In the brief, yet spectacular, history of the Money in the Bank pay-per-view franchise, choosing the worst pay-per-views in event history is an unenviable task. In fact, of the four Money in the Bank pay-per-view events, all of them have been received positively.
Here’s a pay-per-view that puts most of its stock in its Money in the Bank matches, and all the ladder matches featured on this pay-per-views have been strong.
In 2010, both ladder matches were described as “outstanding” by Rob McNichol of The Sun, who gave the pay-per-view a score of eight out of 10. Andy McNamara of the Canadian Online Explorer chimed in by giving the headline-ladder matches four out of five.
2011 was less about the ladder matches and more about a memorable WWE Championship main event, which Kevin Eck of the Baltimore Sun called "a fantastic climax to the best pay-per-view I’ve seen this year."
"Punk, Cena, Ziggler shine at Money in the Bank" was the headline used by Matt Bishop of SLAM! Wrestling the following year.
Nathan Knight of PWTorch raved about last year's show, which he said would be remembered for "Two very good ladder matches and the start of Punk vs. Heyman's Guys." He went on to add "This was a fun show."
The praise has been uniform throughout the Money in the Bank pay-per-view saga, with WWE Superstars managing to both raise and exceed expectations. Selecting a bad Money in the Bank pay-per-view is tantamount to selecting Michael Jordan’s worst performance in six NBA Finals series.
But if there’s no such thing as a bad Money in the Bank pay-per-view, certainly there is a weak link that doesn't hold up to its peers.
And if Money in the Bank has raised the bar with every passing year, that distinction must go to the inaugural pay-per-view in 2010.
One could point to this pay-per-view as the downfall of Sheamus’ original WWE championship run. Despite retaining the WWE championship against John Cena, Sheamus infamously and uncharacteristically ran away from anti-WWE stable the Nexus, who had interfered in the main event.
This hurt his credibility as a tough Irish champion, and some may argue that he’s still recovering from a poorly booked title reign early in his WWE career. The main event was described by James Caldwell of the PWTorch as “decent but not satisfying,” which is far below the standards set for the Money in the Bank series.
Also substandard was Kane’s forgettable journey to seek revenge on the mystery individual who placed the Undertaker (Kane’s storyline brother) in a vegetative state.
The Money in the Bank match and subsequent cash-in was centered on Kane’s supernatural investigation. On that night, not only did Kane win the World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank match, he cashed it in the very same night on champion Rey Mysterio, who (falsely) he accused for Undertaker’s vegetative state.
The storyline dragged on to reveal Kane as the suspect, and the Brothers of Destruction would delve into a feud filled with Hocus Pocus that seemed at least five years too late. The fact that the feud essentially began with Kane’s Money in the Bank wins hurts the value of the 2010 pay-per-view.
The inaugural Money in the Bank pay-per-view in 2010 can be looked at in several ways. It is either the worst of a strong series of pay-per-views, or a strong jumping-off point for a franchise that has yet to peak.
To many, it's both.