The WWE Money in the Bank match countdown continues with the 9th and 10th Money in the Bank ladder matches. Check out the Money in the Bank archive here.
Money in the Bank 2011 is one of my favorite WWE PPVs ever. It’s a show I rated at 9 out of 10 and it’s just a fun night of matches with a very memorable ending thanks to CM Punk and John Cena having a classic match. Read my detailed review here. This column is about the Money in the Bank matches, of course.
Money in the Bank 2011 – Smackdown
Who: Sin Cara, Wade Barrett, Sheamus, Justin Gabriel, Cody Rhodes, Heath Slater, Daniel Bryan and Kane
When: July 17, 2011
Where: Allstate Arena in Chicago, Illinois
Thoughts Before The Match
I’ll go back to my Money in the Bank 2011 preview for this:
“I’m going with Cody Rhodes because of the fact that Sheamus is a multiple time WWE Champion already and Barrett main evented a lot of shows last year. I just don’t see Bryan or the others winning even though I would love a push for Bryan. If MITB is about elevating people (usually that is the case) then Rhodes is the pick. However, we’ve seen former champions win these matches before like Kane last year or CM Punk the second time. It’s not out of the question obviously. Barrett could work too because his Corre group ended, he had his IC title run and now he’s ready to move up. To me, though, Cody has the biggest star potential. He’s very solid in the ring, he can talk very well and due to his history with Randy Orton there’s a built in feud ready for the main event should they pull the trigger on it. He has a bright future on Smackdown as a top heel. Do they pull the trigger now or do they wait on it? I think it happens now.”
That gives you mindset going into it. I didn’t think the eventual winner Daniel Bryan really had a chance to win the match. He just wasn’t booked that well on Smackdown, so I focused more on Cody and Barrett as potential winners. They felt like better choices at the time.
Money In The Bank Ladder Match: Sin Cara, Wade Barrett, Sheamus, Justin Gabriel, Cody Rhodes, Heath Slater, Daniel Bryan and Kane
The announce team is the trio of Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and Booker T. Smackdown Money in the Bank match opens the show.
I like this as the opener because it’s an exciting match and will keep the crowd hot. It’s hard to do play by play for it, but I’ll try to hit on the key spots. Nice double team ladder move by Slater & Gabriel as they crushed it into Sin Cara’s face. Missile dropkick by Bryan onto Gabriel while he was on the ladder. Cole mentioned that six of the eight guys haven’t appeared in a MITB match. The only ones that have are Kane and Rhodes. Hard bump by Barrett into a ladder. Awesome sequence with Bryan, Gabriel, Slater and Cara hitting successive spots to the floor. Sin Cara hits a picture perfect Spanish Fly off the top rope on Daniel Bryan. Crowd loved it. Booker kept talking about his “Fave Five” that you hear about Smackdown. Cole had to explain it because Lawler obviously never watches Smackdown.
Barrett set up the ladder in between the ring and the announce table. I wonder if that will come into play later huh? Sheamus gets the Brogue Kick on Sin Cara. Powerbomb off the apron through the ladder that was bridged between the ring and the announce table! Holy shit what a spot! Crowd went nuts for it. Refs checking on him. Announcers go to SERIOUS VOICES~! mode. Found out later that it’s not a legit injury. It was just an injury angle to put over the physicality of the match. To this point, ten minutes in, there weren’t too many ladder climbs. The former Corre guys took down Kane from climbing followed by preventing attempts by Kane, Rhodes & Bryan. The idea was that they had a history, so they worked together here. Rhodes knocks Slater & Gabriel off the ladder. Some of the crowd likes Cody.
Rhodes and Barrett each try to climb, but Cody takes him out with the Cross Rhodes. Sheamus prevents him with his backbreaker. Bryan fights off Sheamus. Awesome spot as Sheamus puts Bryan on his shoulders, Kane hits a top rope clothesline and the crowd chants “LOD” in honor of Chicago’s famed Legion of Doom/Road Warriors team that was just inducted into the Hall of Fame this year. The announcers don’t even mention them or the chant. That was a sweet tribute. Kane hits chokeslams on Barrett & Gabriel at the 15 minute mark.
