This Sunday Night, WWE presents the 16th Money in the Bank Ladder Match. The briefcase is almost a guarantee that the winner will become the WWE World Heavyweight Champion in the next year. Only twice out of the previous 15 cash in attempts has the briefcase holder not won the Championship he attempted to cash in for. Those are pretty good odds.
While many of us are hoping our favorite wrestler grabs the briefcase and an almost automatic Championship reign, it is usually the not quite upstanding citizens of the WWE Roster that winds up with the case in his hands. The very nature of cashing in the MITB briefcase is underhanded. The briefcase holder waits for the perfect time to cash in meaning the Champion is at a disadvantage and the match is an easy win for the man cashing in MITB. That may be the reason this is a bad guys path to the title more often than not. Let’s take a look at the previous MITB winners and see if I’m onto something here.
2005- Edge won the first MITB Match at WrestleMania 21. Edge was a heel at the time and cashed in as a heel after John Cena survived an Elimination Chamber Match.
2006- Rob Van Dam was a babyface when he won the MITB Ladder Match at WrestleMania 22 but he did the noble thing and told the then Champion, John Cena when and where the briefcase would be cashed in. RVD was still a babyface when he beat Cena at One Night Stand later in the year.
2007- Mr. Kennedy, a babyface won the MITB at WrestleMania 23 but ended losing his briefcase to Edge, a heel in a match on RAW. Edge then cashed in on the then Champion, The Undertaker after Undertaker and Batista fought to a draw in a Last Man Standing Match.
2008- This was CM Punk’s first MITB win at WrestleMania 24. He was a babyface at the time and stayed a babyface despite cashing in when Batista attack the Champion at the time Edge on RAW. Punk went on to have a very uneventful title reign.
2009- The second time CM Punk won MITB it was at WrestleMania 25. Punk was till a babyface and cashed in on Jeff Hardy after Hardy just won the title after a Ladder Match with Edge. This was the start of a heel turn for Punk.
2010- Jack Swagger won the last MITB Ladder Match to be held at WrestleMania. He was a heel and cashed in after Edge attacked the Champion, Chris Jericho.
2010- Kane, who is the Devil’s Favorite Demon after all won the first MITB Ladder Match on the innagurral Money in the Bank PPV. Rey Mysterio was the World Heavyweight Champion at the time successfully defended the title against Jack Swagger on the same show. Swagger tried to injure Mysterio after the match but Kane came to make the save, or so it appeared. He was actually there to cash in MITB and he did so becoming the first man to ever cash in on the same night he won. This kicked off a lackluster heel reign as Champion for Kane.
2010- The Miz won the second MITB Match on that first PPV. Miz was a heel and cashed in after an injured Champion, Randy Orton had just survived a title match on RAW against Wade Barrett.
2011- Daniel Bryan won SmackDown’s MITB Ladder Match as a babyface. When he cashed in on an unconscious Big Show at that year’s TLC PPV it began a heel turn for Bryan.
2011- Alberto Del Rio won RAW’s MITB Ladder Match as a heel and cashed in a few weeks later at SummerSlam when Kevin Nash attacked CM Punk after he beat John Cena for the gold.
2012- Dolph Ziggler won the SmackDown MITB Ladder Match as a cocky brash heel and cashed in on an injured Alberto Del Rio the night after WrestleMania 29. Despite being a villain, Dolph received one of the biggest pops on RAW this side of the Attitude Era. Ziggler’s title reign didn’t even get off the ground as he suffered a concussion while building up to his first title defense. Upon his return, he lost the belt to Del Rio in a match that led to a double switch for the two Superstars making Ziggler the only man to become a babyface after winning the briefcase.
2012- The RAW MITB Ladder Match saw John Cena grab the briefcase. Like he needed it. Cena being the classy babyface told Champion CM Punk when and where the title match would be. It would happen at the 1,000th episode of Monday Night RAW. This was a good idea by WWE to have such a high profile match occur on such a historic evening. Cena and Punk didn’t have the chance to have a classic bout like they were used to having because the Big Show got involved causing a disqualification making Cena the first man to cash-in and not win the Championship.Even though Cena didn’t turn heel, the Champion Punk did after the match somewhat keeping the theme of heel MITB winners going.
2013- Damien Sandow earned his MITB briefcase as a bad guy and waited until October of that year to cash in. John Cena was the Champion and had suffered an arm injury and Sandow attacked the arm and then called for his briefcase to be cashed in. This marks the only time the briefcase was cashed in on the fly leading to a competitive match. Sandow lost that match making him the second person not to win the title after cashing in.
2013- On the RAW side, Randy Orton won what was dubbed the “Money in the Bank All-Stars” and cashed in at SummerSlam of the same year. Daniel Bryan had just won the WWE Championship and as he was celebrating got drilled with a Pedigree by Triple H. Orton cashed in and won the WWE Title aligning himself with Th Authority and cementing himself as WWE’s Apex Predator and villain.
2014- The Authority’s new golden boy, Seth Rollins won the MITB Ladder Match with the help of Kane and cashed in at WrestleMania 31 when he made himself a part of the Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar Championship Match after the two had just beaten the hell out of each other. Rollins won the title making him the only guy to cash in at WrestleMania.
So, it would seem that Money in the Bank is the “bad guy’s briefcase”. Out of the 15 winners only three men, Cena, Punk and RVD were babyfaces and remained babyfaces after cashing in. Xena and RVD are also the only two men to cash in and let the opponent know in advance. A trait you would find in a babyface. Punk is the only babyface to cash in on a vulnerable Champion.
The 12 other winners were either heels when they won or became heels because of their cash ins. They all chose to cash in when the time was perfect for them to do so. It worked out well for 11 of the 12 with Sandow being the only man to lose.
What does this all mean? It means to keep your eyes open during Sunday’s MITB Ladder Match. If a villain doesn’t grab the briefcase he’ll likely become one down the road. As WWE likes to say during their Royal Rumble hype videos, it’s all in the numbers. So, even if Roman Reigns wins like most of us think he will that doesn’t mean he’ll stay the top babyface in the company since the numbers suggest otherwise. Or like Cena, RVD and Punk before him he becomes the exception to the rule. Only time will tell.
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