Ah, the Money In The Bank cash-in. The spontaneity of the moment, the anticipation of what is to come, and an almost certain changing of the guard for the championship at stake is always what makes this cash-in exciting to see. We have seen sixteen Money In The Bank cash-ins since the very first one done by Edge in 2006, with fourteen of them being successful. Out of all of the winners in recent memories, here are the top five in my opinion.
5. Randy Orton cashes in on Daniel Bryan at Summerslam 2013
Now, Randy Orton is one of my favorite WWE superstars, so because of my bias, he gets a spot purely out of default. I was juggling between this and Daniel Bryan cashing in on The Big Show, but bias excludes him. Sorry. Randy Orton winning the Money In The Bank briefcase at the time came as a surprise to many as people were sure that Daniel Bryan would win the briefcase. Orton teased cashing it in on Cena, but The Shield foiled his plans. Meanwhile, Daniel Bryan was embroiled in a feud with John Cena over the WWE Championship. In an incredible back and forth affair, Daniel Bryan beat Cena squeaky clean to become the new WWE Champion. After the match and after the confetti fell from the sky, Orton’s music hit and he ran down the aisle. He stopped and pondered the decision for a while and seeing that Bryan was eager for him to attempt it, he thought better of it and left….before Triple H blindsided Bryan with a Pedigree from behind and allowing Orton to take advantage.
I have this cash-in here because it set the framework for certain things to come next year. Orton, who hadn’t been a full-fledged heel since early 2010 up to that point was in a rut and wasn’t doing anything, but this move turned him heel in a vicious way considering how over Daniel Bryan was. In addition, this would begin Daniel Bryan’s road to WrestleMania which had an incredible payoff with him winning in the main event of WrestleMania 30 the following year. In addition, the change in mood from when Bryan won to Cena with Orton crashing the party made for a great ending to Summerslam that year.
4. Dean Ambrose cashes in on Seth Rollins at Money In The Bank 2016
Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins have a long history, even dating back to their days on the main roster. They were two members of one of the most dominant factions in the history of the WWE, The Shield. However, after Triple H apparently made Seth Rollins an offer he couldn’t refuse after defeating Evolution twice, Seth Rollins turned on his Shield bretheren, striking both Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose with a steel chair to their backs, leaving them battered and bruised. Later, the two would compete in the same Money In The Bank ladder match in 2014, and thanks to the muscle of The Authority, Kane, Seth Rollins was able to subdue Dean Ambrose and he won the Money In The Bank ladder match. Despite Ambrose’s threat to foil any attempt Rollins would make at cashing in the briefcase, Rollins would cash it in successfully in the main event of WrestleMania 31, curb stomping WWE Champion Brock Lesnar and challenger Roman Reigns to win the title.
However, things seemingly came full circle, as Seth Rollins found himself challenging the new WWE Champion, Roman Reigns, for the title he never lost. Seth was able to defeat Roman for the title once again, but Dean Ambrose won the Money In The Bank ladder match earlier that night. Ambrose had warned Seth and Roman the RAW before Money In The Bank that he could possibly cash in the briefcase that he planned on winning later that night. In what proved to be accurate foreshadowing, Ambrose’s music hit before Seth was able to celebrate his 2nd WWE Championship win. He blindsided Seth with a shot to the face with the briefcase, and with one Dirty Deeds, Ambrose won the WWE Championship for the first time.
Not only was this cash-in unique in that all three members of The Shield held the WWE Championship for one night, this was the culmination of a story between Ambrose and Rollins at the Money In The Bank PPV for three years. Rollins won the briefcase from Ambrose in 2014, defeated Ambrose in a ladder match for the WWE Title in 2015 and Ambrose finally got his revenge in 2016. While his title reign wouldn’t be anything memorable, it was a great moment at the very least.
3. Dolph Ziggler cashes in the night after WrestleMania 29 on Alberto Del Rio
Disappointment has been the name of the game for Dolph Ziggler’s career. However, in a career mired by high-profile losses, failed pushes and forgettable moments, he does have one career highlight that stands as one of the best moments in the history of Monday Night RAW. Dolph came into the Money In The Bank Ladder match for the World Heavyweight Championship in 2012 as a huge favorite, and he was able to win. For many months, many wondered what night would be the night Dolph would finally cash in the briefcase. PPV after PPV after RAW passed by, and he still held the briefcase on tight. As quick as he took the briefcase, WrestleMania 29 came along and then World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio defeated Jack Swagger to retain the title. The crowd wasn’t paying attention to the match because people didn’t particularly care for either man. What they cared about was whether or not Ziggler would make an appearance after the match. To everyone’s disappointment, no music was heard and that night wasn’t Dolph’s night.
