Tremendous Tirades: WWE’s Straight to the Top: Money In The Bank Ladder Match Anthology Blu-ray (Discs 1 & 2)
Posted by Larry Csonka on 10.29.2013
411’s Larry Csonka reviews the latest WWE DVD release, which looks at the history of the Money In The Bank ladder match…
In the spirit of full disclosure, the following DVD set was provided to 411 by WWE for review purposes. Debuting at WrestleMania 21 in 2005, Money in the Bank ladder match has become a WrestleMania tradition and in 2010, evolved into an annual Pay-Per-View event. Top WWE Superstars have claimed the elusive Money in the Bank briefcase –including John Cena, Kane, Edge, CM Punk (twice!), Rob Van Dam and many more. Eleven of the first twelve winners have used the match as a springboard to winning a championship, and several times the match has helped a Superstar who has never win a World Championship break through to claim their first. Much like the Royal Rumble Match, the Money in the Bank match represents a golden opportunity for a Superstar to achieve immortality.
NOTE: I will be using my write ups from the match when it happened (when available). Partly to save time, and partly to see how my thoughts on the match evolved over the years.
The Miz is the host for the DVD, hosting short segments in between the matches. He is largely fine in the role, but I do not feel that it adds a lot to the set. The only exception is the part where he discusses his MITB win, and how he overcame being hated and such. That was really good because it felt real and important. I personally would have hoped for some longer segments with some of the MITB winners like Edge, Punk and RVD. Putting over the match, the competitors and how MITB changed their careers or something like that. The Miz one came off very well and I wish they had had some others involved.
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, but what can you do. Everyone worked hard and played their parts to perfection I feel. Kane was slightly limited, but I enjoyed what he brought to the match. The head butt form the ladder was sweet and seeing his stitches busted open after that added that feeling of going all out. 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. I was not disappointed. Edge wins the first edition, leading to great things. Of note, they edited commentary in regards to Benoit at points, cut his entrance and used long camera shots when the match focused on him for too long. Rating: ****¼
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 that the kid is part GAZELLE! He did a variation of last year's run of 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, as I am sure this is his first ladder match, but his part was ok. 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. A great match, and these things could become a WrestleMania staple. Rating: ***¾
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 have 8-men, Sharmell, Little Bastard 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. I do have questions about using this as the opener, but we can talk about that later on. 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. You'll never see that again probably, unless it is another WrestleMania. 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 and LITTLE BASTARD came from under the ring to help out Finlay. And you know, this WORKED big time because the crowd popped and many went to their feet for this, so it is all good. He climbed the ladder and Kennedy returned to stop him. Little Bastard had some "short rights" for Kennedy, but that just pissed off Kennedy who then got revenge for the "Leprechaun Bomb" on Smackdown and delivered a Kamikaze Roll from the ladder on Little Bastard, 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
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, and I guess we will get closure to the US Title program, which is good. 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, Jericho didn't need it, and with the new drive towards kids, Punk was a good one to chose for the simple fact of his straight edge lifestyle. In the end we got a fun as hell match with some memorable spots and a surprise winner, I like it. Rating: ***¾
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. Overall this was a very good match as everyone not only played their roles well, but also delivered memorable spots. Kane and Henry did a good job n their power roles, and their brief stand off spots and teases of the ladder stuff was excellent. 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 match, it can look too planned out, too choreographed, and people would have complained about that, the fact that it looked too fake. CM Punk wins his second MITB. Rating: ***¾
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: For some reason people really hated on this match during the show coverage, but I rather enjoyed it. I still think that it would have been better with six of 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 in 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 considering the action we got earlier in the night. Jack Swagger ended up the surprise winner here. Rating: ***½
SmackDown 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: Note: This is a fresh look at the match, as I was not reviewing shows during this time frame. 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 MTB 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 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. Rating: ***¾
Raw 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: Note: This is a fresh look at the match, as I was not reviewing shows during this time frame. 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. I also remembered how great Edge was as a heel and working in these environments. I love John Morrison in matches like this, but unlike Bourne or Edge, I don’t feel like I miss him. 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 fits in. 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 like you can on this set. 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. Rating: ****
