A comprehensive look at the history of Money-in-the-Bank

The All-American American “Mr. Money-in-the-Bank”

Jack Swagger’s path to his first World Heavyweight Title is similar to that of CM Punk’s; both men started their WWE careers on the ECW brand, both men are former ECW Champions, and both men cashed in the Money-in-the-Bank contract to win their first World Title. However, that is, unfortunately, where the similarities end between the two as, while CM Punk’s first two reigns as World Heavyweight Champion would help establish Punk as a main event star, Jack Swagger’s first and only reign as World Heavyweight Champion was more of a “one-off” title reign and whether you want to point the finger at Swagger’s booking or Swagger himself, Swagger’s time as World Heavyweight Champion was easily forgettable. At WrestleMania 26, Jack Swagger outlasted Kane, MVP, Christian, Matt Hardy, Evan Bourne, Dolph Ziggler, Kofi Kingston, Drew McIntyre, & Shelton Benjamin in the biggest Money-in-the-Bank Ladder Match to date to win the Money-in-the-Bank briefcase. Swagger would waste very little time in cashing in his title opportunity when he cashed in the very same week he won the briefcase, pouncing on an injured Chris Jericho on SmackDown after Jericho was attacked by Edge. After planting Jericho with his signature gutwrench powerbomb, Swagger would pin Chris Jericho to become the new World Heavyweight Champion. Upon winning the title, Swagger would immediately transform himself into a much more serious competitor and the new champion would go on to defeat the likes of Edge, Randy Orton, and Big Show over the next couple of months before losing the World Heavyweight Title to Rey Mysterio in a Fatal 4-Way Match that also involved CM Punk and Big Show, holding the title for just 82 days overall. Unfortunately for Jack Swagger, as quickly as he rose to the main event scene of SmackDown, he fell just as quickly as Swagger has been nowhere near the main event title picture since he lost the World Heavyweight Title.

Twelve Years in the Making

Starting with the introduction of the WWE Money-in-the-Bank pay-per-view in 2010, WWE abandoned the idea of “Mr. Money-in-the-Bank” being able to cash in his contract for a shot at either the WWE Championship or the World Heavyweight Championship and decided to have each RAW and SmackDown feature their own, exclusive Money-in-the-Bank contract where the RAW holder of the briefcase could cash in for a WWE Championship match while the SmackDown holder of the briefcase could cash in for a World Heavyweight Championship match. At the inaugural WWE Money-in-the-Bank event, Kane would defeat Christian, Big Show, Matt Hardy, Cody Rhodes, Drew McIntyre, Dolph Ziggler, & Kofi Kingston to win the SmackDown Money-in-the-Bank briefcase, becoming the first Money-in-the-Bank winner in history to be a former World Champion prior to winning the briefcase. Kane would waste very little time in cashing in his championship opportunity as “The Big Red Machine” would cash in the Money-in-the-Bank briefcase that very same night, defeating Rey Mysterio to claim the World Heavyweight Championship.

With this title win, Kane became the first Superstar in history to have held the WWE Championship, the World Heavyweight Championship, and the ECW Championship in his career and is also the first “Mr. Money-in-the-Bank” to be a former World Champion (having previously held the WWF Championship for one day back in 1998). After defeating Rey Mysterio to retain the title at SummerSlam, Kane would re-ignite his feud with The Undertaker with Kane picking up a rare win over his brother at Night of Champions before The Brothers of Destruction squared in a Hell in a Cell Match at WWE Hell in a Cell where Paul Bearer betrayed The Undertaker and aligned himself with Kane, helping Kane retain the World Heavyweight Championship. The rivalry would culminate in a rare Buried Alive Match at Bragging Rights where Kane would win the match with help from The Nexus. Kane would then feud with Edge over the World Heavyweight Championship with Kane ultimately losing the championship to Edge in a Fatal 4-Way TLC Match at WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders, & Chairs in a match that also involved Rey Mysterio and Alberto Del Rio. Kane would then fail to regain the World Heavyweight Championship in a Last Man Standing Match on SmackDown.

