July 18, 2010

Now *this* is the sort of match that’s worthy of getting it’s own PPV! Two ladder matches on one show! Two World Title matches! Cena and Sheamus in a cage! Diva matches not being wastes of time!

Alicia Fox . . . shows some real potential to be the next major heel in the Diva’s division.

Kane . . . shatters the record for the shortest amount of time that someone has waited to cash in their money in the bank contract.

Sheamus . . . is the anti Daniel Bryan, just as pale and nowhere near as interesting a worker.


If one enjoyed the previous incarnations of this match, then this won’t be any exception. It’s got its fair share of excitement with the ladder-assisted spots, big falls, and the usual stuff that one finds in these matches. Kofi putting McIntyre through the announce table is practically mandatory, although Drew selling it for nearly the whole match is a bonus.

Being a typical MITB match would be enough to make this a good one. But this is more than just good, thanks to some good storytelling being involved. Show and Kane are the two biggest threats in the match, which cause the other six to have to put their main goal aside and work together to take them out. When Kane and Show get a chance to dominate, they show exactly why they’re considered the biggest threats in the match. Ziggler seems to be a hair away from winning, but Show casually shoves the ladder out from under him and then catches Dolph on his way down and does the chokeslam. Rhode changes things up by going after Show’s bad leg (injured by a Jack Swagger ankle lock), and is much more successful taking Show out, and then everyone buries him with ladders to make sure he stays down.

Aside from the story of Big Show’s dominance and subsequent elimination, there’s other smart work to be found as well, particularly involving Kane. Probably the smartest moment of the whole match was Dolph trying to take out Kane with the sleeper while he’s on the ladder. Kane escapes by ramming Dolph’s head into the ladder and then chokeslamming him onto the pile of ladders underneath Show. Kane takes out Kofi the same way, he lawn darts Rhodes into the armored truck that’s part of the set, Kane lets Matt and Christian take out each other, and with McIntyre still reeling from the table spot, he’s easy prey for a chokeslam. That leaves nobody to stop Kane from getting the briefcase. While there was plenty of excitement to be found, it’s lacking the crazy spots seen in some of the previous matches, but I’m fine with spots being sacrificed for story. ***1/2

ALICIA FOX © vs. EVE TORRES (WWE Diva’s Title)

Comparing this to the Diva’s Title match from the previous month shows exactly why all the talk of the excitement of four-way matches is bullshit. Both matches get the same amount of time, but, while the four-way match was a complete mess, this is really watchable. Eve gets a chance to show off what she can do, by working in several good spots. Then, Alicia starts working over Eve’s back and it never leaves focus. Eve’s selling is appropriate and Fox has a nice little mean streak coupled with smart spots like the tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Eve’s inability to get up Fox for the vertical suplex was one of their smartest moments, and Fox getting up her knees to block the senton was the perfect way to set up the Axe kick that finishes off Eve for good. I’m not thrilled with them only getting six minutes on PPV, but it was great to see the time used wisely. ***


I’m not sure what’s more sad, that this got less time than the Diva’s Title match, or that it gets smoked by the Diva’s Title match. It doesn’t help that the Usos are dull as dishwater. The only nice things from them were the avalanche in the corner to Smith and the tandem Samoan Drop to Kidd. The rest was just typical brawling and headbutting. Despite attempts by the announcers to put over their mean streak, they don’t show a tenth of the intensity of Alicia Fox. It also doesn’t help that they try to cram the full formula tag match into less than six minutes, which means that none of the work done really means anything. Even Tamina’s distraction is a wasted effort. It doesn’t result in the Usos stealing the win or trying to make a comeback. It basically just adds twenty seconds to the match time with Smith not putting on the Sharpshooter right away because he was staring at her.

