WWE: Ranking Every Money in the Bank Winner

Scott CampbellFeatured ColumnistOctober 13, 2012

WWE: Ranking Every Money in the Bank Winner

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    Since it's debut at WrestleMania 21, the Money in the Bank ladder match has often been the catalyst for the winner to ascend to main-event status and cement their place as one of the top stars in the WWE.

    On the other hand, if the winner isn't booked strongly enough following their cash-in, they can find themselves right back at the bottom of the roster in no time.

    One of the most popular gimmick matches in recent memory, the Money in the Bank ladder match is one of the few matches that can immediately help build new stars, an area in which the WWE has been sorely lacking in the last few years.

    This article will list the most successful holders of the Money in the Bank briefcase. Do you agree with the rankings?

    As always, keep it cool in the comments below.

    (Note: The rankings are based on what each performer has accomplished after capturing the briefcase, not their entire WWE career.)

11. Dolph Ziggler

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    Seeing as he has yet to cash in the briefcase, and only won the match at this year's Money in the Bank pay-per-view on July 15, Dolph Ziggler has to be at the bottom of the list. This isn't a knock on the guy, as we all know he is a phenomenal talent, but these are the criteria.

    Since capturing the briefcase, Ziggler has feuded with Chris Jericho and Randy Orton, losing to both men at successive PPV's following the Money in the Bank win. Although he defeated both stars on television, the pay-per-view losses harmed his momentum following his anointment as "Mr. Money in the Bank."

    There have also been several failed cash-ins on current World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus, which again failed to make Ziggler look like a legitimate threat to the title.

    There are rumours circulating that Ziggler will seize his chance following the Hell in a Cell match between "The Great White" and Big Show in two weeks. This is an ideal opportunity for Ziggler; as World Heavyweight Champion, he can transition straight into a top-line feud with Sheamus and give Smackdown the much needed main-event heel presence it sorely lacks.

    However, the danger is that Ziggler will end up being booked as a cowardly heel champion, reminiscent of The Miz after his cash-in, and it took him almost a year to make it back to the mid-card.

    Hopefully "The Showoff" will be given a proper reign as World Heavyweight Champion and creative books the talented thirty-two-year-old as the main-event player he is destined to be, as anything else will be a colossal disappointment. Only time will tell...

10. Mr. Kennedy

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    Pushed strongly following his August 2005 debut, Mr. Kennedy was blessed with bags of natural charisma and possessed excellent microphone skills for a newcomer, and the cocky heel could most certainly back up his trash talk in the ring.

    Suffering his first televised pin-fall loss nearly a year after his debut in July 2006, Kennedy battled the likes of Eddie Guerrerro, The Undertaker and Chris Benoit during his first eighteen months with the WWE, and also lifted the United States Championship, leading many to believe he was destined to become one of the company's top stars.

    When he emerged victorious in the Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania 23, it seemed as though Kennedy's rise to the top was inevitable.

    Then it all went horribly wrong.

    Kennedy announced on the April 30, 2007 episode of Raw he would cash in his briefcase at the following WrestleMania. Seven days later, he had lost his championship contract following a defeat to Edge.

    The reason for this was that Kennedy had supposedly seriously injured his triceps and would require an extended absence to recover, forcing the WWE to change their plans for the briefcase. However, the injury was misdiagnosed and Kennedy returned to television only weeks later. Ultimately, his WWE career would never recover from the setback.

    He bounced around from Smackdown to Raw and back again, mostly floundering in the mid-card before his eventual release from the company in May 2009.

    Mr. Kennedy deserves his place at the bottom end of the list for being the first, and so far only, winner of the Money in the Bank match never to even receive a shot at world title gold, and his WWE career falls strictly under the category of "wasted potential."

9. Jack Swagger

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    Debuting on the September 9, 2008 edition of ECW, Jack Swagger was World Heavyweight Champion just eighteen months later. The "All-American American" would then suffer the ignominy of one of the most spectacular falls from grace of any world champion in recent memory.

    Swagger captured the ECW Championship from Matt Hardy only four months after his television debut, and held the belt for 104 days before dropping it to Christian and being traded to Raw in June 2009.

    Following his victory in the Money in the Bank match, Swagger successfully cashed in the briefcase on World Heavyweight Champion Chris Jericho only two days later, and defended the title against the likes of Jericho, Edge and Big Show before losing the belt to Rey Mysterio in a Fatal 4-Way match after a near-three month reign.

    Since losing the title, Swagger has been nowhere near the main event scene in the last two years and slowly dropped further and further down the card, despite a short reign as United States champion and an alliance with heat-magnet Vickie Guerrero. Swagger's disappearance from television this September was the culmination of a three-month televised losing streak.

