Reviews

TJR WWE Money in the Bank Match Reviews: 2014 (Rollins), 2015 (Sheamus), 2016 (Ambrose)

The WWE Money in the Bank match countdown continues with the 15th, 16th and 17th Money in the Bank ladder matches. Check out the Money in the Bank archive here.

I am putting these three Money in the Bank matches together because the brand extension was ignored, there was one major WWE Title and I want to finish this series before this year’s Money in the Bank PPV.

I am not including the ladder match for the WWE Championship at the 2014 Money in the Bank PPV. This feature series is about Money in the Bank ladder matches for the contract in the briefcase only.

Money in the Bank 2014

Who: Rob Van Dam, Seth Rollins, Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler, Kofi Kingston and Dean Ambrose

When: June 29, 2014

Where: Money in the Bank 2014 @ TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts

 

Thoughts Before The Match

Seth Rollins turned heel on his Shield “brothers” Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose on the June 2, 2014 edition of Raw. With Rollins and Ambrose in the Money in the Bank ladder match, that made them the two biggest favorites to win.

Let’s go back to my 2014 WWE Money in the Bank preview:

“The story that makes the most sense to me is a win for Dean Ambrose. Remember that it was Seth Rollins who asked Triple H to put him in the match. It’s going to be a decision that will haunt Rollins. Ambrose has something going with his “loose cannon” Brian Pillman like gimmick where he’s become this very unpredictable guy that fans are really starting to get behind. Imagine him with the Money in the Bank briefcase in his possession? It would be awesome to see him carrying it around. A win for Rollins seems too obvious. That’s why Ambrose winning makes more sense. It’s just how WWE likes to book things.

I think outside of Rollins or Ambrose, the only one with a chance is Ziggler. That’s only if WWE starts to believe in him again, which they should. Guys like Kingston, RVD and Swagger have been booked so poorly for months that it is silly that they can win a title match contract like this. Did WWE plan this long term at all? It doesn’t seem like it. If they did, maybe those guys would have actually won matches to warrant a spot here.

Since Rollins, Ziggler and Ambrose are among my current favorites in WWE I expect it to be a really entertaining match. Rollins will probably do something crazy to match Kingston. Ziggler will probably overdo it, but that’s why we respect the guy so much. They’ll get 15-20 minutes and it will be one of the two or three best matches of the night. My pick is Ambrose although it really is a tough one to call.”

I think I was guilty of overthinking here. Seth Rollins had just turned heel earlier in the month and he was the obvious pick, so I should have gone with him.

Wade “Bad News” Barrett was originally in this match as you can see from the banner for the match, but he was unable to compete due to suffering a shoulder injury.

 

Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Rob Van Dam, Seth Rollins, Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler, Kofi Kingston and Dean Ambrose

Here’s the order of entry for the Money in the Bank contract ladder match as the gold briefcase was hanging above the ring: Seth Rollins, Rob Van Dam, Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler, Kofi Kingston and Dean Ambrose. Ziggler got the biggest ovation. Almost no reaction for Kingston. Ambrose got a nice ovation.

Ambrose attacked Rollins at the start of the match. Dean’s wrestling in a tank top and jeans again. Kingston with a dropkick on Swagger followed by boom drop on him as Swagger was laying on top of a ladder. Kingston knocked Swagger out of the ring with a ladder shot. He climbed a ladder, Ambrose shoved it, Kingston landed on the top rope and hit a cross body on others outside the ring. Wow! What a move! Kingston is great at doing those innovative spots. Rollins went after Ambrose while everybody was out of the ring, which led to Ambrose hitting a double underhook suplex that sent Rollins into a ladder. Everybody but Rollins was trying to climb up. Ambrose and Swagger were sent out of the ring. Ziggler climbed up with Kingston. Rollins hit both of them with a ladder, but then RVD hit Rollins with a dropkick. Monkey flip by RVD on Rollins and then a jumping side kick on Rollins against the ladder. RVD hit Rolling Thunder on Rollins while he was laying on top of a ladder. RVD with a jumping side kick to Ambrose, then one for Ziggler and a spin kick too. RVD was on fire. Five Star Frog Splash by RVD to Swagger. So one kick to the gut put him down long enough to hit a finisher? That’s a bit of a stretch. RVD climbed up, but Kingston went after him and Swagger popped right up as the other two threw a ladder into him. Swagger jabbed Kingston in the ribs with a ladder two times. Swagger set up the ladder in the corner of the ring on RVD and wanted a superplex, but RVD fought out. Swagger landed hard. RVD looked like he was going to jump, but Rollins went after RVD.

