The Money in the Bank ladder match is a ladder match held by the professional wrestling promotion WWE. At first contested at WrestleMania, a separate Money in the Bank pay-per-view was established. The prize in the match is a briefcase containing a contract for a world championship match, which can be "cashed in" by the holder of the briefcase at any point in the year following his victory.
The match was first contested in 2005 at WrestleMania 21, after being invented by Chris Jericho, and was then exclusive to Raw wrestlers, with Edge winning the first briefcase. From 2005 to 2010, the Money in the Bank ladder match, now open to all WWE brands, became a WrestleMania mainstay.
2010 saw a second and third Money in the Bank ladder matches when the Money in the Bank pay-per-view debuted in July. Unlike the matches at WrestleMania, this new event featured two such ladder matches – one each for a contract for the WWE Championship and World Heavyweight Championship, respectively.
Before the establishment of the annual Money in the Bank pay-per-view, wrestlers were allowed to use the contract to claim a match for any world championship in WWE. After the establishment of the pay-per-view, the Money in the Bank contracts were specifically aimed at one or the other championship. With the unification of the WWE and World Heavyweight titles into the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in December 2013, there was only a single briefcase/contract in play. This went into effect beginning at the 2014 Money in the Bank pay-per-view event.
The Money in the Bank ladder match can feature anywhere from 5–10 participants, with the objective being to retrieve a briefcase that is suspended 20 feet above the ring. The briefcase contains a contract that guarantees a match for the WWE World Championship or the WWE Universal Championship. While active, the World Heavyweight Championship as well as ECW's world title – the ECW Championship – were options as well. The primary gimmick of the Money in the Bank briefcase is that it can be cashed in at the holder's sole discretion, at literally any time on any WWE programming. This enables the holder to take advantage of a moment's weakness in the champion, even if the champion had just finished a title defense for the night. This strategic use of the briefcase was popularized by Edge, the first Money in the Bank holder, who cashed it in at New Years Revolution in January 2006, immediately after defending champion John Cena had finished a grueling Elimination Chamber match against five other wrestlers. Because Cena was exhausted and barely able to defend himself, Edge made quick work of the champion, thus setting a powerful precedent for all Money in the Bank holders to come. The contract is valid for one year and the briefcase holder – dubbed "Mr. Money in the Bank" – can cash in the contract at the date, place and time of his choosing. The briefcase may also be defended in matches, similar to how championships are defended. All of the briefcase holders have successfully defended and cashed in the contract except Mr. Kennedy. John Cena and Damien Sandow are the only Money in the Bank contract holders to cash in and fail to gain a championship. To date, Cena has had the contract cashed in against him the most (three times) as Edge, Rob Van Dam and Damien Sandow have all cashed in against him. Cena was also involved in both instances where the championship failed to change hands after cashing in the contract, once as the challenger and the second time as champion. Edge, Daniel Bryan, and Seth Rollins are the only Money in the Bank contract holders to be given a title shot for a championship without having cashed in the contract for the title shot (Edge won a championship tournament in 2005 on Raw to earn him a title match against Batista, Bryan faced then-World Heavyweight Champion Mark Henry in a steel cage match on a live Christmas episode of SmackDown in 2011 and Rollins received a title shot in a triple threat match, also involving Cena and champion Brock Lesnar, at the 2015 Royal Rumble).
In WWE storyline, the concept for the Money in the Bank match was introduced in March 2005 by Chris Jericho. Jericho then pitched the idea to Raw general manager Eric Bischoff, who liked it and promptly began to book the match for WrestleMania 21.
The Money in the Bank idea was revived by Carlito on a February 2006 episode of Raw. Mr. McMahon approved the suggestion and set up qualifying matches for the match that would take place at WrestleMania 22. It was later announced that the match was to be interpromotional, and SmackDown general manager Theodore Long also set up qualifying matches to select three members of his roster to compete. In the Raw brand qualifying matches, Rob Van Dam defeated Trevor Murdoch, Shelton Benjamin defeated Chavo Guerrero, and Ric Flair defeated Carlito. On SmackDown!, Finlay defeated Bobby Lashley, Matt Hardy defeated Road Warrior Animal, and Bobby Lashley won a "last chance battle royal".