    Despite cashing in the briefcase only two days after winning it, Swagger was quickly demoted from potential main-event heel to "jobber to the stars" in no time, killing any momentum his World Heavyweight Championship victory had built up. Poor booking and a clear lack of support from creative had seen the celebrated amateur wrestler become nothing more than an afterthought on WWE television.

    Still only thirty years old and a supremely talented in-ring worker, it is possible that Jack Swagger can save his career whenever he returns to television, but some think that the damage to his character has already been done.

8. John Cena

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    Yes, John Cena is only at number eight on the list. Why? Simple.

    Despite being the face of the company and dominating WWE television almost every week for years, Cena is the only man in history to unsuccessfully cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase.

    After winning an opportunity at the WWE Title at this year's event on July 15, Cena announced he would face current champion CM Punk at Raw 1000 on July 23. Cena won the match by disqualification following an attack by The Big Show, before The Rock made the save. The main talking point following the match wasn't Cena's failed attempt at capturing the gold, but CM Punk's apparent heel turn following his attack on "The Great One."

    Following the match, Punk and Cena reignited their feud and clashed at Night of Champions, and are expected to square off again at the upcoming Hell in a Cell pay-per-view.

    Despite being the only person to fail in their attempt to cash in, Cena remains the company's top draw, is currently feuding for the WWE Title and in addition to holding that belt no less than ten times, he is also a former two-time World Heavyweight Champion, three-time Intercontinental champion, four-time Tag Team champion and 2008 Royal Rumble winner.

    John Cena may have failed in his attempt to use the Money in the Bank contract, but I doubt he's lost much sleep over it.

7. Rob Van Dam

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    Already a 17-year veteran of the business by the time he won the Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania 22 on April 2, 2006, Rob Van Dam was a legend in Paul Heyman's ECW before becoming a popular babyface star in the WWE following his July 2001 debut.

    Before successfully cashing in against John Cena at the legendary ECW One Night Stand pay-per-view on June 11, 2006, RVD had rarely been afforded the opportunity to cement himself in a main event position. Six Intercontinental Titles, four Hardcore Championships, three Tag Team Title reigns and a European Title win had kept "The Whole F'N Show" as a perennially popular upper-card star throughout the decade, yet he had never managed to break through the glass ceiling to chase the top titles.

    All that changed when, in the electric atmosphere of the Hammerstein Ballroom, Van Dam pinned John Cena (after interference from Edge) to lift his first WWE Championship. Two days later, Van Dam was also awarded the newly-created ECW Championship, thus becoming the first man to hold both belts, whilst also doing so simultaneously.

    And then he blew it.

    Only three weeks after finally capturing the big one, Van Dam was arrested for drug possession. Facing a thirty-day suspension, RVD hastily dropped his WWE Championship to Edge and his ECW Championship to The Big Show, his title reigns lasting only 22 and 21 days respectively.

    After his return, Van Dam competed on ECW, most notably as part of the "Originals" versus "New Breed" rivalry. His contract expired in 2007 and he ultimately left the company.

    Rob Van Dam's Money in the Bank win acted as a springboard to the main event and his first and only reign as WWE Champion. His drug suspension curtailed both his main event push and eventually his time with the company, so we will never know if "Mr. Monday Night" could have competed for world titles on a regular basis.

6. The Miz

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    When The Miz became WWE Champion on November 22, 2010, it completed one of the most unlikely rises to the top in recent years.

    Signed to a contract following his stint on season four of Tough Enough, the former reality television star was held in low regard by those both in the audience and the locker room upon his Smackdown debut in June 2006. Roles as host of the blue show and co-host of the interminable Diva Search competition hardly increased his standings.

    However, in recent years Miz worked his a** off in the ring and improved all of the other aspects of his game. and now finds himself a respected in-ring worker. In addition to his WWE Title reign, he is also a former five-time Tag Team Champion, two-time United States Champion and finds himself as the current Intercontinental Champion.

    He deserves his spot at number seven on the list due to the trajectory of his career following the successful world title contract match. Despite holding the belt for 160 days and successfully defending it against John Cena in the main event of WrestleMania 27, The Miz was portrayed as a cowardly champion who would rely on interference from protege Alex Riley to score the cheap victory. A feud with veteran Jerry Lawler and two tainted pay-per-view victories over Randy Orton hardly increased his credibility as champion.

    After dropping the belt to Cena on May 1, 2011, Miz formed a short-lived tag team with R-Truth. Despite facing unlikely duos Triple H/CM Punk and The Rock/John Cena, the team would ultimately serve as nothing more than jobbers to the company's top stars. Miz then floundered in the lower reaches of the card, squaring off with the likes of Santino Marella and Brodus Clay before disappearing from television for two months.

