The way I will rank this is by this list:
1. Was the MITB cash in a shock?
2. Did it make sense?
3. Was it properly timed and done right?
4. Did it help advance their character to the next level?
At Wrestlemania 26, Jack Swagger shocked everyone when he won the MITB. On the Tuesday, aired Friday, after Wrestlemania, Jack Swagger cashed in his MITB successfully, winning the title against Chris Jericho in no time. This was a surprise for sure, but it didn’t make total sense.
Before Jack Swagger won the title, a couple of weeks before then, he was jobbing to Santino Marella in 33 seconds in Battle Royals.
I understand he’s a heel, but you don’t want to let a wrestler be your champion after he loses to Santino; it’s counterproductive.
Also, it isn’t like Santino wasn’t the only wrestler who beat Swagger. Many fans actually thought he was in the doghouse around that time, and was possibly being fired.
Swagger also cashing on Jericho, arguably the biggest heel in WWE, wasn’t a brilliant idea either. Why didn’t they let Edge win if they were going to have Swagger cash in the MITB?
It virtually made Swagger a face by no choice, but luckily, he climbed himself out of the hole. Furthermore, after Swagger won the title, he didn’t get that far.
He was randomly jobbing to people such as Undertaker on Raw and John Morrison on Smackdown. He was getting DQed on purpose and the whole nine yards.
Regardless of all this negatives, though, it did do one thing for Swagger—and that’s make him a future star once they need to pull the trigger on him.
However, I still think they could’ve booked his entire MITB angle so much better for his character and for the viewers.
This cash in is a little challenging to judge because the angle with Kane and Undertaker hasn’t fully progressed, but I think I can still put it into its right spot.
In a qualifying match for Fatal Four-way, Rey Mysterio legitimately injured the Undertaker, setting up the storyline involving Kane looking for the wrestler who attacked his brother.
Everyone knew it was going to be Kane, but he did his best to try to make this storyline less hokey and silly than it already was.
At the MITB PPV, Kane won the MITB in the Smackdown MITB match. The same night, Kane cashed in the briefcase and beat Rey Mysterio to win the World Heavyweight Championship.
It was a bit surprising to see Kane win his first title since 1998 (his epic one day reign), but nothing groundbreaking because of the way he won the title.
The storyline went on and Kane blamed Rey Mysterio for hurting his brother. They had a match at Summerslam and Kane went over clean, but in the post-match when Kane was trying to make Rey suffer, Undertaker showed up, teased it being Rey, then attacked Kane, but Kane was actually able to Piledrive his brother.
The entire thing came off a bit cheesy because they tried to swerve us by thinking Rey Mysterio was the actual attacker or Undertaker thought he was, but Kane was really the attacker.
Just by looking at Rey, could you actually believe he would or could do something like that?
Anyways, I can’t say how this helped Kane, and I do know nobody wants to see another Kane vs. Undertaker feud because they have always had zero chemistry together and at the end of their careers, everyone knows the matches aren’t going to be pretty at all, nor do any good for either.
But it was good to see Kane win a title, since he deserved it.
At WM 24, CM Punk won the MITB. After he won, he went on a big losing streak, losing to people such as the Miz clean.
However, the night after Night of Champions, CM Punk cashed in the MITB on Edge after Batista assaulted him. This was a huge surprise and an enormous moment for any CM Punk fan.
During his run,though, he couldn’t beat the bigger stars, such as Kane and Batista, so he received backdoor booking in order for him to retain the title.
Although at Summerslam 2008, he went on to defeat JBL, who beat John Cena a month before in a parking lot brawl. This felt like a step in the right direction for CM Punk's underdog title run.
At Unforgiven, though, the “Adamle original’’ aka the Scramble match debuted. And before the match, Legacy attacked CM Punk, causing him to miss the match and lose the title.
Chris Jericho, who was feuding with Shawn Michaels, was able to be added to the match and win the belt. In following weeks, Chris Jericho defeated CM Punk in a cage match to regain the title.
We all thought CM Punk would then feud with Randy Orton, but the feud never elevated to expectations, leaving Punk’s cash in/title win a great surprise and an alternative champion holding the belt but nothing more.
RVD won the MITB at WM 22. Thereafter, he had a short but sweet feud with Shelton Benjamin, leading to a match at Backlash with Shelton putting up the IC belt and RVD putting up the case.
RVD defeated Shelton and won the IC belt. On a 5/15/2006 edition of Raw, Cena and RVD paired up to take on Shelton, HHH and Chris Masters in a winner gets the title who they pin match.
When it appeared HHH was going to beat John Cena, Shelton covered RVD out of nowhere to win the IC title, causing HHH to get screwed once more in his quest to become WWE champion.
This later set up RVD telling everyone he was going to cash in the MITB at One Night Stand, where the odds were extremely in his favor.
RVD went on to beat John Cena in a very memorable match (mostly because of the crowd jeering Cena badly)
RVD became ECW and WWE champion because he won the WWE belt against Cena and Heyman awarded him the ECW title belt two nights after One Night Stand.
