Money in the Bank is a pay-per-view that creates moments on the night of the match, and then keeps on delivering them. For every Shelton Benjamin run up a ladder there's a Dolph Ziggler cash-in, or an iconic shot of Seth Rollins triumphantly swinging the WWE championship at WrestleMania 31.
It's because of those moments that there's always a certain aura in the air when Money in the Bank rolls around. The viewer expects to see a great show, and knows that the outcome of the two ladder matches will change the course of WWE programming. When the WWE hosted its first ever "For Your Emmy Consideration" event on June 6 in North Hollywood, California, the event celebrated a lot of the company's most iconic moments -- and while Money in the Bank was well represented, the day's events covered a wide spectrum of what WWE has been able to accomplish in recent years.
On the red carpet, WWE superstars of today and icons of the past alike were eager to share some of their fondest memories of being a part of some magical WWE moments.
On her emotional victory against Asuka: That match meant so much to me. I was [emotional]! I feel as if I've done so much in the WWE, but facing Asuka at WrestleMania, and having a singles match which hasn't happened in almost 10 or 11 years, knowing that I had the opportunity to steal the show, and the expectations for women's wrestling ... when it was over, I just knew I had given it my all. The last place my little brother wrestled was in Japan, and my father's legacy is a huge part of Japanese culture and getting to face Asuka who is a Japanese superstar, just made my career come full circle. Overall, I felt like, "IT'S DONE!" I needed to freak out.
On her favorite "first" women's match: I guess it has to be Hell in a Cell. I can't say it was my favorite match, but it's definitely my favorite moment. Sasha [Banks] is someone I came up through the ranks with, and if there's someone I was going to main event a pay-per-view with, it would be her. Being in Boston and seeing this girl who grew up wanting to be a WWE superstar, and here she was main-eventing a pay-per-view, and being a part of that. People said women would never main event a major pay-per-view and here we were in a cell, main-eventing.
On the best advice Ric Flair has given her: He always says when you first go through the curtain that you have to know who you are. If you don't believe in yourself, the audience isn't going to believe in you. Always be on. That always stuck with me.
On what it says about the evolution of professional wrestling that an event like the FYC campaign is a reality: It's exactly where the WWE belongs. This is something that has been in the works for a very long time. We've evolved to a place where we actually have this opportunity where we can prove that WWE belongs here. When you consider that Monday Night Raw is the longest running weekly episodic television show in history, with over 1,300 episodes, it beats even "The Simpsons." It's because of our stories, incredible characters, and that we empower our audience. Our audience is part of our show. We're incredibly proud and privileged to be here.
On her first WrestleMania match: I have never been more nervous in my life. It was absolutely a dream come true to be able to wrestle at WrestleMania in general. It was the event my father created and I'm teaming with my husband who is arguably one of the greatest stars in history. Having the opportunity to be a part of Ronda Rousey's debut, and being a part of Kurt [Angle]'s first match in years was an amazing opportunity. It's a moment I'll never forget.
On why the FYC campaign is happening and what it says about where the WWE stands: I think it's the natural evolution, but for some forms of entertainment it takes longer. We have inspired and entertained generation after generation. Those generations are now moving up and becoming the decision-makers. Generations before maybe saw something like us differently. As you look at the event tonight, hundreds of thousands of people come to our events globally, we are an entertainment force. It all comes down to whether we're a sport or entertainment, it doesn't matter, it's WWE. As long as you love it, that's all that matters.
Advice he gave Stephanie before going out of the curtain at WrestleMania 34: I told her to have fun. There's 80,000 people, it's the biggest match of your life, there's all these things. Don't forget to have fun, enjoy it, and put smiles on kids faces in the crowd. You only get this opportunity a few times in life, so enjoy it, because it goes by quickly.
If he has a favorite NXT match: To watch so many young talents come in with a dream, to give them an opportunity to try and live that dream like your own kid, it would be hard and unfair to pick a favorite.
Shawn Michaels explains how he became a part of the team at the WWE Performance Center, the parts of the job that drew him in and how he can take the lessons he's learned and teach the next generation. He also gets into the different stages of the evolution of the wrestling business. (Courtesy of Farbod Esnaashari)
On his passion for training young talent: The family and I went on a vacation to Florida, we went down and visited the [WWE] Performance Center, and it's an infectious atmosphere. Unbelievably passionate young men and women down there, and it was just something I wanted to be a part of. I think obviously this line of work is something I love. As you begin to think about the WWE and the future of it, you want it to be in good hands.
One of the best ways to do that is to get your hands in there and hopefully make it become that way. Honestly after Hunter and I talked about it, my family and I made the decision to move to Florida. It's just been a wonderful decision. I have an unbelievably great amount of joy being down there with everyone.
On how he's seen wrestling evolve firsthand: It's fascinating, because I can remember the old-timers telling me and [Bret] we were going too fast. These guys are taking it to a whole new level. Of course, remembering what those guys said to me, I make sure I don't say it to these guys. I tell them don't worry about it. Getting them to understand and appreciate their ability, to not be scared of it, and to not let people rain on their parade.
