Money in the Bank (2011)

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For the professional wrestling match, see Money in the Bank ladder match.
Money in the Bank (2011)
A giant and a midget both clad in pajamas are reading a book that depicts professional wrestlers climbing ladders and reaching for a briefcase hanging in the air.
Promotional poster featuring Big Show and Hornswoggle
Theme
song
(s)
"Money in the Bank" by Jim Johnston[1]
Information
Promotion WWE
Sponsor Skittles[2]
Date July 17, 2011[3]
Attendance 14,815[4]
Venue Allstate Arena[3]
City Rosemont, Illinois[3]
Pay-per-view chronology
Capitol Punishment Money in the Bank (2011) SummerSlam (2011)
WWE Money in the Bank chronology
Money in the Bank (2010) Money in the Bank (2011) Money in the Bank (2012)

Money in the Bank 2011 was a professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event and the second in the Money in the Bank series produced by WWE; the 2011 event was sponsored by confectionery brand Skittles. The event took place on July 17, 2011, at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois. It featured six professional wrestling matches, two of which were Money in the Bank variants of ladder matches in which multiple wrestlers used ladders to retrieve a briefcase hanging above the ring. The Raw and SmackDown briefcases would guarantee the match winner—at a time of their choosing within the next year—a match for the WWE Championship and the World Heavyweight Championship, respectively.[5]

The main event featured John Cena defending the WWE Championship against CM Punk, who won the match and became the new champion. In the World Heavyweight Championship match also held at the event, Christian defeated Randy Orton by disqualification and became the new champion as per the match stipulation. WWE held Money in the Bank ladder matches for both the Raw and SmackDown brands; Alberto Del Rio won the Raw match and Daniel Bryan won the SmackDown match.

Money in the Bank 2011 was broadcast globally and received numerous positive reviews. The Canadian Online Explorer rated the show 6 out of 10, while The Sun rated it 9.5 out of 10, compared with the previous year's rating of 8.0. The bout between Cena and Punk for the WWE Championship received a 5-star rating from wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer. The event drew 195,000 pay-per-view buys compared with 165,000 pay-per-view buys the previous year.

Production[edit]

Background[edit]

By November 2010, WWE had announced that the 2011 Money in the Bank event would take place on July 17, 2011, at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois.[3][6] Tickets went on sale in May 2011 through Ticketmaster with prices ranging from $25 to $300.[3] The event, sponsored by confectionery brand Skittles, was the second annual Money in the Bank PPV event and the seventh in the 2011 WWE PPV schedule.[2][6][7] It was sponsored by Skittles. The theme song for the event was composed by Jim Johnston; it is also titled "Money in the Bank".[1]

Storylines[edit]

Money in the Bank featured professional wrestling matches involving wrestlers from existing, scripted feuds, plots, and storylines that were played out on WWE's television programs. Wrestlers portrayed faces (heroes) or heels (villains) as they followed a series of events that built tension and culminated in a wrestling match or a series of matches.[8][9] The storylines were produced on WWE's Raw and SmackDown television shows with the Raw and SmackDown brands—storyline divisions in which WWE assigned its employees to different programs.[10]

Two Caucasian professional wrestlers face off in the ring. The wrestler on the left is wearing a black-based wrestling trunks with white and light blue stripes and red stars that resemble the Flag of Chicago. The wrestler on the right is wearing jean shorts. A referee in a black-and-white striped shirt stands between them.
The main event of the PPV featured CM Punk (left) facing John Cena.

The main event featured John Cena defending the WWE Championship against CM Punk. Punk became the number one contender by winning a Triple Threat Falls Count Anywhere match against Alberto Del Rio and Rey Mysterio on the June 20, 2011, episode of Raw. After the match, Punk said his WWE contract would expire at midnight on July 17, immediately after the Money in the Bank PPV ended; Punk vowed to win the championship and leave the company with it.[11] On the next Raw, Punk delivered a worked shoot promo and said that he and not Cena was "the best in the world"; he berated WWE for not promoting him properly. Punk called Cena an "ass-kisser" and insulted WWE management—including chairman Vince McMahon and executive John Laurinaitis. In addition to breaking the fourth wall, Punk proposed that he could defend the WWE Championship in other professional wrestling promotions like Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling after he left the company with the title.[12][13] As a result, Punk was given a storyline suspension and stripped of his championship match. Cena confronted McMahon and threatened to walk out on him and return the WWE Championship if Punk was not reinstated with his title match. McMahon eventually relented on the condition that if Cena lost the title, he would be fired.[14] On the following episode of Raw, McMahon tried to sign Punk to a new contract to ensure the WWE Championship would stay in WWE; McMahon agreed to Punk's demands and apologized to Punk before Cena interrupted the proceedings. The segment resulted in Cena punching Punk, causing Punk to tear up the agreed contract.[15]

