The WWE Money in the Bank Pay-Per-View is this Sunday so I decided to review a Money in the Bank Ladder Match. There are a lot of great matches I could have picked for this review. The most famous Money in the Bank Ladder Match in my opinion is the first one that was won by Edge at WrestleMania 21. CM Punk’s first MitB win at WrestleMania 24 was a great match. Rob Van Dam is making his WWE return at Money in the Bank so his MitB win at WrestleMania 22 in Chicago would have been appropriate for this review. Out of all the Money in the Bank Ladder Matches, my favorite is the Smackdown Money in the Bank Ladder Match at the 2011 Money in the Bank PPV. I was in the arena during that match and it was one of the greatest matches I have seen at a WWE Live Event.

The Facts:

  • This match happened at the Allstate Arena in Chicago, Illinois. The attendance was 14,815.
  • This match was the opening match of the PPV.  The main event of the PPV was the five star classic CM Punk vs. John Cena WWE Championship match.
  • This was the ninth Money in the Bank Ladder Match.
  • Daniel Bryan, Heath Slater, Justin Gabriel, Sin Cara, Wade Barrett and Sheamus were first-time participants in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. This was the second appearance for Cody Rhodes and the fifth appearance for Kane.
  • Kane has appeared in the most Money in the Bank Ladder Matches (6). Kane won the 2010 Smackdown Money in the Bank Ladder Match and is the only wrestler to cash in the briefcase on the same night he won it. Kane was one of the six wrestlers in the first Money in the Bank Ladder Match at WrestleMania 21.
  • The announcers were Michael Cole, Jerry “The King” Lawler and Booker T.
  • The time length of the match was 24:27. It was and currently is the second longest Money in the Bank Ladder Match in WWE history.
  • WWE.com posted the full-length match at http://www.wwe.com/videos/smackdown-money-in-the-bank-ladder-match-money-in-the-bank-2011-full-length-matc-26019768. If the video at that link doesn’t work, this match can also be watched at http://www.metacafe.com/watch/6822973/money_in_the_bank_smackdown_ladder_match_2011/.

The Match:

Everyone was brawling in the ring when the match started. A bunch of the competitors got thrown out of the ring and the wrestlers left in the ring were Sheamus, Kane and Wade Barrett. Sheamus and Barrett double teamed Kane, but then Kane hit them with a double clothesline. Kane knocked them out of the ring. If this was a Royal Rumble match, Kane would be the winner, but this was not a Royal Rumble match. This was a Money in the Bank Ladder Match and the only way to win was by climbing a ladder and grabbing the briefcase that was hanging above the ring. Kane knew that staying in the ring without a ladder wasn’t going to win the match so he left the ring. Kane was the first man to grab a ladder. He tried to bring it into the ring, but Daniel Bryan came out of nowhere and kicked the ladder into Kane with a baseball slide. Bryan picked up the ladder outside the ring, but then Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater kicked the ladder into Bryan with baseball slides. Gabriel and Slater tried to take the ladder away from each other and Sin Cara went for the baseball slide into the ladder. Gabriel and Slater lifted the ladder up and Sin Cara slid to the outside of the ring. Sin Cara then got hit with the ladder.  Slater knocked down Gabriel and entered the ring with the ladder. While Slater was setting up the ladder, Gabriel climbed onto the ladder via the ring ropes and kicked Slater down. The ladder was too far away from the briefcase so Gabriel tried to move the ladder closer while still on the ladder. Bryan jumped off the top rope and dropkicked Gabriel off the ladder! Cody Rhodes entered the ring and threw Bryan into the ladder. Rhodes climbed the ladder until he was attacked from behind by Sheamus. Rhodes avoided the Celtic Cross and tried to hit Sheamus with the Disaster Kick. Sheamus ducked and the kick hit Slater. Sheamus knocked down Bryan and Rhodes with clotheslines. Sheamus threw the ladder at Rhodes. Kane then returned and threw Sheamus and Rhodes out the ring. No one could take control in this match for more than a few seconds. When it seemed like Kane was in control of the match, he was attacked by Barrett. Kane reversed an Irish whip and whipped Barrett into a ladder. Kane threw the ladder out of the ring and it hit Rhodes and Sheamus.

