At the 2011 Money In The Bank pay per view fans, the narrative that the show focussed on was CM Punk leaving after his contract expires at midnight with the WWE title. The show took place at the Allstate Arena in Rosemount, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago and the broadcast team consisted of Booker T, Michael Cole and Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler. On tap were two Money in the Bank ladder matches. The first one was for the Smackdown Money In the Bank contract in this week’s edition of the WWE Sunday Night Pay Per RetroView.
Smackdown Money In the Bank Ladder Matches
Wade Barrett vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Heath Slater vs. Sin Cara vs. Sheamus vs. Kane vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Justin Gabriel
As each of the competitors come out it is interesting to see that the match includes 3 former Nexus stablemates in Gabriel, Slater, and Barrett for the first match of Money In The Bank. Also, of note, there are a number of solid workers that are likely to take several bumps in this matchup. On the other hand, fans are less likely to anticipate those types of risks by larger athletes like Kane, Barrett, and Sheamus. It seems like such a distant memory that Cole was a heel announcer.
Once the match begins the three larger men clear the ring. Kane then pursues a ladder, but Bryan stops him and is then stopped by Gabriel and Slater. Slater than tries to set up the ladder only for Gabriel to knock him off. Cody then sets up the ladder and is stopped by Sheamus. A statistic thrown out is that 6 of the 8 men involved have never taken part in a Money In the Bank match. Kane once again takes control of the match, clearing andy potential obstacles. After the ring is cleared Bryan and Gabriel go at one another, followed by Gabriel hitting a somersault plancha on Kane. Fans then see Sin Cara hit a top rope crossbody to the floor on Sheamus. Allegiances come and go as the match goes along. Sin Cara hit a Spanish fly on Daniel Bryan in one of the earliest appearances of that move in WWE.
Barrett is shown outside the ring setting up a ladder and then attempts to drop Sin Cara on it. Instead, Sheamus hits a brogue kick on the luchador. In the end, the Irishman hits a powerbomb on Sin Cara through a ladder, snapping it in half. Referees and medical staff check on him and call on paramedics. At this point, all eight men are outside the ring. While EMT’s bring a stretcher for Sin Cara. Kane and Sheamus hit each other with ladders, and eventually, Bryan, Cody, and Kane are all in the ring at the same time. Kane uses the ladder to take the other two out. Meanwhile, Sin Cara is taken to the back. In the ring, Kane sets up the ladder and tries to get to the top only for the former Nexus and Corre members to work together to stop him, leaving the door open for Bryan and Cody to climb.
Just as it seems as though they are leaving Barrett to get the title opportunity, both Gabriel and Slater instead attempt to get to the briefcase. Cody clears the ladder, only for Barrett and then Sheamus to slow him down. As Sheamus attempts to climb the ladder, Daniel Bryan fights him off only to be put on the shoulders of Sheamus, and Kane hits a top rope clothesline. Sheamus then sets up one ladder between another ladder and a corner turnbuckle. But he is then wiped out by Kane, as is Justin Gabriel and Cody Rhodes. Bryan gets the better of Kane with a DDT counter. Heath Slater then sees an opportunity and attempts to climb the ladder only for Bryan to take them both out. Cole’s commentary on Bryan is rather distracting, calling him a ‘nerd.’
A second ladder is then set up suggesting a potentially tragic crash and burn may take place. Kane chokeslams Sheamus, who bounces off one ladder and onto the mat. Rhodes, Bryan, and Barrett all take shots at taking Kane out of this match. Gabriel climbs the other ladder and hits a 450 splash. As the ring is clear, Barrett tries to get to the briefcase only for Cody to wipe him out. Bryan then tries to climb only for Cody to stop him. Both men are now teetering on the top of the ladder with Barrett attempting to get the briefcase, but he is knocked off. With everyone off the ladder, Daniel Bryan is able to collect the Smackdown Money In the Bank briefcase.
Winner: Daniel Bryan
A video is shown of Mr. McMahon and John Laurinaitis arriving at the building earlier in the evening. The commentary team run down the card.
WWE Divas Championship
Brie Bella (w/Nikki Bella) vs. Kelly Kelly (C) (w/Eve Torres)
Kelly immediately goes at Brie and then goes outside the ring to avoid retaliation. While out there she goes after both Bellas at the same time. When Nikki tries to get involved, Eve manages to distract her enough to run her off. Once both women make their way back into the ring, Kelly gets worked on by Brie. The ropes play a major role in wearing her down. Brie sinks in an armlock in the center of the ring. The champion begins to make a comeback, hitting Brie with everything. Both women attempt a backslide only for Kelly to get the better of it, but only for a two count. Kelly eventually hits a clutched fameasser for the three count win.
