The WWE Money in the Bank match countdown continues with the third Money in the Bank ladder match. Check out the Money in the Bank archive here.
Who: Jeff Hardy vs. King Booker vs. Finlay vs. CM Punk vs. Ken Kennedy vs. Matt Hardy vs. Randy Orton vs. Edge
When: April 1, 2007
Where: WrestleMania 23 @ Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan
Thoughts Before The Match
This was the first Money in the Bank Ladder Match with eight competitors as opposed to six in each of the previous two years. It was also put in the opening match spot, which was a smart move because it’s an exciting match that would set the tone for the rest of the night.
I remember going into this one thinking that Ken Kennedy and Jeff Hardy were the favorites. Kennedy had a pretty good push as a newcomer on Smackdown. Jeff was one of the most popular guys in WWE, but they did not push him to the main event level. Since the previous two Money in the Bank winners were guys that got pushed to becoming WWE Champions for the first time, it made sense to expect that again.
The trio of Orton, Edge and Booker were former World Champions, so that provided a different element a bit because people wondered if one of them would go over. It didn’t have to be a “new” guy that wins the Money in the Bank match. I thought Orton and Edge were very possible winners too.
CM Punk was still in his first year on the main roster, so it felt like it was too early for him. I didn’t think Finlay or Matt Hardy had a chance to win, but they were good veteran workers.
Money In The Bank Ladder Match: Jeff Hardy vs. King Booker vs. Finlay vs. CM Punk vs. Ken Kennedy vs. Matt Hardy vs. Randy Orton vs. Edge
The competitors were Jeff Hardy (Raw), who was making his first WrestleMania appearance in five years, King Booker with Sharmell (Smackdown), Finlay (Smackdown), CM Punk (ECW), Ken Kennedy (Smackdown), Matt Hardy (Smackdown), Randy Orton (Raw) and Edge (Raw). Edge won it two years earlier and they pointed out that he was 5-0 at WrestleMania. All six announcers called the match.
Fast pace to start the match. Everybody was brawling on the floor, so Finlay of all people dove off the top rope onto everybody on the floor. Edge and Matt paired off, then Orton and Finlay paired off. Then Jeff & Kennedy paired off. Booker pulled out a step ladder under the ring. Punk used it as a weapon on three guys. Edge hit Punk with a step ladder shot to the head and Punk’s head was cut probably legit. In the ring, Booker hit a spinebuster on three guys and then he did a Spinarooni to a big pop even though he was a heel. The Hardy brothers took Booker out with a ladder and then went to double team Edge. He fought out of it thanks to Finlay shoving Jeff off the top rope and Edge gave Matt a suplex onto a ladder. Kennedy tossed Edge out of the ring. Kennedy went for the Kenton (his version of the Swanton) on a ladder, but that missed when Matt moved out of the way, so Ken hit the ladder although he barely grazed it. Jeff up top and he hit the Swanton Bomb on Kennedy. Matt & Jeff used the ladder to knock down Finlay, Orton and then Booker. The Hardys climbed up the same ladder and fought it out near the top of the ladder. Finlay shoved them off. JBL did such a good job of putting over the importance of the match. Finlay with four clotheslines to knock some guys down. Edge hit a Spear on six of the guys. When he went for a Spear on Punk, CM jumped over him and Edge went crashing into the turnbuckle. Punk put the ladder on his shoulders and he used it as a weapon, so Edge came back and hit Punk with a Spear meaning he hit all seven guys with it. Edge brought in a huge ladder. I would guess that it was about 12 feet high. Orton shoved the ladder and Edge went flying to the floor where he took a bump feet first. The Edge/Orton Rated RKO alliance was no more. Jeff gave a front suplex to Orton. Meanwhile, on the floor Matt put Edge onto a ladder that was stretched from the security wall to the side of the ring (Edge originally placed it there). Jeff used that opportunity to climb the 12 foot tall ladder. Jeff climbed to the top of the ladder. He jumped off the ladder with a leg drop and drove Edge right through it, breaking it in half! Wow! Insane bump! Huge reaction. Jim Ross was wondering if they were broken in half. Crowd went wild. Huge spot. Referees checked on both guys doing the “X” signal for an injury. The EMTs came out to put Jeff and Edge on stretchers so they were out of the match. JBL yelled about Jeff hurting Edge and himself.