Swagger was near the top of the ladder and he brought down RVD with a huge powerbomb. Ouch. It was higher than the top rope that’s for sure. Ambrose went after Rollins on the tall ladder out of the corner. Huge superplex by Ambrose on Rollins from the top of a ladder. That’s two huge moves in a row. The crowd appreciated it. Swagger sent Ziggler into a ladder that crashed into Ambrose. Then Swagger slammed a ladder onto Kingston followed by a Swagger Bomb that crushed Kingston. There were more climbing attempts, but Swagger and RVD were sent down. Rollins ended up fighting it out with Ambrose at the top of the ladder. Ambrose knocked Rollins down, but Swagger knocked Ambrose down. Ambrose countered a slam into a DDT. Great move right there. Ambrose was favoring his left shoulder. The trainer went in the ring. Ambrose told him to pop the shoulder back in. Trainers and refs took him away. Rollins climbed up, but RVD cut him off. Kingston set up a ladder bridging from the top rope to the side of the ladder. RVD’s leg was caught in the ladder rungs, so he went down. Kingston gave Rollins a back body drop that sent him crashing into the ladder that was bridged from the ropes. Another awesome move.

Ziggler prevented Kingston from grabbing the briefcase and dropped him a DDT. Ziggler nailed Swagger with a neckbreaker. Crowd was cheering for Ziggler, who hit a Fameasser on RVD. Superkick by Ziggler on Swagger. Ziggler finally made a climb, but Swagger grabbed him by the ankle. Ziggler was able to boot him away as the fans cheered while Ziggler looked up at the briefcase. Rollins nailed Ziggler in the leg with a chair followed by a chair shot to the back. Ambrose ran back into the ring as Rollins was about to win. Ambrose destroyed Rollins with several chair shots to the back. There was a huge ovation for him. Ambrose favored his left arm as he climbed up the ladder. Kane’s music started up, which led to Kane running down to the ring. He brought Ambrose down and nailed him with a Chokeslam. Kane hit a Tombstone on Ambrose. Rollins got back to his feet as Kane held the ladder steady and Rollins climbed up to secure the briefcase at 23:10.

Winner: Seth Rollins

Post match, the announcers argued over what happened as Cole ripped on Rollins win that was set up by the Authority, who sent Kane to the ring or so we are led to believe.

Analysis: ****1/4 That was an excellent ladder match where all six guys put their body on the line. The ending was a bit of a disappointment because I don’t think they needed to make it that cheap, but they furthered the story that he would always have help thanks to his association with Triple H. The memorable spots included Kingston’s springboard plancha, a powerbomb off the ladder by Swagger on RVD, Ambrose hitting Rollins with a superplex and then Rollins going into a ladder that was bridged of the ropes. Kane assisting Rollins made it look really cheap, which got a lot of heat for Rollins. I got that prediction wrong because I went with Ambrose. I have no problem with Rollins winning, though. My feeling was that it was a Rollins win was too obvious. I’m a huge fan of the guy and I’m happy for him. Hopefully it leads to something great for him in the very near future.

Following the victory, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon showed up to applaud Rollins like proud parents. They’re not old enough to be his parents, but you get the idea.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEi0SgzUlFc

(The match was very good and I don’t have much to add to the analysis. It certainly did lead to some great things for Rollins, who had a great 2014 and 2015 before an injury in late 2015. He was my Wrestler of the Year in the Johnny Awards in 2014 and 2015 as well.)

 

The Cash-In Moment

Seth Rollins held the Money in the Bank contract for 273 days, which was the longest ever when he decided to cash it in at WrestleMania 31 in 2015. That number has been passed then. Anyway, I’m sure most of you reading this remember this cash-in very well.

From my WrestleMania 31 review in 2015:

Lesnar took off his gloves and slapped Reigns hard in the face. They replayed the hard slap as Lesnar pounded on him some more. There’s a German Suplex by Lesnar and then another one, which is the 10th Lesnar suplex of the match. Lesnar hit his third F5 and Reigns kicked out again. Reigns shoved Lesnar into the ring post and Lesnar is bleeding. It looks like a legit cut because WWE banned blading years ago. Reigns connected with a Superman Punch. Lesnar didn’t even go down. Lesnar hit another Superman Punch and Lesnar was against the ropes. Lesnar moved out of the way of another punch, but Reigns was able to connect on another attempt. There’s a Spear by Reigns. He went back to the corner. Reigns hit a second Spear. Lesnar kicked out. Reigns went for another Superman Punch. Lesnar caught him. Lesnar hit the F5 on Reigns. Lesnar was too tired to cover. Both guys were out.

Here comes Seth Rollins! Money in the Bank cash-in. It’s officially been cashed-in and it’s now a triple threat match.

Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins

Rollins kicked Reigns out of the ring. Rollins hits the Curb Stomp on Lesnar. With Reigns still outside the ring, Rollins went for another Curb Stomp on Lesnar. Lesnar caught him. Reigns hit a Spear on Lesnar. Rollins hit a Curb Stomp on Reigns and he covered for the one…two…and three! Seth Rollins is the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion! Wow! What a moment!

