WM Top 25: #24 – Money in the Bank

For the full article, with embedded clip of the original Money in Bank, please view the original article at Examiner.com

Over the past fifteen years or so the ladder match has become a fixture of professional wrestling. What started as a concept for two men to battle each other over a prize hung high above the ring with the aid of a ladder has turned into something much more.

Battles between two men over a prize became passé, and soon the ladder match was heightened by teams of two battling each other, and then expanded into three teams and four teams all battling each other until it really came to resemble the scene of a car crash.

In 2005 the ladder match was taken to another level when at the suggestion of Chris Jericho (in the storylines anyways) it was decided that six men would battle each other in a ladder match at WrestleMania 21, with no allies, only enemies. The prize at the top of the ladder? A briefcase containing a contract to a World Championship match good that was good for one year, and could be cashed it anytime the winner chooses.

The men chosen for the inaugural match included a quartet of supremely talented Canadian athletes who had battled with and against each other for years over Intercontinental and Tag Team Championships – Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit, Christian and Edge, plus two sport NCAA superstar Shelton Benjamin, who was as pure of an athlete one could find in the wrestling business, and the spoiler, a 300 lbs. monster of man simply named Kane.

Not surprisingly with that talent roster the match was simply fantastic, with crazy, dangerous stunts involving all kinds of ladders and steel chairs. The four Canadians were all no strangers to ladder matches at this point and were able to put together creative breathe-taking spots, while Benjamin’s natural athleticism allowed him to run up and down and across ladders like Spider-Man, and Kane’s impressive size and strength made for great visuals as he threw his much smaller opponents around the ring.

Edge walked out of the match as the first Money in the Bank winner and cashed in his World Title contract in January 2006 to earn his first of now eight World Championships.

The fans, the Internet guys, the experts and the company itself instantly took to the match. It was deemed a success from the onset (with much credit going to the talented crew of wrestlers involved), and fans almost immediately started fantasy booking the next year’s match, without it even officially being announced as being an annual event. But based off the success of the first Money in the Bank ladder match, it has now become a fixture of the annual WrestleMania card. Over the past four years the event has featured six, seven or eight participants vying for the coveted World Championship contract. And all four of the past Money in the Bank contract holders has gone on to use it to win a World Title.

This year at WrestleMania XXV there will once again be a Money in the Bank ladder match. This year’s event will feature eight participants spanning all three of WWE’s brands who will compete for the opportunity to challenge for the World Championship. Every year the participants have tried to outdo those from the year before, knowing that this is their chance on wrestling’s biggest stage to make themselves famous, whether they actually win the match or not.

Highlights of “Money in the Bank” from WrestleMania 21

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