WWE Money in the Bank 2014: 10 Most Memorable Moments in Event's History

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistJune 9, 2014

WWE Money in the Bank 2014: 10 Most Memorable Moments in Event's History

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    Credit: WWE.com

    In its four short years of existence, Money in the Bank has established itself as one of the most popular, anticipated and exciting pay-per-view events in World Wrestling Entertainment.

    Some Superstars have taken gigantic leaps from tremendous heights, while others have climbed the ladder of success, capturing the guaranteed title opportunity that would ultimately catapult them to championship glory.

    Still in its infancy when compared to the other marquee events on the calendar, Money in the Bank has quickly risen to prominence, becoming part of a one-two punch with SummerSlam that results in a double serving of can't-miss programming in the summer months.

    The chances that a championship can change hands at any moment or a talented individual can achieve instant recognition are high. Show-stealing performances can occur in the blink of an eye. Match of the Year contenders captivate audiences.

    One of the consistently great shows that satisfies fans and sends them home happy, Money in the Bank looks to do so again on June 29. Here is a look at 10 great moments from the first four years of the event's thrilling existence.

10. The Nexus Invades (2010)

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    Credit: WWE.com

    The summer of 2010 saw the arrival of a new faction, a group of young stars disgruntled at their treatment on the first season of NXT and ready to prove that they belonged in the same ring as the top Superstars in WWE.

    Nexus debuted in June and made an immediate impact on the professional wrestling landscape. Led by Wade Barrett, the group dismantled and destroyed anyone and anything in their path. One of their more consistent targets was John Cena, the franchise player of WWE.

    They attacked and brutally beat him down the night they debuted on Raw, and by the time Money in the Bank rolled around in July, most expected them to be involved in Cena's Steel Cage WWE Championship match with Sheamus, despite the entire purpose of the match being to keep anyone from interfering.

    That is exactly what happened as Heath Slater, David Otunga, Michael Tarver and others hit the ring and prevented Cena from escaping the cage first. This allowed Sheamus to successfully retain his title, much to the chagrin of his top contender, and run through the crowd to the locker room.

    Cena would get the last laugh, captaining a team to victory over Nexus at SummerSlam, but at the first Money in the Bank pay-per-view he saw his championship dreams and aspirations go up in smoke, courtesy of the most dangerous faction of that era.

9. Sandow Turns on Rhodes (2013)

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    Credit: WWE.com

    There was a noticeable excitement surrounding the 2013 World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank match.

    A plethora of hungry young talent made up the match, and the lack of a clear winner meant intrigue would be high.

    One of the most interesting stories to watch unfold was that of Team Rhodes Scholars members Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes. The team looked to present a united front, but late in the match, with Rhodes poised to finally take that one last step toward the main event, Sandow betrayed his partner and cost the second-generation star the opportunity to earn a World title shot.

    Sandow would retrieve the briefcase and earn the title opportunity, igniting a rivalry with Rhodes that led to an entertaining midcard program.

    Rhodes would beat Sandow in a match that should have been for the briefcase. Sandow was clearly never intended to cash in that title opportunity and be elevated above the level he was already at.

    Had Rhodes left the show with the briefcase, he could have greatly benefited from a program against Randy Orton in the fall, breaking up the monotony that was the repetitive series of matches between Orton and Bryan.

8. Heyman Betrays Punk (2013)

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    Credit: WWE.com

    When CM Punk returned to WWE after a short hiatus in the spring of 2013, it was clear that the once-strong bond between he and Paul Heyman had been fractured. Punk wanted to do things on his own and prove that he did not need his friend at ringside to succeed.

    This rubbed Heyman the wrong way. Believing he was as integral to Punk's history-making 434-day WWE Championship reign as the competitor himself, he took Punk's insistence as an insult. Anyone watching Heyman could see the wheels turning as he stood idly by his friend.

    At Money in the Bank, Heyman's plan would come to fruition.

    With Punk climbing the ladder, seemingly on his way to the third Money in the Bank victory of his Hall of Fame career, Heyman entered the ring and blasted his friend with a stiff ladder shot to the back. Another shot bounced off Punk's head, drawing blood and knocking the Chicago native to the ground.

