WWE Money In The Bank
Las Vegas, NV – T*Mobile Arena
June 19, 2016

Watch: WWE Network

Meet our review team:

  • Rich Kraetsch (@VoicesWrestling): 1/2 of the Voices of Wrestling flagship podcast and one of the principal owners of this great website.
  • Warren Taylor (@WarrenETaylor): VOW’s EVOLVE/WWNLive expert, current utility player filling in wherever necessary.
  • Garrett Kidney (@GarrettKidney): The internet’s premiere TNA expert, current Impact Wrestling and TNA PPV reviewer. He knows about WWE too, don’t worry.
  • Rob McCarron (@ShakeThemRopes): 1/2 of the Shake Them Ropes podcast and host of VOW Live on YouTube.

Kickoff Show
Golden Truth def. Breezango

Rich Kraetsch: In what is no doubt Vince McMahon’s favorite storyline of the year, the homoerotic duo of Tyler Breeze and Fandango were burnt in tanning beds at the hands of R-Truth and Goldust. In what should be lauded as the pinnacle of in-ring psychology, this match focused entirely on Golden Truth chopping and slapping their opponent’s burnt bodies. The match was silly, but who cares, I’ll take this over another boring, tired pre-show match (see Corbin/Ziggler, which got the upgrade tonight!) *1/2

Warren Taylor: How exactly can a reviewer praise in ring psychology centered around a sunburn without sounding like insincere? The hell if I know, so here goes nothing. If the WWE Universe remembers anything this match (which I’m sure it won’t), it should be that that Breeze and Fandango sold Gold Truth’s slaps like they were having an appendage sawed off—good for them. Other than that there wasn’t much to this, and it felt like an average C-Show opener.*3/4

Garrett Kidney: Haha, very funny… *

Rob McCarron: Sure, you probably thought this was goofy. Success, it was! Soulless, fun-hating cretins you are if you couldn’t let a 7:20 pm Kickoff Show match entertain the few in the arena to payoff a lengthy recurring comedy act on Raw and Smackdown. The story was there, the silliness was there, I couldn’t look away from the red-faced Breezango. It was fun, short, and well natured. Calm down; there’s plenty more “real” wrestling to come. *****

Kickoff Show
Lucha Dragons def. The Dudley Boys

Rich Kraetsch: This match was really entertaining with the Dudleys, namely Bubba, shit talking Sin Cara and Kalisto throughout. The Dragons continued to show off their crisp high flying but it all feels hallow. Kalisto is so great and instead of being in a featured position (see: a Money in the Bank ladder match, where he’d no doubt wow the crowd), he’s in the kickoff show. **

Warren Taylor: The good: the Dudley Boys mocking and bullying of their smaller opponents. The bad: watching the cardio-challenged Dudleys slow down the pace of the match. Some more good: the Lucha Dragons got the win. The dirt worst: Kalisto is stuck on the pre-show, again. **

Garrett Kidney: Considering Kalisto’s singles push was off the back of a standout ladder match performance at TLC back in December, I have no idea whatsoever why he’s not in the the Money in the Bank match. After the US title run, him being in preshow tag team matches just makes it feel like he’s stuck exactly where he was this time last year. That said, this was every 2016 Dudleys match ever with a fun dose of energy from the Lucha Dragons. **1/4

Fatal 4-Way – WWE Tag Team Championship
The New Day (c) def. Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows vs. Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs. The Vaudevillains

Rich Kraetsch: Bodies flew, finishers were hit — this was a clusterfuck in the best way possible. I loved this as a multi-team opener though as always I’d prefer a solid team vs. team tag match where the guys don’t feel they have to get their shit in their allotted time. Regardless, this was a fun opener and just the right type of fast-paced action to officially kick off the show. Even if the legal man didn’t get pinned. Was English the legal man? I don’t even know. FUN ACTION, you guys! ***

Warren Taylor: I can’t quite put my finger on what caused it to happen, a dead crowd or just the workers in the match taking a while to mesh, but the early portion of the match drug on and on. The little chickenhawk that can, Enzo Amore, saved the opener mid-match with a tremendous burst of energy. From the tease alone, it is obvious that the crowd wants to see Enzo and Big Cass take the belts, and hopefully, one day they will. Until then the Era of the New Day continues. **1/2

Garrett Kidney: With so many moving parts, an eight man match needs to be extremely well timed in order for it to work. When it’s done well it looks effortless, when done badly as it was at stages here it borders on unprofessional. A particular lowlight was Gallows simply standing still as Big E had his partner in the Big Ending waiting for Cass to get involved. The New Day are in a weird spot as faces whose schtick frequently borders on obnoxious and whose title reign feels stale. There is more upside to Gallows and Anderson or even Enzo and Cass having the tag titles at this stage but New Day are still there, and still champions. Not to mention the whole act is holding Big E back at the moment. This was fun chaos for what it was but it was overly messy. **1/2

