Money in the Bank has proven to be one of WWE's best creations. The ladder match contested for the briefcase containing a guaranteed world title opportunity and the suspense of when the victor will choose to cash in have combined for one of the central focuses of WWE storytelling over the course of a year. And that has only ratcheted up with the addition of a women's Money in the Bank match starting in 2017.
While the thrilling car crash action of the Money in the Bank ladder match has provided some great moments, nothing related to the briefcase compares to the thrill of seeing someone pick the perfect moment to cash in their shot at a title. And 83 percent of those cash-in attempts have been successful ones. But not all cash-in attempts are equal. Let's take a look at the top five moments where someone made good on their opportunity to become a world champion in WWE.
Edge cashes in on John Cena -- 2006: Edge won the first-ever Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania 21, beating Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, Kane, Shelton Benjamin and Christian. That was the first in a series of moves that led to The Ultimate Opportunist winning his first world championship. In June 2005, the SmackDown and Raw titleholders switched brands with John Cena moving to Raw and Batista heading to SmackDown, lining Cena up in Edge's crosshairs. But first, Edge had to defend his briefcase in a ladder match with Matt Hardy in October. Finally, after 280 days, Edge had the perfect moment to cash in. At New Year's Revolution in 2006, Cena had just survived a violent Elimination Chamber match, beating Carlito, Chris Masters, Shawn Michaels, Kane and Kurt Angle when Vince McMahon announced the show was not yet over and that Edge was cashing in. Two spears later, Edge was WWE champion. It was the first ever cash-in, and still one of the best to this day.
The Miz cashes in on Randy Orton -- 2010: For sheer chaos, The Miz's cash-in is one of the best in history. Miz had struggled to successfully cash in his opportunity on Sheamus when the Irishman held the title, but things finally worked out on the Nov. 22, 2010 edition of Raw against WWE champion Randy Orton. Orton was brutally attacked by Nexus ahead of his title defense against its leader, Wade Barrett. The match went ahead, only to see John Cena run in to stop Barrett from winning the title. Cena -- who was an unwilling member of Nexus -- was "fired" from WWE after he failed help Barrett win the title from Orton at Survivor Series. As Nexus chased off Cena, Orton hit Barrett with an RKO to escape with his title. But Miz, seeing the damage already inflicted, sprinted to the ring and handed the referee his briefcase. The opportunity almost escaped Miz as Orton went for an RKO, but it was reversed into a Skull-Crushing Finale to allow Miz to become WWE champion. This entry gets extra points for bringing the world the "Angry Miz Girl" meme, but stands out as a near-perfect example of knowing when and where to cash in the contract.
Dolph Ziggler cashes in on Alberto Del Rio -- 2013: Nothing adds to a big moment in pro wrestling like a hot crowd, and these fans were on fire when Ziggler cashed in his contract on the April 8, 2013 edition of Raw. Ziggler held the contract for 267 days, having to defeat Chris Jericho in a "contract vs. career" match and later retaining the briefcase in a ladder match against John Cena. After numerous foiled attempts to cash in his contract, the time was finally right as world heavyweight champion Alberto Del Rio had just survived a two-on-one handicap match against Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter, being hobbled in the process. When Ziggler's music hit as Del Rio was being attended to by doctors, the crowd exploded and the noise did not stop until minutes later when Ziggler hit a Zig Zag to score the pinfall in arguably the greatest cash-in of all time.
Randy Orton cashes in on Daniel Bryan -- 2013: While Ziggler's moment electrified the crowd, Randy Orton cashing in on Daniel Bryan later in 2013 was a deflating moment. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, however, as Bryan's story as WWE's ultimate underdog feeds off these moments. Bryan defeated John Cena at SummerSlam with Triple H as the guest referee to become WWE champion and celebrated with a crowd as confetti fell and he thanked his parents in what felt like a picture-perfect Daniel Bryan moment. When Money in the Bank winner Orton's music hit and he slowly walked to the ring, it seemed clear Bryan's reign was going to be short-lived. With Bryan urging him to enter the ring and fight, Orton turned and began to walk away before turning back to give Bryan a knowing look. Triple H spun Bryan into a Pedigree, leaving the new champ down and out for Orton to slide in for the pin to rob Bryan of his moment. This helped set up an incredible run for Bryan to the top of the WrestleMania 30 card.
Seth Rollins cashes in on Brock Lesnar -- 2015: Saying Rollins cashed in on Lesnar is a bit misleading. In actuality, Rollins was the first man to ever cash in his contract amid an active match, running in to join the WrestleMania 31 main event between Lesnar and Roman Reigns. Rollins was also the first ever successfully cash in by not pinning the reigning champion. Rollins had held the contract for 273 days before deciding to use the the briefcase on the biggest stage possible. It almost backfired when Lesnar countered a second curb stomp attempt from Rollins, but moments later, "The Architect" was able to hit former Shield brother Reigns with the stomp to pin the challenger. Rollins closed out WrestleMania 31 as world champion for the first time in his career in what many consider the ultimate Money in the Bank cash in.