Power Ranking Every Money in the Bank Cash-in in WWE History
A pair of near-perfect Money in the Bank cash-ins took place in 2013, but no one in WWE history has topped Edge pouncing on a bloodied John Cena back in 2006.
Those years are the two finest in terms of briefcase-wielding predators waiting in the weeds. The Money in the Bank concept puts a ticking bomb under a champion's throne, leading to some of WWE's most engaging moments.
Every Money in the Bank cash-in is ranked here, taking into account the excitement surrounding it, how much the match sucked fans in and how memorable and special the entire scene was.
Unofficial cash-in attempts, like Daniel Bryan's nullified attempt on SmackDown, need not apply. This isn't a ranking of who did the most with the momentum gained from snatching away someone's championship but rather how effectively thrilling the cash-in itself was.
That's good news for Dolph Ziggler, whose championship reign punctured its tires early on.
For Seth Rollins to make his way into the top of this list, he's going to have to outdo Ziggler and Edge. He'll have to overcome the novelty of the first Money in the Bank ambush and the emotional power of a workhorse finally getting his due.
14. Damien Sandow (2013)
Damien Sandow's attempt to take John Cena's World Heavyweight Championship filled the audience with excitement, only to leave them feeling like a deflated balloon.
Cena, fresh off a battle with Alberto Del Rio at Hell in a Cell, still wore a brace around his surgically repaired elbow. That was the target that Sandow aimed at. He smashed the injured limb with the Money in the Bank briefcase, rammed it into the steel steps and left the champion a wounded animal stumbling into the wolves' den.
All the story elements of a great Money in the Bank cash-in were there minus the ending.
Cena fought off his attacker and made Sandow the first wrestler to fail in this situation without someone interfering. Rather than leave the crowd thrilled about seeing a new champ, the future buzzing with promise, this moment lessened the power of the Money in the Bank contract.
That made this cash-in memorable in a negative way and drained all the fun out of it.
What should have sent Sandow flying up the company ladder had him instead become Charlie Brown, missing the football and falling onto his back.
13. John Cena (2012)
John Cena's turn with the briefcase in hand was nearly as disappointing as when Damien Sandow lunged at him a year later.
There was no surprise element here. Cena announced that he would face CM Punk at Raw 1000. It made for an anticipated matchup, but one not nearly as gripping as the usual impromptu title bouts that Money in the Bank leads to. That wouldn't have mattered as much had the ending been better as Rob Van Dam proved in 2006.
The match was excellent, as it usually is between Cena and Punk.
Like with Sandow vs. Cena, the ending was more letdown than climax. Big Show ran in and attacked Cena to have the match end in a disqualification. That made the cash-in memorable only for it being the first failure in Money in the Bank history.
Punk attacking The Rock afterward was the bigger, more engaging moment.
The cash-in itself felt like a balk. It ranks above Sandow's flop only because Cena's defeat was more realistic. He didn't fail to keep a one-armed man down—he just ran into a giant.
12. Jack Swagger (2010)
By the sixth Money in the Bank cash-in, fans knew the formula. After a champion suffered an assault, it was time to cue the briefcase holder's music. One finishing move later and a new wrestler took home the title.
Jack Swagger ambushing Chris Jericho followed that blueprint with no variation.
Edge had just ran over Jericho, making up somewhat for losing to him at WrestleMania. Bandaged and wobbly, Jericho looked up to see Swagger coming at him.
A part of what dampened the excitement of the subsequent cash-in is the delay from Swagger's arrival to the match starting. He demanded for and then waited for a referee to come, bouncing around like a boxer before a fight.
Having the cash-in feature only one move—the gutwrench powerbomb—didn't help.
The greatest cash-ins have featured more drama born from just enough resistance from the champion. That creates a sliver of doubt about the outcome. Swagger's moment didn't have that and that's partly why it's one of the least memorable.
11. CM Punk (2008)
CM Punk had two tries at this cash-in business. His first one was far less captivating than the one he executed the following year.
Batista pummeled Edge, which set things up for Punk. That part of the moment was the most entertaining. The Animal smashed the champ onto the announce table and powerbombed him on the mat, leaving him out cold, spread out like the Vitruvian Man.
In came Punk with a referee at his side.
That took out the delay that Jack Swagger's cash-in had. Like Swagger's moment, though, it didn't stray from the formula and didn't offer anything that stood out in fans' minds. It was exciting to see the upstart Punk grab hold of the title, but not enough to rank it any higher.
10. Alberto Del Rio (2011)
It didn't induce heartbreak as much as Randy Orton did two years later, but Alberto Del Rio cutting The Summer of Punk short was plenty powerful.