Rob McCarron: We just witnessed the very best of Enzo & Cass, seeing what their potential is and more. However, we also witnessed the worst of Enzo & Cass. The poor timing, the poor handling of chaos, and Enzo’s limited ability to hold his own in a match with a quick pace – We saw it all. The match was fun, but pure bewilderment as to what was happening at the end took this one down a peg on the enjoyment level. **

Baron Corbin def. Dolph Ziggler

Rich Kraetsch: These guys busted their ass to try and have a great match and believe it or not, they did. The problem is the crowd has no emotional investment in either man, this feud (if you can call it that) or the result. Kudos to these guys for trying their darndest but there was no way anyone (even their parents) could care. The match was what you’ve already seen from both literally a million times. Corbin controlled with slow-paced offense and strikes, Ziggler bumped like a a madman and despite “boring” chants, this had a solid pace throughout. Again, in ring it was fine and borderline good but the lack of a crowd reaction and the lack of emotional investment for me knocks it down a few notches. **3/4

Warren Taylor: Maybe if Dolph Ziggler bumped like he used to, or even cared like he used to, then his feud with Baron Corbin would have worked thus far. Heck, maybe if Baron Corbin spent some more time in NXT working on his in ring skills and presence the feud would have worked. That is too many maybes for any feud or contest to overcome. The crowd didn’t care during the match (they busted out the dreaded “boring” chant) and I’m sure the performers didn’t either for most of it.  I will give each man credit, the work rate picked up at the halfway point and made the bout watchable–though it still felt disjointed at times–and the crowd bought a few near falls. That wasn’t enough to save the match from plodsville, though, so let’s hope that Corbin’s clean win is the nail in the coffin for this dreadful feud. **1/4

Garrett Kidney: This match had one major problem: I didn’t care. Ziggler has been in midcard purgatory for what feels like decades and Corbin has a very low ceiling – I just can’t muster the energy to care about them. And that’s a particular problem here because these two had a really good match. Carried by Ziggler’s energy and sense of urgency (Corbin continues to be an emotionless lug) they went out there and delivered an extremely enjoyable midcard match with some convincing nearfalls and fun sequences. But I just didn’t care. ***1/4

Rob McCarron: Easily Baron’s best performance since leaving NXT, the match delivered over the expectations. Now, the issue was the match taking place at all; Baron vs Ziggler has no happened on three straight PPV events without any fanfare or calls to return. We’re finally done with them now. OR ARE WE!? ***1/2

Charlotte & Dana Brooke def. Natalya & Becky Lynch

Rich Kraetsch: A dull, lifeless match that will be memorable only for Natalya’s heel turn and short but impactful beatdown on Becky Lynch. *1/4

Warren Taylor: For what it’s worth this was a decent tag match in the fact that followed the usual divide and conquer strategy quite well. Becky showed up and showed off in this match. She was the only performer to show some fire or elicit a response from the crowd, at least in my opinion.  Her failure to save Nattie at the end despite her best efforts and sell job during the beatdown that occurred after the match prove why she is the best face in the Women’s Division today. **1/4

Garrett Kidney: Thank goodness for Becky Lynch here because were it not for her this would have been a colossal bore. She brought a bit of explosiveness and dynamism to what was otherwise a very bland tag match. The Divas Revolution isn’t dead, something has to actually begin for it to end. This kind of match is what the women’s division has always been and perhaps unfortunately will always be. Hopefully the turn can give Natalya a bit of an edge going forward because she’s been lacking something for a while now. **

Apollo Crews def. Sheamus

Rich Kraetsch: Crews continues to be a rudderless individual with no motivations, no purpose and no real reason for crowds to get behind him. Why is he here? Why does he want to win? What does he want? These questions weren’t answered in NXT and they certainly aren’t on the main roster. Smiling guy who wins via banana peel (or flash roll-up like he did here) are doing him no favors. Altogether though, this match was solid. It started great with both men trying like hell to get after the other. It slowed a bit during the Sheamus control period as he looked to wear Crews out but Apollo busted out some of his beautiful, fluid offense including a gorgeous moonsault to Sheamus on the outside. Nice work by both but Crews is in desperate need of character development before things start turning south. **3/4

Warren Taylor: This was by far the best match of Apollo Crews’ WWE career on the main roster thus far. His moonsault from the ring apron to the floor was gorgeous. If Crews keep working with seasoned hands like Sheamus, he will only continue to improve in the ring. Speaking of Sheamus, his lockdown and club strategy put a novel twist on the dreaded chin lock rest spot of internet outrage. The match was poised to hit a nice closing stretch when Crews kicked out of an Avalanche White Noise…then he rolled Sheamus for the win while the Irishman argued with the official. Meh. ***