Back in the ring, Orton hit a huge RKO on Matt and then a RKO on Finlay. How about one for Kennedy? He gets a RKO too. Punk used a ladder to the back of Orton to knock him down. Orton and Punk each climbed up a ladder. Orton hit a RKO off the top of the ladder. Huge pop for that. It looked great. Booker went up. Orton met him at the top. Booker hit a Book End on Orton off the top of the ladder. That was a great spot too. Queen Sharmell went in the ring, grabbed Matt’s leg and then he was about to give her a Twist of Fate, so Booker jumped back down to fight Matt. JBL yelled at Booker for making the wrong move. It would have been more heelish if he kept climbing instead of helping his wife. Hardy hit the Twist of Fate on Booker. JBL: “That’s what women will get ya!” JBL was funny sometimes. Finlay knocked Hardy off the ladder. Finlay’s head was bleeding above his eye. Finlay hit the Celtic Cross on Matt onto a ladder. Finlay was selling injuries, so he couldn’t climb right away. Hornswoggle showed up from under the ring. He climbed up. He nearly made it to the top. Kennedy climbed up beside Hornswoggle. Hornswoggle slapped Kennedy in the face two times. When Cole mentioned that Hornswoggle was too short to reach the briefcase, Tazz had a funny line saying “that’s why I never did a ladder match” so he was making of his own height issues. Kennedy gave Hornswoggle the Green Bay Plunge off the ladder. That was fun. Beating up little people is always entertaining. Finlay hit Kennedy in the face with the ladder. Punk hit a springboard dropkick to knock Finlay off the ladder. Punk climbed a ladder and he got close. Kennedy caught up to him at the top of the ladder, they exchanged punches and Punk shoved him off. Kennedy grabbed another ladder and hit Punk in the face with it. Great spot. Kennedy climbed up and grabbed the briefcase to win the match at 19:11.
Winner: Ken Kennedy
Analysis: **** This was one of the better opening matches in the history of WrestleMania. I can’t remember them all, but it was definitely one of the best openers when it took place. The most memorable part was when Jeff Hardy destroyed Edge by leaping off that 12 foot ladder and driving him through a ladder that was set up outside the ring. I liked the moves they did off the ladder like the RKO and the Book End because those were impressive moves on their own, but when you do them off a ladder, they look even better. The finish was good too. Kennedy destroying Punk with the ladder to the face was a smart way to end it. It didn’t come off as lucky. It put Kennedy over by having him outsmart Punk in the end.
I think the match time was just about right at under 20 minutes. The year prior, the match only went about 12 minutes and left me wanting more. That match had six participants, so giving more time for this match with eight wrestlers was the right call.
If you want to re-live the rest of WrestleMania 23, check out my review here.
The Cash-In Moment
This one is complicated and requires an explanation before we get to the cash-in moment.
Here are comments from Ken Kennedy in 2017 talking about what happened at WrestleMania 23 and why he didn’t get to cash in the briefcase as planned. Thanks to WrestlingInc for the interview and the transcript.
“I think we had been there (in Detroit for WrestleMania) about two or three days and I think Edge was going to win. They were still talking about Edge winning and then three days out to the pay-per-view they switched it and went my way. And I knew it was possible that right before our music hit they could have said, ‘No we’re going to go with CM Punk.’ “I did know three days in advance but a fact in wrestling is that things can change on the fly and they often do.”
“We decided that I was going to cash it in next year at WrestleMania. I announced that I think the next night on RAW. Or maybe it was Smackdown that, ‘Hey I’m already setting a date, I’m going to cash in at WrestleMania next year.'”
“Taker got injured and he had the World Title at the time. They were trying to figure out a way to get it off him. You know, they called me in the office and said, ‘Hey I know we were going to have you cash it in at WrestleMania next year but we need to get the title off of Taker so we’re going to have you come out next week at Smackdown and you’re going challenge him after he has the cage match with Mark Henry and blah, blah, blah, you’re going to win the title.'”
“Three or four days later I was in a wrestling match with Batista and a bunch of other guys (at a live event), like an eight-man tag, and Batista — it wasn’t Batista’s fault or anything — he gave me a clothesline and I felt something pop in my triceps. And I ended up, my arm swelled up so bad I couldn’t even bend my elbow.”
“I ended up going to see a doctor, take an MRI in Erie, Pennsylvania, the next day Stephanie called me and said, ‘Ken you tore your triceps off the bone, you’re going to have to have surgery and you’re going to be out for seven to eight months. But unfortunately we still have to get that title off of Taker so we’re going to fly you to Penn State, Edge is going to challenge you for the briefcase and he’s going to go on to do what you were going to do.'”
From another interview, Kennedy explained what happened after he dropped the briefcase to Edge.
“The next day I went down to see Dr. James Andrews and he said that’s not a tear, you didn’t tear your triceps. Sure enough, it was just a large hematoma. It was a bruise. It was like some blood vessels popped in my triceps and just opened up. I was out for maybe a month.”
If you want to see Ken Kennedy talking about what happened, check out this clip starting at the 1:08 mark.
In other words, the original injury was misdiagnosed and WWE still took the Money in the Bank contract off Kennedy. If they had known he would only miss a month would they have done it differently? Maybe. Kennedy probably could have done the cash in on Undertaker to win the World Title and then recover from there. Instead, Edge got the briefcase and the push that Kennedy was going to receive.
Anyway, let’s look at what happened on screen.
Raw – May 7, 2007
This took place after Kennedy hurt his arm at the live event that he mentioned above. Kennedy was the Money in the Bank holder for 36 days.
There was a backstage confrontation with Edge trying to convince Ken Kennedy to face him with the Money in the Bank briefcase on the line. Kennedy was reluctant to do it, Edge said he was scared, Kennedy told him to shut up and Kennedy agreed to put the briefcase on the line. Kennedy said that 328 days from now, he’ll cash in Money in the Bank to become the WWE Champion.