Bryan prevents Kane from winning, then he leaps off the ladder and drops him with a DDT as a counter. Heath Slater is climbing. He’s going to win…except nobody believes that. Slater takes out Bryan, then Barrett prevents Slater from winning. Barrett & Slater use a ladder to send Slater off the top rope onto Kane on the floor. That was an innovative spot. Sheamus with a Brogue Kick to Barrett & Rhodes. I’m a huge Sheamus fan. He’s very solid as a worker and his timing in the ring is very good. Sheamus and Kane fight atop the ladder. Kane chokeslams Sheamus off the ladder onto a ladder that was bridged from the turnbuckle to the second stop on the ladder. Great spot. Very painful too.
We’ve passed twenty minutes now as Rhodes, Bryan & Barrett keep Kane from climbing. Rhodes hits his Beautiful Disaster kick on Kane, Barrett hits Wasteland and Gabriel hits a 450 Splash off a ladder that was stretched across the top rope. That was risky. He was only about five inches than he would be on the top rope. Barrett throws Gabriel out of the ring. Then he hits power moves to take Bryan & Rhodes out. Barrett climbs up, Cody brings him down and clotheslines him out. Bryan climbs, he ends up getting stopped by Rhodes. He chokes Rhodes at the top of the ladder. Then he turns around to focus on Barrett. Bryan fights off Wasteland with about ten elbows that draw a massive pop. Kick to the head sends Barrett down. Bryan’s all alone. He unclips the briefcase to win at 24:27. Crowd cheers loudly for this. I do too!
Winner: Daniel Bryan
The announcers put it over as an underdog victory. Awesome moment.
Analysis: **** This was a well-built ladder match with the first ten minutes focusing on a lot of high impact spots. The second half was about guys climbing up. It allowed them to go nearly 25 minutes in a ladder match that didn’t get dull at any point whatsoever. Whoever put this match together (I’m assuming it was a group thing) deserves a lot of praise because the spots were perfect, the dominant guys like Kane & Sheamus had their moments and the high flyers were given a chance to shine too. The ending was great too with Bryan fighting off Barrett and Rhodes for the win. I’m legitimately happy for Daniel Bryan. He deserves it as much as anybody.
It’s a great match that is also one of the longest Money in the Bank ladder matches ever. A lot of them were under 20 minutes, so giving them a bit more time made sense since there were eight guys in the match.
The Cash-In Moment
Bryan held the Money in the Bank contract for 154 days, which his about five months. At TLC 2011, Bryan did something similar to what CM Punk did when he cashed in on Jeff Hardy right after Hardy won a major title. Bryan did his cash-in on Big Show.
Big Show just beat Mark Henry in a Chairs Match to become the World Heavyweight Champion on the Smackdown brand. After the match, Henry attacked Big Show. He gave him a DDT on several steel chairs that he had stacked in the ring.
Cue Daniel Bryan’s music! Bryan walked out, cashed in the Money in the Bank contract, referee Scott Armstrong rang the bell and Bryan covered Big Show to win the World Title! Big Show never got up. There were some instances where the champion had to get to his feet, or at least close to it, for a challenge to happen, but this time it counted.
Bryan celebrated on the announce table and then with the fans in the first few rows in the crowd. Big Show looked angry as Cole said you had to feel sorry for Big Show for losing the title so quickly after waiting nine years to hold the World Title again.
Cole did a good job of calling Bryan a hypocrite because Bryan said he’d cash in at WrestleMania. He also put over how Big Show was always supportive of Daniel Bryan in the past.
The interesting thing about this is that Bryan would turn heel while he was the World Heavyweight Champion. That didn’t happen that often, but the story was that Bryan grew a huge ego and that’s how the whole “yes” thing started when Bryan was a heel taunting the fans. Bryan stole the “yes” thing from UFC fighter Diego Sanchez.
In Daniel Bryan’s book that was released a few years ago, he wrote about how he wasn’t even scheduled to be at TLC, but he was in town for some appearance he had. Then he got called to the arena and told he would leave as the World Champion, which is exactly what happened.
Title Reign Reflections
This was Daniel Bryan’s first reign as World Heavyweight Champion. As I said, he turned heel during the championship reign.
At the Royal Rumble, Bryan beat Show and Henry in a Steel Cage match that Bryan won due to escaping the cage since he was the smallest guy in the match. It was a clever way to book him as a smarter, faster World Champion.
