The Cobra Kai Review of Ladder Match 2: Crash & Burn
Most great films get a sequel.
A few years ago, the WWE released what is arguably their greatest DVD release to date; The Ladder Match. From the beginning of the first disc, to the end of the 3rd, the set was packed wall to wall, floor to ceiling with ****+ matches. Going through the entire spectrum with one on one for title, non-title, tag-teams, and TLC. So, it was only a matter of time before we got a sequel. The question is, will this be Aliens, or Alien Resurrection?
Intercontinental Title Match - WrestleMania X
Shawn Michaels vs Razor Ramon
One of the all time classics. I'm not gonna go too in depth with this one, because you've all probably read about a thousand reviews, and know the score. To history, it's a ***** match. But for my money, I can't go all the way. It's not one of those things where I'm worn our because of all the crazy things I've seen in ladder matches these days, I just don't think it's a 5 star match. Their bout at SummerSlam was better, and the ladder match Bret had with Shawn before this one was even better.
Razor grabs the belts at 18:47
Smokey Mountain Wrestling - March, 1994
Chris Candido vs Tracy Smothers
The prize here is $2500 in an envelope. Funny thing is, the envelope isn't very high. Smothers only needs to climb one rung to be able to reach it, and even if he wanted to just jump up he could grab it. So, there isn't much climbing the ladder drama. I know they like to try and show the roots of the ladder match, and that's all this is really good for, because it's not that great.
Smothers snags the money in about 9 minutes
US Title Match - nWo Souled Out - January 25th, 1997
Eddie Guerrero vs Syxx
The nWo’s first PPV, Souled Out, was a landmark in wrestling I think. It looked different, sounded different, and just completely gave you a breath of fresh air. This match is an awesome debut for WCW in the ladder match game. Eddie, for my money, was practically always at his peak, and Syxx/123 Kid/X-Pac was at his peak during this time, I believe. Or at least winding down. Regardless, they put on a hell of a match. It wasn’t a spot-fest, as ladder matches would morph into, but just a well done wrestling match that involved a ladder.
Eddie snags the title in 13:48
Hardcore Championship - Monday Night Raw, November 30th, 1998
Mankind vs The Big Bossman
This was during Mankind's rise to the top, as well as one of the WWE's greatest angles of all time. One of the treats is Shawn Michael's on commentary, this was during his time as the Commissioner. He's clearly high as hell, as he stammers over his words, slurs them, and just rambles. This match isn't landmark, but serves it's purpose.
Bossman grabs it in about 8 minutes
WWE Championship - Monday Night Raw, February 15h, 1999
Mankind vs The Rock
The Rock & Mankind are one of the all time great feuds, their chemistry resulting in back to back incredible matches. They hit every spectrum of the wrestling stipulation, from I Quit, to Last Man Standing, and the seminal classic, the ladder match. A great outing that took place the day after St. Valentine's Day Massacre, so we've got Stone Cold on commentary, with the winner of the match going on to face him at WM 15. Definitely worth the inclusion.
Big Show chokeslams Mankind, allowing The Rock to snag the belt in about 15 minutes
Match for Control of the WWE - King of the Ring, June 27th, 1999
Shane & Vince McMahon vs Stone Cold Steve Austin
Ugh. I absolutely do not see the reason to include this match. Yeah, we get it, it's Stone Cold during the Attitude Era, but it wasn't all gold, and this goes to show. It's literally Stone Cold beating the hell out of both of them for about 15-20 minutes, and them squeaking out a victory. Just terrible.
Shane grabs the briefcase at 17:01
Match for 3 Count's Gold Record & Recording Contract - New Blood Rising, August 13th, 2000
3 Count vs Jung Dragons
Yeah, you read that match title right. Are you KIDDING me? This is insane. Vince Russo is probably the worst writer of any sort of material of all time. That's including Jason Friedberg & Aaron Seltzer. Russo truly believed that people would be dying to see if 3 Count would be able to continue to make records? Anyways, Jamie Nobel is known as Noble-San, and get's the white-guy-from-the-Orient-Express treatment here with the mask. Of course it's a decent match, but not as great as the one from Starrcade. I think it would have been better had they included Scott Hall v Goldberg for the tazer on a pole match from Starrcade 1999. It's a decent match, and gives us even more variety.
3 Count snag the contract & the record in 11:32
WWE Tag-Team Championship - Monday Night Raw, September 25th, 2000
Edge & Christian vs The Hardy Boyz
This is just a condensed, less exciting version of all their other classics. Plus, you can see that everyone is still beat up from their cage match the night before. However, since this was the first night of Raw on TNN, they had to bring out all the big-guns.
