The WWE Money in the Bank match countdown continues with the fourth Money in the Bank ladder match. Check out the Money in the Bank archive here.

Who: John Morrison, Carlito, Shelton Benjamin, CM Punk, Ken Kennedy, MVP and Chris Jericho

When: March 30, 2008

Where: WrestleMania 24 @ Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida

 

Thoughts Before The Match

There were seven men in this match after using eight guys the previous years and six guys in the first two years.

Jeff Hardy qualified for the match on the February 18, 2008 edition of Raw when he beat Gene Snitsky, but then he failed a drug test and was suspended for 60 days per WWE’s Wellness Violation Policy.  He would have been the eighth guy and WWE chose not to replace him. Hardy was suspended on March 11, 2008. Hardy may have been the original choice to win the match, but with him out of the picture, they went in another direction.

I remember thinking Chris Jericho might win since we all knew by this point that he helped to invent the match, so it would be a way to put him over to get him back to that top guy status after he returned to the company a few months earlier. MVP was the man in the match that I thought could really use the win to elevate him. I thought he deserved it.

Guys like Morrison, Punk, Kennedy, MVP and Carlito were all in that same category of being potential future main event players that just needed that boost to get there. As it turned out, only Punk really turned into a consistent main event player while the other four guys sniffed that level in WWE without staying there permanently. Also, Kennedy won it the previous year, but it was taken away due to injury, so could WWE go with him again? I thought it was a possibility.

Shelton Benjamin was a guy I really liked, but I just didn’t believe he would win this match leading to a main event push.

Did I expect CM Punk to win? No, but I liked him a lot and the idea of him winning would have sounded good to me in 2008. I thought Jericho would win this one, but it’s not like it was a sure thing. It was a pretty wide-open Money in the Bank match.

 

Money In The Bank Ladder Match: John Morrison, Carlito, Shelton Benjamin, CM Punk, Ken Kennedy, MVP and Chris Jericho

There were seven men in the Money in the Bank ladder match. First up was one half of the WWE Tag Team Champions, a heel John Morrison. He was a tag champ with Miz and on the ECW brand. The others in the match were heel Carlito (Raw), heel Shelton Benjamin (ECW), babyface CM Punk (ECW), heel Ken Kennedy (Raw), heel MVP (Smackdown) who was the US Champion and babyface Chris Jericho from Raw, who was the Intercontinental Champion. In other words, they did not care about the IC, US or Tag Team Titles to book them in actual matches.

Money in the Bank: John Morrison, Carlito, Shelton Benjamin, CM Punk, Ken Kennedy, MVP and Chris Jericho

They all went to the floor early on except for MVP, who had a ladder in the middle of the ring and hit everybody in the face with it. Jericho hit MVP in the face with the ladder. All six announcers called the match, by the way. Morrison tossed a ladder at Jericho to knock him down. Morrison grabbed a ladder, climbed the top rope and did a moonsault backwards onto four of the guys. It didn’t connect that well, but it was very risky and impressive looking. The crowd popped big for it. Kennedy made a climb, Jericho stopped it and Morrison climbed up on the other side of the ladder (he used another ladder to get there) to brawl with Kennedy. Benjamin climbed up on a ladder beside them. They did the tower of doom spot with Benjamin doing a sunset flip off the ladder on Kennedy who gave a suplex to Morrison off the other ladder. It was a powerbomb/suplex combo. Amazing. Benjamin climbed a ladder, Carlito tried to push Shelton off the ladder, but Shelton landed on the top rope. Eventually, he fell down due to a broken ladder, though. Punk went up with Kennedy going after him with punches. Benjamin climbed up. Punk pulled him down and Punk gave Benjamin the Go To Sleep (GTS). Kennedy gave Punk a forward rolling senton onto one of the ladders. MVP booted Kennedy out of the ring and then Carlito used a ladder to hit MVP in the back of the knee. Benjamin hit a spinning kick on Carlito to put him down. JR thought it could be Benjamin’s night. That’s usually the kiss of death by the commentary team.

