In two weeks, WWE holds it’s 9th annual Money In The Bank event, after spending the previous six years as a special attraction match at WrestleMania. It’s always been a fun spectacle of a match, with as many (if not more) surprise wins as there are predictable. And for the most part, the cash ins have resulted in some pretty crazy and memorable moments. But how has the briefcase that holds a guaranteed shot for the specified title at any time or place worked out for its 19 winners? Has everyone seen a career shift after cashing in? Or was it just a blip on the career, one of the cash ins that people often forget even happened unless brought up in lists like this. Here’s a look at all nineteen winners, ranked worst to best, and how they affected (or didn’t affect) their WWE careers.
Money In The Bank: How Each Cash In Worked Out For Its Winners
#19. MR. KENNEDY, WrestleMania 23 (2007)
Poor, poor Mr. Kennedy. Prior to WrestleMania 23, Mr. Kennedy was on a meteoric rise as one of the WWE’s most unlikely Superstars. A brash, trash talking brawler who introduced himself with an old time boxing microphone, Kennedy won over the fans and had them screaming his “KENNEDY…KENNEDY” along with him heading into 2007. A former WWE United States Champion, everyone assumed this was the start of what they all wanted – Mr. Kennedy was on the verge of becoming a World Champion. But just 36 days later, Smackdown‘s Kennedy would face Raw‘s Edge in a match for the briefcase on a Raw episode on May 7, 2007. Kennedy lost the briefcase, which Edge cashed in later that week on Smackdown against World Heavyweight Champion The Undertaker to win his first Big Gold (he’d won the WWE title twice prior). Kennedy’s career stagnated, then fell off and by the end of May 2009, he was gone from the company. He never won another WWE title after losing his briefcase (although he would move on to become a 2x Impact World Heavyweight Champion).
#18. DAMIEN SANDOW, Money In The Bank (Smackdown Match, 2013)
Almost from the start of his 2011 rebranding as Damien Sandow, “The Intellectual Savior of the Masses”, Sandow garnered a small cult following within the WWE Universe. It was slow to start, but by the time he won the 2013 Money in the Bank briefcase in the Smackdown match, his charisma had started to catch on within the rest of the WWE Universe. Sadly, when Sandow decided to cash in his briefcase after 106 days, he failed. His arrogance challenged John Cena during a promo and, though he put on a good fight, ultimately John Cena defeated Sandow, causing Sandow to become the second man to cash in the briefcase and fail (ironically, beaten by the first man to earn that distinction). Sandow seemed directionless after the loss, but a chance pairing with The Miz (as the Miz’s stunt double) as Mizdow lead to a rise in popularity that eclipsed his run prior to winning the briefcase. They won WWE Tag Team titles, but after a failed payoff when the two feuded, Sandow was reduced to comedic undercard stories before being released in 2016, never quite getting that main event rub that was afforded so many other winners.
#17. BARON CORBIN, Money In The Bank (2017)
Baron Corbin seemed like he was going to get pushed to the moon heading into last year’s Money In The Bank and many fans were excited of the prospect of The Lone Wolf entering the main event scene – but he never really ever felt a part of it until he finally decided to try and cash in later that August against WWE Champion Jinder Mahal. After Mahal was beaten by John Cena, Corbin cashed in his briefcase, but a distraction from Cena allowed Mahal to roll Corbin up and pin him to retain his championship, becoming the third failed attempt in WWE history. He had a short reign as United States Champion at the end of 2017, but it felt more like a consolation prize, and he’s still been more of a random distractionary feud for people rather than a solid storyline focal point.
#16. JACK SWAGGER, WrestleMania 26 (2010)
Following the departures of both Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar from the company, WWE thought they’d found the best of both worlds in former NCAA wrestling prodigy Jack Swagger, who was fast tracked as ECW Champion in 2009, then shockingly won the 2010 Money In The Bank at WrestleMania 26. On the following Smackdown, he cashed on a beaten down World Heavyweight Champion Chris Jericho, who had just been assaulted moments previously from Edge. Swagger won the World title and held it for 82 days. But the WWE Universe never took to Swagger as quickly as the brass did and he was soon moved back to the mid-card. He got a run as US Champion, but it didn’t seem to do much more to move him back to the main event they’d hoped for. He finally left the company last year and has been working the indies, most recently with Lucha Underground and Major League Wrestling (MLW).
