(Alan is away on his holidays so this week’s Linus Report is brought to you by his erstwhile tag-team partner, Chris Moyse. Enjoy!)

Welcome to Columbus, Ohio for WWE Money in the Bank 2015, that one match which tells that one story that has become an annual PPV!
I’m Chris, your host for this write-up. I’m sure we’ll be Forever Friends.

Everyone is on stage for a ten-bell salute to the great Dusty Rhodes. Vince is quietly losing it. Lots of signs for Dust in the audience tonight, and he gets a heartfelt chant once the last bell rings out. I think Dusty is great, he had some questionable moments when working as a booker, but the overall entertainment he provided throughout his career, and his rad elbow drop, takes precedence over that. One of the most unique performers the industry will ever see.

Money In The Bank
match
Randy Orton vs Neville vs Dolph Ziggler vs Kofi Kingston vs Sheamus vs Roman Reigns:
We’re underway with one my least favourite gimmick matches of all time. Ziggler came out with Lana, but then she wandered off. I get that Kane is “corporate” now but that still doesn’t explain why he wears suit trousers to his matches, he should still have wrestling gear. If you go on a lame team-building exercise with work they don’t say “Oh, and wear your uniform.” Reigns got a subdued reaction on his entrance, but it became increasingly negative as the match progressed.

This was that MITB match you’ve seen, though it very much centered on pairing people off to fight together in the ring, with very few multi-man moments, this felt odd as it had extended periods of people just lying around on the outside after only taking minor damage.
Orton hit three RKO’s in a row, and each was better than the last, that was neat. Neville’s Red Arrow to a downed Sheamus popped a short NXT chant. Ziggler bust himself open during a ladder-top brawl with Neville.
Eventually, Reigns cleared the ring and hit an Undertaker-like dive over the top onto the boys (though he didn’t do an Undertaker-like brain crush landing) The New Day came out to help Kofi return to the ring but Reigns saw them off, before powerbombing Kofi back outside onto the pile of bodies.

Looking to be the clear winner, Reigns climbs for the briefcase, when suddenly *DYET!* the lights went out and when they *DYET!* returned, Bray Wyatt was now in the ring. Wyatt toppled Reigns from the ladder and hit Sister Abigail to take him out of the match.

With everybody inexplicably dead on the outside, Sheamus climbs for glory. Neville leaps back into action and meets him at the summit with a flurry of punches. In the weakest MITB ending since Jack Swagger took NINE HOURS to unhook the case, Sheamus simply claws at Neville’s forehead and pries him off the ladder and, seconds later, Sheamus is now Mr. Money in the Bank.
People already like to mock Sheamus for looking stupid, just wait until he’s carrying that fucking briefcase at every show.

This match was alright. There’s only so many times you can reinvent the MITB match, and I think it’s long run its course. After the match, the camera showed close-ups of the losers, and hilariously cuts away from Orton as he’s clearly about to say “Awww..Fuck”

Backstage Renee is looking gorgeous as always, though she’s wearing a necklace that looks like stolen Nazi gold. She introduces Paige, who awesomely slides into shot like she’s Michael J. Fox. Paige says that The Bellas are “Crrraarrrftyyy” but that she is the gal to take them down, take the title back and “create change.. for you, Dusty” which is a noble note to end her promo on, but doesn’t really make any sense. Still, it got a pop, right?

WWE Divas Championship match: Nikki Bella (c) vs Paige:
Nikki comes out sans Brie. I’m telling you right now, she hates wearing that backwards baseball hat. The challenger follows,  If I had £1 for every stud Paige wears on her ring gear, I’d have £114, more or less.
Paige takes control, throwing Nikki to the outside and barely landing a rolling senton from the apron. Nikki brains Paige off the barrier and the crowd start a “Let’s go, Paige” chant. They show the other Divas watching backstage, one of them has cornrows, but I don’t know which one it is because they all look alike to me. I’m not sexist, some of my best friends are Divas.

Back in the ring, Nikki channels Scott Steiner and starts performing push-ups. Nikki hits a slingshot suplex and JBL actually compares her to Tully Blanchard. Paige’s strikes are absolutely HORRENDOUS, especially considering she has this “street-tough” schtick, she hits a flurry of knees that are laughable and some elbows and backhands that miss their mark entirely.