Slater started attacking Kane, but Kane hit Slater with a sidewalk slam. Kane went to the top rope and he was kicked by Sin Cara. Kane fell out of the ring. Gabriel kicked Sin Cara out of the ring. Bryan attacked Gabriel and tried to Irish whip Gabriel, but it was reversed. Bryan ducked a clothesline and then suicide dived out of the ring onto Barrett! That was one of my favorite spots of the match. Gabriel flipped over the ring ropes and landed on Kane! Slater did a twisting slingshot crossbody (also known as a tornado plancha) out of the ring onto Rhodes! Sin Cara did a flying crossbody to the outside onto Sheamus! As Jim Ross would say, “GOOD GOD ALMIGHTY!” Slater and Gabriel were back in the ring. They did a spot that had Gabriel catapulting Sin Cara into the air and Sin Cara dropkicked Slater on the way down. Slater rolled out of the ring. Sin Cara hurricanrana’ed  Gabriel out of the ring. Bryan climbed to the top turnbuckle and Sin Cara hit him with the Exploder suplex! Sin Cara left the ring to get a ladder. Barrett kicked Sin Cara in the face. Barrett made a ladder bridge between the ring and the Spanish Announce Table. Barrett tried to hit Sin Cara, but Sin Cara moved out of the way and Barrett’s arm hit the ring post. Sin Cara went into the ring (he forgot the ladder!) and Sheamus hit him with a Brogue Kick! Sheamus would do something a lot worse to Sin Cara in a little bit. Sheamus got Sin Cara onto the ring apron and POWER BOMBED Sin Cara through the ladder bridge Barrett made! That was the “Holy Shit” moment of the match and that was what the fans and I were chanting inside the Allstate Arena. I remember that I heard someone in the crowd shout, “Oh my God, he killed Sin Cara! You bastard!” after that happened. The ladder broke in half and Sin Cara did a great job selling it. The crowd gave the heel Sheamus a babyface response for that spot. Sheamus turned babyface two weeks later and I think the reaction he got from the Chicago crowd during this match helped turn him. WWE officials checked on Sin Cara.

Kane and Sheamus fought in the ring briefly and then Kane attacked Sheamus outside the ring. Kane returned to the ring and he was double teamed by Rhodes and Bryan. Those two fought each other for a little bit and then Kane hit them with a ladder. Sin Cara was taken to the back. Kane set up a ladder in the middle of the ring. Kane climbed the ladder but the former Corre members Barrett, Gabriel and Slater pulled Kane off the ladder. While the Corre guys were attacking Kane, Rhodes climbed the ladder, but they saw him. Rhodes was getting attacked and Bryan started climbing the ladder. The Corre stopped Bryan and starting attacking him. The former Corre teammates got everyone out of the ring. It looked like Barrett was telling Gabriel and Slater to watch his back while he climbed the ladder. Barrett started to climb the ladder and he was pulled down by Slater and Gabriel. Barrett got thrown out of the ring. Slater and Gabriel climbed the ladder at the same time. Rhodes got back in the ring and pushed down the ladder. Rhodes hit Slater with Cross Rhodes. He climbed the ladder and was pulled down by Barrett. Rhodes hit Cross Rhodes to Barrett! Rhodes climbed the ladder again. Sheamus stopped him. Sheamus hit Rhodes with the Irish Curse. Sheamus climbed the ladder and he was stopped by Bryan. Sheamus got Bryan up on his shoulders and Kane jumped off the top turnbuckle. Kane hit Bryan with the Doomsday Device! Wow! The crowd chanted “LOD” when that happened because that was the Legion of Doom’s finisher. Sheamus knocked down Kane. Sheamus grabbed a ladder and made a bridge between a vertical ladder and the turnbuckles. Kane knocked down Sheamus with a boot to the face. Kane chokeslammed Rhodes and Gabriel. Kane climbed the ladder and Bryan stopped him. Loud Daniel Bryan chant. Bryan got on the ladder and jumped off. Kane caught him. Kane tried to slam Bryan, but Bryan countered it into a DDT. Slater climbed the ladder and the crowd booed. Chicago doesn’t always root for the heels. Bryan climbed the ladder too and Slater took Bryan down with an amazing neckbreaker!

