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CALDWELL'S WWE MITB PPV REPORT 7/15: Complete "virtual time" coverage of live PPV - Punk vs. Bryan, Sheamus vs. Del Rio, two MITB matches

Jul 15, 2012 - 9:50:43 PM

WWE Money in the Bank PPV Results
July 15, 2012
Live from Phoenix, Ariz.
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor

PPV Pre-Show

On the YouTube PPV pre-show, Scott Stanford and Matt Striker introduced the show as people filed into the building. Striker told viewers to "tout" their friends about the PPV tonight, then the duo broke down the PPV line-up tonight. Striker noted a No DQ stipulation has been added to C.M. Punk vs. Daniel Bryan with A.J. as special referee.

Backstage: Zack Ryder caught up with U.S. champion Santino to lament not being in the Smackdown MITB ladder match. Santino said he's more concerned about his Cobra having a briefcase, so he pulled out a mini-case. Damien Sandow interrupted and offered big words for Santino and Ryder, who told Sandow that he can't hide behind his big words; he's just a pompous jerk. Sandow ignored Ryder's comments, then noted he beat Ryder in a qualifying match, giving Ryder the night off. "You're welcome," he said.

In-ring: Kofi Kingston's music played to bring out the tag champions Kingston & R-Truth for a non-title tag match, as introduced by Tony Chimel. Hunico and Camacho were out next and Hunico cut a promo in Spanish and Englush as Camacho guided them down to ringside on a bike.

A - WWE tag champions KOFI KINGSTON & R-TRUTH vs. HUNICO & CAMACHO -- non-title match

Stanford noted H&C's bike is valued at "just over $225." The tag champs then angered H&C by playing to the crowd, which shouted back, "What's Up?!" Hunico proceeded to stomp away at the invisible Little Jimmy, which prompted Truth to angrily tackle Hunico. Meanwhile, Striker plugged having a Money in the Bank PPV Party. Hunico eventually cut off Truth and worked him over for a few minutes. Kingston took a hot tag at 3:30, then cleaned house. He wanted Trouble in Paradise, but Hunico ducked and jabbed Kofi in the gut. After the heels worked on Kofi for a few minutes, Truth tagged in. The action broke down, then Kofi nailed Hunico with TIP out of nowhere. Camacho then ran into Truth, who dropped Camacho with the Little Jimmy. Truth with the pin for the win.

WINNERS: Kofi & Truth at 8:24. Basic house show match to warm up the crowd.

Backstage: Josh Mathews conducted separate interviews with Chris Jericho, then Daniel Bryan. A video on A.J.'s involvement in the WWE Title feud followed. After the video aired, Lilian Garcia's voice could be heard in the background telling the crowd to get warmed up.

Live PPV Results

The live PPV started with a video package documenting the history of successful MITB cash-ins throughout WWE history. The voice-over man wondered who will "emerge from the chaos" to seize an opportunity to become the next champion.

Arena: Michael Cole introduced the show and noted someone will win a guaranteed World Title shot in the opening match. Out first was Vickie Guerrero to excuse herself and introduce Dolph Ziggler. After Ziggler, U.S. champion Santino came out to a decent reaction. Cody Rhodes, then Damien Sandow to an elaborate ring introduction from Lilian Garcia, then Tyson Kidd emerged. The final trio was Sin Cara, then Tensai, then Intercontinental champion Christian last.

Pre-Match Note: PWTorch readers selected Dolph Ziggler as the favorite to win at 52 percent, then Cody Rhodes with 25 percent, Tyson Kidd with 6 percent, and Christian and Damien Sandow with 5 percent each.

1 -- DOLPH ZIGGLER (w/Vickie Guerrero) vs. CODY RHODES vs. IC champion CHRISTIAN vs. U.S. champion SANTINO vs. TENSAI (w/Sakamoto) vs. TYSON KIDD vs. DAMIEN SANDOW vs. SIN CARA -- Smackdown MITB ladder match for World Title contract

The bell sounded and Booker stated the obvious that the name of the game is climbing the ladder to grab the briefcase. Tensai dominated early on, then grabbed a ladder from outside the ring. He used the ladder to catapult his TV foe, Tyson Kidd, into the side of it to inflict damage. Tensai then went after Christian, which allowed Kidd to smash him from behind with a ladder. Christian and Kidd then jabbed a ladder into Tensai's throat to clear him to the outside.

