WWE TLC 2013 [VIDEOS]: A Look Back At The Evolution Of WWE Ladder Matches [PHOTOS]
The WWE rolls out its final pay-per-view of the year on Sunday Dec. 15 with the TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs event live from the Toyota Center in Houston with the main event featuring a tables, ladders and chairs match pitting World Heavyweight Champion John Cena against WWE Champion Randy Orton in a winner-take-all title unification match. With that in mind, here is a look back at the history of the ladder match in the WWE and the many different ways the WWE has presented ladder matches throughout the year.
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1994: Razor Ramon vs. Shawn Michaels Ladder Match at WrestleMania X for the Intercontinental Championship:
While there had been ladders used in wrestling before, the WWE dubbed it's ladder match pitting Razor Ramon against Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania X as the first ever ladder match, and it was a show-stealer. With Michaels having been suspended from the WWE, the company was forced to crown a new Intercontinental Champion. When Razor Ramon eventually won the vacant title, Shawn Michaels returned, never having given back his title, and thus both claimed to be the real champion. A mind-blowing and historic ladder match took place at WrestleMania X in Madison Square Garden that stole the show and launched a tradition of ladder matches that would lead to some of the greatest moments of all-time in the WWE. In the end, Ramon stood tall as the undisputed IC champ.
1999: "Stone Cold" Steve Austin vs. Vince and Shane McMahon Ladder Match at King of the Ring 1999 for Control of the WWE:
With control of the WWE hanging in the balance in the form of a briefcase--which can be seen as a prelude to the eventual Money in the Bank ladder match idea, the WWE decided to put the fate of the company up for grabs in a ladder match as the main event of the now-defunct King of the Ring pay-per-view in June put Vince McMahon and his son Shane McMahon in a ladder match against "Stone Cold" Steve Austin to see who would get the reigns to the company. When it looked as though Austin had the match won, someone controlled the briefcase to go up out of Austin's grasp, and eventually Shane was able to knock both Austin and Vince off the ladder and climb up to grab the briefcase for the win.
1999: The Hardy Boyz vs. Edge and Christian Tag Team Ladder Match at No Mercy:
The WWE was able to up the ante at No Mercy just four months after King of the Ring when for the first time tag teams went at it in a ladder match that put the Hardy Boyz against Edge and Christian in the finals of a tag team tournament to see who would get Terri Runnels' services as a manager and $100,000. With the bar already set high from past ladder matches, the four men involved that night stole the show with innovative spots and stunts and eventually, it was the Hardy Boyz standing tall and walking out of No Mercy with the win, but it was all four men walking out with the respect of the fans.
2001: Edge and Christian vs. The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudley Boyz Tables, Ladders and Chairs Match at SummerSlam:
After the Hardys and Edge and Christian stole the show at No Mercy, the WWE quickly added the debuting Dudley Boyz to the tag team mix and a new idea was born taking all three team's specialties--Edge and Christian liked to use chairs, the Hardys were all about ladders and the Dudleys were known for putting their opponents through tables--and rolled them all into one. What resulted was an innovative and unbelievable match between all six men that would eventually spawn a rematch dubbed "TLC II" at WrestleMania X-7 in 2001 and even a TLC III match on SmackDown in May that involved four teams. The match was innovative enough that it eventually spawned into its own pay-per-view, which will launch its fifth installment on Dec. 15. Edge and Christian got the win in the initial match.
2005: Edge vs. Chris Jericho vs. Chris Benoit vs. Kane vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Christian Money in the Bank Ladder Match at WrestleMania 21:
The WWE took the inventiveness of the ladder match even further in 2005 when for the first time six men went at it in an every-man-for-himself match with a contract hanging in the balance that would guarantee the winner a title shot at a date and time of their choosing for anytime in the next year. When the match occurred at WrestleMania 21, it became an instant hit as a lot of great spots and revolutionary maneuvers were used to put the match on the map. Edge eventually won the first ladder match and the tradition continued and became a WrestleMania staple through WrestleMania XXVI in 2010 with the number of participants in it varying year-by-year. In 2010, the WWE launched the Money in the Bank pay-per-view in July, shifting away from the WrestleMania tradition and having the event stand on its own as its own pay-per-view, which launches every July.
The WWE has had plenty of crazy things happen when ladders are involved throughout the years, and it will be no different on Sunday, Dec. 15 when the WWE launches TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs 2013.