It’s time for another wrestling pay-per-view – pardon, “premium live event” (I will never get used to calling them that) – as WWE Money in the Bank comes to you live from The O2 Arena in London, England on Saturday, July 1 3e/12p. It’s the first major WWE event to take place in England since 2003, which is two whole years before the concept of Money in the Bank was introduced in the first place. The card isn’t going to roll as deep as, say, AEW x NJPW’s Forbidden Door from a week before, but it has become arguably the WWE’s fifth biggest event every year. Despite the entire show being built around a pair of ladder matches that historically feature more daredevil antics than traditional storytelling, Money in the Bank 2023 is still filled with stories that have been stewing for years.  

I’m here again to do the thing wrestling often refuses to do: stop and explain just what’s happening, who is involved, and all the strings that tie together all the characters at the event. With ladders being the selling point of the event, you will see bodies flying and ring wreckage that looks like a tornado ran through a trailer park, but I promise there is so much meaning behind them. First and foremost, however, is some context to what the Money in the Bank concept and match even is and a little bit of history about the event itself.

A key thing to take note of for this event, in the greater context of things: this is Triple H’s first Money in the Bank while in charge and a chance to give those briefcases to who he thinks should hold them as opposed to Vince McMahon (although there are several reports of Vince still changing shows remotely).

What is the Money in the Bank Ladder Match? 

The contest is a ladder match, where a competitor must climb a ladder and retrieve an object hanging above the ring in order to win. In Money in the Bank matches, said object is a briefcase containing a contract for a world title opportunity – any time, any place – for the next calendar year. That contract is the wrestling version of a Chekhov’s Gun just waiting to be fired. The number of participants in the match have ranged anywhere from six to ten. 

The “any time, any place” is important because virtually all Money in the Bank cash-ins have occurred when a champion is already battered and weary and the briefcase wielder can score a highly advantageous win. MITB cash-ins usually get some of the loudest reactions of the year whenever they happen and make for fantastic moments (that easily get the company trending online, too).

Money in the Bank as a concept is mostly credited to Chris Jericho, who at the time of writing, is a central figure in WWE rival promotion All Elite Wrestling. Jericho is known for being one of the most creative and innovative wrestlers of modern times, and his ideas didn’t just stop with writing for his band Fozzy or reinventing his wrestling character every couple of years.

Former WWE writer Brian Gerwitz originally conceived a “Hollywood Dream” match that would take place at Wrestlemania 21 in Los Angeles in 2005. His pitch originally saw the winner getting their dream of whatever they wished, but Jericho is the one who tweaked the idea to being a ladder match for a physical contract for a title shot. Head honcho Vince McMahon approved of the idea on the condition that the contract be in a briefcase, and thus, the iconic contest was born. 

The first six Money in the Bank ladder matches all took place at each year’s Wrestlemania before the birth of the Money in the Bank PPV event in 2010 completely based around it. From there, there would be two briefcases representing WWE’s two main brands – Monday Night RAW and Friday Night Smackdown. It would remain this way until the two WWE world titles were unified, pulling it back to once a year from 2014-2016. 2017 saw the first ever women’s Money in the Bank ladder match, and every event since has had one MITB match each for the men and women. 

At some point in 2022, the men’s Money in the Bank contract transitioned from being for the male world titles to any men’s championship.

What have been the most significant Money in the Bank events?    