RVD went on to defeat Edge at Vengeance, and then defeated Kurt Angle cleanly on ECW as well. His title run came to a halt, however, when he and Sabu were pulled over and caught for possession of illegal substances.
RVD had to lose both titles due to his actions. He lost the WWE Championship to Edge, and then the ECW title to the Big Show when Paul Heyman turned on RVD.
Although RVD’s title reign was short, it was still a great moment to see for many fans. Many fans always wanted to see RVD win the title, especially in 2001, but it never happened, so this was a good moment for anyone, even if you dislike RVD.
At WM 25, CM Punk won his second MITB briefcase to gain a mixed reaction from the crowd. After he won the MITB, he jobbed to Kane at Backlash 2009 and never got his revenge, nor did the feud ever progress anywhere, leaving people to expect another meaningless title reign for Mr. Punk.
In his hometown, Chicago, at Judgment Day 2009, CM Punk lost to Umaga in the opening match, but unlike his feud with Kane, he actually got his revenge by defeating Umaga in a strap match at One Night Stand.
The feud seemed not to be over, but we never were able to see another match because on that same night, CM Punk cashed in his MITB to beat Jeff Hardy after a ladder match with Edge.
CM Punk was acting as if he did nothing wrong, which was setting up his heel turn. He did end up jobbing to people such as Morrison, Edge and others for no reason, but that was fine because Jeff Hardy and CM Punk did wonders with their feud.
At Great American Bash, CM Punk hurt his eye, then kicked the referee, causing a DQ. Punk said it was by accident, but Jeff Hardy didn’t believe him.
At Night of Champions, WWE decided to put the belt on Jeff Hardy in order to see if he would stay with the WWE and not leave.
This was around the time CM Punk was going on rants about Jeff Hardy’s lifestyle, saying Jeff Hardy’s risks are going to haunt him.
At Summerslam 2009, Jeff Hardy and CM Punk had a TLC match, where Jeff Hardy delivered a Swanton Bomb onto the announce table from a ladder.
Even though the move was impactful on CM Punk, it did more damage to Jeff Hardy, which was why CM Punk was able to win the match, making him right about Jeff Hardy’s risk.
On Smackdown after Summerslam, CM Punk defeated Jeff Hardy, causing him to retire from WWE.
When Jeff Hardy was saying goodbye to the fans, CM Punk decided to assault him from behind.
The next week on Smackdown, Jeff Hardy came back to Smackdown as one would think, but it was CM Punk dressed up as him, making the crowd irritated with CM Punk, which cemented him being the top heel in the company at the time.
Everything was going great for CM Punk until the feud with Undertaker started. They tried to do a screwjob finish in Montreal, leaving the fans sour, and not helping either wrestler’s credibility.
The whole four-some angle with Undertaker, Scott Armstrong, CM Punk and Teddy Long got very silly and dumb, especially when Undertaker kidnapped Teddy Long in his limbo, which brought back dire memories of “Where to, Stephanie!?”
Furthermore, Undertaker went on to defeat CM Punk in a HITC match, which opened the show. Sources say the match took place in the opener because of Punk’s disrespect towards the dress code, but nobody except people in WWE truly know why it opened the show.
One thing I do know, though, is the match hurt CM Punk’s credibility and stop his verge on becoming a huge marketable heel into another win in Undertaker’s back pocket.
Nevertheless, CM Punk's run was great, and helped him develop his character to a new level of greatness.
At the first ever MITB at WM 21, Edge won the first MITB briefcase ever. Edge went on to feud with one of the most personal, work-shoot angles ever. Edge, who was long time friends with Matt Hardy, was sleeping with his girlfriend, Lita while Matt was dating her.
Matt Hardy ended up being fired because of this, but later came back to face Edge. Edge defeated him at Summerslam in a weirdly booked match, but the match still got Edge over more than he was before.
They had another match at Unforgiven where Matt Hardy got his revenge on Edge by defeating him in a cage match.
After going back-and-forth for a while, Edge defeated Matt Hardy on the Homecoming show on USA edition of Raw in a ladder match to send Matt Hardy to Smackdown.
Edge went on to feud with the Nature Boy Ric Flair. Edge ended up purposely getting DQed in a match against Ric Flair for the IC belt at Final Resolution.
On that same night, Edge cashed in his MITB and defeated John Cena after he went through the Elimination Chamber match, making him the WWE champion for his first time in his career.
Although his reign didn’t last, Edge went on to feud with Mick Foley, who he thought blew his match for the title. Edge and Foley ended up having a hardcore match, where he and Foley stole the show.
This was all the beginnings of Edge and Lita’s awesome reign on Raw, which led to much bigger things for the two.
It also cemented Edge as a convincing heel maineventer and established his ultimate opportunist character, which made him one of the best heels the past decade had to offer.
*Note to readers, I didn't include Kennedy or Edge's MITB run where they got hurt, because I didn't think it was fair to judge.*