Message to the WWE: the Money in the Bank concept doesn’t work.
The opportunity for the winner of the match to cash in their contract for a world title shot has helped very few people and has hurt a lot of others, especially the prestige of both world championships.
In CM Punk’s Best in the World documentary, Triple H notes that Punk’s first reign as world champion didn’t work because, “the title doesn’t make the guy, the guy makes the title…the championship was trying to make him.”
That’s exactly what Money in the Bank consistently leads to, even today.
Champion after champion have held the belt so higher ups could see if they resonated with fans, rather than champions being crowned because they’ve resonated with fans.
Wrestlers like Daniel Bryan and Jack Swagger cashed in their respective contracts with little to no momentum behind them, and their title reigns suffered because of it—Bryan almost lost his championship to Santino Marella, for example.
Luckily for Bryan, his character evolved so quickly and effectively that he managed to stay on top after his reign came to an end. Swagger was not so lucky.
Besides Bryan, Edge is the only superstar whose career was really helped by Money in the Bank. Everyone else was knocked back to the midcard, or even further down the card.
Readers may point to CM Punk as an example of the concept working, but Punk spring-boarded to the top of WWE with an explosive pipe-bomb, and his back-to-back contract wins only gave him two very brief stints in the main event scene.
You could perhaps argue that The Miz is a success solely because he main-evented WrestleMania, but he dropped the title to Cena a month after that and hasn’t done much since.
Similarly, Alberto Del Rio has drifted around the main event scene since he lost the WWE championship, but that's because WWE are apparently desperate to get him over.
Despite a Money in the Bank contract and two title reigns, heel Del Rio was never particularly cared about by fans. Hopefully, babyface Del Rio will fare better.
Granted, it’s not all bad. The match was integrated well enough into the Kane/Undertaker and heel Punk programs that dominated the summers of 2010 and 2012, respectively. The numerous contract cash-ins have also led to some genuinely shocking and exciting television.
And in WWE’s defense, who knows what would have happened to RVD and Mr. Kennedy had their opportunities not been squandered by drugs and injuries, respectively.
But overall, Money in the Bank has led to far more wasted opportunities than properly utilized ones, and the prestige of both world titles has suffered as a result.
Luckily, it seems like WWE have really been getting behind Ziggler as of late. Let’s hope he cashes in and remains on top (or close to the top) for the remainder of his career.
After Ziggler cashes in, WWE needs to change the way the match is used.
It could be a fun way to reintegrate existing main-eventers into the title picture, for instance. However, as a tool to build new stars, the Money in the Bank concept has largely been unsuccessful.
The last thing the WWE's roster needs is more one-time world champions.
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