Bryan followed that with a win at Elimination Chamber 2011 where Bryan survived against the five other Smackdown superstars, including Santino Marella, who nearly pulled off the surprising victory.
It all came crashing down for Bryan at WrestleMania 28, which I attended live in person. Bryan was the opening match on the main card and he lost the World Heavyweight Title to Royal Rumble Sheamus in just 0:18 because Bryan got a good luck kiss from on-screen girlfriend AJ Lee, which led to the Brogue Kick by Sheamus that won him the title. It pissed off a lot of people, but it’s a moment we’ll remember forever as well.
Bryan has won five WWE Titles in his career and it’s likely he’ll win more too. Even though this one ended in a sad way for his fans, Bryan has done very well for himself in a WWE ring.
Final Thoughts on This MITB Booking
This is probably my favorite Money in the Bank win in the sense that I’ve always been a huge fan of Daniel Bryan, so when he won I was genuinely shocked because I had no idea it was going to happen. The cash in was great too because it was on the biggest guy in the company, Big Show. It showed that Bryan belonged as the World Champion while he continued to prove himself against bigger opponents.
I’m glad WWE believed in Bryan before I thought they would believe in him. For the next four years, Bryan was a top guy in WWE, then he lost three years due to injury and now he’s back where he belongs. That journey started at Money in the Bank, so I will always remember this as a huge night in his career.
Money in the Bank 2011 – Raw
Who: Alberto Del Rio, Kofi Kingston, Jack Swagger, Evan Bourne, R-Truth, Alex Riley, The Miz and Rey Mysterio
When: July 17, 2011
Where: Allstate Arena in Chicago, Illinois
Thoughts Before The Match
This is also from my 2011 WWE Money in the Bank preview:
“I’m going with Del Rio here. No secret there. I wrote about it a few times already. I think this match is designed to elevate somebody to the main event level. There’s no better choice than him. I think the sneaky option here is the Miz because obviously Vince McMahon is very high on him as a performer and I think that could mean he gets the briefcase here. I don’t think it will be somebody else.”
It was obvious Del Rio would get the win. If you polled WWE fans at the time, I bet something like 90% of them would have picked Del Rio to win the briefcase. There just wasn’t another realistic option.
Money In The Bank Ladder Match: Alberto Del Rio, Kofi Kingston, Jack Swagger, Evan Bourne, R-Truth, Alex Riley, The Miz and Rey Mysterio
Order of entrant for the Raw Money in the Bank ladder match: Alberto Del Rio, Kofi Kingston, Jack Swagger, Evan Bourne, R-Truth, Alex Riley, The Miz and Rey Mysterio. Each guy brought a ladder into the match.
Everybody attacks Del Rio and he gets a bunch of ladders thrown on him. Miz and Truth have a faceoff with two mini ladders. Swagger takes them out. Riley gets close, Cole goes nuts and Miz stops it. Cole’s heel act really needs to go away. Riley takes out Miz and Swagger with a leap over the top. Truth hits a somersault plancha onto everybody on the floor. Then Rey and Kofi leap on the guys. They each take out two guys. There’s a huge ladder. Evan Bourne goes up. Shooting Stair Airborne off the top of the ladder onto the heels! That ladder was huge. Wow. What a spot.
The match came to a stop when Miz took a nasty fall. Trainers are check on him. Not sure if it’s legit or not, but I’d say it’s a planned spot. I hope it’s not a real injury. He didn’t get stretchered out. He walked out with the help of refs and trainers. Mysterio and Bourne did double hurricanranas on Del Rio and Truth. Swagger put the Ankle Lock on Kingston while he was trying to climb. Riley climbed up, but Truth shoved the ladder to knock down Swagger & Riley.