Hardyz snag the belts in about 10 minutes
Unification of the Intercontinental & European Titles - Monday Night Raw, July 22nd, 2002
Jeff Hardy vs RVD
RVD always does well in ladder matches, as does Jeff Hardy. They go out there and pretty much just go through the motions, but there's nothing wrong with that when
the usual motions are still damn good.
RVD grabs the belts in about 13 minutes
WWE Tag-Team Titles - Judgment Day, May 18th, 2003
Eddie Guerrero & Tajiri vs Team Angle
It was suppose to Los Guerreros, but Chavo was hurt so we got our friend the Japanese Buzzsaw instead. Honestly, I was expecting a real show stealer with this one, but it just didn't seem to click as well as one might think. Eddie always seemed to have that luck when it came to tag matches though. At one point Eddie does a hilo while Haas is sandwiched in between a ladder, and man did it seem like a stupid thought, because it's nothing but Eddie landing on wood/steel, neck first.
Eddie & Tajiri grab the belts in 14:18
Intercontinental Title Match - Monday Night Raw, September 29th, 2003
RVD vs Christian
I was starting to think that perhaps the 'E had used up all their earlier great ladder matches for the first release, then this one came along and proved me very wrong. This match is fantastic, and probably the best singles ladder match that either RVD or Christian have been involved in. These guys go full tilt, and really beat the hell out of each other. We get some great false finishes, high spots, and lots of risk. One hell of a match, really.
RVD grabs the belt in about 17-18 minutes.
Undisputed OVW Women's Champion - OVW, December 23rd, 2006
Katie Lea vs Beth Phoenix
Katie Lea is now known as the TNA Knockout, Winter. This was before she had the powers to turn women into zombie-lesbians who are then given the power to have the angle dropped mid-point and act completely normal. All Russoing aside, I can honestly say that this is the 2nd best women's match I've ever seen [Alunda v Bull from the Raw 15th Ann. DVD set]. I didn't have all that much faith in this, to be honest. Besides being really hot, I know Beth can wrestle her ass off, but Winter I didn't have any faith in. Well, to my surprise they go out there and really kick some serious ass. There's no low points, it never drags, there's not one botched move, and they work their asses off.
Katie Lea pulls down both belts to become the Undisputed Champion in about 10 minutes
Money In The Bank Ladder Match - Wrestlemania 23
Mr. Kennedy vs. CM Punk vs Edge vs Finlay vs Jeff Hardy vs Matt Hardy vs King Booker vs Randy Orton
Man, remember the days when Finlay had cool music, was a bad-ass, and didn't play 2nd fiddle to a joke that wasn't funny to begin with? Besides that, we have ourselves an awesome MiTB here. Highlights include Mr. Kennedy giving Hornswoggle what I can only describe as a Swanton Bomb, but with the person on your shoulders, not on the mat. Either way, it looks like it crushed Swoggle's ribs. Jeff Hardy making sure that Edge will have to retire soon by diving off a ladder onto Edge's midsection, sending them both crashing through the ladder that Edge laid prone on. Booker T giving up a win to save his wife, and JBL thinking that was one hell of a stupid thing to do. At the time I didn't understand why they gave Kennedy the win, and apparently they didn't either. Still, great match from one of my favorite WM's.
Kennedy becames the 3rd MiTB winner at 19:10
World Tag Team Championship - One Night Stand, June 3rd, 2007
The Hardyz vs The World's Greatest Tag-Team
Years ago, the Blockbuster near my house had this PPV on sale in their discount bin, I bought it soley for this match. Again, I expected a lot with the WGTT, but they just didn't deliver to the heights I feel they're capable of. Don't get me wrong, it's a great match and all, but with these two, the Hardyz, and some ladders, they should have broke ****, easy.
Hardyz retain the titles at 17:17
Intercontinental Title Match - Monday Night Raw, December 10th, 2007
Jeff Hardy vs Carlito
I don't really see the point of having ladder matches on Raw unless they're going to go full tilt. Giving a ladder match less than 15 minutes is just doing harm, because you're taking a lot of time to transport the ladder, set it up, and all the other accoutrements that come with. That time should be used for actual wrestling, if they aren't allowed to go the full gambit. Plus, Carltio kinda sucks. At least that's what I think. This is rather forgettable, but if you love Jeff, or Carltio, then go nuts.