#15. KANE, Money In The Bank (Smackdown Match, 2010)
There were three MITB winners in 2010 – following the annual showcase at WrestleMania 26 (which Swagger won), they held the first Money In The Bank co-branded PPV later that summer. In the Smackdown match, Kane won the briefcase and at the end of the PPV, cashed in after World Heavyweight Champion Rey Mysterio Jr. defeated Jack Swagger (who lost his rematch to reclaim the title he himself had won from his WrestleMania MITB cash in). Kane holds the record for shortest time holding the briefcase (49 minutes) and became the first man to cash in the night he won it. Kane would hold the World title for 154 days – his longest singles reign of any kind – but following his reign, he began to work lower and lower in the card, working more tag team matches than singles (he won tag team gold with The Big Show and Daniel Bryan). He had a run with The Authority and returned as the demonic Kane just over a year ago, but he’s barely seen anymore. In retrospect, it seems that was Kane’s last big singles push and his final hoorah so to speak as a main eventer, but it also seems to have neutered any plans to push Swagger.
#14. CARMELLA, Smackdown Live (2017)
Technically, Carmella won the first two Women’s Money In The Bank, as it was restarted the following week on Smackdown Live after 2017’s MITB match was voided due to James Ellsworth‘s assistance. Carmella won the briefcase legit the following week on Smackdown Live, and held the briefcase for 287 days, the longest time a holder has kept it, before finally picking her moment a couple months ago after The Iiconics (Billie Kay & Peyton Royce) beat down Smackdown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair. After internet reports continued to report that Carmella was slated to cash in and lose for weeks, the WWE Universe was shocked to see the Princess of Staten Island successfully cash in and become the new Women’s Champion of the Blue Brand. Carmella has since worked the role of a spoiled, entitled brat to perfection and the rub she will give the eventual next champion will only be enhanced now, with Carmella now proving herself as a legit heel contender.
#13. ALBERTO DEL RIO, Money In The Bank (Raw Match, 2011)
Alberto Del Rio was barely a year into his first year with the WWE when the Mexican aristocrat (and former Dos Caras Jr.) won 2011’s Money In The Bank match for the Raw brand. He only held in 28 days before he cashed in and pinned CM Punk for his WWE Championship. Overnight, Del Rio went from a midcard annoyance to the top heel in the company, going on to win three more World titles in the WWE before departing in 2014. His second run after returning in late 2015 was hardly anything memorable, but he became one of the industry’s top heels for a brief spell following his ascension to the WWE main event.
#12. SHEAMUS, Money In The Bank (2015)
This is a win and cash in that mean more in hindsight than it ever did at the time. When Sheamus won the 2015 MITB match, he was already a 3x World Champion in the WWE and 2x US Champion, but he was quickly becoming a has been. His runs were inconsistent, and he was beginning to get X-Pac heat instead of true heel heat. People no longer took him seriously as a main event threat, especially after the failed League of Nations faction dragged down other main eventers like Alberto Del Rio and Rusev (and further damaging Wade Barrett). Sheamus’ cash in on Roman Reigns was unexpected (almost as much as his victory at MITB), and although he only held the belt for approximately a month, he helped bring him back into relevance. His resurgence in stature was then put against a rising Cesaro and the resulting Best of 7 series ended up putting the two together as the tag team that ultimately became The Bar, who went on to become 4x Tag Team Champions in the past two years, and one of the best WWE tag teams of the past decade.
#11. RANDY ORTON, Money In The Bank (Raw Match, 2013)
When it happened, people were legitimately baffled why a 10x former World Champion needed this victory, but in hindsight, it was merely a plot device for something bigger. The cash in. It was the moment that elevated The Authority and lit the fire under the Daniel Bryan “YES!” Movement. At SummerSlam that year, World Heavyweight Champion John Cena faced Daniel Bryan for the World title, with special guest referee Triple H. Triple H had been defending Bryan on television, supporting his quest to rise above the office types of Cena and finally becoming a true WWE Superstar. Following a fantastic match that saw Daniel Bryan win the title, Orton came down to tease a cash in. As Bryan responded to Orton’s taunts, Triple H – who had seemingly been on Bryan’s side entering the match – spun Bryan around and delivered a pedigree. Orton then cashed in and became an 8x World Heavyweight Champion. The next night, Triple H created The Authority around Randy Orton and the entire “holding Daniel Bryan down” storyline erupted as fans cheered for the B+ player to reclaim his title back. While this win did amazing things for Daniel Bryan, it didn’t have the same effect on Orton. Granted, he won three World titles, a US title and a Smackdown Tag Team Championship since his MITB win, his character has far too often entered stale areas and rarely been the main event star of yesteryear. But the rub that his cash in gave in building up Bryan is one of the more understated veteran moves his character has been involved with.
#10. DANIEL BRYAN, Money In The Bank (Smackdown Match, 2011)
Speaking of Daniel Bryan…his first underdog story, following his return to the company after being fired for the “Cena tie choke incident” from Nexus‘ debut angle, headed straight to the 2011 MITB match, where Daniel Bryan collected the briefcase. He would hold the case for 154 days before picking his spot, cashing in on World Heavyweight Champion Big Show after his physical title match against Mark Henry that night at TLC 2011. But during his 105 day reign as World Champion, Bryan turned heel and started his “NO!” movement, leading to his embarrassing loss to Sheamus at WrestleMania 28 in 18 seconds. It may have been a bittersweet loss, but it proved to the WWE Universe and management, that this undersized grappler was worth rallying behind, and in just over a year, they would rally him all the way to his historic WWE Championship victory at WrestleMania 30.
