Connect with us

Opinion

The 3 Best & 2 Worst Money In The Bank Ladder Matches

Mishal takes a look back at the best–and worst–in the marquee match’s history!

Published

on

Daniel Bryan Money In The Bank

This Sunday we are treated to yet another WWE special, the 7th offering from the main roster this year and our final stop before the ‘Biggest Party of the Summer’ Summerslam rolls around in August.

In previous articles I’ve discussed the importance of Money in the Bank as the modern-day version of the King of the Ring tournament, an opportunity to shed light on the stars of today and build on future main eventers who can potentially carry the product into the foreseeable future. Aside from that Money in the Bank always provides some terrific action, high octane and filled with insanity that will get any WWE fan out of their seats.

However, like any form of entertainment, we have the good and the bad.

Money in the Bank has been filled with classic moments, such as CM Punk’s historic victory over John Cena in 2011, Kane winning his 1st World Heavyweight Championship in 2010, RVD returning to the WWE in 2013 & Dean Ambrose claiming his 1st WWE Championship in 2016. The show however is obviously centred around the Money in the Bank ladder match itself, the topic of discussion for today.

Let’s take a dive into the past and look at the 3 best, and the 3 worst Money in the Bank Ladder Matches in WWE history.

BEST: Money in the Bank Ladder Match, WrestleMania 21

Participants: Chris Jericho, Kane, Shelton Benjamin, Edge (Winner), Chris Benoit & Christian

Little known fact, Chris Jericho came up with the concept of the Money in the Bank ladder match, is it any wonder it turned out as good as it did in 2005?

Having this match on the list may feel a little shoehorned due to its historic implications and being the first in a long line of these kinds of matches, but it is far more than being the first in a long series of wild matches.

This match presented an opportunity never seen before in the WWE landscape, the chance for a title change anytime, anyplace & anywhere imaginable to whomever claimed the briefcase above the ring. Champions were put on notice from the get-go and adding ladders to this chance of a lifetime only fuelled the anticipation for a match that had already established itself as a history making moment.

The participants here contain some of the WWE’s all-time best, and the WWE’s most underrated of the modern-era, with Shelton Benjamin being the standout here after a stunning performance that is exactly what you need to make a star under rules such as these. Ladder match veterans such as Edge, Christian & Chris Jericho were obvious fan favourites from the bell due to their experience in this match style, adding brutality and a severe sense of urgency which further pushed this match into classic territory.

While the mans name has been scratched from the face of WWE history however, it is worth noting the matches arguable highlight came in form of Chris Benoit’s headbutt from the top of a ladder onto Kane, which remains one of my favourite Money in the Bank match moments to date.
Having Edge win this initial outing was the icing on the cake of the perfect booking the WWE had done with this match and when the initial cash-in occurred almost 10 months later the following year, all of this destruction was worth the moment that occurred.

WORST: Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match, Money in the Bank 2017

Competitors: Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Tamina, Natalya & Carmella (Winner) w/James Elsworth

It’s quite rare that WWE books the opening match of a major show so poorly that it utterly tanks the pacing for the rest of the show that follows it, and that happened with this bizarre moment in professional wrestling history.

In the midst of the women’s revolution the WWE decided to present us with a match that was long overdue in most people’s eyes, a Money in the Bank match for a shot at the SmackDown Women’s Championship. Women by 2017 had risen to new heights in the business, main eventing shows, receiving prolonged build for their matches, gaining proper character development and were no longer treated as sex objects which was all reflected when this match was announced.
But then, the booking happened.

A first-time match such as this one has the potential to set the standard for any female competitor in the future, give them a bar to live up to and only grow further from there. Instead we got one of the most bizarrely booked matches in quite some time, one that instead of focusing on the women involved, came out with one striking result we will always remember: James Elsworth, a man, won the first ever women’s Money in the Bank ladder match.

Now much like the male focused Money in the Bank matches, I have nothing against the opposite sex being involved at points to showcase their talents but at no point should that overstep its boundary. This match was hyped for the women, built for the women & was meant to increase the focus on women, all of which was thrown out the window in the matches closing moments. Elsworth, on behalf of Carmella, climbed the ladder and retrieved the briefcase granting her a championship match to the absolute shock of everyone in attendance.

Shock value is something wrestling should strive to create but in no way should it insult those who invest time in a division as important & lucrative as the women’s division, and instead of giving momentum to a star in need of it, shy away from her and shine the light onto a ringside manager instead.

It’s a shame this match ended how it did as well, because it was actually shaping out to be quite entertaining until the booking completely squandered any efforts the ladies had put on. Fortunately, we were granted a rematch to this contest 9 days later on an edition of SmackDown, where Carmella won her briefcase fair and square without the assistance of Elsworth, but the damage had already been done and sadly this is going to be the first thing that comes to the minds of wrestling fans when we think about this inaugural match.

