Suvarna Garge (Editor)

Ladder match

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Ladder match

A ladder match is a type of match in professional wrestling, most commonly one where an item (usually a title belt) is hung above the ring, and the winner is the contestant who climbs a ladder and retrieves the item. The ladder itself becomes a key feature of the match, as wrestlers will use the ladder as a weapon to strike the opponent(s), as a launching pad for acrobatic attacks, and frequently these matches include impressive falls from the top of the ladder. However, there were very few matches in which the hung item must be used in a special manner in order to win the match, such as striking the opponent with the item (see Bam Bam Bigelow Vs. Scott Hall taser match, where one must strike the opponent with the taser, regardless of who retrieved the taser first).


Ladder matches are often used as a finale to storylines and it is more common to have symbolic briefcases (usually "containing" a contract for a future championship match) or championship belts hung above the ring. Ladder matches and their variants (such as TLC matches and Full Metal Mayhem) are often used in feuds that involve a dispute over possession of an item (such as a stolen title belt or the "paperwork" for the contractual services of a manager). Ladder matches are almost always fought under no disqualification rules.


The ladder match could have been invented by either Dan Kroffat of the Stampede Wrestling organization out of Calgary, Alberta, Canada or British wrestler Kendo Nagasaki. In September 1972, Stampede Wrestling held the first ever ladder match between Dan Kroffat and Tor Kamata, where the object to be grabbed was a wad of money. In 1987, Kendo Nagasaki competed in a 'Disco Challenge' ladder match against Clive Myers on the popular World of Sport. The aim of this match was to retrieve a gold coloured disco record suspended above the ring.

In July 1983, Stampede Wrestling held a ladder match in which Bret Hart faced off against Bad News Allen. Hart went on to join the World Wrestling Federation in 1984, and, in the early 1990s, suggested this type of match to promoter Vince McMahon, years before the gimmick achieved its eventual popularity.

The first ever ladder match in the WWF, in which Hart defeated Shawn Michaels to retain the WWF Intercontinental Title, was held in Portland, ME on July 21, 1992. The match was taped but never aired on television, and remained widely unseen until its inclusion on the 2007 The Ladder Match DVD and among the bonus material on the 2011 DVD and Blu-ray collection WWE's Greatest Rivalries: Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart. The two performers tell interviewer Jim Ross how the match was planned along with an intended ladder rematch that never materialized.

Ladder matches in World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment/WWE

  • Many ladder matches, while not officially recognized by the WWE have taken place at house shows. One featured Razor Ramon retaining the Intercontinental Championship against Shawn Michaels months before their WrestleMania X encounter. Another featured Razor Ramon winning the same title from Jeff Jarrett in Montreal in 1995, only to lose it back to Jarrett two nights later. Another featured Jeff Hardy retaining his World Heavyweight Championship against CM Punk in Denver, Co in 2009. Three ladder matches took place at consecutive house shows in 2006, where each saw Jeff Hardy defend his Intercontinental Championship. The first of these three saw Shelton Benjamin, Johnny Nitro and Carlito as contenders. The next two nights did not feature Benjamin as he was too injured to participate.
  • Similar to a Stairway to Hell match, during Triple H and Kevin Nash's ladder match, a sledgehammer was hung above the ring. The first participant to retrieve it could use it as a weapon. The only way to have won was by pinfall or submission.
  • Participant list

    Ladder matches in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling

    (1) This match began as a Battle Royal but when it came down to 2 competitors it became a ladder match.
    (2) The big red X, usually associated with the Ultimate X match, was used instead of a belt to win the match.

    Other variations

  • King of the Mountain match – Used in TNA; essentially a ladder match in reverse, the winner (referred to as the "King of the Mountain") is the first person to attach the object specified beforehand (usually a championship belt) to the wire above the ring. However, wrestlers cannot go for the belt until they've scored a pinfall, after which the pinned wrestler must spend some time in a penalty box.
  • Ultimate X match – Used in TNA; essentially a ladder match contested by the TNA X-Division. The match features a structure that consists of two wires strung above the ring, forming an 'X'. The wrestlers climb the structure that holds the wires, makes their way across the wires to the center of the structure, and retrieves the 'X' while hanging from the wires. Although very similar to a ladder match, ladders are rarely used as a part of an unwritten rule of sorts, with the on exception of Team 3D in X14.
  • Full Metal Mayhem match- same rules apply as Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match, but steel chains can also be used.
  • Stairway to Hell – Used mainly in ECW; in this variation of the ladder match instead of a title being suspended above the ring there's a weapon, usually a ball of barbed wire or a kendo stick. Once you've taken down the weapon you are then free to use it, you win the match via pin or submission the same as a singles match. The match was contested only thrice between Tommy Dreamer and Justin Credible, with Credible winning all the matches.
  • Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match – Variation of the ladder match where tables and chairs are also permitted (and their use is encouraged). Referred to at times simply as TLC matches.
  • Money in the Bank ladder match – Exclusively used in WWE; a Ladder match where multiple competitors try to climb a ladder to obtain a contract for a future World Title shot anytime within the next 12 months. Challenger chooses time and place. Match took place at every WrestleMania from WrestleMania 21 to WrestleMania XXVI, after which it was moved to the new annual Money in the Bank pay-per-view.
  • Tables, Ladders, and Cervezas match – Exclusively used in WSX; variation of the Tables, Ladder, and Chairs match except instead of permitting chairs, cervezas (Spanish for beers) is permitted along with tables and ladders (and their use is encouraged).
  • Tables, Ladders, Chairs, and Canes match - This match is a TLC match with the addition of Singapore Canes.
  • Tables, Ladders, Chairs, and Stairs match - This match is a TLC match with the addition of steel stairs. It was so named because the 2014 TLC event also involved a Steel Stairs match.
  • References

    Ladder match Wikipedia