Top 5: WWE Money In The Bank Cash-Ins
WWE’s Money in the Bank pay-per-view will be taking place on July 18th, and with a week of build-up left, this year’s pay-per-view is taking shape. In the meantime, it might be a good time to take a stroll down memory lane and relieve some of the most exciting cash-ins of all time in WWE.
For those new to the WWE product, the concept of Money in the Bank (shortened to MITB) is simple. Several superstars compete in a ladder match where a briefcase is suspended above the ring, within the briefcase is a contract, guaranteeing the winner a WWE world championship match in the future. The match can take place anytime, anywhere, and for any WWE world title that the case holder chooses, hence the term “cash-in”.
In WWE history, MITB cash-in’s come in all different shapes and sizes. Some don’t cash-in their briefcases for nearly a year, while some do it the same night they win the case itself. Some take advantage of an injured champion, while others opt to use their MITB contract to schedule a match at a later date.
There have been a total of 20 successful cash-ins since WWE introduced Money in the Bank, but only a handful deserve to be placed in the Top 5 of all-time. Let’s not waste a moment longer and dive into the Top 5 WWE Money in the Bank cash-in’s
#5. Rob Van Dam brings WWE Champ John Cena to the Land of Extreme
RVD was the second man in WWE history to claim MITB, doing so at WrestleMania 22. While the previous winner (who we will get to later) had cashed-in his briefcase unannounced, The Whole F’n Show wanted to do things differently.
On Monday Night RAW, RVD challenged then-WWE Champion John Cena to a match for the world title at the upcoming ECW: One Night Stand pay-per-view. Marking the first time the championship would be defended in the land of extreme.
The pay-per-view itself emanated from the Manhattan Center, the old Hammerstein Ballroom and the original home of ECW in New York City.The match would go on to gain legendary status, as it would be the single most hostile crowd John Cena had ever encountered since becoming the face of WWE.
This pay-per-view show was designed to look and feel like anything BUT a WWE produced show. With the crowd being far from a typical sampling of the WWE Universe that John Cena was used to interacting with.
Cena was not greeted as the babyface hero that he would usually be in a typical WWE arena at the time. Instead of young fans and families chanting his name, he was instead met by a sea of hardcore ECW and internet wrestling fans who loathed the WWE Champion. With many fans chanting “Cena Sucks” and “F*ck You Cena” throughout the bout.
After a chaotic match, which included WWE superstar Edge spearing Cena through a table, RVD would hit the 5 Star Frogsplash and get a pinfall victory over John Cena.
The moment marked RVD’s first WWE Championship win, and the only time in WWE history that a MITB winner “called their shot” ahead of time and still won the title. Those points, along with the addition of the infamous hostile atmosphere, make this cash-in deserving of the #5 spot.
#4. Randy Orton crushes Daniel Bryan’s WWE dreams
You will notice a few common threads between every entry on this list, an emphasis on location, set-up before the cash-in itself, and the reaction from the WWE Universe. Hitting the mark on all three of these from both a storyline and execution perspective is vital. In this case, WWE hit every mark out of the park.
Randy Orton is widely regarded as one of the greatest WWE Superstars of all time. The Viper has seemingly done it all. This includes winning MITB in 2013, ultimately winning the WWE Championship 35 days later. The unlucky victim this time was WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan, who had only moments before defeated John Cena to win his first world title.
Prior to Randy Orton’s insertion, it looked as though Daniel Bryan had finally reached the top of the mountain, despite opposition from WWE’s top brass. Bryan broke through every conceivable barrier and defeated the face of the company, Cena himself. Fans around the world rejoiced when special guest referee Triple H counted “3”, giving Daniel Bryan the biggest win of his professional career.
However, while some thought this was the great climax of Daniel Bryan’s journey to the top, it turned out to be only the beginning of the Bearded One’s long road ahead against The Authority.
WWE went out of its way to make fans feel that SummerSlam 2013 was about to have the happiest of endings. Bryan celebrated with an electric crowd as confetti fell from the sky, and Bryan looked to the camera to thank his family.
Suddenly, in an instant the moment was shattered, as Randy Orton’s theme song came over the speakers, and the MITB holder made his way slowly to the ring. Bryan was shocked and but stood his ground, awaiting his assumed next challenger to enter.