Kidd, Christian, and Santino had the first climb-the-ladder tease before Sandow knocked all three men off the ladder. Sandow then wanted to climb, but DZ dropkicked him off the ladder. Cody and Dolph then battled as Cole noted many fans believe they are the two favorites to win. Suddenly, Cara flew off Cody onto Dolph for a dropkick. Cara followed with a head scissors that took Cody out of the ring. Of note, Cody sold a leg injury on the way out. Cara and Ziggler then tried to set up a top-rope move, but crashed and burned to the mat. Cara tried to cover by kicking DZ to the floor. Cara then tried a sunset flip pin attempt on Kidd, but realized a pin doesn't help in this match. He then tried a splash to the floor for some reason, but Christian shoved him to the outside.

Rhodes and Kidd reset things in the ring before Sandow took a dropkick when Kidd ducked. Kidd then dropkicked Rhodes out of the picture before stalling for time as he re-arranged some ladders. This allowed Tensai to re-enter to grumbles and knock down Kidd. In the background, though, Santino tried to climb the ladder, only to have another crash and burn spot when Tensai and Santino fell to the mat. Kidd and Tensai then tumbled out of the ring, leading to Sandow and Cara battling in the ring. Sandow was eventually alone in the ring and tried to climb the ladder, but Christian cut him off. Christian got his left hand on the case, but Sandow blocked him. After they exchanged control back and forth, Christian landed The Spear into a ladder to clear Sandow out of the ring.

Christian, alone, tried to climb the ladder, but DZ and Rhodes cut him off. Suddenly, Dolph and Cody raced to the top and traded right hand blows before Tensai re-entered to groans and knocked both men off the ladder. Cody continued to sell a left leg injury before Tensai measured the ladder and slowly began climbing. Kidd intercepted, though, only to have Tensai knock him off the ladder. More men entered the picture and Tensai cleared them before Christian delivered a ladder shot to Tensai's back. Santino suddenly fired off his trademark offense on Ziggler before bringing out The Cobra, which he nailed Dolph with. Santino then tried to make the climb, but suddenly became scared of heights. The Cobra tried to "guide" Santino, who swiped at the case before striking Sandow. Cody finally dropped Santino with a dropkick, clearing Santino from the equation.

Rhodes, alone in the ring, set up multiple ladders as Cole recapped past mid-carders who became main-eventers by winning MITB. Suddenly, Vickie emerged and started climbing to distract Rhodes, who told her to get down. Suddenly, Ziggler snuck in behind Rhodes and dropped him with the Zig-Zag off the ladder. The vocal males popped as Ziggler began scaling the ladder. Ziggler reached the top, grabbed the case, and Christian cut him off. Suddenly, Kidd springboarded off a ladder onto Ziggler into a gutwrench powerbomb of sorts. Not smooth, but impressive.

At 15:00, bodies flew out of the ring, leaving no one remaining in the ring. The camera cut to Tensai ringside as Tensai began clearing the announce position to set up a ladder spot. Tensai then grappled Cara and powerbombed him onto the ladder. No break, as Cara just bounced off the ladder to the floor. Rhodes then KO'ed Tensai with a Disaster Kick, then returned to the ring to challenge Kidd in a ladder climb. Suddenly, Rhodes suplexed Kidd off the ladder, then Christian speared Cody off the top of the ladder. Cole was going nuts on commentary at this point. After Jerry Lawler and Booker narrated replays, they returned live to show bodies everywhere.

At 17:30, Santino and Christian reset with a ladder climb tease. Santino swatted at the briefcase again, then Christian ran Santino down the ladder. Christian, alone, reached up to grab the case, but Ziggler came out of nowhere to shove Christian onto another ladder. Nasty bump for Christian. Ziggler then reached up, grabbed the case, and unhooked it to win the match. Vickie went crazy, celebrating the victory as Ziggler celebrated on the ladder.

WINNER: Ziggler at 18:29 to earn a future World Title shot. That was nuts. Some really bad sequences and some really good sequences mixed together here. Almost everyone had a chance to shine at various points in the match, notably Kidd in defeat. Sandow also took another step as a new heel on Smackdown. (***)


[Live Photo credit VIP member Efren]

Video plug: No Holds Barred on DVD.

