It is the easiest way to get a path to Championship gold – Money In The Bank.
Each year, several superstars compete for the opportunity to gain a contract which allows them to get a match for their chosen title at any point they wish.
If done right, this gives the superstar in question all of the power in their match with the champion, as they can choose to cash in when the top person in the division is at their weakest. If done incorrectly though, the person will not only lose their championship opportunity, but usually this sees their stock plummet in the WWE as well.
Money In The Bank started way back in 2005 at WrestleMania 21, so many stars have had the chance to climb that ladder and take their place in the record books. There have been more superstars who have competed in Money In The Bank Ladder matches than there have been WWE Champions over the company’s entire existence, which goes some way to showing you how important these contests each year can be.
It adds a layer of excitement to WWE, especially if the contract is held for a long period of time. Some people are naturals at building the suspense, such as Edge and Seth Rollins, whilst others openly challenge their opponents to a match, having confidence in their ability to win without having to blindside the champion.
Only 17 different men and two women have had the chance to cash in (sorry Mr. Kennedy), with CM Punk and Edge being the only two men to cash in twice. There have now been 21 cash-ins over the past 14 years, and we are here to rank each and every one just for you.
21. Baron Corbin – SmackDown Live, August 2017
Baron Corbin seemed to be on the path to the top of the mountain, much to the chagrin of the WWE Universe. He had won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal on his debut on the main roster, and the following year won both the United States Championship and the Money In The Bank briefcase.
Then he lost by a roll up to then-WWE Champion Jinder Mahal when attempted to cash-in his opportunity at the title after John Cena distracted him. It’s taken almost two years for his character to recover, but he’s now doing fairly well on the Raw roster, recently beating Kurt Angle in his retirement match at WrestleMania 35.
It was a poor way to lose such a golden opportunity, but the crowd had not warmed to Corbin yet, and… well they still haven’t.
20. Damien Sandow – Monday Night Raw, October 2013
While Corbin managed to bounce back from his failed Money In The Bank cash-in, Damien Sandow was not quite so lucky. Sandow was on a rise before his Money In The Bank victory, doing well in the Rhodes Scholars with now AEW Executive VP Cody Rhodes. However, after winning, fortunes soured for Sandow.
He went on to win just one solitary match before his cash-in, and was placed in matches with Santino Marella and R-Truth, while mainly focusing on his former tag partner Cody, who was soundly dominating him in their rivalry.
Sandow saw his opportunity to capitalise on World Heavyweight Champion John Cena at the Raw after Hell In A Cell 2013, where Cena had won the title from Alberto Del Rio, but Sandow could not beat the one-armed man, who pinned him cleanly for his troubles.
Sandow saw some popularity again when acting as The Miz’s body double, but with this chance gone, he never saw these kind of heights again.
19. John Cena – Raw 1000, July 2012
It’s almost like Cena has a strong relationship with Money In The Bank cash-ins gone wrong; first he distracts Corbin, then he beats Sandow, and now it’s finally his time on the list.
The first man in history to have a failed cash-in, Cena announced he would be taking on CM Punk at Raw 1000 in advance of his actual match with the champion. Cena and Punk had a very back and forth match until The Big Show interfered during one of his many, many heel turns.
This match ended up ultimately being the catalyst for the feud between The Rock and CM Punk for the WWE Championship, after Punk hit The Rock with the GTS. It also set up Rock and Cena’s twice in a lifetime match which was the most unnecessary thing ever until this next entry…
18. Braun Strowman – Hell In A Cell 2018
Who needed Money In The Bank less than Braun Strowman? Maybe Brock Lesnar, if he was ever involved in one of these matches, but that’s about it. I get that having Strowman in this match kind of means he should probably win due to his dominant nature, but he was at the highest point of his career around this time, fresh off of an amazing Tag Team Championship win at WrestleMania with future Hall Of Famer, Nicholas. It just wasn’t necessary.
