Money in the Bank (2011)
|Money in the Bank (2011)|
|"Money in the Bank" by Jim Johnston|
|Date||July 17, 2011|
|WWE Money in the Bank chronology|
Money in the Bank (2011) was a professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by WWE and presented by Skittles which took place on July 17, 2011 at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois. It was the second annual Money in the Bank pay-per-view and seventh event in the 2011 WWE PPV schedule. Six professional wrestling matches were featured at the event, two of which were the eponymous ladder match.
The main event featured John Cena defending the WWE Championship against CM Punk, which Punk won to become the new champion. The World Heavyweight Championship was also defended on the card, in which Christian defeated Randy Orton by disqualification; as per the match stipulation, Christian became the new champion. WWE held two Money in the Bank ladder matches for the Raw and SmackDown brands. Alberto Del Rio won the Raw match while Daniel Bryan won the SmackDown match respectively.
Money in the Bank received numerous positive reviews. The Canadian Online Explorer rated the show a 6 out of 10, while The Sun rated the event 9.5 out of 10, which was a higher rating than the 8.0 rating the previous year's Money in the Bank received. The bout between Cena and Punk for the WWE Championship received a rare 5-star rating from wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer. This event drew 195,000 buys, which was up from 165,000 buys in the previous year.
Money in the Bank featured professional wrestling matches involving different wrestlers from pre-existing scripted feuds, plots, and storylines that 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. 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.
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 over Alberto Del Rio and Rey Mysterio on the June 20 episode of Raw. After the match, Punk revealed that his WWE contract would expire at midnight on July 17, immediately after the Money in the Bank pay-per-view ended; Punk vowed to win the championship and leave the company with it. On the next Raw, Punk delivered a worked shoot promo, claiming that he, and not Cena, was "the best in the world", and thus berated WWE for not promoting him properly. Punk instead labelled Cena as an "ass-kisser" while insulting WWE management (including chairman Vince McMahon and executive John Laurinaitis). In addition to breaking the fourth wall, Punk also proposed that he could defend the WWE Championship in other promotions like Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling after he left the company with the title. As a result, Punk was given a storyline suspension and stripped of his title shot. Cena confronted McMahon and threatened to walk out on him and return the WWE Championship if Punk was not reinstated with his title shot. McMahon eventually relented on the condition that if Cena failed to retain the title, he would be fired. On the following episode of Raw, McMahon attempted to sign Punk to a new contract to ensure that the WWE Championship would stay in WWE, even agreeing to Punk's outrageous demands and apologizing to Punk before Cena interrupted the proceedings. The segment eventually resulted in Cena punching Punk, causing Punk to rip up the agreed contract.
The World Heavyweight Championship was defended at Money in the Bank by Randy Orton against Christian. This rivalry started on the May 6 episode of SmackDown when Orton defeated Christian to become champion less than a week after Christian had won the title. At Capitol Punishment, Orton defeated Christian to retain the title despite Christian being illegally pinned. On the June 24 episode of SmackDown, Christian demanded another title shot from SmackDown General Manager Theodore Long, which he was granted but only if 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. Afterwards, Long offered Henry a shot at the title but only if Henry could defeat Orton again. Henry lost the encounter after Christian engineered a distraction. This set up Orton versus Christian for the title at Money in the Bank.  A new stipulation was added to the match on the July 8 episode of SmackDown by Christian's lawyers in the storyline. The stipulation declared that if Orton was disqualified or if there was poor officiating, he would lose the title to Christian.
The Raw Money in the Bank competitors were announced on the June 27 episode of Raw without going through any qualifying matches, consisting of Alberto Del Rio, Alex Riley, Evan Bourne, Jack Swagger, Kofi Kingston, Rey Mysterio, R-Truth and the Miz. and the SmackDown Money in the Bank competitors were similarly announced on the July 1 SmackDown, consisting of Cody Rhodes, Daniel Bryan, Heath Slater, Justin Gabriel, Kane, Sheamus, Sin Cara and Wade Barrett.
Big Show and Mark Henry's feud started on the June 17 episode of SmackDown, when Big Show was forced to face Henry in a match. Show ended up knocking out Henry before the bout could begin. This created a rivalry between the two with Henry interfering 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. 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. Kelly had been feuding with the Bellas since May.