Garrett Kidney: This was another match that suffered from there being no real investment in either of the characters. The likes of Sheamus and Dolph Ziggler are in a weird place because they’re relics of an old era – tainted by years of poor booking and inconsistent pushes. We’re in a New Era now (in case you haven’t heard) with new characters that have don’t yet have that same stink (though that just appears to be a matter of time). As a result they sort of stick out like a sore thumb. The likes of Wade Barrett and Cody Rhodes saw that writing on the wall and left to pursue opportunities elsewhere, but Sheamus is still the same old Sheamus with little reason to care about him. They worked hard, but the audience just wasn’t having it. It was good to see Crews win (even if by cheap roll up) but without a plan Crews is doomed to become just like Sheamus over time. **1/2

Rob McCarron: It’s a helpful story, sometimes: The feisty newcomer gets the win in a surprise fashion because the veteran is jaded, unfocused, and a bit too high and mighty. I don’t know if that’s the right way to promote Apollo, but that’s the course chosen. Now… will this program go for two more PPVs ala Corbin-Ziggler? Why not just basically mirror both storylines for the hell of it. (Please don’t.) **1/2

AJ Styles def. John Cena

Rich Kraetsch: I absolutely adored this story and match. We’ll get to the ending in a bit but the story of the match saw Styles being the smarter worker, the cagey veteran who did his homework and have every Cena move scouted. Styles was always ready to counter, reverse or get the advantage back. This played perfectly into the story coming in with Styles claiming that had he been in WWE 15 years prior, Cena would not have built up the accolades he did. Styles was out to prove he deserves his spot and this smarter work style really meshed well. Then the finish, as everyone and their mother knew when the stipulation said “Gallows and Anderson are barred from ringside” that at some point, the remaining Club members were going to find their way down to the ring. Whereas their interference did not have a direct effect on the result of prior matches, they did here placing Styles on Cena’s prone body for the victory. The good news: we get a rematch. The bad news: this match was on it’s way to being special and the finish will cloud that. Regardless, go out of your way to see this match. It’s yet another resume builder for Styles Wrestler of the Year build. ****¼

Warren Taylor: Say what you will about his personal beliefs, but getting to watch AJ Styles shine in a WWE ring this year has put on a constant smile on my face.  Watching him lock up with John Cena in front of a hot crowd was and still is surreal to me, but dammit it was great. The story of this match was simple and solid: two world class wrestlers playing a literal game of human chess with one another. Styles pulled off being one step ahead Cena better than most of Big Match John’s challengers, not that Cena didn’t have a few choice counters of his own because he did. I know a lot of people won’t like the finish, but I think it fits the AJ heel turn perfectly because right now he is portraying a guy who couldn’t get the job done against Reigns and has lost his confidence; so now he cheats with the help of his old buddies from Japan. Good stuff all the way around and I can’t wait to see the second chapter. ****1/4

Garrett Kidney: AJ Styles has always had one major flaw. He’s not a good heel. He has never ever been a good heel. AJ heel control segments have always been unbearably dull. They have never been dynamic. And this match suffered a great deal because of that. That’s not a slight against Styles really. He’s such a good babyface that it doesn’t matter, but I have no idea why companies repeatedly book him as a heel when that doesn’t play to his strengths. TNA is to blame really, they started it. This was a frequently good match, an occasionally great match but the failure of an engaging control segment and an overreliance on the Cena formula down the stretch (the first finisher in all his big matches are now meaningless, he has leaned on that nearfall way too often) weighed this down. I’d have absolutely loved to see this match a month ago instead of bush league heel AJ being unable to hang on Cena’s level. Under different circumstances these two are capable of much better. ***1/2

Money In The Bank Ladder Match
Dean Ambrose def. Kevin Owens, Cesaro, Sami Zayn, Chris Jericho & Alberto Del Rio

Rich Kraetsch: The bright lights of Las Vegas has wrecked havoc on this entire card as everyone has seemed a little off, a few seconds short to their spot or a little more sloppy than usual. The Money in the Bank match was no exception. This was perhaps the tamest Money in the Bank from a “taking a bump through a ladder “ perspective but certainly the most brutal from a “take really bad looking bumps on your hip, knees or neck” perspective. I’m typically a huge fan of Money in the Bank ladder matches and while this one was still very good, it lacked the athleticism and speed that has defined this gimmick. Ambrose winning a great call and I fully expect him to “cash-in” before SummerSlam to give us an all Shield main event. ***3/4

