The 15 Best Ladder Matches in WWE History

Ross BentleySenior Analyst IAugust 8, 2012

The 15 Best Ladder Matches in WWE History

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    It's hard to argue that there is a more entertaining wrestling match than the ladder match.

    Two men (or more) fighting each other with no rules for a prize hanging high above the ring, and the only way to achieve glory is to climb all the way up and bring it down yourself. Such a simple concept, but yet so many brilliant matches have ensued as a result.

    Over the course of the WWE, there have been 41 ladder matches in which to choose from, as well as 12 Money in the Bank ladder matches.

    There has also been a number of TLC (Tables, Ladders, and Chairs) matches, but that list is for another day. 

    Here is a look now at my list of the top 15 ladder matches in WWE history. 

     

    *All video content belongs to the WWE.

15. Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart: 1992

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    Considering this was the first ever ladder match in the WWE, it certainly deserves a spot on this list.

    It also doesn't hurt that it features two of the greatest superstars in WWE history, and was for the prestigious Intercontinental Championship.

    Considering how new the ladder match concept was, you won't see the high risks being taken like we see today, but it's still a great wrestling match between two legends. 

14. The Rock vs. Mankind: 1999

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    This match gets lost in the shuffle when talking about great ladder matches, and also the fact that The Rock and Mankind had some of the most prestigious matches in their time.

    Nevertheless, this was a thrilling contest with several great spots including Mankind getting Rock Bottomed through a ladder.

    The ending was great, too, when a much younger Big Show (then known as Paul White) viciously choke slammed Mankind off the ladder and allowed The Rock to win the WWE Championship. 

13. Christian vs. Shelton Benjamin: 2009

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    Shelton Benjamin may not have ever won a world title in WWE, but he certainly made a name for himself in ladder matches. 

    Benjamin was involved in several during his career, including Money in the Bank matches, Tag Team matches with Charlie Haas, and singles matches like this one from 2009, for the ECW Championship against Christian. 

    When I was watching matches to prepare for this article, Benjamin came up more than anyone not named Hardy, Christian or Edge. 

    You can really see just how athletic Shelton is here, and Christian being the veteran of ladder matches that he is, does a great job using the ladder as well.

    New age ECW may not have been the greatest, but at least it gave us this great ladder match between two great wrestlers. 

12. Money in the Bank: WrestleMania 24

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    Since its creation, we have seen some absolutely fantastic Money in the Bank matches, but there aren't many that can top the contest at WrestleMania 24.

    It would feature John Morrison, Shelton Benjamin, Carlito, Chris Jericho, CM Punk, Mr. Kennedy, and MVP and CM Punk would come out on top, winning his first of two consecutive MITB matches.

    Not only would this match springboard Punk's career, but it also had some great moments and nearly all of the superstars had their chance to shine. 

    This is how Money in the Bank matches should be done—all future competitors should take note.  

11. The Rock vs. HHH: 1998

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    Before The Rock and Triple H became main event superstars, they were on their way up and battling for the Intercontinental Championship in a ladder match from SummerSlam 1998. 

    Both men were in their prime and you can see why they became the all-time greats they became, as they put it all on the line with several high risk maneuvers in this matchup. 

    You wouldn't necessarily think that these two, both pushing 260-270 would be able to pull off some of what they were able to but they showed off their athleticism as well as great ability to tell a story in this bout.

    Former DX member Chyna provided the final blow needed for The Game to come away with a victory.  

10. Rob Van Dam vs. Jeff Hardy: 2002

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    After facing off it what was a pretty good ladder match itself in 2001 for the Hardcore Championship, RVD and Jeff Hardy met again in 2002 on Raw to unify the IC and European Championships. 

    It's no surprise that these two men put on a great ladder match and this one in particular had great pacing with lots of back-and-forth action. 

    The spot of the match was a splash from the top of the ladder by RVD, but there were several "oh my god!" moments from this one between the two high flyers.

    Ten years later, their bouts in TNA have lost some luster, but back in the day there was no one better and defying the laws of gravity than Hardy and RVD. 

9. Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels: 2008

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    It's hard to top these two, and 16 years after Michaels entered into the ring with Bret Hart for the first ever WWE ladder match, he pulled off another great one in 2008 against Chris Jericho for the World Heavyweight Championship.

    No one sells quite like these two, so when you throw a ladder into the mix you know you are going to get great results, and that's exactly what happened with these two. 

    Just some of the highlights include Michaels springing the ladder into Jericho's face, busting open his lip, the two men falling off of the ladder breaking an announce table, and Jericho lionsaulting on to Michaels with a ladder on top of him.

8. Edge vs. Christian: 2001

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    Along with the Hardy Boyz, no one innovated ladder matches more in the WWE than Christian and Edge, and in 2001 the storyline brothers got their chance to go against one another instead of being on a team. 

    The drama in this match was unparalleled, as the two men told a fantastic story in their 20 minutes for the Intercontinental Championship.

    Edge dropped Christian off the top of the ladder at one point in the match, and gave Christian a spear from the top rope to the ladder, and also a One Man concerto while on top of the ladder. 

    Christian also had his moments including bouncing a ladder into Edge's face. 

    This match was everything you could have hoped it would be after seeing the two men shine so much in ladders, and TLC matches earlier in their careers. 