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 announce table with a powerbomb. The ladder was bent in half as a result, with a convulsing Cara being stretchered away from ringside afterwards. 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 attempted to throw him off the ladder, but 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. 
In the show's third match, Mark Henry defeated Big Show. Henry gained a two-count after slamming Big Show back-first 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 in the storyline by wrapping a chair around Show's ankle and crushing it by jumping on it from the second rope. 
The next match was the Raw Money in the Bank match, where all the wrestlers brought their own ladder to the ring during their entrance. During the match, Evan Bourne climbed a ladder set up at ringside and performed his signature Air Bourne aerial maneuver off a ladder, landing on the rest of the wrestlers at ringside. Bourne and Miz then went for the briefcase, but Del Rio toppled their ladder, causing Miz to injure his knee upon landing. Miz was brought backstage due to his injury. 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 to the mat 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 was able to regroup and unhook the briefcase to win the match. 
Main event matches
In the show's fifth match, Randy Orton defended his World Heavyweight Championship against Christian, with the stipulation that if Orton was disqualified or if there was poor officiating, Christian would win the title. Christian opened the bout by bringing a steel chair into the ring and turning his back on Orton in an attempt to goad Orton into getting disqualified, but Orton balked and threw the chair to the floor. During the match, Christian managed to perform his signature KillSwitch, forcing Orton head-first onto the mat, but Orton kicked out of the pin at two. Later in the bout while Orton was preparing to perform his signature RKO maneuver, Christian countered by spitting in his face. An enraged Orton kicked Christian in the groin and was disqualified, therefore crowning Christian as the new champion. Afterwards, Orton attacked Christian by slamming Christian face-first into the announce table two times with his RKO maneuver. 
The final match of the night was for the WWE Championship, with the champion John Cena facing off against CM Punk. It was Punk's final night under his WWE contract and he had promised to leave the company with the WWE Championship. WWE Chairman Vince McMahon had threatened that, if Punk was able to do so, then Cena would be fired. Punk entered the ring to raucous cheers from his hometown Chicago crowd, while Cena received a chorus of boos.
The match saw Punk kicking out of two of Cena's signature Attitude Adjustment maneuvers. After 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, the emergence of Vince McMahon and John Laurinaitis distracted Punk. When Punk entered the ring, Cena placed Punk in his signature STF submission hold. In a scene reminiscent of the Montreal Screwjob, despite Punk not submitting, McMahon signalled to the referee to award Cena the win and sent Laurinaitis to ring the bell. Cena did not want a tainted victory so he broke the hold and attacked Laurinaitis, telling McMahon that he did not want to win that way. As Cena returned to the ring, Punk immediately hit Cena in the face with the Go to Sleep and pinned him to win the WWE Championship.
McMahon then 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 attempted to cash-in his contract, Punk kicked him in the head. After he blew a flying kiss to a distraught McMahon, Punk fled the arena through the crowd and left as WWE Champion. 
WWE announced that the attendance was 14,815 during the show. It was later reported that 12,000 of them had paid for their attendance, earning WWE $750,000. The event drew 195,000 buys, which was up 18.2% from 165,000 buys the previous event had drew. This contributed to WWE's pay-per-view revenue of $15.8 million for the third quarter of 2011, as compared to $13.6 million for the third quarter of 2010. The next Money in the Bank event in 2012 received only 188,000 buys, a drop of 3.6%.
Money in the Bank earned a slew of positive reviews from various critics. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter rated the Cena-Punk main event 5 stars out of 5. The Wrestling Observer Newsletter later awarded the event the Best Major Show for 2011, while the main event won the Match of the Year.
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 response) and also noted that the apparent injuries suffered by Sin Cara and the Miz had unnerved the live crowd. He analysed that 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 other similar spectacles produced by the professional wrestling world that year. In contrast, he felt that the two world title matches, which relied on the basics of in-ring psychology and storytelling, had created far more memorable moments. Regarding the main event, Roberts noted that "even a match-ending run-in bypassed the expected convoluted machinations and played perfectly to the narrative at hand".