The thing is, you have to encourage them. I have to be honest, I think the athleticism and talent coming forward in the WWE and NXT is phenomenal. I think they're going to continue to take it another level, as they should. Every sport gets better, faster, and I don't think the WWE should be any different.
On his favorite feat of strength he has done on TV: When I superplexed Big Show off the top rope. It hurts -- it's two 400-pound men falling seven feet off the ground. It was awe-inspiring to hear the reaction of the WWE universe. To do that with a legend that I grew up idolizing, that mentored me coming into the business, and was such an influential part in the development of Braun Strowman ... to do that with Big Show will always be near and dear to my heart.
Strowman's feats of food: The most chicken wings I ever ate in one sitting was 138 wings at Hooters. It was an all-you-can-eat deal, and they hated seeing me come in there when I was competing for the World's Strongest Man. I've eaten seven racks of ribs one time at an all-you-can-eat ribs place. I pretty much have the biggest appetite. A lot of the guys get grossed out watching me eat, it's a process.
His favorite part and least favorite about teaming with Naomi: They're very, very close. Obviously the best part is teaming up with my wife. It's a little different chemistry, I'm a little more worried out there. With my brother I don't have to be worried as much. Worst thing is trying to figure out what to wear. She asks me how we're going to match. Let's just wear what we always wear!
On finally getting his WrestleMania spot: Everything came around full circle. Obviously we grind all year around to be on WrestleMania. I finally got my moment last year, I feel complete in a way.
If she has a big Money in the Bank Spot planned: Absolutely. I wasn't in the Money in the Bank last year, which I was pretty bummed about, but it was OK since I was champion at the time. I'm super excited to show out and be a part of it this year. Since I started my career, it's definitely been a match I've always wanted to participate in.
What it was like being in the first Women's Elimination Chamber match: It was amazing. When we went into the chamber we weren't really sure what to expect, because the structure has changed every year. We got into the chamber and I remember being extremely nervous because it was a lot bigger and scarier than I imagined. Seeing how high the pods were was very nerve-wracking but also exciting. Because it was what our Women's Evolution needed.
If she has the ability to turn her character away from the dark side at some point in the future: I would love to be a good guy because then I could be more of myself. When it comes to being Alexa Bliss I always think about the girls in high school -- like Regina George. She was mean to you, but you still voted her as prom queen. I take personal experiences from things I experienced in high school, or things that irritate me, and use them. I saw a little boy throwing a fit in the middle of the street, and so I started throwing a fit in the ring.
On her chemistry with Braun: They had an idea for us, but everything with our chemistry and videos was us. It was a lot of fun and it was really cool to be able to do what we wanted. They told us to do what we wanted, make it our own, and have fun.
What they would do with their own network show:
Big E: Actually a few years ago they approached me about writing a sketch show. Kind of "Between Two Ferns" inspired. It would be fun to do that as a trio.
Xavier Woods: I'd enjoy one where we traveled around different arcade bars around the country. We actually shot a pilot for it, so hopefully it's coming soon.
Kofi Kingston: I think just a general show of us being us. Almost kind of like how our "Ride Alongs" are, I think a lot of people would be interested in that.
What their favorite ridiculous moment in the ring was:
Big E: The fact that we had a promo segment with The Rock and we were able to get away with talking about a llama's genitals. That was real wacky, and we said it a lot.
Woods: The time we came out of a Booty-O's box. Coupled with the Dragon Ball Z stuff, it was crazy. Whatever inside jokes are funny to us that week, that's what we do on TV.
Kingston: Everything we do is kind of wacky. Right now it's about peddling pancakes.
On who she'd like to face among the MITB participants: Ember [Moon] would be amazing.
Best advice her family has given her: Dwayne ["The Rock" Johnson] has always told me it's nice to be important, but it's important to be nice. He's always someone who says to stay humble and work hard. That's something I always take with me.
Her favorite fan interaction: I had an interaction in Europe backstage where we were doing a VIP meet and greet, and a young boy came up to me. He gave me this huge hug with tears in his eyes and said "because of you, I can be proud of who I am." I started to choke up. He was just a 10-year-old boy -- I didn't realize how much of reach we had.
On her return in the women's Royal Rumble match: It was an honor to get the phone call. To actually be in Gorilla and see Lita, Trish, Sasha, and seeing all the different generations was incredible. This is the stuff you play video games and dream about. The minute my music hit I was so nervous I was going to vomit. I was worried if people were going to recognize me. It made me realize that this was home.
On a potential comeback: I know I can't come back full time because Birdie is my No. 1 priority. But I definitely want to come back, I mean the IIconics vs Nikki and I? I would just love to come for something, some type of small comeback. I just miss wrestling so much.
On watching Daniel Bryan's WrestleMania match: I was nervous watching Bryan's match because he was so excited, that I didn't want him to mess up or anything. Bryan was like a little kid in a candy shop, and I think that was so contagious, so I was beaming at the ring. I didn't think it was going to happen, and the fact that it did is incredible. It's cute because I'll watch Smackdown with Birdie, and she now knows his music. She knows the "Yes!" chant too.