Anyway, the last of the failed attempts at winning the title, and the only one that did not involve John Cena in any way, Strowman, like Cena had before him, announced he would be taking his chance for the title in a Hell In A Cell match against Roman Reigns at the branded PPV.
This led to Lesnar interfering, destroying both Strowman and Reigns, and it being called to a no contest. Strowman has been struggling ever since, not sure what to do with himself as he’s not in the title picture, but at least he won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal? He’s back involved in 2019’s MITB ladder match, so let’s see if he’ll be just the second person to win it twice.
17. Kane – Money In The Bank 2010
Again, another person who didn’t really need to win Money In The Bank. The only redeeming quality of this cash-in was that it was the first to ever happen on the same night. If Kane wanted to, he could have come out and beaten up Rey Mysterio to start that feud, and would have likely won against the diminutive luchador.
It’s nice to see Kane get these chances to hold the belt when he can, but it could have been to Christian, Cody Rhodes, Drew McIntyre or Kofi Kingston. Any of them would have benefitted more from the opportunity at holding the briefcase.
Also, the original match for the World Heavyweight Championship featured Jack Swagger. Less said about him, the better.
16. Jack Swagger – SmackDown, April 2010
Damn it, this article dictates I must talk about all cash-ins, right? I guess I have to say more about Jack Swagger then.
Somehow, this was only the sixth cash-in in history. Doesn’t feel like it, does it? They’ve really ramped up the amount of people who win it each year now.
I don’t really know what to say about this cash-in. It was as boring as his title reign that followed. He won, and was serious about it. It’s probably the most forgettable cash-in, and for good reason. The only reason I put this above Kane is because he was a young, up and coming star who did have sadly unfulfilled potential.
It is a shame that Swagger had the charisma of a wet mop as on paper, he should be so much better. His reign lasted three months, and if he hadn’t been caught with drugs that one time, he would have probably seen the top of the mountain again.
15. Sheamus – Survivor Series 2015
In the bigger picture, this didn’t really make the most sense. I know WWE were trying to build Roman Reigns up as somebody we could get behind, but having Sheamus use his opportunity to beat The Big Dog after his first title win wasn’t the right time, and Sheamus wasn’t the right person.
At this point in his career, Sheamus had his time in the sun and had settled down in a nice mid-card role, so his Money In The Bank win over guys like Reigns and Randy Orton was a shock the first place. Following his cash-in, he was put into a stable with Rusev, Wade Barrett and Alberto Del Rio, forming the League of Nations; one of the most boring factions in WWE’s history.
So Sheamus had no heat going into Survivor Series 2015, and ended up coming out as WWE Champion, but then only went on to hold onto the championship for 22 days. Again, just emphasised the fact that he was not the right person to get involved in Reigns’ ascent to glory.
14. Alberto Del Rio – SummerSlam 2011
Another member of that hallowed stable The League of Nations, Del Rio won his opportunity with the briefcase way back in 2011 and inserted himself into one of the weirdest storylines of the year.
CM Punk faced John Cena in the main event of SummerSlam, in a white hot feud that saw Punk drop his pipe bomb and leave with the WWE Championship after winning it at the Money In The Bank PPV in July. Then, as only WWE can do, things got convoluted beyond belief.
Punk beat John Cena for the title, however then Kevin Nash returned to WWE and attacked him. This allowed Del Rio the opportunity to take the WWE Championship from Punk’s hands, but it was overshadowed by Nash’s return for the first time in 15 years. Del Rio then lost the title to Cena a month later, and became entangled in a storyline that involved Nash, Triple H, Punk, Cena and John Laurinaitis.
It took away from what the moment could have been; Del Rio was the first Mexican-born WWE Champion, which should have been a focal point. I guess it was nice that they had him defend it against Mysterio. Having a Money In The Bank contract lost in the middle of this storyline was counterproductive and stopped Del Rio’s stock from rising; after all, he had become the first man to win the Royal Rumble, Money In The Bank and WWE Championship in the same calendar year.
