Since spinning off from WrestleMania in 2010 as a standalone pay per view concept, Money in the Bank always provokes speculation and intrigue, as the choice of briefcase recipient(s) almost always provides a glimpse into where WWE is headed going forward. The likes of Edge, Seth Rollins, CM Punk, The Miz, and others, each earned a certain measure of permanent main event residency upon their successful cash-ins. Money in the Bank not only gives audiences a daring stunt-show with eye-popping visuals, but it also pulls the curtain back on the WWE of tomorrow.
The history of Money in the Bank, as both a WrestleMania diversion and a spin-off event, has been chock full of fascinating stats and tidbits. As June 17 draws nearer, let's take some time and look back at those prior Money in the Banks, both the ladder matches and events alike, and see where the past has brought us.
10. The Match Was Hashed Out By Three Men
The Money in the Bank Ladder Match as we know it came as something of a consolation to Chris Jericho, who was a bit miffed that there were no real plans for him at WrestleMania 21. Consulting with WWE writer, and close friend, Brian Gewirtz, Jericho learned that Gewirtz had an idea for a concept that was known as a Hollywood Dream Ladder Match, in which the winner would get anything that they so desired. The original plan in Gewirtz's mind was for Rob Van Dam to win, and his "wish" would be the return of ECW.
Vince McMahon, however, didn't care for that sort of vague, undefined prize. So Jericho suggested making the prize a title shot for the next night on Raw. Gewirtz added the intrigue of having the title shot be good for up to one year, and Vince approved, so long as the winner toted the contract around with some sort of visual token (that's where the briefcase came in).
9. A Pair Of Oh-For-Lifers
With minimal roster turnover, and the requirement that Money in the Bank generally have at least six entrants in a given match, there are quite a few WWE performers that have been in multiple matches with the briefcase at stake. In fact, 19 different wrestlers have taken part in three or more Money in the Bank ladder matches.
There are two different wrestlers who have each wrestled in six different MITB matches without ever winning one of them: Christian and Kofi Kingston. Each man lost three such bouts during the WrestleMania-era of the match, and three upon the 2010 spinoff. Shelton Benjamin and Chris Jericho each almost have it just as bad, sitting 0-5 apiece. Dolph Ziggler would've joined Kingston and Christian in the 0-6 domain had he not won the blue briefcase in 2012, instead holding a lifetime MITB record of 1-5. Hey, speaking of Dolph...
8. Showing Off At WrestleMania?
Former WWE writer Kevin Eck shared this rather interesting tale, regarding the eventual cash-in by Ziggler on wounded champion Alberto Del Rio. The atmosphere at the post-Mania Raw was electrically unearthly from the moment Ziggler's music blared. Everyone that watched the moment play out, be they in the arena or at home, knew they had witnessed something special.
According to Eck, Pat Patterson was of the mind that Ziggler should have cashed in the briefcase one night earlier, believing the crowd would've gone absolutely insane for the moment. Eck adds that neither Vince McMahon nor Triple H were enamoured with Ziggler's performances at the time, and McMahon brushed Patterson's persistence off. The following day, Eck says that McMahon began Raw's production meeting by announcing that Ziggler would cash in that night, but added that there were no plans to give Ziggler a sustained push.
7. The No! Movement
Eck also recalls there being a time when it seemed like Daniel Bryan wasn't going to be successfully cashing in the briefcase he'd won at the 2011 Money in the Bank. Reportedly, the former WWE scribe heard from some of his associates that McMahon was regretting giving Bryan the win in his Ladder Match. The fact that Bryan spent much of the fall of 2011 as little more than a peripheral player on SmackDown supports this theory.
But then the stars began to align. World Heavyweight Champion Mark Henry was battling serious injuries, and a title switch needed to be made. Bryan, meanwhile, had gained traction through his on-camera relationship with AJ Lee, and it was suggested to Vince that after Big Show defeated Henry at the TLC pay per view, that Bryan cash-in on Show (once Henry laid him out). To the surprise of Eck and others, Vince liked the idea, and that's what they went with. If not for those developments, Bryan was dangerously close to becoming the first MITB winner to lose on his cash-in attempt.
6. Expedition Of Gold
After Rob Van Dam won the Intercontinental gold from William Regal at WrestleMania X8 in 2002, it would take another seven years before "the workhorse belt" would be defended once more at 'Mania. From 2005 through 2010, the first six Money in the Bank ladder matches were staged at the annual Showcase of the Immortals, and in four of them, the reigning IC Champion would take part. In other words, why defend the belt you have, when you can win a chance to challenge for a bigger belt?