Nikki lands a spinebuster, and JBL neglects to compare her to Arn Anderson, she goes for the Rack Attack but Paige counters into RamPaige, though only getting a two-count.
The girls spill to the outside, where a prone Nikki is replaced by Brie, who has hidden under the ring. Surprise ensues however when, back in the ring, Paige reverses Brie’s sneaky roll-up for the three count. We have a bell-ring, an official announcement, and a new Diva’s Champion.

It you don’t know where this is going, and why, I’ll be flabbergasted..

Brie panics, and desperately explains to the the ref that she isn’t Nikki, hilariously proving it by pulling balls of tissue out of her top to show shes the one with “small” boobs. Paige gladly kicks her in the face for her troubles, then turns around into NIKKI BELLA ELBOW. A quick Rack Attack later, and the champion has retained.

Okay, I get it. we ALL get it. But still, this was a shitty finish. Columbus thinks so too, as the match gets the wrong kind of heat. Paige’s horrible striking aside, this was a fine match, but the ending sucked, not because of the girls, who all did a really good job selling the story (Nikki mopping up fake tears with Brie’s boob tissue was great) but it sucked just because that ending has always sucked.

Always.

TV promo for Swerved. Basically Punk’d but with WWE roster members getting the pranks pulled on them. Looks absolutely atrocious, microphones wiped in poo, fart sound effects, etc. Available only on WWE Network. Sign me up.

Miz is out because he’s from Ohio or something. Heeling on the crowd, Miz laments not being IC champion. He’s dreadful. I don’t know how he got to any major level in the company and remained there. I don’t care about him and Ohio is already bored of his promo, regardless he is here to provide commentary for the following match.

Intercontinental Championship match
The Ryback (c) vs The Big Show:

They show footage from Raw of The Ryback hitting Show with the Shell Shock. Well, we won’t be seeing that tonight, then.
The Ryback opens the match with a spinebuster and two Meat Hooks, before leaving the ring to beat up Miz. Back inside, Show takes control with some lame offence but The Ryback monsters up and lands a genuinely cool suplex. Big Show hits his Chokeslam and starts to work over The Ryback, but Miz simply scrambles into the ring and attacks both men for the DQ finish in Show’s favour.
Nothing match. No different from anything you’d see on Raw, and did nothing for anybody involved.

Your favourite music star MGK is on Raw tonight. I’m SO looking forward to that, I wish it was Monday night right now, I might go to bed after writing this so it comes quicker!!!

John Cena vs Kevin Owens:
Crowd mostly behind the tubby underdog (if he is the underdog) For all the grief people give Cena, he’s one of the best ever at just simply “going with” the reaction he’s given and attempting to adjust to it on the fly.
Crowd are HOT for the match. Owens takes control early, and hits Cena-esque shoulder blocks, the Protoplex and the Five-Knuckle shuffle, though Cena reverses an attempted AA into his dreadful STF. Though he escapes, Owens soon finds himself on the receiving end of Cena’s patented moveset. Fight Owens Fights back with the Cannonball, and once again becomes dominant in the match, but Cena gets his knees up to block Owen’s attempted swanton. Following up with an ECD and the Attitude Adjustment, Cena only gets a two count.

An attempted top-rope AA is countered by Owens into a sit-out powerbomb. The crowd are on fire at this point.
Both men hit a succession of big moves, failing to get the pinfall. Owens misses the moonsault and ends up eating a 2nd AA. We get a Super Fisherman’s Buster from Owens, and even a Code Red (remember that?) from Cena, but, even after Owens’ Pop-up Powerbomb (which the director fucking misses) we still don’t have a winner.
The live crowd is going ballistic.

Owens attacks Cena with some wild, ugly strikes, but Cena slips through, hits his springboard stunner, and immediately follows up with a third Attitude Adjustment for the 1-2-3. After the match, to a standing ovation, Cena loudly praises Owens and offers him a handshake.
…Sami’s about to get a new ward-mate.
Owens ruthlessly boots John out of the ring, and then powerbombs him onto the apron, before laughing maniacally at the carnage.

This was an excellent match. It had some spots of ridiculous psychology, and the Code Red was really ugly, but the two men involved worked solidly and fluidly, keeping the crowd immersed for the entire duration of the bout. The announcers did a great job calling the match and, despite the loss, Owens’ image was totally protected. One of the best WWE matches I’ve seen in a long time.