CM Punk outlasted John Cena only to fall victim to a Kevin Nash attack. That left him vulnerable enough to have Del Rio ruin his happy ending.
Nash's powerbomb provided shock value in spades, but it also caused confusion. This was no foreshadowed attack—it was a wild curveball from the WWE writing team.
The "out of nowhere" element made it less memorable than it would have been had WWE planted more of that story's seeds earlier on.
No resistance from Punk brings this down some as well. There is only so much drama two performers can mine from a one-move fight.
9. The Miz (2010)
Don't judge this cash-in on The Miz's inability to remain a headliner after WrestleMania XXVII. The way he robbed Randy Orton of his WWE title was great theater.
Wade Barrett and The Nexus had pounced on Orton, leaving him with one good knee. The attack wasn't enough to lead Barrett to a win, but it left the champion barely able to stand. This is when The Miz chose to cash in.
Orton fended off his attacker for as long as he could. Limping and holding his knee in pain, he desperately fought back against The Awesome One.
That resistance did well to suck the fans in. Was Orton really going to survive this, they must have wondered. It also gets extra points for inspiring the now-famous "Angry Miz Girl" to react to Miz's win with a scowl.
Had someone the audience been more invested in been the one to execute this cash-in, it would have ranked higher. As it stands, other Money in the Bank moments inspired more emotion and stronger memories.
8. Kane (2010)
In what was a perfect example of exploiting vulnerability, Kane made history against Rey Mysterio at Money in the Bank 2010.
Like fans have seen often, the champion finished his match hobbled. Jack Swagger had cranked his leg in the ankle lock, leaving Mysterio a bird with a clipped wing.
Kane, who had won the briefcase earlier that night, emerged from the darkness with bad intentions. The difference in size here, a giant towering over WWE's resident underdog, exaggerated the drama.
Being the first to cash-in on the same night as winning the Ladder match makes Kane's triumph one of the more memorable in Money in the Bank history. Mysterio scooting around the ring with fearful eyes added to the moment as well.
Had Mysterio fought him off longer, it would have been even better. Even so, it takes the most heart-grabbing and vivid versions of the Money in the Bank scenario to top it.
7. Daniel Bryan (2011)
On the surface, Daniel Bryan's world title win at TLC 2011 doesn't seem it belongs this high on the list.
Big Show offered no resistance. Other than the image of the big man out cold on a bed of steel chairs, there wasn't much that was particularly memorable about how Bryan cashed in.
It's the narratives that power this moment, though.
For one, Big Show had always been a top contender for the World Heavyweight Championship, but had yet to win it. He finally broke through, defeating Mark Henry in a Chairs match. His celebration lasted only seconds before Henry knocked him out.
Then Bryan came rushing in, a parasite happy to siphon the giant's winnings.
Big Show's anguish birthed Bryan's joy. The often-underappreciated grappler had spent years toiling in rings around the world. WWE hadn't seemed to fully take to him yet at this stage.
This was his crowning achievement at the time. This was his "I made it" moment.
He responded with infectious euphoria. Watching him stand on the announce table, lifting the championship as he chanted "Yes!" made for a lasting image crackling with emotion. It only made it sweeter for him to do so in front of Michael Cole, who had doubted him on-screen for his entire career.
However, blood, more dramatic treachery and raucous crowds keep this out of the top spots on the list.
6. Edge (2007)
Even in a weakened state, it takes a hell of a fight to keep The Undertaker down.
That's what made Edge's second cash-in so special. The man known as "The Ultimate Opportunist" further earned that nickname by slithering to the ring after the world champ had taken on two titans. Undertaker battled through a Steel Cage match with Batista and then brawled with Mark Henry, who attacked him afterward.
That left The Deadman's brow smeared with blood and in no shape for the championship match to come.
Edge tried to pin The Undertaker, but his eyes soon widened when his foe kicked out. The Undertaker then sat up, a monster refusing to die. A spear finally did him in.
Michael Cole shouted, "Not this way! Not this way!" as Edge earned a three-count and his first World Heavyweight Championship. The fact that Edge had taken the briefcase from Mr. Kennedy and switched to the SmackDown brand in the process made the entire story more exciting.
Maybe because it was his second time making use of the Money in the Bank briefcase, but it doesn't get talked about as much as it should. His first time turning a briefcase into gold and a number of other more vivid cash-ins just beat it out.
5. CM Punk (2009)
It looked like CM Punk was about to mirror his first cash-in exactly. He knocked Jeff Hardy in the mouth with a GTS, but the champion kicked out.
