Top five ladder matches of all time

Jul 18, 2021; Fort Worth, TX, USA; Roman Reigns (black pants) with Paul Heyman (suit) and Edge (red pants) battle for the WWE Universal Championship during Money in the Bank at Dickies Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 18, 2021; Fort Worth, TX, USA; Roman Reigns (black pants) with Paul Heyman (suit) and Edge (red pants) battle for the WWE Universal Championship during Money in the Bank at Dickies Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

Money in the Bank always gets me thinking…thinking about ladder matches and extraordinary ones at that. So when I saw the suggestion topic on the board my editors leave up for writers, I nabbed this topic right away. Ladder matches add that extra element to a pro wrestling match, and it’s easy but hard all at the same time to find a bad one if you know what I mean. So today, we’ll be looking at the top five ladder matches of all time.

When I was on the Stairmaster this morning, I couldn’t help but think of what some of these matches take in the physicality department.

Of course, as I mentioned, since WWE’s Money in the Bank this weekend, these kinds of matches have been on my mind, so your mind wanders off course, especially on the Stairmaster…anything not to watch those minutes and seconds tick on by….

But it takes a certain type of athlete to perform particularly well in these matches. This is why I was so disappointed that Omos was included in that match on Saturday. He’s way too big to be functional in such a match and I warned everyone that I could that he’d have few spots if any in that match, and sure enough, when the match came to be, he at one point only climbed up two steps and stopped there awkwardly. Uh…cricket?

The rest of the time, he spent buried under a pile of chairs or passed out on the table that was crushed under his weight. I would say ‘I told you so,’ but why bother? WWE management seems to be obsessed with him despite the fact that he’s terrible on the microphone, can’t sell for beans, and isn’t as physically impressive as other giants on their roster or others. Rest assured that WWE will push him until he shows them that he’s un-push-able (who knows when that will be…yawn). Commander Aziz, whom I am saddened to not see on TV anymore, was and is a better athlete and performer overall.

Even Sanga on NXT would have been better. Heck…if they can get their hands back on Shera (yes, they let him to slip out of their hands) from Impact Wrestling…now there, you’re talking about a large man that can move…particularly up a ladder.

The thing I’m saying is: A ladder match is a special thing (obviously)…a thing of beauty as they say, and you can’t put people in them that can’t perform exactly like the wrestlers who have had epic ladder matches before…the men and women we’ll see on this list, or at least add to what they’ve done to some extent.

This is kind of what I meant above…you can have a great ladder match and a bad one all at the same time. Great because ladder matches are an awesome concept, but bad because the wrong individuals may be in them.

Now there are your typical matches…matches that changed the game and many writers—myself included—have gone in-depth about these matches and how perfect they are and/or were, and really they set the mold…specifically Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon at WrestleMania 10, and both classic inaugural TLC matches including the Hardy Boyz, Edge and Christian, and the Dudley Boyz. And who can forget The Rock vs. Triple H at SummerSlam (1998) for the IC title?

In this piece though, I’ll be concentrating on the ladder matches that expanded from those roots of extraordinary feats of athletics…even to go as far as to say these men and women who grabbed hold of the reins even perhaps perfected the ladder match if that’s at all possible.

5. Queen of the Mountain match at Impact Wrestling’s Slammiversary (2022)

These women laid it all on the line and all at the inaugural Queen of the Mountain match at Impact Wrestling’s Slammiversary. It was Impact’s 20-year celebration and what a way to celebrate. All 5 of these women, Chelsea Green, Tasha Steelz, Mia Yim, Deonna Purrazzo, and Jordynne Grace, set the bar and were very high at that.

I actually started after watching the match in a published piece elsewhere that the Knockouts Division just may have the best female wrestlers in the game right now, and I stand by that statement. These women have raised the bar and they’re still holding it up if you ask this writer.

4. Marty Scurll vs. Jay Lethal vs. Matt Taven at G1 Supercard (2019)

This happened at MSG of all places, and we all know how special MSG is to pro wrestling, let alone ladder matches. Well…these three men certainly did not disappoint. From start to finish the match offered a lot in terms of what to watch. By that I mean you were never bored and that’s the case for most matches for fans and analysts, but here, there was something eye-catching going on all the time.

Of course, with Jay Lethal in the ring, you’re pretty much assured that that’s what you’re going to get. Taven proves here, as he always does, that he’s a tactician worth your time and interest. And Scrull…well, Scrull’s career speaks for itself. It’s taken a hit sadly, and he’s been wrestling in Puerto Rico where he has stated that he plans to stay long-term. I hope he rethinks that decision and joins at least one of the big four promotions in the game right now.

3. Kevin Steen vs. El Generico at ROH Final Battle (2012)

Of course, If you know your pro wrestling history and trivia, you’ll know that Kevin Steen is of course Kevin Owens, and you know that El Generico is none other than Sami Zayn.

These men made a lot of the same stops on their journey to WWE and are there together now…on the indies spending significant periods in IWS and ROH of course…ROH is where this masterpiece ladder match transpired.

2. John Cena vs. Edge TLC Match at Unforgiven 2006

Okay, so it isn’t a strict ladder match. There are the added elements in a TLC match…TLC stands for Tables Ladder and Chairs, oh my!…(yeah it was Edge that said that first, genius that he is). It was actually during the buildup for this match at the time that he mentioned it to John Cena in a promo.

In fact, as I’ve written before, their rivalry is the stuff of pro wrestling lore and legend and deserves to be heralded as one of the greatest WWE rivalries of all time, and this match concluded a portion of their story for a time, was the perfect bookend to quite a rivalry.

1. Eddie Guerrero vs. RVD for the Intercontinental Championship in a Ladder Match on Raw (2002)

Oh, man! Where do you start? Well…when Eddie Guerrero is involved, the matches he left on the tape and on the canvas are masterpieces the likes of which were left by Picasso on a painting and the likes Jack Kerouac left on the page…. Perhaps while he was alive, he didn’t understand just how much of an artist he was, but his fans sure know it.

He passed at the age of 38, and he left behind quite the legacy of matches. If every wrestler’s feuds and matches were books, his bibliography would be massive, and what a bibliography it turned out to be, folks.

This match in particular was awarded to fans on an episode of Raw of all things, back in 2002…20 years ago!

Next. Top 5 storylines in modern professional wrestling. dark

Of course, there are so many more epic ladder matches. The term ‘tip of the iceberg’ certainly comes to mind.