Backstage: Josh Mathews brought in World Hvt. champion Sheamus to discuss Ziggler's MITB victory, but Sheamus cut him off and said he's only worried about the present. Sheamus shared a story about his family and cars, then cut a promo on Alberto Del Rio. He said after their match tonight, Del Rio will only be car scraps.

In-ring: Justin Roberts welcomed out the "self-professed Most Must-See Superstar in WWE history," The Miz. Roberts noted he's returning after a two-month absence. Out came Miz dressed in a suit. Miz, looking like a combination of Scott from the Kardashians and Spencer Pratt with a new slicked-back hairstyle and peach-fuzz moustache, stood on-stage to near-silence surveying the crowd. Miz waited for a "Miz is Awesome" chant from some of the vocal males before noting he's been away filming a movie. Miz said he was finally treated with respect and said he's tired of being over-looked. He said it's time for him to make a sudden impact. See, the Raw MITB ladder match will have another former WWE champion involved. Miz said he will overcome and eventually become WWE champion again. Why? "Because I'm The Miz. And I'm a movie star...and I'm awesome!" he quietly said.

Raw 1,000 Flashback: Mick Foley talked about himself and winning the WWF Title for the first time after WCW gave it away on Nitro.

Announcers: Cole, Lawler, and Booker were shown on-camera. Cole thanked the audience for helping them get to 1,000 episodes. Cole then switched gears to plugging the World Title match up next.

After a video package documented the Sheamus vs. Del Rio feud, Lilian Garcia was shown in the ring to introduce the World Title match. There was no announcement from Ricardo Rodriguez as Del Rio emerged in his car of the week. Ricardo was in the ring to help Del Rio into the ring, though. After a pause, Sheamus marched out to the ring to defend the World Title against Del Rio. Ricardo then handled formal ring intros for Del Rio, followed by Lilian handling formal ring intros for Sheamus. Before the bell sounded, Del Rio slapped his arm to indicate to Sheamus that he's going to make him tap out; the announcers noted Del Rio softened up Sheamus's arm with attacks before the PPV.

2 -- World Hvt. champion SHEAMUS vs. ALBERTO DEL RIO -- World Title match

Both men drew the ref's ire being overly-aggressive early on. Sheamus then landed a hard knee to the side of the head for a nearfall, followed by more knees to the head for a nearfall. Del Rio shook it off, then dropkicked Sheamus across the ring. The two men traded control before Sheamus climbed up-top to deliver a flying shoulder for a two count. Del Rio decided to take a breather on the floor, so Sheamus ran him back into the ring. Ricardo then distracted Sheamus, allowing Del Rio to kick Sheamus off the apron to the floor. On the floor, Del Rio rammed Sheamus shoulder-first into the ring steps, then barricade to target the injury.

Back in the ring, Del Rio stalked Sheamus for a top-rope move and delivered sort of a fist smash for a two count. Del Rio went back to working over the arm with a variety of submission holds as Ricardo tried to engage the ringside crowd to work them up. Sheamus teased a comeback, but Del Rio cut him off and landed a boot to the head to quiet Sheamus. Del Rio then got into it with Sign Guy ringside before continuing the assault back in the ring.

At 10:00, Del Rio teased the cross arm-breaker, but Sheamus ducked. Sheamus then tried a flying tackle from the ring apron, but Del Rio intercepted with a single-arm DDT to the bad arm for a two count. The crowd finally came to life behind Sheamus, who made a full comeback with a running knee into a powerslam for a close two count. Sheamus tried to follow with his ten punches to the chest, Del Rio tried to block, but Sheamus opened him up and landed ten full blows. But, immediately after the 10 Blows, Del Rio yanked Sheamus's arm across the top rope. Del Rio then tried to charge Sheamus, but Sheamus countered with the Irish Curse backbreaker for a close two count.

The two men reset with a mid-ring exchange before Sheamus missed with a Brogue Kick near the ropes. Del Rio then nailed the Backstabber for a close nearfall that drew ooohs from the crowd. Del Rio tried to follow with a corner enziguiri, but totally missed. They sold it like Sheamus ducked, so Sheamus followed with White Noise center-ring. Sheamus then turned to the crowd and warmed up the Brogue Kick as Del Rio stood up. Sheamus measured Del Rio and connected center-ring for the pin and the win. Cole said they learned a great deal about Sheamus tonight digging deep inside to win this match.

