The history of the Money in the Bank Ladder Match is one marked by reckless abandon, endless fortitude and more than a little bit of luck, but it was betrayal that defined the Money in the Bank “All-Stars” Match. With CM Punk a tattooed hand away from gripping a record third briefcase, the slimy Paul Heyman entered the fray and repeatedly bashed his supposed best friend — his “guy” — with a steel ladder. The brazen assault nullified The Straight Edge Superstar, giving Randy Orton the opportunity to capture his first Money in the Bank contract.
It was an underhanded ending to a match that exemplified the best Punk, Orton, Daniel Bryan, Christian, Sheamus and a returning Rob Van Dam had to offer. Billed appropriately as “All-Stars,” six of WWE’s true greats — minus a missing Kane who was sidelined by a savage Wyatt Family attack — risked it all for a guaranteed WWE Title opportunity and, debatably, an instant championship reign, as history’s proven.
Still, the talk of the WWE fans exiting the Wells Fargo Center focused not on dramatic flips and falls, but on the realization that the friendship between Punk and Heyman was even more strained than the WWE Universe imagined — and that a long coiled Viper is once again ready to strike.
The final match of the night began with a hero’s welcome for RVD who was returning to WWE in the city where he made his name. Six years removed from his last WWE run, the ageless Van Dam looked as good as he did when he first entered Extreme Championship Wrestling nearly two decades ago. The Philly fans, sensing a classic before the bell even rang, began to shake the arena as the ring filled up with future WWE Hall of Famers. And then all hell broke loose.
CM Punk def. Randy Orton
In a bout between two of WWE’s most vicious Superstars, it was CM Punk who came out on top once Vickie Guerrero’s final match as Managing Supervisor was said and done, avenging a WrestleMania loss to hand Randy Orton another high-profile defeat. Punk started strong, but Orton steadily dismantled The Straight Edge Superstar by targeting his ribs and back to leave him writhing.
Orton’s sadistic tendencies got the better of him as he laid a barrage of punches on Punk’s head against the turnbuckle, though, giving Punk time to writhe free and the wind to counter the RKO with a kick to the head. One Go to Sleep later and Orton’s night was over. But Daniel Bryan wasn’t about to leave without making a statement of his own, dissecting Punk with kicks and bulldozing Orton with a ladder before clutching the coveted briefcase for his own.
Brutal? Yes. Dangerous? Certainly. But when it comes to Money in the Bank, such things are all in the game.