    Despite a decent reign as WWE Champion, it seemed as though there wasn't enough faith in The Miz as a top-card player, and he slipped down the card following his run with the belt. "The Awesome One" almost became lost in the shuffle before his Intercontinental Title win made him relevant again.

5. Alberto Del Rio

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    The first man to win the Royal Rumble match and a Money in the Bank ladder match in the same year, Alberto del Rio captured his first WWE Championship when he successfully cashed in the briefcase against CM Punk on August 14, 2011.

    Thrust into the main-event scene from the moment of his television debut on August 20, 2010, "The Mexican Aristocrat" had a heated rivalry with Rey Mysterio and an unsuccessful World Heavyweight Championship match against Edge at Wrestlemania 27 before being drafted to Raw in April 2011.

    Less than three months later, del Rio had emerged victorious in the red show's ladder match at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view.

    A month removed from obtaining the briefcase, del Rio captured the belt, holding it for only 35 days before dropping it to John Cena. Two weeks later del Rio regained the gold, this reign lasting only seven weeks before he was dethroned by CM Punk. Following unsuccessful attempts at regaining the gold from Punk, del Rio was sidelined by a groin injury.

    Returning in February 2012, del Rio set his sights on World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus, and the two embarked on a lengthy feud that included matches at Money in the Bank, SummerSlam and Night of Champions. Failing to win the gold on any occasion, del Rio is now feuding with Randy Orton.

    Alberto del Rio was successful in his Money in the Bank contract match, but his place on the list is warranted by his two short reigns as WWE Champion and a tedious feud with Sheamus that saw him fail to win gold in any of their innumerable collisions.

4. Kane

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    Kane's Money in the Bank victory gave him his first taste of one of the WWE's top titles for over twelve years, and since then "The Big Red Machine" has gone from strength to strength, and is currently providing some of his best work for years.

    Prior to cashing in the briefcase on Rey Mysterio only hours after winning the Money in the Bank match on July 18, 2010, Kane was already regarded as a legend in the WWE. As well as winning both the WWF Championship and ECW Championship, and in addition to holding the Intercontinental Title twice and having a short stint as Hardcore Champion, "The Devil's Favourite Demon" has also amassed an incredible 13 Tag Team title reigns with an unprecedented seven different partners in his 15-year run with the company.

    In stark contrast to his one-day reign as WWF Champion in June 1998, Kane's World Heavyweight Championship reign lasted five months and included successful defences against Rey Mysterio, The Undertaker and Edge. After 154 days, Kane lost the title to the "Rated-R Superstar" at TLC in December 2010 and went on to form a title-winning tag team with The Big Show, before he was sidelined with an injury.

    After a four month hiatus, Kane returned in December 2011 wearing a mask for the first time in over eight years. Abysmal feuds with John Cena and Randy Orton followed, before The Big Red Machine found himself involved in the WWE Championship picture alongside champion CM Punk and Daniel Bryan. This led to a feud with Bryan which has now given the wrestling world Team Hell No, one of the most entertaining and popular tag teams in years.

    Kane's Money in the Bank win led to his most successful main event push in years, and his odd-couple partnership with Daniel Bryan has almost single-handedly revived the tag team division. Add to the fact that the 45-year-old is giving us some of his best in-ring and promo work in years, and his ranking makes total sense.

3. Daniel Bryan

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    When Daniel Bryan won his Money in the Bank match on July 17, 2011, many of us were nervous as to what the creative team had in store for the former American Dragon.

    Despite being one of the most talented wrestlers in the world, Bryan was placed as a "rookie" in the inaugural season of NXT and tutored by The Miz. His army of fans groaned as he was saddled with a losing streak, all the while having his background on the independent circuit belittled by Michael Cole, under orders from Vince McMahon.

    Then, just as The Nexus angle was really taking off, Bryan was fired on June 11, 2010 for choking ring announcer Justin Roberts with his own tie on television.

    Returning two months later to a huge pop from the crowd, Bryan established himself in the mid-card and captured his first WWE gold when he won the United States Title from former NXT mentor The Miz in September. This led to an impressive 176 day reign before he dropped the title to Sheamus in March, 2011.

    Cashing in his match contract five months after capturing the briefcase on December 18, 2011, Bryan ended The Big Show's World Heavyweight Championship reign after a matter of minutes. This led to a heel turn for Bryan, as he would portray the cowardly champion who would take any shortcut possible to retain the title.

    Despite playing a heel, Bryan was becoming more and more popular with the crowd, and by the time he lost the title to Sheamus in 18 seconds at WrestleMania 28, he had coined one of the most popular catchphrases of the decade.