Warren Taylor: For a match that had to compete with Game 7 of an instant classic NBA Finals, this was one about succeeded in stealing my attention. Some things didn’t surprise me: Caesaro’s breathtaking double jump twisting European uppercut from the ladder, Sami Zayn coming so close but ending up so far away due to Kevin Owens or even Dean Ambrose’s eventual victory. Several things did surprise me: the excellent performance by Alberto Del Rio, the fact that everyone was booked to look like they had a chance to win or the crazy ladder bridge sequence.  As cliche as it has become to hate ladder matches in the wrestling review community, this had to be one of the more enjoyable ones in recent memory due to the tremendous performance from all the men involved. ****

Garrett Kidney: The first two thirds of this match was so much fun. Briskly paced, full of fun interesting spots, everybody getting a moment to shine – these six went out there and produced a damn enjoyable match. And then in the final third, after erecting a bizarre ladder structure, the match stumbled to an awkward halt. Everybody fumbled around without much purpose, the pace screeched to a stop and everything became just a little contrived. Not to mention this was the worst ladder match in a while for unrealistic attempts to actually trying to pull down the briefcase – you’d swear people forgot how their hands worked when they got toward the top. Maybe it’s an altitude thing. It’s a shame too because a large portion of this match was extremely fun. ***1/2

WWE United States Championship
Rusev © def. Titus O’Neil

Garrett Kidney: WWE’s approach to Rusev at the moment is akin to my approach when asked to fix a computer – turn it off and turn it back on again. After Rusev had spent much of the last year crashing, WWE rebooted him to his most recent save file – dominant US champion having some hoss fights. Whether that will work remains to be seen but going back to a successful formula isn’t the worst of ideas. Because who cares about basketball I actually watched this – like many matches on the undercard this suffered from a lack of audience investment but the work was solid. Hopefully Rusev can continue to regain steam. **1/2

WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Seth Rollins def. Roman Reigns ©

Rich Kraetsch: Both men gave it their all but this was far too plodding, far too slow paced for this crowd, this event or many of the viewing audience who just witnessed an amazing NBA Finals. The final few minutes saw everyone wake up (including the crowd) as Rollins and Reigns delivered a series of great looking counters to one another’s signature moves and some innovative offense from Roman Reigns. In a shocking move, Rollins won with the Pedigree clean as a sheet. I’d have reactions and hot takes for this match, the title change, Reigns’ …reign but… we got a bonus match tonight. ***1/2

Warren Taylor: The first bit of this match was long and didn’t fit the style of either men. Things got better once Rollins started wrestling like himself, a human pinball, and Reigns went back to being a powerhouse. Put this on Raw in front of a hot crowd and people would have loved it, especially the spear into the Pedigree spot. I’d like to have seen the fallout of Rollins clean win play out over the course of the month but as always the WWE had other plans, more on that later. ***1/4

Garrett Kidney: I dunno if it because it was late and the show was running long and I’m tired but this just didn’t hook me. It lacked some real juice to make it feel like a really big, noteworthy title match. And every time it started to get going and approach the level I was hoping it would it began to trail off and settle back into a groove of good, solid but overly plodding. It didn’t help that both men were miscast. The reversal of the Spear into the Pedigree was a cool spot and should have been the finish but of course Roman had to have one more kick out to look strong in defeat (even after he was already given a visual pin on Rollins). ***1/2

WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Money In The Bank Cash In
Dean Ambrose def. Seth Rollins ©

Rich Kraetsch: In a not-so-shocking move, Dean Ambrose cashed in the Money in the Bank briefcase he won earlier in the night. There’s not much match to breakdown as Ambrose hit Rollins with his briefcase, cashed in, hit the Dirty Deeds and won his first World Title to a massive reaction. Our SummerSlam main event is going to be a three-way match with all former members of The Shield and while I don’t like triple threats, this could be a monumental match for this era. Ambrose definitely deserves this honor as his WWE run has been marred by inconsistent booking, stop-start pushes and senseless character development. Bravo to Ambrose and WWE for this move. Even if it’s only a short-term thing, I’m going to enjoy Ambrose as the champion and can’t wait for the Shield three-way feud. 

Warren Taylor: At the end of the day, forget about the criticism of the Money in the Bank gimmick etc. Dean Ambrose cashing in in on Seth Rollins, a man who betrayed him and screwed him at every turn during their feud, with a cash in was pure poetic justice, and an excellent first bookend to the story that will surely define the WWE’s summer. 

Garrett Kidney: I’m sick of Money in the Bank. It’s a lazy booking crutch that focuses less on what’s best for whoever is cashing in and more on a tired “shock.” Even more so I’m sick of so many first time champions winning the title through Money in the Bank because instead of planning toward their big title win – that one big moment that can’t be undone or redone once you do it – it’s done haphazardly with little thought for how prepared the new champion is. Ambrose wasn’t booked toward this big win. He was booked like a goof and then had the title thrust upon  him long after his popularity has peaked. The cash in makes sense in that this sets the wheels in motion for the expected upcoming Shield three way but Money in the Bank and the lazy booking that comes with it can just go away in my book.