Kingston had some strong moments. Then Mysterio hit a 619 around the ladder onto Kingston. That was cool. Truth used a ladder as a slingshot into Swagger’s face. Mysterio gets the 619 on Truth. Cole gives out some Facebook and Twitter facts. Lawler questions how he knows. Maybe because somebody told him, dummy. Four ladders are up. A bunch of them are reaching for it. All seven guys are close as the briefcase floats around due to them touching it. Down goes Del Rio, Swagger, Bourne (from middle of ring to the floor), Riley, Truth and then Kingston knocks Mysterio off. Kingston’s all alone, but Swagger races up to stop him. Good false finish there. They both fall off the ladder. The crowd rises as The Miz limps his way back to climb up. Mysterio stops him. Crowd wanted Miz to do. Rey hits a sunset flip powerbomb off a ladder. Crowd boos Rey’s climb. Del Rio stops him, Rey kicks him down, but ADR comes back up and ripped Mysterio’s mask off. They didn’t show Rey’s face because Rey was covering up. That was likely the finish, but Del Rio went down. Del Rio went back up. Del Rio wins after 15:54 while the crowd cheered even though he was a heel.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio
Analysis: ***1/2 Very good Money in the Bank ladder match. The finish was likely botched because I think the spot where he takes Rey’s mask off was the finish, but ADR slipped off and had to go back up again. It was a fun although it didn’t have as many memorable spots as some in the past or the ladder match earlier in the night. The Miz injury thing was obviously a work. Del Rio winning was predictable. I called it. Lots of people called it. It’s the right move.
I didn’t remember this match as well as the first MITB match, but it was still good. It was nearly ten minutes shorter than the Smackdown match and they were able to work in some cool spots. The finish was well done even with that minor botch at the end. As I mentioned earlier, Del Rio winning was obvious since he was pushed so heavily in 2011. We all knew it was coming.
The Cash-In Moment
Del Rio only held the Money in the Bank contract for 28 days. It was a brief reign because WWE wanted to have a heel champion take the WWE Title from CM Punk, so that’s what happened at SummerSlam 2011.
After CM Punk defeated John Cena to retain the WWE Title, Cena left. Hunter wanted to shake Punk’s hand in the ring. Punk didn’t shake it. Hunter raised Punk’s hand as the winner of the match. Hunter clapped and leaves.
With Punk celebrating on the top rope, Kevin Nash (dressed in black and with black hair) walked into the ring out of nowhere. Nash with a clothesline on Punk. Booker: “Dat’s my big homey!” Nash hit a Jackknife Powerbomb on Punk. The fans hated it. Hunter was up the aisle while this was happening. When Hunter turned back around to walk to the ring, Nash left through the crowd and Hunter looked at him.
Cue Alberto Del Rio with the Money in the Bank briefcase with the contract and a referee. The fans reacted to that in a big way because they knew what that meant.
Del Rio with an enziguri kick to the back of head of Punk. Del Rio covered, Chad Patton counted and Del Rio won the WWE Title in about 10 seconds.
It was a very cheap win for the heel Del Rio, who because a World Champion in WWE for the first time.
Title Reign Reflections
The WWE title reign of Del Rio was brief because WWE was interested in booking shorter title reigns at this point. John Cena won the WWE Title from Del Rio just 35 days after ADR’s victory. Del Rio won it back from Cena in a triple threat match from CM Punk in October. At November’s Survivor Series 2011 PPV, Punk won it back from Del Rio and began a historic 434 day-title reign.
Del Rio was a transitional champion in both of this title reigns because he took it from Punk to drop it to Cena and then he took it from Cena to drop it back to Punk. Nobody is going to remember these Del Rio title reigns fondly because they were not booked well.
Final Thoughts on This MITB Booking
I would rank this on the low end of WWE Money in the Bank and subsequent cash-ins that followed. It just wasn’t that interesting although it did elevate Del Rio since he did win his first World Title because of Money in the Bank, which is a common theme in the “club” of MITB winners.
Money in the Bank Ladder Match Rankings so far
- WrestleMania 21 (2005) won by Edge – ****1/2
- Money in the Bank 2010 (Smackdown) won by Kane – ****1/4
- Money in the Bank 2011 (Smackdown) won by Daniel Bryan – ****
- WrestleMania 23 (2007) won Mr. (Ken) Kennedy – ****
- Money in the Bank 2010 (Raw) won by The Miz – ****
- WrestleMania 24 (2008) won by CM Punk – ***3/4
- WrestleMania 22 (2006) won by Rob Van Dam – ***3/4
- WrestleMania 26 (2010) won by Jack Swagger – ***1/2
- WrestleMania 25 (2009) won by CM Punk – ***1/2
- Money in the Bank 2011 (Raw) won by Alberto Del Rio – ***1/2
In addition to that, I wrote a ranking of the Money in the Bank cash-in moments over at The Comeback in 2016. I don’t write there anymore. It doesn’t include the last two years, but it’s comprehensive.
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