Chris Jericho had an idea for a match 15 years ago that had no true solution, but it would provide an opportunity. The match that is being discussed has become something of its own since it’s inaugural match, as Money in the Bank has allowed multiple mid-card guys to go on and become the world champion and is now an anticipated event in the WWE calendar. It was the next step that the Intercontinental Championship was once used to set up in the 80s and 90s. A match that gave many men, and now women, a chance to climb the ladder and unlatch the briefcase to get a championship opportunity at any time. WrestleMania 21 hosted the first and in several days, the 21st men’s winner and 3rd women’s winner will be crowned.
As we sit 15 years on from the first match, we will take a look at the unique history of the match from its time as a WrestleMania staple to being the fifth biggest PPV to “The Big Four” that WWE has had for years.
Edge Establishes Himself As The Ultimate Opportunist
Edge, Chris Jericho, Chrisitan, Kane, Shelton Benjamin, and Chris Benoit all stepped inside the ring in 2005 to win an opportunity at world championship gold. To become the inaugural Mr. Money In The Bank and eventually cash-in and establish what this briefcase would be all about. WrestleMania 21 in Hollywood, the same place that WrestleMania 37 will (hopefully) take place in less than a year. There was action in this that no one could have really expected, but more importantly, it showed that this was a match that was here to stay. Edge was the one to climb the ladder and bring down the briefcase, having his shot that – at the time- no one backstage knew how to utilize.
Edge tells the story that he was the one to pitch his cash-in at New Years Revolution in 2006. A cash-in that set the precedent for what this briefcase could become for all the future winners. Edge would cash-in on WWE Champion John Cena following a brutal Elimination Chamber match, spearing him in the middle of the ring to become the WWE Champion for the first time in his career. Without Edge winning and pitching his idea, this briefcase and entire concept may have never made it further than year one.
When it comes to who has had the most opportunities to achieve a career-defining opportunity, look no further than both Kane and Kofi Kingston. These two men are tied atop for most appearances in a Money in the Bank ladder match with seven. However, Kane has walked out of Money in the Bank as the winner while Kingston has gone a difficult 0-7. Christian (0-6), Jericho (0-5), and Benjamin (0-5) are the closest to Kingston with no success in the match. Randy Orton and Dolph Ziggler, who have both won the match, round out the group of men who have had five or more opportunities.
There is only one man to win Money in the Bank twice and he happened to do it back to back years. CM Punk was still a few years away from really exploding as he did in 2011 as the “Best in the World,” but his chance to become a world champion did not take that long. After being involved in Money in the Bank at WrestleMania 23, he was determined to walk out the following year and that’s exactly what he did. He cashed in on a broken down Edge to become the World Heavyweight Champion for the first time. Punk never actually lost the title but was instead stripped after a storyline injury at the hands of Randy Orton.
So to avenge that loss, he was once again in the match at WrestleMania 25. By winning it again, he cashed in on the beloved Jeff Hardy in the summer following a grueling TLC match, winning the World Heavyweight Championship. He’d turn heel in the process and entered a rivalry that truly made him. As the only two time winner, Punk’s legacy lives on for more than just that special run as the “Best in the World.”
1 For 3 When Giving The Champion Notice
Giving notice is a bold move for the Money in the Bank winners. When you have the opportunity to walk down after a champion is beaten down and has no chance of surviving a championship match, why give notice? Confidence? A good guy? Either way, it has shown that it is not worth it. The second-ever Money in the Bank winner was Rob Van Dam. He used the briefcase to his advantage but still gave John Cena notice by cashing in on him at ECW One Night Stand in 2006. It was there that he pinned Cena, becoming the WWE and ECW Champion and effectively reviving a brand at the same time — for better or for worse.
However, there is a rough side. John Cena told WWE Champion CM Punk that he would cash-in on Raw 1000. Giving him a week to prepare. This led to the match ending in disqualification, but an unsuccessful attempt nonetheless. The third edition of calling your shot ahead of time was far worse, at Braun Strowman gave Roman Reigns notice that he would cash-in for the Universal Championship inside a Hell in a Cell match. The match never actually found a solution. It was a ridiculous waste of a cash-in by the current Universal Champion.