Van Dam won the WrestleMania 22 Money in the Bank ladder match after pushing Benjamin and Hardy off a ladder, while he was on another ladder, and retrieving the briefcase. That April, he defended the contract and won the WWE Intercontinental Championship in a contract vs. title/winner take all match against Benjamin at Backlash. Van Dam announced in May 2006 that he would cash in his contract at One Night Stand against Cena in an Extreme Rules match. The match ended with Cena losing after Van Dam performed a Five Star Frog Splash. Van Dam is the first person to give prior notice to an opponent before cashing in his contract, presumably to ensure Cena appeared at the event. He is also the first person to win the title in a match where the contract was cashed in with prior notice.
The third Money in the Bank ladder match was held at WrestleMania 23, and was the first to feature eight participants from Raw, SmackDown!, and ECW. Qualifying matches began on the February 19 episode of Raw. On the February 19 episode of Raw, two former Money in the Bank winners (Edge and Rob Van Dam) faced off, with Edge earning a pinfall win to earn the first spot in the match.
The next night on ECW, another cross-brand match took place, with CM Punk defeating Johnny Nitro to qualify. On that week's SmackDown!, King Booker defeated Kane in a Falls Count Anywhere match following interference from The Great Khali to become the third man to qualify. On the following episode of Raw, Jeff Hardy defeated Shelton Benjamin to become the fourth man to qualify. The next night on ECW, Mr. Kennedy defeated Sabu in an Extreme Rules match to earn the fifth spot. Two qualifying matches took place on the next SmackDown!'s episode, with Matt Hardy defeating Joey Mercury, while Finlay won a triple threat match against Chris Benoit and Montel Vontavious Porter to qualify. What was to be the final qualifying match on Raw between Carlito and Ric Flair, it was deemed tp a no contest when The Great Khali interfered and attacked both men. The match was rescheduled for the next week on Raw, with Randy Orton bribing his way into the match, which was to be a triple threat elimination match that Orton won by pinning both Carlito and Flair after performing an RKO on each of them. Edge and Orton had recently stopped teaming together, and there was a lot of tension between them as they both attempted to get the other taken out of the Money in the Bank ladder match; both failed, as Edge ultimately won a "last chance battle royal" after feigning injury to retain his slot. Orton was forced to fight Bobby Lashley on ECW to retain his spot, which he did.
Kennedy ultimately won at WrestleMania 23, after ramming Punk off the ladder using another ladder. During the next few weeks, Kennedy kept declaring that he would cash in the briefcase at WrestleMania XXIV, but he suffered a legit injury, and on the May 7, 2007 episode of Raw, he lost the Money in the Bank briefcase to Edge. Kennedy is currently the only wrestler to lose the briefcase without cashing it in. The following night at the taping for the May 11, 2007 SmackDown!, episode World Heavyweight Champion The Undertaker and Batista fought to a draw in a steel cage match, after which a returning Mark Henry assaulted Undertaker and left him injured in the ring. As Henry was leaving, Edge came to the ring with his briefcase, handed it to referee Jim Korderas, and defeated the Undertaker after one spear to win the World Heavyweight Championship for the first time.
