With “Money in the Bank” just around the corner, it’s time for the annual WWE hostage crisis. Until a few days ago, it seemed that we were going to escape this stale and outdated concept for the first time in ten years. But then, news broke that a second ladder match had been added to the pay per view with the usual briefcase on the line. As soon as I heard this, my interest in “Money in the Bank” fell through the floor.
Starting back in 2005, the Money in the Bank ladder match was already an overused concept by about 2008. Why is it such an overdone concept? Simple: it’s the same thing every single year. Every year we sit through this long waiting period when someone threatens to cash in the briefcase and eventually does, usually derailing the entire main event scene in the process.
While someone is holding a briefcase, there’s a cloud hanging over the title scene. In theory this is a fun and exciting concept, but the idea has become weaker and weaker every single year. The fans are stuck waiting on the cash in every time the World Champion is on the show, resulting in a long string of false hope followed by a single big moment. That’s fine in theory, except for one thing: the events spent getting there. What do I mean by that? It’s very simple: the time spent holding the Money in the Bank briefcase is some of the worst of a wrestler’s career. Let’s look at some numbers.
Since the first Money in the Bank ladder match at “Wrestlemania XXI”, there have been fifteen instances of someone holding a briefcase. Here are the holders’ win/loss records on television (including shows airing on the internet) while holding the case, not including their cash-ins.
Rob Van Dam: 6-3
Mr. Kennedy: 1-4-1
CM Punk: 13-12-2
CM Punk: 9-5
Jack Swagger: 0-1
The Miz: 9-10-2
Alberto Del Rio: 3-3
Daniel Bryan: 13-15-1
John Cena: 0-0
Dolph Ziggler: 25-46
Randy Orton: 6-1
Damien Sandow: 10-16
Of the fifteen people to hold the Money in the Bank briefcase, including Edge who defeated Mr. Kennedy to take his case, only six won more matches than he lost between winning the case and cashing it in, with six having a losing record and three having an even record. More often than not, the winner of the Money in the Bank briefcase is far from a boost in their career.
In other words, most of the time the person cashing in the briefcase hasn’t been presented as a winner leading up to his title shot. All but three times has someone won the briefcase and not become World Champion as a result. This would be more acceptable if the new champion became a dominant force after winning the title. However, that’s not the case at all. Here are the lengths of the reigns when the briefcase holder cashed in and won the title.
Rob Van Dam: 22
CM Punk: 69
CM Punk: 49
Jack Swagger: 79
Daniel Bryan: 105
Alberto Del Rio: 35
Dolph Ziggler: 69
Randy Orton: 28
Out of the twelve successful cash-ins, three of them have had reigns that made it to three months and only one (barely) broke five months. This is the final problem with Money in the Bank: most of the reigns don’t last long enough to mean anything. They’re short title reigns, usually ending with a former champion getting the title back soon anyway. Combined with the other issues, this brings us back to the original problem: Money in the Bank is a played out concept.
Look at it from a wide perspective for a second: we have to sit through the same series of teased cash-ins while the man holding the briefcase usually doesn’t win most of his matches, only to have him win the title for a short, usually meaningless reign. By the time the whole cycle is done, quite often it’s almost time to start it all over again. It’s a never ending loop that doesn’t accomplish anything other than a cheap thrill while preventing a lot of needed changes from taking place. Drop the concept already and let us get back to some meaningful wrestling.
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