THE SPECIALISTS TUCKER'S TOP 10 VOL. 4: Best WWE Money in the Bank Matches - which WrestleMania edition tops the list?
Jul 9, 2012 - 2:03:43 PM
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PWTorch specialist Ben Tucker, who writes "Instant Reaction" to WWE and TNA TV, has started a new Top 10 column that will be published on a regular basis breaking down a variety of wrestling lists. Tucker's fourth column below is the Top 10 Best WWE Money in the Bank Matches.
By Benjamin Tucker, PWTorch TV specialist
This is so cool! I mean, a Top 10 list? Only ten Money in the Bank matches exist?! Well, don't worry, guys, I'm sure your favorite is on here somewhere. In the spirit of WWE's MITB pay-per-view this week, I give you the Top 10 Money in the Bank ladder matches of all-time!
(10) WrestleMania 26. The WrestleMania 26 Money in the Bank match shows that, yes, there can be too much of a good thing. There were simply too many people in the match (10!), meaning that wrestlers sold moves for an unrealistic amount of time. Instead of ladders lining the barricades, there were wrestlers. There were still plenty of good spots, plus a much more open field of competitors than in other years, but in the end there was just too much. That, along with the fact that the winner, Jack Swagger, was a Superstars regular before the match. Plus, he took way too long to retrieve the briefcase. (He took long enough that it was edited down on the DVD release.)
(9) WrestleMania 25. Once again, there was way too much selling by many of the competitors. Shelton Benjamin was great, but there wasn't too much doubt as to who would win (C.M. Punk or Christian), which caused the match to suffer a bit. The big spots were great, but the finish was definitely anti-climactic. Instead of a big bump, Kane sort of slid down the ladder and allowed Punk to win. That's pretty lame, guys. On the other hand, it was the first match I can recall that was stopped mid-way through due to blood (Christian), so I guess that counts. For something.
(8) WrestleMania 22. This Money in the Bank match suffered, not because of the odd amount of wrestlers that lacked agility (Finlay, Ric Flair, and Bobby Lashley), but because everything felt rushed. Almost immediately, the match became a highlight reel. Flair was injured and taken out of the match less than five minutes in, only to make his return a couple of moments later. That being said, the match didn't feel cluttered with only six competitors in the match, and the big spots were great. Shelton Benjamin stole the show with a leapfrog onto a ladder (a move which is botched so often, nowadays), and Ric Flair's near grab of the briefcase is one of the best close calls in Money in the Bank history. Too bad they weren't given five more minutes to let the match breathe more.
(7) Smackdown Money in the Bank 2010. This Money in the Bank match will be remembered for three things: Kane winning, Big Show's ridiculously big ladder, and Kofi Kingston's gigantic Boom Drop off the top of a ladder onto a table-mounted Drew McIntyre. That was seriously cool to watch. Other than that, this was a good, but not great MITB match. Kane was the favorite from the start, and despite one really good attempt at the briefcase by McIntyre, there wasn't a huge amount of drama as to who would win. And, despite how much I loved the Boom Drop off the ladder, it also was one moment of many where almost everyone would be selling on the outside. I know it happens in all MITB matches, but it was more apparent in this one than in others.
(6) Raw Money in the Bank 2010. This was a good, but not great Money in the Bank match. One of the best parts of the match was how special attention was given to multiple wrestlers before the match. There were the established stars like Orton, plus The Miz (who was really starting to bloom at this period), and even Evan Bourne, who was receiving a massive push at the time. The false finish with Orton almost getting the briefcase was great, and Miz's post-match promo capped off the entire affair wonderfully. Was it the best MITB match? No, but it was still pretty good.
(5) Smackdown Money in the Bank 2011. Much like in 2010, Smackdown's Money in the Bank match wasn't quite as good as Raw's. That's not to say that it was bad, though. Daniel Bryan's win was a great surprise, and now that I think about it, the match had a lot of possible winners. Sin Cara being powerbombed through the ladder was a great visual, and it also helped prevent too many people from being in the match at once. One of my main issues with the match was that it seemed like it had a lot of filler. Instead of selling, all of the competitors seemed to rely on kicking and punching each other as if they were in a bad battle royal. It simply went on too long. That, and the finish wasn't quite as good as Raw's that year. That being said, this was still a solid MITB match.
(4) Raw Money in the Bank 2011. I know this goes against the opinion of a lot of people, but I liked last year's Raw Money in the Bank match a bit more than the Smackdown one. It wasn't as long, but the spots were bigger (Evan Bourne's Shooting Star Press off the top of a huge ladder), the pace was faster, a lot of the random kicking and punching was cut out, and the ending was a lot better. The crowd popped huge for Del Rio pulling off Rey's mask, and, while all of the ladders brought into the ring hurt the ending a bit, it created a cool and unique visual effect. It's hard after so many of these matches to remain innovative, and this match did just enough to remain fresh.
(3) WrestleMania 21. The first of many things is one of the best, and the first Money in the Bank ladder match one of the greatest. Shelton Benjamin absolutely stole the show (yet again, I know) with multiple spots that are being repeated to this day. This match set the standard for how MITB matches should be, and it made sure that all future installments would be entertaining as well. Everyone played their parts well. There was Kane, the big man, Christian, the guy who needs help from his bodyguard (Tomko), the hopeful veteran (Benoit), the high-flyer (Shelton), etc. There was very little stalling, a huge amount of originality, and overall the match is still a treat to watch after all of the MITB matches that have succeeded it.
(2) WrestleMania 24. Yes, Shelton Benjamin was awesome again. His dive through a ladder at ringside was one of many memorable moments in this MITB match. This match was one of the most innovative, featuring awesome feats of agility, such as John Morrison's moonsault off the top rope with a ladder. The story that was told between Mr. Kennedy and C.M. Punk, referring back to the MITB match from the year before, was another nice touch. There was also a huge surprise return with Matt Hardy taking out MVP, and there was an interesting dynamic with a couple of the wrestlers (such as C.M. Punk with Chris Jericho). It wasn't quite the best MITB match, but it was plenty unique and fast-paced.
(1) WrestleMania 23. Hands down, this is my favorite MITB match. It didn't have too many competitors (seven, which was then cut down to five mid-way through), had a lot of multi-man spots, was paced well, and even had Hornswoggle get the tar beaten out of him! It was also one of the few MITB matches that had a story continued in a future MITB match (Kennedy getting the briefcase after beating Punk). The action was frenetic, and the announce team was great, with everyone doing a great job (especially JBL).
One thing that this match had going for it was the amount of star power. Adding Randy Orton, Edge, and King Booker really seemed elevated the importance of the MITB match. Not to mention this featured one of the most memorable MITB moments of all time - Jeff Hardy's leg drop onto Edge through a ladder. All around, with great action, a large field of potential winners, few overly contrived spots, the debut of the giant ladder, etc., I believe the WrestleMania 23 Money in the Bank match was the best of all-time.
Any questions or comments? Feel free to message me on Twitter at BTuckertorch.
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