Wade Keller, also from the Professional Wrestling Torch Newsletter, rated the Cena-Punk bout a full 5 stars out of 5, commenting that the "athleticism wasn't at the A+ level, but everything else that equals magic in pro wrestling happened in the last 40 minutes." Keller rated the SmackDown Money in the Bank ladder match 4 stars, noting that 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 also rated the Orton-Christian match 3.5 stars and commented that it was "paced well, executed well, and the finish played into the personalities and storyline of this feud". While Keller did not rate the Divas Championship match, the Henry-Show match was rated 1.75 stars, while Keller said that it was "interesting to see WWE really truly get behind Henry for the first time after all of this time".
The Canadian Online Explorer's Dave Hillhouse commented that Money in the Bank 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." The main event was rated 8 out of 10 and the overall event was 6 out of 10. When the Canadian Online Explorer polled its readers on what they thought 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. 
The Sun's Rob McNichol rated the entire 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". Bryan's win in the "very good" opener was described as memorable and "a great way to inspire the crowd, who would become so important during the night". Regarding the Orton-Christian match, McNichol wrote that "Christian’s character development was excellent", and that interestingly, while the crowd were initially "pro-Christian, who was supposed to be playing the heel", they eventually cheered Orton's post-match beatdown of Christian. The main event was described as "professional wrestling at [its] finest" and "probably the most gripping angle in wrestling this century". McNichol noted that the crowd's "astonishing" reception to the main event was as good as "any major match you have ever seen or cared about in history", while the match itself "was methodical, played to both wrestlers' strengths, and was beautifully paced". The inaugural Money in the Bank event held the previous year in 2010 received a lower rating of 8.0 out of 10 from McNichol.
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. WWE also released "the 50 greatest WWE Championship Matches ever" in 2013, with the Cena-Punk match from Money in the Bank being ranked fourth.
Money in the Bank was released on DVD by WWE Home Video on 16 August 2011, featuring the DVD extra of Matt Striker interviewing Daniel Bryan. About.com's Eric Cohen rated the DVD 5 stars out of 5, stating his belief that the event was one of the greatest PPV events of all-time, and thus warranted his highest possible recommendation. 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".
After leaving the Allstate Arena with the WWE Championship, CM Punk was pictured that night by TMZ showing off his newly won title on the streets of Chicago together with Colt Cabana and Ace Steel. WWE Chairman Vince McMahon started an eight-man tournament to crown a new WWE Champion on Raw, 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. The Miz and Rey Mysterio made it to the tournament finals, which McMahon postponed so that he could fire John Cena based on the match stipulation from Money in the Bank. However, Triple H interrupted and announced that the WWE Board of Directors had removed McMahon from power due to 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. On July 21, Punk, with title belt in hand, gatecrashed the joint WWE / Mattel panel at the San Diego Comic-Con International, confronting Triple H and taking exception to WWE attempting to crown a new WWE Champion. 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 who had cerebral palsy. On the next Raw, the tournament concluded with Mysterio winning to become the new WWE Champion, and he had to immediately fend off Alberto Del Rio 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 to once again become WWE Champion. After the match, Punk made a surprise return to WWE with the old WWE Championship belt to confront Cena. Cena and Punk later faced off in a match at SummerSlam to crown the undisputed WWE Champion, with Punk coming out victorious. As Punk celebrated, Kevin Nash made his WWE return and assaulted Punk. Del Rio then cashed in his Money in the Bank contract and pinned Punk to become the new champion after kicking him in the head. Punk later regained the WWE Championship at Survivor Series by defeating Del Rio.
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. 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. Big Show returned from injury in October 2011 to feud with Henry over his title. Daniel Bryan initially declared that he would only cash in his Money in the Bank contract 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. 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. Bryan actually did manage to hold on to the World Heavyweight Championship until WrestleMania XXVIII, where he lost it to Sheamus.
Kelly Kelly's next contender for the Divas Championship was Beth Phoenix; Kelly defeated Phoenix to retain her title at SummerSlam, but Phoenix ultimately beat Kelly for the title at Hell in a Cell in October 2011.
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. During Laurinaitis' rule, he feuded with CM Punk and later John Cena, until he was fired in June 2012 in the storyline.
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