wrestling / Columns

Csonka Ranks The WWE MITB Matches

June 16, 2017 | Posted by Larry Csonka

WELCOME back, back to the column that makes lists and hopes that you enjoy them. This week’s column will look back and the WWE MITB matches ahead of the latest MITB PPV. Feel free to share your list or just your top 5 or so MITB matches in the comment section below. The only rules are “have a take, be respectful of other’s opinions and don’t be a dick.” We all have opinions, we’re going to disagree, just be cool about it. Thanks for reading!

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17. Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Alberto Del Rio vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Alex Riley vs. Evan Bourne vs. The Miz vs. Jack Swagger vs. R-Truth Money in the Bank · July 17, 2011 : This was a good match in a line of good matches, but I felt that it as hurt a bit by the finish not coming off as well as it could have and the comedy they used. MITB is a brutal match with guys “going all out” for a title shot, and the comedy here I felt took away a bit from that. One thing I really did love was the Miz injury angle, where he was taken to the back, only to come limping back (very quickly) to the ring, teasing he would win. That got one hell of a reaction, so much that Mysterio got heel heat for stopping him, which almost never happens to Rey. The finish was supposed to be Del Rio pulling off Rey’s mask, Rey falling and Del Rio getting the title. He did that, but Mysterio’s ladder slowly collapsed which caused Del Rio’s to also collapse. He had to set the ladder back up to win, which came off as completely anticlimactic. It’s a good match, but one that falls short and that I never really got invested in on any watch.
Rating: (***¼)

16. Money in the Bank 2015: Dolph Ziggler vs. Neville vs. Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Sheamus vs. Kane : The opening stretch was a lot of fun as they brawled quickly, and then in rapid succession tried and failed climbing the ladder to end this thing in the first two minutes. The feel of desperately wanting the briefcase was appreciated. I really enjoyed the flow and pacing of this match, it felt that they largely had the right guys in at the ring times during the match, and never felt as if it was going long. Kofi and Neville had some fun back and forth, Reigns killing guys with powerbombs was fun; Orton hitting RKOs (including a cool one on Neville) were all well placed and timed. Sheamus’ power stuff worked well, Ziggler’s speed and “out of nowhere” climb also worked because it came at the right time. That’s the thing for me, a lot of times in a multi-man gimmick match, you get cool spots and guy working hard, but it can be front loaded or all happen down the stretch so that the match drags and feels long. To keep it simple, this was a match with guys doing the right things at the right times in front of a crowd that wanted to react to them. The big criticism I have is the fact that it felt as if they held out Reigns way too long. Everyone took their nap to allow the others to work, which killed the pacing for me, but Reigns felt like he was gone forever until he returned to hit his big dive. That’s a knock on the layout, not Reigns himself. Big E and Woods came out late to help Kofi, but Reigns put a stop to that. Reigns was about to win, and then Bray Wyatt’s gimmick hit and after the lights out, he appeared and knocked Reigns off the ladder and then hit Sister Abigail. Sheamus then tried to rip out Neville’s eye and won the match. The match had strong elements, but I wasn’t a fan of the booking, and compared to other MITB matches, this came off as a bit weak. Rating: (***½)

15. Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Kane vs. Christian vs. Kofi Kingston vs. MVP vs. Matt Hardy vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Evan Bourne vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Jack Swagger vs. Dolph Ziggler
WrestleMania 26 · March 28, 2010
: I still think that it would have been better with six or even eight guys, but all things considered, it was good. Every year I wonder what new spots they can do, as they have seemingly all been done, but they worked in some new and fresh stuff, and that really helped. Leading into the match, many thought McIntyre would win, with Christian getting the outside shot. There was even a late rumor that Kofi would win. For a match labeled the most predictable MITB ever, they threw us a curveball and had Jack Swagger win. While not an all time great MITB match, due to some mistakes and TOO MANY GUYS, it was a good one and a breath of fresh air as Jack Swagger ended up the surprise winner here. Unfortunately his lackluster title run was his peak, and it was all down hill from there.
Rating: (***½)