13. Carmella – SmackDown Live, April 2018
The first ever Women’s Money In The Bank winner should have been much more special than what it ended up being.
This issues with this one were nothing to do with Carmella herself; instead it’s those who surrounded her in this storyline again. The timing of the cash-in was poor, as Charlotte had just retained the SmackDown Women’s Championship against Asuka at WrestleMania, breaking her unbeaten streak and sadly turning her into what she is today – another member of the pack.
Carmella managed to defend her title against Asuka by involved former business partner James Ellsworth, which was fine, but when you look at Asuka’s position in WWE today, losing to Charlotte and then several times to Carmella just diminished her stock so much that it’s going to be hard for her to recover.
This one sadly deserves it’s mid-table position simply due to how it has affected other members of the WWE roster. Sorry Carmella.
12. Daniel Bryan – TLC 2011
It’s really sad to put somebody like Daniel Bryan so far down this list; so much quality and even though he wasn’t given much during his time as World Heavyweight Champion after his cash-in, he was still able to have an enjoyable run as champion.
Bryan cashed in on Big Show after he had beaten Mark Henry in a Chairs match (???) for the Championship, and thank god he got it away from them. He managed to defend it up until WrestleMania XXVIII, when Vince McMahon decided it would be fantastic to have Sheamus beat him in 18 seconds (???).
The fact he took his opportunity after a Chairs match and then lost it in 18 seconds a few months later hinder the position on this list, but thank god Bryan has been able to grab the brass ring again and again.
11. The Miz – Raw, November 2010
The Miz played his role perfectly here, he waited until the best opportunity and then, once Randy Orton had managed to fend off The Nexus, he pounced.
Orton had been ambushed by the group led by Wade Barrett before they were due to face off for the WWE Championship, in a match that Orton needed a little help from our good friend John Cena; but once that match was done, Miz made his presence known, and after a Skull Crushing Finale, pinned Orton 1, 2, 3.
You could see how much it had meant to him to finally win the big one after always being told he would never make it as a professional wrestler. Ultimately, his title win even played into one of the biggest storylines of the decade between Cena and The Rock, which is an extra plaudit under the Miz’s cap.
Now one of the most tenured superstars on the WWE roster, Miz is searching for another overdue opportunity at the big one. Will 2019 be his year?
10. Alexa Bliss – Money In The Bank 2018
Out of the two Women’s Money In The Bank cash-ins, this one felt more calculated. Even though Bliss cashed in on the same night as she won the briefcase, it felt like she had planned out what she was going to do, instead of reacting to anything.
She interfered in the Raw Women’s Championship match between Ronda Rousey and Nia Jax, slamming Rousey with the briefcase and forcing her out of the ring, before doing the same to her former best friend. Using the opportunity to defeat Nia rang nicely as Bliss and Jax had been feuding for most of the beginning of 2018 as well.
She went on to lose the title to Rousey a couple of months later, which led to women main eventing WrestleMania for the first time. Sadly soon after she suffered a concussion and hasn’t been seen in the ring much since her title loss. She is due to participate in this year’s Money In The Bank ladder match, so maybe we will see a first two-time winner of the contract.
9. Edge – SmackDown, May 2007
Edge proved that he lived up to his “Ultimate Oppotunist” moniker with this cash-in.
In the 2007 Money In The Bank ladder match, Mr. Kennedy defeated seven other superstars, including Edge, to take home the briefcase and stated publicly that he would not take his opportunity until WrestleMania XXIV. Edge then managed to goad him into a match for the contract, and ended up taking home the victory and the briefcase. Kennedy was thought to have a torn triceps tendon, but it actually turned out to be a much less severe injury.
So without even winning the ladder match, Edge held the contract and waited for the perfect moment, which came four days later after Mark Henry attacked The Undertaker following The Deadman’s successful title defence against Batista in a steel cage match on an episode of SmackDown. Two spears later and Taker was down, with Edge holding his first of seven World Heavyweight Championships.