Benjamin climbed up, but Carlito and Kennedy pushed him off so he did a somersault over the top and landed back first onto a ladder that was set up sideways. Ouch. Impressive bump by Benjamin. MVP shoved the ladder when Carlito, Kennedy & Jericho were at the top. Morrison threw a ladder at MVP to prevent him from getting the briefcase. Jericho went up the ladder and gave Morrison the Walls of Jericho at the top of the ladder. In his book “Undisputed,” Jericho mentioned doing that spot at the 2001 Royal Rumble against Chris Benoit, but said he didn’t apply as good the other times he did it. It was still good here, though. Kennedy climbed up, but Jericho was there too. Carlito & Punk also climbed. Kennedy and Punk fell off. Carlito gave Jericho the Back Stabber off the top of the ladder. The only man still standing was MVP. He climbed up. Out of the crowd was Matt Hardy, who was in his ring gear. Hardy gave MVP a Twist of Fate off the top of the ladder. The crowd popped huge for it. Cole reminded us that MVP had taken out Hardy with a knee injury for the previous five months. That was a really cool moment. Hardy left through the crowd. Morrison did this spot where he climbed up the ladder on a bad angle and he got thrown off so he was crotched on the top rope. Crazy bump. Jericho climbed up, but Carlito went up the other side and spit an apple in Jericho’s face. Carlito climbed. Kennedy shoved him off. Punk nailed Kennedy with a ladder shot to the face. Jericho gave Punk the Codebreaker while Punk had a tiny ladder in his hands. Crazy action. Jericho climbed all alone. Punk recovered. They fought at the top of a ladder. Jericho had the briefcase in his hands and hit Punk in the head with it. Punk tripped up Jericho, so Jericho’s leg was stuck in between two rungs of the ladder. Punk climbed up and grabbed the briefcase for the win at 13:55.

Winner: CM Punk

Analysis: ***3/4 It lacked some of the dramatic high spots that the first and third MITB matches had. It was still a very good match. They did a nice job of doing finishing moves from the top of the ladder. Some of them were difficult bumps to take, but they pulled it off and impressed me. I was surprised back in 2008 when Punk won. It was a good kind of surprise because I was always a fan of the guy. There were some amazing athletic displays by Benjamin and Morrison especially. Matt Hardy’s surprise run-in generated a big reaction too. That was some nice story continuity. Punk outlasting Jericho to win was cool because of Jericho’s history as a main eventer, so it showed that Punk was ready for that big push.

Would CM Punk have won if Jeff Hardy was in the match? I’m not sure about that. Jeff was getting a big push in 2008 including a WWE Title feud with Randy Orton earlier in the year, so perhaps WWE would have used Money in the Bank to springboard Jeff to his first WWE Title. Jeff would end up winning his first WWE Title at Armageddon in December 2008.

The timing of the match at around 14 minutes was fine. I think the ideal time is somewhere around 16-20 minutes. It wasn’t short enough that I would complain about it.

If you want to re-live the rest of WrestleMania 24, check out my review here.

 

The Cash-In Moment

CM Punk held the Money in the Bank Contract for 92 days when he decided to cash it in.

Raw on June 30, 2008

The June 30, 2008 edition of Raw featured a Jim Ross promo thanking the fans for supporting him during his years on Raw. JR was drafted to Smackdown to do commentary with Mick Foley. I remember it because JR tried to put over Michael Cole as his friend that will do a good job, but the crowd would boo whenever Cole was mentioned. Edge, who was the World Champion, interrupted JR, was a total jerk and got booed heavily by the crowd.

Edge bragged about how he was the World Heavyweight Champion on the Smackdown brand and since the WWE Champion Triple H was drafted to Smackdown, it meant there was no champion on Raw. Edge said that unless it’s a draft show, he won’t be on Raw again. Following the speech, there was an interruption by Batista.