At Money in the Bank 2011, Randy Orton defended the World Heavyweight Championship against Christian. Their rivalry started on the May 6 episode of SmackDown, when Orton defeated Christian to become the champion less than a week after Christian had won the title.[16] At Capitol Punishment, Orton defeated Christian to retain the title despite illegally pinning Christian. On the June 24 episode of SmackDown, Christian demanded another attempt at the title from SmackDown General Manager Theodore Long; his demand was granted with the proviso that he could defeat Kane. Christian lost the match against Kane by disqualification after interference from Mark Henry. Long then made a tag team match on the same episode, pitting the team of Christian and Henry against Kane and Orton with a similar stipulation; Henry pinned Orton in the bout.[17] Afterwards, Long offered Henry an attempt at the title on the condition that Henry could defeat Orton again. Henry lost the match after Christian engineered a distraction. This set up a match between Orton and Christian for the title at Money in the Bank.[18] A new stipulation was added to the match on the July 8 episode of SmackDown by Christian's lawyers in the storyline. The stipulation was if Orton was disqualified or if there was poor officiating, he would lose the title to Christian.[19]

The Raw Money in the Bank competitors were announced on the June 27 episode of Raw with no qualifying matches; these were Alberto Del Rio, Alex Riley, Evan Bourne, Jack Swagger, Kofi Kingston, Rey Mysterio, R-Truth, and the Miz.[12] The SmackDown Money in the Bank competitors were announced on the July 1 SmackDown; these were Cody Rhodes, Daniel Bryan, Heath Slater, Justin Gabriel, Kane, Sheamus, Sin Cara, and Wade Barrett.[18]

The feud between Big Show and Mark Henry started on the June 17 episode of SmackDown, when Big Show was forced to face Henry in a match. Show knocked out Henry before the bout began.[20] This created a rivalry between the two; Henry interfered in Big Show's match with Alberto Del Rio at Capitol Punishment and on the June 27 episode of Raw in a cage match. Henry versus Big Show was later advertised for Money in the Bank.[12][21] When Brie Bella lost her WWE Divas Championship to Kelly Kelly on the June 20 Raw, a title rematch was advertised for Money in the Bank.[11] Kelly had been feuding with the Bellas since May.[22]

Event[edit]

Preliminary matches[edit]

Three Caucasian professional wrestlers fight on top of a ladder in the ring. The wrestler in the centre in reddish-maroon trunks is about to elbow the wrestler on the right. A blue briefcase hangs in the air barely above the three wrestlers.
The opening match ended with Daniel Bryan (centre) fighting off Wade Barrett (left) and Cody Rhodes (right) to grab the SmackDown Money in the Bank briefcase.

The event began with the SmackDown Money in the Bank ladder match. During the bout, Sheamus slammed Sin Cara through a ladder propped up between the ring apron and the announcers' table with a powerbomb. The ladder was bent in half and Cara was stretchered away from ringside. Near the end of the match, Barrett, Rhodes and Bryan were the only three men in the ring. Bryan put Rhodes in a guillotine choke submission hold on top of the ladder in the middle of the ring while Barrett sneaked up the other side of the ladder. After Bryan knocked Rhodes off the ladder, Barrett got Bryan onto his shoulders and tried to throw him off the ladder. Bryan countered with repeated elbow strikes to Barrett's head. Bryan then kicked Barrett in the head and unhooked the briefcase to win the contest.[4][23]

In the show's second match, Kelly Kelly defeated Brie Bella to retain the Divas Championship. Kelly won the bout after slamming Brie's face into the mat with her K2 maneuver.[24]

In the show's third match, Mark Henry defeated Big Show. Henry gained a two-count after slamming Big Show back against the mat with his World's Strongest Slam maneuver. Henry then performed the World's Strongest Slam again and two running splashes for the pinfall victory. After the match, Henry injured Show by wrapping a chair around Show's ankle and jumping on it.[25]

