Pro Wrestling

10 Ways WWE Money in the Bank Prepared For The Future

http://www.wwe.com/shows/moneyinthebank/2016/gallery/roman-reigns-seth-rollins-photos#fid-40031558 Source: WWE.com

Over the years, Money in the Bank has been seen as the summer Pay Per View where WWE actually can shake things up. Thanks to the existence of a briefcase with a guaranteed World title shot getting awarded to someone, it really is a show where any number of possibilities can come into play. But this year, there is also the specter of the upcoming WWE Brand Extension, which will take place in just under a month, and promises to shake things up real good as a result. With that inevitability on the way, in many ways, Money in the Bank was a PPV about tying up loose ends, ending a long-running experiment, and generally clearing the table ahead of time. In addition, it also established some feuds which will undoubtedly be asked to carry the main events of their respective brands, whichever they may be, in the near future.

10. Suddenly, So Many Tag Teams

If there was ever a more sure sign that a brand split is coming than the sudden existence of more than two or three tag teams in WWE, we’re not sure what it would be. Including the two tag team matches that took place on the pre-show (which literally seemed to exist to prove that yes, WWE has a bunch of tag teams now), there were eight full-time tag teams on the Pay Per View, which also doesn’t count the suspiciously absent Usos and the “due for their next reboot” Social Outcasts. And while that’s almost far too many for a single brand, it seems like it will ensure that both Raw and Smackdown will be adequately prepared to have their own, separate (possibly sharing a champion) tag divisions. You know, unless WWE decides to use the brand split to break up nearly every tag team they have, give half-hearted attempts at pushing everyone as singles wrestlers, then giving up and throwing them back into tag teams again. You know, like they did last time. That’s right, WWE, we haven’t forgotten the brief and ridiculous “D’Von Dudley is an actual priest” era.

http://www.wwe.com/shows/moneyinthebank/2016/gallery/wwe-tag-team-championship-fatal-4-way-photos#fid-40031245 Source: WWE.com

http://www.wwe.com/shows/moneyinthebank/2016/gallery/wwe-tag-team-championship-fatal-4-way-photos#fid-40031245 Source: WWE.com

9. Can This Be Over Now?

So, Baron Corbin defeated Dolph Ziggler again, in a match that took way too long and almost certainly should not have happened on the PPV itself, but did for reasons that we will discuss at great length further down the line. The only true entertainment value, from our perspective, was knowing that Dolph had to go out and wrestle a boring match while his hometown team was locked in an epic Game Seven struggle in the NBA Finals, but we’re rarely accused of being good people. If it seems like we’re trying to avoid discussing the match, it’s because once you’ve watched Dolph Ziggler wrestle someone more than two or three times (and you will, because every single Dolph Ziggler feud lasts for two months worth of matches, minimum), you’ve already seen all there is to see, aside from the finish. Not a unique finish, mind you, just finding out who wins this time. In fact, we considered using a photo from any random Ziggler-Corbin match from their feud and seeing if anyone would notice that it wasn’t from the PPV, but we resisted. The last several years of Dolph Ziggler’s career have been an endless series of what seem like “Best of 1,000” feuds, and frankly, we’re done with him. Sure, he’s one of the most talented wrestlers on the roster, but it’s more than clear that his career path, and the careers of anyone unlucky enough to get stuck in a never-ending feud with him, is basically a flat circle. Hopefully they end up on both sides of the brand split, so we can never, ever, see them fight again.

http://www.wwe.com/shows/moneyinthebank/2016/gallery/dolph-ziggler-baron-corbin-photos#fid-40031338 Source: WWE.com

http://www.wwe.com/shows/moneyinthebank/2016/gallery/dolph-ziggler-baron-corbin-photos#fid-40031338 Source: WWE.com

8. Too Many Bad People In One Division

By some coincidence, we’re approaching the point where the Divas Revolution is a year old, and we seem to be back in a similar situation. Last year, Paige found herself the only true face in the division, with nobody backing her against Team Bella. Now, thanks to a bunch of injuries and Natalya deciding to turn on her last night, Becky Lynch finds herself alone as the only good person in the Women’s division regularly appearing on TV (well, Paige is around, sometimes). That’s bad, considering there’s a brand split coming up that would either theoretically divide the division between shows (which we wouldn’t do, because there just aren’t enough women to fill both brands), or at least give them more available TV time, and having only one face against a cavalcade of heels probably wouldn’t work so well. Now, here’s the good news: doesn’t Becky have two other friends who used to be Horsewomen that the crowds would just absolutely fall over themselves in love with if they showed up on Raw (or Smackdown)? We’re not saying that’s what’s going to happen, we’re just saying, that’s exactly what should happen.

