Opening match: Smackdown Money in the Bank Ladder Match (Sin Cara, Daniel Bryan, Kane, Cody Rhodes, Wade Barrett, Justin Gabriel, Heath Slater and Sheamus)
Solid opener. The cast of characters seemed a little weak compared to the RAW matchup later, with five people having been in the company for a year or less. That being said, there were a few "Oooh!" moments, like Justin Gabriel hitting a tricky 450 splash off a ladder set over the corner ropes (though I don't quite understand that finisher; it's very pretty, but it always seems to hurt him as much as it hurts his opponents! It's not very effective...) and Kane chokeslamming everyone at least once.
Sheamus seemed to be more into redecorating the ladders in the ring for most of the time, except when he tossed Sin Cara over the side and onto a ladder. Sin Cara was later stretchered off into the unknown, working an injury angle while he waits for his 30 day Wellness Policy suspension to run down.
In the end, it was Daniel Bryan walking away with the briefcase. Considering his bumpy history with the company, I was both surprised and incredibly pleased. Of course now this paves the way for the "Will be be the first to cash in the briefcase and not win?" speculation.
Match 2: Divas Title (Kelly Kelly vs. Brie Bella)
Hardly memorable. An ineffectual blonde and an ineffectual brunette flailed ineffectively at each other for roughly five minutes. Kelly retains. I long for WWE to have an actual women's division with women actually wrestling.
On the way back up the ramp, Nikki berates Brie for losing to a girl who "doesn't even eat." I remember when Vickie Guerrero was made fun of for being fat; now we're making fun of Kelly for being too skinny. You just... can't... win!
Match 3: Big Show vs. Mark Henry
I wasn't expecting this to be a particularly thrilling match and I was right. I love Mark Henry as a heel; I think it suits him a lot better. Plus, it's nice to see them actually doing a proper storyline with him instead of throwing him in a tag team or as the "no chance in hell" third opponent to add some strength to a match.
If anything, I would have expected a full out knock-em-down-drag-em-out brawl between these guys, but we got a couple of really big slams and that was it. Big slams do not an awesome match make.
Henry makes a clean pin after a World's Strongest Slam (and it is pretty nifty to see somebody able to pick up the Big Show and then make a convincing slam with him). After the bell, Henry cranks up the heel factor by grabbing a chair from outside the ring, threading Show's leg through it and slamming him.
The medics come out and cart Show to the back; WWE runs a feature claiming the Big Show will be out for four to six weeks.
I think the crowd summed up everyone's feeling on this match by starting a rousing chant of "C-M-Punk!"
Match 4: RAW Money in the Bank match (Alberto del Rio, Kofi Kingston, Jack Swagger, Evan Bourne, Alex Riley, R-Truth, The Miz and Rey Mysterio)
Another solid ladder match with a lot more oomph than the Smackdown roster's attempt. RAW treats this match like a chaotic ladder fight rather than an attempt to redecorate the in-ring ladder scheme.
There's a comfortable amount of high flying, including early on in the match when Evan Bourne does his patented SSP off a very high ladder. And it was beautiful.
Miz also took a tumble to the ring after dangling from the briefcase for a second and was helped backstage, only to come out towards the end of the match limp-running like a boss.
Del Rio ended up with the briefcase for the win after ripping off Rey Mysterio's mask and throwing it into the crowd.
On the whole, an excellent match with a ton of energy and great spots. Can't say I'm in love with Del Rio winning the case but can't say I was all that shocked either.
Match 5: Randy Orton vs. Christian; World Heavyweight Championship
Another very strong match, though it didn't get really fun until towards the end, when Christian spat in Randy Orton's face (out of view of the ref, of course). Orton retaliated by giving Christian a good swift kick in the balls, which the ref DID see, and naturally got DQ'd. Which, by special rules, allowed Christian to be crowned the new champ.
Orton then flips out, hears voices, goes Viper and proceeds to heel turn in spectacular fashion by beating the almighty hell out of Christian, ending with a big old RKO on the announce table. Orton stalks all the way up the ramp before deciding to turn right around and give Christian another big fat RKO on the announce table. This time he stalks all the way backstage and doesn't come back.
I love me some crazy Orton, not gonna lie. I haven't really watched Smackdown in a while so I'd only heard he was face, but the whole concept of a face!Viper just seems weird. You can't be a Viper and face at the same time. Like having a Rated-R Superstar on a PG show. It's just awkward.
Match 6: John Cena vs. CM Punk for the WWE championship
Oh man. If you didn't see it... you just need to see it. This match was spectacular, pure and simple. Both guys absolutely brought it and gave it 1oo%. Punk played the crowd like a piano, though since I'm pretty sure 90% of the crowd was already behind him, I'm sure it didn't take much effort.
Punk brought out a Hurracanrana, which was spectacular and John threw every single move he had right back, multiple times. The actual, physical matchup was just phenomenal.
Also amusing was Colt Cabana at ringside, and the cameras making every effort NOT to show him, including resorting to incredibly awkward angles. Poor Colt. I don't know why it was such a thing. We all knew he was there.
Vince and John Laurinaitis made an appearance towards the end, and Cena went and decked Laurinaitis, which was pretty stunning. Punk took advantage with a super effective GTS and made... wait for it... a clean pin for the title. 100% no bullshit three count for the win.
The crowd blew up. I, myself personally, sitting on my couch, actually screamed. The girl who never thought she'd be a fangirl.
BUT WAIT. After allowing for some epic celebration, Vince grabbed the headset and called for Del Rio to cash in.
The 'verse has a moment of slumped shoulders and disappointment when Del Rio charged out with the briefcase; we knew something like this would happen.
Instead Punk walloped Del Rio flat to his back, grabbed the title, hopped the barrier, blew Vince a kiss, and RAN OUT THROUGH THE AUDIENCE WITH IT. He then proceeded to party around Chicago with the belt, Ace Steel and Colt Cabana before tucking the belt into his fridge for safekeeping.
Somebody give this man a cape; CM Punk is now Superman.
In conclusion. Wow. This is probably the best PPV WWE has put on in years. People who don't even talk about wrestling are talking about wrestling. People who haven't watched wrestling in years are tuning into RAW tonight. This is amazing. This is beyond amazing. We were all expecting to get screwed last night, along with Punk. Instead we were treated -- treated! -- to an utter hero move the likes of which we could not even have hoped for in our wildest fannish dreams.
Which begs the question... what happens tonight? CM Punk tweeted and has been subsequently photographed at Wrigley Field in Chicago, with the belt and Cabana in tow. For the record, Wrigley Field is in Chicago; tonight's RAW is in Green Bay, Wisconsin (...Wisconsin), roughly 200 miles away.
John Cena has taken to twitter, claiming he has been "Future endeavored" and that we should tweet WWE to make them change their minds, in addition to apologizing to the Rock. You should note there is no mention of this on the official WWE website.
There is a mention of the fact Vince is going to open tonight's RAW with an announcement.
This, right now, is huge. CM Punk is huge. This angle is huge. This is the hugest thing to happen to WWE that didn't involve anybody dying in... I don't even know when. If Vince plays his cards right... he could build this thing up to epic proportions. He has run this angle perfectly so far, and my only hope is that he continues to run it perfectly and not ruin this epic tide of awesome by somehow screwing it up.
I have hope. And I can NOT wait to see what happens tonight.
Your thoughts, guys. Tell me them. What do you think is going to happen tonight? What were your thoughts on the PPV? Is CM Punk face now? Is that an okay thing? Would you keep a title belt in your fridge?