Mt. Killamanjaro: WWE Money in the Bank Review (7/15): Philadelphia, PA

Mike Killam

Brad Maddox comes down to cut a very long promo about becoming Raw general manager, and rants somewhat satirically on the success of Vickie Guerrero. Insert cheesy video package. This took up way too much, could have easily been played of on Raw, and killed any crowd momentum Philly built up during the introductory ladder match. 

Winner: Curtis Axel 
Rating: ***

The Miz used some old school Eddie Guerrero tactics to trick the referee into throwing Paul Heyman from ringside. The crowd immediately responded by chanting "we want Heyman". This is the kind of creative decision-making that explains why Miz as a babyface doesn't work. 

Figure Four. Perfect Plex. What is this, 1996? These two are Ric Flair and Mr. Perfect like the MLS is on par with Barclays. For you uncultured sports fans, that means they suck. More to the point, Miz as a face, on his own, sucks. Curtis Axel, without Paul Heyman – well, he doesn't quite suck, but he couldn't get a reaction out of a redneck at a NASCAR event. The only thing the crowd even remotely reacts to is the Perfect Plex, and they've made sure we understand he can never use it to put away his opponents. 

I actually really enjoy Axel, when he's not talking. Particularly, the subtlety about his ring work. Notice when he trips up an opponent on the apron, or kicks the bottom rope into somebody's face just because it's there. He's not just waiting for the guy to get back up and walk into the next set of predetermined sports entertainment maneuvers. Axel is a wrestler, from wrestling blood; unfortunately, his promo skills are more Hart Foundation than Four Horseman. 

Winner: AJ Lee via Black Widow submission
Rating: **1/2 

As a wrestling fan, I'm obligated to beat the proverbial dead horse, and say something like "this Divas match was decent, but not on par with what some of the Knockouts are doing in TNA." That being said, I don't generally feel the need to weigh one company against the other. They are on different playing fields, operating different products to different people. But both TNA and WWE are using their top female performers in positive ways, and I think that kind of forward thinking and behavior should be recognized and rewarded. Gold star.

Their Payback match was of better quality, but the AJ/Kaitlyn story continues to grow. It's also given Big E Langston something to attach himself to, separating the strange duo from Dolph Ziggler. I like that they're not just having the girls go out there and pull at hair, scratch at eyes and do a dozen terrible Thesz presses. Popularizing that move with the ladies is the worst thing Trish Stratus ever did for this business.

Kaitlyn has her size advantage and brutal move-set – including a wicked spear I never tire of seeing – and AJ consistently uses her size and speed in her favor. The Black Widow is a great hold; Gail Kim circa 2007 would be proud. It looks like they're building towards an AJ/Layla match in the near future. Kaitlyn adds way more of a personal and emotional touch to this story; unless they actually grow Layla's character, I'm not sure what she can actually bring to the angle. 

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