A History of "Money in the Bank"
Since Wrestlemania XXI , the "Money in the Bank" ladder match has been used to ascend a developing upper midcarder into the main event picture, spicing up the stalling scene.
Four men; Edge, Rob Van Dam, Mr. Kennedy, and CM Punk twice, have won the event over the years. Of them, three successfully cashed in the case, while the other forfeited it due to injury. The most successful cash ins created heels, and it has become a tradition to have the case cashed in at a moment of vulnerability.
Four of the five cash ins were used on a vulnerable champion after a beatdown or a grueling match.
The case was first cashed in by Edge at New Years Revolution after John Cena had successfully defended the WWE Championship for the 310th day of his lengthy reign.
Edge's cash in provided the blueprint for how the case should be utilized—to create the image of a man who will take advantage of anyone at his weakest to take hold the world title.
After one other title reign in mid-2006, Edge participated in "MITB" once again but lost. However, given his opportunistic gimmick and the tremendous success he had with his first cash in, Edge regained the case once again when Mr. Kennedy became injured.
Once again, Edge took the ball and ran with it. He was written to cash in the case on Undertaker, planting the seeds for one of the greatest rivalries in the WWE. After Edge took the title from 'Taker, Edge went on to the main event in nearly every pay-per-view he participated in from 2007 to 2009.
His Hell in a Cell Match with Undertaker was even look at as so important that it was placed above the world title bouts, as well as the original "dream match" between Batista and Cena, at Summerslam 2008.
The other man to cash in the case as a heel was Jesus himself, CM Punk. He cashed in his case after a Batista beatdown of Edge on Raw, stemming from Edge's victory over Batista in a world heavyweight championship match the night before. After the beatdown, CM Punk ran down, hit the GTS, and "one-two-three!"
This moment corrected the problem of having both of the world titles on Smackdown and helped CM Punk get over further as a face.
The following year when CM Punk won "MITB" again, he intimated several times as if he were going to cash in the case on Edge again, further legitimizing Punk as a babyface. Instead, creative learned from their mistakes and chose to have him cash in on Jeff Hardy, who had expressed interest in taking time off from wrestling.
Thus, CM Punk was given the angle of preaching "Straight Edge" to the masses and attempting to oust the enabler, Jeff Hardy.
Throughout this angle, CM Punk solidified his heel persona to the point where he will invariably push back into the main event scene by Summerslam 2010. He has some of the most legitimate heat this side of Edge during Edge's "Ultimate Opportunist" gimmick and marriage to Vickie Guerrero.
The case has always been most successfully cashed in to create a heel, for if a face cashes in to take the title from a weakened heel, the heel would look too strong for the babyface to handle, invariably making the babyface look weak.
However, when a heel cashes in, they look incredibly intelligent, as they have toppled the unstoppable babyface and taken away the prized possession from the honorable face, who has worked the hardest to attain the belt.
It gives them amazing heat, and can provide an incredibly potent storyline to boot, as it did with Edge-Cena and CM Punk-Jeff Hardy.
A Conventional Preview of this Year's "Money in the Bank"
Now, we have the "Money in the Bank" match of Wrestlemania XXVI . Several of the participants should do well and are very young, these being Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, Kofi Kingston, and Christian.
We also have two deserving guys in Matt Hardy and Shelton Benjamin. Both of whom have longevity and could have a run as champion in them. Matt and Shelton have the potential to get over in a big way and draw if given the case.
We also have Drew McIntyre, whom many favor to win this match based on his "MITB" storyline. He had two chances to qualify for the match before he finally succeeded in his third attempt. As such, people feel that builds him up to win it.
Then we have a crop of guys who are just kind of there: Evan Bourne, MVP, and Kane. Few realistically expect these three to win the match, simply because it doesn't seem they're being pushed in that direction. Kane is the intimidating monster enhancement talent, MVP is just thrown into the match, and Evan Bourne has been treated like a glorified jobber.
Or is he?
An Unconventional Look at This Year's "Money in the Bank"
Let's take a small step back in time and look at the former WWE Champion, Sheamus. He was creative's newest addition to the main event roster, despite indifference from the majority of the internet wrestling community and casual fans.
During his reign, Evan Bourne once stepped forward and told Shaemus he knew he could beat him for the strap if given the opportunity.
