Money in the Bank PPV: Is WWE Ruining a Perfect Gimmick?
In 1972, British wrestler Kendo Nagasaki invented a new angle for a wrestling match when he introduced a ladder to the squared circle.
This concept was then taken to Stampede Wrestling in Calgary.
Then in 1983, Stampede Wrestling held a ladder match where Bret Hart faced off against Bad News Brown.
Hart went on to join the WWF and suggested this type of match to promoter Vince McMahon.
The gimmick achieved its current popularity in the then-WWF.
Over those years the gimmick was deployed in many different ways, and in 2005 it morphed again, when Chris Jericho (kayfabe) pitched the idea of a Money in the Bank (MITB) ladder match, on an episode of Raw, to general manager Eric Bischoff.
He liked it and promptly signed it for WrestleMania XXI.
For those wrestling fans who have been out of the room for the last five years, the objective of a MITB match is to retrieve a briefcase that is suspended 20 feet above the ring.
The briefcase contains a contract that guarantees a match for one of WWE's world titles.
The first MITB ladder match was duly contested in 2005 at WrestleMania XXI and was exclusive to Raw superstars, with Edge, Shelton Benjamin, Chris Benoit, Christian, Chris Jericho and Kane.
Edge won the match and cashed in his contract in January 2006 at New Year's Revolution to beat John Cena and win his first WWE Championship.
In 2006, the MITB match became interpromotional, with Rob Van Dam, Shelton Benjamin, Finlay, Ric Flair, Matt Hardy and Bobby Lashley taking part.
Rob Van Dam won the match, and used the briefcase to face John Cena in an Extreme Rules match to win the WWE Championship.
In 2007, the contestants were Mr. Kennedy, CM Punk, Edge, Finlay, Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy, King Booker and Randy Orton.
Mr. Kennedy won the match, but due to injury he was written as losing the contract to Edge.
In 2008, CM Punk, Shelton Benjamin, Carlito, Chris Jericho, Mr. Kennedy, John Morrison and Montel Vontavious Porter fought for the briefcase, with CM Punk emerging victorious, and cashing it in to win the World Heavyweight Championship (WHC) for the first time.
In 2009, it was CM Punk's year again, as he defeated Shelton Benjamin, Christian, Finlay, Mark Henry, Kane, Kofi Kingston, and Montel Vontavious Porter, before using the briefcase to recapture the WHC.
And in 2010 it was the turn of Jack Swagger who defeated Shelton Benjamin, Evan Bourne, Christian, Matt Hardy, Kane, Kofi Kingston, Drew McIntyre, Montel Vontavious Porter and Dolph Ziggler.
Swagger cashed in to win the WHC in March this year.
The basic concept is genius.
What do you do with the rest of the roster, at WrestleMania?
You give them a battle royal, which also gives an up-and-coming star a chance to shine, along with a storyline route to a world title.
Which all brings me to this July's WWE PPV, Money in the Bank.
Instantly the concept is different.
At WrestleMania this is a match for those not in the main events, but by making it the theme of the PPV isn't WWE duty bound to make the two matches (one for Raw, and one for SmackDown!) main event bouts?
At WrestleMania we don't see the main event members in the bout, but will we see them here?
Will we see, for example, the likes of Randy Orton, and Edge in the Raw brand match?
If we don't and they are going to be given singles bouts, then why name the event Money in the Bank, if the MITB matches themselves are being reduced to lower card matches with mid-card performers?
If we do, then are we going to see a breakout star winning, as we usually do, or will we see one of the usual main event roster win it?
Will Edge, or Orton, or for that matter, Big Show and CM Punk really be put into matches they are expected to lose to an up-and-coming superstar?
Can we expect so many people putting over a rising star?
And if it's won by a main eventer, was there really a purpose to it, seeing as they would have got another title match sooner or later anyway?
This is a curious PPV choice by WWE, as it takes a popular gimmick with a winning formula, and is forced to change it in one way or another.
It leaves us with many questions that will only be answered by WWE over the next few weeks.
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