A moment later, Triple H spun Daniel Bryan around and hit him with his signature pedigree finisher, then took the briefcase from Orton and demanded that the bell be rung. Orton had officially cashed-in. He would win the WWE World Championship instantly.
Within seconds, the WWE Universe went from having a feeling of extreme jubilation and vindication to profound anger and frustration. Their hero, who they had fought so hard to push to the top, was decimated and WWE’s status quo was instantly restored.
This cash-in earns the #4. spot, because not only was the cash-in unexpected, but its use in WWE’s larger storyline surrounding Daniel Bryan’s quest to be perceived as more than just a “B+” was vital. WWE needed fans to feel betrayed and cheated by WWE. Thus, would channel it into making Bryan into even more of an underdog than he already was.
Overall, Orton’s cash-in did everything it was supposed to do. Made him even more hated and Bryan even more loved, it shocked the crowd, and with the backdrop of SummerSlam? It’s up there for sure.
#3. Dolph Ziggler stuns the WWE Universe
The night after WrestleMania is often considered a night of must-watch television when it comes to WWE. Monday Night RAW after WrestleMania typically takes place within the same town – sometimes even the same arena – that WrestleMania took place in the night before. Many fans from the previous night would purchase packages that included RAW and sometimes SmackDown shows.
WWE knows that for at least one night, the crowd is filled with diehard and energized fans who will give WWE some of the loudest reactions of the year. Which is exactly what fans in East Rutherford, N.J. gave to Dolph Ziggler in 2013. When he cashed-in his MITB briefcase.
The Show Off had been Mr. Money in the Bank for 267 days, which is still in the record books as one of the longest tenures for a MITB holder in WWE history. During his time with the briefcase, Ziggler had one of the roughest years a WWE Superstar could have.
In 2012, Ziggler wrestled on TV and pay-per-view more than 90% of the WWE roster, only second to Sheamus, however he also lost more times than anyone else on the roster as well. With over 57 TV and pay-per-view losses to his name (Pro Wrestling Torch).
Ziggler was also forced to defend the briefcase multiple times. This included against Chris Jericho, who he had to defend the title against in a “Career vs Contract Match” at the RAW after SummerSlam. He also defended it against John Cena in a Ladder match at the TLC: Tables Ladders and Chairs pay-per-view. He was successful in both defenses.
Despite his seeming endless losses, WWE fans absolutely fell in love with Ziggler more than they ever had before. While Ziggler didn’t have many wins on his record, WWE fans couldn’t help but appreciate the unbelievable ring skills of Ziggler, specifically his ability to sell like it’s nobody’s business, and keep fans on their toes in every match.
Regardless of Ziggler’s comings, or his heelish nature, fans couldn’t help but cheer for him. All they wanted was for Ziggler to get a real opportunity at a main event title.
Finally, on April 8th, Ziggler would cash-in his Money in the Bank briefcase on then-World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio. Del Rio had been facing off against Jack Swagger, who he had defeated the night before to defend his championship at WrestleMania 29.
After the match was over, the crowd began to chant “We Want Ziggler”, louder than they had at any moment during the previous match. Urging WWE to finally pull the trigger on their hero.
Ziggler’s theme music would hit moments later, with a thunderous roar of joy coming from the WWE Universe; Ziggler made his way to the ring and cashed-in on an injured Del Rio.
In usual Ziggler fashion, the match still kept fans on their toes despite Ziggler clearly having the advantage. Ziggler would find himself stuck in an armbar, Del Rio’s signature submission move. Fans screamed with fear at the thought of Ziggler losing his cash-in, but Ziggler would fight out, attacking the injured leg of Del Rio.
Seconds later, Ziggler would hit his Zig-Zag finisher to win the World Heavyweight Title for the second time in his career. The crowd’s reaction to Ziggler’s win alone gives him a spot on the Top 5 list for cash-ins.
#2. Seth Rollins Executes WWE’s “Heist of the Century”
Some WWE fans might disagree that this cash-in belongs in the #2 spot on this list. However, that is only because they would want it to be placed higher.
At WrestleMania 31, the build leading to Roman Reign’s face-off with then WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar was the source of much controversy and fan disapproval. The last thing WWE fans in 2015 wanted to see in the main event was The Big Dog go over The Beast and become the new champion.