From WrestleMania To Its Show
Money in the Bank earned its spot as a cornerstone of WrestleMania. So much so that the WWE saw it as a chance to make it it’s own PPV instead. It was there that WWE saw the birth of a red and a blue briefcase that crowned the next world champion for Raw and SmackDown, then dwindle back down to one, and returned to two briefcases through the women getting their first shot. It has risen to one of the most important shows of the year with hype going into it as fans love the idea of a new contender being crowned with the briefcase.
No Time To Waist: Reliving Same Night Cash-Ins
Sometimes waiting is not worth it. You just want to be champion as soon as possible. The briefcase has been cashed in on the night of four times out of the 23 winners. And in all four of those cases, the winner of the briefcase walked out the same night as the champion. It started with Kane at the very first Money in the Bank PPV in 2010. Kane was trying to figure out who put the Undertaker out of action, and it was revealed to be him at a later time, but he blamed Rey Mysterio first. Mysterio was the World Heavyweight Champion and survived his match that night. Almost immediately, Kane walked out and Tombstoned Mysterio to become World Heavyweight Champion for the first time.
The second “night of” cash-in could be most fans’ favorite. Dean Ambrose was a man on a mission in 2016 and was going to go through his former Shield brothers to become champion. After winning the Money in the Bank early in the night, he appeared at the end by taking out Seth Rollins from behind. He planted a Dirty Deeds on Rollins and walked out as the WWE Champion. This was one special night as every member of The Shield held world title gold in one night.
Alexa Bliss and Bayley have won the second and third women’s Money in the Bank matches and did not take long before cashing in. Alexa Bliss stopped Ronda Rousey from winning gold her first chance in 2018, while Bayley used her briefcase to become the first-ever women’s grand slam champion on the same night. For Bliss, it was continued glory. And for Bayley, it was a return to the center of attention that she had been out of for almost two years.
“Heist of the Century”
Burned it down. Seth Rollins did something with his Money in the Bank that no other had dared. We had seen the night after WrestleMania be the spot to cash in, but never at WrestleMania or in the middle of a match. The main event of WrestleMania to be exact. Rollins did both as Michael Cole called it the “Heist of the Century.” Rollins walked into WrestleMania to face and eventually lose to Randy Orton, but walked out with his first WWE Championship and was untouchable. That version of Seth Rollins would have most people agree was their favorite. Without Money in the Bank, that may have never happened.
Mella Is Money: Becoming The First Miss Money In The Bank
In 2017, it was a year of history being made when the women got their first shot at taking down a briefcase from the rafters as they entered Money in the Bank for the first time. Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, Natalya, Tamina, and Carmella all had a shot to be the first-ever Miss Money in the Bank. Unfortunately, the inaugural match was ruined when James Ellsworth climbed to the top and took down the briefcase. That match was made null and void and it would go down on SmackDown LIVE, as Carmella managed to survive the odds and become Miss Money in the Bank, proving once and for all that “Mella is Money.” She would go on to cash-in the night after WrestleMania 34, pinning Charlotte to become the SmackDown Women’s Champion.
Losing The Aura?
As the Money in the Bank PPV enters epic proportions this Sunday, the question surrounding the match itself is if it is losing the aura. The men’s briefcase used to be one of the most beloved parts of the WWE year in and year out, but the past three years have truly hurt the prize. First, Baron Corbin blew his chance within seconds by getting rolled up by WWE Champion Jinder Mahal. Then Braun Strowman gave Roman Reigns the chance to be ready and did not capture his first world championship. And last year saw Brock Lesnar, who was not even a participant, walkout as winner. Thankfully, the women’s briefcase has been in good use the first three years of its existence, as the men’s goes down a path of no longer making stars.
Hope is not lost when it comes to the men’s briefcase, but a winner that needs it like Aleister Black, Otis, or dare I say King Corbin would result in much better tv than someone like Daniel Bryan taking it. Time will tell which road they go down, but most would agree that something new could help a suffering product immensely. 15 years of making new champions and completely changing the landscape could begin to be on the line if the winner isn’t a smart choice.
More from LWOPW
Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. WWE fan? You can check out an almost unlimited array of WWE and NXT content on the WWE Network.