Money in The Bank is this Sunday and will feature two more ladder matches permitting a man and a woman an opportunity to become champion and change the course of their careers. Not all ladder matches for the coveted briefcase are built the same, and there are some that stand out more than others. Some stand out for symbolic reasons while others stand out for the sheer chaos and mayhem that the destructive nature of the match causes. With that said, here are the five best ladder matches for the Money in The Bank briefcase I have seen.
5. Money In The Bank 2011: Daniel Bryan vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Sin Cara vs. Kane vs. Justin Gabriel vs. Heath Slater vs. Wade Barrett vs. Sheamus
This was quite an interesting field, as there were quite a few competitors that stood little chance of winning, such as Gabriel, Slater and Sin Cara. However, I liked the pacing of this match as it highlighted each person’s strengths. Kane was the powerhouse that needed multiple people to take him out, Bryan and Rhodes quickened the pace and Sheamus brought a certain physicality to it.
Of course, we should all remember this ladder match for Sheamus absolutely destroying Sin Cara with a massive powerbomb through a ladder. As the match ended a young, beardless Daniel Bryan showed his resiliency by winning the briefcase. Money In The Bank 2011 in itself was a symbolic PPV for Punk’s victory over John Cena, but little did we know that another future legend was being created in the process.
4. Money In The Bank 2016: Dean Ambrose vs. Chris Jericho vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens vs. Cesaro
I think we all knew coming into this match that Dean Ambrose would be winning, but he had a hell of a fight to go through. What I love in a good ladder match for the MITB briefcase is when storylines get continuity. In here, the highlight of contuinity came in the form of Sami Zyan’s rivalry with Kevin Owens. In 2016, they were building up all year how Saim would screw Kevin Owens out of massive victories. He eliminated KO at the Royal Rumble, cost him the Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania and in future matches, and he would do the same here. I still remember cringing at Sami’s Tiger Suplex onto Owens head-first into a ladder.
However, the others were far from slouches. Cesaro’s incredible athleticism was on full display here and provided a series of great, highflying moves that involved creativity with a ladder. Alberto Del Rio and Chris Jericho were the veterans who carefully organized spots and ensured the flow of the match continued. Dean Ambrose’s energy was also infectious here, as he made certain spots look pretty brutal, such as his Dirty Deeds to Chris Jericho.
It’s hard to believe Ambrose is not here in WWE anymore, but this was just a brief reminder of what he was operating at when he was at his peak.
3. WrestleMania 24: CM Punk vs. John Morrison vs. Mr. Kennedy vs. MVP vs. Chris Jericho vs. Carlito vs. Shelton Benjamin
This is normally what you would expect a field of Money in The Bank competitors would look like. A bunch of mid-carders trying to find their way and ascending the WWE hierarchy in order to grab the brass ring, in this case being the briefcase. While it sometimes can get over-choreographed, if there is one thing that I am a sucker for in ladder matches, it is creativity. What is the most fun and exciting way that you can hurt someone else with a ladder. I think this match does not get enough credit for providing that.
First of all, not that we didn’t already know, but Shelton Benjamin in his prime was an absolute athletic freak of nature. His sunset powerbomb onto John Morrison and Mr. Kennedy while leaping off a ladder parallel to the other one was absolutely amazing. Also, he fell like an angel onto a ladder from the outside, and he made it look epic.
John Morrison, another athletic marvel due to his intensive parkour training, was also astounding here. One signature spot was his moonsault with a ladder in hand onto the outside. Remember what I had previously mentioned about storyline continuity? Well, we also got that here as MVP came close to winning the ladder match, but his former tag team partner, Matt Hardy, returned to screw him out of the match.
Finally, we got a nice, impressive struggle between CM Punk and Chris Jericho which Punk would survive and get the victory in the process. I think this is one of the more shorter ladder matches of this variety, but boy did it ever occupy time effectively.
2. Money In The Bank 2014: Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Jack Swagger vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Rob Van Dam
Let’s face it. Coming into this match, we knew that it was going to be all about Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose. Seth had just turned on his Shield buddies and Ambrose demanded to be added into the match at the last minute. The other four, with all due respect, were just there to occupy space. They showed that within the first seconds of the match.
Ambrose and Rollins’ rivalry in the summer of 2014 is one of the more overlooked rivalries in recent WWE history, in my opinion. I think it did a great job of establishing both men’s strengths, and a lot of them were displayed in this match. More specifically, it highlighted the chances each man were willing to take. I am still amazed at the height Ambrose got Rollins up for that superplex from the top of the ladder. I could not imagine taking that spot without feeling it the next morning.
However, my favorite spot of the match featured the current WWE Champion, Kofi Kingston, back body dropping Seth Rollins to hell on a ladder set up behind him. Those are the kind of creative and brutal looking spots I was looking for. They also teased an upset in Kofi or Dolph getting the briefcase from time to time. Swagger was great in manipulating the ladders to apply some of his signature moves, and RVD, while past his prime, still proved that he was good for a few simple, but effective spots in this match.
This had everything. It had effective storytelling, storyline and character development, and most importantly, the right winner in Seth Rollins. While some didn’t like Kane coming out to play free safety, we shouldn’t have expected anything less at the time. It just added more spark to the fire of their feud.