Winner: Kelly Kelly
The Big Show vs. Mark Henry
The world’s strongest man against the world’s largest athlete was emphasized in the build-up for this match. The animosity between these two men escalated rather quickly. It went from being friends to a misunderstanding, to heated animosity. Early on in this match, the Big Show is all over Mark Henry but that changes. Henry works on Big Show’s knee, beating down on the former WWE champion. A replay is shown of Henry clipping the knee. He continues to work on the knee, applying weight and leverage until a rope break ends it. Just as it appears as though Big Show is worn down, he kicks off Henry, driving him back and onto the mat. He then climbs to the second rope and hits a shoulder tackle. The Big Show calls for the chokeslam and Henry reverses it into a world’s strongest slam. Big Show kicks out after a count of two! Henry steps back and refocuses his energy on picking up Big Show once again hits another world’s strongest slam, followed by two splashes and a pinfall win.
Winner: Mark Henry
After the match Henry goes outside the ring and gets a chair, brings it into the ring and wraps it around the leg of the Big Show. He then climbs the second rope and hits a Vaderbomb onto the leg and chair. EMTs rush to the ring, but screams for them to get off him as he screams in pain. A stretcher is rushed to the ring, followed by a replay of the Vaderbomb. Show sat on the back of a trailer that took him to the back.
We’re shown the backstage area and see Vince McMahon, John Laurinaitis and their lawyer. McMahon calls Punk an ingrate and said he offered him the most lucrative deal he’s ever offered, anyone. He then says that this is all on John Cena and that God better has mercy on Cena’s soul if he doesn’t retain the title.
Raw Money In the Bank Ladder Match
Alberto Del Rio vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Alex Riley vs. R-Truth vs. The Miz vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Jack Swagger vs. Evan Bourne
The second of two Money In The Bank matches is for the Raw contract briefcase. Early on everyone attacks Del Rio, burying him outside the ring with ladders. It’s different to see the ladders used like swords as a means to defend and to attack someone. The ladder held by Kofi and Bourne is used as a prop by Mysterio, eventually hitting a hurricanrana on Swagger. The Miz and Riley, who were rivals going into this match, are showcased as they attack each other. Dueling crossbodies for Kingston and Mysterio to the floor takes out most of the competition. Then, Bourne climbs a ladder outside the ring, in the aisleway. He hits a moonsault from the top onto everyone down below. The crowd is chanting ‘Holy S**t ‘ Bourne then returns to the ring and goes for the briefcase until The Miz goes at him. Miz falls and screams in pain, needing an EMT to aid him, their third appearance of the show.
Del Rio climbs the ladder and tries to get the briefcase only for R-Truth to try at the same time. But Mysterio and Bourne climb and take the other two out. Kingston leaps over Swagger onto the ladder. He is taken out, but that means Riley is ready to capitalize. R-Truth then clears the ring leaving him alone to go after the briefcase. But Kingston climbs on a suspended ladder and does a boom drop on R-Truth. Del Rio attempted to hit Kingston, but the former Intercontinental champion avoided it! Riley and Mysterio are now on the ladder only for Bourne to momentarily get involved. Bourne sets up a ladder, followed by Del Rio, Kingston, and Swagger, and thus everyone from the match outside Miz is at the top of a ladder. One by one they go down, starting with Del Rio and Swagger, followed by Bourne. Riley is next to go, leaving R-Truth, Kingston, and Mysterio. But Swagger swoops in and causes the ladder to teeter over. Miz then hobbles into the ring to get to the ladder. With three ladders in the ring, Mysterio climbs the ladder, only for Del Rio to prevent the former champion from taking the briefcase by pulling off his mask, forcing Mysterio to cover his face. This leaves Del Rio alone to regroup and climb the ladder. He unhooks the briefcase, becoming the winner in the process.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio
Randy Orton (C) vs Christian
The history between Orton and Christian is recounted during this world championship match at Money In The Bank. Christian talks about how he is being screwed, while Orton talks about how he has a hard time managing his anger. They reflect on the trickery on the part of Christian to get into the head of his rival, such as stealing his money and defacing his bus. Eight years ago, these two fought for the World Championship, but Christian claims he needs one more match. The match stipulation is that a disqualification would lead to Orton losing the title to Christian. The commentary team seems divided over the prospect of Christian losing this match and going to the back of the line.
When the bell rings, Christian goes out to the ring, bring in a chair and throws it to Orton as a means of taunting him. He then turns his back giving his opponent a chance to use the weapon. Instead, Orton tosses the chair aside and begins to take the fight to the challenger. Christian is methodically beaten down but makes brief, momentary comebacks. Once again Orton gets the advantage, beating on him and then tossing him from the ring. He whips him into the steel steps in what is considered a risky move because he could get disqualified. Christian recovers and begins to beat down the champion and really stretches the count of five on the ropes. He gets the champion down for a count of two on more than one occasion.
