For all of the memorable matches and catchphrases that Chris Jericho has given us, arguably his best creation was the Money in the Bank ladder match. The idea is simple, a briefcase carrying a championship contract hangs above the ring. Several men enter, and they desperately climb over each other to get it. Whoever successfully grabs it can challenge the world champion whenever they like. Here’s the ranking of all 16 Money in the Bank winners.
This list is subjective, like everything in wrestling, so if you disagree, please leave your own top 16 in the comment section below or tweet at me @RyanSmithLWOS. When listing the winners, I considered three things.
- What kind of Mr. Money in the Bank were they?
- Was the cash-in memorable?
- What kind of champion were they?
Ranking All 16 Money in the Bank Winners
16. Mr. Kennedy
Mr. Kennedy (or Anderson) holds the distinct dishonor of being the only man to win the Money in the Bank ladder match without getting a chance to cash in. He’s one of three men to win the ladder match without becoming champion as a result, but Edge (who I feel like might show up on this list again) beat him for the briefcase 36 days after he won it. As a result, he’s the worst winner to date.
15. Damien Sandow
Damien Sandow also holds a distinct dishonor. Sandow is the only wrestler to attempt to cash in, only to lose. He attempted to cash in on John Cena on an episode of Raw after assaulting his injured arm with the briefcase and a steel chair. Despite that, Cena was able to hit the AA on Sandow, retaining his title. Being the only Mr. Money in the Bank to ever lose his match? Pretty sad. But hey, speaking of John Cena.
14. John Cena
John Cena may not have lost his Money in the Bank cash-in, but he didn’t win either. He attempted to cash in on CM Punk on the 1,000th episode of Monday Night Raw, but the Big Show interfered. This meant that Cena won the match, but didn’t win the title. He became the very first wrestler to cash in without becoming champion. This wasn’t as awful as Sandow or Kennedy, but it certainly wasn’t great either. The best part of Cena’s cash-in wasn’t the match itself, but CM Punk’s heel turn after the fact. Hmm. Wonder if that CM Punk guy will show up on this list at some point.
13. Jack Swagger
It’s easy to forget that A. Jack Swagger was ever Mr. Money in the Bank and B. that he was a world champion at one point. He didn’t hold the briefcase for very long, and even though he was victorious in his contracted title match against Chris Jericho (the man that invented the match and is still somehow absent from this list), he was a terrible champion. He was in way over his head, and clearly wasn’t a main event talent.
A lot of things went wrong for Sheamus in 2015. His new “monster heel” gimmick was a total flop, he ended Daniel Bryan‘s career, he was booked terribly, and he was put into a stable with talented wrestlers that went absolutely nowhere. When Sheamus cashed in on Roman Reigns at Survivor Series, it was out of desperation. The WWE weren’t ready to trust Dean Ambrose as a champion yet, Seth Rollins had just blown out his knee, and fans were not having any of Roman Reigns as champion.
Sheamus’ run as WWE World Heavyweight Champion was so bad that ratings sunk to their lowest in twenty years. He was such a boring champion that the Philadelphia crowd cheered Roman Reigns beating him on Raw. Yeah. Sheamus was so bad that the ECW crowd cheered Roman Reigns.
11. Alberto Del Rio
Imagine being the guy that Vince McMahon wants to push. Just imagine how easy your job must be when the boss really believes in you. He believes in you so much that you win the Royal Rumble and the Money in the Bank match in the same year. Now imagine that in the main event of the pay per view that saw you win the briefcase, one of the best matches in WWE history happened. That’s what happened to Alberto Del Rio.
Frankly, Alberto Del Rio wasn’t a bad Mr. Money in the Bank, and even though it required assistance from Kevin Nash, his cash-in wasn’t bad either. But like everything else that happened in the world of professional wrestling in the summer of 2011, his run was completely overshadowed by the carnage left behind CM Punk’s pipe bomb.
Kane thought about doing the whole “Mr. Money in the Bank” thing for a while, and then he changed his mind, cashing in on Rey Mysterio after Jack Swagger beat him up. Poor Rey, he never really got his due in WWE. In any event, Kane left a lot to be desired, since his run with the briefcase was less than the length of the event, and then his championship run was forgettable. He spent most of his reign living in the shadow of his opponent, The Undertaker. What else is new?
9. Randy Orton
This is where the tide turns and we start seeing the really great Mr. Money in the Banks. Randy Orton was still a good guy when he originally own the briefcase. In fact, after Daniel Bryan was able to defeat John Cena, it looked like Orton was going to wait to fight another day.
That’s when Triple H turned heel. The Game had acted as special guest referee during the match, and had called things down the middle. However, after Orton came down the ramp, HHH hit Bryan with the Pedigree, basically delivering the belt to Orton. Orton would go on to be the face of the company, defeating Cena to become the first WWE World Heavyweight Champion before losing the belts to Bryan at WrestleMania.
Orton may have been a boring champion, and fans may have preferred that someone else won the briefcase, but this cash-in plays a big part in a story… that we’ll talk about again later in this piece. That’s called foreshadowing, folks.
8. The Miz
It’s funny. At the time, I remember being furious that The Miz was Mr. Money in the Bank. But if he’s our next Mr. MITB (and I think he will be), I will be ecstatic. He’s improved so much in and out of the ring, and he deserves to be WWE Champion. I never thought I’d say that.
