Every year, WWE hosts the Money In The Bank event where superstars participate in a series of the ladder matches with a contract for a title match hanging high above the ring. As many as 10 competitors vie for a championship opportunity while putting themselves in great danger for the sake of entertainment. This year, however, Vince McMahon and the rest of the WWE upper brass have decided to the hold a Corporate Ladder Match instead when Money In The Bank airs on May 10.
But what in the hell is a Corporate Ladder Match? Well, according to WWE, this year's Money In The Bank matches will be held at WWE corporate headquarters in beautiful downtown Stamford, Connecticut, where participants will start at the bottom floor and work their way up to the roof where the briefcases containing the Money In The Bank contracts will be hanging above a ring.
Surprisingly enough, this isn't the most absurd gimmick match WWE has introduced over the course of the past 50 or so years, not in the slightest. So, as we prepare ourselves for the upcoming Corporate Ladder Match, let's take a stroll down memory lane of all the insanely absurd bouts in the history of WWE.
Money In The Bank Ladder Match
Okay, I'll be the first to admit that the Money In The Bank ladder match isn't the craziest thing the WWE has done over the years, but the risk involved earns it a spot on this list. Ladder matches alone are dangerous and have led to some pretty gnarly injuries, but when you have anywhere from five to 10 wrestlers, sometimes a dozen or so ladders, and a championship opportunity at stake, things can get a bit hairy to say the least.
First introduced at WrestleMania 21 in 2005, the Money In The Bank match became so popular that it went from a way to cram as many wrestlers as possible onto the WrestleMania card to its own pay-per-view in 2010.
Custody Ladder Match
Here's where things really go off the rails. Typically, the goal of a ladder match is to secure a championship or an opportunity to fight for one, but sometimes there are more personal prizes hanging high above the ring. Enter the Custody Ladder Match from SummerSlam 2005 where Rey Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero fought for the custody of Mysterio's real-life son, Dominik.
The match was decent enough, but the ludicrous idea of settling a custody dispute with a ladder match at WWE's annual end of summer event makes the whole mess one of the most absurd matches in the last 15 years. On a more somber note, it was Eddie Guerrero's final SummerSlam appearance before his untimely death in November 2005.
Sumo Monster Truck Match
There have been plenty of sumo matches in the history of professional wrestling, but nothing compares to the high-octane Sumo Monster Truck Match at World Championship Wrestling's (later purchased by WWE) Halloween Havoc in 1995. And before I get any further, yes, it's exactly what you think it is.
Held on the roof of the TCF Center in Detroit, Michigan, the match consisted of Hulk Hogan and The Giant (WWE's Big Show), having a sumo-style match while each competitor was behind the wheel of a monster truck. Hogan gained the victory after pushing The Giant's truck out of the circle, but it didn't stop there. After the conclusion of the spectacle, the wrestlers continued to fight until The Giant fell off the roof.
Kennel From Hell Match
Anyone who watched wrestling in the late 1990s will tell you that the Attitude Era, while revolutionary, produced some of the worst and questionable matches in the history of wrestling. Sure, the era gave us the rise of Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, and countless others, but man, a few of the concepts introduced were complete and utter trash, like the Kennel From Hell match.
Held at the 1999 edition of the Unforgiven pay-per-view event, the match involved Al Snow and Big Boss Man fighting inside a steel cage that was surrounded by another steel cage with a pack of "vicious" dogs. Seems intense, right? Well, the only problem was that all the rottweilers placed outside the ring didn't care about the wrestlers and were more concerned at barking at one another. The match was never brought back.
King Of The Road Match
You know what's more dangerous than a wrestling match in a steel cage — a wrestling match in a steel cage on and 18-wheeler. And that's exactly what happened during the 1995 Uncensored WCW (before the promotion was purchased by WWE) event when Dustin Rhodes battled The Blacktop Bully (Smash from Demolition) in the first and only King Of The Road Match.
In order to win the match, one of the wrestlers had to climb to the top of the caged-off trailer and sound a horn. Yes, a wrestling match concluded by the sounding of a horn. Here's a fun fact about the match: both competitors were fired from WCW for breaking the no-bleeding corporate policy, which resulted in Dustin Rhodes returning to WWE where he subsequently debuted his most iconic character, Goldust.
The Boneyard Match
When the Coronavirus pandemic of 2020 forced WWE to make a last minute change to the annual WrestleMania event, the company elected to hold most of the booked matches at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando instead of cancelling the show outright. One of the biggest matches of the show, the Boneyard Match between The Undertaker and A.J. Styles wasn't held in a ring, but in a "graveyard" of all places.
The bout, which was pre-taped and heavily edited, looked more like an episode of Walker Texas Ranger than a wrestling match, and while I enjoyed myself during the spectacle, this thing was a mess. The aged and grizzled Undertaker couldn't climb ladders or other obstacles like he could in the past, so WWE found creative ways of getting past his limited ability. But you can buy some of the dirt from the match on the WWE Shop website.
Judy Bagwell On A Forklift Match
And then there's the Judy Bagwell On A Forklift Match from WCW's New Blood Rising from 2000 where Buff Bagwell defeated Kanyon in a match that was exactly how it sounds. There have been plenty "On A Pole" type matches, but nothing ever went as far as this god awful match from the dying days of World Championship Wrestling before the promotion was purchased by WWE in 2001.
The worst part about it is that Judy Bagwell didn't have much of anything to do in the match besides stand on an extended forklift outside the ring. If you don't pay attention to the middle-aged woman crying from a forklift, you'd think it was just another terrible late-era WCW match.
Those are just a few of the absurd gimmick matches featured on WWE programming before the upcoming Corporate Ladder Match. Will that match be ridiculous as some others on this list? We'll have to wait and see.
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Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop barking at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.