REY MYSTERIO © vs. JACK SWAGGER (World Heavyweight Title)

There’s no reason that this shouldn’t have been at least good. They’ve got the groundwork for a good story with Rey having a bad wheel going into the match, and Rey has more experience than most when it comes to great matches. But, this isn’t very good at all. Rey’s selling was all over the place, despite Striker (obviously not an English teacher) trying to put over his bad wheel with great phrases like “times it by one hundred.” Rey is his usual self, taking to the air at a moments notice. Swagger isn’t any more consistent, he starts off looking like he wants to tear Rey limb from limb, but the attitude fades and it becomes just another match. They’ve got good ideas, such as Swagger blocking the rana and segueing into the ankle lock. They’re just as often doing silly spots like Swagger’s overly long bodyslam from the top which shockingly (or not at all) gets countered by Rey into a super DDT. The finish with Rey’s boot coming up and him catching Swagger with the rana for the pin is a nice ode to Eddie/Angle from WrestleMania XX, but this work here is miles away from that, and it really shouldn’t be.

REY MYSTERIO © vs. KANE (World Heavyweight Title)

I guess patience isn’t one of Kane’s virtues. Chokeslam. Tombstone. New champ!

LAYLA © vs. KELLY KELLY (WWE Women’s Title)

It’s not as good as the other Diva match, but this is still pretty watchable. Kelly isn’t much of a worker, her only real wrestling spot of the whole match is her victory roll (unless you count her sloppy rocker dropper), but her intensity is commendable, you really believe that she wants to rip Layla apart. Layla has her own nice moment when he trips Kelly on the apron and starts working her knee over, but rather than stay on it the way Alicia Fox did, she just sends Kelly to the floor so McCool can get some heat. Their sloppy finish doesn’t help, with Layla’s sunset flip cutback coming too late into the move to really look credible. It’s nowhere near as good as Fox/Torres, but it’s not a complete waste either.


This is more akin to a typical MITB match, it’s got enough excitement and crazy ladder spots to be considered good, but that’s about all it offers at the core. As far as structure goes, this may as well be a three-way match. Two of the wrestlers will work a segment involving the ladder and when one of them is taken out, another will enter and take out the winner of the last exchange, and then another after that, and another after that, etc. This best parts of this are more amusing than they are good, such as Edge and Miz working together to take out Morrison only for Edge to quickly level Miz with the ladder as soon as Morrison is out of the picture. Edge gets the favor returned later when he and Orton take out DiBiase and Orton hits an RKO on him.

The smartest thing to the match is the barrage of finishers that eliminate Mark Henry, and even with that, this is still miles behind the smartness of the opener. It’s obvious when the match is winding down because the wrestlers start dropping like flies in short order. The crowd is at its loudest when Orton seems to have it won, and they stay just as loud, but the cheers turn to boos, when Miz steals the win from him. Most people don’t expect much more than crazy ladder spots and big falls from these matches, so it’s hard to fault the match too much for only meeting expectations, but it’s too bad that the workers didn’t take a few cues from their Smackdown counterparts.

SHEAMUS © vs. JOHN CENA (WWE Heavyweight Title - Steel Cage Match)

There was really no reason for this to be a cage match at all. The cage itself only gets used for three or four spots. The whole purpose of making this a cage match was to keep Nexus from interfering the way they did the month before, but they do anyway, and the result is the same as the month before with Sheamus taking the cheap win. The match itself isn’t anything special. Sheamus has some decent strikes, the Brogue kick and Celtic hammer both come to mind, but as far as pacing and structure goes, he needs a lot of work. The best stuff from Sheamus was the sleeper spot, with Cena trying to climb the cage with Sheamus on his back, and Sheamus tying up Cena in the ropes and trying to climb out. Cena is better, but his work isn’t anything that hasn’t been seen before. Cena blocking the High Cross and doing the AA was the only really unique spot of the whole match.

The booking does anything but help matters. It lends itself better to an episode of RAW rather than a PPV main event. The ref goes down and Sheamus cleanly taps out to the STF. Cue the Nexus interference and the officials standing up to them and refusing to let them in the ring. They decide to climb in and while Cena fights off three of them, Sheamus climbs out and kicks away Heath Slater to keep the title. Cena destroys Tarver and Young afterwards to remind everyone that the real issue is Cena vs. Nexus. Dull work, no blood, bad booking, and the WWE Champion being an afterthought, what a great main event.

Conclusion: As a whole this is a little better than Fatal 4-Way, but not by much. It’s another case of there being a few good matches, but the bad matches canceling them out. When Alicia Fox is outworking the WWE Champion something isn’t right.