U.S. Airways Arena – Phoenix, Arizona – July 15, 2012
Michael Cole, Jerry “The King” Lawler, and Booker T are on commentary.
MATCH #1: Money in the Bank Ladder Match – Christian vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Damien Sandow vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Santino Marella vs. Sin Cara vs. Tensai vs. Tyson Kidd
This is the fifth time for Christian, third for Rhodes, first for Sandow, third for Ziggler, first for Marella, second for Cara, first for Tensai, and first for Kidd. Ziggler comes out first with Vickie Guerrero, and he defeated Alex Riley to qualify for this match. Marella, the current United States Champion, qualified along with Christian when they beat Cody Rhodes & David Otunga in a tag team match. Rhodes rebounded after that tag team loss to beat Christian in a singles match to qualify. Sandow beat Zack Ryder to earn his spot. Kidd defeated Jack Swagger in what I would call an upset. Cara beat Heath Slater in the last qualifying match. Tensai got by Justin Gabriel. He has Sakamoto in his corner tonight.
It’s a pier-six brawl from the get-go and Tensai uses his power right away to gain the first noticeable advantage. Tag team partner qualifiers Marella and Christian are the first ones to climb a ladder and go for the case. Kidd joins them and Sandow pushes them all over. Sandow tries to climb up and Ziggler dropkicks him down. Ziggler and Rhodes take turns throwing each other into the ladder. Cara comes in and starts flying around. He tries to give the one-man Spanish Fly to Ziggler and he almost kills Ziggler and himself. The action is getting quite fast and hard to follow. Kidd is really showing up Sin Cara but hitting all his high flying moves well, rather than blowing them. Everyone ends up on the floor except Sandow and he tries to climb up but Cara knocks him down. Sandow takes care of Cara and goes up again but this time Christian runs interference and almost grabs the case himself! Christian and Sandow take it to each other and Christian gets he better of it. Ziggler and Rhodes make it back in to stop Christian from getting the case. Now Ziggler and Rhodes race each other to the top of the ladder and Tensai takes them both down. Tensai climbs up and it takes Christian and Marella to take him down. Marella is able to hit Ziggler with the Cobra. He climbs up the ladder but he seems to be afraid of heights. Sandow climbs up but he gets hit with the Cobra on top of the ladder! Rhodes dropkicks Marella off the ladder. He climbs up and Guerrero actually climbs up the other side to distract him, allowing Ziggler to knock him down. Bodies continue to fly all over the place. Christian and Sandow tumble to the floor together. Tensai sets up a ladder between the apron the announce table and hits Cara with a huge powerbomb. He then hurls Ziggler over the announce table! That was a sick bump. Rhodes hits Tensai with two Disaster Kicks to finally subdue him. Back in the ring Rhodes and Kidd climb up and Rhodes drops Kidd all the way down face-first. Christian takes Rhodes down with a Spear! Marella and Christian climb up as Ziggler tries to crawl his way back in. Christian knocks Marella down and almost has the case but Ziggler pulls him down at the last second. Ziggler then grabs the case at 18:28! That started off as a standard multi-man ladder match but they really kicked it up in the home stretch and did some awesome spots. They really used everyone’s strengths effectively, and the match was only hurt by the fact that Ziggler and Christian were the only conceivable winners.
MATCH #2: World Heavyweight Title Match – Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio
Sheamus has been the Champion since 4.1.12, and this is his fifth defense. Del Rio immediately goes after the arm and Sheamus knocks him to the floor. Back in the ring they slug at each other, and that’s a game Sheamus is going to win every time. Sheamus goes up top and hits a battering ram for two. He goes to the apron and Ricardo Rodriguez distracts him, allowing Del Rio to kick him down to the floor. Back in the ring Del Rio goes to work on the arm. Sheamus fights back and hits a swinging neckbreaker. Both men are down. Back on their feet Sheamus starts building momentum but Del Rio cuts him off with a knee to the face and a clothesline for two. Sheamus charges into the corner but Del Rio moves and Sheamus’ shoulder connects with the post. Del Rio viciously attacks the shoulder. Every time Sheamus starts building to a comeback Del Rio cuts him off. Finally Sheamus strings a few strikes together and hits the forearm to the chest series. It costs him though, as Del Rio snaps his arm off the top rope. Del Rio charges but gets caught in the Irish Curse for a two-count. Sheamus goes for the Brogue Kick but misses and gets caught up in the ropes. Del Rio hits a Backstabber for a near-fall. Sheamus avoids an enziguiri and hits White Noise. One Brogue Kick later and Sheamus gets the pin at 14:24. There was nothing technically wrong with that, as Del Rio developed a solid game plan and did everything he could to pull it off. Sheamus was just able to overpower him and get his killer finish for the victory. That being said, it just wasn’t terribly exciting, and when the World Heavyweight Title match is second on the card you know it’s just not that important of a match and it’s hard to get worked up about it.
