WWE's annual Money in the Bank pay-per-view is in the books, and saw both male and female superstars earn guaranteed future title shots. While many of WWE's signature matches - Royal Rumble, Survivor Series, Hell in a Cell, etc. - have been around for decades, one of its most recent inventions to catch on spectacularly with fans is the Money in the Bank ladder match. Debuting at 2005's WrestleMania XXI, the match is simple, but brilliant. Multiple competitors vie against each other to climb the ladder and retrieve a briefcase containing a guaranteed contract for a world title shot at any time, on any show, whenever they deem it advantageous to cash in.
Over the years, such WWE luminaries as Edge, CM Punk, Seth Rollins, and Daniel Bryan have successfully won the match and later cashed in their contract to become a champion. Beginning in 2010, the Money in the Bank match left WrestleMania and became its own pay-per-view event, and now seems to have become WWE's defacto fifth most important show of the year, behind the established "big four" of the Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, SummerSlam, and Survivor Series.
This year's Money in the Bank event features two of the titular ladder matches, one for the male wrestlers and another for the female wrestlers. Both matches include competitors from both the Raw and SmackDown rosters as well. The announced participants for the men's match going into the show included 2010 winner The Miz, Samoa Joe, Rusev, Kevin Owens, Braun Strowman, Finn Balor, Bobby Roode, and one to be announced member of the New Day tag team. The announced participants for the women's match going into the show included Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Naomi, Lana, Sasha Banks, Natalya, Alexa Bliss, and newcomer Ember Moon.
The first Money in the Bank match to take place was the women's contest, which eventually broke down into a race to either climb a ladder or stop someone else from doing so. Just like last year's match, fan favorite Becky Lynch came ever so close to capturing the briefcase, only to be thwarted. This time, her ascent was stopped by multi-time women's champion Alexa Bliss, who sent Becky crashing face first into a ladder set up in a nearby corner. Bliss ended up wasting no time cashing in her contract, interrupting the title match between Nia Jax and Ronda Rousey later in the show, and pinning a wounded Jax to become the new Raw women's champion.
The men's Money in the Bank ladder match closed the show, and was full of insane spots and hilariously fun moments. Many of these came at the hands of eventual winner Braun Strowman, who the rest of the competitors understandably spent much of the match trying to take out of the equation. Still, the Monster Among Men would not be denied, fighting off late challenges from both Finn Balor and Kofi Kingston to capture the briefcase, after earlier sending Kevin Owens flying off the top of a gigantic ladder through a table. Unfortunately, unlike with most winners, Braun doesn't really have the option of cashing in whenever he wants, as Raw's universal champion Brock Lesnar appears only part-time.