The Money in The Bank briefcase is one of the most treasured items in the WWE. The briefcase holds a guaranteed championship opportunity at the time of their choosing but should the briefcase be defended?
The Money in the Bank briefcase has been a crowd favorite part of the WWE for nearly two decades. WWE Hall of Famer Edge won the first ever Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania 21 in 2005. As the holder of the Money in the bank briefcase, Edge set the standard for future holders. He still holds the record for the men’s winners for the longest time span between winning the briefcase and cashing it in.
280 days after winning the inaugural match, Edge cashed in on a vulnerable John Cena after he had just retained the WWE Championship inside an Elimination Champion at the 2006 New Years Revolution pay-per-view. Edge cashed in the briefcase to win his first-ever WWE Championship and become “The Ultimate Opportunist” at the same time. Since Edge, the Money in the Bank briefcase has been held by 28 other individuals.
The Money in the Bank briefcase being defended on a regular basis would make the stakes higher for the holder. The first three holders of the briefcase defended the briefcase at least once while holding it. However, after Kennedy lost the briefcase in 2007, the briefcase wasn’t defended by a holder again until 2012 when Dolph Ziggler successfully defended it twice. Six years later, the briefcase was successfully defended again by Braun Strowman.
Unfortunately for Otis, he became the second person to lose the Money in the Bank briefcase in 2020. After nearly 200 days with the briefcase, The Miz defeated Otis at that year’s Hell in a Cell pay-per-view. Over a hundred days later, The Miz cashed in and became the WWE Champion for the second time, both from successful cash-in attempts.
Since 2012, the winner of New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s annual G1 Climax earns a certificate to fight for the IWGP World heavyweight Championship. Unlike the Money in the Bank contract, NJPW’s certificate has been defended by every winner of the G1 since the certificate was introduced. At this point, only Kota Ibushi has lost the certificate in a match against “Switchblade” Jay White. However, in poetic justice, White failed in his eventual championship match against Kota Ibushi, who still managed to become champion despite losing the certificate.
Despite these winners winning the G1 Climax to earn their eventual title shot, they are put to the test to prove their victory wasn’t a fluke. Back in the WWE, the latest men’s winner of the Money in the Bank has a lot to still prove in the eyes of some fans. At the ripe age of 25, Austin Theory is on the path to becoming one of the youngest world champions in WWE history. Although, Theory recently showed up on NXT with the Money in the Bank briefcase teasing a cash-in for the NXT Championship.
Austin Theory failed to show up at Halloween Havoc which means that the NXT Championship isn’t his goal. However, Theory has a huge task in front of him if he wants to end the over two-year reign of the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns. Theory hasn’t been built strongly as the holder of the briefcase, although some argue that he has. He has lost matches that he should have won to gain momentum. He has attempted to cash in the briefcase only to be knocked out by heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury.
Having Theory defend the briefcase against potential contenders for the WWE Championship and having him victorious would mean wonders for his young career. And for those that aren’t sold on Austin Theory, this would also give the potential outcome of somebody else winning the briefcase from him. There are fans already calling for the likes of Kevin Owens or Johnny Gargano to take the briefcase from Theory. Although, Theory still has the potential to be packaged as a true threat and future world champion.
Dolph Ziggler’s run as Mr. Money in the Bank is an example of how the briefcase can help build a star and guide them to the top. He defended the briefcase against two of the biggest stars in the WWE: Chris Jericho and John Cena. Ziggler was pushed strong and was able to beat big stars without even always doing it clean. He had AJ Lee and Big E in his corner to help him out but that didn’t matter to the fans that were screaming his name and begging him to cash in his briefcase on the Raw after WrestleMania in 2013, receiving one of the loudest crowd reactions in WWE history, even as a heel.
The Money in the Bank briefcase doesn’t need to be defended as much as a normal championship but it should be defended. It would add a much-needed change to the Money in the Bank rules that haven’t changed since the match was created. As it stands, the winner of the briefcase is looked at as a future world champion. It’s not if they will successfully cash in the contract but when will they successfully cash in the briefcase. Only five people have failed to cash in and become a champion, including Austin Theory who is yet to cash in, out of the 29 holders.
With odds like that in the holder’s favor, you can say that the holder has more than just a guaranteed championship match. However, until the briefcase is cashed in, it becomes just a prop to carry around and in the case of some holders – a weapon. Let’s spice the Money in the Bank picture up a bit and have the briefcase defended more regularly. This can keep the holder and the briefcase both important in the holder’s matches and feuds. It would be a great way to end the storyline between Theory and his former mentor, Johnny Gargano. Now, don’t even get me started on the Royal Rumble…