Following the break up of The Shield, WWE set in motion a plan to make Roman Reigns a main event star. From the summer of 2014 to early 2015, making Roman Reigns look strong was a top priority for WWE. This included big wins like his SummerSlam match with Randy Orton, consistent wins on TV, and of course his Royal Rumble win in January 2015.
However, as much as WWE wanted the Big Dog to become the biggest star in the company and carry the WWE World Height Championship, die-hard WWE fans were not very accepting of this. They saw right through WWE’s clear push of Reigns, and quickly felt that WWE didn’t care what they wanted, rather looking at what they saw as their next John Cena.
With this, fans consistently booed Reigns, and were concerned that WrestleMania 31 was going to be the place where WWE would simply anoint Reigns. Lesnar was a part-timer even then, which made fans extra nervous. Many WWE fans felt that the result of the match was nothing but a foregone conclusion – Regins was going to become World Champion whether they liked it or not.
Towards the end of the match, it seemed as though WWE was setting up for Reigns to possibly begin to mount his big comeback and win his first WWE world title. However, WWE had a plan B that no one saw coming.
As both Reigns and Lesnar lay exhausted on the ground, Seth Rollins’ theme music hit and the former Shield member sprinted to the ring to insert himself into the match. Much to the delight of WWE fans in the arena.
Rollin’s cash-in was the first to successfully happen during a match, as the match then became a triple threat match. Before long, Rollins would set up Reigns and hit his signature Curb Stomp finisher. This secured him the win, completing the “Heist of the Century”.
To this day, many fans regard this as one of the most unexpected and exciting cash-ins in WWE history. WWE fans constantly refer to this cash-in as the signature moment when Seth Rollins proved that he was a top WWE star and could hold his own.
The timing, the execution, and the pure gravity of the moment make this cash-in a no-brainer for a Top 5 list. However, there is one Cash-In that beats it as the best cash-in in WWE history.
#2.5. WWE MITB Cash-In Honorable Mentions
Before we get o the #1 Cash-In, let’s take a look at a few cash-in’s that did NOT make the Top 5: WWE Money in the Bank Cash-Ins list.
It’s hard to make a “Best of” type list with only 5 spots. A few significant big-time cash-ins had to be excluded. However, it’s important to recognize them in some capacity, even if they didn’t make the cut. Quickly, here are 3 Honorable Mention Cash-Ins:
WWE Superstar The Miz
The Miz cashed-in his first Money in the Bank contract on the November 22nd edition of Monday Night RAW in 2010. Cashing-in on then WWE champion Randy Orton after he defeated Wade Barrett moments earlier.
The reaction of the WWE universe was that of shock and horror, as the biggest and most annoying loud mouth character in WWE, was now the top champion in the company. Many WWE fans in the arena were not pleased, with one fan – “The Angry Miz Girl” – in particular becoming internet famous overnight.
While it was clear that WWE loved having such a charismatic heel to work with, no one ever thought The Miz would reach the top of the mountain. From a guy who had been banned from changing in the locker room, The Miz had defied the odds and became WWE Champion by beating Randy Orton.
Love him or hate him, The Miz’s first cash-in is both memorable and a testament to how far any WWE Superstar can climb.
WWE Superstar Carmella
The Princess of Staten Island was the first woman to win WWE’s Women’s Money in the Bank match and the first woman to successfully cash-in a contract and win a championship. How does she NOT get an honorable mention?
On the April 10th edition of SmackDown, Carmella cashed-in on the then-WWE SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair after she was attacked by The IIconics.
Carmella had technically won the briefcase twice, but her first win at WWE’s 2017 Money in the Bank pay-per-view was thrown out by WWE SmackDown General Manager Daniel Bryan. Carmella would then win the briefcase in the next edition of SmackDown.
Carmella’s cash-in earned her a huge pop with the WWE universe, as many were happy to see WWE’s Queen Charlotte dethroned. Fans had been waiting for some time to see Carmella cash-in her briefcase, as Carmella held onto her contract for a combined of 287 days. Which still stands as the longest time any WWE Superstar has held onto an MITB contract.
WWE Superstar Dean Ambrose (aka Jon Moxley)
Dean Ambrose’s 2016 Cash-In of his Money in the Bank contract was easily one of the most satisfying from a storyline perspective in recent WWE history.