The arena filled with cheers. Perhaps the hero would escape this time. Hardy then rolled up Punk, further thrilling the hopeful crowd.
It took another GTS to complete Hardy's agonizing loss.
Hardy had just won the world title from Edge in a stellar Ladder match. It seemed the Extreme Rules pay-per-view would end with him in celebration mode. Punk made it known that he was not WWE's only merciless opportunist, though.
The pushback Hardy gave Punk and the gut-wrenching experience Hardy suffered made this a cash-in that is still hard to forget. Four years later, WWE ended up topping this twice, thanks to similar dramatic elements.
4. Randy Orton (2013)
Daniel Bryan had won over WWE fans like few others have. Arenas rumbled with "Yes!" chants. He was the hero on the rise, seemingly destined to sit on the company's mountaintop.
At SummerSlam 2013, he appeared to have made it there. Defeating John Cena cleanly is not something many men can boast about.
Confetti rained down on him as he lifted his arms in the air. WWE had injected the crowd with a sense of euphoria. That joy soon fell victim to a Money in the Bank cash-in.
Randy Orton came storming down to the ring. Triple H attacked Bryan and The Viper took advantage.
This was no Kevin Nash leaping into the story. There had been hints of WWE's upper echelon resisting having Bryan as champ. That led to a shocking betrayal and the scene punching fans in the gut.
The story and the power over the fans that WWE wielded here make it a top cash-in, a highly memorable, stirring one. It doesn't make it the best, though.
Dolph Ziggler, Edge and Rob Van Dam engaged the crowd even more. Novelty, resistance to defeat and memorable responses from the rafters all play a part in that.
3. Dolph Ziggler (2013)
Not since 2006 had WWE crafted such a fine cash-in.
Folks may discount it because Dolph Ziggler followed this moment up with a concussion and a short, disappointing reign as champion. However, it's tough to top this post-WrestleMania 29 cash-in in terms of drama.
Ziggler had failed again and again in trying to cash in before this. John Cena and Sheamus were among the many men to have him fall down the hill just as he was about to reach its peak.
After Jack Swagger left Alberto Del Rio unable to stand, Ziggler's time arrived.
Credit the frenzied fans rooting for the villain for helping to make this such an electric moment. When The Showoff broke through the curtain, his entourage behind him and his briefcase tight in his grip, the arena filled with thunderous noise.
Del Rio fought valiantly. He even had his attacker locked in the cross armbreaker, seemingly poised to make Ziggler taste defeat again. Ziggler, though, yanked Del Rio's injured ankle and completed the cash-in with a victory.
This was no one-move, by-the-book cash-in. Ziggler nearly having his moment blow up in his face made it a thrill ride. The crowd, Ziggler's long wait (he cashed in 267 days after winning the briefcase) and how unsure his win seemed at times puts this moment just below the best two ever.
2. Rob Van Dam (2006)
Take away the surprise element. Remove the advantage of facing an injured champion. Instead, have the cash-in happen in front of frenzied fans and make the victim a man those fans abhor.
That's the formula Rob Van Dam's cash-in followed to find great success.
Van Dam announcing he would face John Cena at One Night Stand makes the cash-in memorable, but not as much as the fans' reaction to the match. The ECW faithful booed everything Cena did. They backed ECW vet Van Dam like no man trying to cash in has experienced before.
The bout was the best in cash-in history in part because it is competing with truncated stories. The match's length built up anticipation for Van Dam's eventual win.
Edge in a motorcycle helmet spearing Cena through a table and Paul Heyman counting to three to mark Van Dam's victory made this even more special. It was more than just a Money in the Bank cash-in, it was a salute to ECW, its fans and the end of an era.
WWE was still king, but for one night the upstart, beloved promotion received the spotlight and one of its most famous faces was champ.
1. Edge (2006)
It's going to take perfection to knock the first-ever cash-in off the top spot.
Edge introduced the concept after John Cena had survived an Elimination Chamber match at New Year's Revolution. The cage lifted, Cena's blood dripped from his face and his enemy came armed with a new weapon.
The novelty of the concept, the fact that Edge was set to win his first WWE title and the dramatic timing of the cash-in made it thrilling. Cena, already a both loved and hated figure, being the victim only added to that.
Cena kicked out of Edge's first spear, causing the crowd to erupt.
When The Rated-R Superstar nailed him with another and stole his championship, he had made history. He set the bar impossibly high with the first cash-in. It remains the most memorable because it was the first, because of the characters involved and how Cena briefly looked like he'd be able to avoid disaster.
Edge has had everyone chasing him ever since.