WINNER: Sheamus at 14:24. Both men were blown up early on and the match was a bit off at times, but they told a good story at the end with Sheamus overcoming the stacked deck to look strong in victory. For Del Rio, he appears to have already peaked as a wrestler in the WWE environment unless they try something else with him. (**)

Post-match: Ricardo hopped on Sheamus's back, leading to Del Rio delivering a big beat down. Some of the vocal males chanted for Ziggler as Del Rio and Ricardo continued attacking Sheamus. Suddenly, Ziggler's music played. Del Rio, frustrated, watched as Ziggler made his way to the ring. Ziggler tried to hand over the briefcase to cash in a title shot, but Del Rio argued with him. Ziggler eventually popped Del Rio with the case, then handed it to the ref. But, Sheamus blasted Ziggler with a Brogue Kick to knock out Ziggler for the night. Cole noted the bell never sounded, so Ziggler still holds the briefcase and Sheamus is still World champ. After a replay of the post-match events, they showed Sheamus celebrating on-stage and Ziggler waking up as the ref handed him back his briefcase.

Raw 1,000 plug: Raw goes to three-hours starting July 23. WWE plugged DX, Brock Lesnar, and The Rock on the show.

Announcers: The announcers were shown on-camera to discuss surprises and big events happening on Raw in two weeks. Cole then rolled footage of Josh Mathews's interview with Daniel Bryan on the YouTube pre-show. In the interview, Bryan claimed he will not only win the WWE Title tonight, but also A.J.'s heart.

In-ring: Lilian Garcia introduced WWE tag champions Kofi Kingston & R-Truth, who were dressed in suits. The champs did a victory lap before joining the announcers for commentary on the next match. Suddenly, AW's voice was heard. AW emerged on-stage doing his elaborate "free seminar that will turn into you paying $1,000 for a fake product" ring introductions for the Prime Time Players. Cole noted they will eventually get a Tag Title shot against Kofi and Truth, who said they aren't concerned with the PTP'ers until they show them something. Primo and Epico, flanked by Rosa Mendes, were out next. Truth noted Little Jimmy likes Rosa.


The bell sounded and AW was still mic'ed to offer running commentary from ringside. So, six voices on this call. Primo showed off early on with high-flying offense as AW sold concern ringside. Epico then cleared the heels to the floor before landing a flip splash onto the PTP'ers. AW told them to get up before the action returned to the ring with Epico in control on D-Young. PTP'ers eventually took control and WWE turned up AW's mic for him to tell the crowd to congratulate his team, which drew light boos. AW then straightened D-Young's afro as the heels continued to exchange tags working over Epico. AW also claimed Rosa can't dance, leading to Titus doing a dance in the ring.

The distraction from the ringside managers allowed Epico to break free and tag in Primo. Primo went nuts on D-Young with flying offense before scoring a close two count. Primo then wanted a springboard move, but D-Young intercepted with a mid-air gutbuster. AW called that money. He told him to wrap it up because he has things to do. Suddenly, Primo rolled up D-Young for a quick three count.

WINNERS: Primo & Epico at 7:31. The crowd had no interest in either team, so WWE had to depend on the managers ringside to carry this. (*1/4)

Post-match: Kofi and Truth laughed at the #1 contenders losing focus and the match. AW continued to talk as Primo, Epico, and Rosa took their victory to the back. AW said it doesn't matter because they're still the #1 contenders. Ringside, Kofi and Truth said he's still talking. The #1 contenders then took it to the announce table to confront the tag champs. Kofi told AW to have their men do something, then Truth splashed water directly in AW's face. "Oh hell no," AW said before teasing going after the tag champs before Titus & D-Young pulled AWA away. Truth had to "hold back" Little Jimmy from going after them on the way out.

Video package: WWE rolled footage of the WWE Title feud focused on A.J. to set up the Punk-Bryan title match. As a result, the Raw MITB ladder match will main event over the WWE Title match.

Backstage: WWE showed A.J. standing in the back sporting a WWE referee shirt. Matt Striker asked if she's taking her responsibilities very seriously. A.J. said she is in full control of her emotions. She said just because C.M. Punk broke her heart and embarrassed her doesn't mean she can't be partial. As for D-Bryan, he was her first love and she has a special place in her heart for him. But, because he used her to advance his career, she's not sure whether to kiss him or slap him. A.J. started to break down emotionally, but tried to calm down to remain in control of her emotions. A.J. noted the match is next, then gathered herself and kept on walking.