Money In The Bank was a perfect addition to Edge’s character, and made him into that sneaky heel everybody loved to hate. It wasn’t the first time he had cashed-in though: more on that later.
8. Dean Ambrose – Money In The Bank 2016
It had been years in the making, but with each former member of The Shield at the peak of their talents, it was time to cash-in on their popularity.
Roman Reigns walked into Money In The Bank 2016 as champion, faced Seth Rollins in a losing effort, before Dean used his opportunity to take out his former brother who had betrayed both he and Roman two years earlier.
It was a great story that featured three of the biggest stars in the company, and it had been the culmination of two years of bitter hatred on the part of Ambrose. It also proved that Ambrose could still be a main event player, and wasn’t left in the shadows formed by his former Shield brethren.
However, the triple threat match that followed took place after the 2016 Draft, in which Ambrose had gone to SmackDown Live with his WWE Championship, while Rollins and Reigns were on Raw. It lessened the impact that this had for the true culmination of the feud between the three, as it became less about them and more about the brand split.
7. CM Punk – Raw, June 2008
CM Punk’s win at Money In The Bank, and his subsequent cash-in had more effect on the company than you would first think.
This one slides in quite highly on to the list for two reasons. Firstly, he cashed in on Edge. The Ultimate Opportunist got his comeuppance just over a year after he had last used his chance to get The Undertaker’s belt. Batista had beat down the Rated-R Superstar, and Punk saw his time to strike: one GTS later and he was the World Heavyweight Champion.
But the main reason this is so high on the list is because of what followed. CM Punk’s reign stoked a fire under him that would not, and could not, be contained. He lost his title to Randy Orton after the Viper punted Punk in the head, which meant he could not compete for his own championship, and was replaced by Chris Jericho.
Lighting this fire under Punk brought us The Straight Edge Society in 2009/2010, and brought us the famous pipe bomb promo in 2011. Punk felt that he had been slighted, and he used that energy to prove everybody wrong. It brought us the absolute best version of CM Punk, and he still gets cheered in the crowd today, which must mean he did something right.
6. Randy Orton – SummerSlam 2013
Daniel Bryan had just cleanly pinned John Cena to with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at SummerSlam; cue Orton’s music. Slithering his way down the ramp slowly, he distracted Bryan enough to give Triple H enough of a window to lay Bryan out with a Pedigree and this in turn gave us Orton as our champion.
The shock factor was undeniable here, as Triple H at the time was a babyface, so few saw his turn coming until it did, and it gave us some of the best content WWE has blessed us with in the past ten years.
The Yes! movement that followed, the Occupy Raw angle, WrestleMania XXX. All of it happened because Orton cashed in, and even though we wanted Bryan as WWE Champion in 2013, looking back on the whole story arc shows that WWE got it so very right with this one.
5. CM Punk – Extreme Rules 2009
Just like Punk’s first cash-in, this one felt like it was done on the right person. He had already used one opportunity on the Ultimate Opportunist, Edge, and now was time to use it against somebody he had a much more personal issue with.
Edge faced Jeff Hardy and lost his World Heavyweight Championship in a ladder match at Extreme Rules 2009, but out came Punk to spoil the party. Even though Punk was a face at the time, he recognised this was going to be his best moment to cash-in, although Hardy didn’t make it easy for him.
Punk thought he had won just like the time he beat Edge after one GTS, but Hardy was not finished yet. He kicked out at two, and then rolled Punk up for another near fall, teasing that we might be about to see our first ever failed cash-in attempt. However Punk prevailed, and this set up his heel turn and rivalry against Jeff Hardy, which was one of the highest points of his WWE career.
4. Rob Van Dam – ECW One Night Stand 2006
This match, oh my god, this match.
I don’t know if we have ever seen such a rabid crowd at a WWE event. RVD had won the second ever Money In The Bank ladder match and announced ahead of time that he would be cashing in – at ECW One Night Stand 2006.
