Cashing in Money in the Bank: Part 2

With Baron Corbin and Carmella planning when to cash-in, we take a look back at how their predecessors did it.

MITB2

In our first part of our look back, we saw the rise of Edge, illustrating just how powerful the Money in the Bank briefcase could be. We also saw Mr Kennedy flub his chance, and RVD and Punk not really reach their potential, showing how important the follow-up is. But with four successful cash-ins, Money in the Bank was established, and its winners became dangerous threats to the champions of both brands. They could not afford a moments weakness when a briefcase was hanging around. Here are how the next set of Mr Money in the Banks cashed-in.

The Punk Revival – Extreme Rules, Sunday 7th June 2009
CM PUNK cashes in on WWE Heavyweight Champion Jeff Hardy

Punk MITB 2

A year on from his first Money in the Bank ladder match win, CM Punk found himself in the same match at Wrestlemania 25. Again he was victorious, becoming the first person to win the briefcase twice, beating Christian, Finlay, Kane, Kofi Kingston, Mark Henry, Montel Vontavious Porter, and Shelton Benjamin. This time though, CM Punk thought out is strategy fully, and after defeating Umanga in a Samoan Strap Match at Extreme Rules, when Jeff Hardy defeated Edge to win the World Heavyweight Championship in the main event, Punk knew the time was right. Despite Hardy putting up a valiant effort, CM Punk became World Heavyweight Champion for a second time.

(Sorry about the quality, this is the first cash-in not uploaded by WWE, probably due to Jeff Hardy’s TNA status and then the CM issues)

What happened next? CM Punk maintained that there was nothing wrong with his actions, claiming he would have cashed in on whoever won the ladder match at Extreme Rules. He continued walking this line – getting deliberately disqualified in Hardy’s rematch at the Great American Bash, but feigning innocence afterwards. This caused SmackDown GM Teddy Long to book them in a match at Night of Champions, where Hardy regained the title. Punk finally ended the charade and attacked Hardy (including a brilliant “fix him so I can break him again” taunt at medical officials tending to Hardy”). A vicious Punk continued to attack and mock Hardy leading to a TLC match at Summerslam. Punk won back the title, although as he was celebrating above a fallen Hardy, the light went out and The Undertaker returned, delivering a huge chokeslam to Punk. The conscience of the WWE would make CM Punk pay for his actions.

Jeff Hardy had one last match in WWE on the SmackDown after Summerslam – a Steel Cage match against Punk where Hardy put his career on the line. Punk successfully retained, and Hardy was gone from WWE. He needed time off to heal from his injuries, and after 3 great years he decided it was time for a break. However, in September 2009 he was arrested on drugs charges, and then signed for TNA as Impact went live against Monday Night Raw under the leadership of Hulk Hogan and Eric Bishoff. He was pushed heavily in TNA, becoming the focal point of the Immortal stable and a three-time TNA Heavyweight Champion. His painkiller and other drug troubles continued however, and in a horrible moment for Hardy, TNA, and professional wrestling in general, turned up for a title defense at Victory Road in March 2011 intoxicated. Sting forcibly pinned him in 90 seconds to end the match – meant to be a main event between two stars of different generations, but instead a farce. Hardy did clean himself up and had a great road to redemption story, which saw him regain the TNA title in 2013.

He also won the TNA tag title twice with this brother Matt. The second of these title reigns ended when Jeff was injured in a motorbiking accident, leading to Matt blaming him and challenging him to various fights. Jeff was successful in all of these matches, leading to Matt becoming stranger and stranger, until he final snapped and became Broken Matt. The awesome Final Deletion followed, and the Broken Hardys became the hottest act in wrestling. They started an Expedition for Gold, touring various independent promotions and winning tag team titles where ever they went. This lead to them beating the Young Bucks in Ring of Honour, but after their contract ran out with TNA, they wrestled a ladder match in ROH and then returned to WWE at Wrestlemania 33 as surprise last minute additions. They won the WWE Tag Team titles on their first night back, and seem more popular than ever.

Although CM Punk lost the title in short order to The Undertaker, he started on the highly controversial and entertaining Straight Edge Society, recruiting Luke Gallows and Serena. The SES continued through to Wrestlemania, with Punk losing to Rey Mysterio in an attempt to recruit him. Punk had his head shaved in a later rematch with Mysterio, which caused him to wear a mask to hide his embarrassment. This mask was removed by the Big Show, who won match after match against Punk, eventually causing the Straight Edge Society to disband. Punk soon found another group, and as lead of the New Nexus, he had another successful run, with Husky Harris, Michael McGillicutty, and Mason Ryan as part of his stable. This led to a match at Wrestlemania 27 with Randy Orton, where Punk was unsuccessful. 