    Remaining in the hunt for world title gold in the months following WrestleMania, Bryan unsuccessfully tried to regain his World Title from Sheamus, before turning his attention to CM Punk and his WWE Championship. The feud led to a series of excellent matches between the two, even after Kane and AJ Lee became embroiled in the rivalry. In fact, his SummerSlam match against Kane was the first pay-per-view of 2012 where Bryan didn't have a world title match.

    After a difficult start to his WWE career, Daniel Bryan's Money in the Bank win led him to world title glory and main event status, something he has grabbed with both hands. His unlikely partnership with Kane is one of the most entertaining aspects of WWE television, and finds Bryan as arguably the most popular star in the company at the moment.

2. CM Punk

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    The only man to win two Money in the Bank ladder matches, and managing to do so in successive years, CM Punk rose to main-event prominence following his world title contract wins, and is now the undisputed No. 2 full time star in the company.

    One of the biggest names on the independent circuit, Punk was tapped for big things from his debut on the July 4, 2006 episode of ECW. "The Straight Edge Savior" won his first Money in the Bank match at WrestleMania 24 on March 30, 2008 and was then drafted to Raw three months later. One week later he cashed in on Edge to win his first World Heavyweight Championship, before dropping the title to Chris Jericho a little over two months down the line.

    A short reign as Intercontinental Champion came in January, 2009, before Punk won his second consecutive Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania 25. Punk captured his second World Heavyweight Championship on June 7, immediately following Jeff Hardy's title victory over Edge.

    He only held the title for 49 days before dropping it back to Hardy, and four weeks later regained the belt from "The Charismatic Enigma." Punk's third reign would last a mere 42 days before it was ended by The Undertaker at Hell in a Cell.

    Punk remained in high-profile rivalries over the next couple of years, first as the leader of the Straight Edge Society in programmes with Rey Mysterio and Big Show, and later as the figurehead of the New Nexus, who feuded with John Cena and Randy Orton.

    Establishing himself as No. 1 contender to the WWE Championship, Punk revealed his contract was due to expire before dropping his infamous "pipe bomb" in June 2011. Capturing his first WWE Championship from John Cena at Money in the Bank on July 17 in front of an electric crowd, Punk left the company with the WWE Championship.

    Returning to television to challenge Cena for the right to be "undisputed" WWE Champion, "The Voice of the Voiceless" prevailed at SummerSlam, only to be the victim of an Alberto del Rio cash in. Regaining his title in November, Punk now finds himself enjoying an eleven-month reign as champion, and is currently feuding with John Cena over the belt once again.

    CM Punk's consecutive Money in the Bank wins enabled him to become a three-time World Heavyweight Champion in the space of little over a year, and he built on that momentum to establish himself as a main event performer, leading him to more world title success in the following years.

1. Edge

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    Seven years after winning the inaugural Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania 21, Edge is an 11-time World Champion and WWE Hall of Famer. That's why he's earned the number one spot on this list.

    Before capturing the briefcase on April 3, 2005, Edge had amassed an incredible amount of accolades in the WWE—a 10-time Tag Team Champion, five Intercontinental Titles and single reigns as both European and Hardcore Champion, in addition to winning the 2001 King of the Ring tournament.

    The "Rated-R Superstar" held onto the briefcase for eight months before cashing in on John Cena to lift his first WWE Championship in January 2006, which led to the best feud of the year. By July he was a two-time champion after beating Rob Van Dam for the title, holding the belt for 76 days before dropping it to Cena at Unforgiven. Around this time, Edge also captured tag team gold as part of "Rated RKO" with Randy Orton.

    After beating Mr. Kennedy to gain the right to use the Money in the Bank briefcase, Edge cashed in for the second year running when he pinned The Undertaker to capture his first World Heavyweight Championship in May 2007. Forced to vacate the belt two months later due to injury, "The Ultimate Opportunist" regained the title in December, holding the belt for 105 days before losing to Undertaker at WrestleMania 24.

    Winning his third WWE Championship in November 2008 before dropping the belt to Jeff Hardy a month later, Edge enjoyed a fourth reign as champion that was ended by Triple H after only three weeks at Elimination Chamber on February 15, 2009.

    That same night, Edge captured his fourth World Heavyweight Championship and became the only man to lose one world title and win the other in the same night.

    Edge's final match came when he successfully defended the World Heavyweight Championship against Alberto del Rio at WrestleMania 27 on April 3, 2011 and he had the honour of retiring as a reigning world champion. This was Edge's seventh World Heavyweight Championship to add to his four WWE Title reigns, making him one of the most decorated champions in the company's history.

    The Rated-R Superstar fully deserves his place as the top Money in the Bank winner as he capitalised on the opportunity and went on to become the company's top heel following his first cash in, and went on to cement his place as one of the greatest all-round performers in recent memory.