State Your Case: Creating Your Legacy By Cashing In Money In The Bank
Welcome back to the second installment of the State Your Case series. Last time we saw the rise of the Rated R Superstar, Edge, as he won the first ever Money In The Bank match at WrestleMania 21. This week, we take a look at the second Money In The Bank match featuring some stars of the past, present, and future. There are spots and moments in the match that will make you hold your breath and you can check that out in the video below! This match took place at WrestleMania 22 which was held on April 2nd, 2006.
- Ric Flair
- Rob Van Dam
- WWE Intercontinental Champion Shelton Benjamin
- Matt Hardy
- Bobby Lashley
This match was announced as an interpromotional match which was different from the first, as the first MITB match was strictly the Raw brand. That meant that this MITB match was for either the WWE or the World Heavyweight Championship, depending on what brand the winning superstar was contracted to. A few things I noticed, and missed, were during Matt Hardy’s entrance I missed the Matt Facts. That was the best part of him having the Monster Magnet entrance theme and it was definitely missed here. Another thing is that Shelton Benjamin came into this match as Intercontinental champion for the second straight MITB match. As the match gets underway, there are very strong chants for RVD.
The first person to go for a ladder is Matt Hardy. As he tries to enter the ring with the ladder, RVD connects with a baseball slide and knocks Hardy back. He then tries to commit suicide and dives over the top ropes to Hardy who is still holding the ladder. Inside the ring, Finlay and Shelton are going back and forth and Shelton gets Finlay on the ground near the ropes. Shelton grabs a ladder and lays it diagonally on the ropes, with the top facing the outside of the ring. With a smirk only his momma could love, Shelton runs up the ladder and dives onto RVD, Hardy, and Bobby Lashley who are on the outside! Shelton continues to impress when he is in MITB matches and this is no exception. Flair is the first one to attempt to go grab the briefcase but Matt Hardy is there to stop him and hit Ric Flair, yes Ric Flair, with a superplex off the ladder. The ref holds up the “X”, which all wrestling fans know is the sign for injury, as trainers come out to help Ric Flair. It looks like he tweaked his knee coming off the ladder on the superplex and trainers walk him to the back while the crowd chants loudly for Flair.
RVD and Shelton appear in the ring and RVD lays Shelton on a ladder and hits his signature, Rolling Thunder, to Shelton! Something Jim Ross said on commentary stuck to me during this spot. He says “RVD hits the Rolling Thunder to Shelton right to the ACE Hardware ladder section”. It’s those little moments we miss on commentary currently in the WWE. RVD gets taken out and Lashley attempts to grab the briefcase. The ever persistent Shelton Benjamin climbs the opposite side of the ladder and exchanges punches with the big man. Shelton then goes for a sunset flip powerbomb to Lashley but he can’t seem to get him down by himself. Here come Matt Hardy and Finlay to help Shelton and those three get Lashley down for the powerbomb. I guess you could say they made the triple powerbomb cool before The Shield did.
Finlay, the dirty Irishman that he is, then throws a ladder straight at Matt Hardy’s face. He then slams the ladder on a down Lashley and takes out an incoming RVD. The camera cuts to the entrance and here comes Ric Flair! He returns to the match and starts to chop Finlay’s chest a beet red. Flair then tries to make the best comeback ever and grab the briefcase. Matt Hardy has a different opinion on the matter and stops Flair. Shelton then comes into the picture and stops everything in its tracks. Flair, who seems relentless to obtain a 17th World Championship, climbs the ladder again but Finlay attacks Flair with that deadly shillelagh and knocks Flair off of the ladder. With the briefcase now swinging in midair, Finlay and Shelton fight over who will have the honor of being called Mr. Money In The Bank. However, here comes Bobby Lashley to stop both of them and then hits Shelton with a nasty Dominator in the middle of the ring. Lashley starts to climb the ladder but, in what could be called spot of the match, RVD leaps off the turnbuckle with a chair and dropkicks it to the Lashley’s back. The crowd explodes for this as both men lay down on the mat a broken mess.
Seeing this as his chance to strike the big man, Matt Hardy stands a ladder up by the corner and then hits his signature leg drop from the top of the ladder! Hardy gets up and goes for the briefcase and Finlay climbs the ladder also. Matt Hardy wants to hurt everyone in the match and he adds Finlay to that list with a Side Effect off the ladder! Both men lay broken on the mat but RVD has other plans. RVD climbs the ladder to hit, I guess, a “5 Star Frog Splash”. I use the name loosely because he really didn’t move like a frog; he just fell. RVD looks around the ring and bodies are lying everywhere. So he does what anyone else would do and goes for the briefcase. In what is, basically, out of nowhere Shelton Benjamin leaps onto the other side of the ladder and throws punches to RVD. Matt Hardy sees this and sets up a ladder next to theirs and starts to fight both of them. Shelton relocates himself to the ladder Hardy set up and fights him but RVD has other plans. He uses his leg to knock them both down and sending them flying outside the ring. RVD sees his chance and claims his place in history as the second ever Mr. Money In The Bank.
