The Money in the Bank match is supposed to propel a superstar into the next phase of their career as a main eventer, much like the King of the Ring or the Royal Rumble. However, when one examines the list of past MITB winners, there are a great deal of superstars whose careers have remained stagnant or they are actually worse off than they were before.
In theory, the concept of the Money in the Bank is good. A person has to crawl and scratch their way to a briefcase hung high above the ring, and overcome multiple wrestlers who wish to do the same thing.
However, what happens once a person wins the MITB? Do they become a superstar or do they fall to the wayside?
Over the course of the last few weeks, I have read several blogs, posts, articles, etc. from several fans who do not like the idea that the Raw MITB match at this week's PPV is only for former WWE Champions. All of these writers articulated their points well about the MITB being the time for a new star to breakout and become the proverbial superstar. This is a fair argument, but I would counter that argument with the question: “Who has become a superstar as a result of MITB?
Instead of doing a slideshow. I will just list the names below of all the past MITB winners and follow it up with the rest of my argument.
Will the Smackdown MITB match winner become a mainstay in WWE's main event scene?
CM Punk (won two years in a row)
As far as Edge is concerned, I think he is the one superstar who has truly benefited the most from his MITB win. Here is a guy who was on the cusp. He was fresh off a hot feud with Shawn Michaels, not to mention the real-life drama between himself, Lita and Matt Hardy added to his heel persona. The WWE World Title was the logical next step for Edge, and the MITB Match solidified his career and springboarded Edge into the superstar he was to become.
Now, let's examine the rest of these guys.
Rob Van Dam's winning the MITB match was good for him, I guess, but realistically, it came about five years too late. I am not saying that RVD was not over, but he was clearly most over when he first arrived in the WWE in 2001 and backstage politics prevented RVD from being a main eventer. Of course, once he did finally cash in the briefcase, his little Cheech and Chong moment with Sabu and Huntington, West Virginia's finest killed whatever momentum he had built up until that point.
Who will win the Smackdown MITB Match?
Which brings us to Mr. Kennedy...KENNEDY! This guy was doomed from the start. What started out as a promising WWE career quickly fizzled. We all know the story. Rumors of being injury-prone, not knowing when to shut the hell up and some backstage politics got in the way of his career. After winning the briefcase, Kennedy was poised to be a main eventer, but he sustained an injury, and WWE, before thoroughly examining the extent of his injury, made Kennedy drop the briefcase to Edge and left Kennedy with the dubious distinction of the only guy to have never cashed in his reward.
It was later found out that Kennedy's injury wasn't as bad as originally thought, but the damage had already been done. Not too long after, Kennedy would cross the line (TNA).
CM Punk is an interesting case. He is the only superstar to win the MITB match two years in a row. His first cash in was on an unsuspecting Edge, who, at this point, was famous for cashing in the MITB Briefcase on talent shortly after hard-fought matches. Not too long after that, however, Punk would get an injury that would put him on the sidelines for an extended period of time and cause him to forfeit the title.
The next year, he would win the MITB match again (in a match that MVP should have won, in this unbiased reporter's opinion) and would cash his briefcase in on fan favorite Jeff Hardy and soon after, go rogue and start a cult known as “The Straight Edge Society."
While Punk did thrive in his role, I was never under the impression that he was “the guy” the way John Cena, Randy Orton, Batista and Undertaker were the guys. It always felt like Punk was keeping the title warm for the next guy who was going to hold it. While Punk is a bona-fide superstar now, I think that is more attributed to the epic promo he cut last summer in Las Vegas than it is to either one of his MITB wins.
Where is he now, though? As of this writing, he was getting squashed by Sheamus in a match that barley lasted three minutes. Swagger's title reign is probably the least memorable World Title reign of all time.
The Miz. Ah, the Miz. If you are familiar with my writings, you know I hate the Miz. His MITB win, like the others before him, came at the expense of a guy who just competed in a hard-fought contest. Unlike the others before him, however, he actually did have a memorable run as champ. (Yes, I hate the guy but I call a spade a spade.)
However, as WrestleMania loomed closer, many wrestling journalists, including myself, questioned whether he would even be champ by Mania. But as fate would have it, he would be. However, the Miz quickly became overshadowed by the Rock and John Cena. He would go on to actually win at WrestleMania thanks to interference from the Rock, but shortly after Mania, he would become an afterthought.
The Miz was used as fodder for the Rock and Cena and at WWE's very next PPV, he would lose the belt to Cena. He went from main eventing, to going back to the midcard, to curtain jerking, to barley being seen at all. While some might say that WWE still has faith in the Miz because he is off filming The Marine 3 for them, I have three words for you; Ted. DiBiase. Jr!
This brings me to the last two winners, Alberto Del Rio and Daniel Bryan.
We all saw the Del Rio win coming as WWE was positioning him as a guy they wanted to be the next top heel. He had his ups as a WWE Champ after winning the WWE title, but he had mostly downs shortly there after. Right now, he is showing more potential, but whether or not he will reach his full potential remains to be seen.
Bryan's MITB win was sort of a surprise, and it came out of nowhere. While he did have triumphant moments as World Champ, what really brought him attention is him losing the title to Sheamus at WrestleMania in 18 seconds—as fans rallied behind Bryan and the injustice of him not being able to showcase his talents on the grandest stage of them all in an opening match, no less.
Conclusions? Well, the MITB match has to rise up in significance.
I think the biggest problem with the matches is that too many guys cash the briefcase in when guys are already beaten down. With the exception of RVD, this has always been the case (pun intended). There needs to be just ONE guy who cashes the briefcase in for a match that is built up and heavily promoted, preferably a new guy. When this guy finally does win the title, he needs to become a main eventer. The WWE's recent history has proven with both of their world titles that just winning the belt isn't enough to solidify a wrestler as a main eventer.
While the Raw MITB match is tied up with Big Show, Kane, Cena and Jericho (the old guard), there is a great deal of potential with the Smackdown MITB match with guys like Tyson Kid, Damien Sandow, Cody Rhodes, Sin Cara, Dolph Ziggler, Tensai, Santino Marella and Christian. Winning the briefcase is one thing. Cashing it in is another, but becoming a main eventer as a result of MITB does not happen that often. For this very reason, I am curbing my excitement for about six months. If a guy like Rhodes or Ziggler becomes a bonafide main eventer as a result of winning MITB, my faith will be restored in the match.
If Dolph Ziggler or Cody Rhodes or whoever wins this year's MITB match is starring in the Marine 4 by this time next year, however, I will know that they haven't moved up the ladder (pun intended).