Money in the Bank (2016)
Money in the Bank was a professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event and WWE Network event produced by WWE. It took place on June 19, 2016 at the T-Mobile Arena in the Las Vegas suburb of Paradise, Nevada. It was the seventh event under the Money in the Bank chronology.
|Money in the Bank|
Promotional poster featuring Roman Reigns
|Date||June 19, 2016|
|WWE Network event chronology|
|Money in the Bank chronology|
Eleven matches were contested at the event, with two matches contested on the Kickoff pre-show. The main event saw Seth Rollins defeat Roman Reigns to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, only to lose it minutes later to Dean Ambrose, who cashed in the Money in the Bank contract he won earlier in the event to defeat Rollins for the title. Also on the card, AJ Styles defeated John Cena. Two days after Money in the Bank, former champion Reigns was suspended for violating WWE's Wellness Program.
Money in the Bank (MITB) is an annual gimmick pay-per-view produced by WWE since 2010 and generally held between June and July. The concept of the show comes from WWE's established Money in the Bank ladder match, in which multiple wrestlers use ladders to retrieve a briefcase hanging above the ring. The briefcase contains a contract that guarantees the winner a match for a world championship at any time within the next year. For 2016, the winner received a contract for a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match, later renamed to WWE Championship when the promotion reintroduced the brand extension in July, where they again split their roster between the Raw and SmackDown brands. 2016 was the seventh event in the Money in the Bank chronology.
The card consisted of eleven matches, including two on the Kickoff pre-show, that resulted from scripted storylines, where wrestlers portrayed villains, heroes, or less distinguishable characters in scripted events that built tension and culminated in a wrestling match or series of matches, with results predetermined by WWE's writers. Storylines between the characters played out on WWE's primary television programs, Raw and SmackDown.
On November 4, 2015, Seth Rollins was forced to vacate the WWE World Heavyweight Championship due to injury. Rollins returned on May 22, 2016 at Extreme Rules, attacking champion Roman Reigns after his successful title defense against AJ Styles. Rollins was granted a title match against Reigns at Money in the Bank the next night on Raw by Shane McMahon. Meanwhile, critics wondered if WWE was "leaving money on the table" by not slotting Rollins as a face and Reigns as a heel, as this was the opposite of what fans wanted (fans were cheering Rollins and booing Reigns).
On the May 30 episode of Raw, John Cena returned after recovering from a shoulder injury that left him out of action for five months. AJ Styles then came out to welcome him back until Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, Styles' former teammates in The Club (which had broken up the previous week on Raw) appeared looking for a fight. Cena and Styles prepared to brawl with them, until Styles attacked Cena alongside Gallows and Anderson, turning heel and reforming The Club in the process. On June 3, a match between Cena and Styles was scheduled for Money in the Bank which WWE labeled as a "WrestleMania Dream Match". On the June 13 episode of Raw, Cena presented Styles with two contracts: one allowing Gallows and Anderson to be in his corner, the other banning them so they could fight uninterrupted, and Styles chose the latter.
The winner of the Money in the Bank ladder match will win a contract for a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at any time within the next year. On the May 23 episode of Raw, Sami Zayn, Cesaro, Chris Jericho, Dean Ambrose, and Kevin Owens all qualified for the match by defeating Sheamus, The Miz, Apollo Crews, Dolph Ziggler, and AJ Styles, respectively. On the May 26 episode of SmackDown, Alberto Del Rio defeated Zack Ryder to qualify for the match.
At Payback, the final match in a tournament to determine the #1 contender for the WWE Tag Team Championship, pitting The Vaudevillains (Aiden English and Simon Gotch) against Enzo and Cass, ended in a no contest after Enzo Amore suffered a legit concussion. Subsequently, the Vaudevillains challenged WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day at Extreme Rules in a losing effort. On the May 30 episode of Raw, during a rematch between The Vaudevillains and The New Day, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson attacked The New Day. The following week on Raw, The Vaudevillains defeated Enzo & Cass by disqualification. Later in the night, Gallows and Anderson defeated The New Day. Taking an idea by Teddy Long, Stephanie McMahon scheduled the four teams in a match at Money in the Bank in a Fatal 4-Way match for the WWE Tag Team Championship.