The fourth Money in the Bank ladder match took place at WrestleMania XXIV and was intended to be another eight-man match-up, consisting of wrestlers from Raw, SmackDown, and ECW. Qualifying matches began on the February 18 episode of Raw, as both Jeff Hardy and Mr. Kennedy qualified by defeating Snitsky and Val Venis, respectively, in singles matches. On the February 22 episode of SmackDown, Shelton Benjamin qualified by defeating Jimmy Wang Yang in another singles match. Back on Raw, general manager William Regal placed Chris Jericho in a match against Jeff Hardy with the stipulation that if Jericho won, he would be in the ladder match. Jericho defeated Hardy in that match on February 25. The following week on Raw, the two faced off once again, this time for Hardy's WWE Intercontinental Championship. Jericho won the match and title, and it was revealed that Hardy was suspended from WWE for 60 days for violating the wellness policy. Hardy was subsequently removed from the Money in the Bank ladder match and WrestleMania altogether, making this ladder match a seven-man contest. Also on this episode of Raw, Carlito defeated Cody Rhodes to qualify. On a SmackDown/ECW live event on March 9, United States Champion Montel Vontavious Porter defeated Jamie Noble to qualify. On the March 11 episode of ECW, CM Punk defeated Big Daddy V to qualify. On the March 14 episode of SmackDown, John Morrison defeated his tag team partner The Miz to be the last man to qualify.
Punk won the WrestleMania XXIV match after trapping Jericho's leg in a ladder and then climbing the ladder. Punk cashed in his title shot on the June 30 episode of Raw. A farewell speech by Jim Ross was interrupted by then-World Heavyweight Champion Edge who had him removed from the ring and then began to insult the crowd, saying that they would never get to see a world championship being defended on Raw (as at the time both Edge and WWE Champion Triple H were members of the SmackDown brand). When he was about to leave the arena, Batista came out and assaulted Edge in retaliation for Edge cheating to win their title match the previous night at Night of Champions. Punk then immediately ran to the ring with a referee to cash in his contract, then performed a Go to Sleep on Edge to win the World Heavyweight Championship, making it Raw-exclusive in the process.
The fifth annual Money in the Bank ladder match was announced for WrestleMania XXV. Qualifying matches began on the February 23 episode of Raw, in which CM Punk qualified by defeating John Morrison and The Miz in a triple threat match. On the March 2 episode of Raw, Kane defeated Mike Knox and Rey Mysterio in another triple threat match. On the March 3 episode of ECW on Sci Fi, Mark Henry qualified for the match by defeating Santino Marella. Both Montel Vontavious Porter and Shelton Benjamin qualified for the match on the March 6 episode of SmackDown, defeating Matt and Jeff Hardy in respective single matches. On the March 9 episode of Raw, Kofi Kingston qualified by defeating Chris Jericho, after Jericho was distracted by Ric Flair. Christian qualified the following night on ECW on Sci Fi by winning a tri-brand battle royal. Finlay was the final person to qualify for the match when he defeated The Brian Kendrick on the March 13 episode of SmackDown.
At WrestleMania XXV, Punk won the match and became the first wrestler to win two Money in the Bank ladder matches, and the only one to win the match for two consecutive years. On the May 1 episode of SmackDown, Punk challenged the World Heavyweight Champion Edge for a non-title match with the intent that if he defeated Edge, he would cash in his title shot right after the match. Later that night, Punk defeated Edge and attempted to cash in. However, before the ringside bell could ring to start the title match, Punk and Edge were both attacked by Umaga and Jeff Hardy respectively. As a consequence, the match never started and Punk retained his contract. Punk again tried to cash in for a World Heavyweight Championship match against Edge on the May 15 episode of SmackDown, but was again stopped by Umaga. After Jeff Hardy defeated Edge in a ladder match to win the World Heavyweight Championship at Extreme Rules, Punk cashed in to win the World Heavyweight Championship for the second time. As a result of the fans booing him for cashing on Hardy, who was very popular with the fans, Punk began a gradual change of character into a villain.