In-ring: A.J. skipped out to the ring for the title match as Cole plugged Tout. D-Bryan, sporting a rustic jacket that looked like it came from a vintage second-hand shop, came out to the ring shouting, "Yes!" In the ring, Bryan took A.J.'s hand and gave her a kiss. Cult of Personality played to bring out WWE champion C.M. Punk as Cole noted Punk surpassed Shawn Michaels for longest title reign in WWE history. Next up are Hulk Hogan and Bret Hart's title reigns, Cole noted. With everyone assembled in the ring, Justin Roberts handled formal ring intros. "Yes!" Bryan shouted over and over after he was announced. The vocal males joined in as A.J. half-smirked. Punk was introduced to cheers and A.J. stared off into space. Punk then handed over the title belt to A.J., who stood in-between both men before hoisting the belt in the air and calling for the bell.

4 -- WWE champion C.M. PUNK vs. DANIEL BRYAN -- WWE Title match -- No DQ match -- A.J. special referee

Punk controlled the action early on before taking Bryan to the outside and blasting him into the guardrail. Meanwhile, Cole recapped Punk's MITB last year when he won the WWE Title in Chicago and left WWE, as well as Bryan winning Smackdown's MITB match and going on to become World champion. Back in the ring, Bryan came back with Yes! kicks before the two men started trading rapid-fire kick strikes. Punk won the exchange, then locked eyes with A.J., who nervously backed away. Punk then tried a second-rope leg drop, but Bryan moved. He followed with emphatic Yes! kicks to Punk's mid-section that caused A.J. to wince with every blow.

Punk came back moments later before knocking Bryan to the outside and landing a flying suicide dive. Punk celebrated on the barricade before the two men fought to the entranceramp. Punk blocked a suplex before Punk snapped Bryan across the guardrail ramp.

On the way back into the ring, Bryan shoved Punk into the ropes, which is where A.J. was located, causing A.J. to be bumped off the apron to the floor. Other refs spilled out to check on A.J. as Punk also checked on A.J. Bryan then blasted Punk into the ring steps before checking on A.J. Bryan told the medic to take care of A.J., who was helped to the back as they replayed Bryan shoving Punk into the ropes and bumping A.J. off the apron. Booker said A.J. was just out of position.

Bryan and Punk resumed the action with a new referee replacing A.J. Bryan used the interval to take control of the action and blast away at Punk ringside. Bryan then sent Punk flying across the floor into the barricade, but Punk back-dropped Bryan practically into Justin Roberts's lap. Punk and Bryan fought next to the timekeeper before Punk clotheslined Bryan off the barricade. As the two men recovered on the floor, the fans chanted for tables. Punk obliged by yanking a table out from under the ring, but Bryan cut him off and bodyslammed Punk onto the floor. Bryan then retrieved a Kendo stick and stalked Punk, who avoided blows before calling Bryan back into the ring.

In the ring, Punk stole the stick, but Bryan ducked a shot. Punk then tried to come off the ropes with a springboard move, but Bryan smashed him in the gut with a Kendo shot. Cole said they have a new champion as Bryan made a cover, but Punk easily kicked out in time. The crowd then started a dueling chant with the vocal males backing Bryan and the rest of the crowd backing Punk. Bryan then smashed Punk across the back over and over again with "Yes!" stick shots. Bryan paused, then landed another stick shot. He made a cover, but Punk kicked out.

At 12:00, Bryan dragged Punk to the corner and washed his face with his fist before landing more Yes! kicks to the mid-section. Bryan followed with a snap suplex before going up-top and mocking Punk's Macho Man pose before missing with a diving headbutt. Punk came to his feet and started trading kick bombs with Bryan. The crowd chanted along Yes! and No! before Punk built momentum with consecutive offense for a nearfall. Punk then got That Look on his face before landing a corner high-knee. After Bryan escaped the bulldog, Punk ducked a kick and hit a snap powerslam for a two count.