However, his moment would come the night after. Alberto Del Rio had won another hard fought victory, but at the expense of his ankle after the match. Surely, if Ziggler didn’t cash in the briefcase, there would be a riot. Surely enough though, Ziggler would indeed come out with Big E and AJ Lee by his side with the contract in hand. Del Rio looked across the aisle in bewilderment knowing what a bad place he was in. Ziggler’s cash-in would be longer than usual as Del Rio was able to put up a fight and was even able to lock in his signature Cross Arm-Breaker submission hold.
This had all the makings of another failure in Ziggler’s career as he ran the risk of being only the third man to cash in the briefcase and not walk away as champion. However, Ziggler persisted and with an emphatic Zig-Zag, Dolph won the World Heavyweight Championship and was recipient to one of the loudest pops in WWE history. It was certainly the loudest reaction to a MITB cash-in I had ever heard live. Perhaps it was too predictable for Dolph to cash it in at WrestleMania, so cashing it in on the night after was a great swerve, and considering Ziggler is the second longest MITB briefcase holder, the pay-off was worth it considering the time we waited. If only his title run wasn’t so disappointing. Ho hum.
2. Edge cashes in on John Cena at New Year’s Revolution 2006
Of course, there’s nothing like the original. Chris Jericho conceived of the concept of a briefcase containing a title shot that can be cashed in at any time and Edge was on a mission to win the World Heavyweight Championship since he was drafted to RAW in 2004. However, after multiple failed endeavors, he found himself involved in the first ever MITB ladder match, and after defeating Jericho, Chris Benoit, Kane, Shelton Benjamin and Christian, he became the first winner of the ladder match. He also became the longest briefcase holder clocking in at a whopping 280 days. Edge spent his time lying in wait and bidding his time to when he was absolutely sure that he could defeat the champion of his choosing.
Then, New Year’s Revolution comes along. Edge failed to win the Intercontinental Championship off of Ric Flair on that same night. After the match, he told Lita that he was going to back and think about things. Meanwhile, the main event featured John Cena defending the WWE Championship in the fourth ever Elimination Chamber match against Shawn Michaels, Kane, Kurt Angle, Carlito and Chris Masters. After a bloody and intense battle, John Cena was able to retain his title. Afterward, Vince McMahon came out to seemingly congratulate Cena on his hard-fought victory. But, instead, he came out to announce that Edge would be cashing in the privilege that he earned at WrestleMania the previous year. Edge came out with his music, handed his briefcase with conviction to the chairman of the company and exclaimed “IT’S MINE!” as he rushed into the ring. Edge beat up Cena and tried to end things quickly, but Cena’s perseverance proved to be something he would have to overcome.
While it took two spears to put him away for good, Edge got the job done, and in doing so, he set the standard for how advantageous being the MITB recipient can be and how easily a world title can change hands. He’s called the Ultimate Opportunist for a reason.
1. Seth Rollins cashes in on Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 31
Yes, while there isn’t anything like the original, the original isn’t always the best. As mentioned before, Seth Rollins won the Money In The Bank Ladder match in 2014, earning a WWE Championship match at any time of his choosing. He attempted to cash it in on John Cena and Brock Lesnar in the past, but both of them ended with him being attacked before the bell rang, so he was still safe. On the night of WrestleMania 31, there was a huge discussion about what would happen in the main event. Would WWE follow through on Roman Reigns’ push by having him win the WWE Title off of Brock Lesnar? Would Brock Lesnar be staying for the company past WrestleMania 31? Would Seth Rollins cash in the briefcase? Many didn’t deem the cash-in likely, because not only are Roman and Brock Lesnar two powerhouses, making the chances of an attempted ambush backfire more likely, Seth would also have Randy Orton to contend with on that evening.
Seth Rollins faced off against Randy Orton earlier that night in a hard-fought back and forth matchup, but Orton ended out on top with arguably the best RKO of his career to put him away. Then, the main event came along and Lesnar and Roman ended up beating the living hell out of each other. It wasn’t a match so much as it was a fight, as Brock Lesnar ended up bloodied and Roman had a one-way trip to Suplex City. The two went neck and neck and Lesnar seemingly had the match won with an F-5 to Roman. However, before the match ended, Seth’s music hit, and the camera panned out to him making the long run down the WrestleMania aisle. People literally couldn’t believe that he had the gumption to do it. However, he had the temerity to do it.
He curb stomped Brock Lesnar, ensured that Roman wasn’t there to steal anything, and Seth looked to do it again. People got scared when Lesnar got him up for the F-5, but Roman came back into the fray with the spear. With Seth lying in wait, he emphatically Curb Stomped Roman to the pavement and pinned his former Shield-brother to win the WWE Championship, and become the first person to cash in the briefcase at WrestleMania. It was a tremendous ending for WrestleMania and the signature moment in the career of The Architect.
What was your favorite MITB cash-in? Let me know. Until next time.