On the February 22 episode of Raw, it was announced that the sixth annual Money in the Bank ladder match would take place at WrestleMania XXVI. The first qualifying match was held later that night, where Christian defeated Carlito to qualify. Three more qualifying matches were held on the February 26 episode of SmackDown, with Dolph Ziggler defeating John Morrison and R-Truth in a Triple Threat match, Kane defeating Drew McIntyre, and Shelton Benjamin defeating CM Punk to qualify. The March 1 episode of Raw saw both Jack Swagger and Montel Vontavious Porter qualify by defeating Santino Marella and Zack Ryder respectively. Matt Hardy was the next to qualify for the match when he defeated Drew McIntyre on the March 5 episode of SmackDown. In what was initially declared as the final qualifying match, Evan Bourne defeated William Regal on the March 8 episode of Raw to become the eighth competitor. Due to his favorable association with WWE Chairman Mr. McMahon, McIntyre was given a third chance on the March 12 episode of SmackDown to qualify for the match. In what would also be made a WWE Intercontinental Championship defense by SmackDown general manager Theodore Long, McIntyre defeated local competitor Aaron Bolo to qualify. On the March 22 episode of Raw, the number of participants was once again increased to a record ten, when Kofi Kingston defeated Vladimir Kozlov to qualify.
At WrestleMania XXVI, Jack Swagger won the match after knocking Christian off a ladder with the briefcase itself. The following night on Raw, Swagger attempted to cash in his shot against the WWE Champion John Cena after ambushing Cena. However, as Cena recovered too quickly from the ambush, Swagger cancelled his match and retained his contract. The next night, at the taping for the April 2, 2010 episode of SmackDown, after Edge attacked then World Heavyweight Champion Chris Jericho, Swagger cashed in his contract and successfully claimed the World Heavyweight Championship.
In February 2010, WWE announced that "Money in the Bank" would be the title to their July 18 pay-per-view event at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. The event included two Money in the Bank ladder matches featuring the Raw and SmackDown brands respectively. Unlike previous iterations of the match, the winners could only challenge for their own brand's World Championship. All eight competitors for the Raw brand's match were announced on the June 28 episode of Raw by guest host Rob Zombie. The eight competitors were Randy Orton, The Miz, R-Truth, Chris Jericho, Evan Bourne, Ted DiBiase, John Morrison and Edge. On the July 5th episode of Raw, R-Truth was involved in an injury storyline with The Miz and was subsequently removed from the match and replaced by Mark Henry. Two days later, WWE announced six of the competitors for the SmackDown brand's match through its official website: Matt Hardy, Kane, Cody Rhodes, Christian, Kofi Kingston and Big Show. On the July 9 episode of SmackDown, Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler both competed in qualifying matches and were added to the match.
At the PPV, Kane won the SmackDown Money in the Bank match. Kane later cashed it in the same night by defeating Rey Mysterio to win the World Heavyweight Championship. He also became the quickest man to cash in the briefcase. For Raw, The Miz won that brand's Money in the Bank contract. After a couple of aborted attempts (which due to the bell not sounding to start the matches, which allowed Miz to keep the briefcase on said occasions), Miz finally cashed in his title opportunity on the November 22, 2010 episode of Raw, immediately after Randy Orton successfully retained the WWE Championship against Wade Barrett in which The Nexus attacked Orton before the match and injured his right leg. Miz went on to defeat Orton with a Skull Crushing Finale to win his first WWE Championship.
The second Money in the Bank pay-per-view took place on July 17, 2011 at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois. Raw's Alberto Del Rio and SmackDown's Daniel Bryan won their respective brands' 2011 Money in the Bank Ladder Match. At the end of the night, after CM Punk won the WWE Championship from John Cena, Mr. McMahon ordered Del Rio to come in and attempt to cash in his briefcase against Punk. (Punk had threatened to leave the company after the pay-per-view, as his contract was expiring.) Del Rio came out to do so, but got taken out with a kick to the head, and Punk fled through the crowd. A similar cash-in attempt was performed on then-champion Rey Mysterio on the July 25, 2011 episode of Raw, but Del Rio was again unable to cash in the briefcase. However, Del Rio was able to cash in his briefcase and defeated CM Punk for the WWE Championship at SummerSlam on August 14, 2011.
