Ranking 3 of the best and 3 of the worst WWE Money in the Bank cash-ins
The WWE Money in the Bank contract is a prestigious prize that grants its holder special and unique privileges. Mr. or Ms. Money in the Bank can cash in the briefcase at any time or place of their choosing. While it was restricted only to the World Championships, recent attempts suggest that it can also be used for mid-card titles.
MITB was introduced in 2005, and the first winner was Edge, who won the briefcase at WrestleMania that year. In recent years, the contract has been up for grabs in a multi-person ladder match at the annual namesake premium live event, but such shows seem to be in doubt now.
Having had a plethora of holders with several cash-in attempts, many have succeeded while others have failed. Here, we look at three of the best and three of the worst Money in the Bank cash-ins.
#3 Best: Randy Orton's surprise WWE Championship win at SummerSlam 2013
The summer of 2013 saw the rise of Daniel Bryan, which laid the foundation of the Yes Movement and led him to that emotional WWE World Heavyweight title victory at WrestleMania 30. After an amicable split with Kane ended the tremendously successful Team Hell No, The Beard embarked on a singles run, and his popularity soared.
Then-WWE Champion John Cena selected Bryan as his opponent for SummerSlam, much to the delight of hardcore fans. Triple H named himself Special Guest Referee to further spice things up. However, that decision wouldn't bode well for Bryan.
After a hard-fought victory over Cena in the main event, Mr. Money in the Bank Randy Orton walked out with his briefcase and teased a cash-in. It seemed as if Orton was going to walk backstage, but The Game floored Bryan with a devastating Pedigree. The Viper cashed in his briefcase and pinned the Yes Man to win another world championship.
It was the perfect piece of storytelling. The underdog, against all odds, silenced all his doubters and realized his dream by climbing to the summit. However, his glory was short-lived, for there were two cunning, conniving WWE stalwarts that didn't want him near the top.
The closing moments of SummerSlam 2013 marked the genesis of The Authority, a villainous stable with perverse motives, only doing what they thought was "best for business." It also made Bryan the top babyface of the industry, a role in which he excelled in the next seven months or so.
#3 Worst: John Cena becomes the first person to cash in and not win the title at RAW 1000
The MITB briefcase is better suited to heels - the more cunning characters that pounce on weakened champions and capitalize at the most opportune time. Hence, it was a mistake to have John Cena, a genuine babyface with negligible villainous traits, win RAW's MITB contract in 2012.
The Champ announced his cash-in on then-WWE Champion CM Punk beforehand. It was an ill-advised move that nullified his advantage and ultimately led to his failure. At RAW 1000, during the main event of the historic show, Big Show interfered during Cena vs. Punk, resulting in a disqualification win for the 16-time world champion.
The WWE Championship didn't change hands, and Cena became the first man in history to cash in and not win the gold. It was a significant low in his illustrious Hall of Fame career and an evening he would like to forget. The Champ's cash-in also got lost in the shuffle with all the drama.
The Rock ran down to the ring and took out The Big Show, only for Punk to turn heel and attack him. Amid all the chaos, many lost sight of Cena's failed cash-in, which may have served him well in the long run.
#2 Best: Edge wins his first WWE Championship at New Year's Revolution 2006
The first-ever MITB cash-in had to be memorable, and WWE struck gold with Hall of Famer Edge's historic first title win at New Year's Revolution. The Rated-R Superstar won the inaugural ladder match at WrestleMania 21 and waited more than 200 days to cash his briefcase in. The title victory launched his career to the stratosphere.
The cash-in earned Edge the moniker "Ultimate Opportunist." John Cena had just come off a hellacious Elimination Chamber match and was in no position to compete, lying helplessly in a pool of blood. Vince McMahon came out and introduced The Master Manipulator.
Edge executed two Spears on a wounded and battered Cena to win the WWE Championship and create history. It was a storytelling masterpiece. The Champ was still struggling to gain approval, and the loss only made him more of a babyface.
On the other hand, Edge established himself as a credible top-tier villain who would capitalize on any opportunity available at any cost.
#2 Worst: Austin Theory fails to win the United States Championship on WWE RAW (November 7, 2022)
The most recent addition to this list is Austin Theory's unsuccessful MITB cash-in in November 2022. This was embarrassing for A-Town Down, to say the least. Theory was said to be Vince McMahon's favorite and one of the most highly protected superstars under the former CEO's reign.
The cash-in was an atrocity. The former US Champion could've opted to pursue the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship. He also teased coming after the NXT Championship. However, he chose to go after the one title he had already won in the industry, the United States Championship that rests on the shoulders of Seth Rollins.
The timing couldn't have been more wrong for Austin Theory. Bobby Lashley was in a terrible mood. He attacked Mustafa Ali and prevented him from accepting Rollins' open challenge. While it seemed like Lashley would accept the challenge, he obliterated The Visionary and left him in a heap. Theory looked to capitalize and cash in his contract, but that proved disastrous.
The All Mighty inflicted more damage as he attacked Theory and prevented him from winning the US title. If it wasn't for Lashley, A-Town would've won the title, but a slew of bad decisions and general inexperience led to his downfall.
#1 Best: Seth Rollins pulls off The Heist of The Century at WrestleMania 31
When Seth Rollins infamously cashed in his MITB contract at WrestleMania 31 and walked out of Levi's Stadium with the top prize, Michael Cole rightfully called it "The Heist of The Century."
At the climax, Rollins interrupted a brutal, hard-hitting encounter between Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns. He cashed it in, turned it into a Triple Threat Match, and adroitly executed a Curb Stomp on Reigns to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Fans were left scratching their heads, for they had witnessed a historical moment that lives on in our collective memory.
It was a stroke of genius for multiple reasons. First and foremost, it averted disaster. Fans had wholeheartedly rejected Reigns, and had he gone over Lesnar, they would have exploded with anger.
Secondly, it protected The Beast Incarnate, as he was never pinned and still lost the top prize. Lastly, the sheer shock value of the moment makes it incomparable to any other cash-in.
#1 Worst: Baron Corbin squanders the biggest opportunity of his career on SmackDown (August 15, 2017)
In 2017, Baron Corbin was primed to become a massive player in WWE. In an immensely talented field of superstars, including AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura, Corbin won the Men's MITB briefcase in June. The Lone Wolf had booked his ticket to the top, and he just had to wait for the most opportune time.
However, Corbin squandered the most significant opportunity of his career in the most humiliating way possible. On an episode of SmackDown in August 2015, he interrupted the main event between his rival John Cena and then-WWE Champion Jinder Mahal.
His interference resulted in a disqualification, but his night didn't end there as he cashed in on a battle-tested Mahal. However, it was not a wise decision.
Cena was at ringside and distracted Corbin, allowing The Maharaja to roll him up for the three-count. This was the beginning of a downward spiral for Baron Corbin, who never recovered from the near career-destroying loss.
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