  • Money in the Bank 2010 saw the demented Kane become the first person to win the briefcase and cash it in on the same night. This would later occur again at Money in the Bank 2016, where Dean Ambrose (now known as AEW’s Jon Moxley) would do the same. On the women’s side, Alexa Bliss in 2018, Bayley in 2019, and Liv Morgan just last year have all cashed-in the same night they won the contract.
  • Money in the Bank 2011 is highly regarded as one of WWE’s best overall shows in the 2010s, if not the very best. To detail just all the reasons why would take an entire article itself, but it is best known for the main event between John Cena and CM Punk for the WWE Championship in front of an absolutely mental crowd in Punk’s hometown of Chicago. Punk inexplicably won the title just hours before his contract with the company would expire. It was the first match since 1997 in the WWE to get the vaulted 5 star match rating from wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer.
  • In addition to cashing in on the same night he won, Dean Amborse’s Money in the Bank 2016 win also marked an occasion where all three members of The Shield, perhaps the most significant stable in WWE in the last decade and a half, would hold the main gold in one night. Roman Reigns walked into the main event as WWE Champion, only for Seth Rollins to defeat him for the title, then Ambrose successfully cashed-in immediately afterwards.
  • As noted, Money in the Bank 2017 saw the first ever women’s MITB match, but it wasn’t well regarded at all, particularly the finish. While the company had all the buzz and PR for having such an innovative match for the women for the first time, it was visually still won by a man, as winner Carmella had her male manager climb the ladder and retrieve the briefcase for her and simply hand it to her. This left a bad enough taste in the fanbase’s mouth that they essentially re-did the entire match two weeks later on an episode of Smackdown with the same result, but no awful handoff ending.
  • Money in the Bank 2020 occurred during the Pandemic, where instead of having the multi-person matches in an empty arena, it instead took place in the form of a “Corporate Ladder” match where the participants had to ascend to the top of the WWE Global Headquarters building in Stanford, Connecticut. Also, both men and women’s matches happened concurrently, leading to one of the most bonkers Looney-Tunes ass matches ever. The next night on RAW, it was revealed that the briefcase won by women’s MITB winner Asuka actually held the Women’s Championship, as previous champ Becky Lynch announced her pregnancy and maternity leave. [Editor’s note: one of my Top Five All TIme Favorite wrestling moments.]

Alright, enough history! It’s time for The Beat’s simplified guide to Money in the Bank 2023 so you can figure out which wrestler you’d love to shove off a ladder and why.


Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match

Ricochet vs. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. LA Knight vs. Santos Escobar vs. Butch vs. Damian Priest vs. Logan Paul

TL; DR // A man who simply chooses not to believe in gravity, the Japanese Freddy Mercury, a charismatic jock, a man of lucha legacy, an Oliver Twist who is ready to fight his way out of the orphanage, a deceptively tall Hot Topic manager, and a YouTuber all fight in the shadow of a ladder.

How Did We Get Here? Yes, you’re reading that right – one of the participants is YouTube sensation and influencer Logan Paul. He’s the surprise bonus man who was revealed the latest, and unfortunately, he’s annoyingly good at the whole wrestling thing. He has athleticism on par with these pros and he’s probably going to try and steal the show from resident one man ladder match highlight reel Ricochet. In any case, all the other men in the match had to qualify for this match in some way, and really, the briefcase that’s gonna dangle between them all is the story.

What’s the biggest story overall in the match, though, is that this is the first men’s ladder match ever to contain no former WWE world champions (Nakamura has been a world champ in New Japan Pro Wrestling and LA Knight has been a world champ in Impact Wrestling). Winning MITB is a virtual lock to become world champion in the next year, so this makes the match one of the most exciting on paper in years. 

As noted, expect Ricochet and Logan Paul to pull off the most impressive aerial feats, but luchador and member of the Latino World Order, Santos Escobar, can’t be counted out of the show stealing conversation either. Shinsuke Nakamura has an outside chance as he’s got a bit of momentum going in, but Damian Priest may have the most momentum of anyone. Coming off of main eventing WWE Backlash in Puerto Rico opposite music superstar Bad Bunny, Priest has shown he can be trusted to perform when the lights are the brightest, in addition to his stable the Judgment Day being on fire of late. Expect Butch to be the most brutal with how to use the ladders to maim his opponents; I anticipate many creatively broken fingers.

And then there’s LA Knight. LA has been stuck in some sort of weird limbo for quite a long time, but he’s a package of untapped charisma for the company. How charismatic is he? He gets some of the loudest cheers anytime he shows up by just being given a microphone. Despite someone like Priest having tons of momentum, LA Knight is reportedly a backstage choice to win and has jettisoned his way to being a favorite by just saying “YEAH” really loudly.     

Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match

Zelina Vega vs. Becky Lynch vs. Zoey Stark vs. Bayley vs. Iyo Sky vs. Trish Stratus


TL; DR // A nerdy Boricua with the most momentum she’s ever had, the biggest female box office draw in her craft, an unapologetic relative newcomer, the Karen, a woman who simply chooses not to believe in gravity, and arguably the greatest female wrestler in WWE history battle for a box full of dreams. 

How Did We Get Here? Again, it’s the Money in the Bank match, so a chance to have a guaranteed title match is enough for anyone to fight. However, there are lots of smaller stories that interconnect in this match moreso than the men’s match. For starters, five of the six women involved have been at each other’s throats in some way for the past several months, with only Zelina Vega sort of being the outsider.