After the match Rodriguez and Del Rio attack Sheamus and beat him down. Cue the music, as Dolph Ziggler makes his way out to cash in! Before the referee can ring the bell Sheamus hits Ziggler with the Brogue Kick! Since it’s not an official match, Ziggler retains the case.
MATCH #3: Primo & Epico vs. The Prime Time Players
WWE Tag Team Champions Kofi Kingston and R-Truth come out to join the commentary team. Earlier tonight on the pre-show they beat Hunico and Camacho in a non-title match. I’m not sure why that match wasn’t on the pay-per-view and the upcoming one on the Pre-Show, but whatever. The Prime Time Players are introduced by A.W., their manager. Remember him? Primo and Epico have the turbo-hot Rosa Mendes with them. There was actually a bit of a feud here, as A.W. was initially with Primo and Epico, but turned on them in favor of the Prime Time Players, Mr. Fuji style.
O’Neil and Epico start the match. Epico gains the first advantage and Primo tags in. O’Neil forces Primo into the corner and the former Russell Sampson tags in. Primo comes back with a headscissors and they send Young to the floor. He takes Young out with a dive. Epico sends O’Neil to the floor and then takes everyone out with a dive of his own. Back in the ring Epico hits a slingshot senton for one. The PTP come back and go to work on Epico. After several minutes Epico makes a comeback and the lukewarm tag. Primo is a house afire, hitting a springboard Tatanka chop of all things. I don’t care, I love it. Primo continues the assault but can’t put Young away. He tries another springboard move but Young catches him in the gutbuster. Young gets cocky and Primo traps him in a victory roll to get the pin at 7:31! They could have built on this for the tag team division, but as usual they lost interest in Primo and Epico right after this. The match was solid but heatless.
After the match the Prime Time Players get into a verbal confrontation with Kingston and Truth, and Truth throws water on A.W., much to his chagrin.
MATCH #4: No Disqualification Match for the WWE Championship, Special Referee AJ – CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan
Punk has been the Champion since 11.20.11, and this is his fourteenth defense. They start with some chain wrestling and Punk takes first control with some kicks. Punk throws Bryan to the floor and unloads on him. Back in the ring momentum shifts back and forth as both men try to set the pace. Punk sends Bryan to the floor and follows him out with a suicide dive. They fight up the aisle and Punk drops Bryan on the guardrail chest-first. When they try to get back in the ring, AJ gets knocked off the apron when Bryan shoves Punk into her. Punk goes to check on her (why?) and Bryan takes advantage. Bryan throws Punk into the steps and then he checks on AJ, who is then helped to the back and replaced by a new referee. Bryan drills Punk with a flying knee strike off the apron. He drops Punk chest-first on the steel steps and then unleashes kicks. Bryan throws Punk into the barricade and charges, but Punk backdrops him into the timekeeper’s area. Punk drops Bryan on the barricade and takes him down with a springboard clothesline. The crowd chants for tables, which is irritating. Punk finds a table but that gives Bryan the chance to pick him up for a bodyslam right on the floor. Bryan finds a kendo stick and tries to use it but Punk avoids it. Back in the ring Punk tries a springboard but Bryan cracks him with the kendo stick! Bryan unloads on Punk with the stick. He keeps the pressure on and goes up top for the diving headbutt but he misses. Both men get up and trade some strikes. Punk wins that battle and then hits a neckbreaker for two. He hits the running knee in the corner and a snap powerslam for two. Punk signals for Go To Sleep but Bryan counters into a rana for two. Bryan lands a kick to the head and then locks on the surfboard. Punk is able to escape it and grab the kendo stick and he lays into Bryan with it. He goes up top but Bryan joins him and hits a huge superplex. AJ makes her way back out and resumes control of the match.