On the May 26 episode of SmackDown, after WWE United States Champion Rusev defeated Kalisto to retain the title, Titus O'Neil came out to help Kalisto when Rusev refused to break his Accolade submission hold. On the May 30 episode of Raw, after defeating Zack Ryder, Rusev started to insult the crowd and declared himself a "true American hero", leading to O'Neil coming out and punching Rusev. On June 8, a match between O'Neil and Rusev for the United States Championship was scheduled for Money in the Bank. On the June 13 episode of Raw, Titus O'Neil walked out for his match when Rusev attacked him on the stage and applied the Accolade, as WWE officials tried to pull Rusev off of O'Neil.
At Extreme Rules, WWE Women's Champion Charlotte defeated Natalya due to distraction by Dana Brooke dressing as Ric Flair. On the May 23 episode of Raw, Charlotte turned on her father Ric Flair, claiming he was no longer needed and therefore, aligned herself with Dana Brooke as her protege. On the May 26 episode of SmackDown, Natalya defeated Brooke by disqualification. On the May 30 episode of Raw, after Brooke defeated Natalya, Becky Lynch came out to help Natalya. On the June 2 episode of SmackDown, Lynch defeated Charlotte by disqualification. On the June 9 episode of SmackDown, Lynch defeated Brooke. On June 13, a match pitting Charlotte and Brooke against Natalya and Lynch was scheduled for Money in the Bank.
At the Extreme Rules Kickoff pre-show, Baron Corbin defeated Dolph Ziggler in a No Disqualification match after deliberately using a low blow before the End of Days. The next night on Raw, Ziggler challenged Corbin to a "technical wrestling match" for next week on Raw, which Corbin accepted. On the May 30 editon of Raw, Ziggler was disqualified after deliberately hitting Corbin with a low blow as retaliation for what happened at Extreme Rules. On June 17, another match between the two was scheduled for Money in the Bank.
On the May 23 episode of Raw, frustration toward losing his Money in the Bank qualifying match to Sami Zayn earlier in the night, Sheamus attacked Apollo Crews during a backstage interview with Renee Young, telling Crews that he's sick of him promoting the "New Era" and that no one would replace him, leading to Crews losing his Money in the Bank qualifying match to Chris Jericho later in the show. On the June 9 episode of SmackDown, backstage watching the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows movie, Sheamus bragged to Zack Ryder, Goldust, R-Truth, and Summer Rae about how great he was and how everyone should be waiting on him and how he is an A-list star, leading to Apollo Crews confronting Sheamus and punching him, sending Sheamus into a number of cardboard boxes behind him. On the June 13 episode of Raw, after defeating Zack Ryder, Sheamus continued to viciously attack Ryder leading to Crews coming down to help Ryder. On June 17, a match pitting the two was scheduled for Money in the Bank.
After Goldust replaced R-Truth with Fandango as his tag team partner in their match in the Team Championship #1 contender tournament on the April 14 episode of SmackDown, R-Truth found a new partner in Tyler Breeze. Following singles match victory on Raw by Breeze over Goldust and R-Truth over Fandango, the two teams faced each other on the May 12 episode of SmackDown; Tyler Breeze and R-Truth defeated Golddust and Fandango when Fandango turned on his partner. After the match, Fandango and Breeze continued to attack Goldust, who was then rescued by R-Truth. After Breezango (Breeze and Fandango's new tag team name) defeated Golden Truth (Goldust and R-Truth) on the May 16 and the May 26 episode of Raw, a third match between the two teams was scheduled on June 17 for the Money in the Bank Kickoff pre-show.
|English commentators||Michael Cole (PPV)|
|John "Bradshaw" Layfield (PPV)|
|Byron Saxton (PPV + Pre-show)|
|Mauro Ranallo (Pre-show)|
|Spanish commentators||Carlos Cabrera|
|German commentators||Carsten Schaefer|
|Ring announcers||Lilian Garcia|
|Backstage interviewer||Tom Phillips|
|Pre-show panel||Renee Young|
During the Money in the Bank Kickoff pre-show, Golden Truth (Goldust and R-Truth) faced Breezango (Tyler Breeze and Fandango). Breezango suffered from major cases of sunburn, which their opponents exploited throughout the match. The end came when Goldust executed a Final Cut on Fandango to win the match.