The next match was the Raw Money in the Bank match, where all the wrestlers brought ladders to the ring before the bout began. During the match, Evan Bourne performed his signature Air Bourne aerial maneuver, diving from a ladder and landing on the other wrestlers at ringside. Bourne and Miz then went for the briefcase but Del Rio toppled their ladder, causing Miz to injure his knee and be taken backstage. The seven remaining wrestlers simultaneously climbed four ladders in the ring, but fell off one by one. With nobody left in the ring, Miz hopped down to the ring and climbed the ladder with one leg, but Mysterio stopped him by slamming him off the ladder with a sunset flip powerbomb. As Mysterio and Del Rio battled on top of the ladders for the briefcase, Del Rio distracted Mysterio by unmasking him and then pushing him onto another ladder, which tipped over and sent both wrestlers to the mat. However, Del Rio regrouped and unhooked the briefcase to win the match.[4][24]

Main event matches[edit]

A Caucasian professional wrestler  stands alone in the middle of the ring, hoisting a golden championship belt. The ring canvas at the side of the ring reads "WWE.com" and "Money in the Bank". The crowd at ringside appears to be celebrating with the wrestler.
After his win in the main event, CM Punk celebrated with the WWE Championship.

In the show's fifth match, Randy Orton defended his World Heavyweight Championship against Christian, with the condition that Christian would win the title if Orton was disqualified or if there was poor officiating. Christian opened the bout by bringing a steel chair into the ring and trying to goad Orton into getting disqualified. Orton balked and threw the chair to the floor. Christian performed his signature KillSwitch, forcing Orton onto the mat, but Orton kicked out of the pin at two. While Orton was preparing to perform his signature RKO maneuver, Christian spat in his face. Orton was enraged; he kicked Christian in the groin and was disqualified, and Christian became the new champion. Afterwards, Orton twice slammed Christian's face into the announcers' table with his RKO maneuver.[24][25]

The final match of the night was for the WWE Championship. Champion John Cena fought CM Punk on the final night of Punk's WWE contract—he had promised to leave the company with the WWE Championship. WWE Chairman Vince McMahon had threatened that Cena would be fired if Punk won the match. During the match, Punk kicked out of two of Cena's signature Attitude Adjustment maneuvers. More than thirty minutes into the match, Punk performed his Go to Sleep maneuver, hitting Cena's ribs and causing Cena to fall out of the ring. As Punk rolled Cena back into the ring, Vince McMahon and John Laurinaitis emerged from backstage and distracted Punk. When Punk entered the ring, Cena placed him in his signature STF submission hold. In a scene reminiscent of the Montreal Screwjob,[26] despite Punk not submitting, McMahon signaled the referee to award Cena the match and sent Laurinaitis to ring the bell.

Cena did not want a tainted victory; he broke the hold and attacked Laurinaitis. As Cena returned to the ring, Punk hit him in the face with the Go to Sleep and pinned him to win the WWE Championship. McMahon ordered the winner of the Raw Money in the Bank match, Alberto Del Rio, to immediately cash in his contract on Punk. When Del Rio ran out and tried to cash in his contract, Punk kicked him in the head. After blowing a kiss to a distraught McMahon, Punk fled the arena and left as WWE Champion.[4][23][25]

Reception[edit]

During the event, WWE announced that its attendance was 14,815.[4] It was later reported that 12,000 attendees had paid, earning WWE US$750,000.[27] The event drew 195,000 pay-per-view buys, which was an increase of 18.2% from the 165,000 buys of the previous event. This contributed to WWE's PPV revenue of $15.8 million for the third quarter of 2011 compared with $13.6 million for the third quarter of 2010.[28] The 2012 Money in the Bank event received only 188,000 buys, a drop of 3.6%.[29]

Money in the Bank 2011 received many positive reviews from critics. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter awarded the Cena–Punk main event five stars out of five.[30] The Wrestling Observer Newsletter awarded the event the Best Major Show of 2011. The main event won the Match of the Year.[31]

Alex Roberts of the Professional Wrestling Torch Newsletter attended the event. He criticized the ladder matches for exemplifying higher risks being taken for smaller returns—judging by the crowd's response—and said the apparent injuries suffered by Sin Cara and the Miz had unnerved the audience. He said the two ladder matches were "exciting, high-flying, dangerous spectacles", but would probably blend together in the minds of most viewers with about a dozen similar spectacles produced by the professional wrestling world that year. In contrast, he said the two world title matches, which relied on in-ring psychology and storytelling, had created far more memorable moments. Regarding the main event, Roberts said, "even a match-ending run-in bypassed the expected convoluted machinations and played perfectly to the narrative at hand".[32]

