The Money in the Bank cash in is one of the most exciting moments in WWE each year. One lucky winner of the annual ladder match earns themselves a shot at the world title whenever they want – usually taken when the champion is at their worst, after a gruesome match and in no fit state to defend the title.
It basically considered an automatic title win most years. If you hold the coveted briefcase then you are considered a champion-in-waiting, taking your time to strike on the champion until he is vulnerable and an easy target. Many times it is the heel screwing over the heroic babyface, but both good and bad guys have utilised the option to their own gain.
It has created some of the most exciting title changes in WWE history. Rob Van Dam cashed in on John Cena, forcing him into a match at ECW One Night Stand, where he won his first and only WWE Championship. Dolph Ziggler blew the roof off the arena when he cashed in on Alberto Del Rio, and Seth Rollins made history by inserting himself into the Wrestlemania 31 main event for his first title win.
However, not all WWE superstars are so luckily. Below we have compiled of the six wrestlers who was have failed in their Money in the Bank cash in attempts. Some were down to stupidity, poor skill, being screwed or simply just being The Miz. Let us know in the comments which you think is worse after you finish reading this article.
Note: Mr Kennedy, who lost his Money in the Bank contract in a match to Edge in 2007. This is because he never attempted to cash in his contract, so that he never failed when attempting to cash in)
1. John Cena – Raw 1000 (on CM Punk)
The one man who could be the first failed Money in the Bank winner and not be ruined by the failure is John Cena. The 16 time world champion won the Money in the Bank match in 2012 for the first time, aiming to take the WWE Championship from rival CM Punk. Punk himself cashed in the title twice in his career (2008 and 2009) so was well aware what was coming to him.
However, Cena decided to buck the trend of surprise cash ins. Following the lead of Rob Van Dam in 2006, he told Punk in advance when he was going to face him for the title. The match took place on the 1000th episode of Raw in one of the biggest matches in Raw history. In a show that featured a host of legends and DX reunion, this was huge.
John Cena did win the match…by disqualification. Everyone’s favourite giant The Big Show interfered in the match, twice knocking out Cena and eventually causing CM Punk to be disqualified. However, a DQ means the champion keeps the belt and John Cena became the first man to fail his Money in the Bank Cash in, 7 years after the concept was introduced.
2. Damian Sandow – Raw 2013 (on John Cena)
While John Cena managed to survive his failed cash in, Damien Sandow was not so lucky. He was doomed from the start, winning the briefcase due to a last minute change, after Vince McMahon decided to change the planned winner which was supposed to be his tag team partner Cody Rhodes.
Sandow at least attempted a surprise cash in. He had won the contract in a ladder match also involving Cesaro, Cody Rhodes, Fandango, Jack Swagger, Dean Ambrose and Wade Barrett, and was one of the least “world champion material” wrestler in the match. Despite this he tried his best, cashing on a fatigued Cena who he had just beaten down, targeting his already injured arm.
Despite the incredible advantage, he still managed to lose to Cena. This is the closest he would ever sniff singles gold, let alone the world championship, and would be released by the company just a few years later. He would earn tag team championship gold with his partner The Miz under the moniker Damien Mizdow.
While John Cena was the first man to fail to win the championship, Damien Sandow is the first person to do a surprise cash in on a weakened opponent and still fail to walk out as the world champion. Cena would not hold the title for much longer either, as the WWE and World Heavyweight title’s were unified by Randy Orton at TLC 2013.
3. Baron Corbin – Smackdown 2016 (on Jinder Mahal)
Baron Corbin was a shock winner of the 2016 Money in the Bank ladder match. He won the chance to cash in on the WWE Championship, which was the world title used on Smackdown at the time. As luck would have it, it looked like one of the easiest champions to cash in on of all time, as jobber Jinder Mahal had recently shocked the world to become the WWE Champion for the first time.
Mahal had a tough day on that episode of Smackdown. The Maharaja started the show with a championship celebration that was interrupted by Shinsuke Nakamura. He was his opponent for Summerslam, chasing his first world title in WWE despite winning the Royal Rumble the year prior. Not only that, Mahal faced John Cena later in the show in huge first time matchup.