    Randy Orton would benefit from the shocking backstabbing and win the match, while Punk would direct his fury at Heyman and clients Brock Lesnar, Curtis Axel and Ryback in the weeks and months that followed.

7. Sheamus Destroys Sin Cara (2011)

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    Credit: WWE.com

    The Sin Cara character is one of the biggest failures in recent WWE history, thanks to overwhelming hype for the man behind the mask and a lack of production once he finally debuted. A sloppy, disjointed worker who was as prone to botching moves as he was to delivering a watchable match, Sin Cara became the butt of many jokes and Internet memes.

    When he was added to the SmackDown brand's Money in the Bank match in July of 2011, many wondered how badly he could possibly botch his offense now that ladders were involved. As it turned out, he would not have the opportunity to do so.

    One of the stars of the bout was former WWE champion Sheamus. Lifting Sin Cara over his head for the Celtic Cross, he jumped off the apron and drove the Mexican star through a ladder at ringside. The move elicited a tremendous response from the audience and brought Sin Cara's night to an end.

    Sin Cara would continue to be part of the WWE roster for two more years before departing for his home country. Hunico, a more talented competitor with a better understanding of the WWE style, assumed the mask and has worked as the character for nearly a year now.

6. A Massive Boom Drop (2010)

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Kofi Kingston has been one of the most dynamic performers in wrestling since his debut with WWE in 2008. He has also been one of the most creative and inventive during that same period, as evidenced by his many unique ways of staving off elimination during the Royal Rumble.

    When he was announced for the SmackDown Money in the Bank match in 2010, all thoughts turned toward what breathtaking stunt he would pull off at the show.

    With Vince McMahon's hand-picked "Chosen One" Drew McIntyre laid out on the announce table and a huge ladder nearby, Kingston climbed the rungs, looked out into the audience and delivered one of the most spectacular Boom Drops of his career.

    Both he and McIntyre crashed through the table as the fans rose to their feet and chanted in appreciation of the stunt.

    That spot got the pay-per-view off to a hot start and gave fans a taste of what they could expect from the remainder of the night's festivities, not to mention every edition of the event to come.

5. An Awesome Win (2010)

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    As Money in the Bank kicked off in July of 2010, there were many questions surrounding the Raw Ladder match, particularly just who would leave with the guaranteed title opportunity in their grasp.

    John Morrison was a strong candidate in that his popularity was high and he had finally developed into the top-tier performer so many expected. Edge, Chris Jericho and Randy Orton were all former champions capable of leaving with the briefcase.

    But it was The Miz who attracted the most attention.

    He was a former WWE Tag Team and United States champion who had gotten over with the audience through sheer willpower. Despite the objection and disdain of some of his peers, Miz was on a hot streak that left many believing he could be the first breakout star the company had produced in years.

    At the event, he overcame a strong performance from Morrison and the experience of the former WWE and World Heavyweight champions to capture the briefcase and embark on a journey that would ultimately culminate with the "Grand Mizard of Awesome" becoming one of the most unlikely WWE champions in history.

    Unfortunately, the company failed to deliver on strong ratings early in Miz's title reign, and by the time it ended, fans recognized his stint as champion as one of the most lackluster in the company's annals. That he feuded with an older Jerry Lawler and was overshadowed by the conflict between John Cena and The Rock did not help matters.

4. Kane Cashes In (2010)

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    The Big Red Monster Kane won the SmackDown Money in the Bank match to kick off the 2010 event, thus earning him a shot at the World Heavyweight Championship.

    On a quest to find out who left his brother The Undertaker in a coma-like state, Kane had become a central figure in SmackDown's booking, so it certainly made sense that he would cap off his biggest push in years with a Money in the Bank win.

    He would carry the briefcase around for only a short period of time, however, as he halted Jack Swagger's post-match assault of Rey Mysterio following the World Heavyweight Championship bout and chased the All-American American to the back.