Source: WWE.com

Source: WWE.com

7. The Secret Of Sheamus’ Success

We’re not going to pretend that the match between Sheamus and Apollo Crews was particularly great, or PPV-worthy, because it probably wasn’t. But it was better than expected, possibly the best singles match Sheamus has had in a long time, and it’s because there is a secret to a good Sheamus match. It’s simple really, you just put him in the ring with someone who’s willing to work a little snug, maybe lay in some body shots a little stiffer than they necessarily need to be, and the crowd gets excited because the match becomes less of a wrestling exhibition and more two big guys beating the piss out of each other. Crews and Sheamus never quite reached the Dusty-esque “clubbering” that we’ve seen in the past from the Celtic Warrior against wrestlers like Wade Barrett, Cesaro, and Mark Henry, but there were definitely some holds being cinched a little tighter, and it nothing else, we’d like to see them escalate things a little in the inevitable rematch. Also, we’re not the only ones who thought it was weird that a match between two massive heavyweights ended in a rollup, right?

http://www.wwe.com/shows/moneyinthebank/2016/gallery/apollo-crews-sheamus-photos#fid-40031367 Source: WWE.com

http://www.wwe.com/shows/moneyinthebank/2016/gallery/apollo-crews-sheamus-photos#fid-40031367 Source: WWE.com

6. Oh Right, Bad Guys Cheat

We’re going to come right out and say that the highly anticipated match between John Cena and AJ Styles was fine. But only just fine, and when compared to what Styles was doing with Roman Reigns just a few weeks ago, it actually has to be seen as a disappointment that this match isn’t going to ever be considered a Match of the Year contender by anyone but the staunchest Cena loyalists (and even they’re probably too upset that he lost to ever give it any votes). To be fair, it was actually Cena’s first match back from a major injury, but sadly, this match is going to end up on the pile of matches that should have been way better than they actually ended up being. It was a good match, don’t get us wrong, but it was almost a preview for a far better match that they’ll be having down the road, instead of a climactic moment taking place during what was advertised as a “WrestleMania-quality” match. Now, for those of you who are upset that The Club clearly ran in despite being contractually obligated not to interfere, let me take this moment to tell you that this is exactly how you’re supposed to feel. It’s called “being good heels”, and I applaud The Club for actually being real, dirty, cheating heels instead of the omnipresent “cool” heels who get cheers from the crowd and don’t do anything particularly bad. You’re not supposed to like the bad guys, and they’re supposed to do bad things to make that apparent. We’ll probably go over this again when AJ comes out on Raw and crows about beating John Cena “fair and square” until you just wish Cena would punch him in the mouth and demands a rematch at the next Pay Per View.

http://www.wwe.com/shows/moneyinthebank/2016/gallery/john-cena-aj-styles-photos#fid-40031417 Source: WWE.com

http://www.wwe.com/shows/moneyinthebank/2016/gallery/john-cena-aj-styles-photos#fid-40031417 Source: WWE.com

5. A Little Taste Of Things To Come

So, here’s the thing about Money in the Bank ladder matches: they’re basically impossible to screw up, unless you somehow ignore the gimmick entirely, or make the match three minutes long. Thankfully, WWE has managed to keep the Money in the Bank gimmick fairly pristine, with even the worst matches of the genre still being pretty good. This year’s edition will never go down in history as one of the best of all time, and actually will probably be considered one of the weakest (despite, you know, being advertised as “the greatest Money in the Bank field in history”, which ignores pretty much all of history up to this point). However, as we said, that’s still not a bad match, and an enjoyable use of time. And as disappointed as we may be that Kevin Owens didn’t come away with the briefcase, so that he could spend the next six months or so hanging out at ringside and endlessly taunting whomever happens to be WWE World Heavyweight Champion, only to somehow lose the briefcase to Sami Zayn and become even more bitter and angry as a result, we’re still okay with Ambrose winning. And that probably would have remained true even if the events of the end of the show didn’t happen, which we will get to in a second.

http://www.wwe.com/shows/moneyinthebank/2016/gallery/money-bank-ladder-match-photos#fid-40031512 Source: WWE.com

http://www.wwe.com/shows/moneyinthebank/2016/gallery/money-bank-ladder-match-photos#fid-40031512 Source: WWE.com

4. Rusev Crushes Family Values

We want to say right now that Titus O’Neil seems like a heck of a guy with a lot of charisma, who clearly cares very deeply about his family, and his 6-day suspension for grabbing Vince McMahon’s arm was a travesty of the highest order. Unfortunately, even with all of that, he’s also a mediocre wrestler who doesn’t have the conditioning to go longer than five minutes, maximum, and he had absolutely no credibility as a contender for the United States title. The good news is, Rusev was pretty much allowed to annihilate him after absorbing some token offense, as the damage done from the combination of John Cena repeatedly humiliating him (although attempting to claim Rusev’s first run as US champ lasted “almost a year” makes our brains wrinkle due to the mathematical leaps that statement would require), the Dolph Ziggler atrocity of a feud that followed, and of course, the incompetent League of Nations, has started to be repaired. Once again, Rusev is free to crush as many soft, decadent Americans as he wishes, then mock their children at ringside afterwards (on Father’s Day, no less). Since the US Title will hopefully be expected to be a significant part of whatever brand it ends up on, frankly, we’re okay with that.

