Ranking the Top 5 Star-Making Moments in Money in the Bank Matches
The Money in the Bank ladder match is arguably the most exciting contest in WWE today. The excitement and anticipation of seeing WWE Superstars climb a ladder to get a title shot that’s good up to one year is unrivaled.
However, the fans are the real winners. Fans have witnessed some of the craziest stunts and moments in the WWE’s history during Money in the Bank. Do you recall Jeff Hardy leg dropping Edge through a ladder? Maybe you remember the crowd’s elation when Daniel Bryan pulled down that briefcase.
Which brings us to June 29, when seven wrestlers will compete for that briefcase. Seth Rollins is the only new participant in the match. Everyone else has been there before, while Rob Van Dam and Dolph Ziggler have both won it.
The question of the day is simple when it comes to this match: What moments in the Money in the Bank ladder match make a star shine?
This is where we dive into Money in the Bank’s illustrious history. As fans, we explain why these specific moments propel wrestlers into immortality via their moves, accomplished milestones and unbelievable feats.
You should make note that not everyone on this list is Mr. Money in the Bank and also understand how these moments shaped their careers after these historic events took place. Lastly, this list honors those who hadn't already established themselves as stars before the match.
These are the Top 5 star-making moments of Money in the Bank matches.
Honorable Mention: Kofi Kingston, WrestleMania 25
Kofi Kingston was known as the high-flyer without any big moments. Then WrestleMania 25 came around.
Henry tried setting up the ladder in the middle of the ring. Kingston decided to climb it while Henry was still holding the ladder, and he nearly succeeded in doing so.
Henry then grabs Kingston from the air and hits the World’s Strongest Slam on Kingston on the ladder.
Despite being on the receiving end, Kingston began a streak of ingenuity. He attempted topping that at WrestleMania 26, where he grabbed both ends of a ladder and used them as stilts.
No one knew who Kingston was before WrestleMania 25. Now, we all know exactly who he is.
5. Sheamus: Money in the Bank 2011 (World Title)
Sheamus was an unusual case before this match. The Irish-born wrestler was a former WWE Heavyweight and United States champion entering this contest.
Sheamus needed to make a name for himself and make the fans remember who he was. He accomplished that in one move, despite not obtaining the briefcase.
Sheamus saw a ladder wedged between the ring apron and the announcer’s table. He decided to take Sin Cara and power bomb him through the ladder. The ladder broke and Sin Cara was stretchered out to the back.
The crowd erupted as Sheamus roared in his destruction.
Suddenly, fans took notice of Sheamus, and he started a face turn that made him a top contender in WWE. He is set to appear in the eight-man ladder match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on June 29.
4. Cody Rhodes: Money in the Bank 2013 (World Title)
Cody Rhodes needed a moment to break away from his prior ties.
As one of Dusty Rhodes’ kids, he's wrestling royalty, but he needed to break out. He was one third of the Legacy faction with Randy Orton and Ted DiBiase, but he needed to shine on his own.
Rhodes entered last year as one half of “Rhodes Scholars” with Damien Sandow, but he was destined to break free from Sandow.
Rhodes cleared out everyone in the ring—which, at the time, was a who’s who of tough opponents including Dean Ambrose, Cesaro and Wade Barrett. Rhodes was the only one left. Synergy radiated from the fans who rose in anticipation as he climbed the ladder.
It seemed he would win that briefcase until Sandow shoved Rhodes off the ladder and got the briefcase.
How is that a great moment? It doesn’t seem like it at first, but it’s all about the impact.
Rhodes went on to fight in big marquee matches, culminating in teaming with his brother, Goldust, and winning the WWE Tag Team titles.
Sandow went on to lose his opportunity and remain in mediocrity ever since. So tell me, who got the better of that deal?
3. CM Punk: WrestleMania 24
CM Punk came into the WWE as independent wrestling's biggest star. In over a year, he didn’t really achieve the superstardom he wanted.
He did become the ECW Champion, granted, but Punk wanted something more. Enter WrestleMania 24, where Punk was the underdog in taking on ladder specialists John Morrison, Mr. Kennedy, Shelton Benjamin and Chris Jericho. Carlito and MVP rounded up the list of combatants.
Fast forward to the end, where it became a race between Jericho and Punk. Jericho seemingly had it when he hit Punk with the briefcase. However, Punk outsmarted Jericho.
He took Jericho’s right leg and wedged it between the ladder steps. This allowed Punk to win the match as Jericho helplessly looked on.
Punk got his WrestleMania moment, and he continued that trend to become one of the most controversial, yet successful wrestlers in recent history.
The two would fight four years later at WrestleMania 28 for the WWE title. The irony is that both encounters took place in Miami.
Even more ironic is the case of Jericho, who invented the concept and never won the Money in the Bank ladder match.
Punk won it again at WrestleMania 25, becoming the only wrestler to win it twice.
2. Shelton Benjamin: WrestleMania 21
WrestleMania 21 was the birthplace of the Money in the Bank ladder match. It featured a lineup of many famous names including Jericho, Kane, Chris Benoit, Edge and Christian.
The match also featured a relative unknown named Shelton Benjamin, the Intercontinental champion at the time. He wouldn’t be an unknown after that night.
Benjamin stole the match from everyone, flying all over the place. He somersaulted over the top rope on his competitors and even gave Edge a T-Bone suplex off of a ladder—he was on fire.
But the next moment was thought to be impossible. Jericho climbed the ladder in an attempt to get the case as another ladder leaned against it on the other side.
Benjamin ran up the wedged ladder and clotheslined Jericho off of it. The crowd stood up and roared in shock.
Benjamin went on to have a nice career, becoming a fixture in the Money in the Bank ladder match. He also took part and stole the show in the following year’s MITB match as well.
Shelton Benjamin went from an unknown to a Superstar, the epitome of what the MITB match can do for wrestlers.
1. Edge: WrestleMania 21
Edge was the ultimate wrestler in the midcard division. He was being held back and not able to break into the main event scene until WrestleMania 21 arrived.
Edge was one of the six combatants and took the most punishment out of all of them. How exactly did the ultimate opportunist win? That’s the key; it’s how you perform in these matches that dictate whether you become a star or not.
It seemed like Benoit was going to win, climbing the ladder with his right arm until Edge hit Benoit in the left arm and knocked him off in pain. Edge took advantage and became the first ever “Mr. Money in the Bank.”
Fans were outraged and very angry that Edge won. He drew the fans’ ire in a way that hadn’t been seen at that time. And that’s exactly what made him a star. Edge filled the void of the top heel that was desperately needed.
Edge held that briefcase for nearly 11 months, a record to this day. He also became the first man to successfully cash in the title shot and become WWE champion.
Amid controversy, the Rated-R Superstar began his superstardom at WrestleMania 21. Edge’s solo career wouldn’t have mattered if he lost; without WrestleMania 21, Edge wouldn't have become the revered superstar he is today.
Money in the Bank made Edge a superstar. He was the first product of that ladder match, and that match ultimately made many wrestlers into superstars.
The trend will continue on Sunday.