight Title - Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins: ***¾

Seth Rollins made his long awaited return from injury the month prior at Extreme Rules 2016 when he attacked Roman Reigns following the main event. Rollins was the WWE World Heavyweight Champion for much of 2015 until a severe knee injury sidelined him. Now he’s back, looking to reclaim the title he never lost. As a whole, this wasn’t a great match, but it was really good. It did go longer than it really needed to, clocking in at around twenty six minutes or so. I get that it’s the main event, but must it be that long. Additionally, the crowd seemed to be flat for the first half of the match. However, as the action slowly picked up, they managed to bring the audience back. The second half of this one really helped immensely. There were some particularly awesome sequences and counters in the final few minutes. In the end, it was a shocking result in the moment, Seth Rollins hit a second Pedigree on Roman Reigns and pinned him clean in the middle of the ring to win the WWE World Heavyweight. Most of us figured that Rollins had a chance of winning, but nobody expected him to do it in the manner that he did. Of course, we would come to find out later that the reason for the finish was a result of Roman Reigns being suspended 30 Days for violating WWE’s wellness policy (LOL). Regardless, it was truly a shocking moment, and some sweet redemption for Rollins.

Unfortunately, Rollins’ celebration was soon cut short in dramatic faction, as Dean Ambrose’s music hit. This sent Rollins into a state of panic, and he frantically waited for his former Shield teammate to appear. Ambrose then emerged from the crowd and clocked Rollins with the Money In The Bank Briefcase!! He announced that he was cashing in, and the match was official!!

9.) WWE World Heavyweight Title - Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose: N/R

This only lasted nine seconds, as Ambrose hit Dirty Deeds, and scored the pin to capture the WWE World Heavyweight Title! This meant that, in just one night, all three members of The Shield held the top championship in WWE in some form or another. That was honestly a really cool moment. Ambrose celebrated with the title as the show came to a close.

Overall: 8.0/10

It’s funny to look back at this show in hindsight. In the weeks leading up to it, WWE had been referring to this show as the “most stacked Money In The Bank lineup ever”, or something along those lines (obviously acknowledging the fact that, over the last several years, this PPV had turned the traditional “Big Four” PPV’s into the “Big Five”). While the first half wasn’t really memorable in any way, the second half, minus Rusev vs. Titus O’Neil, really lifted this show up in a big way. AJ Styles vs. John Cena and the Money In The Bank Ladder Match were both fantastic, and despite it’s issues, the advertised main event of Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins ended up being really good as well. You also had a very memorable ending with Rollins winning the WWE World Heavyweight Title from Reigns, only for Dean Ambrose to take it from him moments later. There was relatively solid stuff on the undercard, but none of it was that memorable. As a whole, Money In The Bank 2016 was a pretty good show that only reached that point after a (mostly) strong second half.

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