It was just another manic Sunday for WWE, as the fertile seeds were planted for sprouting at Battleground in five weeks, championships changed hands and a late wrestling icon got his multitude of tributes.
But the real headline, as has been the case with every televised show for a month, is this incredible in-ring chemistry between Kevin Owens and John Cena, who've evolved in tandem together to bring the best out of each other. Although we also learned who's next on Bray Wyatt's arbitrary chopping list, witnessed a veteran tag team at least hold the straps and found out which man is in line to join Seth Rollins, Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns and the other big boys at the top of the title-contention heap.
So without further fumbling over my words like it were a telltale hook atop a wobbly ladder, here are the five key things I took away (in addition to the usual accompaniment of Twitter-friendly sidebar fodder) from 2015's edition of Money in the Bank.
5. What's Randy Staring At?
The only thing suspended more precariously during that opening ladder match than its awaiting briefcase was our disbelief. The number of, "Boy, he sure is climbing those rungs deliberately" and, "Man, that thing is pesky to unhook" scenarios far outnumbered the total of decent spots, leading to a ho-hum clash that we can at least assuredly assume didn't put too many guys out of action. But of all the head-scratchers, Randy Orton kneeling beneath the ladder and salivating at his prize rather than bounding for it was most preposterous. What was he waiting for, we wonder? A sign from God? A bit of gastrointestinal discomfort to pass? Or, more likely, Neville to finally get up on the apron and leapfrog over his head and onto the steel contraption like they'd planned. Said bit was emblematic of how the event's titular collision played out as a whole: ornate but a bit discombobulated. And far be it for me to suggest that had anything to do with MITB's abbreviated two-week run-up.
4. Sheamus Seems About Right
Of the seven competitors vying for the aforementioned briefcase and its complementary, guaranteed title shot, Sheamus stood out as the most sensible to stand stall. He returned from injury with the full force of an apparent heel push at his back, but of late had suffered a string of embarrassing losses, most notably to Ryback for the Intercontinental belt at Elimination Chamber. But the Great White isn't the type to simply get buried. Odds were, last night was the time for his true resurrection. Granted, as we've seen with the likes of Damien Sandow, snagging that precious contract doth not pre-determine the desired result, but for Sheamus, it at least assures his rise back to the Heavyweight ranks. Besides, with everyone from Ryback to Neville representing WWE's current middle card, the IC scene seems in perfectly capable hands.
3. The Continuing Reintroduction of Roman Reigns
You really couldn't have responded to the fan backlash against Reigns' ascent any better than WWE has since January's Royal Rumble. Where the Samoan Superman's solo narrative was once about destiny and dominance, he's since been the unduly wronged victim of several saboteurs. The latest to preempt his quest for the World Heavyweight Championship? Bray Wyatt, who's interference was the most believable impediment to Reigns emerging with briefcase in hand. Plus, Wyatt came to party in his finest Mykelti Williamson-in-Justified murder-smock attire, so you know he meant business. We'll find out more about Bray's agenda tonight (my guess: Roman's had everything handed to him but doesn't know what family and sacrifice is really all about, blah blah blah). But the real story here is Reigns' slow and successful reinvention as an underdog.
2. Seth Rollins Hearts Eric Carmen
Forget Justin Bieber. The fans should really start chanting, "Er-Ic Car-Men" when Seth Rollins takes the mic tonight. After defeating Dean Ambrose in another sticky finish and retaining his title, the former Shield architect couldn't stop shouting to the world how he did it, "All by myself!" And was I the only one who subsequently couldn't get former Raspberries frontman (and future "Hungry Eyes" crooner) Carmen's mid-1970s weepie "All By Myself" out of my head? So let's make it happen, folks: For those of you attending Raw in several hours, mock your champion and insinuate his immaturity by channeling one of pop music's most memorable desperate-for-attention slow jams. As for Ambrose, we'll merely spend an eternity pondering just how he overcame that shattered patella, several barricade blows and a symbolic ladders-and-chairs burial to spontaneously recover and very nearly snatch victory from his adversary atop that ladder. Maybe he's a Matthew Wilder fan?
1. Yes Owens Yes!
Man, that would have been a serious bummer had Kevin Owens' accepted John Cena's sportsmanlike handshake and patronizing raising of the arm, as if theirs was a shared victory. KO the monster heel doesn't want no handouts or charity from the champ. In fact, he'd fit right in on Raw's broadcast competitor The Bachelorette, 'cause he didn't come to the WWE's main roster to make friends. Nor does have a political agenda a la Rusev or some kind of sensational gimmick like fellow former NXT champ Neville (sorry, Neville). He's here to talk shit, back it up and finish what he started 15 years ago and gritted out largely on his own ever since. It's simple, it's effective, and it's been incredibly fun to watch. Hopefully, Cena will be sidelined for bit after suffering Owens' sore-loser powerbomb onto the apron, saving their grudge match for SummerSlam and guaranteeing it's the hottest thing on the card. Because if Brock's hopeful return for that important annual event isn't even the reason to subscribe and tune in, WWE's got a hell of an August rush on its hands.
Below the Belt:
- What more can you say, re: Dusty?
- Not sure we needed to hear from the kickoff panel prior to the main event.
- Good for PTP.
- Sometimes, it feels like Michael Cole still thinks they're going to commercial midway through matches.
- Speaking of Cole, kayfabe my man!
- Isn't chanting "NXT" at a WWE event a bit like chanting "AAA" at an MLB game?
- Dusty would have enjoyed that Divas finish.
- And controversy is good for the Divas.
- OK, Miz.
- KO's an underrated seller.
- I can get behind the "altitude era."
- Time to discuss how the Pop-up Powerbomb is a bit too opponent-abetted?
- Might be time to go old school and order the matches by importance.
- Sign of the Night: Busy night on the boards…I hope "Bury Ryder" was ironic. Also, did I read "This Sign Sucks" correctly? And apparently, "Elliott Loves Panties."
- Move of the Night: I'm a sucker for subtle spots, so no disrespect to KO's spinning sit-up powerbomb, but I didn't see that Reigns powerbomb on Kofi into the throngs outside coming.