Punk moved back into title contention, and in one of the most famous moments in WWE’s modern history, he delivered a cross-legged promo calling out John Cena, Vince McMahon, and everything wrong with the company. He announced his contract was expiring the night of Money in the Bank, where he defeated John Cena and escaped through the Chicago crowd with the WWE title.

CM Punk returned just a few weeks later, eventually “unifying” the WWE title with the one John Cena had won in Punk’s absence. He lost it to Alberto Del Rio (more on that later) before regaining it in November 2011 and holding it for 434 days before losing to the Rock at Royal Rumble 2013. A match with Undertaker followed at Wrestlemania 29, before feuds with Paul Heyman’s various lackeys lead to a losing effort against Brock Lesnar.

Punk floated around for the second half of 2013, sort of feuding with The Shield and Wyatt Family and teaming occasionally with Daniel Bryan. Things came to ahead at the Royal Rumble in 2014, where Punk suffered a concussion and walked out of the company the next night. Injuries, unhappiness with his direction and future, and just mounting frustration led to him leading the company officially months later without returning. He made a horrible, painful to watch UFC debut, but seems to be a lot happier in his life now, having married AJ Lee and according to Twitter spends his time happily watching his Chicago sports teams.


The All-American American – SmackDown (Episode 554), Friday 2nd April 2010
JACK SWAGGER cashes in on WWE Heavyweight Champion Chris Jericho

SwaggerMITB

Jack Swagger had all the athletic gifts needed to be a wrestling superstar, having been an All American amateur wrestler. In WWE he had made a big impression as ECW Champion, beating Matt Hardy. There were rumours he angered Vince McMahon with a boring title defense against Finlay. He eventually lost the title to Christian, and in the summer of 2009, he moved to Raw, and made a big impression, challenging for the US title that seemed like a natural fit. At Wrestlemania 26, Swagger won the Money in the Bank ladder match, against Christian, Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre, Evan Bourne, Kane, Kofi Kingston,  Matt Hardy, Montel Vontavious Porter, and Shelton Benjamin. He attempted to cash in on WWE Champion John Cena the very next night on RAW, but Cena managed to fight him off. On SmackDown however, when Chris Jericho was attacked by Edge, Swagger cashed in and became the World Heavyweight Champion.

What happened next? As you can see in the video, Jack Swagger’s character changed into a more serious “bad guy”, which could have worked if he had become the wrestling machine his background seemed to suggest. He defeated Chris Jericho and Edge on SmackDown, and beat Randy Orton at Extreme Rules. With Kane on a rampage after the injury to his brother, Swagger managed to survive a match with him, before he lost the title to Rey Mystrio in a Fatal Fourway match. It’s never a good sign when a championship reign doesn’t end in a one-on-one match. Swagger was unsuccessful in regaining the title at Extreme rules, and he didn’t get another title opportunity until he reinvented himself as the Real American (alongside Zeb Coulter) and took on Alberto Del Rio at Wrestlemania 29. There were some highs (the Swagger Soaring Eagle) and some lows (training Michael Cole) in between, but Swagger seemed to be on the upswing again going into WM29. Getting arrested for drink driving and drug possession at this time probably wasn’t the best career move.

Swagger lost to del Rio, and was stuck in the midcard for the rest of his time in the company. Cesaro joined him to for The Real American tag team, but Swagger drifted for year after year, being a reliable hand but getting ever-diminishing returns. His “We The People” chant continued to be over with the crowd, but being drafted to Raw in 2016, and then signing a contract with SmackDown led to nothing more than a few losing matches, and he asked for his release in early 2017. So much talent, but Swagger never really put it together in the right order.


The Devil’s Favourite Demon – Money in the Bank, Sunday 18th July 2010
KANE cashes in on WWE Heavyweight Champion Rey Mysterio

KaneMITB

The Money in the Bank ladder match was so popular that WWE decided to build a whole pay-per-view around the match. So in 2010, the first Money in the Bank pay per view took place, with a ladder match each for the two brands. Veteran superstar Kane was tearing SmackDown apart trying to find the man who attacked his brother The Undertaker, and became the first “big man” to win the Money in the Bank briefcase. He won the SmackDown brand match also featuring The Big Show, Christian, Cody Rhodes, Drew McIntyre, Dolph Ziggler, Kofi Kingston, and Matt Hardy.

The World Heavyweight Championship was retained later that night when Rey Mysterio beat Jack Swagger. Swagger attacked Mysterio after the match, but Kane came down to make the save. He then returned to the ring with his briefcase, brutalised Mysterio for a few minutes, and became the first man to cash in one the same night as winning the briefcase. He was World Heavyweight Champion just 49 minutes after winning the match.