Winner by pinfall and New World Heavyweight Champion: Seth Rollins

Rollins posed with the WWE Title at the top of the ramp as the fireworks went off. First time a Money in the Bank cash-in in WrestleMania history. Awesome finish. The crowd was cheering for Rollins in part because they like him, but also because they got to witness a huge moment like that. Lesnar and Reigns were shown at ringside in a lot of pain while Rollins celebrated with fireworks going off above him. The show went off the air right at 11pmET.

When Rollins was a guest on the Edge & Christian podcast in February, he talked about how it was his idea to do the cash-in at WrestleMania 31. Thanks to WrestlingInc for the transcript:

“I ended up winning the Money In The Bank in June after the [heel] turn. And then going in to WrestleMania the next year, I had that briefcase and there were no plans for me to use it and, so, I came up with one. That was my idea. I had the idea in my head almost as a, well, I mean, why the hell not? It’s never been done, and strangely, I had a little bit of foresight in the sense that I saw how the momentum with Roman [Reigns] was shifting toward going in to that WrestleMania. It’s four years ago now but I remember going in to that Royal Rumble, the fans were staring to – this was the beginning of the, ‘Ah, we hate Roman,’ thing. And I felt the tide starting to turn, and I remember not politicking, but working my way in to this triple threat match with [Brock] Lesnar and [John] Cena at that Royal Rumble. This was in Philadelphia.”

“I knew we had a decent match, there is a lot of energy in Lesnar matches and, John, obviously as well. So, I just wanted to try to just hang with those guys because I thought it would just be good for me to be in their company. They were on a different echelon at that point, I just want to be in their company. If I can be seen as an equal to those two, if even for one night, that’s gonna push my stock through the roof. So, we went out in the middle of the show and just killed it. The match was way better than I could have even expected. The crowd was on another level, and so, I was very satisfied coming back. And again, that was sort of the time when the crowd was starting to do what they were doing with Roman. And I just felt this thing – this energy. I saw it coming, I knew they were kinda gonna take a dump on [Reigns] when he won the Rumble, and they did. And I remember the next day, again, having the conversation with Hunter. This was for the second time because I had pitched the idea a little bit at the end of the year before, and I just wanted to remind him that I have this idea on the table. I think it’s a pretty good one and even if it’s not the idea, it could easily be a contingency plan if the main event at WrestleMania doesn’t come together the way you see it. Just, keep it in the back of your head, ya know? Yeah, I pitched the idea and I strongly felt like it was a good one. I felt like I was the guy. Again, I went to him and said, ‘I want the ball.'”

In August 2018, Rollins revealed to News.com.au that the decision to have him cash-in at WrestleMania was officially made during WrestleMania 31 itself.

“I didn’t know for sure until the middle of the show (it was happening). I had a match with Randy Orton early in the day and then I was sequestered backstage and informed that would be the plan at the end of the night. It honestly was a very last-minute thing.”

“We were getting close to having to get off the air, so maybe it wouldn’t have happened. I was glad I didn’t tell anyone and have that bad luck or that I had jinxed himself.”

It was brilliant. I think it’s the best Money in the Bank cash-in moment ever because it happened at WrestleMania, it was the main event and the show signed off right after it happened, so it left fans with a sense of excitement just as you would want them to have at the end of WrestleMania. I love watching it again, listening to the crowd and they event though Rollins was a sleazy heel type of character. It just worked well.

It’s not just one of the best Money in the Bank moments, but one of the best WWE moments ever. If they did it at another PPV then that’s fine, but we have also seen that before. When you do it at a WrestleMania, it sets it apart from every other Money in the Bank moment in history. As we near the end of this decade, I’m sure a lot of fans would remember that Rollins cash-in as one of the coolest things that happened this decade.

 

Title Reign Reflections

Rollins had a lengthy WWE Title reign that lasted from WrestleMania 31 for 220 days until November 4 (my birthday) at a live event in Dublin, Ireland. Rollins was doing a sunset flip Powerbomb off the top rope to Kane, his knee buckled and he was diagnosed with a torn ACL. Rollins missed about seven months of action after that.

The title reign for Rollins saw him wrestle former Shield member Dean Ambrose a lot in multiple PPV matches and he had a pretty good rivalry with John Cena as well. It was important for WWE to establish Rollins as a top guy since CM Punk quit the company in early 2014, Daniel Bryan was injured quite a bit after WrestleMania 30 in 2014 and so that opened the door for Rollins, Ambrose and Reigns to get those big pushes to the top of the company.

 

Final Thoughts on This MITB Booking

I think the booking of Rollins as Mr. Money in the Bank, plus the WrestleMania cash-in was among the best ever.