When Kennedy made his entrance with a big brace on his right arm/elbow, Edge attacked him from behind while Kennedy was on the ramp. Edge hit Kennedy with a TV monitor to the head. They went in the ring, Kennedy told referee Chad Patton to start the match and the bell rang. Kennedy told the referee to ring the bell. Edge hit a Spear and pinned Kennedy to win the “match” in about six seconds. Edge was given the Money in the Bank briefcase per the stipulations of the match. When Kennedy got up, Edge hit him in the head with the briefcase two more times.
Edge became the first man to hold the Money in the Bank briefcase twice. He was also the first guy to hold the Money in the Bank briefcase without winning it in the original ladder match.
Analysis: It’s something that WWE felt was the best thing to do at the time. Both guys were heels, but this really made Edge look like a bigger jerk. It also was perfect booking for Edge as the “ultimate opportunist” that hit Kennedy with cheap shots before the match could even begin.
Smackdown – May 11, 2007 (Taped May 8)
The Undertaker defended the World Heavyweight Championship against Batista in a Steel Cage Match. The Undertaker worked this match with a torn right biceps. Batista climbed the steel cage and he was nearly out. The Undertaker, who was a bloody mess, managed to climb to the top of the cage as well. They went down opposite sides of the steel cage and landed on the floor at approximately the same time.
After the controversial finish, referees Jimmy Korderas and Mickey Henson looked at replays on the monitors. The replays showed that Batista and Undertaker hit the floor at the same time. Korderas told ring announcer Tony Chimel to announce that the match was a draw, so The Undertaker remained the World Heavyweight Champion. The fans booed at the announcement of a draw, but they cheered when Undertaker was given back the World Heavyweight Title.
The cage went up and Mark Henry showed up to attack The Undertaker. Henry worked over a bloody Undertaker with punches and he drove Undertaker back first into the steel ring post. Back in the ring, Henry took out Undertaker with a clothesline followed by a running splash. Henry hit another running splash on Undertaker. When Henry walked to the back, that’s when Edge emerged with the Money in the Bank briefcase in his hands.
Edge went into the ring, handed the Money in the Bank briefcase to referee Jimmy Korderas and told him he was chasing in for a World Heavyweight Championship match.
The Undertaker was out on the mat, Korderas called for the bell and Edge covered for a two count. That’s interesting to me just because sometimes for Money in the Bank cash-ins, they make the champion stand up before the bell rings, but it didn’t happen here. Taker tried to sit up and then he collapsed again. When Undertaker slowly got back up to his feet, Edge hit him with a Spear and covered for the pinfall win.
Edge celebrated with the World Heavyweight Championship as the new top guy on Smackdown. After the celebration, The Undertaker slowly got back up and Edge knocked him down with the briefcase again.
Less than a year after that moment, Edge vs. The Undertaker was the main event of WrestleMania 24. The feud would continue until The Undertaker won the rivalry for good in a Hell in a Cell match at SummerSlam 2008.
Analysis: I loved the Edge rivalry with The Undertaker. They had a lot of great matches together and it was this moment that really set them off on that path to have a legendary feud that is one of the best feuds in Smackdown history. I thought this whole thing was booked perfectly because when Undertaker came back, it set up him for revenge against Mark Henry and Edge.
I think Ken Kennedy is one of the more interesting “what if” wrestlers in WWE history. What if he didn’t lose the Money in the Bank briefcase? Would he have been a long-term main eventer over the next decade? There was also the storyline where it was expected that he would be the bastard son of Vince McMahon, but that was dropped when Kennedy suffered another, more long-term injury and then he got suspended for using performance-enhancing drugs. They ended up going the comedy route by saying Hornswoggle was Vince’s son, which was all a ruse by Finlay (really?), who was Hornswoggle’s dad in the storyline.
Two years later in May 2009, Kennedy was fired for being careless in the ring when he gave Orton a belly to back suplex on his shoulder that was a problem for Orton. (Side Note: That’s the first Raw where I started my Raw Deal reviews, so the 10 year anniversary is coming soon!) Kennedy has gone on to say that Orton and John Cena complained to management about him, so Kennedy was fired. What’s interesting about that is I have watched Ken’s shoot interviews where he talked about how Orton was a close friend and they even traveled together quite a bit, yet Orton played a factor in Ken’s WWE dismissal. Ken went on to have a solid career in TNA Wrestling that included a main event run as their World Champion, but it’s not like reaching the top of WWE.
Looking back on it, WWE shouldn’t have given up on Kennedy as quickly as they did, but once you get the rep of being injury prone (plus getting on the bad side of Orton and Cena) it’s tough to prove yourself to the bosses again.
Edge took advantage of the opportunity he was given and he had a great run as a top heel in WWE over the next couple of years.
Money in the Bank Ladder Match Rankings so far
- WrestleMania 21 (2005) won by Edge – ****1/2
- WrestleMania 23 (2007) won Mr. (Ken) Kennedy – ****
- WrestleMania 22 (2006) won by Rob Van Dam – ***3/4
In addition to that, I wrote a ranking of the Money in the Bank cash-in moments over at The Comeback in 2016. It doesn’t include the last two years, but it’s pretty comprehensive.
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