Austin Theory may view WWE Clash at the Castle as the perfect time to cash in his Money in the Bank contract but he would be wise to take inspiration from the first man to do so, Edge.
Way back in 2005, Edge was the winner of the inaugural Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania 21 – it took place on the grandest stage of them all until 2010.
The concept of the match and the contract was extremely interesting and a little bit mysterious, given Edge now had a year to cash in and challenge for either the WWE title or the World Heavyweight Championship.
What was not entirely clear was how or when he would do so. Edge being the mischievous and cunning heel that he was during this time, knew he could cash in at any time and any place – literally.
He would not give the champion fair warning of when their title defence would take place. He would cash in when it suited him best, as was his right to do.
As 2006 rolled in, it was not certain when Edge would cash in and the clock was ticking towards WrestleMania 22 and the expiry of the contract.
And then he struck when the fans and the champion, John Cena, least expected.
At New Year’s Revolution, Edge had lost by disqualification to Ric Flair (as part of his overall strategy for the night) and was not even scheduled to compete in the Elimination Chamber match for the WWE title.
John Cena had just defeated five of Raw’s best: Kurt Angle, Shawn Michaels, Kane, Carlito and Chris Masters, and was very much morphing into the “Super Cena” persona that polarised the fanbase.
A bloody and battered mess, Cena was then informed by Vince McMahon that Edge was cashing in his contract. Two spears on his easy prey later, the Rated-R Superstar was WWE champion for the very first time. As Joey Styles put it, he had “shocked the world.”
This rang true and showed the brilliance of the concept as well as the evolution of Edge’s character into that of the “Ultimate Opportunist,” someone who would do whatever they had to do to win.
Edge’s win of the contract and the title also showed what they can for a performer. It was in this time that Edge elevated himself into a main event player – he headlined WrestleMania with the Undertaker just two years later in 2008, having cashed in a second Money in the Bank on The Deadman months earlier.
The once-again Austin Theory should look to follow suit in his Money in the Bank contract ownership and World Title conquest, particularly with Reigns now operating on a similar level to Cena and The Undertaker.
He has already been thwarted in his first attempt by Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania and with Vince gone (“Your daddy’s not here anymore” from Roman Reigns may be line of the year), it looks like he will need to devise an unseen before strategy to successfully capture the title.
It remains to be seen if Triple H is as high on Theory as Vince was, but if so, Edge should be the template for both his cash-in and ascension up the ranks of WWE.