Posted in: Wayne's World The King of Stats names the Lord of Ladders (Part 3: The Third Rung)
Apr 11, 2013 - 8:24:20 AM
Welcome back one and all, I am the King of Stats and this is the third part of my countdown looking into the greatest Ladder Match wrestlers of all time. After scouring through the records of WWE, WCW, TNA and ECW I have found everyone who has ever wrestled in a variant of the Ladder Match. Why would I do that you ask, well to find out who is the best of the best, the wrestler who I can call the Lord of Ladders. In the previous two parts I counted down from 30 to 21 which means today I will be bringing to you numbers 20 through to 16 and thus bringing us to the halfway point. So sit back and enjoy as I now present to you number 20 in my search for the Lord of Ladders.
20. Triple H
beat The Rock – Intercontinental Title, August 30, 1998, WWE Summerslam
beat Shawn Michaels – Three Stage of Hell (3rd fall), World Title, December 15, 2002, WWE Armageddon
w/ Shawn Michaels beat JeriShow – TLC, Tag Titles, December 13, 2009, WWE TLC
beat Kevin Nash – Sledgehammer Ladder Match, December 18, 2011, WWE TLC
Coming in at number 20 is somebody whom a lot of people may not of thought of when thinking about Ladder Matches but when you have an undefeated record of 4 matches your spot on this list is pretty much guaranteed. While this is not the most impressive undefeated streak on this countdown it is impressive in its own right considering how many Ladder Match participants lose. In fact other than Trips and the man with the better record to appear later on the countdown there are only 2 other wrestlers, Matt Morgan and Dusty Rhodes, who are undefeated in multiple matches, both at 2. This just goes to show how hard a Ladder Match can be to win with so little undefeated participants, but then again it could just be due to the fact that so many Ladder Match’s are multi-men matches and therefore have multiple losers.
While being undefeated is impressive in its own right, when you look at who he has had to beat to remain that way you can’t help but be impressed. All five people he has beaten, The Rock, Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho, The Big Show and Kevin Nash are all World Champions and guaranteed Hall of Famers (well Shawn is already there of course). The calibre of one of those is enough to make his record stand out but the whole five put it on a level way above a lot of the others in this countdown.
This unbeaten record though doesn’t come without its controversy as a lot of wrestling fans out there could use this to add fuel to the burying talent fire. Here we have a speciality match designed for others of a different style of wrestling and something that Triple H shouldn’t really be involved in much. Yet here he is in multiple matches and of course winning each and every one of them, easily something that they can use. Me myself I don’t see it that way, it is what it is and quite honestly, the matches were actually pretty enjoyable which ever way you think.
beat Randy Orton, Chris Jericho, Evan Bourne, Ted DiBiase, John Morrison, Edge & Mark Henry – Money in the Bank, July 18, 2010, WWE Money in the Bank
beat Jerry Lawler – TLC, WWE Title, November 29, 2010, WWE Raw
lost to Alberto Del Rio – 8-man Money in the Bank, July 17, 2011, WWE Money in the Bank
lost to CM Punk – 3-way TLC, WWE Title, December 18, 2011, WWE TLC
lost to John Cena – 5-man Money in the Bank, July 15, 2012, WWE Money in the Bank
Oh look it’s duck face himself making an appearance far above where I think he actually should be. Sometimes you have to sit back and ask my scoring system, are you really sure this is where he belongs? When you look at his record it is not really that impressive. His first match I will have to admit is impressive due to the fact that he won an 8-man match but after that there is not much to write home about. Granted his second match was also a win but it was against an aging Jerry Lawler, granted it was an aging Jerry Lawler that could still wrestle a good match, but it was still an aging Jerry Lawler. His other three matches were all losses but it is really made worse by the fact that The Miz was but an extra person in multi-man matches for all of them.
It is funny to notice though that Miz’s Ladder Match record actually resembles his up and down career that he has had. Is two wins both happened in his big push he received a few years back. The first, the Money in the Bank win, was the beginning of the whole shebang and the Lawler match of course had happened after he cashed in the briefcase and was the WWE Champion. After that however he has just been chucked around and slotted in wherever the WWE finds a hole. Instead of having a big singles match he is thrown in as the last man in a bigger match. Will this fortune be turned around, we will just have to wait and see what the future holds.
18. Shawn Michaels
lost to Bret Hart – Intercontinental Title, July 21, 1992, WWE Wrestling Challenge
lost to Razor Ramon – Intercontinental Title, March 20, 1994, WWE Wrestlemania X
beat Razor Ramon – Intercontinental Title, August 27, 1995, WWE Summerslam
lost to Triple H – Three Stage of Hell (3rd fall), World Title, December 15, 2002, WWE Armageddon
lost to Chris Jericho – World Title, October 5, 2008, WWE No Mercy
w/ Triple H beat JeriShow – TLC, Tag Titles, December 13, 2009, WWE TLC
Before we get to Shawn Michaels I just want to stop a second and talk about Bret Hart as he didn’t actually make the countdown himself (67th) but I think the match that he had against Shawn Michaels needed special attention as without it we probably would not have seen the explosion of the Ladder Match that followed many years later.
The match between these two, the first in WWE history, all came about because Bret in 1983, nearly a decade before while wrestling for Stampede Wrestling, had wrestled and beat Bad News Brown in a Ladder Match. Bret suggested this speciality match to Vince McMahon for a match idea in his feud with Michaels over the Intercontinental Title, an idea Vince accepted. While it would be Shawn over the next couple of years who started to put the Ladder Match on the map, if it was not for Bret originally putting forward the idea to Vince and subsequently winning that very first Ladder Match, I may not have been sitting here today writing this column for you.