Becky Lynch and Trish Stratus have been locked in a war over their iconic statuses ever since Wrestlemania and Zoey Stark inserted herself into that feud on Trish’s side when she got called up to the main WWE roster from their developmental program, NXT. Stark is a newcomer to the main roster but she isn’t “new” at this; she’s been honing her craft for ten years but has been given a huge spotlight and now a chance to break out as soon as she got here.

Bayley and Iyo Sky are members of the same group, Damage CTRL, however they are not seeing eye to eye in what’s the other big story under this ladder. For the past couple of months or so, there have been subtle moves made by Bayley that indicate she is not happy with her stablemates and that could erupt here since it is every woman for herself. I’m more than certain Iyo Sky will join Ricochet as the highlight reels of their respective matches, but Iyo winning the briefcase would likely make for the best storytelling going forward as there’s no way Damage CTRL (or anyone within earshot, really) would survive Bayley’s jealousy and the Karen-grade tantrum that comes with it. 

Damage CTRL and Becky with Trish all collided at Wrestlemania and kept clashing, so they’re very familiar with one another. Bayley and Becky have been at odds since their standout NXT days in the early to mid-2010s. There’s even a connection with Zoey Stark and Iyo Sky – not only was Stark introduced in NXT as Sky’s good friend and hairdresser, but they won the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships together. 

Zelina Vega’s story, meanwhile, is that she’s riding an emotional high. After competing in her family’s home territory of Puerto Rico for the first time at WWE Backlash and playing a part in the latest Street Fighter game, Vega has been determined to get back to a place where she can compete for a title. Vega and Stark are the only members of this match to have never held any prominent singles gold in WWE. 

World Heavyweight Championship

Seth “Freakin’” Rollins (c) vs. Finn Balor

TL; DR // A loss seven years ago has been stewing, eating away at a man who can channel a demon to the point of bitterness. He might finally gain vengeance as he gets a chance to destroy the very showstopper who took away the greatest prize his demon ever held. I promise this is not a back-of-the-box description of a Wuxia movie but I see how you’d think that. 

How Did We Get Here? In the summer of 2016, Finn Balor faced Seth Rollins in the finals of a tournament to crown the first ever WWE Universal Champion. During the match, an errant powerbomb from Rollins tore Balor’s shoulder. Despite this, Balor continued to win the match, only to have to relinquish it the next night due to the severity of the injury. It was part of Balor’s debut on the main roster from NXT and he has never reached anywhere near that height again for seven years.

Seth Rollins, however, has evolved since that 2016 match to be the single most dynamic performer in the entire company. He’s able to put on a match with anyone and brings out the best in his opponents to put on a show. He’s great on the mic, he’s phenomenal in the ring, his athletic ability is ridiculous, his charisma is infectious, and his fashion choices are sublime. Crowds sing his entrance theme along with his conducting every time he shows up.

After defeating Balor in another tournament for a new world championship and winning it all this time, Rollins had some run-ins with Balor’s running buddies, the Judgment Day. Balor brought up that very 2016 match that would end up derailing his career and challenged Seth for his new championship knowing he’d beaten him for one once before. Rollins accepted and the two have built this match around the idea that in the last seven years, Balor has gotten bitter while Rollins has gotten better

I fully expect this match to steal the entire show despite the whole event being built around two spectacle matches and an even bigger tag team match (more on that in a sec). There will be echoes and call backs aplenty to the previous matches the two have had together, and likely both men digging deep into their movepools to use techniques they probably haven’t used since their star-making indie days to showcase the parallel between them even more.


Tag Team Match

The Bloodline (Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns & Solo Sikoa) vs. The Usos (Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso)

TL; DR // Three years of torture, gaslighting, and abuse have finally turned a pair of twin brothers against both their younger brother and their cousin – the single most powerful (and paranoid) man in the business. I promise this is not a back-of-the-box description of a mafia movie but I see how you’d think that.

How Did We Get Here? Oh boy. Where to even begin with this? I’ll try to make this as brief as I can to show just a modicum of how significant this match is, but damn this won’t be easy (or short). 

Three years ago, Roman Reigns won the WWE Universal Championship and became the Tribal Chief, the undisputed leader of the fabled Anoa’i wrestling dynasty. Well, it was disputed at first because his very first challenger for his title was his own cousin, Jey Uso.

Jey had always been one-half of The Usos, a set of twin brothers from that same Samoan dynasty. They had already established themselves as one of the greatest tag teams of all time by that point, but Jey inexplicably got not one but two title shots against his relative. In these matches, Roman beat the tar out of his family member to solidify what he was willing to do to get his people to fall in line and ACKNOWLEDGE HIM. In the process, Roman also tortured Jey’s brother and partner, Jimmy, to ensure that Jey would fall under his command. 