At 14:45, Punk called for a nap, but Bryan escaped the GTS. Punk tried again, but Bryan countered with a mid-air huracanrana for a close two count. Bryan followed with a kick to the head that decked both men. Bryan was up first and grabbed a Kendo stick to blast Punk. Bryan followed with a Surfboard Stretch, but Punk escaped, grabbed the stick, and smashed Bryan over and over, resulting in a close nearfall on a pin attempt. Punk then tried a top-rope move, but Bryan cut him off and executed a superplex that took out both men.

Suddenly, A.J. stomped out and ran to the ring. She instructed the replacement ref to leave the ring, then entered the ring and started skipping around. A.J. then slipped out of the ring, went under the ring, and pulled out a steel chair. A.J. slipped the chair into the ring and stood in-between both men. She first looked at Punk, then Bryan, who reached out toward A.J. Punk had no idea what to make of this, then A.J. dropped the chair, backed away, and let the two men run over to the chair for an XFL kick-off scramble. Bryan won the kick-off, grabbed the chair, and blasted away at Punk's back. Bryan made a cover, but Punk kicked out in-time. Bryan slowly pleaded with A.J. to make a three count, then calmly addressed her officiating. In the background, Punk snuck up behind Bryan and rolled him up for a close two count. Bryan then stood up and A.J. smiled at Bryan.

At 20:00, Bryan followed with Yes! kicks to Punk's chest as A.J. watched on. Bryan landed even more Yes! kicks in the corner, which seemed to disturb A.J. Bryan then wanted a running dropkick, but Punk flew out of the corner to clothesline Bryan to the mat. Punk sold the effects of the kicks as he slowly got up with possession of the chair. Punk then blasted Bryan across the back with three chair shots before wedging it in the corner. A.J. decided to stand in front of the chair, though, which prompted Punk to move out of the way. Suddenly, Bryan flew at Punk with a dropkick into the chair. The announcers said they don't know what's going on as Bryan slowly crawled across the ring toward the Kendo stick, which A.J. was standing on. Bryan pleaded with A.J. to remove her foot as Cole noted A.J. is toying with both men. Punk then blasted Bryan with a kick to the head before bodyslamming him into a chair. Punk followed with a top-rope elbow drop attempt, but Bryan moved and Punk ate the chair.

At 23:30, Bryan slapped on the Yes! Lock as Punk sold an injured arm. Punk tried to grab the ropes, but Bryan grabbed the Kendo stick and used it as added leverage on the Yes! Lock. A.J. smiled as she watched Punk suffer in the hold. Punk then bit down on the stick to wrench it away from Bryan before catapulting him into the corner turnbuckle. Punk then smashed Bryan with the GTS, but he was so worn out that he couldn't make an immediate cover. Punk eventually made a cover, but Bryan kicked out. Punk immediately came within inches of A.J., who sold concern as Punk stared at her.

At 25:20, Punk slipped out of the ring as A.J. sold concern in the ring. Punk then retrieved the table from earlier and slid it into the ring using his one good arm. As the crowd sat quietly anticipating what's next, Punk set up the table in the ring. Punk then placed Bryan on the table as A.J. watched nervously in the background. Punk went up-top looking to finish off Bryan, but Bryan hopped off the table and crotched Punk; Booker noted Bryan was playing opossum here. Punk and Bryan fought up-top, and Punk slipped underneath Bryan to crotch him. Punk then followed with Yes! elbow strikes to the neck before setting up for and connecting with a back-drop suplex off the top through the table below, which popped the crowd. A.J. sold shock as Punk slowly draped an arm across Bryan's body. A.J. counted one, two, and three to give Punk the win.

Post-match: A.J. sat down cross-legged, selling exhaustion over the match. Cole said he still doesn't know where A.J. stands after all of this. A.J. then retrieved the WWE Title belt, which Punk yanked away from A.J. to celebrate with. A.J. continued to sell concern as Lawler said this is not the way she wanted to be involved, wanting to be more of the focal point. A.J. then looked down at Bryan, who sold being KO'ed across the table. Punk continued to celebrate for the crowd as A.J. continued to act conflicted. They went to a replay of the finish before showing Punk still celebrating. Lawler said A.J. remains confused.