7. Money in the Bank: WrestleMania 21

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    Sometimes there is no better time than the first time, and that rings true for Money in the Bank matches.

    In the first ever MITB match, Edge beat out Kane, Shelton Benjamin, Chris Jericho, Christian, and Chris Benoit to be the first ever hold of the briefcase. 

    Shelton shined in this match as well suplexing Edge off the ladder and clotheslining Chris Jericho off the ladder. There is a reason why Shelton Benjamin is regarded as possibly the best Money in the Bank competitor ever, and it all started in WM 21. 

    Edge also shined by winning when the dust was settled. This match was not only innovative, but it had great action that lands it on the list of the best ladder matches in WWE history. 

6. Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon: 1994

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    Many still regard this classic matchup between Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon at WrestleMania X to be the greatest ladder match of all time. Although I may disagree with that, there is no denying its place on this list.

    Although Michaels and Hart had battled over the IC strap in a ladder match in 1992, it was this match that really brought the ladder match to prominence in the WWE.

    Without this ladder match having the success that it did it is highly unlikely we would have seen any of the other matches (except for Hart and Michaels) on this list, and possibly some superstars like Edge and Jeff Hardy who went on to become world champions, would never have got their career off the ground.

    It was this match that started it all, and the iconic images of Michaels jumping off the ladder on Ramon, and getting his foot caught in the ladder at the end are etched into the minds of wrestling fans everywhere. 

5. Edge and Christian vs. The Hardy Boyz: 1999

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    At No Mercy 1999, four young superstars, Edge, Christian, Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy would engage in the first ever tag team ladder match in the WWE, which would become an instant classic.

    The duo's weren't even competing for the tag titles, but instead $100,000 and the "services" of Terri Runnels, but what they were fighting over isn't important. What's important is the amazing show that they put on. 

    Spot after spot after spot in this match were off the charts, and it was quite literally something the WWE audience had never seen before. 

    I can't even begin to go over the highlights, but some that stick out in my mind were Jeff Hardy leapfrogging the ladder to leg drop Christian, a Matt Hardy neckbrecker to Edge from the top of the ladder, and a powerbomb off the top step of the ladder by Edge. 

    The match that night and the next night on Raw were simply unbelievable from these four guys, and instantly made them stars in the WWE. 

4. Edge vs. Jeff Hardy: 2009

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    Ten years after that classic, Jeff Hardy and Edge, now bona fide main eventers, went at it again for the World title in a match that was both of there top singles ladder matches of their storied careers. 

    This match was action packed right from the start, and it had some amazing spots including Hardy performing a Whisper in the Wind from the ladder, both men falling though and breaking the ladder, and the ending in which Edge got caught in the ladder set up in the middle of the ring,  as he could only watch Hardy climb and claim his first world title.

    Unfortunately for Hardy, that reign would not last as CM Punk came to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase and win the world title.

    Nevertheless, the match itself was unbelievable and will go down as one of the best in ladder match history. 

3. Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon: 1995

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    I accept that I'm in the minority on this one, but I actually liked Michaels and Ramon's 1995 SummerSlam ladder match slightly better than the classic '94 WM match. 

    Both were amazing bouts featuring two great wrestlers, but the way Michaels sold Ramon in this match just puts it over the top for me. It legitimately seemed like Ramon was destroying him and that he was unstoppable only to have Michaels come from behind and pull out the win in the end.

    The ladders weren't overused, but were used just right and helped tell the story of the match. After the match,  the two real life friends shared an appropriate embrace in the ring knowing the greatness they had just achieved.  

2. London and Kendrick vs. Regal and Taylor vs. MNM vs. The Hardy Boyz: 2006

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    For a match that wasn't even announced before the Armageddon PPV in 2006, this Fatal 4 Way Tag Team Match for the WWE Tag Team Championships turned out to be one of the greatest ladder matches ever to be.

    This just goes to show that to put on a great match in the WWE, you don't need to be a main eventer, and in fact, only William Regal remains just six years later of all the superstars in this match. 

    Nevertheless, the things the eight men were able to do in this contest were truly unforgettable. 

    There was non stop action from beginning to end and the spots were endless. The highlight of the match by far is Hardy snapping the ladder right into Joey Mercury's face, causing him to bleed profusely. 

    There was also William Regal suplexing Paul London face first into the ladder, Paul London dropkicking Nitro off the ladder onto the ground, and Matt Hardy powerbombing Johnny Nitro (John Morrison) off the top of the ladder.

    This match was just pure straight fun, and it is something all eight men can be proud of when their careers are over. 

1. Edge and Christian vs. The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudley Boyz: 2000

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    If you like wrestling, then it is impossible not to be in awe of what these six men pulled off in one of the most classic WrestleMania matches of all time.

    Although my personal favorite was the TLC match from SummerSlam of that year, the Triangle ladder match featuring three of the greatest tag teams in WWE history, Edge and Christian, The Hardy's and The Dudley Boyz was an amazing feat of guts, athletic ability, and creativity. 

    The famous "triangle" ladder match was for the Tag Team titles, but hardly anyone even remembers or cares who won (it was Edge and Christian). The match was so good and memorable in and of itself that the result is just a small part of its greatness.

    Instead of listing out all the amazing spots I suggest just watching (or for most of you, re-watching) it, it's a real treat and in my mind is the unquestioned best ladder match in WWE history.