Former Creative Writer Kevin Eck recently sat down to speak to Sporting News about his time with the company. Since Money In The Bank is right around the corner, Eck shed some light on past winners of the match. Below are highlights from the interview
How Daniel Bryan’s MITB Ladder Match win in 2011 led to his storyline with AJ Lee:
“I started working for WWE at the end of August 2011, six weeks after Bryan won the SmackDown MITB ladder match. Bryan’s victory was surprising at the time because he wasn’t getting much of a push beforehand. He wasn’t getting much of one after winning the blue briefcase, either. In fact, I was informed by some of my colleagues that Vince McMahon was having buyer’s remorse about making Bryan SmackDown’s Mr. Money in the Bank. The question was no longer when Bryan would cash in and win the title, it was whether he should be the first MITB winner to cash in and fail. …I didn’t know whether Bryan would ever be world champion, but I figured it could only help his cause if he had a story line, even a minor one.
“I pitched putting Bryan and another nerdy, undersized underdog — AJ Lee — together as a couple. Head writer Brian Gewirtz liked the idea, and we started writing some backstage segments with Bryan and AJ into the show. By the way, when I pulled Bryan and AJ aside at TV and told them they were about to become an on-screen couple, AJ was thrilled to be getting any opportunity, but Bryan was something less than thrilled. He said the last time he was involved in a romantic story line (with Gail Kim and The Bella Twins), it did him more harm than good. Despite his misgivings, however, Bryan was a total pro.”
Dolph Ziggler’s World Heavyweight Title win after cashing in his MITB briefcase:
“When Ziggler won the 2012 MITB ladder match for a guaranteed shot at the World Heavyweight Title, there was no specific plan in place as to when he would cash in and win the title. Ziggler actually attempted to cash in the contract several times only to be thwarted before the cash-in match could become official. It started to become a running joke. Much like Bryan, the longer Ziggler carried around the briefcase, the more likely it seemed that his eventual cash-in was going to be unsuccessful. To say McMahon had lost faith in Ziggler during this time would be a major understatement.
“Even though Ziggler was getting a good reaction from the fans, McMahon was highly critical of Ziggler’s instincts in the ring and his promos. Triple H wasn’t a big Ziggler fan, either. He thought Ziggler didn’t take direction well and was overly obsessed with trying to be the next Shawn Michaels. However, Ziggler did have one important supporter: WWE Hall of Famer Pat Patterson, who had been a member of McMahon’s inner circle on the creative side for decades and now had emeritus status. Even before Ziggler won the MITB ladder match, Patterson constantly prodded McMahon to give Ziggler a strong push.”