The Ladder Match. At WrestleMania 10 in New York City, Razor Ramon battled Shawn Michaels for the Intercontinental Title in a Ladder Match that wrestling fans will never forget.
Who: Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Title: Razor Ramon vs. Shawn Michaels @ WrestleMania 10
When: March 20, 1994
Where: Madison Square Garden in New York, New York
Shawn Michaels was stripped of the Intercontinental Champion in September 1993 when he was suspended. The storyline reason was that he didn’t defend the title enough. The legit reason was a steroid suspension, but Michaels denied he used them. He was only off television for about two months because he subbed in for Jerry Lawler in a losing effort at Survivor Series 1993.
Razor Ramon was gaining a lot of momentum as a face at that point and he won the Intercontinental Title for the first time on September 27, 1993.
As they got closer to WrestleMania 10, Michaels claimed that he was the only Intercontinental Champions since he was not beaten for the title.
That led to a ruling where both titles would hang above the ring as Ramon and Michaels would do battle in the first ever televised Ladder Match.
There was a WWE Ladder Match between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels filmed for a Coliseum Video. Bret brought the idea to WWE, so he was mad that he wasn’t a part of the first one that was televised live. It fit this storyline well, which is why did it with Razor and Shawn.
What I Thought Back Then
I was excited of course. I was 13 years old and starting to figure out how things worked in wrestling at that moment. It was when I really started to appreciate the guys like Bret Hart, Mr. Perfect and Shawn Michaels as in ring performers.
Michaels was one of the most exciting guys in wrestling at the time. By using a ladder in the match, they could allow Michaels to do some high spots that would let him show off his athleticism. It was a smart way to give him a match to let him show what he could really do.
From a storyline standpoint, the match made sense. Michaels never lost his title, Ramon won the vacated title and they set up this unique match with a stipulation I had never heard of before – the Ladder Match – to find out who the better man was.
If I was a smart fan at the time I probably would have been just as excited because they were outstanding performers that are very good friends.
Here’s my full review of the match, which was written in 2012.
Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Title: Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon
Michaels walked out with his bodyguard Diesel, who you might know as Kevin Nash. I loved Razor Ramon’s theme music. Shawn walked around the ladder while Razor walked under it, not fearing the jinx of walking under a ladder.
Michaels got a thumb to the eye and Razor came back with a chokeslam variation. Michaels hit a neckbreaker. Razor hit a shoulder block and then Michaels dumped him out to the floor where Diesel decked him with a clothesline. After seeing that, referee Earl Hebner ejected Diesel from ringside to the delight of the crowd. Razor whipped Michaels into the corner where Shawn did his upside down flip leading to Ramon hitting a clothesline to send Michaels to the floor. Ramon lifted up the mat around the ring to expose the floor underneath it. Michaels threw him back in the ring before he could do anything. Razor hit him with a right hand and set him up for a Razor’s Edge. Shawn countered and Razor crashed on the exposed floor right on his left arm and shoulder. That was a painful looking bump. Michaels grabbed the red ladder that was set up in the aisle. Razor decked him in the face with a punch, so Shawn went into the ring and gave a dropkick to the latter, which hit Ramon in the stomach. In the ring, Michaels used the top of the ladder to ram Razor in the stomach with it. Shawn jammed him in the chest with the ladder one more time and then hit him in the back with it. With Razor propped up against the ropes, Michaels threw the ladder into Razor’s back. Shawn climbed up, Razor stopped him by holding onto his tights and Shawn’s butt was exposed. Michaels ended up hitting an elbow drop. Time for an iconic spot. After Michaels slammed Razor down, he set the ladder up in the corner, he climbed to the top and leaped onto Razor with a huge splash from the second rung at the top of the ladder. That was an amazing visual right there. Michaels climbed again, Razor got up, shoved the ladder and Michaels went crashing throat first on the top rope, which caused him to bounce off the ropes and both guys were down. They got back up, ran the ropes and collided headfirst for the double KO spot.
Back to their feet, Michaels propped the ladder in the corner. Razor reversed a whip, so Michaels took the bump by going face first into the ladder and flying over the top to the floor. Not too many could take that bump like Michaels. Ramon brought the ladder outside the ring where he used it as a weapon to attack Michaels again. Razor hit a slingshot into the ladder that was propped up against the ring and Michaels took the bump all the way to the floor just to show off even more. In the ring, Razor hit Shawn in the face with the edge of the ladder. The crowd was going wild while Razor struggled to open up the ladder. Razor climbed up the ladder, Michaels got up to the top rope and hit a double ax off the top. Then the ladder fell on top of Michaels. I doubt that last part was the plan, but it was a nice accident. Each guy climbed the ladder on opposite sides. They slugged it out. Razor gave him a suplex off the ladder. Great spot there. Razor climbed again so Michaels dropkicked the ladder and Razor fell off while the ladder was still up with both guys down on the mat. Just for fun, Michaels threw the ladder onto Razor one more time. After a whip into the ropes, Michaels hit a superkick. Michaels hit a sick piledriver. Michaels used the ladder as the weapon by putting his weight on one side and driving it down on Razor’s body. Michaels climbed the ladder while Ramon was under it, which wasn’t the greatest strategy when you think about it. Here’s the finish. Ramon gave a shoulderblock to the ladder while Michaels was on it and Michaels crotched himself on the top rope. Then Shawn casually put his right foot between the ropes, used his hand to pull the top rope down and magically his right foot was tied in the top rope. Now you know why they took Diesel out of the match. He wasn’t there to save him. When Shawn got his leg free, his hand was tied up. That was probably his way of delaying it while Razor climbed. The crowd was cheering wildly while Razor climbed and he grabbed both titles to win the match at 18:47 as Shawn finally freed himself just a few seconds too late.
