Though it would seem like opportune timing with Money in the Bank ’14 right around the corner, I actually selected MITB ’11 at the time of Punk’s exit from WWE. Having said that, the following review now appears deviously planned as opposed to halted by the NBA playoffs.
I should also note that all wrestling content at The Unbiased Fan would cease to exist if it weren’t for Punk, Chicago, and MITB ’11. I’ve previously discussed my “dark period”, which stretched from the Invasion era to 2011, in length. What you haven’t heard, however, is why I fortuitously came back in 2011.
In fact, let’s start there.
I watch this promo every now and then because of how fantastic it is. I’m very Punk biased, but this is probably my favorite promo ever.
I would pay money to see a video of Vince’s reaction during the “pipe-bomb”. I know he gave him permission to speak his mind, but I don’t know how much he knew he was going to say.
Do I have everybody’s attention now?
MITB ’11 began ferociously, pitting some of the better wrestlers at the time (Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes, Heath Slater, Sin Cara, just to name a few) against one another in the first ladder match of the evening. Looking back now, there might not have been a single dull moment during that particular bout. Several spots were nailed perfectly and the whole match intertwined beautifully. Not only that, but if you’re one for predictions, the eventual winner, Daniel Bryan, really came out of nowhere and was SO CLEARLY OVER, even in 2011. It was Wade Barrett’s to lose until it wasn’t, which then led to a sincere heart-wrenching celebration from Bryan (about a briefcase, mind you). Oh, DB. If only you knew…
As a lot of past Money in the Bank matches did, this one focused on a number of young talent really getting a chance to shine. Everyone in this match had at least one moment. This was also surprisingly mild in terms of heel Michael Cole, really focusing all his bitching towards Daniel Bryan. Things can change quite a bit in a couple years.
Daniel Bryan is the one constant of the WWE. Always…The Best in the World…
Kelly Kelly defeated Brie Bella to retain the Women’s (Divas?) Championship and /dead.
Yep… (sips beer)
Next, Mark Henry fought Big Show in a match that exceeded my expectations if only because my expectations lied somewhere between napping and not giving a shit. They did put on a solid bout for two lugs, however. Big Show won and immediately proceeded to have his ACL snapped off by a furious Mark Henry.
You have to wonder what Mark Henry’s career would be had he always just been this monster. To think that part of his wrestling life was only about five years old at this point…
You’re right though, for two big men they did manage to have a decent match. Both Henry and Show are decent at telling a story. Based on prior decisions by Vince, I’m shocked this wasn’t a storyline for a bigger PPV.
Honestly, I can’t even call this match decent. It was like watching two semi-trucks slowly bump into each other.
Though highly entertaining, the second ladder match of the evening didn’t live up to the first. Blame the bar originally set. Also, the Miz was apparently a big deal, and his Willis Reed-like return (quite possibly a meaningless reference to this demographic) forced the crowd to pop late into the night. If anything, Alberto Del Rio not only performing above-average, but also escaping victorious gave me a glimpse of hope for his entry into MITB ’14. If he displays even half the athleticism that he did in 2011, we’re in a good place. You know, except for that whole no-contract thing.
Yes, The Miz was a big deal. Again, things change quickly.
The Miz was supposed to be the “guy”. Sheamus was supposed to be the “guy”. Daniel Bryan is hopefully here to stay as the next “guy”. Also, The Miz looked weak as hell in this match. I actually liked this ladder match better. Maybe it was Evan Bourne doing a SHOOTING STAR PRESS OFF A FREAKING LADDER…
Christian and Randy Orton had the responsibility of foreshadowing the true main event, and though I had no idea about the origins of their confrontation, the crowd was really into it. The aura surrounding the All-State arena honestly felt like a Mayweather fight prior to the first bell. The match, however…eh. Christian defeated Orton via disqualification, which, in this case, handed him the title as well.
Despite this, somehow Christian still wants just one…more…match. I love Christian, and while I’m not the president of the Randy Orton fan club, he can put on some really great matches when paired up with the right person. This was the right person in terms of skill and story.
Orton looked kinda dumb when he was becoming “angry Orton” from Christian’s shenanigans. Good match though.
Do I have everybody’s attention now?
Remember when I said I returned in 2011? Well, it was because of Punk-Cena, emphasis on the former. And while we’re at it, emphasis on the following.
Punk’s off-script promo (that was eventually legitimately silenced) clashed the cartoon-like image of wrestling with the backstage reality of it. The two went hand- in-hand alongside the not-so-fake plot of Punk leaving WWE after his contract had ended. Sprinkle in the factor of MITB ’11 taking place in his hometown of Chicago and it was really one of the better and true to life plots, well, ever.
Footnote: During the above promo, Punk was cutoff prior to stating, “Let me tell you a little story about Vince McMahon.” A few months ago, Punk appeared on WTF with Marc Maron and actually told the story that was silenced. During an anti-bullying commercial shoot, Punk was asked to express his concerns with bullying, being, at one point in time, a bullied-child himself. Punk appeared and immediately used the term “f****t”, which is what he was typically called in school. Vince seemingly wanted no part of it, instead requesting Punk to use the term “gay”. Punk, being Punk, refused to reference the ultimatum, then being asked to either use the suggested term or get out. Needless to say, you have a better chance of finding Waldo in that commercial than Punk.
Meanwhile, I’ve read in a Punk interview that when he started to tell that story, that final line was actually his cue to the producers to cut his mic. So I guess choose your level of kayfabe to your liking?
Wait…wrestling is fake?
The match in itself was terrific. Punk walking out to a crowd of minions wiling to eat from the palms of his hands…Cena leaving his antics behind in order to safely approach the hostile environment…false-finish after false-finish after false-finish…the beckoning that if Punk were to lose, an actual riot might occur…that one guy in the white sports jacket that always cheers for Cena…the timid appearance of both Vince McMahon and John Laurinaitis…Cena not losing clean because YEAH RIGHT…and of course, the roar of 35,000 once Punk raised the title.
There is a reason that this match was rated five stars from Meltzer. In fact, it’s only one of five matches in the WWE that have been rated as such, and the only match this century rated as such. It’s great as a wrestling match, and it excels on a storytelling level.
This is truly one of the most important matches in WWE history and, in a way, set up the reality era. Also, it just so happens to be an amazing match as well.
As Punk grabbed the belt and rushed into the seats of Chicago, holding the gold above his head for the world to see, it was clear why I had tuned in after a several-year hiatus.
The biggest bummer is that they were too afraid to continue playing out this story further. Despite Punk saying he was leaving with the belt and going to defend it around the world, he was back in no time. In a rare instance where TNA did something better, they actually played out this story last year with AJ Styles, having him defend the title in Japan, Mexico, etc. Also, the Cena getting fired storyline didn’t go anywhere, either. Executing on both of these storylines, which, granted, would not have been permanent, would still have brought an interesting dynamic to the WWE for a month or so.
I don’t know if WWE is willing to promote other promotions as much as TNA can. Still great storyline. Awesome PPV.
Overall though, we saw the Money in the Bank ladder match, Christian go over Orton for a belt, and Punk beat Cena for the title in the conclusion of one of WWE’s best storylines. A solid PPV.
WWE had my attention now.
John Daigle’s Grade: A
Michael Edwards’ Grade: A
Kevin Bowden’s Grade: A
Average Grade: A
Next Time: New Year’s Revolution 2006