Nowadays it is easy to become very critical when analyzing a WWE pay-per-view match, especially when it carries the high expectations that the SmackDown ladder match held last night at Money In The Bank 2012.
The majority of predictions made had Dolph Ziggler winning the contract—so that ultimately was no surprise—but the eight competitors still managed to kick off the show with an, all things considered, very solid ladder match.
I say all-things-considered because with so many guys in a non-battle royal match, everybody has to sell even the medium impact spots like they were hit by a runaway Chrysler. But the high spots were there.
Tensai was definitely the heavy in the match and went through the customary "clearing house spot" at least once. But Tensai also managed to work his usual stiff kind of spots, especially when he power bombed Sin Cara so hard into a ladder that it started to come apart. (Side note: My favorite sign in the crowd - "Tensai = Fat")
Santino did what Santino does—he brought the comedy. Whether it was showing a sudden fear of heights or hitting each rung of the ladder with his face as he slid down, Santino brought levity into the match and helped bridge some of the rest spots. Thanks for coming, Santino. Collect your check.
Christian was certainly the veteran of the contest, having competed in some of the most famous ladder matches over the years. I loved the fact that he broke out the ladder spear from over 10 years ago. (Sadly, the bar I was in could have cared less. I think I took a shot of Beam.)
Tyson Kidd and Damien Sandow were probably the two with the most to prove considering it was their first high profile pay-per-view match, and their output was more than above par for the course. Kidd crushed it with what ended up becoming a springboard sunset face buster from the ladder—great pops from the bar on that one. Sandow's work in the ring should put him into a mid-card title feud. His execution was crisp, especially in transitioning from spot to spot.
Poor Sin Cara, as stated above, was the victim of Tensai's stiff work, but still managed to pull off a couple of high spots. Overall, it seemed that he was trying to move too fast, and a lot of sets seemed rushed with the other superstars. (And Hunico is the one working the pre-show. Then again, so is Kofi.)
Ziggler and Cody Rhodes tangled with each other more than once, which hopefully we will get a feud brewing for the future. It was the SmackDown equivalent of Punk-Bryan. At MITB, Ziggler pulled off the usual big bumps (especially when Tensai launched him over the announcers' table into the barricade) and more than a couple of his popping drop kicks. All eyes were certainly on him, but Rhodes deserves credit as well for furthering his stock and hopefully securing a few more main event appearances in the future. That Disaster Kick is always fun to see from different set-ups.
Comparing this ladder matche to MITB matches of the past is a little tough since there have been bigger, riskier spots in previous years. But as opposed to the Raw MITB match, this showed what WWE has coming up through the ranks in terms of high caliber talent.
Of course, now with MITB behind us, the question becomes: Will WWE continue to push these guys heading into SummerSlam and beyond?