Yes, once again John Cena is involved. After their match in the main event, Baron Corbin run and used his contract to force Mahal into a WWE Championship match. However, the Lone Wolf was soon distracted by Cena and rolled up by Mahal, failing to win the title and ruining his Money in the Bank cash in.
Mahal would go on to defeat Nakamura at Summerslam, while Corbin would wrestle John Cena at “the biggest party of the summer”.
4. Braun Strowman – Hell in a Cell 2018 (on Roman Reigns)
Finally, a failed cash in with nothing to do with John Cena.
Up until this year, this was the worst cash in. Not because he failed, but because how stupid the ending to the match was. Braun Strowman won the 2018 Money in the Bank and immediately went to challenge Roman Reigns. The two had been feuding on and off for years and had both of their best matches together. Strowman was long overdue a world title and it was clearly his time to run as the face of Monday Night Raw.
Thinking smartly, Strowman announced his cash in to be inside Hell in a Cell. While announcing it early may seem wrong, he was well aware that Reigns having The Shield in his corner made the chances of him winning by DQ, like Punk, were much higher than normal. By locking himself and the big dog inside a steel cage, he made interference impossible and increased his odds of winning the Universal Championship.
Except WWE are morons. The Monster Among Men had sound logic. Former Champion Brock Lesnar was also snooping around, having just lost the belt to Reigns. He’d also want his revenge, but again nobody could get inside the cell.
Anyone, Brock Lesnar got inside the Cell and destroyed everyone, with Paul Heyman macing the referee for some reason. The match never officially ended, so either it was a no-contest or it is still going on to this day. I choose to believe the latter, and also that WWE screwed Braun Strowman for no reason.
5. The Miz – WWE TLC 2020 (on Drew McIntyre)
The Miz won the Money in the Bank contract from Otis in 2020, in a disappointing result nobody wanted. It would have been fun to see the dancing large man holding the gold, even for just a transitional reign for a few days. It would have been a fun moment in a horrible year, as 2020 was.
Otis’ win in the ladder match was a fun, feel good moment for the fan favourite star. He had built up a following a babyface over the past year and despite note being a main-event talent was a fun alternative to Roman Reigns or Brock Lesnar.
Otis held the briefcase for five months before losing it to The Miz at Hell in a Cell. It was a shcoking moment as it was the second time the Miz would hold a MITB contract in his hands, for use any time. He did so at TLC 2020, making the ladder match between AJ Styles and Drew McIntyre a triple threat for the WWE Championship.
Hilarious, he lost the match as McIntyre scaled the ladder and won the match. Less hilariously, the contract would later be reinstated, as it was found that John Morrison cashed in the contract on his behalf, and as the woirding on the contract was very clear, this made the whole thing invalid.
He would later cash it in at Elimination Chamber 2021 to win his second WWE Championship.
6. Austin Theory – Raw 2022 (on Seth Rollins)
Austin Theory’s failed cash in of his Money in the Bank contract is definitely the stupidest of all. While one can argue that telling the champion ahead of time when you’ll cash in is dumb (it is), it can been seen as noble. It can even be seen as an advantage at times, like Strowman wanting to keep The Shield out of his way by facing Reigns inside a steel cage, or Rob Van Dam facing John Cena on home turf at ECW One Night Stand.
However, when it comes to stupidity, Austin Theory really takes the cake. He held his briefcase from July to November, waiting for his spot to finally become world champion. During that time he did attempt to cash in his contract but was thwarted, most recently by Tyson Fury at Clash at the Castle. However, he knew he had a year to become champion, so he should bide his time and wait for the opportune moment.
Unfortunately, he decided not to do that. Instead, on the November 7th, 2022 episode of Money Night Raw, Austin Theory cashed in on Seth Rollins. Not for the world title (both of those were held by Roman Reigns), but instead he challenged for the United States Championship. Nowhere has it ever said you were allowed to cash in on the lesser belts – and why the hell would you even want to?
Even worse? Seth Rollins had offered an open challenge for his title THAT NIGHT. He didn’t have to waste his contract, he could have just wrestled for the belt and kept his title match in his back pocket for another night. The final cherry on top was the fact that Bobby Lashley attacked Theory and cost him the match, meaning he walked out with nothing but the title of “worst Money in the Bank cash in of all time”.