I think it’s probably between him and Edge in 2005 as the first MITB winner, so they were nine years apart. In both cases, it was a heel on the rise that had a lot of potential, then WWE booked them smartly as Money in the Bank winners and they waited for the perfect time to cash in to become the WWE Champion. In both cases, they were also elevated as top guys, which they weren’t before they cashed in those briefcases.

Rollins has been on the main roster for nearly seven years now, he’s one of the best guys in the company in the prime of his career and there’s no way you can tell his story properly without mentioning how much Money in the Bank helped him. Obviously he’s a talented guy, which we have known for over a decade if you followed him before WWE, but everybody needs that boost at some point. For Seth, Money in the Bank provided him that boost.

Rollins was the right choice to win the briefcase, he cashed in at the perfect time and he became a bigger star after he cashed in. That’s exactly how you want Money in the Bank to go. It worked exactly as planned for Seth Freakin’ Rollins.

 

 

Money in the Bank 2015

Who: Dolph Ziggler, Kane, Kofi Kingston, Sheamus, Neville, Randy Orton and Roman Reigns

When: June 14, 2015

Where: Money in the Bank 2015 @ Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio

 

Thoughts Before The Match

Here’s what I wrote in our 2015 Money in the Bank preview:

“The booking of the match is pretty simple. You’ve got the three really athletic guys in Neville, Kingston and Ziggler to do the crazy spots and then the guys in Kane, Sheamus and Orton to work a very safe match. Remember two years ago when Sheamus got injured in the MITB match doing a big bump on his shoulder and missed six months? He’s not going to do that again.

Roman Reigns is the future as well as the heavy favorite in the match. I’d be shocked if he didn’t win. He is WWE’s golden boy and we all know it. They want him to be a top babyface and if you’ve listened to the crowds they don’t boo him too much. He’s pretty likable even when he’s shoved down our throats like two weeks ago when he wrestled three times in one night. I don’t see WWE turning him heel anytime soon either.

Most Money in the Bank matches are very good and this one should be too mainly because of the three high flyers that are in there. In the end, the obvious winner will be holding the coveted briefcase to earn himself another WWE Title shot any time he wants it.”

I guess it wasn’t that simple since I got it wrong! I think most people assumed Reigns was going to win. It just didn’t seem like anybody else really had a good shot, yet that’s what happened. It’s another reminder of how unpredictable Money in the Bank matches can be.

 

Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Dolph Ziggler, Kane, Kofi Kingston, Sheamus Neville, Randy Orton and Roman Reigns

The Money in the Bank contract ladder match is up first. Randy Orton walked out first. The announce team of Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield and Jerry Lawler welcomed us to the show. Neville and Kane were up next while the Spanish announcers were also introduced. Dolph Ziggler had Lana with him for his entrance, but she went to the back as he went to the ring. Kofi Kingston was wearing a tag team title as he entered. Sheamus did his big yell on the way to the ring and then Roman Reigns made his entrance through the crowd as the final man.

Seven men in one match means it’s tough to recap everything, but I’ll try to get all the key parts. Six guys paired off, so Kingston grabbed a ladder and set it up until the others realized what he was doing and stopped him. There were a lot of climbing attempts until Kane and Sheamus tossed everybody outside the ring. Ziggler nailed Kane with a huge DDT, which led to Ziggler attempting to climb, but that didn’t work because Sheamus dropped him with White Noise. Sheamus hit Reigns with a high knee and then used a ladder as a weapon on Kane as well as Orton. With Sheamus attacking guys outside the ring, Kofi did a climb attempt that was unsuccessful. Neville got into the picture with a missile dropkick on Sheamus and then Kingston nailed Sheamus with the Trouble in Paradise kick. Neville got a hard kick on Kingston, then did a slingshot into the ladder and Kingston climbed. Reigns cleaned house on both guys. There was a ladder bridged across the bottom rope, so Reigns gave Kingston a Powerbomb on the ladder. When Neville tried a hurricanrana, Reigns caught him and gave Neville a Powerbomb onto Kingston. Two huge spots for Reigns that drew a big reaction.

Reigns was a few steps up the ladder when Kane dropped him with a Chokeslam. Orton got back into the ring and nailed Kane with a RKO. Orton tried a climb, Kingston tried to stop that and Orton gave him a RKO. Neville did a climb, when he was up about five steps Orton yanked him off and gave him a RKO. Wow! That looked amazing. Not an easy move to do, but Neville makes everything look easy. Sheamus went for a climb, Orton pulled him down and dropped him with a backbreaker. Sheamus got back up while Orton had his hand on the briefcase, then Sheamus tossed Orton into the ladder and hit a Brogue Kick to knock Orton out. Ziggler did a quick ladder climb and nearly won until Sheamus stopped him. Sheamus battled with Ziggler at the top of the ladder with Sheamus teasing White Noise, so Ziggler applied a sleeper and then brought down Sheamus with a modified Zig Zag. Neville nailed Sheamus with a Red Arrow as the crowd chanted “NXT” for it. Ziggler battled with Neville at the top of the ladder. Some of the other guys in this match have been out of the ring for a bit too long it seems. Neville won that battle, but Kane brought Neville down and then Ziggler nailed Kane with a Superkick. Ziggler and Neville wanted to work together against Kane, but Kane kicked the ladder to break it up. Kane kicked the ladder into Ziggler. Reigns popped back up finally to hit a Superman Punch on Kane.

