WWE Money in the Bank 2014: 5 Worst Booking Decisions in PPV's History
The booking of any Superstar, match or pay-per-view is integral to its overall success.
It does not matter how entertaining or captivating a star may be if the booking is not there to help them get over the proverbial hump and succeed at the top level of competition.
A great match can be hampered by a poor booking decision. A run-in, interference or poor finish can be the difference between a great match and an all-time classic.
The structure of a card, a disappointing show-closing moment or bad wrestling from top-to-bottom can derail an entire pay-per-view and prevent it from reaching its full potential.
Money in the Bank, despite being one of the premiere events on the WWE schedule, has had its share of questionable booking decisions. Superstars have suffered, the importance of matches has been disregarded and the long-term future of the company has been adversely affected because of choices made inside the confines of the creative room.
With 2014's edition of the event upcoming on June 29, relive some of the worst booking decisions in Money in the Bank history and hope that history will not repeat itself.
5. Rey Mysterio over Jack Swagger (2010)
The spring and summer of 2010 proved to be a landmark period in Jack Swagger's career.
First, he captured Money in the Bank, which he cashed in later to win the World Heavyweight Championship. Despite garnering tremendous heat from the crowd and expanding upon his All-American American character, it was decided that he was not ready for the role of champion and his title reign was cut short.
At the inaugural Money in the Bank pay-per-view, he would have the opportunity to regain his title against Rey Mysterio, who had defeated Swagger for it a month earlier at Fatal 4-Way. Rather than allowing him to win back some momentum by booking him strongly, he was defeated cleanly by Mysterio.
After the match, he beat Mysterio down and left him prone for Kane to cash in Money in the Bank and take the title, but it was an unceremonious dismissal from the title picture for a young star who was poorly booked throughout the duration of his reign.
The same thing could have been accomplished via a disqualification finish. Swagger could have been overly aggressive, defying the referee's count and causing the official to throw the match out. From there, he could have delivered the same beatdown to the champion, leaving him lying for Kane to pick apart.
It would have helped Swagger save face and kept him a viable contender in the title picture. Instead, he faded back into the midcard jumble and never quite recovered.
4. Alberto Del Rio Wins Instead of the Miz (2011)
The Raw Money in the Bank Ladder match in 2011 featured a plethora of talent: Alberto Del Rio, The Miz, Rey Mysterio, R-Truth, Alex Riley, Kofi Kingston, Evan Bourne and Jack Swagger.
Del Rio, the pet project of Vince McMahon and the creative team since his debut months earlier, was the obvious favorite and the most likely Superstar to leave with the briefcase. After competing for the World Heavyweight Championship for the first six months of his main roster career, he fell off a bit when he was drafted to Raw but recovered nicely heading into the show.
As was expected, the Mexican aristocrat ascended the ladder and retrieved the briefcase, which he would cash in successfully a month later at SummerSlam.
While Del Rio has proven to be a worthy champion, a man that carries the title with class and dignity regardless of whether he is a babyface or heel, there was a better choice to leave Chicago with the guaranteed title shot based on crowd reaction.
Earlier in 2011, The Miz saw his WWE Championship descend into mediocrity after a lackluster program with Jerry "The King" Lawler that saw him overshadowed by Michael Cole. It was followed by a feud with John Cena that saw his conflict with the leader of the Cenation disregarded in favor of Cena's issues with The Rock.
Midway through the Money in the Bank match, Miz suffered what looked to be a legitimate knee injury. He was helped to the back and the match continued.
Later in the bout, he hopped his way back to the ring, and the Chicago crowd erupted as he began climbing the ladder. The gutsy performance by the Awesome One endeared him to the diehard fans in the crowd, most of whom seemed perfectly fine with him winning a second straight briefcase.
A win in that match would have restored legitimacy and credibility to The Miz after his push came to such a disappointing conclusion earlier in the year. He could have immediately been reintroduced to the main events and would have made the perfect corporate shill champion for Vince McMahon in his war with the outspoken rebel CM Punk.