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14. Money in the Bank Ladder Match for a World Heavyweight Championship Contract: Christian vs. Sin Cara vs. Santino Marella vs. Tyson Kidd vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Tensai vs. Damien Sandow Money in the Bank · July 15, 2012: This kicked off the show, and I felt that the first part of the match was a bit rough, even sloppy in parts, but they got things together and were able to deliver a really good opener with the second half of the match being pretty damn great. I felt that every one got a chance to shine a bit, which is key to making these types of matches work. Notable were the performances by Tyson Kidd and Damien Sandow, who both looked good and got to shine more than usual. Ziggler, as expected, took some crazy ass bumps, Tensai did the power spots and Christian was really the anchor to hold things together as the proven veteran of ladder matches. Ziggler getting the win was great for him, this was a very good way to kick off the PPV, and would lead to a great cash in for Ziggler. Rating: (***½)

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13. Money in the Bank Ladder Match for a WWE Championship Contract: John Cena vs. Kane vs. Big Show vs. Chris Jericho vs. The Miz Money in the Bank · July 15, 2012 : This was one of several MITB matches that’s good, and even feels very good at times, but just doesn’t reach great. What this match lacked in big spots and “holy shit” moments, it made up for it with cleaner work, a good pace and a strong story. I liked the inclusion of The Miz into the match, as I felt they really needed another person, but I also felt that it was too soon to bring back Rey for “this style” of match. Part of me was actually expecting Del Rio to come out and join the match as a former WWE Champion, but maybe that was just me. They did the typical (and that’s not a bad thing) swarm Big Show spot, and the ladder burial and later return visual was cool. They also broke out the super “Big Show Approved” ladder, which is also a fun addition to the gimmick. The end saw John Cena win MITB, which was a first for him. I hoped that they would have the balls to have him to cash in and fail. I asked the possibility the night he was announced for the match, and thought it would be very interesting if they chose to go that way, and most importantly, because Cena was the one guy that can cash in, lose, and not be completely damaged by doing so. And that’s what they did. Rating: (***½)

12. Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Big Show vs. Kane vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Christian vs. Matt Hardy vs. Drew McIntyre v.. Dolph Ziggler vs. Cody Rhodes Money in the Bank · July 18, 2010: This was the year that they took MITB to its own PPV, with two matches one for each big title. I liked the lineup here, as for the time it made a lot of sense. Show and Kane were bigger stars, and also great bases for this kind of match. Kofi, Drew, Dolph and Cody were the younger guys looking to make a name for themselves in a featured match (even if some of them had previous MITB experience). Christian and Matt Hardy were the glue of the match with their previous ladder match and MITB experience. There was a good mix of already seen MITB spots and a nice mix of new stuff as well which the crowd responded to well I thought. The theme they used was Show not being able to climb a regular ladder, which led to the Super Sized Big Show Approved ladder. This was another very good MITB match, which was hurt by some of the stalling down the line. Kane’s win set up what in ways was a “lifetime achievement” award, as he would win the world title. That’s not really a bad thing, because Kane has worked hard through out his career and went through a ton of shit angle wise, so I get it, but I’d be lying if I said I thought his run was good. Rating: (***¾)

11. Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Ric Flair vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Matt Hardy vs. Finlay vs. Bobby Lashley – WrestleMania 22 · April 2, 2006 : I really enjoyed this match. The MITB deal was something I didn’t think they should do so quick again, but I was very glad that it came off so well. This match was so odd because of who was involved, but that was also part of the match’s charm I believe. Shelton once again did some amazing things, as I believe he was part gazelle! He did a variation of the previous year’s run off the ladder spot that cemented him as a favorite among many people, as well as spring boarding into the ring onto the ladder with ease. RVD and Hardy did their parts as you would expect, Finlay was the tough bastard and Flair was Flair. The crowd was very into him, and when they ran the injury spot the crowd seemed very concerned. When he did return, the crowd popped huge and Finlay had the greatest look on his face, like “you mother fucker, how DARE you come back” and then they brawled to the crowds delight. Lashley looked out of his element, this is his first ladder match, but his part was ok, he didn’t hurt the match in any notable way. In the end, RVD, Shelton and Hardy brawled and RVD kicked their ladder sending them to the floor, in which Hardy took a scary bump. RVD got the huge win, breaking the “glass ceiling” as he promised to the crowd’s delight. (Rating: ***¾)

10. Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Jeff Hardy vs. King Booker vs. Finlay vs. CM Punk vs. Mr. Kennedy vs. Matt Hardy vs. Randy Orton vs. Edge – WrestleMania 23 · April 1, 2007: This was the opener of WrestleMania 23. I mean look at it; you had 8-men, Sharmell, Hornswoggle and a bunch of ladders all out there. The potential for clusterfuck is definitely there. But thankfully the magic of WrestleMania seemed to compel these men and we got a damn fine match. The match started with the crazy brawl, and then in something I don’t think anyone saw coming, Finlay hit the top rope and did the big dive onto the other 7-men that were on the floor. Tremendous. I love wacky shit like that. They did some comedy with King Booker pulling out the stepladder and then killing people with it, good stuff. Punk did the Terry Funk spinning ladder spot, not very well, but he did it and I popped because, that spot rules. Edge then delivered a SPEAR buffet and got the big ladder, but that backfired on him and Matt Hardy had him on the floor and then slammed him on a ladder that was on the apron and barrier. He then talked his brother into dropping the seated senton onto Edge, and he did and about killed Edge while breaking the ladder in half. SICK. Orton would get RKO bonanza, Matt and King Booker had a fun spot where Booker was about to win, but Matt threatened Sharmell and the King went to her aid! And then we went to the end of the match. Finlay hits the Celtic Cross on Matt, on the ladder and looked poised to climb. But he was too banged up to do so Hornswoggle came from under the ring to help out Finlay. And you know, this worked big time because the crowd popped big time, not my favorite thing, but it worked. He climbed the ladder and Kennedy returned to stop him. Hornswoggle attacked Kennedy, but that just pissed off Kennedy who then got revenge for the “Leprechaun Bomb” on Smackdown and delivered a Finlay roll from the ladder on Hornswoggle, about killing the little man. Kennedy then battled with Punk, and in the end tossed a ladder in his face and made the climb to win the Money in the Bank. Damn fine stuff here. Unfortunately for Kennedy, injury would cost him the case shortly after this. Rating: (***¾)

9. Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Chris Jericho vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. John Morrison vs. Carlito vs. CM Punk vs. MVP vs. Mr. Kennedy WrestleMania XXIV · March 30, 2008: I went into this match with high hopes; Jericho had a lot of ladder match experience, Shelton had a good amount of experience from past MITB matches, Kennedy was in the previous year’s match, Morrison has worked ladder matches and a lot of these guys like Shelton and Morrison are such great athletes that some major shit would have to go wrong for this match to suck. They did some innovative spots, Shelton about died, Carlito didn’t fuck up too bad and in the end I was pleased with the match. Also the Matt Hardy run in came off great. Punk was definitely a surprise winner, but I think that it was a cool move. They obviously made the call to elevate someone with the win. In the end we got a fun as hell match with some memorable spots and a surprise winner, I liked it. Rating: (***¾)

8. Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Kane vs. Sin Cara vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus vs. Wade Barrett vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Justin Gabriel vs. Heath Slater Money in the Bank · July 17, 2011: There were a lot of questions heading into this one, and that was because six of the eight men involved had never worked the match before. The good news is that it all worked out very well, and this was another success as far as match quality goes. Sin Cara, Daniel Bryan, Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater really worked hard early, and got things off to a good start. This is also the match where Sheamus destroys Cara with a powerbomb through the ladder and Cara was stretchered out. This was because Cara failed a wellness test, but I actually loved the booking of that. MITB is a brutal match with guys “going all out” for a title shot. The occasional worked injury adds to the mystique of the match in a way. Being that this was in Chicago, the booking of the Doomsday Device spot was a sweet addition to things, which the Chicago crowd appreciated. This was the big MITB win for Daniel Bryan, which as we all know, led to pretty good things. That kid had some potential; I wonder what happened to him… Rating: (****)

7. Money In the Bank Ladder Match: Sami Zayn vs. Cesaro vs. Chris Jericho vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens vs. Alberto Del Rio (2016): We got the big brawl to begin; Zayn hit a big dive onto everyone, and then he and Owens battled over the ladder, Owens laid him out with a superkick. Back in the ring, Jericho worked over Cesaro with the ladder and then Ambrose attacked and slammed Jericho onto the ladder. Jericho battled back and suplexed Ambrose onto the ladder, trapped him inside and repeatedly slammed the ladder onto him. Cesaro returned and hit the running uppercuts onto everyone but Owens, who laid out Cesaro with the superkick and tossed him into a ladder. Owens then hit cannonballs onto the rest, and Zayn returned and took out Owens and hit the helluva to Ambrose and Owens. Zayn climbed, but Del Rio stopped him and hit the superkick and placed him in the tree of WHOA. He then set up the ladder, trapping Zayn in the corner and then dropkicked it into Zayn. Del Rio then set Cesaro in the corner on the ladder and hit the double stomp. Jericho tried to stop Del Rio, but Del Rio hit another double stomp onto him and climbed. Cesaro tried to stop him, but Del Rio got a hanging arm breaker on the ladder to Cesaro. They’re working on some nice stuff here, a lot of fresh spots, which is hard to do in this match. Jericho returned and ran up the ladder, Ambrose stopped him but Jericho hit the code breaker. As Jericho tried to get the case, Zayn returned and climbed; Owens toppled them off the ladder and climbed, but ate the back stabber from Del Rio. Cesaro returned, big swing on Del Rio, and then one for Jericho, swinging him into a ladder. Cesaro set up a ladder in a corner; Ambrose took him out and climbed to hit the big elbow drop onto Cesaro. Owens then placed Ambrose onto a ladder and hit a huge frog splash. Owens was then alone and looked to climb, but Zayn returned for the big brawl. Zayn then bent Owens in half with a Michinoku driver on a ladder that was set on its side. Zayn then climbed as the crowd sang for him, but Del Rio hit him with a ladder repeatedly to stop his climb. Del Rio then made a ladder bridge between the ladder and corner, he and Zayn battled on the ladder and Jericho then returned. Cesaro was also back with another ladder and hit Jericho and Cesaro made a bridge on the other side. Owens and Ambrose also returned and they were all on the ladders. Big time brawl here, Del Rio and Cesaro down and then the remaining four all looked to grab the case and Cesaro set up another ladder beside them. He and Del Rio climbed and all six were looking for the case, Cesaro and Del Rio were toppled over and Cesaro crotched himself and Del Rio took a bad landing. Zayn and Owens were then left and Owens got crotched on the ladder, Zayn climbed but Jericho returned and took Zayn down. Ambrose tried to stop him, pulled him down and hit a hangman’s dirty deeds. Zayn climbed again but Owens stopped him and powerbombed him onto the ladder. Owens rolled him off and climbed, he and Ambrose battled and Ambrose slammed Owens into the ladder and sent him off onto the bridge. Ambrose then grabbed the case and won! I really thought that they were teasing Ambrose as the favorite too hard on TV, so much so that he wouldn’t win because they do that a lot. They kept the crowd, all worked hard, worked in some innovative spots and provided a really fun and high quality ladder match. Rating: (****)