It really is a back and forth affair as neither man truly has worn down their opposition to the point of having a sure advantage. Christian hits a spinebuster for a count of two after Orton uses a schoolboy also for a count of two. He then attempts to hit the Killswitch, only for Orton to counter it and clotheslines the challenger outside the ring, following right along with him. Both men eventually make their way back into the ring. Orton hits a Lou Thesz press on Christian. The challenger climbs to the second rope only to be hit by a leaping dropkick from the champion. Orton attempted a superplex only for Christian to counter into a diving headbutt. Both men slowly get to their feet. Christian hits the Killswitch only for Orton to kick out at two! The challenger is stunned and can’t believe it. He is trying to refocus and sets up for a spear only for the champion to stagger out of the way. The champion appears to be going for a punt but that is reversed and Christian hits a snap powerslam. Orton sets up for the RKO only for Christian to stagger away. He then spits in the face of Christian and kicks the challenger low, getting himself disqualified and thus losing his title.
Winner: And the New World Champion Christian
After the match, Orton beats down Christian at ringside, lays him on a table, stares at Teddy Long and then hits an RKO on the table. A replay of what caused Orton to be disqualified are played as he walks up the ramp, but then he goes back down and back after Christian. He hits a second RKO on another table, which doesn’t give. He heads up again, and he again stops and slowly looks back at the announce table, but this time he proceeds to the backstage area. It is via a rarely used stipulation, but Christian is now a two-time World Champion.
CM Punk vs. John Cena (c)
Fans get a recap of the build-up to this match in the main event for Money In The Bank 2011. The focus was on how McMahon was trying so desperately to sign CM Punk to a lucrative contract and his refusal. The two men are shown exchanging pleasantries, or rather jabs, at one another. Punk came to the ring first, basking in the admiration and support of his hometown fans. He stood at the top of the ring post and takes it all in. The narrative of him leaving with the WWE championship is hammered home some more. The volume of fans chanting his name is incredible. The sound is deafening and is equal to the chorus of jeers John Cena receives as his music blares on the overhead speaker. Prior to this re-watch, I had never noticed Colt Cabana sitting at ringside behind Punk.
The match is underway with both men trying to get a feel for the other. Cena reverses Punk’s attempts at an anaconda vice and turns it into an armbar. Punk with a Bronx cheer to Cena, who knocks him down onto his back. But Punk gains the advantage and works on Cena while he’s on his back. A stalemate ensues as both men attempt their finishers unsuccessfully. Cena looks frightened by this Chicago crowd in attendance. Cena reverses a Punk attack in the corner and turns it into a bulldog. The champ then hits a rear chin lock on Punk, switching to a headlock, which Punk counters with a belly to back side suplex. Cena regains the advantage with a suplex out of the corner. He attempts the AA only for Punk to counter it into a DDT. Punk then throws Cena outside the ring to the floor. He follows him out, brings him back to the ring and hits a knee to the back of the neck as Cena is draped over the bottom rope. He then attempts to cover him but the champ kicks out at two. Cena avoids shoulder tackle in the corner, but just as it appears he is going to recover, Punk wipes him out with a clothesline. The challenger attempts a crossbody, which is not done very cleanly but still manages to get a two count.
Cena suplexes Punk from the ring to the floor taking them both out. Back in the ring, Cena attempts a pin, but Punk kicks out in two. A great deal is being made by the commentators about Cena’s leg being hurt, and his having to will himself through the match. Punk attempts his signature knee strike in the corner only for Cena to avoid it, but he is kicked out to the out of the ring. Punk rolls Cena into the ring and attempts a crossbody only to miss. Cena hits his five-knuckle shuffle. He then attempts an AA, but Punk lands on his feet. Instead, the champion hits a gut wrench suplex, again only for a count of two. He attempts another AA only for Punk to counter with knee strikes to the chin. The champ locks in the STF only for Punk to make his way to the ropes causing a break. Punk regains control and knocks Cena down with a kick and a two count!
An incredible counter display by both men ensues. First Punk counters the AA and then Cena counters the GTS by locking in his STF finisher. It appears as though Punk will tap and counters with his anaconda vice finisher as the crowd goes mad. Cena recovers to hit the AA out of nowhere, but only gets a two count. Cena climbs the top rope and Punk counters it into a sitdown powerbomb. Punk signals for the GTS, but Cena counters it. Cena hits a leg drop from the top rope again only for a count of two. The champ refocuses on Punk and hits another AA again, and Punk kicks out again. The commentators mention that they are over 30 minutes into this matchup. Cena then sets up Punk on the corner turnbuckle and attempts an AA from the top rope, only for Punk to counter it with a hurricanrana. He hits Cena with a GTS, but in the ribs, and the champion rolls out of the ring. Mr. McMahon and John Laurinaitis come down to the ring. Cena runs out of the ring and says to McMahon that we are going to do it way. Upon rushing into the ring, Punk catches him with a GTS. He covers him for a count of three and becomes the WWE champion.
Winner: And new WWE Champion CM Punk
After the match, an ill-looking Vince McMahon looks on as Punk holds the title overhead in the center of the ring. McMahon gets on the microphone and tells them to cut his music. He asks for Alberto Del Rio to come out and cash in his Money In the Bank briefcase. Del Rio comes out but gets knocked out by Punk. He slides out of the ring and blows McMahon a kiss as he exits through the crowd with his WWE championship during Money In The Bank.