When the WWE is good, it is really good. And last night in Las Vegas at Money in the Bank, the WWE was really good. Great matches. Two title changes and amazing storylines going forward.
Let's start with the greatest news of all:
Roman Reigns is no longer champion. Yes, the Samoan John Cena was defeated with back-to-back pedigrees by Seth Rollins. FINALLY.
If I ever find the time and inclination, I am going to count all the minutes Roman Reigns spends on all fours, gassed out, flipping his hair, during a match. Lou Thesz he is not and he's not even one of the Top 10 workers in the WWE, much less deserving to be champion.
Reigns' big move, the Superman punch, can be thrown by every 10-year-old in America, and it would probably look a lot more real. Reigns isn't ready, no matter "his look." Let him turn heel and come back with better costume and at least three moves that don't involve lazy right hands and we'll talk.
Let's move to the next best news: Seth Rollins is back and looks great. The Jon Jones of the WWE, the man who never lost his championship, but had to vacate it because of injury, returned to win his title back, albeit, it was short-lived.
But since we're big boys, we can not get so caught up in wins and losses and look at the performances. Rollins is about as close to Shawn Michaels as any wrestler on the roster. He's really good. And although the investigative reporter in me might have thought Rollins was protecting the torn ACL that sidelined him last year, he still was the best guy on the roster last night.
Let's relish in his greatness:
We'll get to the second title change in a second, but let's talk John Cena vs. AJ Styles.
The WWE has been promoting the Cena vs. Styles match as a dream match, and what's remarkable about that is that AJ Styles has spent his entire career wrestling in other wrestling promotions. He built a career in TNA, wrestling for 12 years, while also wrestling in Ring of Honor and in Japan.
Here's a guy who at 39, is A YEAR OLDER THAN JOHN CENA, but is promoted as the rising star of the company. The WWE did something amazing in acknowledging Styles' history, even if it has never mentioned the name TNA on WWE programming.
Styles received an incredible pop when he debuted at the Royal Rumble earlier this year and ever since then Styles has been given the star treatment in the WWE. In pushing Styles, the WWE is acknowledging that Styles became a star in TNA. And that's OK. We're happy the WWE can recognize history outside of its company.
Styles showed us why he was voted 2010 wrestler of the year by Pro Wrestling Illustrated magazine. This guy wrestles like he's a cup of water swirling around in a 24-ounce bowl. He's fluid and mesmerizing to watch. He flips, flies and falls with ease.
Against Cena, who despite his 15 world championships will never be considered the greatest wrestler of all time, that's not easy. Even though Cena called the match (sometimes very audibly for the WWE Network crowd) Styles was in control, carrying Cena to a four-star match. Cena actually looked old, from an athletic perspective in this fight. if Styles was Stephen Thompson, Cena was Rory MacDonald. But Cena held his own and did what he does best, deliver in big matches.
The difference between a guy like Cena and Roman Reigns is that you see Cena's heart and determination oozing from this 22-inch biceps. Cena works hard and cares about having good matches. Reigns just kind moves around expecting everyone to make him look strong. Cena and Styles mastered the art of the near-falls in this match.
The ending was disrupted after the Bullet Club ran in, beat up Cena as the referee was knocked out, allowing Styles to win. Normally that kind of ending would ruin a match, but this match was so good, it didn't matter. The crowd was electric with its "Let's go Cena/AJ Styles" chants. I'm happy to see Cena vs. Styles II. WWE vs. TNA. Who would have thunk it?
The MITB ladder match was another classic. Alberto Del Rio performed a cross armbar off the top of he ladder on Cesaro. Cesaro worked stiff, slamming Chris Jericho's head into the ladder, in one of the match's better spots. Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens stole the show. Of course, Ambrose won the MITB contract, in a match that was nearly flawless.
The WWE has really mastered the art of putting their best workers in this match and let them put on a show. Ambrose cashed in the title later in the night, hitting Rollins with the suitcase and winning the title. It made sense, and the entire crowd knew it was coming.
Enzo and Cass opened the show in a four-man tag team match. These two are a modern-day New Age Outlaws. Enzo's "You Can't Teach That" gimmick is crazy good and Cass does the Billy Gunn "SAWFT" announcement like Gunn used to do "AND IF YOU'RE NOT WITH THAT" gimmick. And Enzo, for some reason, seems to resemble X-Pac to me.
Keep the title off Reigns. There will surely be a triple threat main event headlining the next PPV. Please don't let Reigns win it. The crowd likes Reigns the least of the three and he is the worst worker. Rollins, based on ring talent, should be the champion, but Ambrose as the guy is not a bad idea. The crowd loves him. He's a good worker, and he's an interesting character. Just not Reigns. Reign should get through a few rough feuds so that he can win the respect of the crowd before making another title run. What about Reigns vs. Rusev?
Kevin Owens' time will come. Owens is the hottest character in wrestling at the moment. He didn't win MITB Sunday because of the greater storyline involving ex-Shield members feuding. But Owen is the best performer in the WWE right now and his time should come at SummerSlam. He's a guy who, despite his rotund frame, can carry the company through the next hot period, and have great matches with Rollins, Ambrose, Cesaro, Styles, Zayn and Del Rio.