A bunch of guys were outside the ring, so Reigns ran the ropes and then did a dive over the top to take everybody out. The fans were chanting “this is awesome” for it. Kingston’s New Day buddies Big E and Xavier Woods rolled Kingston back in the ring with Kingston climbing a ladder. Fans chanted “New Day sucks” while Reigns hit a dropkick to take out E & Woods, then Reigns brought Kingston down and launched him Powerbomb style over the top rope onto others outside the ring. Orton went after Reigns, but Reigns fought out of the RKO and hit a Spear to take out Orton.

With Reigns climbing up the ladder, the lights went out and the Bray Wyatt graphic appeared. There’s Bray Wyatt in the ring shaking the ladder while Reigns had his hand on the briefcase. The crowd cheered even though Wyatt’s the heel. He brought down Reigns and nailed Sister Abigail to take him out, which led to Reigns rolling out of the ring. The crowd chanted “yes yes yes” for what Wyatt did. Sheamus was the only man to get back to his feet after all that carnage. He climbed to the top of the ladder. Neville tried to stop him, but Sheamus grabbed his hair and tossed him to the mat. Sheamus grabbed the briefcase and he’s the winner of the Money in the Bank contract in the briefcase at 20:50.

Winner: Sheamus

Post match, they replayed some key spots including Wyatt screwing Reigns out of the win and Reigns was frustrated outside the ring. Sheamus was shown holding up the briefcase by the entrance while JBL said that the Celtic Warrior has a championship ahead of him.

Analysis: ***1/2 I didn’t see that coming and I doubt a lot of others did too. I thought it would be Reigns, but I’m cool with it not happening since he’s in the title picture usually anyway. Now that Reigns will be dealing with Bray Wyatt, he’s out of the WWE Title picture, which is perfectly fine with me. It wasn’t a particularly violent ladder match because there weren’t that many crazy bumps, but there were some memorable moments in there. The best spot of the match was Orton’s RKO on Neville. There were some other good ones too, but that was the main one that really stood out. I don’t mind Sheamus winning because I think he’s pretty good and much more enjoyable as a heel. I wish WWE booked him stronger when he came back because then his win in this match would have been more believable. Maybe they’ll realize he needs to be booked like more of a badass now.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJDEosl_A9c

When I look back on it now, I think WWE realized they needed more top heels and by putting Sheamus over in this match, it was their way of trying to re-establish him a top guy like he was in 2009 and for a few years after that. As I said in the analysis at the time, they should have booked him stronger going into Money in the Bank because this win felt pretty random.

 

The Cash-In Moment

Sheamus held the Money in the Bank contract for 161 days, which is just over five months. He waited until the end of Survivor Series 2015. Roman Reigns had just beat Dean Ambrose in the finals of a WWE Championship tournament. Here’s that review.

Reigns celebrated with the WWE Title. Post match, Ambrose touched fists with Reigns to congratulate his friend. There was confetti and pyro for Reigns. Ambrose left through the crowd.

Triple H’s music hit and he walked out to congratulate Reigns. Hunter raised his arm and then wanted a handshake. Reigns didn’t want to do that, so he hit a Spear on Triple H.

When Reigns turned around, Sheamus was there to drop him with a Brogue Kick. He cashed in the Money in the Bank briefcase.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Roman Reigns vs. Sheamus

Sheamus covered Reigns. It only got a two count. They got back to their feet, Reigns charged and Sheamus hit another Brogue Kick. Sheamus covered Reigns for the win after less than one minute.

Winner and New WWE World Heavyweight Champion: Sheamus

Analysis: There’s the cash in. I didn’t predict it only because Sheamus has been booked so poorly for the last few months that I thought it would be stupid to do it now. Why book a guy to lose so many matches such as in the first round of this tournament and also on this show? It is as if WWE thinks that nobody will notice that the guy has lost all of those matches. I know that’s how WWE has typically booked MITB briefcase holders in the past, but that doesn’t make it right or a smart decision. I don’t have a problem with Sheamus at all. I think he’s a good performer when he’s in long matches. My problem is the way he’s presented and that’s as a loser. He should have been booked stronger months ago. Sheamus hasn’t been positioned like a winner for the past five months and WWE will have their work cut out for them to make him a believable champion.

