wrestling / Columns

The Mt. Rushmore Of Wrestling: The Best Ladder Matches

March 1, 2019 | Posted by Caliber Winfield
Edge Christian Hardys Dudleys TLC Summerslam Ladder Match

rushmoreheader

Greetings, all.

So, this WrestleMania is shaping up to be interesting, no? I’m looking forward to Triple H vs Batista, because they always killed it, as well as Kofi vs Bryan. I love Bryan’s current heel run, especially with his heater and Earth-friendly belt. That’s just brilliant.

The biggest thought from last week was that I should have included Austin vs Shawn from WrestleMania 14. Well, the reason I didn’t, was because I didn’t feel it was more important than Austin’s match at WrestleMania 13. For one, that match put both Bret & Austin on paths that would see them reach the peak of their abilities. For Austin, the path was the biggest star in the history of the business, and for Bret, one of the greatest heel runs ever, that lead us to the Montreal Screwjob. With Austin vs Shawn, it was basically a formality. Austin getting the strap wasn’t going to make him anymore over than he was, and Shawn was gone afterward.

Alright, on to this week!

EDGE & CHRISTIAN VS THE HARDYZ VS THE DUDLEYZ – TLC 1

Why It’s On The Mountain: Holy hell did this match influence the wrestling landscape for years. After TLC 1, wrestlers were constantly trying to one-up each other, doing more and more ridiculous things, giving rise to fledgling companies like CZW and the such. Sure, you had Japanese Death Matches, companies like FMW, Mick & Sabu doing their thing over here in the states, but with TLC 1, that whole aspect of wrestling was put on a high pedestal, polished, and turned into a spectacle.

Edge & Christian vs The Hardyz vs The Dudleyz – TLC 1
They start off hot, with the first two great bumps being when Matt throws a chair into Bubba’s skull, and Bubba throws a chair into Jeff’s. Man, then they just get into it. Slamming into ladders, falling off of them, all types of shit that just looks like it hurts. Goddamn, I forgot just how massively over the Dudleyz were. Wow. Christian is the first to go through a table, when he eats a 3D. Edge gets hit with 2 guillotine leg drops, one of which Jeff leap frogs over a ladder to hit, and I just can’t imagine that’s good for your spine whatsoever. Matt tries the “put someone in a ladder and smash it up and down” ordeal, but, as it does every time, the arms keep extending and locking it, completely ruining the effect. For some reason I always get a kick out of that. Jeff earns his pay check by doing a swanton off a ladder through 2 tables. Bubba soon earns his, by falling off a ladder from the ring, through 4 stacked tables. Jeff & D-Von soon take 2 nasty bumps when they’re hanging off the rope that’s holding the titles, before both being sent crashing to the mat. Immediately after, E & C climb up and snatch the titles. Man, that was just something else. The ramifications of this TLC match, both good & bad, would shape the industry for years to come. One hell of a spectacle.
Edge & Christian grabs the belts at 14:51 | *****

EDGE & CHRISTIAN VS THE HARDY BOYZ

Why It’s On The Mountain: It’s crazy to think that there was a time when we’d only known 1vs1 ladder matches. Now whenever you see a two-man ladder match, it’s odd. Well, the turn took place back in 1999, when 4 upstarts came in and killed themselves in the name of evolution. You wouldn’t imagine they could take this even further, but sure enough…

Edge & Christian vs The Hardy Boyz – Terri Invitational Tournament
Matt botches right off the bat, but it wasn’t caught very well on camera, so we’ll just pretend it didn’t happen. Right off the bat they start doing nothings never before seen, but soon to be staples of multi-man ladder matches. The crowd is loving it. They have a nice spot that I’ve only ever seen here, where the Hardyz are holding the ladder, and rush Edge, who rolls under, only for Christian to leap off the top rope and crash into the ladder, taking both Hardyz down. They then set Matt in the corner with the ladder placed right in his hardy boyz, and both drop kick a side of the ladder. Pretty brilliant. Christian later stands at the top of a ladder with Jeff, and delivers a hip toss, something I’ve only ever seen done in this match. The Hardyz finally win in a great spot where Jeff is pushed off one ladder, only to jump to another, pushing Edge off, and climbing to the top, grabbing the money. This isn’t as great as their ladder ventures, but it’s still an amazing match, and absolutely ground breaking. A lot of fun.
Jeff grabs the money bag at 16:40 | ****1/4

SHAWN MICHEALS VS RAZOR RAMON

Why It’s On The Mountain: Yeah, this one is a given. However, I think the “Shawn had a match with a ladder” comment is bullshit. Scott was just as important to this match.

Shawn Micheals vs Razor Ramon – WrestleMania X
It’s absolutely insane that Diesel is standing ring-side for Shawn’s match at for this WrestleMania, and one year later Shawn would be facing Diesel for his title. Man, these two guys were crisp. Honestly, I forgot just how great of a worker Scott Hall was. However, I always hated when he did the spot where he acts like he’s gonna hit the Razor’s Edge, but he’s right by the ropes so a person can toss him over. I mean, he’s clearly NEVER going to hit the move, because there isn’t room for it when he’s up against the ropes. No matter how many times I see it, I always cringe when Shawn smashes the ladder into Razor’s rounded back twice in a row. Fucking ouch. These guys are keeping a hell of a pace whenever they do spots that involve running. Great moment when Razor rams the top part of the ladder into Shawn’s jaw, sending him flying out of the ring. The rest of the match is a bit slow, and honestly, after everything I’ve seen from other ladder matches, this one doesn’t hold up. I’ve always felt their SummerSlam rematch was the true classic. But, naturally, this one was revolutionary and put both guys on the map with a bullet.
Razor grabs the belt while Shawn is trapped in the ropes at 18:47 | ***1/2 [by today’s standards, clearly a ***** for all purpose.

BRET HART VS SHAWN MICHAELS

Why It’s On The Mountain: For this one, I had a debate in my mind. Should I include this, or the first ladder match from Stampede Wrestling, which was Junkyard Dog vs Jake The Snake. I eventually decided on this for a number of reasons. The biggest being that this match is infinitely better. While Stampede’s match came first, if Bret & Shawn put on a match that was as bad as the Stampede one, then we never would have seen another ladder match. We owe arguably the most popular match type of all time to this one right here. A match that was tucked away on a Coliseum Home Video Release.

Bret Hart [C] vs Shawn Michaels – Intercontinental Championship
I’m actually surprised they left Sherri’s version of Shawn’s theme song in this match. I can just see it bothering Vince for some reason. It annoys me that the earlier version of Shawn’s tights were just random chicken nugget shapes. I mean, seeing this, how would you NOT think “They should be hearts”. I know that’s what they turned into, but it’s something that should have been realized right off the jump. The match starts off with each guy trading momentum, and neither really gaining, until Shawn starts using the ladder first. Which, awesomely, Gorilla says that Shawn used the ladder like a “ramrod”, he would later ask for a liter of Cola. Really, he’s not my favorite, but Bret really is the greatest wrestler ever. His shit looked so real, so legit. It was absolutely crisp, every time. Shawn hits Bret with the Superkick at one point, and Gorilla calls it a “reverse crescent kick”. What in the blue hell does that even mean?! Shawn goes for it, and almost makes it, but Bret hits it with a drop-kick, knocking Shawn to the outside. He then climbs up and snags it. This was a hell of a match, that just happened to contain a ladder, before the match style would evolve, and the ladder would take center place.
Bret grabs the title at 15:42 | ****1/2

Any questions, comments, drunk-ramblings, feel free to send them my way, I always dig hearing from you, the beautiful people.
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