#9. JOHN CENA, Money In The Bank (Raw Match, 2012)
It may seem odd to have this particular victory ranked so high. After all, John Cena was already a first ballot WWE Hall of Famer when he won the briefcase in 2012 – he was already a 12x World Champion in the WWE (10 WWE Championships, two World Heavyweight titles). And much like Rob Van Dam had done years prior with his own MITB contract, Cena called his shot before hand. At Raw‘s 1000th episode, he challenged WWE Champion CM Punk to a title match. And he lost. Granted, The Big Show got involved, and got CM Punk disqualified, but Cena failed to capture the championship. This allowed CM Punk to continue on in his 434 day reign as WWE Champion and create the legacy that he did as a WWE wrestler – in essence, after two MITB wins (and pushes), Punk’s reign was given legitimacy by surviving the Cena challenge (whether it was clean or not). Following that, Cena saw his role in the company evolve. While he was still the undeniable main attraction, Cena saw his character start to put over the emerging talent coming up for The New Era. Following that failed cash in, Cena went on to put over more new talent in clean losses in the next six years than at any other point in his career as the Main Event, including Daniel Bryan (SummerSlam 2013), Kevin Owens (Elimination Chamber, 2014), AJ Styles (SummerSlam 2016), Dean Ambrose (Smackdown 2016), Bray Wyatt (Elimination Chamber 2017) and Shinsuke Nakamura (Smackdown 2017). While the 2012 cash in didn’t elevate Cena’s character beyond his Super Cena persona per say, it added more depth and humility than ever before, and John Cena became a valued Gatekeeper for the New Era.
#8. DOLPH ZIGGLER, Money In The Bank (Smackdown Match, 2012)
Dolph Ziggler‘s win was another case of the cult favourite getting the win and shocking many – although in a field that featured Cody Rhodes, Damien Sandow, Christian, Tyson Kidd, Sin Cara, and Santino Marella, it was pretty much a crap shoot on which wasted potential gimmick was going to win. But it wasn’t his victory that made WWE history, it was The Cash In. It’s arguably won of the most emotionally charged cash ins since MITB was established, when Ziggler cashed in the night after WrestleMania 29, defeating World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio. The place erupted as Dolph Ziggler captured his second World title (this one felt better, as the first was the awarding of the title by Vickie Guerrero on Smackdown and then losing that night back to Edge). Since then, Ziggler established himself as the top of the midcard, capturing four more Intercontinental titles and a US title in the process, while his devotees clamor at his misuse. While he may not have stuck around the main event as expected, he’s still been one of the WWE’s most valuable soldiers, whose given his all day in and day out to elevate while remaining in the upper echelon at the same time. His new alliance with Drew McIntyre is off to a good start, and while he hasn’t returned to Main Event status since, his cash in will still go down as one of the greatest (if not the greatest) MITB cash in moment.
#7. THE MIZ, Money In The Bank (Raw Match, 2010)
if you think people hate the Miz now, well, they really hated him then. He was a non-indie “poser” from MTV reality shows, who had just been a perennial tag team wrestler (4x WWE Tag Team Champion) who flirted in the midcard (with two US title reigns). The Miz held his briefcase for 127 days before running down on a tired WWE Champion Randy Orton who had just defeated Wade Barrett in a title match on Raw. Even though he had Alex Riley in his corner, Miz faced Orton in a near three minute match and then beat him clean, winning his first (and only) WWE Championship, even defending it against John Cena in a WrestleMania main event. He’s teased the main event off and on since, but he’s finally earned the respect of many of the industry for his dominance as a heel, winning eight Intercontinenal titles. He’s only gotten better and is easily one of the industry’s top agitators. And who knows – he just may be back in the main event soon if he captures this year’s MITB briefcase.
#6. CM PUNK, WrestleMania 24 (2008)
CM Punk fans will tell you otherwise, but WWE has always been high on CM Punk. He was fast tracked from Ring of Honor to the new ECW on SyFy brand, where his punk persona added edge to the new WWE reboot of ECW. He won the ECW Heavyweight Championship and was sent to the main roster shortly after losing it in 2008. He then defied the odds, in a match that featured Chris Jericho, Mr. Kennedy, Shelton Benjamin, John Morrison, Carlito and MVP (all far more decorated or popular WWE Superstars at the time), and won the 2008 MITB briefcase. After World Heavyweight Champion Edge took a beating from Batista, CM Punk cashed in and won his first WWE World title just months after moving over to the main roster from ECW full time. He only held it 69 days, but it showed a drastic shift in WWE thinking, as an “undersized” indie darling took home the World title, opening opportunities for the likes of Daniel Bryan (Bryan Danielson), Seth Rollins (Tyler Black), Dean Ambrose (Jon Moxley) and AJ Styles to succeed on a platform that may not have been available before.