Or I certainly didn’t back in 2010. The Miz’ run as Mr. Money in the Bank was kindof annoying. But then again, so was he. There’s nothing really special about this run. He cashed in on Randy Orton after help from the Nexus, and his title reign was just an accessory to the feud between Cena and The Rock. Hopefully I’m right, and Miz can earn a higher spot on this list.
7. Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler waited a lifetime to cash in his briefcase, but when he did, he got the reaction of a lifetime. It’s true that dumb booking and a badly timed concussion ruined Ziggler’s title reign, but when he cashed in on Alberto Del Rio the night after WrestleMania, it was a fantastic moment. Considering the duo pulled off a double-turn during their championship rematch, his run as Mr. MITB should be remembered for what it was, and not what it should have been.
6. Dean Ambrose
Like Kane, Dean Ambrose decided that waiting was for the birds, and he cashed in the same night he won it. What made this cash-in special wasn’t the why, it was the who and the when. Ambrose cashed in on Seth Rollins immediately after Seth Rollins defeated Roman Reigns. I don’t know if you’re aware, but those three were buddies for a while in this little-known faction called The Shield. Look them up on the network sometime.
Over the span of five minutes, all three members of the Hounds of Justice were WWE World Heavyweight Champions. That’s a really cool moment for all three men. And when you consider that Ambrose helped carry the championship through the brandsplit and into the new era of WWE, it’s not all bad. Especially because he ended up dropping the belt to AJ Styles, who I’d like to add to this list at some point in the near future, wink wink.
5. Rob Van Dam
This cash-in was… one of a kind. To this day, Rob… Van… Dam remains the only Mr. Money in the Bank that announced when he’d be cashing in, and succeeding to do so. When you consider that RVD cashed in at the “One Night Stand” ECW pay per view, in front of a wild crowd, it was a great moment. Unfortunately, Rob Van Dam’s decent title reign was cut short. Know why? Why Man? Well…
4. Daniel Bryan
To explain why Daniel Bryan’s cash-in was so phenomenal, you have to look two years into the future. Few people remember this now, but the Yes chant was originally a heel thing. As World Heavyweight Champion, he’d cockily chant yes on the way to the ring, like he’d already won the match. At WrestleMania that year, he’d get destroyed by Sheamus in an 18 second match, losing the title. The Yes and No chants propelled Bryan to one of the biggest pushes in WWE history.
So, he was an amusing character as Mr. Money in the Bank, and it was great for Bryan to pin Big Show after his gruesome title match with Mark Henry. But it was what would happen during and after his title reign that made his time with the briefcase and the big gold belt so special.
Don’t believe me? Watch any episode of SmackDown Live, and tell me how b-a-n-a-n-a-s that crowd goes when flight of the valkyries hits.
3. CM Punk
CM Punk is number three because, well, he did it twice, in back to back years. The first time, he put an interesting twist on it, being the first babyface to take advantage of an injured heel when he cashed in on Edge. Punk’s run with the title was lackluster, but it wasn’t completely his fault. He took a backseat to established stars, and to be honest, he probably wasn’t ready to be champion.
However, a year later, Punk won the briefcase again. This time, he would take advantage of fan-favorite, Jeff Hardy, hitting him with the GTS twice before getting the win. This would launch the WWE version of Punk’s famous “straightedge” gimmick from the indies. His feud with Hardy was one of the best of his career, and is underrated.
CM Punk defeated John Cena in one of WWE’s best matches of all time, in his home town of Chicago, on what show? Oh, that’s right, the Money in the Bank pay per view.
It’s impossible to have a list about the Money in the Bank briefcase without mentioning the Rated R Superstar, Edge. Edge is one of only two men to cash in the briefcase more than once, and it played into his gimmick as the ultimate opportunist. It was actually Edge’s idea for Mr. MITB to cash in on an injured or tired champion, and now that’s commonplace. However, there was one Mr. Money in the Bank that stands on a taller ladder than all of them.
1. Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins was a great Mr. Money in the Bank, and part of that was just the reaction to Brock Lesnar being an absentee champion. Because Lesnar wasn’t on Monday Night Raw every week, whenever he did show up, every encounter with Rollins was tense. After his Royal Rumble match against Lesnar and Cena, Rollins solidified his status as a main event talent before he even won the belt.
And then he won the belt, and it was glorious. Rollins became the first man to ever cash in the briefcase at WrestleMania, turning the bout between Lesnar and Roman Reigns into a triple threat, where Rollins would win. He was great with the briefcase, his cash in was legendary, and it produced a WrestleMania moment. I don’t think a cash-in could possibly top this one.
A lot of the same names pop up for Money in the Bank cash-ins. Edge was involved in six cash-ins. He cashed in twice, was cashed in once, and interfered in the other three. The Big Show, despite never winning the briefcase himself, was involved with two. John Cena was involved in six cash-ins, being the champion in three situations, and being involved in the match before the cash-in twice. And last but not least, Punk cashed in twice, was unsuccessfully cashed in once, and successfully cashed on once.
Not to mention, the Shield have been involved in each of the last three cash-ins, with Roman Reigns being cashed in on twice. Though I guess you’re bound to lose the title all sorts of ways when you hold a championship three times over the course of six months.
Thanks for reading! Again, these were just my opinions. I’d love to hear your list and read your explanations, so by all means, leave it in the comment section below or harass me on twitter @RyanSmithLWOS. I’ll be the one tweeting unlikely returns for the demon, Finn Balor.