Since 2005, it has long been regarded as one of the most chaotic, exciting matches in WWE. The Money In The Bank ladder match – a bout so popular that, after just six incarnations it received it’s own PPV – is now one of the biggest staples in Vince McMahon’s calendar, setting up his main title challengers for the next year. Well, more often than not, anyway.
There may have been several missteps with some of the briefcase winners over the last 16 years, but a lot of the time whoever ends up carrying round that contract for a guaranteed world title shot endures a fair amount of main event staying power.
And let’s face it, regardless of who ends up clutching the briefcase at the end of the bout, we’re almost always treated to a glorious spectacle of carnage along the way.
But what are the Money In The Bank matches we find ourselves revisiting the most?
Well, why don’t we take a little trip down memory lane? With so many incredible outings to wade through, we could have laid out a pretty lengthy list, but we wanted something condensed and concise. We wanted to challenge ourselves to whittle down countless classic ladder matches to just five.
So, in no particular order, here are the five that we settled on.
MONEY IN THE BANK – WRESTLEMANIA 21
Because you’ve always got to include the OG. And it was an absolute banger to boot. Chris Jericho’s vision of a multi-man ladder match for a guaranteed World Title opportunity came to fruition in Hollywood 16 years ago and helped solidify Edge as a bona fide main event superstar. The then pre-Rated R Superstar was already very much a star in the ascendency, although his upward trajectory had been derailed by injury since 2002. But under the bright lights of Los Angeles’ Staples Centre, the cocky Canadian overcame Shelton Benjamin, Kane and fellow Canadians (and tag team partners) Christian, Chris Benoit and the aforementioned Y2J.
The inaugural MITB match certainly set the standard for each one that followed, displaying some of the most original, death defying stunts seen in a WWE ring up until that point and, of course, laid the table for one of the all time great cash-ins, when Edge usurped John Cena, post-Elimination Chamber, to win his first ever WWE Title, at New Year’s Revolution 2006.
MEN’S MONEY IN THE BANK 2019
Listen, any match that gives us ‘Boombox Brock’ has got to be included on this list. That’s just a general rule of pro wrestling. But before The Beast charged the ring and ruined Mustafa Ali’s entire life, the 2019 men’s edition of MITB had SLAPPED.
The sunset flip powerbomb from Andrade onto Finn Balor alone is probably worthy enough of it’s own inclusion on this list, but between them, the aforementioned former NXT champions, Ali, Randy Orton, Ricochet, Baron Corbin and Drew McIntyre put forth a stunt show for the ages, making fans wince on a terrifyingly regular basis as they contorted their bodies and countless ladders. And then Brock turns up at the last minute and swipes the glory. Perfection.
SMACKDOWN MONEY IN THE BANK LADDER MATCH: MONEY IN THE BANK 2011
OK, so there MAY have been another match on this show that stole all the headlines, but make no mistake, the SmackDown edition of Money In The Bank, for a guaranteed shot at whoever the World Heavyweight Champion might be over the following 12 months, was one for the ages.
The match had the perfect blend of talent for a human demolition derby, with Kane, Sheamus and Wade Barrett providing the hefty physicality, while Sin Cara, Justin Gabriel and Daniel Bryan dished out the jaw dropping acrobatics.
Although Bryan’s win didn’t instantly make him the beloved megastar he would go onto become and cement himself as at WrestleMania 30, in 2014, this victory certainly began to set the table for that eventual, long overdue coronation.
MONEY IN THE BANK III: WRESTLEMANIA 23
When it comes to star power, there may never have been a bigger MITB match than the third edition, in 2007 at WrestleMania 23. The first of the matches to take place in a stadium setting, at Ford Field in Detroit, WWE really made sure it was worthy of the occasion by drafting in Randy Orton, Edge, Jeff Hardy, Booker T, CM Punk, Mr. Kennedy and Finlay for an absolute barnburner.
Jeff Hardy made up for lost time, having not appeared at a WrestleMania for five years. He immediately rekindled his longstanding rivalry with Edge, taking a plunge down memory lane by putting his old adversary through a ladder, in a throwback to their legendary ladder matches at WrestleManias 16 and 17.
The match was intended as a star making moment for Kennedy, although injury would curtail his reign with the briefcase, as Edge would seize it from him to cash in on the Undertaker later in the year. CM Punk, meanwhile, at this point in time part of the revived ECW brand, generated the sort of reactions that would make him harder and harder for the powers that be to ignore in later years. An all time classic and one to revisit at least once before this Sunday’s show.
MONEY IN THE BANK 2016
Looking at the above picture feels so surreal, now. The former Dean Ambrose, now Jon Moxley, triumphantly holding the Money In The Bank briefcase, which he would cash in later that night to earn his first and only WWE World Heavyweight Championship. The 2016 match would also feature another future AEW Champion in Chris Jericho, along with Cesaro, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn and, erm, Alberto Del Rio (well nothing’s perfect, is it?).
Given the list of talent involved, it’s no surprise this match was complete and utter chaos, with Owens and Zayn doing their usual level best to kill each other in all manner of weird and wonderful and terrifying ways. Ambrose himself is no stranger to hellacious ladder outings (hello WrestleMania 31’s head staples) and once again brought his A-Game for one of his biggest WWE moments. A forgotten gem that people don’t really talk about enough, probably because of how many MITB matches there have been, this effort is worth your time ahead of this weekend. And then again a few times after that.
So, there are our top five picks. But what makes your list? And should we be expecting anything better this coming weekend, when fans return en masse once again. Let’s hope so.