What happened next? After a few more weeks of accusing Rey Mysterio, it was revealed that Kane had attacked The Undertaker and left him in a vegetative state. The Undertaker returned, but for once Kane had the upper hand, and with help from Wade Barrett and the Nexus, he won a Buried Alive match at Bragging Rights. He lost the title to Edge at TLC, and was eventually taken out by Mark Henry during his Hall Of Pain run. Kane returned as a more vicious bad guy in 2011 with a huge welders helmet and a new mask, and attacked John Cena, Randy Orton, and poor old Zack Ryder. He eventually started teaming with Daniel Bryan and became Team Hell No, before being taken out by the Wyatt Family on their debut. He then returned as Corporate Kane, took off his mask, put on his mask, took it off again, and went back to the Demon Kane in 2015. He is currently attempting to become Mayor of Knox County!


The Age of Awesome – Monday Night Raw (Episode 913), Monday 22nd November 2010
THE MIZ cashes in on WWE Champion Randy Orton

themizMITB

The other winner of Money in the Bank that night was The Miz, who won the Raw Brand’s ladder match, beating Chris Jericho, Edge, Evan Bourne, John Morrison, Mark Henry, Randy Orton, and Ted DiBiase. The Miz had long been a polarizing figure in the WWE. He had got some b-list TV fame on a show called The Real World, and had original started on SmackDown as an over-privileged, arrogant presenter who boasted about an undefeated streak in his hand-picked matches against easy opponents. In June 2007 he was drafted to ECW, and away from the main brands he managed to hone and refine his character. He formed an unlikely tag team with the far more athletic Johnny Nitro, and the two of them created magic with The Dirt Sheet, a weekly online show which showed The Miz’s promo ability. They even got a match with DX out of their run, which also saw them become WWE and World Tag Team Champions, although they lost a unification match with The Colons on the Wrestlemania 25. A few week later, The Miz was drafted to Raw, breaking up the tag team, and started a delusional feud with John Cena, building up a winning record through forfeits when Cena didn’t appear from impromptu matches The Miz made. Cena finally accepted a match and crushed The Miz, but the Miz reappeared with new attire (after Vince McMahon noticed he had strong legs and told him to switch to trunks) and a new finisher – the Skull Crushing Finale. This lead to the Miz winning the US Championship in October 2009, and then teaming with The Big Show to take the Unified Tag Titles away from DX in February 2010.

With the start of WWE NXT, The Miz was paired to mentor the “rookie” Daniel Bryan, an antagonistic relationship which is still going on to this day. After winning the Money in the Bank briefcase he was thwarted in various attempts at cashing in on Sheamus, and when Daniel Bryan return to WWE, the two started a feud that led to Bryan taking the Miz’s US title. But in November 2010, after 6 months holding the briefcase, there was a WWE title match between Randy Orton and Wade Barrett. Orton managed to hold off the Nexus and its leader and retain his title, but The Miz smelled blood in the water and cashed in. For the first time, an impromptu cash-in led to an almost normal length match, but the injured Orton just didn’t have enough, and The Miz became the most unlikely of WWE Champions.

What happened next? With the help of his second NXT rookie Alex Riley, The Miz managed to retain his title in rematches against Randy Orton, before Michael Cole himself helped The Miz defeat Jerry Lawler, leading to The Miz defending his title against John Cena in the main event of Wrestlemania 27. Despite being knocked out late on in the match, The Miz, with some help from guest host The Rock, managed to retain the title on the biggest stage of all.

The Miz lost his title a month later at Extreme Rules to John Cena, and although he has never regained a top level title, he has had a very successful career. He was part of The Rock’s first match back he teamed with R-Truth at Survivor Series to take on The Rock and John Cena later in 2011. His career has had seven Intercontinental Championship reigns since then, multiple tag titles and he is beginning to build a film career. In fact, his run on SmackDown in 2016, joined by his wife Maryse, showed what growth he has had, having great matches with AJ Styles Dean Ambrose, and especially Dolph Ziggler, who he made relevant for the first time in years. A move to Raw brought the aforementioned 7th Intercontinental title, and he has been joined by The Miztourage, getting Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas on his side. The Miz is far from done in the WWE, and another title run would not be out of the question for the A Lister.


This set of Money in the Bank winners was a definite mixed bag. I have got to admit that I thought each one of the wrestlers who held the briefcase here could have been the first to lose. Punk had already won it, he could afford to slip up. Jack Swagger would surely be too young to hold the title. Kane could survive not winning the title, he’s a demon after all. And The Miz? Surely not! Anyway, Punk and The Miz made the most of getting their break and became long term successes in WWE (although one shone brighter, one has shone longer), but Jack Swagger didn’t work as a champion and then saw his career slowly decline. Kane was the first time the cash-in was used in such a short term storyline, and there was a need to have a big man and a veteran win the match to justify selling them as a threat.

We’ll be back next week to look at the next batch of Money in the Bank winners cashing in. There are some spectacular successes in that one – in fact they might be the four most significant cash-ins!

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