Rob Van Dam
STAR OF THE MATCH
Shelton Benjamin & Ric Flair
Shelton Benjamin made the first two MITB matches with his athleticism and skill. Every time you saw him on the screen you knew something magical was going to happen. It’s a shame WWE never wanted to pull the trigger on him or give him a persona that worked but he made these exciting. I threw Flair in here too because a man of his age was taking bumps that would normally kill a man of his age. Him leaving and coming back had me excited and I had seen the match when it first aired in 2006.
2006-2007 YEAR IN REVIEW
The man who used to rule the land of Extreme now had a shot at the WWE Championship, seeing as though he was a member of the Raw brand. Shelton Benjamin, though, had other ideas for RVD and challenged him for his MITB briefcase. RVD countered that by having Shelton put his Intercontinental Championship on the line. So a deal was made between the two. They would handpick the other’s opponent and whomever lost, their prize had to be on the line. RVD picked a returning Charlie Haas to face Shelton and Shelton picked The Spirit Squad to face RVD. I think a star was made from the Spirit Squad but I really couldn’t tell you who. He probably showed off in the match, though.
Both men lost so both the MITB briefcase and the Intercontinental Championship were on the line at Backlash. RVD would go on to win and become the NEW Intercontinental Champion. However, RVD would lose the title to Benjamin on the May 15th episode of Monday Night Raw. On May 29th, Rob Van Dam was drafted to the newly formed ECW brand that was led by Paul Heyman. ECW was holding another One Night Stand PPV the following month and RVD couldn’t think of a better place to use his opportunity than in HIS house, the Hammerstein Ballroom.
CASH IN MOMENT
ECW One Night Stand June 11th, 2006
Cashed In On: John Cena
What Championship: WWE Championship
What Was The Opportunity: This was the first time that the contract was not cashed in on a defenseless champion. The match was scheduled weeks before the cash in happened and this caused an extreme concern for RVD to win the WWE Championship
Time Of Cash In – 20:41
RVD would win his first WWE Championship after Edge, the Number One Contender for the WWE Championship, speared John Cena through a table. With both referees out, Paul Heyman would run to the ring and count the pinfall victory. Wait, how could Paul Heyman make the pinfall count if he wasn’t the referee? The following night on Raw, Vince McMahon declared the title change legit due to it being an Extreme Rules match and “anything goes”. On the first episode of ECW, Paul Heyman presented RVD with the ECW Championship but RVD told Heyman he was going to defend both of them separately. Seeing as Edge was the number one contender, he wanted a match at Vengeance for the WWE Championship. He got his match but lost to the reigning champion, RVD. On July 3rd, RVD would lose the WWE Championship after only one defense in a triple threat to Edge. John Cena was the third participant in the match. The following night, he would lose the ECW Championship to the Big Show. Come to find out, RVD was about to be suspended 30 days due to a drug possession arrest. It makes you wonder if RVD wouldn’t have had that happen, would he have been WWE and ECW Champion longer?
The Whole F’n Show would return to WWE action on August 8th as he attacked Sabu and Kurt Angle. RVD would slowly creep back into the title picture but it’s no surprise that the company was hesitant to put a major title on someone who hadn’t shown that he could stay out of trouble. Later in the year, RVD would beat the man he lost the ECW title to, The Big Show, in a non title match to grant him a title show. RVD would pick his match: December to Dismember. Now, we all know about this PPV and how terrible it was. The match would be an Elimination Chamber match where Bobby Lashley would win the ECW Championship. RVD would have three matches with Lashley for the championship and would fall short on all three occasions. In 2007, he would join his friends Sabu, Tommy Dreamer, and The Sandman and form the “ECW Originals”. They would feud with the New Breed which consisted of Elijah Burke, Kevin Thorn, Marcus Cor Von, and Matt Striker. Their feud would culminate at WrestleMania 23 where The Originals would pick up the win.
So while RVD made a big impact by winning the WWE Championship, it would seem to fall short. It seems like that is a trend for MITB winners. They win the championship and lose it soon after. Would this be the case for the next MITB winner or would his dreams of being a world champion holder fall short?
As always, let’s keep the conversation going on Twitter as you can follow me @hailmegatron. Do you think RVD would have been WWE Champion longer if it wasn’t for his suspension? Was he the right call to win the second annual MITB match? Let me know what you think and keep enjoying wrestling.