On the July 22, 2011 episode of SmackDown, Daniel Bryan announced that he was going to cash his contract in at WrestleMania XXVIII. On the November 25, 2011 episode of SmackDown, Daniel Bryan cashed in on World Heavyweight Champion Mark Henry, who had been knocked out by The Big Show. Bryan got the pinfall victory and was awarded the championship, however SmackDown General Manager Theodore Long overruled the match due to Henry not being medically cleared to compete, the first time a Money in the Bank cash-in match was reversed. Since the match never officially took place, Bryan was given the briefcase back and again reiterated that he planned on cashing in at WrestleMania XXVIII, although he was given a shot at the World Heavyweight Championship against Henry in a Steel Cage match on a live holiday-themed episode of SmackDown the following Tuesday, which Bryan lost. On December 18, 2011 at the TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs pay-per-view, after Big Show defeated Henry to win the World Heavyweight Championship, Henry attacked Big Show with a steel chair, allowing Bryan to cash in his briefcase on Big Show to win his first World Heavyweight Championship.
The third Money in the Bank pay-per-view took place on July 15, 2012 at the US Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona. There were the usual two Money in the Bank ladder matches; however, the matches were no longer separated by brands (as both Raw and SmackDown by this time had become full roster "Supershows"). Instead, they were separated by Championship (WWE and World Heavyweight).
In the first match of the night Dolph Ziggler defeated seven other competitors to win the World Heavyweight Championship contract Money in the Bank ladder match. He attempted to cash it in on that same night for a title shot against Sheamus but was Brogue Kicked before the referee could call for the bell so the match never started and Ziggler retained his contract.
On the August 20 episode of Raw, Ziggler successfully defended his briefcase against Chris Jericho in career vs. contract match. As a result, Jericho was forced to leave WWE.
In the last match of the evening, John Cena defeated Kane, The Big Show, The Miz, and Chris Jericho to win the WWE Championship Money in the Bank briefcase when Cena used the briefcase to block Big Show's WMD knockout punch and subsequently used the briefcase as a weapon against Big Show, snapping the handle off the briefcase in the process with Cena in possession to win the match and the WWE Title opportunity. This was Cena's first Money in the Bank ladder match. A special stipulation had been added before hand that only former WWE Champions could participate in the WWE Championship Money in the Bank ladder match for 2012.
On the July 16, 2012 episode of Raw, Cena announced that he would cash his contract in the following week at Raw 1000. He became only the second wrestler after Rob Van Dam to give prior notice to the opponent. At Raw 1000, Cena failed to win the WWE Title when Big Show interfered in the match, causing champion CM Punk to be disqualified and retain the title (as championships don't change hands on DQs.). This makes Cena the first Money in the Bank winner to fail to win a title.
During the December 3, 2012 episode of Raw, managing supervisor Vickie Guerrero was forced by Mr. McMahon to make Cena and Ziggler's match at TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs a ladder match for Ziggler's World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank contract. On December 16, at the event, he successfully defended the briefcase with help from AJ Lee.
On the April 8, 2013 episode of Raw, Ziggler cashed in his contract on World Champion Alberto Del Rio, following Del Rio's handicap match win over Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter. Ziggler defeated Del Rio to win his second World Heavyweight Championship following nearly nine months of holding the briefcase.
A fourth Money in the Bank pay-per-view took place on July 14, 2013 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. There were the traditional two Money in the Bank ladder matches – one for a WWE Championship contract, and the other for a World Heavyweight Championship contract.
On the June 24, 2013 episode of Raw, CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, Sheamus, Christian, Kane, and Rob Van Dam were announced by WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon as the participants in the WWE Championship contract match. Kane was later removed after being injured due to an attack by The Wyatt Family on the July 8th episode of Raw. Orton went on to win the contract at the PPV.
At the tapings for SmackDown on June 25 (aired June 28), SmackDown Senior Advisor Theodore Long announced that the participants in the World Heavyweight Championship contract match would be WWE United States Champion Dean Ambrose, Fandango, Antonio Cesaro, Jack Swagger, Wade Barrett, Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow. Sandow won the contract at the PPV.
At SummerSlam, Orton cashed in his contract on WWE Champion Daniel Bryan, who had defeated John Cena to win the championship. Orton defeated Bryan to win his seventh WWE Championship, after WWE COO Triple H, who was the special guest referee between Bryan and Cena, pedigreed Bryan, following five weeks of holding the briefcase.