After the win, Triple H hugged Sheamus. Sheamus posed on top of the fallen Reigns in the ring. Sheamus and Hunter left together while Reigns was stunned in the ring.

(It was similar to a lot of cash-ins we had seen in the past. This one reminded me of SummerSlam 2013 when Triple H hit Daniel Bryan with a Pedigree and Orton covered Bryan to win the WWE Title. This time it was also Triple H getting involved, but this was Sheamus capitalizing on the situation and beating Reigns, who was not as popular as Bryan was.)

 

Title Reign Reflections

I don’t remember much about the title reign because it only lasted for 22 days because Reigns beat Sheamus for the WWE Title on the December 14, 2015. What I recall is Vince McMahon got involved because he knew the fans didn’t care about Reigns, so he did everything he could to try to get Reigns over, which meant Vince taking some bumps as well.

Sheamus was just the WWE Champion to get some sympathy for Reigns, who got the title back from him in three weeks. A month after Reigns won it back, he lost it to Triple H in the Royal Rumble and of course, Reigns got it back from Hunter at WrestleMania 32, which was a boring match that I saw live.

This title reign for Sheamus was forgettable.

 

Final Thoughts on This MITB Booking

It was okay, but I think the whole thing was planned poorly. As I wrote back in 2015, Sheamus wasn’t booked that strongly leading into this and I thought that was poor booking from WWE. If WWE wanted to re-establish Sheamus as a top guy, then he should have won 90% of his matches after winning Money in the Bank. Instead, he didn’t do anything meaningful and was putting other people over all the time.

 

 

Money in the Bank 2016

Who: Alberto Del Rio, Dean Ambrose, Cesaro, Chris Jericho, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn

When: June 19, 2016

Where: Money in the Bank 2016 @ T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada

 

Thoughts Before The Match

Here are some of my thoughts from our 2016 WWE Money in the Bank preview:

“I think Owens and Ambrose are the clear favorites. Jericho and Del Rio are just there to add a veteran presence as guys that have been World Champion before. While Jericho’s story about creating Money in the Bank yet he’s never been able to win it is compelling in a way, he’s really just the veteran guy that’s going to put over the younger wrestlers. Del Rio is barely relevant at this point and I would assume they have learned from their Sheamus mistake.

Owens makes the most sense to me because they really need top heels. He’s a guy that may have had to prove himself a lot to Vince McMahon because of his body type, but if you can get past that you can see he’s a tremendous all-around performer. Owens is arguably the best talker among wrestlers in WWE (Paul Heyman is best overall), so if he had the briefcase in his position he would rub it in all the time while threatening to cash it at any moment. I also hope it leads to him winning the WWE Title fairly soon after because he deserves it. I’d be genuinely happy for the guy.

Ambrose would be a great choice as the winner because he’s such a talented performer that could really benefit from holding the briefcase. His character as a “lunatic” would present scenarios of unpredictability leading to a possible cash in attempt. It would be even better if he turned heel while holding the briefcase, but I doubt they are going to do that. I just think it would be really cool to see him cash in to win the title that his other Shield “brothers” have already win. It would fit his persona really well.

I’m going with Owens. As a bearded, large Canadian myself, I’m all aboard the KO train. Full steam ahead.”

I was on the right path thinking it was Owens or Ambrose, but I ended up picking the wrong guy. Things ended up being okay for Owens anyway since he won the Universal Championship about two months after this.

 

Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Alberto Del Rio, Dean Ambrose, Cesaro, Chris Jericho, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn

The order of entry for the Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Chris Jericho, Cesaro, Sami Zayn, Alberto Del Rio, Kevin Owens and Dean Ambrose.

Ambrose took out Owens with a suicide dive on the floor. Cesaro with two backbreakers to Del Rio. Cesaro with a running attack on Jericho on a ladder on the floor. Four guys brawled on the floor, so Zayn hit a somersault dive over the top to take them out. Owens nailed Zayn with a superkick on the floor. Jericho attacked Cesaro in the ring with a ladder. Ambrose slammed Jericho on a ladder that was in the ring and then Jericho suplexed Ambrose’s legs into the ladder. Jericho repeatedly slammed a side of the ladder onto Ambrose’s head. Cesaro with the uppercut train on Del Rio, Jericho and Ambrose. Then Owens nailed a superkick on him and tossed him into a ladder that was on the top rope. Owens with cannonball splashes on Jericho, Ambrose and Del Rio. Zayn with an overhead suplex on Owens onto Jericho. Zayn with a Helluva Kick on Ambrose and then a Helluva Kick to both Owens and Jericho. Zayn set up a ladder in the ring. Del Rio pulled him off the ladder and nailed a kick. Del Rio hit Ambrose with a ladder on the floor. Del Rio trapped Zayn upside down against the ladder as Del Rio dropkicked the ladder into Zayn. Del Rio hit his double foot stomp on Cesaro against the ladder. Del Rio did the slow climb, Jericho stopped him and Del Rio did a double foot stomp to his back. Cesaro went up the ladder with Del Rio, so Del Rio put the Cross Armbreaker on Cesaro on the ladder. Owens kicked Del Rio in the face. Cesaro came back with a springboard uppercut to knock Owens down. Cesaro up, but Ambrose gave him Dirty Deeds. Jericho sent Ambrose out of the ring, he climbed up and Ambrose climbed up. Jericho with a Codebreaker on Ambrose.