    Suddenly, he returned to the ring, destroyed Mysterio with a chokeslam and Tombstone, then successfully cashed in his briefcase to capture the World Heavyweight Championship.

    The win proved to be the latest chapter in a months-long story that would ultimately climax with the return of The Undertaker and the revelation that Kane was responsible for his brother's physical state.

3. Show...Off (2012)

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Dolph Ziggler had long been one of the best workers in all of professional wrestling when Money in the Bank 2012 hit the airwaves. For whatever reason, his strong performances in the ring and the star presence he carried with him in every arena in which he stepped foot was not enough to generate a push of any real significance.

    Then he rose to the occasion and captured the SmackDown Money in the Bank briefcase and ensured himself a World Heavyweight Championship opportunity at any time over the next year.

    The win was the culmination of years of hard work, including 2011, when he became the company's go-to workhorse. It was not out of the ordinary for Ziggler to compete in more than one pay-per-view match during the fall of that year, doing so on more than one occasion.

    A great worker with a unique in-ring charisma, he deserved the opportunity to run with the proverbial ball and proved himself capable of doing so.

    He captured the World title the night after WrestleMania 29 in East Rutherford in a moment that will stand the test of time.

    Sadly, a brutal kick to the head by Jack Swagger caused a severe concussion that sidelined Ziggler for two months. With most of the heat surrounding his title win gone and booking plans necessitating a change, Ziggler lost the title in his first pay-per-view title defense at Payback in June of 2013.

2. Bryan Is Money (2011)

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    Credit: WWE.com

    In June of 2010, Daniel Bryan was fired for choking out ring announcer Justin Roberts with his own necktie. Two months later, he returned to the company in the main event of SummerSlam. One of the best wrestlers on the planet, he was far too valuable for the company to be allowed to compete on the independents or possibly even sign with TNA.

    He feuded with The Miz, captured the United States Championship and entered 2011 with a great deal of momentum.

    A program with Sheamus fell apart, while a planned WrestleMania 27 match between them was relegated to the pre-show. He dropped the U.S. title to the Celtic Warrior and fell into relative obscurity on SmackDown. With his star significantly dimmer, there were major questions concerning Bryan's status in the company.

    Then came Money in the Bank.

    Despite the presence of Wade Barrett, widely considered the favorite heading into the bout, Bryan survived and retrieved the briefcase.

    Unlike most others who capture Money in the Bank, Bryan experienced no measurable push and again found himself wallowing in irrelevance. He would tease cashing in on occasion, but it was not until Big Show and Mark Henry were laid low following a brutal chairs match at TLC 2011 that Bryan seized the opportunity, cashed in and won his first World Heavyweight Championship.

    That title reign would see the advent of the "YES!" chants before ending in 18 seconds at WrestleMania 28.

    But that is another story for another time.

1. CM Punk! CM Punk! CM Punk! (2011)

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    Credit: WWE.com

    CM Punk was an angry and frustrated young man in the summer of 2011.

    Having seen undeserving Superstars hurdle him on the way to the top of the company, he had become disenfranchised with World Wrestling Entertainment and was on his way out. With only weeks left on his contract, he suddenly found himself on the receiving end of a major push and was booked in a WWE Championship match against John Cena at Money in the Bank.

    Which would emanate from Punk's hometown of Chicago.

    Punk's "Pipebomb" promo had ignited interest in a product fans had not experienced in years. He spoke openly, candidly and from the heart, and the audience migrated to him as a result. They were intrigued with the direction the company seemed to be heading, and suddenly a match between Punk and Cena, one that had been done before, became one of the most anticipated bouts of the year.

    Punk entered Allstate Arena in Chicago the overwhelming favorite. With friends and family in attendance and an arena full of diehard fans chanting his name, he turned in one of the finest performances of his career against a Cena determined to prove himself in front of his biggest critics.

    The match was a five-star affair, an instant classic that restored some lost faith and re-energized a WWE that had most certainly fallen into a slump in the spring.

    Punk would go on to become one of the company's top stars, and his feud with Cena became the best of this generation. Unfortunately, frustration boiled over once again, and instead of threatening to leave he actually did in January of 2014.