Been a while since I've done one of these.
I admit I was very skeptical about the Money in the Bank pay per view concept. To me it sounded like trying to maximize on a niche market that truly only a limited amount of performers can do well. On paper it sounds wonderful. I just wasn't very sure about the way the thing would play out. In the end the guys in the back set up the finish, but its' up to the guys in front of the audience to make this fly.
In my eyes Money in the Bank lost its chops over the past 3 years in the post Rated R Money in the Bank place with CM Punk two years straight and then Swagger. Ironically enough I think CM Punk would be a devastating Money in the Bank holder right now, yet he seemed to be misplaced in the scene before. The character is much better as a sanctimonious heel rather than a goody two shoes. And Swagger is closer to the IT factor now than I think he has ever been. And if he can stay true to this path, IT will flourish and develop.
While not all matches being Money in the Bank matches is a little misleading, the core concept of the highlight matches being Money in the Bank matches is just stable enough to not garner much complaint. But because of the way this thing works it's hard to account for overall pay per view quality with so many loose ended variables.
For the record Smackdown's build for Money in the Bank was much more insightful than Raw's. While Raw had been letting the microphone handlers do their thing Smackdown was forced to actually confront logical Money in the Bank ladder match concerns. One being, how in the Sam hell is Big Show supposed to even be competitive in this match. The answer for that was done with skill and panache and added an interesting element to the Money in the Bank ladder match for the World Heavyweight Title.
The "Big Show" brand ladder made for a prop that held its own weight, both figuratively and literally. The whole process of unveiling it and getting it into the ring was entertaining without the match. And the subsequent Big Show ladder grave yard that was formed later made me giggle no matter how many replays of it was shown. In fact I am giggling now just remembering.
Heartbreak during this match was the also well seeded Christian Matt Hardy rivalry. I try to watch these things live as much as possible because in the eyes of the audience is the success or failure of this business. What I heard was a collective gasp as both men fell from the top seconds away from attaining that prize. No one could really say who they wanted to have it, but in that moment they knew they couldn't pick. Which made the way the whole thing panned out all the more fitting? As the underdog, always the underdog Kane became the one that everyone actually wanted to have it anyway.
The collective opinion was that the rest of the pay per view was going to have to really swing for the fences if it was going to keep up with the opener. And some ways it did and in some ways it fell short. So a few highlights from the other matches were:
Diva's championship match, it has been forever since I've seen a tilt-a-whirl slam. One of my hands down favorite moves, it was wonderful to see Alicia pull one out for us.
Tag Team Championship match: Good old fashioned sharp shooter ending!
Kane becoming the NEW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION after saving Rey from Swagger. Somehow seemed rather fitting, he is still a monster no matter how lovable!! Oh YES!
LayCool is gold, hilarious stick that no matter how annoying it should be, it just kills it works so well. Solid entertaining women's match, always like to see those.
Then it's time for the second match of the pay per view namesake. I did feel that Smackdown conducted their build better, but the matches themselves were pretty even for what they were. The differences were in changes, scope and intensity. While the Smackdown version built over time, the Raw one ran more like a flurry of motion. One up, two down, out the ring, over the top rope, it was hard sometimes to keep track of. But that is in a lot of ways the essence of what I feel like the match was founded in.
Evan Bourne flies like he has wings, Morrison always does something during one of these things that makes me gasp, very physically gifted man. I was unsure about MITB newbie Ted Dibiase, but he earned his chops out there. People complain about it and yet seem to not realize that Mark Henry is no Money in the Bank rookie, he knows how to work with these matches despite people's opinions otherwise. Edge, Randy Orton and Jericho delivered as normal and I am a believer, The Miz IS Awesome.
The match itself went well, delivered on almost all the standard Money in the Bank spots that the first one might have fallen short on. I was surprised at how focused it was though on the overall motion and didn't really take the time for BIG spots. Although I must admit, I'm usually very grateful for that.
I thought there was not as many underlying stories being presented during the match as was the Smackdown offering so I wasn't as emotionally involved with the outcome. Could be a time issue, I'm not sure. The Raw version of this match had a more mobile crew in regards to maneuverability. I think it went faster simply because they could. The Miz, way to wrap it up. Hard thing to do to be 'on' right after a rough match like that.
The most interesting aspect of these matches are the selective assistance initiatives that take place. Temporary alliances as it were to accomplish a common goal. They always amuse me greatly.
I took Sheamus and Cena for what it was, a match that was truly intended to further along the Nexus storyline. It was a good match honestly and the interference of the Nexus was reasonably well placed to further the plot. And my it is fun to watch Sheamus run, he's fast for his size.
I think the Nexus storyline is wonderful. Truly great use for faces people have gotten to know over the past few months while letting them adapt to the big show. My only issue with the Nexus storyline is that tendency to believe that it's so good that you can just cut out matches all together.
I don't know about everybody else but I wanted the finish to all the matches the Nexus has ruined. And because I realize its story I don't get annoyed at the Nexus I get annoyed at creative. I don't see less of an impact by attacking after a match is done. If anything it's more because the participants are tired and you are ruining someone's victory time. It has the annoyance of cutting someone off while they're talking.
I know it's the old grudge factor, 'don't jack with my win-loss record', but that horse will only drink so many times before it's not thirsty anymore. The last thing that needs to be done is let the Nexus linger into predictability. When one statement has gotten old it's time to say something else.