Jericho climbed the ladder. He got his hands on it, but Zayn stopped him. They were both on the ladder, so Owens shoved the ladder and they went crashing into the top rope. Del Rio with a Backstabber on Owens. Cesaro uppercut to the back sent Del Rio into the ladder. Cesaro Swing time on Del Rio. Cesaro did the Swing to Jericho and tossed him head first into a ladder. Ouch. A ladder was set up by the turnbuckle, so Ambrose jumped off with a flying elbow smash on Cesaro. Owens tossed a ladder into the back of Ambrose. Owens with a Six Star Frog Splash (his name for it) onto Ambrose on a ladder. Owens and Zayn battled in the ring. Zayn nailed Owens with a Michinoku Driver into the side of a ladder. Ouch! That one looked brutal. The crowd chanted “Holy Shit” for that. I agree with that sentiment. Zayn climbed up and got his hand on the bottom of the briefcase. Del Rio attacked him with a ladder to knock him down and then hit a DDT. Del Rio set up a ladder bridge from the turnbuckle to the ladder in the ring. Cesaro did it on the other side of the ladder. All six guys were on ladders throwing punches. Cesaro and Del Rio were knocked off. Cesaro set up another ladder beside them. All six men were reaching for the briefcase. Cesaro got knocked down and crotched on the top rope. Del Rio landed with his feet on the top rope and then he crashed on the mat. That looked bad. Zayn and Owens were left to fight on the ladder. Zayn climbed up and got his hand on the briefcase. Jericho knocked him down. Ambrose nailed Jericho with Dirty Deeds.

Zayn climbed the ladder. He was close again. Owens pulled him down and Owens nailed a Powerbomb on a ladder that was bridged from the turnbuckle to a vertical ladder. That was rough. Ambrose climbed up and slammed Owens face first into the ladder. Ambrose was all alone at the top of the ladder. He reached up, unclipped the briefcase and he grabbed it to win at 21:38.

Winner: Dean Ambrose

Post match, Ambrose held up the briefcase. JBL was ranting on about how if you put Ambrose’s face on a billboard, children would cry. JBL said this is bad because the idea is Ambrose is crazy.

Analysis: ****1/2 Wow that was awesome. I loved that match. I don’t remember my ratings for every MITB match, but that was definitely on the high end of MITB matches. It’s one of the better ones for sure. They built it up really well with all six guys looking like they had a legit shot to win. I thought one of the better false finishes was Zayn’s climb when he had his hand on the briefcase, which led to others getting involved. He came so close a few times. Others did as well. I think Ambrose, Owens and Zayn were the focus of the match while the others all got their moments to shine too. As for the result, I have no problem with Ambrose winning. For weeks I said it was probably going to be Owens or Ambrose. Great match. Awesome job by all six men.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywl9mSvkB9s

(That rating means that it is tied with the first Money in the Bank match from 2005 as the highest rated MITB match ever. I thought they booked this in such a way where it looked like multiple had a shot to win and that’s when Money in the Bank is at its best. If it is obvious that somebody is going to win then it might get boring. I don’t think this was boring at all because of how competitive it was.)

 

The Cash-In Moment

Dean Ambrose only held the Money in the Bank contract for 57 minutes when he decided to cash in. The record for the shortest cash-in remains 49 minutes for Kane in 2010.

Seth Rollins defeated Roman Reigns to become the new WWE Champion at Money in the Bank 2016, so that meant that two former Shield members were the WWE Champion in the same night. Would it be three? Let’s go back to my Money in the Bank 2016 review.

Rollins celebrated with the WWE Title. Before he could really celebrate a lot, Dean Ambrose’s music and entrance video played.

Rollins looked at the entrance waiting for Ambrose. Instead, Ambrose showed up with the briefcase in his hands. The crowd was going crazy as Ambrose nailed Rollins in the head with the briefcase. Ambrose gave the briefcase to ref Mike Chioda for the cash-in attempt.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins

Rollins was groggy with a shocked look on his face. Chioda called for the bell to be rung. Ambrose hooked Rollins in his arms and Ambrose hit Dirty Deeds. One…two…three! Ambrose wins the WWE Title! It went 9 seconds.