WINNER: Punk at 27:48 to retain the WWE Title. Another month, another excellent Punk-Bryan match. A different feel to this one, but still more of the same top-notch in-ring action and storytelling. The lack of a true pay-off to the A.J. story means it's continuing, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Meanwhile, Bryan continues to add to his reputation as one of if not the top wrestler on the roster. It's not just the moves, but the timing, delivery, and fluidity. He has all the intangibles. (****)



[Live Photos credit VIP member Efren]

Tout: WWE showed various stars talking in soundbytes about WWE's partnership with Tout. Bryan said this is viewers's ticket to be on Raw.

In-ring: Curt Hawkins and Tyler Reks came to the ring to face Ryback in a handicap match. Cole broke down Ryback's training regiment before the bell sounded.

5 -- RYBACK vs. CURT HAWKINS & TYLER REKS -- handicap match

After waiting out a brief "Goldberg" chant, Ryback began destroying Hawkins. Hawkins eventually used a game of cat & mouse to bring in Reks, who knocked down Ryback to put him on a rare disadvantage. Reks and Hawkins began working on Ryback, which lasted a few minutes before the "Goldberg" chants inspired Ryback to make a comeback. Ryback cleared Hawkins from the ring before clotheslining Reks. He called for the end and marched around the ring to deliver Shell Shock. Ryback with the cover for the win as the crowd sat quietly. After the match, Ryback chanted, "Feed me more," over and over as some members of the audience joined in.

WINNER: Ryback at 4:22. Still a lot of work to be done to get the general audience to invest in Ryback.

Raw 1,000 Flashback: Chris Jericho's Countdown to the Millenium. Jericho talked in a soundbyte about feeling a rumble in the crowd before he debuted in WWE to confront The Rock.

In-ring: Layla's music played to bring out the Divas champion for what was announced as a six-Divas tag match. Kaitlyn was out next to join Layla, followed by Tamina Snuka. Beth Phoenix was out first for the heels, followed by Natalya, then Eve.

6 -- Divas champion LAYLA & KAITLYN & TAMINA SNUKA vs. BETH PHOENIX & NATALYA & EVE -- six-Divas tag match

Kaitlyn was the focal point early on, as the heels kept tagging in trying to get at Kaitlyn, who kept knocking them down. The heels eventually cut off Kaitlyn before she tagged out to Layla. The action broke down, then Layla scored the decisive fall on Phoenix to give the faces a win.

WINNERS: Team Layla at 3:23.

Summerslam Video: WWE returns to Los Angeles next month for Summerslam. ... WWE went to an exterior shot of the Phoenix area before showing University of Phoenix Stadium, home of WrestleMania 26 in 2010.

Arena: WWE showed stagehands preparing the Raw brand MITB ladder match for the main event. Tons of ladders were shown ringside before Justin Roberts introduced the match. Kane's pyro shot off first to bring out Kane. The announcers made some Harlem Heat jokes about Kane's pyro bringing heat to the arena, then the lights went out to signal Chris Jericho's arrival. The Miz, then Big Show were out next. After a pause, John Cena's music played to a loud reaction mixed with some boos. Cena played to the crowd on-stage before excitedly saying he's in Money in the Bank tonight. Cole noted Cena's in MITB for the first time in his career as Cena paused ringside to remove his gear and pace around the ring. Cole also noted Cena has been very successful in first-time career matches.

Pre-Match Note: PWTorch readers selected John Cena as the favorite to win with 51 percent. Next was "Late Entry," which is The Miz with 26 percent, then Chris Jericho with 15 percent, Big Show with 6 percent, and Kane with 1 lonely percent.

7 -- JOHN CENA vs. CHRIS JERICHO vs. BIG SHOW vs. KANE vs. THE MIZ -- Raw brand MITB ladder match for a future WWE Title shot

Once the bell sounded, Show and Cena started fighting, then Cena clotheslined Show over the top rope to the floor. Miz tried to snuck up a ladder in the background, but Cena yanked him down, only to have Show mow down both Cena and Miz with a body smash. Show then dropped a ladder over the top rope onto Jericho, who sold a wrist/forearm injury.

Show proceeded to knock around his opponents with sheer force, but then walked into a Codebreaker from Jericho into a DDT from Miz. Kane then dropkicked Show over the top rope to the floor, where Cena was waiting. Cena saw an opportunity to take Show out of the equation and cleared the Spanish announce table. Cena then hoisted Show into the air and AA'ed Show through the Spanish table to a big reaction. Cena played to the crowd before Kane, Miz, and Cena grabbed a ton of ladders to place on top of Show to bury him a la Wade Barrett with chairs at TLC 2010. Jericho then KO'ed the other three and added a final ladder on top of Show.