SmackDown 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: Note: This is a fresh look at the match, as I was not reviewing shows during this time frame. So here we have the 9th ever MITB match, and 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 has potential, he could make it… Rating: ****
SmackDown 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 : Note: This is a fresh look at the match, as I was not reviewing shows during this time frame Overall another 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. As I said above, MITB is a brutal match with guys “going all out” for a title shot, and the comedy 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 a bit anticlimactic. Rating: ***¾
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: The World Title MITB Match kicked off the show, and I felt that it was the right call for the opener. You have to split the two matches up, and with the performers involved; it had the most chance to deliver as the show's opener. 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, 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 hopefully showed the company that they could and should be used much better. 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 is great for him, if they follow it up properly, and this was a very good way to kick off the PPV. Rating: ***½
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 : Much like the first MITB match of the evening, a good match, just not a great one. 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 would assume that he does "the honorable thing" and challenges Punk on either the 1,000th Raw or for Summerslam for his cash in. I actually hope that they have the balls to have him be the first guy to cash in and fail. I asked the possibility the night he was announced for the match, and think it would be very interesting if they chose to go that way, and most importantly, Cena is the one guy that can cash in, lose, and not be completely damaged by doing so. Rating: ***½
Money in the Bank Ladder Match for a World Heavyweight Championship Contract: 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 the "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. Also, I like 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 opener. 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. Interesting choice for sure, this could be huge for Sandow and for Rhodes it was a big moment performance wise as the crowd loved it. With the win for Sandow and upcoming face turn for Cody, I am certainly willing to see where it goes. This was a very good match with a hot crowd, and overall was a very good way to kick off this PPV. Rating: ****
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 : Money in the Bank Ladder 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, 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 as he tried to post on his hand and could have an arm injury) 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 al 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 a very good match, much like the opener. It had story, a different vibe, everyone had a chance to look good and if it could have been tightened up, could have been even better. Rating: ****
BLU-RAY EXCLUSIVES: The big Blu-ray exclusives for the set is that they have included all of the cash-ins that have taken place thus far. Sandow hasn’t cashed in yet, so obviously he is not included. This is a great addition to the set, for the simple reason that you have given all of the MITB matches, so this is the perfect compliment to the matches because it gives you a sense of closure after watching all of the matches. They included a “Behind-the-Scenes Footage Following The Miz's Victory,” which I liked, but that was the only special addition along with the cash-ins. I wish that they had done more of that on the set, because again, it felt special. Here is the list of MITB cash-ins…
WWE Championship Match: Edge cashes in on John Cena - New Year's Revolution · January 8, 2006
Extreme Rules Match for the WWE Championship: Rob Van Dam cashes in on John Cena - ECW One Night Stand · June 11, 2006
World Heavyweight Championship Match: Edge cashes in on The Undertaker - SmackDown · May 11, 2007
World Heavyweight Championship Match: CM Punk cashes in on Edge - Raw · June 30, 2008
World Heavyweight Championship Match: CM Punk cashes in on Jeff Hardy - Extreme Rules · June 7, 2009
World Heavyweight Championship Match: Jack Swagger cashes in on Chris Jericho - SmackDown · April 2, 2010
World Heavyweight Championship Match: Kane cashes in on Rey Mysterio - Money in the Bank · July 18, 2010
WWE Championship Match: The Miz cashes in on Randy Orton - Raw · November 22, 2010
WWE Championship Match: Alberto Del Rio cashes in on CM Punk - SummerSlam · August 14, 2011
World Heavyweight Championship Match: Daniel Bryan cashes in on Big Show - TLC · December 18, 2011
WWE Championship Match: John Cena cashes in on CM Punk - Raw · July 23, 2012
World Heavyweight Championship Match: Dolph Ziggler cashes in on Alberto Del Rio - Raw · April 8, 2013
You can purchase the DVD here on Blu-ray for $24.99.
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The 411: Overall WWE’s Straight to the Top: Money In The Bank Ladder Match Anthology Blu-ray is a very good set. You get all of the MITB matches, which are all good to very good, and all of the cash-ins, which alone are some damn great and fun moments. You get the entire history, how the match evolved, how they topped themselves, and how the work in the match evolved since the first all in beautiful video quality. I think that if you A) like the MITB match, B) like ladder matches and C) like wacky spots, then this is the DVD for you. Also, if you are someone that likes to have complete histories of certain match types, this also will appeal to you.