Winner by pinfall and New WWE World Heavyweight Champion: Dean Ambrose

Ambrose celebrated with the title. Ambrose was on his knees in the ring with the WWE Title by his side. JBL was doing over the top commentary about how this is the “darkest day in WWE history.”

Ambrose celebrated with the WWE Title by walking across the announce table and holding it up in the air for the crowd to see. Rollins was furious in the ring. Ambrose held up the WWE Title again. The show went off the air at the 3 hour 23 minute mark with Ambrose holding the WWE Title in his hands.

Analysis: Wow that was awesome. No rating for the match since it was so short and simple. What a moment for Ambrose. I didn’t see it coming, but I’m glad they did it. The crowd went wild for it while I’m sitting here smiling because it was the right time for a change. While I’m not a Reigns hater like some people are, it was pretty obvious that he wasn’t connecting that well as champion. Ratings are down, attendance numbers aren’t great and crowd reactions also show that people are tired of Reigns in this role. Moving the title onto Ambrose is the right move for right now.

As for the future, it’s likely going to lead to the Shield triple threat match for the first time. Former champions usually get rematches, so they can easily set up a triple threat for both guys getting rematches. I just think it would be better to do that at SummerSlam rather than Battleground, but I’m not sure what they might do at Battleground.

(They ended up doing the first ever Shield triple threat at Battleground. That’s also around the time when the brand split happened, and Ambrose was the WWE Champion that was selected by Smackdown while Rollins went to Raw. Roman Reigns was suspended for 30 days for violating the Wellness Policy and he was drafted by Raw too.

This was a cool moment because of the story of Reigns, Rollins and Ambrose holding the WWE Title in the same night. I don’t think WWE did a good enough job of putting that over as a big deal because they should have mentioned it more than they did.)

 

Title Reign Reflections

I think this WWE Title win really helped legitimize Ambrose in the eyes of the fans because Rollins and Reigns had already been WWE Champion before, so it showed that Dean was on the same level as them. When Dean won the Shield triple threat at Battleground, that also helped Dean a lot.

Ambrose was the top face on Smackdown when they did the brand split in July 2016 and he had a pretty good feud with AJ Styles that led to multiple WWE Title matches between them. Ambrose put over Styles for AJ’s first WWE Title win. I thought it was one of the best rivalries in WWE in 2016.

It remains the only WWE Title win in Ambrose’s WWE career. I think 2016 was his best year in WWE too. Since he left the company last month, we don’t know if he’ll ever come back to get another WWE Title run.

 

Final Thoughts on This MITB Booking

It was pretty good all around. The Money in the Bank match was outstanding and it was a big deal for Ambrose to win because he had been a main eventer for two years, yet he was unable to win the big one. Winning Money in the Bank helped him a lot.

This was Ambrose’s first WWE Title win. The fans loved him after he spent two years trying to get the title from Rollins, Reigns and others, so it was a big deal to see him win gold for the first time. I think this was the peak of his popularity.

 

Money in the Bank Ladder Match Rankings so far

The best rating a match can get is five stars out of five. Every Money in the Bank ladder match is over three stars, which means very good. What’s the best? Here are my rankings.

  1. WrestleMania 21 (2005) won by Edge – ****1/2
  2. Money in the Bank 2016 won by Dean Ambrose – ****1/2
  3. Money in the Bank 2013 (WWE Title) won by Randy Orton – ****1/4
  4. Money in the Bank 2010 (Smackdown) won by Kane – ****1/4
  5. Money in the Bank 2014 won by Seth Rollins – ****1/4
  6. Money in the Bank 2011 (Smackdown) won by Daniel Bryan – ****
  7. WrestleMania 23 (2007) won Mr. (Ken) Kennedy – ****
  8. Money in the Bank 2012 (World Title) won by Dolph Ziggler – ****
  9. Money in the Bank 2010 (Raw) won by The Miz – ****
  10. Money in the Bank 2013 (World Title) won by Damien Sandow – ****
  11. WrestleMania 24 (2008) won by CM Punk – ***3/4
  12. WrestleMania 22 (2006) won by Rob Van Dam – ***3/4
  13. WrestleMania 26 (2010) won by Jack Swagger – ***1/2
  14. WrestleMania 25 (2009) won by CM Punk – ***1/2
  15. Money in the Bank 2011 (Raw) won by Alberto Del Rio – ***1/2
  16. Money in the Bank 2015 won by Sheamus – ***1/2
  17. Money in the Bank 2012 (WWE Title) won by John Cena – ***1/4

 

In addition to that, I wrote a ranking of the Money in the Bank cash-in moments over at The Comeback in 2016. I don’t write there anymore. It doesn’t include the last two years, but it’s comprehensive.

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Thanks for reading. My contact info is below.

John Canton

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