Never before has any superstar come out at such an intimate venue and been so reviled. Cena walked to the ring to the largest chorus of boos you may ever hear on WWE TV, and threw his shirt into the crowd several times, only to have it flung back into the ring. No ECW fan wanted any part of John Cena that night; he was everything they had despised for years while chanting “E-C-Dub”.
According to Paul Heyman himself, this is the last match of the original ECW that you will ever see. The atmosphere was electric in this match, and genuinely, if Cena won, they would have rioted in the Hammerstein Ballroom that night.
3. Dolph Ziggler – Raw after WrestleMania 29
“This is Raw after WrestleMania, where anything can happen!” This is the call that Michael Cole states, year in, year out on the day after the Grandaddy of Them All, and by god, he was right back in 2013.
WrestleMania 29, let’s face it, was a rather drab affair. So much so that WWE needed to go back there six years later to leave New York with a happy reminder of what WrestleMania can and should be. The night after, though…
Whilst an injured Alberto Del Rio was in the ring following a match against Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter, Ziggler’s music hit and the crowd roared with excitement, realising that Ziggler was finally going to get his opportunity to hold the World Heavyweight Championship. Even though Ziggler was the heel, and Del Rio the face, I don’t think there was one member in that audience who was upset at Del Rio losing his title belt.
In 2013, Ziggler was one of the hottest commodities in WWE. He had beaten John Cena at TLC in 2012, he lasted for over 50 minutes in the 2013 Royal Rumble, and he had a strong stable with him in AJ Lee and Big E. Then to come out and cash-in was a spectacular moment for the Cleveland native, although it wouldn’t last very long. Ziggler was sidelined with a concussion soon after winning the belt, and ended up losing it in his very first defence to Del Rio at Payback 2013.
Ziggler’s in-ring career hasn’t really recovered since, sadly. He’s had a couple of Intercontinental Championship runs, and a storyline with Drew McIntyre, but that was cut short due to his stand-up comedy tour.
2. Edge – New Year’s Revolution, 2006
The first ever Money In The Bank cash-in. What a moment for the Rated-R Superstar.
After winning the ladder match at WrestleMania 21, Edge held onto the briefcase for 280 days before seizing his chance at glory. At New Year’s Revolution 2006, John Cena had just been through a gruelling Elimination Chamber match. Bloody and beaten, Cena just looked relieved to come out of that match on top.
Cue Edge’s music.
You could see the fire in his eyes, the passion, everything he had spent over these past eight years with WWE. This was his moment, and he took it with aplomb.
Sure his reign was over before the end of the month (he lost the title back to Cena at the Royal Rumble), but Edge would feud throughout 2006 with the leader of the Cenation, winning the title back in a Triple Threat match on Raw that also included Rob Van Dam, before losing it at Unforgiven 2006 in a hellacious TLC match with Cena.
It set up Edge’s character over the next five years as one of the best heels in the company’s history, and it turns out he didn’t even think Money In The Bank was a good concept: he had originally asked to be left off of the WrestleMania 21 card, rather than compete in that match. Hindsight is a funny thing.
1. Seth Rollins – WrestleMania 31
Was there any other choice for number one pick?
Rollins cashed in during the main event of WrestleMania 31 during the match between Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar, which fans were unfussed as to whichever person won; they weren’t on board with Brock, but they had grown to loathe Roman’s push to the stars.
After the two men who started the match had beaten the ever-loving snot out of one another, Rollins saw his opportunity and came steaming down the ramp. Reigns had eaten several F5s, Lesnar had been hit with two spears and then countered a superman punch into another F5, but had no energy to make the cover.
The energy Seth had when running to the ring, the electricity in the crowd, the fact that it was in the main event of WrestleMania. It was an absolutely perfect setting to see Seth’s ascension into the history books, and long may he be at the top of the card to come.
You can find the author of this article on Twitter @DRL_1990. Thanks for reading!