6. Money in the Bank Ladder Match: CM Punk vs. Kofi Kingston vs. MVP vs. Finlay vs. Christian vs. Kane vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Mark Henry WrestleMania 25 · April 5, 2009 : This was the opening match of WrestleMania 25. This was a great match, as everyone not only played their roles well, but also delivered memorable spots. Kane and Henry did a good job in their power/base roles, and their brief stand off spots and teases of the ladder stuff was well done. Shelton Benjamin shined once again with some INSANE spots as he was out there to impress, that’s to be sure. Kofi did well for himself, with cool spots and showing that he can deliver on a bigger stage. Christian was over like mad, and the crowd so wanted him to win the match, which was proven at the end when the crowd was cheering frantically when he almost won, and then BOO’D Punk when he got control. There was a lot of talk at the time that the match lost its meaning because they couldn’t come up with anything new anymore. But this match was fresh, creative and full of non-stop action. The guys worked hard to make this feel like a new match as they worked in some new and creative spots, as well as threw away all regard for their bodies. While there were missteps, botches if you will, shit happens, and if it was a perfect plunder match, it can look too planned out, too choreographed, and people would have complained about that, the fact that it looked too fake. I think they walked a fine line here. CM Punk wins his second MITB, in a great match. Whatever happened to that guy? Rating: (****)

5. Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Randy Orton vs. John Morrison vs. Evan Bourne vs. Mark Henry vs. Edge vs. Chris Jericho vs. The Miz vs. Ted DiBiase Money in the Bank · July 18, 2010: The first thing I noticed while watching this match was how much fun Evan Bourne is. He has been gone for so long that I realized I want to see him back on TV on a regular basis, he’s done ROH & Impact, but I want more. I also remembered how great Edge was as a heel and working in these environments. I love John Morrison in matches like this, but have really enjoyed his Lucha Underground work. Mark Henry, while some hate him in these matches, provides a great amount of physicality and is the perfect base. He also seems to have no issue selling at the right time for the guys and I feel he fits in, playing his role well. While not big on “crazy spots,” they had a hot crowd and focused on some wacky ladder construction during parts of the match. It’s the little things that end up setting these matches apart, especially when you can watch them back-to-back-to-back. This was the big win for the Miz, which not only led to a WWE Title victory, but also a main event run that scored him a WM main event. That Miz fella is pretty good. Rating: (****)

4. Match for a WWE Championship Contract: CM Punk vs. Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton vs. Christian vs. Rob Van Dam Money in the Bank · July 14, 2013 : The opening moments were fun, as the crowd was chanting for RVD as the competitors circled. The five then decided to beat down RVD and toss him to the floor in mid “RVD” pose. Much like the opener did with Cody Rhodes, they did a spot where Sheamus hit a bunch of his signature stuff and looked to climb. I always like when guys get those short but dominant runs during a match like this. Ina contrast to the opening ladder match on this same card, which seemed well laid out with really good execution, this came off as harder hitting, but also a bit sloppy and reckless at times. While not a tag match, we essentially got the “Daniel Bryan Hot Tag,” where he went fucking insane with kicks, the suicide dive, shotgun dropkicks and sending Sheamus off the top and through a ladder (which looked NASTY) that was bridged between the ring and announce table. Bryan looked to have things locked up, but then Curtis Axel hit the ring and took him out. CM Punk, who did not approve of this, gave him a GTS on the floor. Heyman appeared and admonished Axel for his actions, and then screwed Punk as he climbed by hitting him with a ladder several times. Punk got busted open from that. And that all led to Randy Orton winning the match and the MITB Title shot. I liked the way that they furthered the Punk vs. Heyman angle, and as for the match, I felt that it ended up being rather great. Rating: (****)