That Punk and Miz have not always seen eye-to-eye would have made for some interesting promos and ring work between them with the top prize at stake.
3. Damien Sandow Outsmarts and Betrays Cody Rhodes (2013)
The World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank match that kicked off the 2013 broadcast did so in spectacular fashion, with seven bright young stars delivering stellar performances in an attempt to outshine the star-studded ladder match later in the show.
The finish would see Damien Sandow come from out of nowhere to cost his partner Cody Rhodes the match and win the briefcase for himself.
Sandow was a strong character and a fine worker at that point, but there were serious questions about his readiness to ascend to the top of the company and compete for the world heavyweight title. For all of his positives, he had yet to demonstrate that he had the special "it" factor that was necessary to succeed at the next level.
In the weeks that followed the victory, it appeared as though the plan was for Rhodes to defeat Sandow and win the briefcase, which would have made more sense given the performances of the second-generation star over the previous two years.
While Sandow's ability to move past the Intellectual Savior was in doubt, Rhodes had proven himself as a myriad of different characters, and his ring work was constantly evolving. The intensity he showed during the Money in the Bank match won over the crowd to the point that the Philadelphia fans wanted to see him leave with the briefcase.
That did not happen, and the briefcase stipulation was never added to the pay-per-view showdown between Rhodes and Sandow. Then Rhodes got involved in the program with The Authority, Goldust returned and any plans to have him wrest the title shot away from his former partner evaporated.
Suddenly, the company found itself with a Mr. Money in the Bank who had no chance of winning the world title or and shouldn't have held on to the briefcase for as long as he did. Sandow carried the briefcase to the ring, had it redone in leather and teased that he would cash in whenever and wherever he so pleased.
He did, and he lost to John Cena in a memorable match on Raw.
And for the second year, the prestigious Money in the Bank briefcase was wasted.
2. John Laurinaitis' Interference in the WWE Title Match (2011)
The WWE Championship match between John Cena and CM Punk at Money in the Bank 2011 was an instant classic that had everything a wrestling fan could possibly want from an iconic bout.
Except for a clean, undisputed finish.
Late in the match, Vince McMahon and head lackey John Laurinaitis made their way to the ring in an attempt to keep the rebellious Punk from capturing the WWE title and leaving the company with it. A distraction from Laurinaitis allowed Cena to lock Punk in the STF.
Having a history of doing so, McMahon attempted to call for the bell prematurely, but Cena rolled out of the ring and prevented it. When he slid back into the ring, he was caught in the Go To Sleep and pinned by Punk for the title.
The win remains the greatest of CM Punk's career and a legitimate milestone moment for both he and World Wrestling Entertainment.
As great as the match was and as much as it pumped some much-needed energy into the wrestling industry at the time, it would have solidified itself as the greatest match of the last decade had it been given a clean and definitive finish that did not involve interference from McMahon's stumbling, bumbling stooge.
1. John Cena Wins the Briefcase (2012)
This is not another anti-Cena rant, nor is it an attempt to get a potshot in on every Internet fan's favorite target.
Instead, Cena's Money in the Bank win appears on this list because it greatly devalued the importance of the briefcase and the importance of the match as a whole thanks to the fact that it was used as a plot device for a Raw angle involving Cena, The Rock and CM Punk.
Cena defeated Chris Jericho, The Miz, Big Show and Kane to capture the briefcase and earn a shot at the WWE Championship. He announced shortly thereafter that he would challenge CM Punk for the title on the gigantic Raw 1000 show. It was to be a monumental title bout on one of the biggest episodes of Raw ever.
Had it unfolded that way, Cena's win would not have made this list. Instead, Big Show got involved, drawing a disqualification and continuing the giant's feud with the leader of the Cenation. The Rock got involved and then, from out of nowhere, Punk turned heel to end the show.
Rather than allowing the briefcase to be cashed in during a major pay-per-view main event or used to create a memorable moment such as Ziggler and Miz's title wins, it was used during Raw and thrown away to continue a miserable Cena-Show feud and set up Punk's heel turn.
All of which could have been accomplished without wasting the briefcase.