At Night of Champions one night earlier on June 29, 2008, Edge retained the World Title when he beat Batista thanks to help from Vickie Guerrero, Chavo Guerrero, Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder. Batista was drafted to Raw while Edge was on Smackdown, so this was his last chance for revenge…in theory.

Batista beat up Edge all around the ringside area. Batista drove Edge shoulder first into the steel ring post. When Edge tried to leave through the crowd, Batista brought Edge back to the ringside area and slammed him into the announce table. Batista whipped Edge into the steel steps. They went into the ring where Batista dropped Edge with a Batista Bomb much to the delight of the crowd. The beating lasted for about three minutes.

When Batista went up the ramp, CM Punk (who was drafted to Raw from ECW one week earlier) went running out to the ring with referee Mike Chioda joining him in the ring. The cash-in was official as Edge was on his knees in the ring. The bell rang to start the match.

CM Punk grabbed Edge, put him on his shoulders and hit the Go To Sleep for the pinfall win in a match that went about seven seconds. The winner and the new World Heavyweight Champion was CM Punk. The crowd popped big for the title change.

It was the first time CM Punk would become a World Champion in WWE. Edge walked to the back and he was off Smackdown. Punk’s win meant that the World Championship switched from Smackdown to Raw while the WWE Title went from Raw to Smackdown the week prior.

Analysis: It was similar to the prior year where Edge cashed in on The Undertaker, who was beaten up by Mark Henry. The difference was that it was a babyface Batista beating up a heel champion Edge and a babyface CM Punk is the one that cashed in to leave as the World Heavyweight Champion. It was really well done.

I was genuinely happy for Punk and I did not see it coming that way, but when you look back on it, the title change made a lot of sense since they needed a major title on Raw. Fans are critical of WWE a lot of the time, but in this case, they deserve a lot of credit for booking this in a creative way that was pretty memorable. I enjoyed it.

 

Title Reign Reflections

Punk went on to hold the World Title on Raw for about three months. At Unforgiven in September 2008, he had to forfeit the title after Randy Orton punted him in the head in a backstage segment.

The real reason Punk lost the title is because WWE wanted Chris Jericho to win the title (he won it later that night) so that Jericho’s awesome rivalry with Shawn Michaels would be a title feud, which led to Jericho vs. Michaels in a great ladder match at No Mercy 2008. I’m not mad that Jericho/Michaels became a title feud, but it was a shame that it happened at the expense of CM Punk’s first run as World Champion.

They covered it in the great CM Punk DVD documentary that WWE made where Michael Hayes and others talked about how Punk’s title reign didn’t feel special at all because of how it ended. Even though Punk was holding the top title on Raw, he wasn’t really the top guy. The good thing is Punk would get another chance to be a World Champion. I’ll cover that in more detail in the next Money in the Bank review column.

 

Final Thoughts

I was surprised by CM Punk winning the Money in the Bank briefcase and I was surprised how he won the World Heavyweight Title. That’s the beauty of MITB. You just never know who might win or when they might do the cash in. It’s also why whenever people ask me to try to predict when a cash in might happen, I don’t know how to answer it because you can guess all you want, but it’s not easy to get it right. It’s why I love it too.

CM Punk winning Money in the Bank was similar to Edge in 2005, Rob Van Dam in 2006 and Ken Kennedy in 2007 because it was another guy that had never been a World Champion before, so they used MITB to try to help them reach that level.

 

Money in the Bank Ladder Match Rankings so far

  1. WrestleMania 21 (2005) won by Edge – ****1/2
  2. WrestleMania 23 (2007) won Mr. (Ken) Kennedy – ****
  3. WrestleMania 24 (2008) won by CM Punk – ***3/4
  4. 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 comprehensive.

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Thanks for reading. My contact info is below.

John Canton

Email mrjohncanton@gmail.com

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