When Jimmy returned from injury, from that point forward, the group known as The Bloodline would begin an unstoppable run as possibly the most dominant stable in company history. Along the way, the Usos unified the two sets of WWE’s Tag Team Championships (becoming the longest reigning champs in the process) and Reigns unified the WWE Championship and the WWE Universal Championship. The Usos younger brother, Solo Sikoa, would join in on the fun in the fall of 2022. Also schmoozing his way into The Bloodline was one Sami Zayn.

Long story short, Zayn thought he had found his place in The Bloodline, particularly with Jey Uso. Jey is the one who vouched for Sami’s every move and they became the closest of friends. So you can see why Jey was absolutely distraught when Sami turned on Roman at the Royal Rumble 2023 in a moment that will be remembered as one of the greatest emotional climaxes in all of wrestling history – it certainly got the crowd reaction as such, with the arena microphones peaking and the entire building shaking at the live audience’s cheering.

However, even after leaving The Bloodline behind, Sami never left Jey Uso behind. He explained that he left because he saw the psychological and sometimes physical abuse that Roman was dishing out to his own family to serve himself in his bids for absolute power. He wanted to rescue Jey Uso from the beginning. Even after defeating The Usos alongside Kevin Owens for the Undisputed Tag Team Championships, Zayn was still shown having conversations with Jey emphasizing to him that he has a choice. He always has a choice.  

That choice was laid bare after The Usos failed to recapture the Tag Team titles and accidentally cost Roman and Solo their shot at the same belts. Attempting to interfere on their family’s behalf, The Usos accidentally hit their brother, enraging Reigns to the point of physical retaliation against his own peoples. It was then that Jimmy Uso made his choice by kicking Roman square in the jaw.

After a few weeks of being pulled between his twin and his family duties, Jey seemingly made the choice to stay with The Bloodline and kick his own brother out…before kicking Roman square in the head, staying true to his brother, and finally making the choice he’d had all along.

(Bonus trivia for anyone unaware: uso is Samoan for brother.) 

Rest assured, The Beat will do a full breakdown of The Bloodline storyline when that time comes, but for now, there is one thing I‘d love for people to keep in mind: Jey Uso is the protagonist of The Bloodline story. He’s the one we have followed and have known his every thoughts and feelings every step of the way. And I’m aching for the huge storytelling moment where he lets Roman, his final boss, absolutely have it

WWE Intercontinental Championship

Gunther (c) vs. Matt Riddle

TL; DR // An Austrian brute and a former MMA fighter have a gentlemen’s disagreement about whether the other one should even be standing, so they’ll just kill each other about it. 

How Did We Get Here? The massive and brutal Gunther has held the WWE Intercontinental Championship for over a year now, caving in the chests of all challengers with his heavy hands and overwhelming physicality. Skater dudebro Matt Riddle, however, has been absent for most of that reign, getting suspended for a wellness policy violation in early December 2022 that reportedly led to him being forced to go to rehab.

Gunther retained his title in a Triple Threat match against Drew McIntyre and Sheamus at Wrestlemania 39 in a match that got a 5 star rating from Dave Meltzer. The next night, Riddle returned to television. While competing in a battle royal to determine Gunther’s next challenger a month later, Imperium attacked Riddle and caused him to be eliminated. The next week, they cost Riddle again in a Money in the Bank qualifying match. Riddle would get revenge when Imperium challenged for the Tag Team Championships, distracting them long enough for them to lose. After beating Ludwig Kaiser of Imperium, Riddle challenged Gunther to a title match that was quickly accepted.

This match is set up as a wonderful clash of characters, but a meshing of similar styles; Gunther is a no-nonsense grappler who claims that the ring is “sacred” and wishes to bring respect for “true” wrestling back to the company. Riddle, meanwhile, acts like he’s blazed out of his mind at all times and doesn’t seem to take much seriously. However, the two have styles based on educated strikes and expert submissions that I’m certain will produce an absolutely savage contest. Both men are leaving with their opponent’s hand marks imprinted in their faces and chests.  

WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship

Rhonda Rousey & Shayna Baszler (c) vs. Liv Morgan & Raquel Rodriguez

TL; DR // A pair of MMA bullies who love to break peoples’ limbs and love to cosplay Warhammer are challenged by one of their favorite victims and Luisa from Encanto over some titles they never truly lost.