Shelton Benjamin was involved in the ladder matches at 21 and 22, Chris Jericho at 24, and Drew McIntyre at 26. In Jericho's case, he'd won the belt from suspension-bound Jeff Hardy weeks before the show, as Hardy himself was set to take part in that same MITB match. The IC Champ at 23 was Umaga, who was busy with the "Battle of the Billionaires" that night. The only champ to actually defend the belt at WrestleMania in that stretch was JBL, who lost to Rey Mysterio in about 20 seconds at WrestleMania XXV.
5. A Short List Of Two-Timers
Of the 20 different multi-person matches in which a Money in the Bank briefcase was at stake, only two individuals have ever won the match twice. One was Carmella, who wouldn't be a two-time winner had the negative reception to James Ellsworth's meddling not forced WWE's hand. Carmella, of course, won the official pay per view match and the hastily-booked TV redux, making her an official two-time winner of the match.
The only man who can stake the same claim is CM Punk, the winner of the WrestleMania versions at 24 and 25, for two separate rights at a cash-in. Edge may have cashed in two different briefcases (one of which was initially won by Mr. Kennedy), but Punk, somewhat amazingly, remains the only male to win more than one multi-entrant Money in the Bank Ladder Match.
4. Rough Beginnings
The idea of Money in the Bank as a standalone event was part of WWE's attempt to spruce up their secondary pay per view calendar by giving many of the B-shows a shiny gimmick, whether there were feuds that merited them or not. No Way Out became Elimination Chamber, Armageddon became TLC, and so forth. Money in the Bank made a little more sense as separate tentpole show, but the maiden event looked shockingly dim.
Despite being a great show unto itself, the first Money in the Bank did just 162,000 pay per view buys, making it the third-least-bought WWE pay per view of 2010. Even events like Over the Limit (197,000), Extreme Rules (182,000), and Night of Champions (165,000) aced out the erstwhile-compelling briefcase gimmick. The only shows that MITB managed to beat that year were the unimaginative Fatal Four Way (143,000) and the hackneyed Bragging Rights (137,000), neither of which survived into 2011.
3. Snowflakes In Chi-Town
When that first Wrestling Observer Newsletter comes out following a WWE pay per view (or NXT TakeOver), the buzz over Dave Meltzer's star ratings is palpable. Of course, you shouldn't need a wrestling historian to tell you what your personal gut feelings should be on a wrestling match, but you know. In any event, Meltzer's feelings are taken with just as seriously as his reporting by some followers, and if you're one of them, then this fact may be of interest to you.
CM Punk's historic victory over John Cena at the 2011 MITB drew near-universal praise, and Meltzer was part of that adoring crowd, rating the match a perfect five stars. It was only the fifth (and today, still the most recent) WWE main roster match that Meltzer ever gave a perfect score to, and the first since Shawn Michaels' Hell in a Cell match with The Undertaker nearly 14 years earlier. Something something witless Tokyo Dome-related joke goes here.
2. Building The Future
To date, there have been 18 Money in the Bank ladder matches involving male superstars, producing a grand total of 17 different winners (Punk, as mentioned, is the only man to win the match more than once). Of those 18 different matches, 12 of them were won by individuals that had never previously held a WWE, World Heavyweight, or Universal Championship to that point. Of those 12 winners, nine of them went on to cash-in successfully, while the other three (Mr. Kennedy, Damien Sandow, and Baron Corbin) would never hold a World title under the WWE banner.
That means only one-third of the winners, six of the 18, had previously been a World champion under the WWE banner: CM Punk (upon his second win), Kane, Dolph Ziggler (counting his pointless minutes-long reign in February 2011), John Cena, Randy Orton, and Sheamus. Otherwise, WWE has used the match as a productive launching pad for tomorrow's top dogs.
1. What Goes Around...
The Money in the Bank gimmick makes for a very interesting circle of life. The holder of the briefcase is able to use it against a vulnerable champion, but once said holder becomes a champion, he or she themselves becomes a target for future briefcase holders to silently stalk like Michael Myers in spandex.
There are seven different wrestlers that have both cashed in a briefcase, and had one cashed in against them. That list includes Edge, CM Punk, Alberto Del Rio, John Cena, Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan, and Seth Rollins. Poor Cena (whose cash-in on Punk in 2012 failed) has been the victim of three different cash-ins: the very first two via Edge and Rob Van Dam, before turning back Damien Sandow's challenge in 2013. Punk is the only wrestler to cash in twice (on Edge and Jeff Hardy) *and* be cashed in against twice (by Del Rio and the unsuccessful Cena try).