BEST: Money in the Bank Ladder Match, WrestleMania XXIV

Competitors: CM Punk (Winner), MVP, Chris Jericho, John Morrison, Shelton Benjamin, Carlito & Mr.Kennedy

One of the more overlooked matches that I rarely see people discuss, and I have no clue as to why that is.

Wrestlemania XXIV is one of the best shows the WWE has ever put on, a magnificent spectacle filled with countless memories for fans to remember and failed to produce one match without a noteworthy event. It’s highlights are generally relegated towards the retirement of Ric Flair, Floyd Mayweather knocking out the Big Show or The Undertaker recapturing his World Heavyweight Championship after almost a year, this shouldn’t mean we forget a classic that took place 2nd on the shows main card.

This Money in the Bank ladder match was a beauty to sit through, providing all the thrills of the inaugural one 3 years prior to this, boasting star power with the likes of Chris Jericho once again present & the first of 2 victories for CM Punk, the only back-to-back winner of the match to date.

What made this match even more special was that there wasn’t one sole standout, every single star had a moment to shine. John Morrison hit a moonsault to the outside while grasping a ladder, Matt Hardy returned to attack bitter rival MVP, Jericho hit a Codebreaker on Punk with the assistance of a ladder and Benjamin had a near death moment when he was plunged off the top of a ladder through another ladder placed across the ringside barricade. This match truly had countless moments to talk about.

The matches winner was also a fantastic decision on the part of WWE, giving CM Punk the moment that was stolen from him almost one year prior to this event at Wrestlemania 23. Not only did his victory receive a thunderous ovation but gave us a glimpse into the star the man would one day end up being down the line. Sadly, this victory wouldn’t receive the best follow-up as the initial championship reign he achieved was fairly one-note and received nothing but a resounding ‘meh’ from those that watched it pan out.

Aftermath aside, this was more of what made Money in the Bank so special in the first place and is an overlooked match that deserves more attention.

WORST: Money in the Bank Ladder Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, Money in the Bank 2014

Competitors: Roman Reigns, John Cena (Winner), Kane, Randy Orton, Cesaro, Sheamus & Bray Wyatt

I never thought I’d live to see the day a Money in the Bank match actually came across as nothing but by the numbers, and that happened at the 2014 event in a match that actually had a lot of potential on paper.

Unlike previous editions of this match, the winner here would receive the prize of Daniel Bryan’s vacated WWE World Heavyweight Championship as opposed to the traditional briefcase for a championship match down the line. With the stakes being set higher than ever, you’d expect this to be a potential classic and one that could provide more drama than even the general Money in the Bank match would.
None of this potential came to a head though, as we were instead treated to the most one-note ladder match in recent memory.

The talent was certainly here, a good blend of the veterans (Cena, Orton, Kane & Sheamus) and new blood (Reigns, Wyatt & Cesaro) but sadly there wasn’t a single moment in this match where the audience in attendance or at home, thought the anybody but John Cena had a chance here. This came in part with the booking leading up to this match which positioned Cena at the forefront and left no credibility for any other competitor.

We had a few solid bursts of excitement, including a tease of the inevitable match between John Cena & Roman Reigns, aside from that nothing really seemed to pull the match out of 2nd gear. Anyone who saw the 2014 show also understood this match had to follow the classic that occurred earlier in the evening with the actual briefcase on the line, a match that stood head and shoulders above this one.
At the end of it, John ‘Super’ Cena unsurprisingly came out on top in typical fashion, defying the overwhelming odds placed in front of him and once again making it to the top of the mountain in the WWE.

Just to be clear, we have yet to have an actively awful Money in the Bank match thus far into its existence, but this one came the closest to being categorized as ‘bad’. It was by no mean a disaster, just painfully uneventful aside from the crowning of a new champion.

BEST: Money in the Bank Ladder Match for a World Heavyweight Championship Contract, Money in the Bank 2011

Competitors: Daniel Bryan (Winner), Sheamus, Sin Cara, Cody Rhodes, Kane, Justin Gabriel, Heath Slater & Wade Barrett

Very few wrestling shows provide the excitement, noise & incredible sequence of events that unfolded at the 2011 Money in the Bank event, and duplicating its success is yet to be seen since that faithful day in Chicago.

The 2011 epic is one I personally revisit frequently, boasting a stacked card from top to bottom, 4 classic headline matches & some of the best samples of storytelling a wrestling fan came come across in the 21st century. While most remember the evening for the classic CM Punk vs John Cena match that headlined the card, the opening contest deserves its rightful place in the history books as arguably the best Money in the Bank match to date.