Later, The Lucha Dragons (Kalisto and Sin Cara) wrestled The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray Dudley and D-Von Dudley). In the end, Kalisto executed a Salida Del Sol on Bubba Ray, followed by Sin Cara's Swanton Bomb to win the match.
The actual pay-per-view opened with The New Day (Big E and Kofi Kingston) defending the Tag Team Championship against Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, Enzo and Cass, and The Vaudevillains (Aiden English and Simon Gotch) in a Fatal 4-Way Tag Team match. The match ended with Big E and Kingston executing the Midnight Hour on Anderson and pinned English to retain the title.
After that, Women's Champion Charlotte and Dana Brooke faced Natalya and Becky Lynch. The end came when Charlotte executed a Natural Selection on Natalya to win the match. After the match, Becky tried to console Natalya, who responded by attacking Becky, thus turning heel.
In the fifth match, AJ Styles faced John Cena. During the match, both wrestlers managed to execute their respective finishing moves - Cena an Attitude Adjustment and Styles a Styles Clash - but in both cases the opponent kicked out at two. Styles applied the Calf Crusher on Cena and Cena applied the STF on Styles, but neither man submitted. Cena executed a second Attitude Adjustment on Styles, but in the process accidentally knocked down the referee. Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows interfered, executed a Magic Killer on Cena and placed Styles on top of him. The referee, who had not witnessed anything, recovered and counted the pinfall victory for Styles.
Next was the Money in the Bank ladder match involving Dean Ambrose, Alberto Del Rio, Cesaro, Chris Jericho, Kevin Owens, and Sami Zayn. The ending saw Ambrose pull Owens into a ladder, knocking Owens onto a ladder bridged between another ladder and the ring corner, and unhooked the briefcase to win the match and the contract for a WWE World Heavyweight Championship title match.
In the main event, Roman Reigns defended the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Seth Rollins. Reigns executed two Superman Punches, but both times Rollins kicked out. Reigns collided with the barricade when he attempted to spear Rollins outside the ring, leading to medical personnel checking on Reigns. Rollins attempted a Pedigree on Reigns, who responded with a Spear on Rollins. As the referee had been knocked down too, Rollins was able to kick out at two. In the end, Reigns attempted another Spear but Rollins countered with a Pedigree on Reigns for a near-fall. Rollins executed a second Pedigree to win the match and the championship.
After the match, Dean Ambrose's entrance theme began to play, Rollins anticipated that he would appear at the walkway but instead Ambrose appeared behind Rollins and hit him with the Money in the Bank briefcase. Ambrose then cashed in his Money in the Bank contract, executed Dirty Deeds on Rollins and pinned him for the victory and the title.
"Money in the Bank" had three matches praised by multiple reviewers (Cena-Styles, Reigns-Rollins, and the ladder match), although different reviewers found some faults with one or more of these matches. Meanwhile, the rest of the undercard was not as well received.
James Caldwell of Pro Wrestling Torch reviewed most of the event's matches, giving the Reigns-Rollins world title match 3.5 (out of 5) stars due to a "very strong second half after a sluggish first half with Reigns playing a heel throughout". Caldwell attributed Ambrose's title win to WWE needing "to do something after the 2.03 TV rating on Monday" for Raw, leading to "WWE switching the belt the one clear, 100 percent, Daniel Bryan-like babyface they have at the top of the card". Two of the event's matches were jointly best rated at 3.75 stars: Cena-Styles, "three-fourths of the way to an epic match that was hyped going into the PPV" but "Cena looked rusty"; as well as the ladder match, "very good" but with a predictable ending "since everyone got their shine while Ambrose was mainly in the background during the match". The rest of the matches on the pay-per-view broadcast were rated between 2.0 and 2.5 stars: the tag title match was "a bit of a mess"; "Ziggler made [Corbin] look good"; Lynch and Natalya should have gotten a "credibility-boosting victory since they always lose to Charlotte"; Crews's win was "unconvincing", and Rusev was repeating his 2014 storyline with the U.S. title.
Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer deemed the first pre-show match a "nothing match" and the second pre-show match "normal". He opined that the tag title match drew the crowd into it but that the "execution was rough". Meltzer was negative on Corbin-Ziggler, which he called "too long", as the "feud has done Ziggler no favors" while "Corbin just doesn't show much of anything". The finish of Crews-Sheamus made him think "it's just the beginning between these two." The next two matches Meltzer deemed "excellent": Cena-Styles was about Styles being "the better wrestler than Cena, beating him at every turn but he couldn't finish him", while in the ladder match everyone (especially Cesaro) "took big ladder bumps but there was nothing really insane like used to be in such matches. Meltzer wrote the U.S. title match "was in the death spot" and "really had no chance with the crowd" despite Rusev and O'Neil having "worked hard in a physical match." The Reigns-Rollins match he called "flat at times because it went so long" and that Rollins was "not that over as a face" while "people just weren't into Reigns at all".
Jason Namako of Wrestleview felt that Money in the Bank was "a damn good show" with a "phenomenal ending", including the Reigns-Rollins world title match, which was Namako's match of the night, followed by "the resurrection of Dean Ambrose as a player in this company", which he called "an amazing success". Ambrose was Namako's Most Valuable Player of the night, with his "insane" ladder match featuring "tremendous effort" by all six men involved. Another notable match was the tag title match, a "super-fun opener with a real hot, frenetic pace to it". Meanwhile, Corbin-Ziggler was "solid", Crews-Sheamus was "decent", and O'Neil and Rusev "did the best they could" in the "epitome of a cool-down match". However, Namako felt the show also had negatives: the "masterful performance" by Cena and Styles was "tarnished by timid booking" with an "unneeded cheap finish" which did not "help Styles in the slightest"; while the women's match was "run-of-the-mill" and "it unfortunately looks like we are right back where we started one year ago before the 'Divas Revolution' began".
Aaron Oster, writing for The Baltimore Sun, wrote that Ambrose's win of the ladder match was predictable, yet "the main event was anything but predictable". Oster attributed the television overrun of the show to two reasons: firstly viewers who were watching the Game 7 of the NBA Finals could watch the main event, and secondly "it kept fans guessing exactly when it would end". "Hypothetically, if things go as the WWE wants with Brock Lesnar returning to UFC", Oster speculated, "many more eyes than usual will be turning toward the company for the entire summer, and especially at Summerslam. To have Dean Ambrose be the champion when that is happening is a huge statement from the company that shows how much confidence that they have in him." For the other events, Oster felt it was "weird" to portray Crews as an "underdog" but that was still "better than having absolutely no direction with him." Meanwhile, "Rusev as a jerk heel, and not simply an anti-American heel, is really a fantastic thing." Oster also remarked that Golden Truth had fan support but doubted that WWE would "actually go anywhere with it."
The day after Money in the Bank, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins wrestled on Raw for a future shot at Dean Ambrose's world title, which was shortened back to being called the WWE Championship. That match ended in a double count-out, so Ambrose agreed to face both men, and Shane McMahon arranged a triple threat world title match at Battleground. On June 21, two days after Money in the Bank, Roman Reigns was suspended for 30 days for violating WWE's Wellness Program, which uses drug testing to detect substance abuse. Pro Wrestling Torch and TheWrap reported that WWE knew of Reigns's violation before Money in the Bank, leading to Reigns being scripted to lose his world title at the event. WWE continued to advertise Reigns as part of the Battleground main event. In July, Ambrose successfully defended the title in two singles match against Rollins on both Raw and SmackDown before Battleground. On July 19 at the 2016 WWE draft, Ambrose was drafted to SmackDown, bringing the WWE Championship with him, while Rollins and Reigns were drafted to Raw. On July 24 at Battleground, Ambrose defeated Rollins and Reigns by pinning the latter to retain the championship.
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