Guest Author - Vance R. Rowe
In my opinion and in the tens of thousands hours of watching professional wrestling in my lifetime so far, I can assume that it is safe to say that one of the most dangerous specialty matches in all of sports entertainment is the ladder match.
Sure there are other dangerous matches like the hardcore type matches that allow the use of weapons such as steel chairs, tables, garbage cans and whatever else the superstars can get their hands on. There are matches that involve all different kinds of steel cage enclosures and there are matches that involve winning by using your opponent to break them. There was even a match that involved monster trucks on the roof of a building. That being said, there is no match that is more dangerously unpredictable than the ladder match.
The ladder match is won when a superstar carries a ladder into the ring, sets it up in the center of the ring and then the superstar has to climb the ladder and retrieve whatever prize is hanging from the rafters. This is usually a championship belt. However, contracts, money, briefcases, and other things have hung there instead of a championship belt.
For many years, wrestling organizations like the WWE and TNA Impact have used some type of steel or aluminum ladder. These ladders are used as weapons and used to knock someone down as they ascend it. Just imagine yourself already beat up and very exhausted. Your opponent is lying down on the mat and is seemingly unconscious. The ladder is set up so you slowly begin to climb the rungs of the ladder. It is a twenty foot high ladder and you are a couple of rungs from being able to stand on top of the ladder. You reach up to grab the prize but just before you almost get it, your opponent gets up and knocks the ladder down with you near the top of it. Down you go, almost twenty feet down to the arena floor. Your head hits the steel crowd barrier and your head snaps back, breaking your neck. Now you are either dead or paralyzed for the rest of your life because the ladder accidentally got pushed the wrong way and instead of landing in the ring, you fell out over the top rope and crashed down to the floor instead.
Has this happened before? I donít know for sure but I do know that it is a definite possibility of things that can happen. A former WWE superstar named Joey Mercury had his nose broken and his face sliced open when Jeff Hardy flew off a top turnbuckle and down on to an end of a ladder that was pivoting in the air on another ladder. When Jeff Hardy landed on one end of the ladder, the other end flew up into the air like a ballistic see-saw. This end caught Joey Mercury right on his nose.
Ladder matches are arguably the most dangerous type of match in all of professional sports entertainment and is a special inductee into my Hall of Controversy.
At least the organizations are beginning to move away from the aluminum type ladders to a more composite material like fiberglass and plastics.
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