One of WWE’s best matchups is the ladder match; it’s a versatile format that amps up the in-ring drama and showcases talents, particularly for commonly tiny performers who can make full use of the ladders for death-defying manoeuvres. Under the ladders, with a championship or other prize dangling precariously above the ring, have occurred some of the promotion’s most memorable moments. Young fans are immediately drawn in by the drama, while longtime WWE fans enjoy reminiscing about the company’s legendary ladder bouts.
The ladder may launch a fresh superstar’s career or reinvent established veterans like Ric Flair in the early 2000s, as seen with Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon and any of WWE’s fantastic Money In The Bank Ladder Matches. However, not all of the top personalities in WWE’s past or present have taken part in one of the federation’s best gimmick bouts, despite the matches’ success in producing stars and moments.
JBL, a Texan, got to the top of the WWE in 2004, yet despite his extended reign as world champion, there was never a ladder match then.
When JBL was at the height of his WWE career in 2004, he wrestled in many gimmick bouts against stars like Eddie Guerrero, John Cena, Booker T, Big Show, and more. Despite this, most of JBL’s biggest matches have been pretty forgettable because he didn’t secure a memorable victory to end the year with the WWE championship. A ladder bout might have conflicted with the Texan’s well-known brawling approach, or it might have been just what he needed to produce a more significant effect.
Despite having a relatively short career, Ronda Rousey is already the second female WWE champion and is known as the “Baddest Woman On The Planet.” Despite being the top champion for most of those runs, she hasn’t participated in a ladder match in that brief period. WWE likes to keep Rousey on the ground where she can use her mixed martial arts and “genuine” performance style to her advantage.
Whether Ronda would perform well in a ladder match may be debated. She is usually a women’s champion, which disqualifies her from the yearly MITB battle because she is slightly more constrained in the ring.
A-list star and potential Hall of Famer Dave Bautista is known for his appearances in action-packed spy or alien films, but the action-packed ladder match wasn’t a part of his tenure as Batista in the WWE. Batista was the face of Friday Night Smackdown for most of the Ruthless Aggression era, yet he was never involved in one of the WWE’s most thrilling match styles.
While he was still a wrestler, Batista was kept apart from the MITB crowd since he was a main-eventer. At the time, MITB was still developing and intended for new talent. His massive build also made it doubtful that the future Drax would have any thrilling falls from a ladder, and it suggested that the performer would be more at ease with hard-hitting brawls and gimmicks like Last Man Standing.
After returning to NXT 2.0, Apollo Crews, a former WWE Intercontinental Champion and the WWE United States Champion, is prepared to enter an NXT championship programme. When Crews is freed from the stale bad foreigner gimmick, he can put on a high-calibre performance in the ring. He is built like a much bigger behemoth, but he moves with unbelievable agility that is usually only seen in lesser rivals.
Apollo has never participated in a WWE ladder match despite his stature and agility. Given that the MITB ladder match is a revolving door of midcard talent, this is impressive for a midcard act in WWE today, but it’s also somewhat disappointing.
Titus O’Neil has done more for the WWE’s reputation over the past ten years than any other wrestler, something the organisation needed more than once. O’Neil has never been a significant singles star in the WWE. Still, given his lengthy stay on the roster and essential brand ambassador duties, it seems unusual that he has never competed in a classic WWE ladder match.
The MITB ladder match seems like a logical fit for Titus O’Neil. He might win the main event on one of WWE’s premier programmes, enhancing his ability to advertise the brand and rewarding his commitment to it through good and bad times.
Gunther, the most recent Intercontinental Champion of WWE, is in line for a strong year, especially with the absence of several of the top performers in the company at the moment because of injuries. The newest Smackdown roster member hasn’t spent much time on the main roster, but what’s most shocking is that the ring general never took part in a ladder match during his successful tenure on NXT.
Gunther’s size and aggressive approach aren’t ideal for a ladder match. Still, few leading event players in today’s promotion have managed to escape competing for gold or the MITB contract in ladder matches. His lack of ladder match experience is surprising, and if WWE is as serious about his superstar potential as fans think, the corporation will surely try to correct it.
One of WWE’s most successful NXT call-ups is Bianca Belair. Belair is a once-in-a-generation in-ring performer with victories at the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania in both the Women’s and Heavyweight divisions. She has appeared in two WrestleMania main events and is at the head of the women’s division, but neither NXT nor the main roster has ever had her compete in a ladder match.
Her success in WWE has contributed to this in part. She participated in and won the title in the main event at two of the last three WrestleManias. Holding the women’s title yearly around the Money in the Bank show is almost guaranteed that you won’t see any ladder match action because WWE regrettably doesn’t book many championship ladder matches for their top crowns.
Most WWE fans would find it difficult to recall the specifics of Jinder Mahal’s perplexing victory. It would be simple to believe that he obtained the belt through MITB cash-in, which is how WWE frequently awards the title to unanticipated wrestlers. But not only did Mahal not cash in on his title triumph, but the former champion has also never taken part in a WWE ladder match.
Mahal has never competed in any noteworthy ladder matches, like the 2021 MITB battle and the funny WeeLC game from his time in 3MB. That Jinder has never participated in a ladder match inside a WWE ring is shocking, given his reputation and longevity as a performer.