Few matches are as exhilarating as a Ladder Match, which offer up numerous opportunities for superstars to show off not only their athleticism but also their ability to power through the pain that comes with getting hit by a metal ladder. A number of superstars have put their stamp on the Ladder Match, and that elite group definitely includes The New Day's Kofi Kingston, who has wowed fans over the years with a number of unforgettable moments. You're likely to see one of those moments in FOX's new WWE's Greatest Ladder Matches special, which airs later tonight. ComicBook.com had the chance to talk to Kingston about some of the big Ladder Match moments in his career, including a famous one at WrestleMania, but we also wanted to know from an expert what the key is to making and putting on a Ladder Match for the ages.
"I would say, in order to make a Ladder Match great, I think you have to have diversity in the contenders," Kingston said. "The story is obviously hugely important. Whatever's at stake, whatever's at the top of the ladder. If it's a championship title, you're obviously trying to get to that. If it's a Money in the Bank Ladder Match though, this is particularly what I was talking about as far as having diversity in the competitors. You want to have some guys who are big giant behemoths. You want to have some guys who are speed guys, some guys who are high flyers. You want to have hybrid guys. You want to have guys who use wrestling technique, so they can use the ladder to execute their techniques.
"So I think that to me is where the most exciting Ladder Matches come from because you have a whole bunch of people and you want to see exactly how they're going to be able to climb the ladder," Kingston said. "How's Big Show going to be able to climb the regular ladder? Oh, he's got his own reinforced ladder up in the ring, you know what I mean? Those are the little things that add so much to a match. Evan Bourne doing a Shooting Star Press off of the ladder, Shelton Benjamin jumping off the top of a ladder doing his thing. You just got to have a lot of people in there that can do different things, and use the Ladder Match and be innovative while they do them."
Now, Kingston is very familiar with using ladders in innovative ways, as we learned during WrestleMania XXVI. That's where Kingston used two halves of a broken ladder to form stilts, and if you think that was a challenge just from watching it happen, you would be right.
"Number one, coming up with innovative things to do in a Ladder Match gets harder and harder every year," Kingston said. "Now we have two Money in the Bank Ladder Matches at the pay-per-view. It's a hard thing to do because people are just trying to be innovative and now you have to top the last match. So it was hard to figure out something unique to do. Once I figured out that stilt spot, I was pretty impressed with it, but then having to execute it was also very difficult because of the adrenaline of the crowd."
"So if you watch that match and you see me get the stilts and I stand on the second rope and sit on the top turnbuckle," Kingston said. "I take the two ladders and I take a step with them, and the first one on the right starts to slip out a little bit, and I didn't anticipate that. I didn't know that it was going to be slippery on there. I thought that it was going to be a ladder that would stick in the ground like a normal ladder does, but I had to concentrate on not slipping. The crowd, there's like 75,000 people screaming at the top of their lungs and I'm just trying to focus on taking these baby steps AND getting all the way up there."
"It gets to be difficult in the sense that you can't let the adrenaline just surge through your body and have no control," Kingston said. "You have to really be able to just hone in the energy and use it to propel you forward. It just has to be under control. That's where really I guess the experience comes in because if you've felt that energy before, it's a little easier just to rein it in. The first time I was out there in Ladder Matches, it was a little bit more difficult because you're not used to having that energy. You're not used to having the people clamoring in such a big way for your stuff. You've got to just find a way to maintain that focus."
Fans can see some of the biggest moments from past Ladder Matches on tonight's special on FOX, and you can find the official description below.
"FOX Sports Presents: WWE's Greatest Ladder Matches
Featuring the best of the most high-flying, crowd-wowing battles in sport's entertainment - the ladder match.
Starring The Rock, John Cena, The Undertaker, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Edge, Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton, Roman Reigns, Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, and many more."0comments
WWE's Greatest Ladder Matches airs Saturday, May 9th at 8:00 PM ET/PT on FOX, and there will be an encore presentation on Sunday, May 10th at 12 PM ET on WWE's platforms.
Which Ladder Match moment is your favorite? Let us know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @MattAguilarCB for all things WWE!