Back in the ring, Jericho started climbing a ladder, but Miz pulled him down, only to take the Walls of Jericho. Miz reached the rope for a break, but that didn't matter. Jericho eventually broke the hold to dropkick Kane through the ropes. Jericho remained in control before Cena knocked Jericho off the ladder and teased climbing, but Miz yanked him down and DDT'ed Cena to the mat and to the floor. Miz then tried to climb and put a hand on the case, but Kane chucked a ladder toward Miz, knocking him down. Kane tried to scale the ladder himself, but couldn't secure it when Jericho pulled him down. Jericho and Miz then double-suplexed Kane across another ladder.

Cena suddenly flew into the ring delivering trademark offense to Miz before suplexing him onto a ladder. Cena suplexed Jericho onto the other end of the ladder before delivering a double Five Knuckle Shuffle. Cena took his eye of the ball, though, as Kane entered the ring, only to take an AA onto Miz on the ladder. But, Jericho cut off Cena with a ladder toss into the face, clearing the ring.

Suddenly at 10:25, Big Show woke up and pushed the ladders off him to stand and be noticed. Show entered the ring, broke the ladder Jericho was standing on, and began using the pieces as a weapon on Jericho. Kane also took a ladder blow to the face. Show then chopped Miz out of the ring to the outside before throwing a ladder on top of Miz. Show stopped when he saw Cena back in the ring and started picking apart Cena. Show eventually knocked Cena to the floor before starting to chuck ladders out of the ring.

Show decided none of the available ladders were suitable, so he went under the ring to find a giant gold ladder with black rungs. Show used all of his might to swing the ladder onto the apron before sliding it into the ring. Show, worn out, slowly deadlifted the ladder into place before dragging it underneath the briefcase. Show tested the ladder before slowly making the climb toward the case. Show put his hand on the case, but Kane met him on the other side. They each went for a chokeslam grip before Show knocked Kane to the mat. Cena suddenly popped up and scaled the ladder, but Show headbutted him off the ladder. Jericho finally got Show down with a steel chair to the back.

With Show out of the picture, it was Cena and Jericho. The two men climbed the giant ladder before getting their hands on the case. They exchanged blows before Cena suddenly hoisted Jericho high up in the air for an AA, but Jericho climbed onto Cena's back and slapped on a sleeperhold. Cena sold fading out in the hold, but then regained his energy and powered both of them up the ladder. Cena again faded out, so Jericho shoved Cena off the ladder. Cole said Jericho is going to win, which meant he wasn't. Miz provided the interruption, leading to both men battling for control of the case. Miz then headbutted Jericho away and Jericho swung in the air on the case. Jericho swung back to Miz and they battled on top of the ladder as Show re-entered the picture. Show came face-to-face with a frightened Jericho, who took a KO Punch to the face from Show. Cena then entered the picture and used the case to block Show's punch. Cena proceeded to bash Show in the face with the case, then the handle broke and the case landed in Cena's hands. The bell sounded with Cena in possession of the case as he sold shock winning the match. It sure was a good thing the chain didn't break when Jericho was dangling on it with nothing below him.

Post-match: Cena stood on top of the giant ladder with a shocked look on his face, then pantomimed that the handle broke off. WWE went to a replay of Show's KO Punch to Jericho, then Miz, before Cena yanked the case off the hook and smashed Show off the ladder to win. They returned to a live shot of Cena down from the ladder holding the ladder in victory. Jericho was shown selling the effects in the ring and Miz out cold on the floor. Cena then grabbed the broken-off case handle and stuffed it inside his jeans pocket. Cena returned to ringside to embrace a militaryman ringside. Cena posed with female fans ringside as Cole recapped Dolph and Cena winning MITB tonight. Cole added that C.M. Punk is looking over his shoulder right now as Cena continued to celebrate ringside. They signed off ten minutes before the top of the hour with Cena still celebrating ringside.

WINNER: Cena at 20:03 to earn a future WWE Title shot. Decent to good MITB match; it just didn't seem main event worthy. Cena winning was expected, but it was the right booking if WWE intends to go with Cena vs. Punk for the WWE Title at Summerslam. (***)



[Live Photos credit VIP member Efren]


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PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.

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