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The History And Evolution Of The Ladder Match
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The History And Evolution Of the Ladder Match

The ladder match is one of the most popular and famous types of matches in professional wrestling. But how did it start and who were the pioneers of the ladder match in professional wrestling. First we have to look at what the ladder match is, simply the put the ladder match is a contest where an object gets suspended above the wrestling ring, and the competing wrestlers have to use a ladder to get the object, the wrestler that gets the object wins the match. To answer the earlier questions we have to go back all the way to September 1972, when Canadian wrestling promotion Stampede Wrestling held the first ladder match between wrestlers Dan Kroffat and Tor Kamata, where the object suspended above the ring was a roll of money.

Furthermore in 1983, Bret Hart also competed in a Ladder match at the Stampede Wrestling promotion, before signing for the World Wrestling Federation. Even though many people claim that Shawn Michaels was the innovator for the ladder match at the World Wrestling Federation, it was in fact Bret Hart who suggested the idea to Vince McMahon. The match however would not materialise until the 1990s at a World Wrestling Federation Wrestling Challenge event, when ironically Bret Hart would face Shawn Michaels for the World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship, it would be the first time that a professional wrestling championship belt would be suspended high above the ring for such an encounter.

It would however not be the last time, in the World Wrestling Federation, Shawn Michaels became a Ladder Match expert, in similar fashion, World Championship Wrestling would also introduce Ladder Matches, with the first ladder match in 1997, where the late Eddie Guerrero defeated Syxx to keep the United States Championship. At the start of the millennium the ladder match would begin to take on new and different formats. Traditionally the match was a contest between two wrestlers or two tag teams, however in 2000 the World Wrestling Federation made a ladder match involving three tag teams for the World Wrestling Federation Tag Team titles.

However a few months earlier the World Championship Wrestling had a Ladder Match involving four wrestlers to decide the United States championship, with Scott Hall defeating Bret Hart, Bill Goldberg and Sid Vicious. Other incarnations of the Ladder Match also existed in promotions like Extreme Championship Wrestling, where the object suspended from the top of the ring was usually a weapon, the wrestler who managed to get the weapon was free to use the weapon and gain a pin-fall or submission victory.That being said in the Total Non-stop Action promotion, the ladder match is fought with the aim being to place the object on the suspension instead of retrieving the object.

Further incarnations of the Ladder match are the Tables Ladders and Chairs or the most de-facto standard that has become Money in the Bank, where wrestlers compete for a brief case suspended high above the arena, the brief case contained a contract for a championship match any-time within one year of winning the Money in the Bank Ladder match. Therefore the Ladder match has evolved into one of the most gruelling and career altering matches in all of professional wrestling today.


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