WWE: Straight To The Top – Money In The Bank Ladder Match Anthology (Cert 15)
2 Disc Blu-ray / 3 Disc DVD (Distributor: Freemantle Media) Running Time: 392 minutes approx.
In 2005, with Wrestlemania 21 approaching, a number of top tier stars of the time didn’t have a match on the card for the Grandest Stage Of Them All until Chris Jericho made an announcement on RAW about a concept he had brewing in his mind. Jericho felt that he and five other RAW wrestles were deserving of a shot at the brand’s title (at that point it was the World Title held by – who else? – Triple H) so he proffered the idea to then RAW GM Eric Bischoff of a ladder match where the prize would be a briefcase containing a contract for a world title shot with a one year expiration date. Bischoff liked the idea and thus the Money in The Bank Ladder match was born.
Despite first being introduced to the WWF in mid 1992 in a match taped for a home video release between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels, the ladder match was a spectacle used rather sparingly with only four more being held until the first tag team ladder match at the No Mercy PPV in October 1999 between Edge & Christian vs Hardy Boyz.
Suddenly the potential for this high risk stunt fest to steal the show was realised and from then on the ladder match – which then morphed into the TLC match – became a more frequent (and occasionally overused) gimmick match on TV and PPV. The MITB match is the latest permutation to liven it up a bit by making it a multi-man affair and make the choice of winner (hopefully) less predictable.
This very comprehensive release is hosted by The Miz, himself a former MITB winner in 2010 and a subsequent WWE champion when he cashed his contract in on then WWE Champ Randy Orton. In an empty studio surrounded by ladders The Miz is in character somehow flitting between heel and face from link to link, which is an odd thing to do when presenting a video.
They also do that annoying thing when they cut to a profile shot of The Miz while he is talking directly to the main camera so he appears to looking in the wrong direction. It would have been nice to get some thoughts from the wrestlers themselves about participating in such a dangerous match but no such luck, so we are stuck with The Miz prattling on. At least the links are kept short.
As the title suggest this set contains every MITB from its debut in 2005 right through to the two matches at this year’s MITB PPV (full review of that show is HERE) while the Blu-ray extras features all of the matches where the briefcase was cashed in thus far – from Edge’s surprise appearance at the New Year’s Revolution PPV in 2006 to Dolph Ziggler cashing in on Alberto Del Rio on RAW the night after Wrestlemania 29.
Since most of these “matches” were basically run ins on the champion who had just competed in a gruelling match of their own, these are largely short affairs, aside from the classic RVD vs Cena match from ECW One Night Stand where the champ faced his most hostile crowd ever.
For those of you who are interested, the first match has been heavily edited due to the presence of Chris Benoit. His entrance has been cut as has every mention of his name. While his contributions to the match couldn’t be cut without ruining it, the moments where he is carried out of the match and his triumphant return have also disappeared into the ether. If you’ve not seen the match before this may not bother you so much but it is oddly noticeable al the same.
A slightly more beneficial edit is in the match from WM 26 where the winner had an embarrassing seventeen second struggle to get the briefcase down has been cleverly cut down to two seconds!
Aside from the seven hours plus of metal on bone insanity the nostalgia factor provides some interest to long term fans who will revel in seeing some faces from the past no longer with WWE or – like this reviewer – startled to be reminded of some of the names that did participate in the early Wrestlemania MITB matches.
Personally I had forgotten that the likes of Finlay, Booker T, Bobby Lashley and even Ric Flair had been in this match! Also with time moving so fast it seems like it has been more years since the likes of MVP, Matt and Jeff Hardy and Mr. Kennedy were last in the WWE than it actually has been.
It is possible to have feelings of overkill when watching this release in that there have been fourteen MITB matches in just eight years making this a title that you shouldn’t watch in one go for fear of fatigue. After all there are so many bumps from and into ladders one can watch before they becomes desensitised to them, not to mention the repetition of certain spots.
Thus, dipping in and out of this one at a whim is recommended. However, if you are a fan of this car crash concept then having all of the entries in one place rather than having to sift through your DVD collection to watch them makes this a doubly handy addition to your collection.
Straight To The Top delivers the action from start to finish and the Blu-ray extras make this one of the most complete collections released by the WWE in sometime. Obviously the MITB legacy is far from over so a second volume will no doubt appear in a few years time but for now, ladder match lovers will be in their element with this jam packed, top value for money collection!
German & French Language
New Year’s Revolution – January 8, 2006 – WWE Championship Match – John Cena (c) vs. Edge
ECW One Night Stand – June 11, 2006 – WWE Title Extreme Rules Match – John Cena (c) vs. Rob Van Dam
Smackdown – May 11, 2007 – World Title Match – The Undertaker (c) vs. Edge
Raw – June 30, 2008 – World Title Match – Edge (c) vs. CM Punk
Extreme Rules – June 7, 2009 – World Title Match – Jeff Hardy (c) vs. CM Punk
Smackdown – April 2, 2010 – World Title Match – Chris Jericho (c) vs. Jack Swagger
Money in the Bank – July 18, 2010 – World Title Match – Rey Mysterio vs. Kane
Raw – November 22, 2010 – WWE Title Match – Randy Orton (c) vs. The Miz
*Bonus: Behind-the-Scenes Footage Following The Miz’s Victory
Summerslam – August 14, 2011 – WWE Championship Match – CM Punk (c) vs. Alberto Del Rio
TLC – December 18, 2011 – World Title Match – Big Show (c) vs. Daniel Bryan
Raw – July 23, 2012 – WWE Title Match – CM Punk (c) vs. John Cena
Raw – April 8, 2013 – World Title Match – Alberto Del Rio vs. Dolph Ziggler
Rating – **** ½
Man In Black