Powell's WWE Money in the Bank Hit List: John Cena wins the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, Seth Rollins wins the MITB contract, The Uso Brothers vs. Luke Harper and Erick Rowan shine
By Jason Powell
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WWE MITB Hits
The Uso Brothers vs. Luke Harper and Erick Rowan: A hot tag title match to open the show. I was actually hoping to see a title change to shake up the tag division and to keep the dream alive regarding The Wyatt Family winning all the major gold in one night. Nevertheless, this was an excellent match that set the bar high even for a show that featured a pair of MITB ladder matches. Harper is so good that he understandably gets more attention than Rowan, but it's worth noting that while Rowan seemed green when the act started, he has really improved and thrives in the wild brawl setting. Bonus points to JBL for playing this up as the biggest win of The Uso Brothers' run as tag team champions, as it helped make the match feel a little more important.
Money in the Bank Contract match: I enjoyed the contract match more than the championship match, but both were very good. I was not a fan of Kane coming out to help while Triple H and Stephanie McMahon sat at ringside (more on that in the Misses section), but I like the idea of Rollins going over. Dean Ambrose shined and the finish protected him and perhaps moves his attention to feuding with Kane. Kofi Kingston delivered his usual highly innovative spots and I will never understand why the company doesn't do more with the guy. Think of how long they have cast him as a throwaway undercard performer, yet the fans still react to him whenever he's given a moment to shine. Why not give the guy a real push and see what happens? It felt like everyone involved was spotlighted at one point or another, and everyone involved deserves props for working extremely hard to deliver a memorable spectacle match.
Money in the Bank Championship match: One of the reasons I enjoyed the contract match more than this match is that there were more believable "near grabs" than we saw in this match. I don't think it did this match any favors to have another MITB match earlier in the show, but I did like the match and appreciate the effort and sacrifices that the wrestlers in both matches made. Randy Orton deserves a lot of credit for working after the nasty cut he suffered early on, though I doubt the idea of dropping out of the match ever crossed his mind. I just had a hard time believing that he, Kane, or Alberto Del Rio had any chance to win the match. However, I did like the story that Kane was there to help Orton. Sheamus always thrives in matches that call for this type of physicality. Bray Wyatt earned the pop of the match when it looked like he might win, but what was up with the crab walk while two other wrestlers were fighting over the briefcases? The John Cena and Roman Reigns moment was cool, but the live crowd wasn't as hot for it as I thought they would have been. Reigns was wisely protected again even though he didn't come away with the title. Cena winning spoiled the party for some fans and while I get the frustration of him winning again, I also view him as a transitional champion. I don't think it would have made sense to have Reigns in that slot because he's being groomed to be the future face of the company, and Cena vs. Brock Lesnar is bigger box office than Sheamus vs. Lensar would be.
Paige vs. Naomi for the Divas Championship: I was pleased to see they held off on the Cameron turn for at least another night. She played her part well by seeming more concerned with her nails than the match at one point, and by showing satisfaction when Paige put her partner in a submission hold. That match itself was entertaining and it was nice to see Paige go over strong. Now if only they would spend some time establishing her personality and pushing her as one of the bright young stars of the company rather than just another Divas Champion.
Rusev vs. Big E: Another good match between these two. I was actually hoping they would avoid the big spear off the ring apron. It was special when they did it at Payback, and going right back to it here made it feel like just another spot rather than something unique. That said, I love the way E showed some life when Rusev applied The Accolade, and I loved it even more when Rusev simply dug in more and forced Rusev to submit. On the flip side, I despise the awful preacher gimmick that E is doing on the mic. It hasn't been established as his character so he just comes across like a guy doing silly impersonations, which certainly doesn't fit with the tone of his serious feud with Rusev.
Daniel Bryan segment: As much as I question why this took place on the pre-show rather than on Raw, I thought it came off well. I've heard from readers who felt he was too happy considering that he was stripped of the title and may need another surgery. I disagree simply because you don't want to create a feeling of doom and gloom heading into a pay-per-view, nor do you want to have Bryan's situation overshadow the new champion. I got a kick out of the Bo Dallas interruption. I also liked Bryan referring to him as "Bo-Ner." However, I fear that it was not just a one-time deal and that WWE wants that to catch on. It was cute once, but I have a feeling I'm going to get tired of it soon, though I guess from their perspective it beats the sounds of silence that Dallas has been getting. By the way, I was actually waiting for the silly Bo character to ask Bryan what a boner is.
WWE MITB Misses
Triple H and Stephanie McMahon: The finish of the MITB Contract match and then watching these two sit at ringside for the MITB Championship match gave me flashbacks to the series of lousy pay-per-views we saw last fall when The Authority and screwjob finishes were all over the shows. As good as they are as heels (and Stephanie has been especially good lately), I really believe the majority of the fans are tried of the overplayed heel authority figure concept. I really hope WWE has an end game in mind for The Authority's reign. Triple H does a tremendous job as the babyface ambassador for NXT and he could do the same for the WWE product.
Adam Rose vs. Damien Sandow: A Miss for a match I didn't get to see due to technical issues I was experiencing with the WWE Network. Let me guess, Sandow had a funny line or two as Paul Revere, and then Rose peaked with his entrance? Can we get to the part where they add another layer to the Rose character? If this is all there is to the act then it's DOA.
Summer Rae vs. Layla with Fandango as special referee: I must once again ask the obvious question of who were fans supposed to cheer? Even if Summer was supposedly the babyface, why would fans rally behind her as she tried to win back the heel Fandango character? This was beyond awful and it really left me questioning the way the show was structured. The first half of the show was very good and then we were left with filler like this during the second half of the show. Did we really need a buffer match between Rusev vs. Big E and the main event? Is there a good reason why this throwaway Divas match needed to go on before the Divas Championship match? Does Layla realize that outfit was not flattering? The broadcast team sure did.
Goldust and Stardust vs. Ryback and Curtis Axel: Cody Rhodes becoming Stardust isn't enough to breathe new life into this tired tag team feud. The idea of Axel wearing a singlet similar to his father's would have seemed like a good idea on paper, but his gear screamed bush league to me. I don't know if it was the colors or the fact that the ax looked like it belonged on the front of his gear, but it just didn't work for him. Cody is clearly trying to get the Stardust act over, but it's not working for me. He's never seemed like "Goldust's little brother" more than he does now that he's wearing a knockoff version of the Goldust gear.
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