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3. Cody Rhodes vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Wade Barrett vs. Damien Sandow vs. Jack Swagger vs. Antonio Cesaro vs. Fandango Money in the Bank · July 14, 2013 : While not an “all star match,” I had high hopes for this one. Over the last few years the lesser of MITB and Chamber matches have ended up delivering well for WWE. Also, I liked a lot of the guys involved and want to see them do well. And as many thought and I mentioned, these guys put on a tremendous match. They used a ton of classic spots that many expected, and a lot of them came off smoother than usual, so much credit to everyone involved. The booking of this had me believing that this was THE NIGHT for Cody Rhodes. He had a hot segment where he laid out fools with his finish, he got busted open; he then fought off the Shield (with help from the Usos), and then sent Ambrose off the ladder, seemingly onto everyone on the floor. He climbed and right as he was about to win, Sandow appeared from nowhere and tossed him to the mat and snagged the briefcase, ending their friendship and earning the MITB Title shot. This was a great match with a hot crowd and an ending that peaked at just the right time. Sandow was an interesting choice, and I had high hopes for him and the feud with Cody. And we all know how that ended… Rating: (****)

2. Money in the Bank Ladder Match for a WWE Championship Contract: Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Jack Swagger vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Seth Rollins Money in the Bank June 6, 2014: I loved the start as Ambrose and Rollins brawled right away and went to the floor; they are the focus of this match and it made sense. They did a ton with those two, making me want to see a singles match even more. They did a spot where Ambrose had to leave the match to due “popping his shoulder” out. He demanded they pop it back in, but he was taken to the back. I was hoping he’d go Martin Riggs and slam it off the post to pop it back in. Ziggler had an awesome run where he ran wild, wiping everyone out until Rollins took him out. Rollins appeared to be on the way to win, Ambrose returned and beat the shit out of Rollins with a chair. Ambrose had it won, but Kane appeared and stopped him with a chokeslam and tombstone. This allowed Rollins to win. They really did a lot of wild shit in this match. But the booking felt lazy in regards to the finish. Kane’s job in 2014 was to ruin everything fun in wrestling. I was really enjoying things here, but this was an example of the booking taking away from the hard work of the guys in the ring. Yes, in theory it makes sense for Kane to help because of the Authority angle, I was so sick of matches being awesome and then having that completely flat ending because the booking. Tremendous effort from all six men, RVD was motivated, Kofi had the good spots and tease which the crowd bought, same for Ziggler, Swagger was a great power/base guy for the match and Ambrose and Rollins were rightfully spotlighted and delivered. The crowd was spectacular for those guys; this was heading towards something really special before the finish. This one did a great job of recapturing some of the magic and reckless abandon of the early versions of the match. Rating: (****¼)

1. 1st Ever Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Chris Jericho vs. Chris Benoit vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Edge vs. Christian vs. Kane
WrestleMania 21 · April 3, 2005
: Awesome match. I do wish that it would have been a little longer, because it was that great and I just wanted more. Everyone worked hard and played their parts to perfection I feel. Kane was slightly limited, but I enjoyed what he brought to the match. Christian was his normal bump machine and the fall to the floor and “ladder” Conchairto with Edge was all kinds of kick ass. To me the star of the match was Shelton Benjamin. He really stepped up on the biggest stage and proved that he belongs. The Exploder off the ladder on Edge was sick, and the running up the ladder to clothesline Jericho looked to be something out of a video game. The match was balls to the wall for 16+-minutes and was a great addition to the card, and succeeded as a new concept for WWE; I was not disappointed. Edge wins the first edition, leading to great things for him and proving that the concept had legs. After the rewatch, nothing has changed for me; the first was the best. The first match has the advantage of being a product of the time, when the WWE wasn’t afraid of blood and concussion wasn’t a potential multi-million dollar threat; but also the disadvantage of setting the bar really high. MITB has, in my opinion, never produced a BAD match; we had a lot of good, a lot of very good and even great ones. It’s been harder over time to not only keep the match fresh, but for the performers to deliver quality matches with more restrictions as time goes on. The first is still the best, thanks to all of the advantages they had. Rating (****½)

– End scene.

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