Jeff wins in about 10 minutes
World Heavyweight Title Match - One Night Stand, June 1st, 2008
Edge vs The Undertaker
2008 was a banner year for Edge & The Undertaker. They started off with a damn near 5 star classic at Wrestlemania 24, then two more matches that almost matched up to WrestleMania at Backlash, and Judgment Day. When One Night Stand came around, the stakes were raised and The Undertaker's career was put on the line. That's one stipulation you can bank on, because Ric Flair [twice, even], Kevin Nash, Macho Man, and The Undertaker are all kicking it together at Del Boca Vista. Anyways, after 3 fantastic technical bouts, we got ourselves a TLC with Edge and the Deadman, and once again they didn't disappoint. They beat the hell out of one another with every chance given, from chairshots to crashing through tables. A fantastic match, and one of the greatest TLC's. As a follow-up, much to my shock, Undertaker came back 2 months later, as he and Edge gave a Hell in a Cell that was damn near 5 stars.
Edge pulls down the title after sending Undertaker crashing through 3 tables.
World Heavyweight Title Match - No Mercy, October 5th, 2008
Chris Jericho vs Shawn Michaels
The reason this match is so damn great is because it went the complete opposite way of most ladder matches. Ever since No Mercy 1999, anytime there was a ladder match people kept trying to one-up the last one. With this one, they built an awesome match along with the ladders, instead of trying to build a match with just the ladders. There were no over-the-top spots or anything, but a lot of innovative uses involving 2 of the best in the world.
Jericho smashes Shawn with the belt to retain in 22:22
Money In The Bank - Wrestlemania 25
CM Punk vs. Kofi Kingston vs. MVP vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Kane vs. Mark Henry vs. Finlay vs. Christian
From the get go, people get it wrong. In my opinion, this is the greatest Money In The Bank to date. It was non-stop action from beginning to end, and it was packed with a ton of great spots. From Shelton running up 3 ladders, Kofi climbing while Mark held it, to everyone taking their turns leaping from the turnbuckle. A lot of folks really underrated this one, and I think it deserves a second look. It was just all out and aggressive, and a great way to open the show.
Punk wins in 14:24
Money in the Bank Ladder Match - Money in the Bank 18th July, 2010
The Miz vs. Randy Orton vs. Chris Jericho vs. Evan Bourne vs. Ted DiBiase vs. John Morrison vs. Edge vs. Mark Henry
#1 Contenders Match - TLC, December 19th, 2010
John Morrison vs Sheamus
I'm curious to see if John ends up being one of wrestling's biggest blown opportunities. To date, he's the only one to get a decent match out of The Miz during his God-awful title run, and is able to kick some serious ass when he gets out there. As I stated in my review of the King of the Ring DVD, Morrison & Sheamus have a ton of chemistry, and this is no exception. It's the small nuances that really help to piece this match together, from Sheamus egging on Morrison verbally in the beginning, to Morrison giving a Bruce Lee influenced hand gesture to bring it after he slides under a ladder that Sheamus intended to take his head off with. It's great that these guys were given so much time, and more than delivered. One of my all time favorite ladder matches.
John Morrison snags the contract at 24:25
World Heavyweight Championship - Extreme Rules, May 1st, 2011
Christian vs Alberto Del Rio
Edge was forced to retire because of matches just like this, so Christian earned his spot in this match by winning a battle royal. I was ecstatic to see Christian get his chance, because he's been busting his ass for over 15 years and has done nothing but deliver quality. As for the match, I have no qualms with saying that this is my favorite ladder match of all time. Both guys go to the absolute limit with each other, and beat every ounce of will, drive, and fortitude out of each other. You get everything, one moment you get an awesome segment where Christian & Alberto break out reversal after reversal on each other until one of them is finally bested, then you get a crazy spot like Alberto diving from the top turnbuckle through a ladder. An absolute war, and a fantastic moment with Edge & Christian celebrating with legitimate emotion.
Christian pulls down the title at 21:01
Last Words: Well, it isn't Aliens, but it isn't Alien Resurrection either. Honestly, I'd put it at the first Alien vs Predator. A damn fine movie that could have easily been better, and although didn't live up to the original of the series, was still better than some of the other sequels. I really think they should have released more current material than the older stuff, because there just wasn't much. It might have been a bit redundant to release the ladder matches from the past TLC's and such, but I'd much prefer to see Jeff Hardy vs CM Punk TLC, JeriShow vs DX TLC, Christian vs Shelton Benjamin ladder match, or Jeff Hardy vs Edge ladder match, which is actually on the Blu-Ray release. Perhaps the next time. For now, we've got a pretty solid release, but not exactly able to keep up with the gems that the 'E has been releasing as of late. It get's a final score of ****
This is Marion Cobretti saying; get'em a body-bag, yeeeah! hahaha!
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