Since its debut at WrestleMania 21 back in 2005, Money In The Bank has become one of the most hotly anticipated gimmick matches the WWE has to offer. It’s even graduated to having a PPV of it’s own. But unlike, say, Hell In A Cell which has been diluted because of this (now feuds are simply extended in the months before HiaC, regardless of fan interest, to ensure a “grudge” match is “required”) MITB has thrived under these circumstances.
In my mind there are two reasons for it. Firstly the prize on offer has been treated with respect and actually means something. 90% of the time, the winner of the match will indeed go onto lift the World Title. Secondly, match quality is invariably VERY high in the matches…which makes this fourteen match collection a very welcome prospect indeed.
First things first, and this is indeed the COMPLETE collection. The very first match does include he who should not be named and it seems as if the WWE won’t handpick his matches for release but will include them where a collection/anthology is concerned. It’s the best way as far as I see it. It does cut his ring entrance out, silences references to him on commentary and possibly switches camera angles off him when it can.
Money In The Bank winner The Miz is our host for proceedings, and as I’m not the world’s biggest fan of him it’s hardly my idea of “awesome”. He spouts the company line when required and briefly talks about some of the cash-in’s that followed. The nadir of his segments comes when he hypes his return from “Hollywood” to participate in the 2012 Raw MitB match. He was off filming The Marine 3. And no, he never did get that Oscar nomination.
Disc one takes us from WrestleMania 21 to WrestleMania 25. We see an awful lot of Shelton Benjamin, who appears in four of the five matches on this disc and you can’t help but feeling that if pure effort was rewarded in the WWE, Shelton surely should have won one of the matches he participated in.
The inaugural match (which is acknowledged as Chris Jericho’s idea in kayfabe world – and it was actually his idea in real life too) sets the template for what it is to come with it’s mix of high-powered stunts and insane falls. It did genuinely push Edge on the road to super-stardom too. Rob Van Dam’s 2006 win sees the bizarre site of an 83 year old (well, not quite) Ric Flair involved, whilst 2007’s win for Mr. Kennedy didn’t turn out to well for him and it’s funny in hindsight to hear Michael Cole suggest that good old Ken could be “the future of sports entertainment.”
The final two matches on this Disc see CM Punk win two years in a row. For someone who likes to tell the world he “wasn’t supposed to make it” as a WWE superstar, he certainly got some breaks that the likes John Morrison, MVP, Carlito and Kofi Kingston (who all appear in one or the other of Punk’s wins) would have killed for.
Disc two takes us from WrestleMania 26 to the Smackdown MitB from the PPV of the same name in 2011.
The WM 26 showdown beefs the bout up to TEN participants, which is four too many for my liking. You can’t deny the effort and the big moves but it does stretch credibility a little too far as, at times, eight men are playing possum outside the ring just waiting for their “turn”. The two matches from the inaugural MitB ppv feature eight men, a change that would stay for two years. For the first time an established superstar in the form of Kane wins the Smackdown match, although the untested Miz has his moment of glory in the Raw version. As our host reminds us, this led to him “headlining” WrestleMania 27 and even successfully retaining his title at that event. If you were to just listen to The Miz here, you’d think that his reign was an unqualified success. The disc ends with Daniel Bryan’s 2011 win in another good match.
Disc 3 takes us from the 2011 Raw MitB to the two matches from this year’s PPV. Albert Del Rio takes the opener, Dolph Ziggler and John Cena win the 2012 events and Damien Sandow and Randy Orton take the 2013 events. That mix of names shows that Money In The Bank is now a mixture of trying to create new stars and also attempting to re-heat more established names. The number of participants in the matches range from five to eight which also suggests that the WWE just make that up as they go along too. The action is all very good, even if it’s a little incongruous to see names such as Alex Riley, Tensai and Tyson Kidd in some of the matches.
All in all this is a fantastic collection of matches. And whilst the “importance” of the Money In The Bank stipulation can be over-estimated at times, especially in some of The Miz’s links, there is no denying that it’s a match that does help to create new stars and re-heat meandering ones too. It’s no longer the sure-fire guarantee of a Championship Title change that it once appeared to be, but that is no bad thing adding as it does to the intrigue and excitement of the whole thing. And if the likes of The Miz, Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler ultimately failed to totally convince as World Champions (not always entirely their own fault), the likes of Edge and CM Punk were shot on their way to stardom by winning this match, it also led to great cash-in’s by the likes of Rob Van Dam and in latter years has re-heated the likes of Randy Orton.
The only minor drawback to the DVD version is the fact that the cash-in matches are Blu-Ray only exclusives (so it’s worth the extra few pounds to upgrade) and the fact that as good as the matches generally the lack of variety means I can’t see anyone sitting through all three discs in one sitting!
– By Matthew Roberts