Twenty seconds into their first match, Bourne hit his finisher and went to a cover for a nearfall.
Sheamus proceeded to stand up and tear him to pieces as if he were a shred of paper, winning the match within the next minute or two.
Fast-forward to the recent buildup for Wrestlemania XXVI : Evan Bourne is set to go against Sheamus again, but Sheamus shows an utter lack of respect toward Evan Bourne, asking for a moment of mic time before the match. He proceeds to cheapshot Bourne and eliminates him before the match was allowed to begin.
While this may have just been another push to make Sheamus look like a monster heel, creative may have used this to build to something more.
Creative may have actually paid attention to how Evan Bourne has been received by fans, for he previously won a vote to compete for the ECW title against Matt Hardy in a landslide over Finlay and Mark Henry.
Furthermore, Bourne has proven he can put on incredible matches within the WWE style. Just watch the Morrison-Bourne match on the John Morrison - Rock Star DVD.
Firstly, do jobbers ever appear on DVDs like John Morrison's?
Well, in all 10 WWE DVD sets I own, I have not found work from jobbers on any of them. I see glorified main event guys and upper midcarders. Opponents on Morrison's DVD consist of guys like Punk, Edge, Jericho, Triple H, and HBK, all of whom are current or former world champions.
Bourne is the only opponent on the DVD who has not made it near the top of the WWE mountain. However, that's not to say the seeds haven't been planted.
The "No Disqualification" stipulation to the Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker match makes a run-in more likely. Everyone is pulling for Triple H to run down during the match, "Pedigree" his good buddy Shawn, and turn heel to monstrous heat.
However, if Sheamus and Triple H are still feuding, then what happens? Both would be heels, but could their roles swap?
It was reported elsewhere on Bleacher Report that Shawn approached Shaemus backstage and told him he would need to step up and help lead the main event. If this is the case, creative could acknowledge this on TV and use it to further Shaemus's feud with Triple H as he fights for Shawn's honor.
Given Triple H's heel heat, Sheamus could begin garnering incredible pops for standing up to the monster who retired Shawn Michaels.
They could put the belt on Shaemus if his feud with heel Triple H goes well. This would open up the opportunity for this scenario.
Evan Bourne wins the "MITB" match. His character is developed by creative as he offers a date where he wishes to cash it in. They could hype the hell out of it, maybe at Summerslam, perhaps?
Then, when babyface Sheamus takes back the strap after a grueling match against Triple H or Batista, Bourne's music hits.
He reveals that his character has, in fact, been bitter over Sheamus's disrespect towards him when he was attempting to challenge him for the title.
Bourne would then proceed to debut a new finisher, preferably something that would be easier for him to hit, so he could score a quick pinfall victory over Sheamus.
The proposed storyline provides a damn good opportunity to push Evan Bourne to the stars, where be belongs given his amazing athleticism.
It also gives him a mouth piece if he needs one, though that probably won't be necessary if he is a heel.
It's always easier to make the fans hate you for being an asshole than it is to make them love you for being a good guy.
Given WWE's tendency to swerve, it's plausible that someone completely unexpected could win MITB.
Why not use Bourne's talent and the storyline history with Shaemus? Sure, it looks like he's not being pushed to win, but that'd make the swerve all the more unexpected.
The swerve would ignite the casual fan and the IWC at once.
Further, a heel world champion Bourne would give rise to unorthodox face challengers. They would look stronger facing an Evan Bourne than the likes of a John Cena or Batista.
Guys such as The Miz, Kofi Kingston, Dolph Ziggler, Christian, and John Morrison would look like more legitimate threats to a guy like Evan Bourne than they do to a guy like The Undertaker.
By doing this, WWE has the ability to usher in a new era in wrestling—an era where the high flying, and technical abilities of wrestlers could be allowed to shine, an era where there's no need for blood in every match or swearing in every promo, an era where high-flying and high-octane styles would captivate fans.
Could Bourne be a legit contender for "Money in the Bank?" Please, feel free to comment and leave your opinions.
Note: Please, don't assume this is actually my opinion on who is going to win "MITB." It was an extremely interesting scenario that I felt was worth being shared. I think that Christian is the one most likely to win "MITB" this year, and am definitely pulling for him to do so. However, after Christian, I feel that Bourne would definitely be a great choice .