How Did We Get Here? Shayna Baszler, incredibly accomplished MMA competitor, had possibly one the best runs in NXT of any female talent – better than even the vaulted Four Horsewomen of NXT: Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks, and Bayley. But ever since she’s come up to the main roster, Baszler lost her habit of bullying and – beyond a Wrestlemania match against Becky Lynch – generally wasn’t being used to the best of her abilities.

Enter old friend Rhonda Rousey, who really needs no introduction. Following her own failure to recapture the Smackdown Women’s Championship, Rousey noticed that Shayna had lost her edge and promised to bring that killer instinct back out of her. Her methods worked well enough, netting the two a big win over Wrestlemania 39 weekend. One of the teams they got the win over was demure dynamite Liv Morgan and brick house Raquel Rodriguez. 

That same team would wind up winning the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships, however, during a title defense in May, Morgan legitimately injured her shoulder. Rhoda and Shayna let Raquel know in no uncertain terms that they wanted a shot at those belts, whether Raquel had a partner or not. Because Liv was not well enough to compete, however, the titles were vacated and the MMA bullies would win them anyway.

On a late June episode of Smackdown, Rhonda and Shayna added to their list of bodies broken when they unified the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships with the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships. Rodriguez watched from ringside, and when pressed by Rhonda what the hell she was there for, Rodriguez challenged the champions with her partner, a returning and healed Liv Morgan. Having never actually been defeated for those titles, the former champs were granted a match at Money in the Bank.

You can be pretty sure that Rhonda and Baszler will hone in on Liv Morgan during the match and try to finish ripping apart her injured shoulder with their superb submission knowledge. The only thing I’m more certain than that is that Shayna will be wearing gear inspired by Warhammer 40k as she continues her campaign to get cast in the upcoming movie.     

It should be noted that Rhonda and Liv actually have some history and at this event specifically: when Liv won the Women’s Money in the Bank last year, she cashed it in later that evening. The champ she cashed in on? A weakened Rhonda Rousey. Liv would go on to retain the title against her later, making the list of people who have defeated Rhonda Rousey cleanly more than once read Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, and Liv Morgan. 

Cody Rhodes vs. Dominik Mysterio (w/Women’s World Champion Rhea Ripley)

TL; DR // Two 2nd-Generation grapplers face off in a match that was made by a dominatrix, as the son of a son of a plumber takes on an UNGRATEFUL BRAT going through his vampire phase.

How Did We Get Here? This one has the least amount of build, but serves an important role in telling a longer story. On a segment of Miz TV, Dominik told Cody Rhodes that he’s a terrible father because he isn’t at home with his infant daughter – he would know, as he accused his own father, Rey Mysterio, of doing the same to him as a child. Rhodes retorted by calling Dominik Rey Mystero’s biggest mistake. Dominik faked leaving, but got a cheap shot on Rhodes with his back turned. During Rhea Ripley’s new championship ceremony a week later, Rhodes interrupted to challenge Dom, only for Rhea to speak for him and accept.

Cody Rhodes is still trying to find some kind of momentum after falling short against Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania and surviving Brock Lesnar. However, it’s Dominik who is the more important focal point here. Dom doesn’t really have that many big matches under his belt other than the one with his father. At that, this is a part of the continuation of the story of Rhea Ripley being the siren in Dominik’s ear, enchanting him to be essentially her simp and join the Judgment Day. Considering how the stable is now one of the central pieces of Monday Night RAW and has only just begun to show the slightest sign of cracking, how Dominik performs here and where this takes him might not be significant at the event itself, but will in the long run.

I look forward to “impartial” Michael Cole continuing to call Dominik names and cheer every time he gets his ass beat over at the commentary table. Believe it or not, in wrestling, that too is storytelling. Dom Mysterio is hands down the biggest heat magnet on the WWE roster (that hasn’t abused his cousins) to the point where even an experienced journalist who covered wars loses his composure and hates on the bastard.

That’s it for this breakdown/me regurgitating an endless stream of wrestling knowledge at you. Hope this was helpful or at least entertaining, and if it was, uh, leave a YEAH in the comments. If it didn’t, too bad, you scrolled down this far and we already got your precious clicky money (in the bank) heh heh heh.


  1. Great article! Two notes:

    -Puerto Rico is a territory, not a country.
    -Bold to call Shinsuke “the Japanese Freddy Mercury” when Emi Sakura still exists!

    Otherwise, this was a lot of fun to read. Looking forward to the next in this series!

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