Ladder Matches – What’s it all about
Here at Safety Fabrications, we rather fancy ourselves as ladder experts – we know our business and our business is ladders. So, we were quite astonished recently when we came across a use for ladders that we were totally unaware of – the ladder match!
A ladder match is a type of match in the world of professional wrestling. The most common form of a ladder match is where an items (often a title belt) is hung above the ring and the winner is whichever contestant climbs a ladder and retrieves the belt.
The ladder (or ladders, as it’s often the case that several different height ladders are added to the ring) end up becoming a key feature of the match because the wrestlers use it as a weapon with which to batter their opponent. Contenders will also use the ladders as a launch pad to carry out flying, acrobatic attacks on their opponents and the matches also feature some spectacular falls from height, all without the benefit of any safety equipment.
Ladder matches are often billed as the grand finale to storylines in the wrestling world or are used in feuds that involve a dispute over possession of an item, like a stolen title belt or the paperwork for a lucrative wrestling contract. The ladder matches are some of the most violent seen in the world of wrestling and are usually fought under no disqualification rules.
Ladder matches began to appear as long ago as the 1970s. The first ever ladder match is believed to have been fought between Dan Kroffat and Tor Kamata in 1972, with the object to be grabbed a large wedge of money. The first ladder match to feature in the World Wrestling Federation was held in Portland, Maine in 1992, a match in which Bret Hart defeated Shawn Michaels to retain the WWF Intercontinental Title.
There is a variation of the ladder match modified to include the addition of two other potential weapons, tables and chairs. Thus we see the Tables, Ladders and Chairs match, popular known by the abbreviated moniker TLC. This is anything but what we think of as TLC (tender loving care) as the three “weapons” combine to potentially do a lot of damage to contenders.
The best ladder match ever in the opinion of the majority of wrestling fans was Edge and Christian versus the Hardy Boyz at WrestleMania 17. The match is particularly remembered for a scene in which Edge soars through the air at his waiting target, Jeff Hardy. This tactical move is known as the Swanton Bomb. Jeff Hardy at one point almost managed to unhook the hanging belt, but the ladder was pulled from beneath him, leaving him hanging in the air and allowed Edge to jump off another ladder and spear Jeff Hardy to the ground.