There have been 10 Money in the Bank ladder matches since the idea was introduced at WrestleMania 21 in 2005. In the seven years since, nine different men have won the coveted briefcase and eight different men have successfully used the briefcase to win WWE and World Heavyweight Championships. It has helped launch careers and allow certain superstars the honor to say that they are former world champions.
Is it really a career booster, though? More importantly, is there a stigma or a curse put on Money in the Bank winners?
The first and most famous Money in the Bank winner was Edge, who would win a briefcase from Mr. Kennedy later in his career. Edge had never been a world champion before this match took place, and his victory at WrestleMania 21 gave him the chance to be one at a moment's notice.
The first cash-in in history took place at New Year's Revolution with Edge shocking the world and becoming WWE Champion.
This all but guaranteed a place at WrestleMania 22 in the main event for Edge, but he would lose the title just 21 days later to John Cena, who headlined WrestleMania instead. Edge would sink back into the midcard for a few short months before striking again in another Money in the Bank-related event.
Rob Van Dam won the second Money in the Bank match at WrestleMania 22 and told the world he would use it at ECW One Night Stand, where RVD would have the extreme advantage. Taking on Cena, Van Dam was able to win the WWE Championship only after interference by Edge, who was concealed in a biker's helmet, and Paul Heyman counting the pinfall. Just 22 days later, RVD would lose his championship in a triple threat match to Edge, the man responsible for him winning in the first place. RVD would never be world champion in WWE again.
WrestleMania 23 brought us another new face to the main event in Mr. Kennedy. However, by May, Kennedy lost a match to Edge on RAW with the briefcase on the line. Suddenly, Edge was holding the Money in the Bank briefcase and Mr. Kennedy was out with an injury. Later that week on Smackdown, Edge used that briefcase on The Undertaker to win his first World Heavyweight Championship. Even with that reign, Edge would vacate the title 70 days later with an injury. Mr. Kennedy would never become world champion in WWE.
CM Punk, the only man to win two Money in the Bank ladder matches, would win at both WrestleMania 24 and 25. Punk's first cash-in was on Edge, the World Heavyweight Champion at the time. Punk held the title for just 69 days before being ambushed backstage at Unforgiven 2008 prior to the Championship Scramble match. Punk was replaced in the match by Chris Jericho, who won the World Heavyweight Championship despite Punk never truly defending it.
The following year started similar for Punk. Another Money in the Bank briefcase and another cash-in on the World Heavyweight Champion, which was Jeff Hardy at the time. Punk would win another world championship from a briefcase, but the word "brief" is the key word once again.
This reign lasted just 49 days before Jeff Hardy was World Heavyweight Champion again. Punk would win it back a month later just to lose it after 42 days to The Undertaker. CM Punk was not a world champion again until Money in the Bank this past year.
The final Money in the Bank match at WrestleMania saw Jack Swagger as the winner. Swagger only waited a few days, cashing in on Chris Jericho on the Smackdown after WrestleMania to become World Heavyweight Champion. An 82-day reign by Swagger was filled with ducking true challenges and falling at the Fatal 4-Way pay-per-view in a match that saw Rey Mysterio become world champion once again. Swagger has not been a world champion since that day.
Swagger's rematch clause to Mysterio fell on the first pay-per-view dedicated to Money in the Bank. Swagger would not win the title back, but he softened up Mysterio for Kane, who had won the Smackdown-exclusive briefcase earlier in the night. Kane was the first man to become Mr. Money in the Bank and have a world championship before a Money in the Bank briefcase.
Kane's 154-day reign with the World Heavyweight Championship is the most for anyone cashing in to become World Heavyweight Champion. Most of it included battles with The Undertaker, who had been booked into a vegetative state earlier in the year. Kane has not been world champion since.
The Miz also won a Money in the Bank ladder match on the same night as Kane, but he waited until the RAW following Survivor Series to cash in on a weakened Randy Orton for the WWE Championship.
The Miz's 160-day reign is tops for any Money in the Bank cash-in and is among the longest reigns in recent history. However, many of those title defenses were against the likes of Jerry Lawler, hardly bringing much historical value to the reign. The Miz has barely sniffed the main event since losing the title at Extreme Rules 2011.
Last year's RAW Money in the Bank winner was Alberto Del Rio, who cashed in on CM Punk in the main event of SummerSlam. Five weeks later, Del Rio was WWE Champion no more. A two-week reign by John Cena saw Del Rio become champion once again at Hell in a Cell, only to lose it at Survivor Series to CM Punk.
Punk has been WWE Champion since and Del Rio has been titleless. Del Rio has also been injured twice since then and is the subject of a speculation for backstage issues. Will Del Rio will ever be given another championship reign?
Daniel Bryan was the unexpected winner of Smackdown's last Money in the Bank match and was the most recent cash-in, striking at TLC to become World Heavyweight Champion. A reign of 105 days sounds impressive, but it was always a backhanded way out of a match with Big Show or Mark Henry, and ultimately, it led to an 18-second squash at WrestleMania to Sheamus. Bryan has been in the main event since, but he has not become WWE Champion yet. This doesn't mean that Bryan has nearly been planned to be the new champion.
Despite Edge's career of 11 world championship reigns, only one ever reached 100 days, and six of them fell shy of 50 days. Even as CM Punk holds onto a long reign with the WWE Championship, his days as a briefcase-wielding, World Heavyweight Championship-winning superstar had him booked unfavorably.
It took Punk nearly quitting the company to become relevant as a champion. Even now as a champion, Punk's matches are not main-event bouts. His title win at Survivor Series played second fiddle to John Cena and The Rock teaming together. Including that night, only one of the eight pay-per-views has included Punk in it.
So is there a curse to being Mr. Money in the Bank? Perhaps. It certainly brings a different stigma to becoming a world champion that way, as opposed to winning it the old fashioned way. It also doesn't guarantee employment to be involved in Money in the Bank.
Of the 39 superstars to ever compete in a Money in the Bank match, 14 of them are no longer with the company.
As much as being the holder of the Money in the Bank briefcase is an honor and nearly a guarantee to a world championship, history shows that it isn't always very special to be one of those men.
In fact, it may be better for your career to not win Money in the Bank. Just ask Chris Jericho, Christian, Jeff Hardy, Randy Orton, Mark Henry, Dolph Ziggler, Big Show, Sheamus and Rey Mysterio. All of these men competed in Money in the Bank ladder matches, lost and became world champions after their appearances anyway.
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