Seven professional wrestlers of various ethnicities battle on top of four ladders in the ring, reaching for a red briefcase hanging above them. In the background, the WWE logo can be seen, as well as a giant television screen in the shape of a briefcase.
The Sun's Rob McNichol described the Raw Money in the Bank match as "a shade below it's [sic] Smackdown equivalent" but still "entertaining".[33]

Wade Keller, also from the Professional Wrestling Torch Newsletter, awarded the Cena–Punk bout five stars out of five, and said the "athleticism wasn't at the A+ level, but everything else that equals magic in pro wrestling happened in the last 40 minutes". Keller awarded the SmackDown Money in the Bank ladder match four stars and said there were "lots of good workers taking a lot of big bumps, but also selling them, during the course of the match", whereas the Raw version of the match received 3.5 stars. Keller rated the Orton–Christian match 3.5 stars and said it was "paced well, executed well, and the finish played into the personalities and storyline of this feud". Keller did not rate the Divas Championship match, but he awarded the Henry–Show match 1.75 stars; Keller said it was "interesting to see WWE really truly get behind Henry for the first time after all of this time".[23]

The Canadian Online Explorer's Dave Hillhouse said Money in the Bank 2011 featured "exactly what a main event is supposed to be. A match that overshadows every other bout on the card, that has you, no matter how good each other contest is, looking forward to an ending just to be one step closer to the final contest." Hillhouse rated the main event 8 out of 10 and the overall event 6 out of 10. When the Canadian Online Explorer polled its readers on their opinions of the event, 26% did not watch the event, 5% thought it was disappointing, 6% thought it was okay and 63% thought it was great.[24]

The Sun's Rob McNichol rated the event 9.5 out of 10, describing it as a "flawless exercise in the booking, promotion and performance of a wrestling show", "full of excitement, emotion and great wrestling". McNichol described Bryan's win in the "very good" opener as memorable and "a great way to inspire the crowd, who would become so important during the night". He said of the Orton–Christian match, "Christian’s character development was excellent" and that while the audience were initially "pro-Christian, who was supposed to be playing the heel", they eventually cheered Orton's post-match beatdown of Christian. McNichol described the main event as "professional wrestling at [its] finest" and "probably the most gripping angle in wrestling this century". He said the audience's "astonishing" reception to the main event was as good as "any major match you have ever seen or cared about in history", and the match itself "was methodical, played to both wrestlers' strengths, and was beautifully paced".[33] The inaugural Money in the Bank event held in 2010 received a lower rating of 8.0 out of 10 from McNichol.[34]

In 2013, WWE released a list of their "15 best pay-per-views ever", with 2011's Money in the Bank ranked the second best.[35] WWE also released "the 50 greatest WWE Championship Matches ever" in 2013, with the Cena–Punk match from Money in the Bank ranked fourth.[36]

Money in the Bank 2011 was released on DVD by WWE Home Video on August 16, 2011;[37][38] it included Matt Striker interviewing Daniel Bryan as extra content.[39] About.com's Eric Cohen awarded the DVD five stars out of five, and said the event was one of the greatest PPV events of all time and warranted his highest possible recommendation.[39] DVD Talk gave a "Highly Recommended" rating to the DVD, despite "an average technical presentation (no Blu-Ray option, either) and no real bonus features".[38]

Aftermath[edit]

A black-haired Caucasian man in a white T-shirt stands on the ring apron, a golden belt with the WWE insignia around his waist.
CM Punk made his return with the WWE Championship two weeks after Money in the Bank.

