WWE Straight To The Top: The Money In The Bank Ladder Match DVD Review

MITBGimmick matches are at the forefront of WWE pay-per-views more than ever with current events Hell in a Cell, Elimination Chamber, and Tables, Ladders and Chairs all revolving around their particular gimmicks. Even the Royal Rumble PPV which has been running since 1988 has always had the over-the-top battle royal match at the forefront selling the PPV to wrestling fans around the world. In this set we are treated to an overview of the history of one of the most popular gimmick matches – the Money In The Bank ladder match.

Since 2010, Money In The Bank has had a yearly PPV dedicated to it with two of the briefcases on the line – one for Raw and one for Smackdown. In each is a contract for each brand’s main title – Raw’s WWE title and Smackdown’s World Heavyweight Championship. Yet a number of years before MITB became a PPV spectacular all of its own, it formed a huge part of WWE‘s prestigious Wrestlemania event, and for a number of years the winner was able to select either champion to cash in on.

From its debut at Wrestlemania 21, first suggested by Chris Jericho, MITB was a highlight of ‘Mania for many. The daredevil moves, interpromotional interaction, and the opportunities given to superstars who hadn’t been at the main event level before all made for an intriguing and explosive match. Wrestlers like Shelton Benjamin and John Morrison used these to showcase their athleticism while Edge, Christian and Matt Hardy all displayed their veteran instincts from their TLC battles.

The Rated-R Superstar was the first winner and held it close to his chest for nine months before using it at New Year’s Revolution the following year to defeat John Cena for the WWE title. This put the MITB briefcase on the map as a must-have for any superstar. The MITB match itself has always been an enjoyable car-crash, but the cash-ins themselves are arguably the most exciting part for any wrestling fan. Rob Van Dam facing John Cena at ECW One Night Stand 2006 had a unique environment with RVD announcing his cash-in beforehand and Cena facing a hostile crowd. The following year the world was shocked as Edge beat winner Mr Kennedy for the briefcase, and then used it the following night on the Undertaker to win the World Heavyweight Championship. And who could forget CM Punk’s rise to the top with back-to-back MITB wins and two championship reigns?

Jack Swagger, Kane, The Miz, Daniel Bryan and more have all won MITB briefcases and cashed them in successfully. Only John Cena failed to win a title with his contract on this particular set. It’s a gimmick that remains prestigious to this day and one that makes people believe the winner is all but guaranteed to be a future world champion. The matches remain innovative enough to be worth watching even after nearly ten years of them now. You only have to look at this year’s Smackdown MITB match to see how clever superstars like Dean Ambrose are with the ladder and how this can elevate the match to something really special.

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This set features every single MITB ladder match in WWE history and is held together by segments hosted by The Miz who has great insight being a previous participant and winner. The matches generally speak for themselves and are all of a high quality. Only Wrestlemania 26 suffers from too many people in the match to pull off a great story. This is a more watchable set than something like War Games because the matches are generally better overall, featuring some amazing spots and some of the best superstars in the business, but most of all the excitement levels are off the charts. Most matches further the storylines of the time but also work on a casual viewing because of the crazy moves and dangerous moments.

If you can pick up the Blu-ray release then you get every single cash-in which makes for 12 extra moments/matches, all of which are truly exciting and memorable in their own ways. These are well worth the extra money if you can play Blu-rays, but if not then the DVD set is also worth picking up just for the matches alone. There could have been more input from participants but overall it’s another solid release from WWE and one that most fans will want to have in their collections.

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Straight To The Top: The MITB Ladder Match is available now on DVD and Blu-ray from WWE Home Video UK and can be purchased HERE

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