#5. ROB VAN DAM, WrestleMania 22 (2006)
For those who were originally ECW fans forced over to WWE when their beloved hardcore promotion (and first true indie to challenge the mainstream), this was an emotional victory and even more vindicating cash in. Rob Van Dam was always the showstopper in ECW, despite never getting the chance to actually carry the original ECW World Heavyweight Championship. Rob Van Dam became the first man to call his spot after winning the briefcase, challenging WWE Champion John Cena, the newly established face of the company, to a WWE Championship match at ECW’s One Night Only PPV. ECW fans were horrified at the thought of Vince embarrassing ECW’s legacy by having Rob Van Dam lose his opportunity on ECW’s first big PPV event under the WWE banner. But shockingly, RVD won, becoming a World Champion for the first time in his career. Paul Heyman immediately resurrected the ECW Championship for ECW on SyFy, awarding it to RVD for winning WWE’s top prize, but the moment was already gone. But in one of the most validating cash ins ever, Rob Van Dam was elevated to John Cena status with a victory over WWE’s corporate face, legitimizing that RVD was in fact, “the whole F’N show”.
#4. DEAN AMBROSE, Money In The Bank (2016)
It wasn’t so much Ambrose’s MITB win that became so iconic, it was the cash in that made the history books. It was the final piece of a story that saw all three members of The Shield hold the WWE Championship in one night. The same night he won the briefcase, his two Shield brothers Seth Rollins and WWE Champion Roman Reigns squared off in the main event. After nearly 30 minutes, Seth Rollins defeated Reigns for his second World title, only to have Ambrose cash in moments later. Eight seconds later, Dean Ambrose was the new WWE Champion. The moment solidified The Shield’s place in history and provided a cool moment, where all three men who entered the WWE together, were World Champions together on the same stage. Since then, he’s remained one of the WWE’s most beloved main event talent, although an injury has kept him off TV since last December.
#3. CM PUNK, WrestleMania 25 (2009)
If the first MITB win (and cash in) gave hope that WWE had plans for CM Punk on the main roster, his second one a year later (and still the only man to win back-to-back and more than one MITB briefcase) cemented it. Once again, he cashed in earlier than most (63 days) and on one of the most popular stars in the WWE at the time, Jeff Hardy, at Extreme Rules 2009, after Hardy had defended against Edge in a ladder match. He’d only hold in for 49 days, but it proved that he was now a part of the WWE’s elite, and would win his third World title a month after losing this one. In 2011, his Pipebomb lead to the read hot story of him leaving the WWE and taking off with the title after MITB 2011, followed by the now oft talked about 434 day reign as WWE Champion. While the first MITB win announced his arrival to the WWE Universe, the second one said he was their to stay. At least, until Royal Rumble 2014…
#2. SETH ROLLINS, Money In The Bank (2014)
It may be tied with Dolph Ziggler’s cash in the night after Mania, but Seth’s cash in was a far bigger moment than his win. The WWE had taken a huge gamble on splitting their most popular faction since D-X and Rollins’ cash in at WrestleMania 31, against Brock Lesnar and his former team mate Roman Reigns, was an equal gamble. But it paid off, as Rollins became the biggest heel in WWE in years, combining classic Chris Jericho cowardly denial with Shawn Michaels‘ arrogant athleticism. He’s now easily the best pure WWE Superstar they have today and he’s only getting better.
#1. EDGE, WrestleMania 21 (2005)
“The Ultimate Opportunist”. A 5x Intercontinental Champion and 9x WWE Tag Team Champion, most “Edgeheads” figured that Edge had peaked as a mid-card star when he won the inaugural MITB match at WrestleMania 21. It all seemed too good to be true, and with the novelty of the MITB still fresh, no one knew what or how the briefcase really meant. But at New Year’s Revolution in January of 2006, Edge showed it’s true power, when he cashed in on a wounded and exhausted WWE Champion John Cena (he’d just defended in an Elimination Chamber against Shawn Michaels, Kurt Angle, Kane, Carlito and Chris Masters). In an instant, Edge went from the goofy guy in the tag team, to the Rated R Superstar and The Ultimate Opportunist. In the next six years, Edge became an 11x World Champion with the WWE (7x World Heavyweight, 4x WWE Champion), and one of the few to pull off equally powerful careers as a heel or a face. MITB made believers out of the WWE Universe, and a Hall of Famer World Champion out of Adam Copeland.