The History of the Ladder Match in WWE

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The Ladder Match has become an integral part of WWE over the past 25 years. Take a look inside to see The History of the Ladder Match in WWE.

This is a comprehensive list of The History of the Ladder Match in WWE. I’ve listed every ladder match that I’m aware of that was sanctioned by WWE. If there are more, let me know in the comments and I’ll add it. Please look at the rules below to determine if the one you’re thinking of is actually missing or not first, though. Please also let me know if any video links are broken and I’ll fix them ASAP.

Rules

  • No house shows (Xperience counts because it was a special event)
  • No OVW (Katie Lea vs. Beth isn’t on here)
  • No WCW/TNA/Old School ECW/ROH/NJPW, this is just WWE
  • No TLC or other specialty matches, these are straight up Ladder Matches (or variations like the Sledgehammer Ladder Match)

1. Bret Hart (C) vs. Shawn Michaels for the WWF Intercontinental Championship

WWF Wrestling Challenge | July 21st, 1992 | Portland, ME

 

This was regarded as the first Ladder Match in WWE history although it was seldom seen until being included on The Ladder Match compilation from WWE in 2007. This match was for the WWF Intercontinental Championship and was filmed for WWF Wrestling Challenge, but never aired. You can see this one on The Ladder Match compilation or WWE’s Greatest Rivalries: Shawn vs. Bret.

2. Razor Ramon (C) vs. Shawn Michaels for the Undisputed WWF Intercontinental Championship

WWF WrestleMania X | March 20th, 1994 | New York, NY

This is the match that most people remember as their first Ladder Match with Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon fighting over the WWF Intercontinental Championship. Both men had staked their claim to the title after Shawn refused to vacate it when he was suspended from the WWF, therefore, this match was for the UNDISPUTED Intercontinental Championship.

3. Shawn Michaels (C) vs. Razor Ramon for the WWF Intercontinental Championship

WWF SummerSlam | August 27th, 1995 | Philadelphia, PA

This match was a weird one with essentially no build-up. HBK was scheduled to face Sycho Sid at the event, but it was then switched to a WrestleMania X rematch between Razor Ramon and Michaels. This match isn’t bad, but the WrestleMania X match is far more memorable in the history of WWE and I rarely hear of this match being talked about.

4. Shawn Michaels (C) vs. Goldust for the WWF Championship

WWF Xperience | August 24th, 1996 | Toronto, ON

This match is one that few people have seen as it was a special event in Toronto at the CNE called, Xperience. This match featured Goldust against Michaels for the WWF Championship and to my knowledge, the footage above is the best footage of it available.

5. Triple H vs. The Rock (C) for the WWF Intercontinental Championship

WWF SummerSlam | August 30, 1998 | New York, NY

If you haven’t seen this Ladder Match, it’s worth watching. This match features a young Triple H and The Rock before the hit the main event scene. This isn’t a high-flying Ladder Match, but it’s a physical one nonetheless. These two guys pretty much set the formula of what a psychological Ladder Match could be.

6. Big Boss Man vs. Mankind (C) for the WWF Hardcore Championship

WWF Raw is War | November 30, 1998 | Baltimore, MD

This is another unknown Ladder Match from an episode of Raw in 1998 featuring the Big Boss Man and Mankind. This one wasn’t much to write home about.

7. The Rock vs. Mankind (C) for the WWF Championship

WWF Raw is War | February 15th, 1999 | Birmingham, AL

This match between The Rock and Mankind was during a string of matches where WWE just used the ladder to get ratings. It didn’t fit this feud very well and it was just something different for these two to utilize. Not the worst Ladder Match, but not one that I find all that memorable.

8. Mr. McMahon and Shane McMahon vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin in a Handicap Ladder Match for 100% Ownership of the WWF

WWF King of the Ring | June 27th, 1999 | Greensboro, NC

This was an interesting Ladder Match being the only one to be contested as a Handicap Match. This match was at the height of the feud between Mr. McMahon and Stone Cold Steve Austin and had the interesting stipulation of the winner gaining full control of the WWF. 

9. The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff) vs. Edge & Christian – Final of the Terri Invitational Tournament to Win the Managerial Services of Terri Runnels and $100,000

WWF No Mercy | October 17, 1999 | Cleveland, OH

This was the first Ladder Match that I personally saw live as it happened and I was instantly hooked. These two teams broke new ground for Ladder matches in the first-ever Tag Team Ladder Match. This was the final match in a tournament (more of a series, but they were going for sex appeal calling it the Terri Invitational Tournament or T.I.T.) for the managerial services of Terri Runnels as well as $100,000. 

10. Edge & Christian vs. The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D-Von) (C) vs. The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff) for the WWF Tag Team Championship

WrestleMania 2000 | April 2nd, 2000 | Anaheim, CA

This Triangle Ladder Match was the first with 3 teams in the mix adding The Dudley Boyz to the other two teams from No Mercy. This one is another one of my favourites and probably the one that really started the push for these three teams to do the TLC matches they’ve become so famous for. 

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