For the first time, in a long time, it is exciting to be a fan of WWE. Vince and company are seemingly on the verge of breaking through their creative lull and are beginning to put a better product on television. There is no coincidence that this is happening alongside fans being allowed back in arenas. With fans being back there will be increasing pressure to put a better foot forward.
Wrestling fans are incredibly vocal about their passion and this will, hopefully, pressure Vince to give us some better shows to watch. Luckily, one of the most anticipated pay-per-views of the year is on the horizon. Centred around a great concept for a ladder match, Money in the Bank is one of the best things going for WWE. Who’ll win the Briefcase? Who’ll cash in? The unpredictability of the titular match is a huge selling point for the PPV and it drives excitement through the roof.
The speculation behind who will win the matches is always a hot debate come bell time. With a guaranteed championship match on the line, a shot to the top of the card is assured. This causes creative and fans to butt heads because who is pushed is not always who should be in the main event scene.
When a winner emergences from the match the judging begins. WWE has been able to curb this somewhat by picking the right man/woman to win the contest. Of course, WWE doesn’t always pick the right winner. Sometimes who they push over in the match is not the best option available to them. Below we will take a look at five such instances where the man who won the match was not the best option.
(I will only provide a better option from the pool of wrestlers in the Money in the Bank match, not everyone from the roster will be considered)
2017 – Winner: Baron Corbin
Why Vince McMahon was ever high on Baron Corbin no one will know. In 2017, Corbin was a mid-card heel that could never break through. Leading up to Money in the Bank he had been engaged in a feud with Deam Ambrose. A feud where he didn’t even come out on top of. After this, it was hard to see Corbin as a legitimate threat to the Money in the Bank Briefcase.
Despite being a favourite of Vince Corbin was never booked like a strong wrestler which caused some great shock from the crowd when he came away with the win. What was more shocking was how Corbin was booked following his win. Corbin was made to look like a fool his entire run and his fumbling of the cash-in was laughable. The point of winning the briefcase is to push someone to the next level of the card. What was the point of having Corbin win if this was the end game?
Who Should Have Won – Literally anyone else in the match
In a match featuring A.J Styles, Dolph Ziggler, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, and Shinsuke Nakamura it seems ridiculous to have Corbin win the match. Any one of these men would have been a more suitable winner. Having any one of the remaining men win the match would have made for more compelling television than we were given.
All men were near or at the top of the card and having them win the match would have pushed them over the top. All five men were great wrestlers who had their core fans and also had some history with the world titleholders. The stories would have written themselves.
2008 – Winner: CM Punk
CM Punk led the most recent wrestling boom. His star power had risen to tremendous heights and a lot of this had to do with winning Money in the Bank. His second contract win was a brilliant piece of storytelling, as he used it to turn heel on Jeff Hardy. Since that cash in Punk was one of the most compelling parts of whatever show he was on. His mic work was the best in the company and he was able to elevate anyone he stood across in the ring.
Compare this to his first Money in the Bank win and you have an underwhelming story. WWE kept Punk face after his first win and while his intial cash in was fantastic his World Championship reign afterwards was awful. The company didn’t have much faith in Punk as a champion and he wasn’t booked strong. He wasn’t even part of the match where he lost the World Championship.
Considering the talent involved in his first Money in the Bank win there was a better option available than the Second City Saint.
Who Should Have Won – Chris Jericho
The man who came up with the concept of Money in the Bank deserved to have his moment in the sun. Jericho is an incredibly underrated talent in WWE history and winning the ladder match would have put another huge feather in his cap.
Y2J had made his first return the previous November and he was still riding a huge wave of popularity. He had been in main event matches for the WWE Championship leading up to Wrestlemania so it would be an easy way to work his back into the main event picture. Also, his brilliant heel turns the next year could have been moved forward and used for a cash-in. That way we could have had more time with smug Chris Jericho.
2017 – Winner: Carmella
The first-ever Women’s Money in the Bank match was a historic event. The Women’s Revolution was in a full swing and this was another notch on that belt. Alas, the finish of the match was a cluster f*&$. Having James Ellsworth retrieve the briefcase for Carmella was a terrible idea. It made a joke out of what should have been an important night.
When the finish was re-done the following Smackdown, with the same result, the ensuing reign by Carmella was underwhelming at best. She was not booked favourably and when she eventually cashed in there was not much reaction from the crowd. WWE pushed her so far down the card that her credibility was shattered.
Who Should Have Won – Becky Lynch
Lynch was the one who was screwed over by Ellsworth when he grabbed the briefcase. If WWE were smart they would have gone with the Irish Lass Kicker winning the briefcase. Lynch was one of the more popular women on the roster. Her talent in the ring was matched only by her skills on the mic.
Lynch was also one of the women spearheading the Women’s Revolution. It would have made more sense to have her win the briefcase. A crowning moment for her would have brought a tremendous reaction from the crowd and WWE deprived themselves of this.
2019 – Winner: Brock Lesnar
Why would WWE have Lesnar win this match? The Beast wasn’t involved in the match in any way when he came down to the ring to steal the match. Instead, he waited until the last moment to run down and take win the match. For a man with the pedigree that Lesnar had this seemed like an odd move. He could have entered the match at the beginning and destroyed everyone, a sneaky heel run-in was not needed.
What took place after Lesnar’s Money in the Bank win was terrible. While the Paul Heyman promos were great, and yes Lesnar using the case as a boom box was hilarious, the cash-in was awful. Kofi Kingston had been on a great run as WWE Champion and to have him dummied in mere seconds was a disservice to the New Day member. There could have been several other ways to take the title of Kingston without making him look like a chump.
Who Should Have Won – Ricochet
While Ali was the man on the ladder when Lesnar came running down to the ring, it made more sense to have Ricochet win the match.
When he was called up from NXT Ricochet was one of the hottest acts in the company. His move set, in the ring, was spectacular and the fans were responding well to him.
It would have been a great idea to put the briefcase on him and see how he responded.WWE could have capitalized on an incredibly over wrestler and created a special moment with his eventual cash-in.
2013 – Winner: Damien Sandow
The Intellectual Savour to the Masses was a promising heel. When Sandow broke into the company he played the smug intelligent aristocrat to a T. Fans loathed the man and with a little more work WWE could have turned him into a great mid to upper card heel.
Unfortunately, WWE pulled the trigger on him far too soon with this Money in the Bank win. He had not been established on the roster yet and this hurt him. The expectation of him beating Cena when he cashed in was just not there.
No one saw him as a credible threat to any championship and it took years before he was able to get himself over again.
Who Should Have Won – Cody Rhodes
Speaking of heels who were ready to be pushed to the next level. There was a man on the cusp of the main event who should have won the match.
After breaking away from Legacy, Rhodes became one of the best mid-card heels on the roster. His runs with the Intercontinental Championship were some of the best that title had, in recent memory. The main event potential was there, WWE just needed the right moment to get him over.
Going into the Money in the Bank PPV, Rhodes was incredibly over with the audience and having him win the briefcase would have pushed him over the top. This was the perfect opportunity to create new main event talent and WWE, once again, dropped the ball.