After CM Punk left the Allstate Arena with the WWE Championship, celebrity website TMZ pictured him showing off his newly won title on the streets of Chicago with Colt Cabana and Ace Steel.[40]

WWE Chairman Vince McMahon started an eight-man tournament, which included all the participants of the Raw Money in the Bank ladder match except Evan Bourne, whose place was instead filled by Dolph Ziggler, to crown a new WWE Champion on Raw. The Miz and Rey Mysterio made it to the tournament finals, which McMahon postponed so he could fire John Cena because of the conditions imposed on the Money in the Bank match. However, Triple H interrupted and announced that the WWE Board of Directors had removed McMahon from power in a vote of no confidence, and that Triple H was to take over the day-to-day operations of WWE. Triple H then refused to fire Cena.[41]

On July 21, Punk gatecrashed the joint WWE–Mattel panel at the San Diego Comic-Con International with title belt in hand. He confronted Triple H and took exception to WWE attempting to crown a new WWE Champion.[42] Two days later, Punk made a surprise appearance at a show hosted by the independent All American Wrestling promotion without his title to endorse Gregory Iron, a wrestler with cerebral palsy.[43]

On the next Raw, Mysterio won the tournament to become the new WWE Champion, and immediately had to fend off Alberto Del Rio to prevent him from cashing in his Money in the Bank. However, Triple H, now Chief Operating Officer, decreed that Mysterio was to face ex-champion Cena later that night for the title; Cena won and again became WWE Champion. After the match, Punk made an unexpected return to WWE with the old WWE Championship belt to confront Cena.[44] Cena and Punk later fought in a match at SummerSlam to crown the undisputed WWE Champion, which Punk won. As Punk celebrated, Kevin Nash made his WWE return and assaulted him. Del Rio then cashed in his Money in the Bank contract and pinned Punk to become the new champion after kicking Punk in the head.[45][46] Punk regained the WWE Championship at Survivor Series by defeating Del Rio.[47]

After losing the World Heavyweight Championship to Christian, Randy Orton was granted a rematch at SummerSlam, where he won a No Holds Barred match to win the title.[46] Meanwhile, Mark Henry went on to crush Kane and Vladimir Kozlov's ankles with steel chairs in the storyline. He then defeated Orton at Night of Champions to become World Heavyweight Champion for the first time.[48][49][50] Big Show returned from injury in October 2011 to feud with Henry over his title.[51] Daniel Bryan initially declared that he would only cash in his Money in the Bank contract for a World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania XXVIII. However, on the November 25 episode of SmackDown, Bryan cashed in the briefcase after Henry had been knocked out by Show to become the World Heavyweight Champion. The match was voided by General Manager Theodore Long as Henry was not medically cleared to compete with the briefcase being returned to Bryan.[52] At WWE's TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs PPV, Henry lost the World Heavyweight Championship to Big Show. After the match, Henry assaulted Big Show which allowed Bryan to cash in his contract and pin Big Show to win the title.[53] Bryan held on to his title long enough to have a World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania XXVIII, where he lost his championship to Sheamus.[54]

Kelly Kelly's next contender for the Divas Championship was Beth Phoenix; Kelly defeated Phoenix to retain her title at SummerSlam,[46] but Phoenix ultimately beat Kelly for the title at Hell in a Cell in October 2011.[55]

John Laurinaitis continued to appear on television after Money in the Bank. In October 2011, he was appointed Raw General Manager, replacing Triple H as the on-screen authority figure.[56] During Laurinaitis' rule, he feuded with CM Punk and later with John Cena,[57][58] until he was fired in the storyline at No Way Out in June 2012.[59]

Results[edit]

No. Results Stipulations Times[25]
1D Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov defeated David Otunga and Michael McGillicutty Tag team match[60] N/A
2 Daniel Bryan defeated Kane, Sin Cara, Wade Barrett, Cody Rhodes, Justin Gabriel, Heath Slater and Sheamus SmackDown Money in the Bank ladder match for a World Heavyweight Championship contract[61] 24:27
3 Kelly Kelly (c) (with Eve Torres) defeated Brie Bella (with Nikki Bella) Singles match for the WWE Divas Championship[62] 4:46
4 Mark Henry defeated Big Show Singles match[63] 6:00
5 Alberto Del Rio defeated Rey Mysterio, Kofi Kingston, Alex Riley, R-Truth, The Miz, Evan Bourne and Jack Swagger Raw Money in the Bank ladder match for a WWE Championship contract[64] 15:54
6 Christian defeated Randy Orton (c) by disqualification Singles match for the World Heavyweight Championship. If Orton was disqualified or if there was poor officiating, Orton would lose the title. Since Orton was disqualified, he lost the title to Christian.[65] 12:20
7 CM Punk defeated John Cena (c) Singles match for the WWE Championship. If Cena did not retain the title, he would be fired.[66] 33:44
  • (c) – refers to the champion(s) heading into the match
  • D – indicates the match was a dark match

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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