In terms of line-up this card primarily showcased and gave way to the stars of tomorrow, the likes of Bryan, Rhodes, Gabriel & Slater all provided a fresh new face to the match itself while veterans such as Sheamus & Kane did their jobs of flattening the bodies in their path for the most part. Admittedly though we can’t give the match full credit for just its in-ring action, which was superb, but also the raucous Chicago crowd who came to the arena with passion I wish every wrestling show had behind it.

Every single superstar in this match came across as a star because of the audience’s investment, never seeming like simple ‘mid-card players’ and coming across as larger than we could have ever imagined. Daniel Bryan was the clear favourite here, due to this history on the independent scene in a city that is known for its history in that field and his ovation following the inevitable victory he achieved was a clear sign of how popular he would one day become.

The matches countless highlights are endless to list, but the most noteworthy moment (outside Bryan’s victory) came in the form of a powerbomb from Sheamus on Sin Cara, who in turn was driven through the ladder setup at ringside, splitting it in two pieces and scaring countless fans to death. Moments like these make Money in the Bank what it is and remind us of the stakes it holds to those competing in it and was a reminder of how vital the match at hand was.

Obviously, these choices are subjective, but the 2011 Money in the Bank opening contest is a firm reminder of what a brilliant concept this match was back at its inception. This match accomplished phenomenal in-ring action, star making performances & the rise of one of the most popular figures in the industry today. Beautiful stuff all around.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
Advertisement
Comments

Opinion

Revealing The Asian Pacific Independent Promotions: Part 2

Shawn is back with a deeper look at the Asian Pacific Independents!

Published

on

Singapore Pro Wrestling Asian Pacific

Shawn is back with a deeper look at the Asian Pacific Independents!

I covered the major promotions in part 1 of this series.  It is easy to see the contributions each made to create the current atmosphere. Those contributions to establish Asian wrestling would not have succeeded without the support of the following promotions.

Gatoh Move Pro Wrestling Thailand

GMPW was established in 2012 by Legendary Japanese women’s wrestler Emi Sakura (2009 NWA Women’s Pacific Champion).  If Ho Ho Lun represents the father of modern professional wrestling in Asia, than Emi Sakura has earned the legacy of mother.  Emi’s footprint can be found not only in Thailand, but also Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines.

  • First, her connections with previous Japanese promotions Ice Ribbon, Ryukyu Dragon, DDT Pro Wrestling, and All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW) provide much needed talent into Asia.  
  • Secondly, Emi tours throughout Asia providing in ring experience to much younger talent.
  • She took on the role of mentor to several women’s wrestlers as they became trainers for their respective promotions.  
  • Emi is still in her prime as a wrestler and continues to tour internationally.

Malaysia Pro Wrestling (MYPW) Malaysia

Originally created as a fan club, transformed into a wrestling club after the WWE/WCW wars ended. In 2014, MYPW was established by Mr. Ayez Shaukat Fonseka.. Without an actual trainer, Mr. Fonseka traveled to the United States and studied under Rick Drasin (product of Mae Young) and Dr. Tom Prichard.  Prichard became a mentor to Shaukat and has helped in the early stages of the company. I recently interviewed MYPW and more details will be provided once the article is published. Fans interested in viewing matches can go to YouTube.

Singapore Pro Wrestling (SPW) Singapore

SPW is the oldest promotion in Southeast Asia.  Established in 2012 by a marketing agent Andruew Tang.  His partner Vadim Koryagin (Pro Wrestler).  Vadim Koryagin established the first professional wrestling promotion in Russia and is credited with training over 300 wrestlers.  Koryagin and Tang met during a town hall meeting to determine the value of expanding into Singapore. SPW was the first to go through the growing pains of exposing local fans to live events.  The promotion struggled until 2016 as shows began growing in attendance. Today the promotion has several hundreds in attendance on a regular basis and attracts popular wrestlers from around the world.  Local talent is also shared with the other promotions in this article. Tang and Koryagin also one of a few promotions in the region pushing women’s wrestling. Fans interested can find some matches on YouTube.

Pacific Region Powers New Zealand

Much like Japan and Australia, the promotions in New Zealand play a unique role in Asia.  Close enough to southeast Asia, these promotions offer European and American style experiences that Japan fails to provide.  IPW and SPW both host frequent international wrestlers from all over Europe and the United States, therefore providing vast exposure to new wrestling styles, matches, and audience participation.  New Zealand promotions provide larger talent which many Asian promotions rarely encounter. New styles of matches like hardcore, tables and ladders, 2 out of 3 fall, and gauntlet matches take place frequently exposing Asian wrestlers to expand their experience levels.  IPW and SPW enjoy the benefit of large numbers of independent wrestlers passing through on tour, providing booking opportunities for local fans. New Zealand is the introduction locale for such talents before they enter the unique wrestling scene in Asia.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
Continue Reading

Opinion

SANADA, From Breakout Performance To Breakout Year ?

