It should come as no surprise by now that Pro Wrestling is the only sport I care about.
I’ve done a couple write-ups about the highlights of COVID-era WWE.
My references to popular Wrestling memes come outta nowhere —
— right here on realmgard.com!
And, well, I’ve got one more COVID-era cinematic match that I want to share. So much so, in fact, that I’ve been just waiting for WWE to post the match so I can share it.
And that match is last year’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match.
Ladder Matches have been around for a while — the first recorded ladder match having been apparently held in 1972 by Stampede Wrestling (which I guess makes them CanCon).
The premise is fairly straightforward: there’s a Thing (usually a title belt) hanging from the ceiling, you beat up the other dude(s) until you can set up a ladder, climb it, and pull down the Thing.
The first Ladder Match in WWE was held in 1992 between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. With Ladder Matches apparently started by Stampede Wrestling, it’s not a surprise that Bret Hart was involved in introducing them to WWE.
Not only did Bret get his start in Stampede, his father Stu was a founder and driving force behind a lot of Stampede’s successes — and to a not insignificant degree, Canadian Wrestling in general; the Hart family school was one of the most important Wrestling schools ever.
WWE’s first famous Ladder Match was at WrestleMania X between Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon. Since then, not counting the Money in the Bank matches, there have apparently been 66 more Ladder Matches on WWE TV or pay-per-view.
What makes Money in the Bank significant is that’s a multi-competitor match contested for a contract with grants an guaranteed shot at the championship title of the winner’s choice — every winner to date has gone after a World Title, but there doesn’t seem to be anything in the rules saying that the winner couldn’t demand a match for, say, the US Championship or even the Tag Titles.
Granted, Wrestling is scripted, so this is only ever going to become an issue when and if the writers decide to make it one…
What made last year’s Money in the Bank match significant was that it was basically a half-hour long, real-life Looney Tunes sketch.
It was the glorious, bewildering, stupid, glorious, bewilderingly stupid high point of WWE’s COVID-era cinematic matches.
The short version is that WWE decided to film the match at WWE’s HQ in Stamford, having the men’s and women’s matches concurrently and setting them up basically as races to the roof of the building while everybody fights everybody through the building.
And things promptly spiral out of control from there in the most ludicrous of fashions.
Take a gander for yourself.
Yeah. Awesome(ly stupid), right?
I’ve had a couple recommendations lately about stupid movies that could have saved themselves by leaning into the stupid and just being as aggressively, ridiculous, self-consciously stupid as possible.
This match doesn’t have that problem. It’s fully, completely, absolutely the best kind of stupid and never takes its foot of the pedal.
Sure, it’s not a good Wrestling match. But, like, it’s not a good match in the same way a Looney Tunes cartoon isn’t a good Wresting match. The in-ring work isn’t the point the here.
Seriously, I love everything about this match and love everything about the idea behind this match.
I love, for example, that Baron Corbin straight-up murdered two dudes and then they promptly re-reappeared on TV without comment. I love A.J. Styles’ character work. I love that Vince McMahon gave himself a cameo and that he has a dinosaur skull on the wall of his office, apparently.
Because of course he does.
I love that the subtitles on Youtube for Asuka speaking in Japanese just say “[Foreign]”.
This is easily one of the stupidest things I have ever witnessed. But, again, it’s the good kind of stupid. The “B-movie that wraps itself in its own ludicrousness like a warm, cozy blanket) kind of stupid that makes it
12 000 000 % entertaining.