With both men down she skips around the ring and then brings a chair into the ring, setting it in the center. Both men go for it but Bryan gets control of it and cracks it across Punk’s back repeatedly. Bryan covers but only gets two. He argues with AJ about the count and Punk rolls him up for a near-fall. Bryan unleashes a series of kicks and then goes for an IED but Punk pops out with a clothesline. Punk grabs the chair and wears Bryan out with it. He sets it between the top and middle turnbuckles and goes to whip Bryan into it but AJ stands in his way. That gives Bryan the chance to reclaim control. Bryan tries to grab the stick but AJ steps on it. Um, she weighs 90 pounds just take it. The distraction allows Punk to kick Bryan right in the head. Punk then hits a chair slam and goes up top for Hail to the King but he misses and hits the chair! That’s awesome. Bryan puts on the Yes! Lock with the help of the kendo stick but Punk breaks it and turns it into a catapult. Punk then hits Go To Sleep but he can’t cover right away so Bryan kicks out at two. He goes outside and brings in a table and sets Bryan on top. Punk goes to the top rope and Bryan gets off the table and crotches Punk. Bryan goes for a rana but Punk slides out and shoves Bryan down. Punk hits a belly-to-back superplex through the table to get the win at 27:47! That match rode the dangerous line of having AJ too involved, but they managed to get it pretty right with her and pretty much let Bryan and Punk tear the house down for 25+ minutes. Both guys are known for their technical prowess, so it was a nice change of pace to make it a No-DQ match and they used the weapons expertly. I have a hard time imagining Punk and Bryan getting almost 28 minutes and it not being at least good. This was great.
MATCH #5: Handicap Match – Ryback vs. Curt Hawkins & Tyler Reks
Hawkins starts the match, and just guess how well that goes for him. Ryback dominates so Hawkins tags out. Reks and Hawkins use some double-team moves to take the advantage. They beat Ryback down and tag in and out to keep a fresh man in the ring. After a few minutes Ryback catches Hawkins with a powerslam. Reks gets the tag and Ryback throws him around. Hawkins tries to help out but he gets pitched to the floor. Ryback hits Reks with the Meat Hook and then the Shell Shocked to get the pin at 4:22. That was fine for a squash, and a good choice to go here, as to give the crowd a chance to breathe after Punk/Bryan.
MATCH #6: Layla, Kaitlyn & Tamina Snuka vs. Eve, Beth Phoenix & Natalya
Layla is the current Divas Champion. This is Kaitlyn’s pay-per-view debut. Natalya and Snuka start it off; both are second-generation wrestlers. Snuka dominates and makes the tag. Kaitlyn comes in and hits a backbreaker for two. Phoenix tags in and gets slapped in the face so she tags Eve. Kaitlyn continues slapping everyone and hits a low cross body block on Eve for two. Eve comes back with an enziguiri for a one-count. Phoenix tags in but misses a charge in to the ropes and Kaitlyn makes the tag. Layla is a house afire. Phoenix picks her up in a press slam but Layla slides down into a sunset flip for two. The referee loses control and all six women are in the ring. Snuka drills Phoenix with a nice superkick and Layla follows with a neckbreaker to get the pin at 3:25. That was fine for a piss-break before the main event. I don’t mean it to be insulting, but that’s how WWE treats it.
MATCH #7: Money in the Bank Ladder Match – Big Show vs. Chris Jericho vs. John Cena vs. Kane vs. The Miz
Show is in his second Money in the Bank match, Jericho his fourth, Cena his first, Kane his sixth (the most ever), and Miz his third. Kane and Miz are former winners. The ring clears out to let Show and Cena go at it. Cena clotheslines Show to the floor and everyone is outside. With the other four men distracted with each other, Miz makes the first attempt at grabbing the case but Cena notices and pulls him down. Show uses his size and power to dominate Cena, Miz, and Jericho. Kane gets in the ring and I love that the crowd pops for it. Show continues to dominate everything in his path. Jericho hits him with a Codebreaker and Miz hits a mini-DDT. Kane boots Show to the floor. Cena takes the opportunity to hit the Attitude Adjustment through a table, and then everyone buries Show under a pile of ladders. Jericho takes control of the match but it doesn’t last long. Everyone (except Show) takes turns trying to grab the case but no one is successful. Cena positions Jericho and Miz on top of a ladder and hits a simultaneous Five Knuckle Shuffle. He then hits an Attitude Adjustment on Kane, landing him right on top of the Miz. Jericho survives and goes up for the case but Show finally makes his way back in and destroys the ladder with one hand. Show is dominant again, throwing all his opponents around. He finds a super reinforced ladder and climbs up. Kane tries to stop him but gets knocked down. Ditto for Cena. Jericho has to crack Show with a chair to stop him. Cena and Jericho climb up the super ladder now and Cena tries an Attitude Adjustment. Jericho counters to a Sleeper but Cena rises above the sleep and climbs back up the ladder. Miz joins them but quickly gets knocked down. Jericho is finally able to throw Cena down and he almost gets the case but Miz stops him. Show goes up and takes Jericho down with a K.O. Punch. He gives one to Miz as well. Cena goes up and hits show repeatedly with the case. It seems to come unhooked early and Cena is Mr. Money in the Bank at 20:02. That was far better than I anticipated, as they worked in some great spots with Show and made him look like a killer. Cena rises above again, which is boring, but at least the match was entertaining.