From The Real World to World Champion

On the same night that Kane won the SmackDown Money-in-the-Bank briefcase, The Miz would defeat Edge, Randy Orton, Evan Bourne, Mark Henry, Ted DiBiase, John Morrison, & Chris Jericho to win the RAW Money-in-the-Bank briefcase, earning him a future shot at the WWE Championship. The Miz would wait a little over four months before cashing in his Money-in-the-Bank contract, cashing in on WWE Champion Randy Orton following a successful title defense against Wade Barrett and beating “The Viper” to become the new WWE Champion (while also becoming the first Superstar in four years to cash in and win the WWE Title). With his protege from NXT, Alex Riley, by his side, The Miz’s first title defense would be against WWE Hall of Famer Jerry “The King” Lawler in a TLC Match on RAW, which The Miz won with some help from Alex Riley and Michael Cole. The Miz would go on to defeat Randy Orton in a Tables Match at WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders, & Chairs to retain the WWE Title. After a title defense against John Morrison and additional title defenses against Randy Orton and Jerry Lawler, The Miz would start a feud with John Cena over the WWE Championship. The most unusual part of this rivalry would come on the February 21, 2011 episode of RAW where Miz and Cena were forced to team up by the anonymous RAW General Manager to face Heath Slater & Justin Gabriel (representing The Corre) with the WWE Tag Team Titles on the line.

Surprisingly, The Miz and John Cena would defeat Slater & Gabriel to win the WWE Tag Team Titles, but would immediately lose the titles in a rematch after The Miz turned on John Cena, costing them the titles (marking the shortest reign as WWE Tag Team Champions in history). The rivalry between The Miz and John Cena would culminate in a match at WrestleMania 27 for the WWE Championship, which The Miz won after The Rock interfered to set up a match between The Rock and John Cena at WrestleMania 28. The following month at Extreme Rules, The Miz would lose the WWE Championship to John Cena in a Triple Threat Steel Cage Match that also involved John Morrison. The Miz would lose his first rematch for the title by disqualification and, after failing to regain the WWE Title in an “I Quit” Match against Cena at Over The Limit, The Miz’s feud with John Cena was over and The Miz would move on to a feud with his estranged protege Alex Riley, who The Miz blamed for his failure to regain the title. To date, The Miz is the longest reigning WWE Champion to have won the title after cashing in the Money-in-the-Bank contract, having held the WWE Championship for 160 days (a little over five months as champion).

The Beginning of the Yes Movement

When arriving on the scene in WWE on the then competition reality series NXT, it was surprising to a lot of people that Daniel Bryan was placed as a Rookie on the first season of NXT considering that Bryan was already a ten-year veteran of the business at the time. After being eliminated early in the competition, it seemed as though Daniel Bryan would never truly get his shot to be a main event star in WWE like so many of his fans wanted him to be and, after being fired from WWE for choking ring announcer Justin Roberts with his own tie when Bryan made his main roster debut as a member of The Nexus, it seemed like Bryan’s WWE career was over before it could truly begin. However, Bryan’s release would be a blessing in disguise as he would soon be re-signed to the company and would end up returning as a face and it wouldn’t take long for Bryan’s WWE career to seemingly get on the right track. After already having a reign as United States Champion under his belt in a relatively short amount of time, Daniel Bryan would compete in his first Money-in-the-Bank Ladder Match at WWE Money-in-the-Bank in 2011, defeating Sheamus, Kane, Sin Cara, Cody Rhodes, Wade Barrett, Heath Slater, & Justin Gabriel (the latter three being his former Nexus teammates) to claim the SmackDown Money-in-the-Bank briefcase, earning him a guaranteed shot at the World Heavyweight Championship. Bryan would wait five months before cashing in his contract, defeating Big Show at WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders, & Chairs moments after Big Show had defeated Mark Henry in a Chairs Match to win the title.

This would place the new World Heavyweight Champion in a land of giants as Daniel Bryan would feud with Big Show and Mark Henry in the following months, leading to a Triple Threat Steel Cage Match at the 2012 Royal Rumble event where Bryan escaped the cage to retain the title. Bryan would follow this up with a successful defense of the World Heavyweight Championship in an Elimination Chamber Match at WWE Elimination Chamber. Bryan would then walk into WrestleMania 28 as the World Heavyweight Champion, but a kiss from on-screen girlfriend AJ Lee would end up costing Daniel Bryan the title as, after kissing AJ, Bryan would turn right around into a Brogue Kick from Sheamus, who pinned Daniel Bryan to win the World Heavyweight Title in just eighteen seconds, ending Bryan’s first World Title reign at just under four months. This would prove to be Daniel Bryan’s only reign as World Heavyweight Champion, but Bryan would go on to become a multiple time WWE Champion in the near future before having to retire earlier this year.

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