Backstage Renee is with Dean Ambrose. Dean’s ready to rumble, still runnin’ around with the stolen WWE title, and he says he’s ready to prove tonight that the belt belongs to him. He’s so hot.

WWE Tag-Team Championship match
New Day (c) vs Prime Time Players:

Big E.s “happy” persona is great, he gives Darren Young a suplex and stands up with a terrifying smile. New Day control Young whilst the crowd do their best to stay involved, having drained themselves of hype during the previous match. Young eventually tags out to Titus O’Neill who comes in to clean house. Big E. spears Young through the ropes, taking out both men. O’Neill then hits a sit-out spinebuster on Xavier Woods and, just like that, we have new tag champions.

This was a fine match for what it was. Very basic, little more than Raw length, and not really sold as important, despite the title change. Still, the crowd somewhat reacted to the match, despite being burned out.

Behind the Desk Renee is with Graves, Saxton and Booker T. They said some stuff, Renee outclasses them, of course.
Michael Cole officially announces Roman Reigns vs Bray Wyatt for Battleground.

Seth Rollins is backstage with J&J Security (really? still?) Kane takes time out to mock him. Then Hunter and Steph show up, Steph tells him to get the job done, or face the consequences, then Hunter gives him an angry pep talk.

Ladder match for WWE World Heavyweight title:
Seth Rollins (c) vs Dean Ambrose:
These are two men that feel like they should be perfect opponents in the ring, but given the limitations of the ladder match concept and its tiresome “slow climbing” periods, it will be interesting to see what they pull out of the bag. The match is a constant back and forth affair, alternating between high impact moves, violent weapon work and some wild ringside scrapping. Out of interest, do you know how much Rollins x Ambrose x Reigns sexy fan-fiction there is out there?
Hint: A lot.

After a standard wrestling opening and a brief fight up the aisle, the ladder is introduced into the ring. Ambrose maintains steady control over the fight whilst Rollins plays the Irritatingly Determined Weasel (which is a far better nickname than “The Architect”) Ambrose hits a suplex onto the ladder, then leaps off it with a Bionic Elbow. Rollins then introduces a chair, both to the mix and to Ambrose’ knees.
The crowd is still into the show, still clapping and chanting along with the unfolding action. They deserve a chant themselves for still having juice left in the tank.
Rollins continues to work over the knee with strikes, chairshots and a ringpost figure-four, but gets toppled from the ladder when he goes for the title. The crowd are calling for tables, but that’s another PPV entirely, sorry kids.

Both men battle to the outside and end up scrapping in the stands, like 1998 never happened. This ends in an awkward spot where Rollins has to hang around the announcers desk waiting for Ambrose to return a little too long.
Ambrose hits Dirty Deeds onto the announce table and begins his ascent to glory, but he is interrupted by Rollins with a monitor to the kneecap and The Pedigree. Spilling back outside, Rollins gives Dean not one but two sickening powerbombs into the barricades, and then onto a ladder. No thanks. Rollins literally buries Ambrose underneath various ladders and chairs before returning to the ring to climb for the belt, amidst a chorus of Boo’s.
Like a sexy phoenix, Ambrose rises from the metal debris and chases Rollins up the ladder, meeting him at the top.

Remember earlier I said Sheamus had the worst ladder finish in forever?

After a struggle, Ambrose AND Rollins both unhook the belt and fall off the ladder together. When they land, they separate, and Rollins is holding the belt, which makes him the winner, it seems. The finish kills the crowd, they don’t boo all that much, they just sit there, probably expecting more shenanigans, seeing as that’s been the theme of the show. But nah, Rollins retains.

This was a good match with a crappy ending. Both men worked really well and sold a lot of stuff.  They also managed to hold a crowd who have sat through a LONG show and were totally spent. But the ending was poor, no-one likes a thirty minute battle to end by simple circumstance. Endings like this are akin to ending a title match with a count out, or a restart, or a nonsensical DQ

Y’know, like Dusty would’ve booked…
Waaait a minute…

This was a good show with great moments. Owens/Cena stole the show and then some, they’re made for each other. There were some other solid battles, Ambrose/Rollins, Bella/Paige and MITB were all good matches with crappy endings. It would seem too obvious to claim that this show was written with a knowing wink to the days when Dusty held the book, but if it genuinely wasn’t, then its a eerie coincidence, Daddeh.

See you tomorrow for Raw and, more importantly, MGK!