OK now onto Shawn himself since that is who I am supposed to be talking about here. His Ladder Match career seems to have taken the same path as his regular career, before and after his back injury hiatus. Before his injury he was known for being an innovator. Shawn was called upon to change the face of Professional Wrestling and his initial three Ladder Matches show just that. As I stated just above Shawn was in the first ever WWE Ladder Match against Bret Hart a match that he lost. However that match stuck in the minds of those in charge and nearly two years later Shawn faced Razor Ramon in the second ever WWE Ladder Match a match again that he lost. As I said in part 1 of this countdown though this match was more than just a regular Ladder Match. This was the only Ladder Match to have ever received a 5* rating from Dave Meltzer and is the match that is credited as the best ever Ladder Match. It is said that without this match and their rematch a year later we will not have had the Ladder Match escalate into the important match type that we have today. That means that without Shawn Michaels we may not have had things like King of the Mountain, TLC or Money in the Bank.
While those first three matches were the framework of the future just like his career at the time, Shawn’s second lot of three matches, those that came after his four year hiatus, were no longer about being an innovator but more of being the Showstopper. By the time Shawn had returned in 2002 Ladder Matches were now a staple part of the diet of a WWE fans diet, he no longer needed to be the person to make it famous. Instead of making a new type of match look good Shawn’s gole was more to make a good match look great something he was definitely quite good at.
17. Dolph Ziggler
lost to Jack Swagger – 10-man Money in the Bank, March 28, 2010, WWE Wrestlemania XXVI
lost to Kane – 8-man Money in the Bank, July 18, 2010, WWE Money in the Bank
beat Kofi Kingston & Jack Swagger – Intercontinental Title, December 19, 2010, WWE TLC
beat Christian, Cody Rhodes, Damien Sandow, Santino Marella, Sin Cara, Tensai & Tyson Kidd – Money in the Bank, July 15, 2012, WWE Money in the Bank
beat John Cena – December 16, 2012, WWE TLC
When looking at the beginning of Ziggler’s Ladder Match history you really start to think there is not much going for him. The fact that in one year he managed to lose 2 different Money in the Bank matches (remember there was 3 matches that year), things just did not look good for him. However the end of that year would see a turn around in his fortunes as he finally was able to win a Ladder Match beating both Kofi Kingston and Jack Swagger in a Triple Threat Match. Then just last year he was finally able to shed that Money in the Bank hoodoo and finally win that briefcase and then even beat John Cena with that briefcase on the line a few months later.
I think the real thing to think about with Ziggler’s record though is what has the future got install for him. I believe if given the chance Ziggler could easily make Ladder Matches his thing à la the Hardys and E&C. I believe Ziggler has got the perfect ability to make this match his own and then think of the possible feuds he could have for the World Heavyweight Championship with the likes of Christian, Kofi and Jericho if a Ladder Match was involved somewhere along the line.
beat AJ Styles – March 19, 2004, TNA Weekly PPV #85
beat Jeff Hardy – Full Metal Mayhem, February 13, 2005, TNA Against All Odds
lost to Raven – 5-way King of the Mountain, NWA Title, June 19, 2005, TNA Slammiversary
lost to Christian Cage – Full Metal Mayhem, NWA Title, May 14, 2006, TNA Sacrifice
w/Sting beat Christian Cage & AJ Styles – August 2, 2007, TNA Impact
w/ Matt Morgan beat Team 3D, LAX & Tanahashi and Volador – October 23, 2008, TNA Impact
lost to Rob Van Dam – Stairway to Janice, August 12, 2010, TNA Impact
Just to remind us that this countdown is solely WWE we find Abyss at number 16. While not a guy you would first think of in Ladder Matches Abyss surely does have a place in them. Just like WWE has shown us time and time again by having the likes of Kane, Undertaker, Big show and Mark Henry appear in Ladder Matches, the bigger men can play apart in them, and there is no better big man in TNA than Abyss. Actually for a big man in a predominately high flying, risk takers sort of match Abyss actually has quite a good record at 4 wins and 3 losses. The job of the big man is normally just to make the match look more dangerous than it is already but Abyss held his own and has managed to put away a few top notch foes.
It seems fitting that Abyss fits into this section of the countdown as just like Shawn Michaels Abyss has been known as an innovator of new match styles. Just like Shawn has been in first run matches like Ladder Matches, Hell in a Cell and Elimination Chamber, Abyss has managed to help bring to us Monsters Ball and more importantly to this countdown, Full Metal Mayhem. Granted this match is just TNA’s way of saying, well WWE you can make TLC famous but we will go better and make all metal legal, but hey it is what it is and Abyss managed to beat Jeff Hardy in the first ever Full Metal Mayhem match. He also appeared in the second Full Metal Mayhem Match as well losing to Christian Cage, thus having faced two of the original TLC wrestlers in its counterpart.
Well that brings us to the end of another column and thus marking the halfway point to boot. How is the countdown going for you all so far? Any real surprises yet or anyone who you think should have been in the top half? I will be back in a few days with the next 5 wrestlers and I hope you will be too as I am going to let you in on a little secret, at least 2 of the guys expected to make the top 10 will fall at the final hurdle. Until then remember THE STATS NEVER LIE.