On July 21, 1992, then-WWF Champion Bret Hart faced Shawn Michaels in the first ladder match in WWE history. While this bout was the first to use the stipulation in WWE, it was never shown and remained virtually unnoticed for nearly a decade. Hart has previously participated in a ladder battle with the Stampede Wrestling organization in 1983. That match is now considered by many to be one of the greatest matches ever staged, and helped establish both men as stars within the industry.
The first ladder match in World Championship Wrestling (WCW) occurred on March 4, 1999. The WCW Worldwide television show held a six-man ladder match to determine who would face Jeff Jarrett for his world championship. The participants were Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Syxx, and Steve Austin. All four men spent time over the previous year building up their brands before joining forces for this match. It was also announced prior to the match that if any person climbed the ladder they would receive a title shot at any time during the next month.
Nash went up first, but was quickly taken out of the equation when Hall climbed the ladder and hit a legdrop on him after he reached the top rung. This started a big brawl between the two groups inside and outside the ring that ended when Austin cleared the ring off the stage and dropped all four men through the same opening.
July 21, 1992 On July 21, 1992, the WWF conducted its inaugural ladder match, in which Hart defeated Shawn Michaels to retain the WWF Intercontinental Title. The event took place at the Boston Garden and was broadcast on television as part of a Saturday Night's Main Event.
The idea for the match is said to have come from Vince McMahon who wanted a way for his champion to maintain his title while being able to beat up on guys that didn't want to fight him. Hart accepted the challenge and the match became known as the First Ladder Match.
There had been other matches where objects were used to break up fights including tables, chokeslashes, and even scaffolds but this was the first time that a ladder was used as a main event attraction.
Ladders have been used in pro wrestling since the early 1980s but it wasn't until 1992 that they were used in a championship match. Prior to that time, wrestlers would use them to gain advantage in matches or simply as a way to put someone out of commission.
In addition to being used as a weapon, ladders have also been employed by some wrestlers as a means of escape.
Wrestling stretches back to the prehistoric era, and no one on this earth knows when the first wrestling match took place. The inaugural WWE bout took place in 1963, and it was to determine the first WWF champion. Buddy Rodgers, aka "Nature Boy," faced off against Bruno Sammartino. This event took place at Cauliflower Alley Club (CCC) conventions across the country.
Rodgers was a professional wrestler who used his athletic skills to make a living. He worked mainly in small towns across America where people would pay to see him fight. His career lasted from 1962 to 1969, and during that time he held the WWA World Heavyweight Championship once. Bruno Sammartino was an Italian-American wrestler who started out in the military before turning pro in 1957. He held the championship for over a year before losing it to Rodger's friend, Pedro Martinez.
Sammartino later became one of the most famous wrestlers in history, holding the WWE Championship twice. He is also considered by many to be the greatest wrestler of all time.
A ladder match Dan Kroffat of the Stampede Wrestling promotion in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, or British wrestler Kendo Nagasaki might have originated the ladder match. Stampede Wrestling hosted the first ever ladder match between Dan Kroffat and Tor Kamata in September 1972, with the item to be grasped being a bundle of money. Kroffat won the match by grabbing the money bag off the top of the ladder and bringing it to the ring thus winning the prize money.
The original match was very simple but effective, and it is likely that other wrestlers had done this type of match before then. The main event of the first Stampede Wrestling show was a six-man tag team match with each team trying to retrieve a key for their car. The keys were on a ladder which could be used to gain access to the cars outside the ring. This match is often cited as the origin of the ladder match because it was the first time that these elements (money, key, ladder) were used together. However, there were probably many similar matches played throughout the world prior to this date.
Kendo Nagasaki might have invented the ladder match. In May 1973, while working for Japan's National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) based in Tokyo, he participated in and won a ladder match against Kim Chetti. Before this date, Japanese wrestlers rarely fought each other so these matches usually consisted of American wrestlers teamsing with each other or European wrestlers taking on each other.
The match is considered by many to be one of the greatest matches in wrestling history.
Buddy Rodgers was a popular wrestler who played up his American Indian heritage. He made his debut for Vince McMahon's new company on January 4, 1963 at Madison Square Garden where he defeated Pedro Morales in a non-title match. This was followed by another win the next night in Philadelphia. These were all singles matches but they are considered pre-tape periodicals. In other words, they didn't count towards their championship totals at the time. The WWF awarded its first title, the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) Championship, in November of that year.
Rodgers went on to have two more successful years with the company before leaving to pursue a career in politics. He was later asked to come back but decided not to due to health reasons. The Nature Boy died in March 2017 at the age of 86.
Sammartino on the other hand, continued to wrestle throughout most of 1963 and into 1964 until he suffered a neck injury that required surgery. He never recovered from this injury and died in May 2002 at the age of 53.