A guest post written by Art0Donnell’s cousin, KofiJ0hnson
Wrestlemania is supposed to be the biggest and best event of the year in the world of wrestling, but what happens when Vince McMahon runs out of exciting ideas and instead decides to build title matches around household items? The answer: the ladder match.
Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels had been engaged in a bitter feud over who was, in fact, the true Intercontinental champion, so the WWF naturally pitted the two against each other in a match to see who could climb up a ladder the fastest. No, you didn’t read that wrong. The big selling point of this match is that it resembled something from a job interview for Home Depot. Surprisingly, Vince Russo would not book for the WWF until several years later.
Shawn Michaels brought Kevin “Diesel” Nash to ringside as his backup, but as soon as the former Oz knocked down Razor, he got ejected from ringside. In a match with no disqualifications. Nash gladly accepted his paycheck for two minutes of work as soon as he got backstage. Smart man.
Need further proof that this match was Wrestlecrap? Remember that the object of the match was to climb the ladder to get the two belts hanging above the ring. Instead, the two men used the ladder as a weapon. What would have happened had the ladder broken? I guess the two wrestlers would have had to jump up really high to reach the titles, seeing as there was only one ladder.
That’s another thing: whereas the bookers of modern ladder matches have had the good sense to include at least half a dozen ladders in every match, this one only had a single ladder, meaning that if a ladder was on the outside of the ring, Shawn or Razor had to literally drag it to the center of the ring and set it up, rather than merely grabbing another ladder out from under the ring whenever the ladder wasn’t already perfectly positioned under the suspended belts.
Six years ago today (April 1st, 2007), Matt Hardy needed a second ladder after the first one wasn’t perfectly centered.
Imagine if in football, your team had to intercept a pass, receive a punt, or tackle the other team before you even got the chance to score a touchdown, rather than simply take one of the many spare balls on the sidelines whenever your team didn’t have possession.
Also due to the lack of ladders, Razor and Shawn were pretty much handcuffed when it came to setting up the really contrived high spots featuring multiple ladders that are a trademark of the superior, modern ladder match.
Instead, Razor-Shawn flowed like a wrestling match, which made the highlight reel pale in comparison to that of the Money in the Bank matches.
Instead of Shawn and Razor pulling off suicidal high spots that hurt them as much as their opponent, they had to resort to simply hurting their opponents. Oh yeah, and there were three different announce tables at ringside, and not a single one was broken, let alone carefully stacked on top of other tables in the middle of the match.
Have no fear, though, for what the match lacked in high spots, it more than made up for in HBK ass. Yes, we were “treated” to Shawn Michael’s butt in the middle of a Wrestlemania title match.
Another reason this match sucked: it ran way too long, bumping the scheduled ten-man tag match off the card and onto Monday Night Raw. Honestly, I couldn’t care less about ten guys missing out on the spotlight at the biggest show of the year…
…but what is a kick in the head is that the ten or so extra minutes wasted on this ladder match could have been allotted to the dreadfully short Yokozuna-Lex Luger match. The extra Yokozuna nervehold or two would have etched that match into the history books as an all-time classic.
Razor won the match after Shawn got caught in the ropes and could not free himself in time, despite hilariously flailing around. Shouldn’t Earl Hebner have stopped the match and made Razor untie the Heartbreak Kid, like in Guerrero-Test at Wrestlemania 17?
Regardless, the match came to a merciful end, and was later followed up by a marginally better rematch featuring two ladders and much more realistic action, such as multiple blown spots, another feature sorely lacking in the original.
All in all, Wrestlemania X showcased an inane match worthy of Russo but without the goofball comedy (Shawn’s butt cheeks excepted). Bottom line: when it comes down to which was worse, the Viagra-on-a-pole match or this Razor-Shawn bout, I choose the ladder!
KofiJ0hnson is a long-time wrestling fan famous for his series of essays on why ECW 2006 was better than the original. He is happy to explain (especially immediately after a pay-per-view) why you should cheer for John Cena, not because you like his matches or his character, but because he is good for WWE’s shareholders. Feel free to write to his PO Box and share your favorite matches with KofiJ0hnson so that he can explain to you why they suck. Kofi does not have an email address, because wrestling fans who use the internet are idiots.
A wrestling fan ever since the days of Wrestlemania IX, Art graduated from college in the same building where Art Donovan called King of the Ring 1994. He also runs the "How Much Does This Guy Weigh?" blog, where he reviews New Generation-Era Monday Night Raws. Follow him on Twitter @Art0Donnell.
Email at: firstname.lastname@example.org