In June of 2014, WWE’s most dominant trio finally imploded when Seth Rollins turned his back on his brothers, attacking them both with a steel chair. The first person who Rollins would hit was Roman Reigns, forcing Ambrose to watch the betrayal. With Ambrose’s eyes telling a story of betrayal and heartbreak better than words ever could.
In the year to follow, Rollins and Dean Ambrose would face-off in a series of intense clashes. Rollins would eventually go on to win the Money in the Bank briefcase and cash-in at WrestleMania 31, becoming WWE World Heavyweight Champion in the process. In 2016, it was Ambrose’s time for some revenge.
Ambrose won the Money in the Bank briefcase at WWE’s Money in the Bank pay-per-view in 2016, with his former Shield brothers WWE Champion Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins main eventing the show. Rollins would ultimately win the bout, only to have Ambrose’s music hit almost instantly – signaling that he may be about to cash-in.
As Seth Rollins prepared himself, watching the entrance ramp like a hawk. Ambrose ran in behind him, hitting him with the briefcase and telling the referee to ring the bell. Moments later, the match officially started and with a vicious Dirty Deeds, Ambrose won the WWE Championship. Only having been Mr. MITB for 57 minutes, the second shortest reign as the MITB holder in WWE history.
In addition to the fantastic story-telling, a fun fact about this cash-in is that with it, every member of The Shield was WWE champion at one point in the night. Reigns came in as WWE Champ, Rollins defeated him for the title, and Ambrose would subsequently win his first World Championship after cashing-in.
1) WWE Hall of Famer Edge sets the bar for Cash-In’s
s line from Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby goes, “If you ain’t first, you’re last!”, and one could be confident in the idea that WWE Hall of Famer Edge had the same mindset in 2005 and 2006.Edge would win the first Money in the Bank ladder match in WWE history at WrestleMania 21, defeating an impressive field in: Christian, Chris Jericho, Shelton Benjamin, Kane, and Chris Beniot, to win the briefcase.
Edge would go on to hold the MITB contract for 280 days, the longest for a male WWE Superstar to-date, (second longest in overall WWE history). He also defended the briefcase once in a ladder match against Matt Hardy on RAW during that time.
The longer that Edge held onto the briefcase, the more WWE fans’ sense of wonder and suspense grew. Edge wasn’t simply just “Mr. Money in the Bank”, he made the briefcase a quintessential part of his character and tactics. No one quite knew how or when Edge would strike, but it would certainly be spectacular.
On January 8th, 2006 – the long awaited cash-in finally arrived. The main event of WWE’s New Year’s Revolution pay-per-view event featured John Cena defending his WWE Championship against: Shawn Michaels, Kane, Carlito, Chris Masters, and Kurt Angle in an Elimination Chamber match.
After a grueling 28 minute match inside the chamber, where he had competed from the start, Cena stood tall with his WWE Championship. With his face covered in blood and his body clearly out of gas, Cena weakly held up his championship and seemed ready to exit the ring – ending the pay-per-view.
Suddenly, Vince McMachon appeared at the top of the entrance ramp, and informed the WWE Champion that his night was not over. Edge, being the Ultimate Opportunist that he was (and still is), decided that it was that moment he would cash-in his Money in the Bank contract. Edge would come out to his music, hand over his briefcase to Vince McMahon, and march to the ring.
Cena, barely able to stand, stared across the ring at a fresh Edge with complete shock and horror. As the bell rang, Cena took only a few steps forward, and was instantly hit by a spear from Edge.
Cena would somehow find the strength to kick out at 2, infuriating Edge. Seconds later, Edge would set up and execute another spear and finally secure a pin-fall victory to win his first WWE Championship, with an excited Albany, NY crowd behind him.
Edge cash-in earns the #1 spot on this list for multiple reasons. Edge’s cash-in on John Cena in 2006 set the standard for what a Money in the Bank cash-in needed to look and feel like. Regardless of when and how someone cashes-in, the moment must feel special and and unexpected.
But more so than anything, Edge stands at the top of the mountain of MITB cash-in’s because he ensured that the MITB concept was able to live on. If Edge’s time as the first Mr. Money in the Bank was a dud, and his cash-in on John Cena ultimately led to nothing truly special, then the Money in the Bank concept might have been completely scrapped.
Instead, the Money in the Bank match has become a WWE fan favorite and a significant part of WWE bookings during their calendar year.