The Classic Pay-Per-View Review: Money in the Bank 2011

punkcenaCM Punk covering John Cena in Chicago – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

Hello and thanks for checking out The Classic Pay-Per-View Review. This is a special feature that’s included in the WWE/F section. It’s a basic idea, a look back on a pay-per-view which I consider to be classic, for whatever reason. Reasons will be included in the reviews. I hope you enjoy reading about this one. I’m also looking to get some Ring of Honor ones done. I won’t be describing each match hold for hold, you’ll have to check out the PPV yourself for that. I will strictly give an overview on what I think makes it a classic show.

In this feature, I’ll be looking at WWE Money in the Bank 2011. This was easily the best show of that year, including Wrestlemania. In my opinion, it could creep into the top ten PPVs of the last ten years. The wrestling on this show was beyond crazy good. The crowd in Chicago were absolutely off the hook. And most of all, the long lasting memories it left behind make it an absolute classic. I know it isn’t twenty years ago, or even ten years ago, but that doesn’t change the fact that it was truly great. I expect it to be remembered for quite some time. I recommend you check it out!

Money in the Bank Ladder Match (for the Number One Contendership for the World Heavyweight Championship)

Wade Barrett v Heath Slater v Daniel Bryan v Justin Gabriel v Kane v Sin Cara v Cody Rhodes v Sheamus

What a way to kick off the night. In the fallout of The Nexus and The Corre, the ring was half filled with brilliantly talented young guys looking to make a name for themselves. The other guys were all proven and hot in their own right. Six of the combatants were in Money in the Bank for the first time ever. It was an unbelievably exciting and spectacular free-for-all, pitting each superstar against the other in a battle of impressiveness. Some really violent and high risk spots were pulled off in this one. My personal highlight was Sheamus cracking a ladder in half with Sin Cara’s body. Daniel Bryan eventually overcame all the odds and won the briefcase. The genuine emotion on his face was foreshadowing what would go on to happen that night. It was an incredible way to start the show, made the crowd pop massively and set the night off on the right track. A very memorable match.

Kelly Kelly (c) v Brie Bella (for the Divas Championship)

If you’ve been reading this page, you will know by now that I am not a big fan of the WWE divas division. I paid little attention to this short and uninteresting match. I sort of zoned out after witnessing one of the most pathetic opening exchanges I’ve ever seen. Don’t let this match fool you. The entirely of the card besides this brought something to the table. If it matters (which it doesn’t) Kelly Kelly defeated Brie to retain her not at all prestigious or coveted title.

Big Show v Mark Henry

This was pre-ironclad contract Big Show against Hall of Pain Mark Henry – a battle of the two biggest monsters in the business. This one was never going to match up to the high octane athleticism that the rest of the card boasted, but it was solid nonetheless. Mark Henry picked up the win with the World’s Strongest Slam, before wrapping a chair around Big Show’s ankle and dropping his whole weight onto it from the second rope. What a callous act! Show sold it like a true pro. Why can The Giant sell injury better than most 220-250lb guys on the current roster?

Money in the Bank Ladder Match (for the Number One Contendership for the WWE Championship)

The Miz v Alex Riley v R-Truth v Rey Mysterio v Alberto Del Rio v Jack Swagger v Kofi Kingston v Evan Bourne

Going into this match, Alberto Del Rio had a valid argument that he should have already been Number One Contender, without having to compete in this match. Evan Bourne was thrown in there as the token insanely entertaining high flyer, who you know is definitely not going to win (e.g. Justin Gabriel, Tyson Kidd, John Morrison) The rest of the guys were made up of various rivalries or upper-mid card status performers. Del Rio pulled off the win after a very, very spectacular contest. Evan Bourne at one point pulled off a Shooting Star Press from the top of the ladder onto all seven of the other guys outside the ring. This was just one of the crazy spots that these guys displayed. Just another reason why this show was insanely good. Even if you only just YouTube one of these ladder matches, that would be better than nothing. You need to see this stuff! I have neither the descriptive skills, nor the memory to really do these matches justice.

Randy Orton (c) v Christian (for the World Heavyweight Championship)

For the third PPV in a row, these two completely stole the show. In terms of a wrestling match, this was almost flawless. Limitlessly entertaining, undeniably identifiable and simply spectacular. These guys gave every ounce of sweat they had to put on a total clinic. It had everything. The moves, the spots, the drama. After an array of near falls, it seemed that both competitors just didn’t know what to do to put the other one away. Again, this wasn’t the last time this happened on this show. One of the fascinating things about the match, was the excellence with which they managed to make a minor stipulation a focal point. This is something WWE consistently fail to do these days. If Randy Orton were to be disqualified, he would lose the title. He would have no Champion’s Advantage.

With this in mind, while reeling in the corner, Christian spat directly in the face of Orton. He snapped and gave him a blatant low blow right in front of the referee. The crowd popped hard when Christian was announced as the new World Heavyweight Champion. They popped even harder when Orton proceeded to beat the living hell out of him on the outside. He gave him an RKO onto the announce table, then stormed off towards the ramp, only to stop half way, bound all the way back around and do it again. He punched and kicked at the barricades, through the announce chairs, just went bat shit crazy. He sold his anger expertly. I really can’t give Randy Orton enough credit for that. The feud seemed real, it seemed important. The title had changed hands. We’d seen a fantastic match and an unreal ending. You knew then that the hatred between these two was far from over, and with matches like this, who would want it to be? One of the best matches in the career of  both of these men, in my opinion.

John Cena (c) v CM Punk (for the WWE Championship)

If you haven’t seen this match, you must have been living under a rock for the past two years. I suggest you immediately search it on YouTube. This was one of the most memorable matches and definitely one of the most memorable endings to a show in WWE history, period. The crowd pop for CM Punk was off the charts, in his home-town of Chicago, on the biggest night of his professional career. John Cena was booed almost as hatefully as at ECW One Night Stand 2006. Punks contract was up at midnight. If he won the title, he would be leaving the company and taking it with him. If that happened, John Cena would be fired by Mr. McMahon. High stakes doesn’t do this justice. The stage was set for one of my favourite matches of all time, and I know I’m not alone on that.

The crowd were insane throughout this match. The holds, the moves, the spots were all incredible. The reversals, the near falls, the drama! I cannot sell this match enough. Even watching it for like the tenth time, it still manages to have you on the edge of your seat and give you goosebumps. Similarly to the previous match, you just didn’t think that either guy could actually put the other away, until the finish. A very well done finish indeed.

Vince and Big Johnny came out on the ramp. Cena got Punk in the STF and Vince gestured for Laurinitis to go and get the bell rung, Montreal style. Cena intercepted him with a right hand, knocking the suit out cold. He told Vince that it wasn’t going down like that, and rolled back under the rope only to slide right into Punk’s grasp for the GTS. He pinned him one, two, three and finally, there wasn’t a kick-out this time. It was over. Vince frantically got on King’s headset and demanded that the music be cut and Del Rio be brought out to the ring to cash in his briefcase. However, as the Mexican Aristocrat rolled into the ring, Punk greeted him with a trademark kick to the head, and made his way out of the arena, through his hometown followers, with the WWE Championship in hand. And so it was, one of the most fascinating and memorable shows in wrestling history was over, and you knew that you had to watch Raw the next night. You just had to!

So there you have it. Them’s my opinions on one of the best pay-per-views in recent memory. Incredible action, well executed wrestling, classic ring psychology, excellent storyline development and truly memorable moments. However you like to get your wrestling fix, I suggest you get onto some of this, if you haven’t already.

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