On the October 28, 2013 episode of Raw, Sandow cashed in his contract on World Heavyweight Champion John Cena. Cena defeated Sandow, making Sandow the second wrestler to unsuccessfully cash in the contract and the first to lose a cash-in match via pinfall.
In December 2013 at the TLC PPV, the WWE and World Heavyweight Championships were unified into the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
A fifth Money in the Bank pay-per-view took place on Sunday, June 29, 2014 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The original plan for the event was that the winner of the ladder match would receive a contract for a match for the now unified title as normal. However, on June 9, defending WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan was forced to vacate the title due to a neck injury, and so the already announced ladder match (consisting of John Cena, Randy Orton, Alberto Del Rio, Bray Wyatt, Cesaro, Sheamus, Kane and Roman Reigns) became for the vacant championship instead.
On the June 17 episode of Main Event, Seth Rollins announced that in addition to the ladder match for the title, there would also be a traditional Money in the Bank ladder match for a WWE World Heavyweight Championship contract at the PPV, and that Rollins would be the first entrant. Further entrants were Bad News Barrett, Dolph Ziggler, Rob Van Dam, Jack Swagger, Kofi Kingston and Dean Ambrose. The latter, who had threatened to disrupt the match, was added to the match on Rollins' request. Bad News Barrett was later removed from the match due to an injury.
Seth Rollins won the match and the contract after Kane interfered on behalf of The Authority and knocked Dean Ambrose off the ladder. He attempted to cash in the following night on new champion John Cena, but was stopped from doing so by Ambrose. Rollins once again failed to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase, this time against WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar at Night of Champions after hitting him with a curb stomp. This failed attempt to cash in came after John Cena attacked Rollins, before the bell could be rung, due to Rollins costing Cena the championship minutes earlier.
At WrestleMania 31, Seth Rollins cashed in his briefcase during the main event championship match between defending champion Brock Lesnar and challenger Roman Reigns. By doing so, he turned the singles match between Lesnar and Reigns into a Triple Threat match. Rollins then proceeded to pin Reigns following a curb stomp and successfully captured the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. As a result, Rollins broke ground in many ways. First, Rollins became the first person to cash in a contract while a championship match was in progress. Additionally, he also became the first person to successfully cash in to win the now unified WWE World Heavyweight Championship. He became the first person to cash in his briefcase at WrestleMania. He also became the first to win the championship after cashing in without pinning the champion.
On June 14, 2015, the sixth annual Money in the Bank pay-per-view took place in Columbus, Ohio. Dolph Ziggler, Sheamus, Kofi Kingston, Neville, Roman Reigns, Randy Orton and Kane participated in the traditional Money in the Bank ladder match. Sheamus won the match and received a WWE World Heavyweight Championship contract.
At Survivor Series, Sheamus cashed in his contract by defeating Roman Reigns, who had just won the vacant championship after defeating Dean Ambrose in the tournament finals. This made Roman Reigns a one-time WWE World Heavyweight Champion, but just for five minutes and fifteen Seconds.
On June 19, the seventh annual Money in the Bank pay-per-view took place in Las Vegas. For the traditional Money in the Bank ladder match, Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Cesaro, Chris Jericho, Alberto Del Rio, and Dean Ambrose all won their qualifying matches on the May 23 episode of Raw to become entrants into the match. Originally slated to be a 7-man ladder match, the seventh slot was later removed. Ambrose won the match and received a WWE World Heavyweight Championship contract. Later in the night after the conclusion of the main event match, he cashed in the contract to challenge Seth Rollins, who had just won the title against Roman Reigns, and become WWE World Heavyweight Champion, thus making him the second wrestler after Kane to cash in the contract on the same night and winning it. Ambrose also declared that he would cash in the contract on whoever won the championship match on the Raw before the PPV, what also makes him, in a way, the third man to announce when he intended to cash in the briefcase.