You have seen two other ladder matches on this list. If someone didn’t know any better, they might assume that Chris Jericho was a “ladder match specialist.”
I think Jericho is just very versatile in his style of wrestling. The fact that three of his top 10 matches are ladder matches just speaks volumes about how good he is.
Jericho has always been considered a mat wrestler, and for a mat wrestler to have three excellent ladder matches means that he is much more than what people precise him as. Jericho is much more than a mat wrestler. He is one of those special talents in the wrestling business that can have a five-star match no matter what the conditions.
That is quite similar to his opponent in what I think is his greatest match of all-time—Shawn Michaels.
Michaels and Jericho had been having what many called (myself included) the feud of the decade, with some of the best writing and promo work involving the two athletes in a long time.
Jericho was on a mission to step out of the shadow of Shawn Michaels and basically end his career and spit on his legacy. After injuring Michaels' eye at the Great American Bash and punching his wife at SummerSlam, "HBK" became a different person. He had a mission to.
It was all about revenge. At Unforgiven, the two had a “Unsanctioned Match” in which Michaels finally got his revenge. However, the story doesn’t end there. Later that night, Jericho won The World Heavyweight Championship.
So after months and month of amazing matches, promos, and writing, we finally get the blow off match to one of the greatest things to happen in the WWE in a very long time. And it happens to be in a match the two men involved knew very well—a ladder match.
Many people say the ladder match has been taken as far as it can go. Many people on the Internet and elsewhere think that nothing more innovative can be done with the ladder. Well if this is true, Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho sure did their best to try and prove them wrong.
Many people talk about ladder matches being “spot fests.” I assume they mean the match is dumb and has no thought or story. If that is so, then this match is the smartest ladder match I have ever seen!
I agree with them to some extent. The best ladder matches are the ones where you forget about the ladder and are more worried about the actual story. Jericho and Michaels do this and also pull off huge spots, but you never feel like you’re watching a “spot fest.” They use the ladder in an effective and smart manner every time they abuse each other with it.
When I was watching this match live, I knew it would be one of Jericho’s best matches, but I didn’t think it would end up being the match of his career. But it did that. Not only that, but I believe his feud with Michaels will be the highlight of his career.
At the end of the match after Jericho won, you hear Michael Cole say “Jericho claimed winning this match up would allow him to take his place as one of the greatest champions ever.”
I don’t think Jericho will be remembered as one of the greatest World Champions of all time. However, I do think Jericho will be remembered as one of the greatest pro wrestlers of all-time, and this match truly solidified that fact for me.