http://www.wwe.com/shows/moneyinthebank/2016/gallery/rusev-titus-oneil-photos#fid-40031462 Source: WWE.com

http://www.wwe.com/shows/moneyinthebank/2016/gallery/rusev-titus-oneil-photos#fid-40031462 Source: WWE.com

3. A Great Story, Told Accidentally

Imagine, if you will, the story of a man who has everything he ever worked for taken away from him due to a cruel twist of fate, and then sees it handed to one of his most hated rivals. That man then dedicates his life to regaining what he sees as rightfully his, toils endlessly to make his dream a reality, then miraculously makes his return out of nowhere and challenges his rival directly in order to get back his property. After a hard-fought match where he is dominated by a larger and more powerful opponent, he emerges triumphant, only to be ambushed from behind and have his victory stolen away again. Sounds like a great babyface story, right? In fact, it might be one of the best and most uplifting (at least until the end) stories WWE has ever written. So how did they manage to make their most heroic tale about hated heel Seth Rollins, and why do they continue to insist that he is the bad guy in this little morality play called WWE? As always, we know why, and we continue to be confused. Maybe Seth beating Roman relatively cleanly to win back the WWE World Heavyweight Championship is the start of acknowledging that Roman’s character shouldn’t be the face, and losing the thing that let him lay claim to being “The Guy” will be the trigger that lets him break lose as the actual bad guy he was born to be. Or maybe he’ll be totally okay with the way things played out because at least his buddy ended up with the title. In either case, the latest phase of the grand Roman Reigns experiment is over. Now, prepare for phase…wait, what phase are they on at this point?

http://www.wwe.com/shows/moneyinthebank/2016/gallery/roman-reigns-seth-rollins-photos#fid-40031538 Source: WWE.com

http://www.wwe.com/shows/moneyinthebank/2016/gallery/roman-reigns-seth-rollins-photos#fid-40031538 Source: WWE.com

2. Well, That Escalated Quickly…

Speaking of the third wheel, Dean Ambrose instantly cashed in Money in the Bank and won the WWE World Heavyweight Title, which he totally deserved for his work in the past, if not necessarily the immediate past, and the obvious way to go is a Shield Triple Threat, either at Battleground or SummerSlam, if they want to hold off until the biggest show of the summer. There are a couple of ways to look at this. First of all, from the perspective of someone who knows that the brand split is looming, it’s fairly obvious WWE did not want the Money in the Bank briefcase, and whether it would be valid for either World title (assuming there’s a split) or be able to cross brands, or any number of other questions, complicating things. As a result, Ambrose’s win and quick cash-in made complete sense, rather doing the regular thing where the briefcase is held so WWE Creative can always be used to write their way out of sticky situations later on. From a pure fan perspective, gee, it sure was nice to have a WWE Champion who actually got an ovation and full crowd support for winning the title, wasn’t it? No mixed reactions, nobody trying to shout down sections of the crowd, just an arena full of wrestling fans who were pleased to see a guy they both liked and respected win the top title in the company. How long has it been since that was the case? Daniel Bryan, over two years ago? Hopefully this isn’t just a transitional run for Dean, who, already several times in the last couple of years, has been in the position where he should have probably been given the ball, only to come up short.

http://www.wwe.com/shows/moneyinthebank/2016/gallery/roman-reigns-seth-rollins-photos#fid-40031558 Source: WWE.com

http://www.wwe.com/shows/moneyinthebank/2016/gallery/roman-reigns-seth-rollins-photos#fid-40031558 Source: WWE.com

1. The Plight Of The Wrestling Fan

In our opinion, WWE is reaching a tipping point with the amount of wrestling content they have made available on television on a weekly basis. Raw is three hours long, with an additional overrun of ten to fifteen minutes. Smackdown is two hours long, and thanks to the brand split and going live, will now have completely different storylines and matches from Raw. At least NXT on Wednesday nights is only an hour, not counting the bi-monthly TakeOver events. But now, WWE has reportedly informed providers that their monthly PPVs, which already clock in at three hours (four if we’re talking about WrestleMania or SummerSlam) plus an hour-long pre-show, may start having an overrun of their own! At least at WrestleMania, which added nearly an entire extra hour to its mammoth run-time, they had the excuse of being the biggest show of the year. At Money in the Bank, the show ran a full extra half-hour, with almost the entire main event taking place after the show was ostensibly supposed to be finished. And WWE actually bumped two matches off the pre-show and onto the main show in order to fill all that time! Plus, all this isn’t even getting into the rumor of WWE potentially adding extra single-brand PPVs after the split, or dealing with a wrestling fan who also watches other promotions! We’re reaching a serious critical mass in terms of the amount of wrestling that a single person can watch on a regular basis, even if it was all quality stuff, and as we barrel down the road to the brand extension, we can’t help but feel like that’s going to end up hurting WWE in the very near future.

http://www.kayfabenews.com/amazing-wwe-superfan-watched-three-hours-raw/ Source: KayfabeNews.com

http://www.kayfabenews.com/amazing-wwe-superfan-watched-three-hours-raw/ Source: KayfabeNews.com

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