Slater climbed the ladder again and Barrett pulled him down. Sheamus got in the ring and Barrett attacked him. Barrett threw another ladder in the ring. Barrett and Sheamus used the ladder to take Slater out of the ring! Sheamus Brogue Kicked the ladder and hit Barrett! Brogue Kick to Rhodes! Sheamus knocked Gabriel down. Sheamus put a ladder on the ring ropes by the turnbuckles. Sheamus dropped Gabriel face first onto that ladder. Sheamus climbed the ladder in the middle of the ring. He got to the top, but was stopped by Kane. Sheamus was unable to fight off Kane and got chokeslammed onto the ladder bridge that he made! Sheamus fell out of the ring. Kane climbed the ladder and got stopped. Rhodes hit Kane with the Disaster Kick and Barrett hit Kane with Wasteland. Gabriel climbed on top of the ladder that Sheamus placed on the top rope. 450 Splash onto Kane! Another amazing spot! Barrett threw Gabriel out of the ring and slammed Rhodes down to the mat. Barrett climbed the ladder and Rhodes pulled him down. Rhodes got Barrett out of the ring. Bryan climbed the ladder and Rhodes stopped him.  Michael Cole on commentary mentioned that Rhodes and Bryan had been feuding for several months on Smackdown. I honestly don’t remember that and I did watch Smackdown in 2011. Bryan and Rhodes were both at the top of the ladder and in position to grab the briefcase. Barrett climbed the other side of the ladder and tried to steal the briefcase from Rhodes and Bryan while they were fighting each other. Bryan had a guillotine choke on Rhodes. Barrett had his hand on the briefcase, but he struggled to unhook it from the cable. Bryan hit Barrett with elbows and knocked Rhodes off the ladder. Barrett put Bryan in position for a Wasteland onto the ladder bridge below and it sounded like the crowd was expecting Barrett to execute the finisher and win the match. I don’t really remember what I was thinking at that moment, but it did look like Barrett was setting up for the finish. It was a false finish. Bryan hit Barrett with several elbows and avoided the Wasteland. Bryan kicked Barrett’s head and Barrett fell off the ladder! The crowd started to stand and cheer because they realized Bryan was alone on the ladder and thought, “Holy shit Daniel Bryan is going to win this match!” Bryan unhooked the briefcase and became Mr. Money in the Bank!

Winner: Daniel Bryan

Rating: ****1/2

After the match, the crowd started chanting “Daniel Bryan” and Bryan got emotional. Bryan made the briefcase feel like a World Championship and that’s the reaction every WWE Superstar should have after winning the Money in the Bank Ladder Match because it’s almost guaranteed they are going to cash it in and become a World Champion. After holding the briefcase for 154 days, Bryan cashed in the briefcase on Big Show and became the new World Heavyweight Champion at the WWE TLC Pay-Per-View on December 18, 2011.

I have a list of my favorite WWE matches I have seen at WWE Live Events. I have to update it because I attended WWE Payback since the last time I updated my list, but currently there are 54 matches on that list. This match is #2 (in case you are wondering, #1 is CM Punk vs. John Cena from the same event).  This match was 24 minutes long and it never got boring during the entire match. There were so many great spots in this match and some of the best spots weren’t ladder spots. I wasn’t expecting Daniel Bryan to win this match. I predicted that Wade Barrett would win. Bryan was the guy I wanted to win the match and many fans in Chicago that night were happy to see Bryan grab the briefcase. This was the first ladder match I had ever seen at a WWE Live Event and I was not disappointed. If CM Punk vs. John Cena didn’t happen at this PPV, I think this match would have gotten strong consideration for Match of the Year. It definitely would have been the best match of the night. I think because Punk vs. Cena was the only thing people were talking about at the end of this event, this match doesn’t get enough recognition. It’s one of the best Money in the Bank matches of all-time and I think it should be recognized as one of the greatest PPV opening matches in WWE history.

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