The Ladder Match 2: Crash and Burn
Reviewed by Adrian Surujbhan
The sequel to WWE Home Video’s 2007 release “The Ladder Match” is another comprehensive look at wrestling’s greatest high risk, high drama contest, the ladder match. Hosted by WWE veteran and ladder match pioneer Christian, we’re presented with a slew of matches from WWE, WCW, OVW and SMW.
From start to finish the breadth of great matches on the set is pretty staggering. The 3 disc set features twenty-one matches that run the gamut. The bulk of matches are from recent WWE history including from the first Money In The Bank PPV, as well as this years Extreme Rules PPV. The production is a pretty straight forward affair that plays great and definitely has repeat value. Considering this is the second dvd set dedicated to ladder matches, WWE Home Video has done a great job of mixing rare matches like an old WCW gem like Syxx vs. Eddie Guerrero for the US Title to classic, often seen matches like the legendary Razor Ramon vs Shawn Michaels Intercontinental Title match. As usual with WWE Home Video releases, the opening aptly sets the stage for the high risk, unbelievable offense and the OMG moments that follow. The little snippets we get of Christian between the odd match are a lot of fun and add necessary levity to the proceedings.
The original set didn’t really cover a whole lot of ground in terms of history and excluding a brief origin story we don’t get any here either. The original did however give us promo videos to open a few of the more famous matches that really helped set the mood and get first time viewers up to speed. The lack of any back story might alienate newer wrestling fans from otherwise great matches. For instance, the Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Vince and Shane McMahon Ladder Match from King of the Ring ’99 really didn’t come across as important as it really was when I went in cold. Having hit Youtube to recall what lead to this match it helped establish a sense of urgency and gravity to the match, which I felt was lacking on the original viewing. One thing I enjoyed from the original set was the small interviews from WWE superstars between chapters that added an interesting dynamic, really bringing home the danger that goes into these match-ups. Unfortunately like the original, volume two contains no extras. No interviews or personal accounts, no bonus matches, nothing but an online survey. The Blu-Ray contains a few extra matches, but nothing to write home about.
Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship
Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon - WrestleMania X 20th March, 1994
This match has been well documented but has stood the test of time. This may not have been the original ladder match but in a lot of ways this match is the conception. A true classic, always worth a watch.
Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship
Christian vs. Rob Van Dam - Raw 29th September, 2003
I can vaguely recall watching this match in my bedroom when I was 14 years old so I was so happy to get the chance to see it again. Van Dam and Christian had a lot of chemistry and told a great story in this one. A really engrossing match-up even knowing the outcome.
Ladder Match for the Undisputed OVW Women’s Championship
Katie Lea vs. Beth Phoenix - OVW 23rd December, 2006
Had no idea this match existed until I bought the set. A really intriguing concept, that Phoenix and Lea pulled it off.
Ladder Match for the WWE Tag Team Championship
The Hardys vs. The World’s Greatest Tag Team - One Night Stand 3rd June, 2007
I’ve only been able to stand The Hardy’s in a tag situation and even then it’s fleeting. The ladder match is where they shine. In a lot of ways their second run as a tag team was more fruitful than their first. They’d never shared the amount of success as Edge and Christian or The Dudleys. This time around they were the veterans and clearly in their element. The match was a great mix of athleticism, high risk and creativity.
TLC Match for the World Heavyweight Championship
Undertaker vs. Edge One Night Stand 1st June, 2008
As much as I loved the rivalry between Edge and The Undertaker throughout 2008, including their epic Wrestlemania match and their subsequent rematches, I have never enjoyed their foray into the ladder match. The match was more or less a contrived spot fest. Very hokey and shallow. Not up to their usual standard.
Tracy Smothers vs. Chris Candido - Smoky Mountain Wrestling March, 1994
Talk about a head scratcher. I have no idea why this match was added to the set. Tracy Smothers and Chris Candido aren’t exactly big names but worse even is the match itself. Nothing that sets it apart as worthy of making the cut other than it’s classification as a ladder match.
Ladder Match for the Hardcore Championship
Mankind vs. Big Boss Man Raw 30th November, 1998
Another “what were they thinking?” match, a quick, completely forgettable contest for the meaningless Hardcore championship.
I’m honestly happy with my purchase. If nothing else, it’s a great companion piece to the original three disc set. It may be very bare bones and I may have liked a few extras, interviews, etc, but you can’t argue with the result. It’s a focused production, it’s intention is to shed some more light on the ladder match and it does just that.
Repeat Value: 3/5
Match Quality: 4/5