Winner and New Intercontinental Champion – Razor Ramon
Analysis: ***** Another five star match on this show. I think it’s one of those matches that every wrestling fan has seen or should see. They took some crazy bumps considering it was 1994. I know that 18 years later we’re used to some of these more extreme bumps, but if you think of what they did here it was pretty incredible. They really worked the match in a back and forth way with each guy getting the advantage at different times. Michaels’ bumping was incredible, but you have to give it to Razor too. He worked his ass off and kept up with Michaels’ pace. It was such an innovative match because the majority of the audience had not seen anything like it before. They used the ladder as a weapon in a lot of different ways. Shawn bounced off that thing as if it was the most painful object known to man, which helped push the match as a physically painful match. It got the right amount of time too. There were no flaws in this match. It set the template for all future ladder matches and most would argue that it has never been topped. Every wrestler should study this match. Every fan should watch it. Simply put, this ladder match is one of the most iconic matches in the history of the wrestling business and it always will be.
This match was a huge deal for me because it was the moment where Shawn Michaels became my favorite wrestler and he ended up becoming my favorite wrestler ever. His athleticism wowed me. The risks he would take were spectacular. My favorite wrestler was always Randy Savage prior to this, but I knew Randy was old and it was time for me to pick a new favorite. After this match, that favorite became Shawn Michaels.
What They Said
This one is pretty easy. WWE posted this video with Razor and Shawn watching the match in 2019, which was 25 years after the match took place.
What I Think Now
I’ve probably seen the ladder match well over a dozen times in my life. I can recite most of the spots off the top of my head. It’s like watching my favorite episode of Seinfeld or The Simpsons dozens of times while never getting sick of it. Every time I watch I learn to appreciate it even more. This was the match that really put Shawn Michaels on the map and made people really take notice of him if they weren’t already. As I mentioned above, Michaels also became my favorite wrestler with this performance. He still is.
It was a great match for Michaels because it elevated him to another level. He was a very good in-ring performer for years before this, but he had yet to have that breakout mach. After this, people thought of him as the Ladder Match guy and the incredible athlete that could have an amazing match with anybody. You could tell he was on his way to being a main eventer.
The match did a lot for Razor too because it raised his star power, which helped him when he jumped to WCW two years later. He had flirted as a main event talent for a bit before this, but he never really broke through. He was always an upper midcard wrestler that came close to the top. When people look at his career all these years later, this is still the match they talk about the most. It’s a testament to how good he was.
I think the right guy got the win in the match as well. The Ladder Match was a new concept that was different from everything we had seen before. Putting over the face in Ramon was the smart thing to do because it made the fans happy. Give fans something to be excited about with a new match – that’s how it should be.
What Happened Next
Michaels worked as a heel for the next year. He won the 1995 Royal Rumble as a heel and got a WWE Title shot at WrestleMania 11 in 1995, but that was not the main event of show. He was getting a lot of cheers, so WWE turned him face. Michaels got back the Intercontinental Title again, dropped it later in 1995 due to getting beat up outside of a bar and was pushed to the main event level in 1996. Michaels won his second straight Royal Rumble in 1996 leading to his first WWE Title win at WrestleMania 12 against Bret Hart in a great match that I covered here.
Ramon went on to hold the IC Title four times over the next two years. It seemed like he was always around the IC Title during that period. He left for WCW in the spring of 1996, used his real name of Scott Hall and was a key member of the revolutionary New World Order stable.
They had a second ladder match one year later at SummerSlam 1995. By that point, both guys were faces. They had an outstanding match that night as well. Some people say that match was even better than this one. I think both matches are five stars and it’s hard to watch it.
When I think of this match I’m always going to marvel at how they took a new concept that the fans weren’t really familiar with and gave us one of the best matches ever. That’s not easy to do. The story was easy to follow, the rivalry between the two guys was strong and the execution of the match was perfect. I’ll never forget the Razor/Shawn Ladder Match.
That’s all for me. Check out the full list of my WWE PPV Review archive right here. Thanks for reading.
My contact info is below.