Valentin brings us some thoughts of the up and coming SANADA. If you haven’t watched the match between Minoru Suzuki and SANADA, go back and do that.

Published

on

SANADA applying Skull End on Minoru Suzuki

Valentin brings us some thoughts of the up and coming SANADA. If you haven’t watched the match between Minoru Suzuki and SANADA, go back and do that.

You know, tournaments are always full of surprises. From upsets you never saw coming, to matches you never thought would be as good as they are. Sometimes, as the matches happen, you see some things develop which you were not expecting.

Today, I will take a look at one of these things, as March 17th saw SANADA had one of his best, and possibly most important matches in his New Japan career.

This year’s New Japan Cup has been filled with interesting turn of events and some participants, already eliminated or not, can be considered breakout stars of this tournament so far. One of them is Los Ingobernables de Japon member SANADA, who has now defeated both Hirooki Goto and Minoru Suzuki, to advance in the tournament. The first thing to note is that out of the three L.I.J members originally participating, SANADA is the only one left, and even considering who eliminated Naito and EVIL in the first round, this is quite impressive.

The biggest feat so far for SANADA, of course is his performance against Suzuki. Not only did he win, but as you possibly know, not all wins weight the same, and we are talking about a big win here. After losing to Suzuki in Sapporo, this match was SANADA’s chance to redeem himself. The match itself being built to focus on SANADA’s ability to out wrestle his opponent and endure some unbearable amount of pain. Suzuki being a master at inflicting pain, you knew this was the perfect match-up to build SANADA up. From some of the usual vicious attacks to Suzuki to an intense battle of submissions full of reversals, SANADA landed Keiji Mutoh’s trademark moonsault for the win, as he received possibly the biggest crowd support he has ever gotten, even by Koruaken Hall standards. Speaking of crowd reaction, rewatch the submission sequences and listen to the crowd chanting for SANADA. Only the top performers in New Japan will get this type of response, and, as well as winning the match and in which fashion, this is the last ingredient for a star making performance.

Of course, having such a performance under your belt isn’t enough. With New Japan’s landscape being filled with opportunities for guys to shine, things cannot just stop there. As SANADA will have to face Colt Cabana, and possibly the winner of Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Zack Sabre Jr in the semifinals, what can we expect from the Cold Skull now ?

Outside of eventually finishing as New Japan Cup’s breakout star alongside Will Ospreay, SANADA can be in for a big year, as a singles wrestler. Let’s take a quick look at L.I.J.

So far, only Tetsuya Naito has had true singles success as a heavyweight, and both EVIL and SANADA have yet to really get a grasp of it, outside of good performances in previous G1 Climax tournaments, and a quick NEVER Openweight championship run for EVIL. There is a spot to fill as the second top heavyweight behind Naito, and while Shingo Takagi adds even more complexity to the mix, as of now, why can’t SANADA reach that level ? He certainly keeps proving he has the ability, so all is needed now for him to reach it, is to keep scoring big wins. Making it to the New Japan Cup semifinals would be a big deal, but after the Suzuki match, capping things off by going to the tournament’s finals would be a huge step. Even bigger if SANADA eliminates last year’s winner in ZSJ, which he is currently tied with in singles matches. However, defeating Tanahashi would be as big of an accomplishment.

The last subject to tackle is what is next after the New Japan Cup. Ultimately, who knows, but with SANADA looking like he will be one of the wrestlers to come out of the tournament very strong, expect more singles matches outside of the G1, and possibly a championship match before that. Speaking of the G1 and championship matches, do not be shocked if SANADA ends up being a trump card in the tournament, and maybe even more. SANADA has always scored 8 points in his three participations, and while EVIL has been the one to stand out the most in the tournament the last few years, SANADA has been consistent and has managed to grab big wins, like against Tanahashi in 2016, or Ibushi and Sabre last year. With the possibility of seeing SANADA on the rise, do not be surprised if he ends up pinning one of the champions in the same block as him, and expect him to reach at least 10 points for the first time, meaning he would rank quite high in the block he is in. He could even finish the year with his first singles championship win.

Whatever happens, let me say that 2019 might be SANADA’s breakout year in New Japan, and you should look forward to it.

In times where New Japan needs to build up more wrestlers as threats for the diverse championships, SANADA seems to benefit the most from this year’s New Japan Cup, as an opportunity to climb up the ranks. Now tell me, what are your expectations concerning the man we will ultimately have to stop referring as Keiji Mutoh’s student ?


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
Continue Reading

Trending Today