Every AEW Ladder Match Ranked Worst To Best

The ladder match is a time honored tradition of professional wrestling in 2022. Moments in those matches throughout history have stood the test of time as staple memories for wrestling fans old and new. Shawn Michaels connecting with a splash onto Razor Ramon off of a ladder at WrestleMania 10, Edge and Christian vs. The Hardy Boyz at No Mercy, the triangle ladder match at WrestleMania 2000, Edge spearing Jeff Hardy out of mid-air in TLC at WrestleMania 17, Terry Funk's moonsault off a ladder in ECW, are each significant ladder match souvenirs that will occupy space in highlight videos for years to come.

AEW opened its doors in 2019 and worked to establish the ladder match as a tentpole feature of its company as well. The Young Bucks, the Lucha Brothers, Jurassic Express, Cody Rhodes, Sammy Guevara, and others have climbed the rungs for championships and opportunities. Some moments in these matches were highlight worthy. Others, forgettable. This is every AEW ladder match ranked worst to best.

8. Casino Ladder Match - All Out 2022

Wheeler Yuta, Rey Fenix, Rush, Andrade El Idolo, Claudio Castagnoli, Dante Martin, Penta, and the mystery joker entrant held down the fort in the 2022 All Out Casino Ladder Match on September 4, 2022. An athletic bunch, but not exactly a who's who of legitimate world championship contenders. That's just the beginning of the major problems with this match.

The action throughout the contest was fine — ambitious even. Andrade El Idolo connecting with a flipping powerbomb on Yuta from the top of a ladder and onto a ladder was out-of-this-world wild, but to what end? The match finished with a group of masked invaders entering the ring and masquerading as the joker entrant into the match. They obliterated each of the other competitors in the match and then a man, later to be revealed as Stokely Hathaway, climbed to the top rung and grabbed the casino chip down to end the match and win. Later, the true victor was revealed to be a returning MJF.

Ladder matches are too important and the stakes in this one were too high for a finish like that. It rendered the entirety of the match as something meaningless and made a mockery of how championship contenders are generated in AEW. A good idea in theory, but an ineffective one in practice. 

7. Casino Ladder Match - Double or Nothing 2020

The event was Double or Nothing 2020 on May 23, 2020. The venue? Daily's Place in Jacksonville, Florida. The circumstances? A global health pandemic and a worldwide quarantine. What a time to deliver the first-ever Casino Ladder Match, right? 

People needed this event as it was a brief reminder of a normal life amid scary and uncertain times. The match itself was hard to watch. Without an audience in the arena, the thrill of the ladder match wasn't present. The wrestlers worked hard, but also seemed to turn the volume down on action while accepting the reality of what they were being asked to do without fans.

Circumstances aside, Frankie Kazarian, Orange Cassidy, Rey Fenix, Kip Sabian, Colt Cabana, Luchasaurus, Scorpio Sky, and Darby Allin are not and were not world championship level acts in the company. We'll continue to see this trend throughout AEW ladder match history, but stocking this match with mid-card players hurts the value of the match due to the winner undoubtedly jobbing out to the world champion.

A match for its time, but for its time only. 

6. Face of the Revolution Ladder Match - Revolution 2021

Another pandemic era ladder match, but without question a better one. Scorpio Sky, Cody Rhodes, Ethan Page, Lance Archer, Max Caster, and Penta competed in the Face of the Revolution Ladder Match at AEW Revolution 2021. The stakes on the line was a shot at the TNT Championship and each of these competitors fit the bill for that championship and had a reasonable claim to that opportunity.

"That was a spot fest to be sure, but a more mature one than some with the frenzied pace of a match like this slowed just enough to keep it exciting but also manageable," Wade Keller wrote in his AEW Revolution 2021 report on PWTorch.com. "There were several believable near finishes throughout. Everyone had a good spotlight for stretches of the match and, with the exception of Ethan Page, I bought into the possibility that everyone else was on the verge of possibly winning."

Scorpio Sky secured the victory in this and, it felt like a concerted effort to elevate him within the company hierarchy. He'd go on to win the TNT Championship.

5. Casino Ladder Match - AEW Dynamite

The "Hangman" Adam Page Casino Ladder Match should be the revised name for this match. Page returned to AEW as the joker entrant for this match after being away from the company taking care of his first child. The match took place on the October 6, 2021 episode of AEW Dynamite and featured PAC, Andrade El Idolo, Jon Moxley, Lance Archer, Matt Hardy, and Orange Cassidy in addition to Page. 

The action in this was hit and miss, and with many in the audience in the know about Page's status and return timetable, much of the match time was spent waiting for Page to appear. Once he did, the finish was a forgone conclusion, thus removing any real drama from the bout. 

Page was in the middle of a two-year story arc to the world championship and this got him there, but it was flat at the exact same time. Page was the victor and went on to defeat Kenny Omega at Full Gear in November of the same year.

4. Face of the Revolution Ladder Match - Revolution 2022

Finally, real-life wrestling fans in attendance for a ladder match! Such was life for the Face of the Revolution ladder match on March 6, 2022 at AEW Revolution 2022 between Wardlow, Christian Cage, Keith Lee, Orange Cassidy, Powerhouse Hobbs, and Ricky Starks. 

Revolution 2022 was not the first AEW event with fans, but the audience helped make this particular match what it was. The big spots, though obviously — and in some cases obnoxiously setup — hit because of the audience reaction they got. "A six-way ladder match is a challenge to book without a lot of contrivances," Wade Keller said in his report on PWTorch.com. "This was no exception. There were plenty of big spots that were exciting, but also wrestlers having to divert from the goal of winning in order to set up or wait for the next spot."

Ricky Starks took a nasty ladder bump in the match — the spot highlight — but it was Wardlow that came away victorious. The audience wanted that moment and AEW delivered it. This would kickstart Wardlow's feud with MJF that lead into the summer. 

3. The Young Bucks vs. Jurassic Express - AEW Dynamite: Road Rager 2022

This was a really good ladder match that easily could have never happened. AEW Dynamite: Road Rager 2022 on June 15, 2022 was originally scheduled to be headlined by a triple threat tag team ladder match between The Young Bucks, The Hardys, and Jurassic Express for the AEW World Tag Team Championships. Jeff Hardy was arrested for DUI and his team was removed from the match, leaving The Bucks and Jurassic Express alone to compete in a traditional two on two match.

The story in this was beautiful. Jungle Boy provided the fighting spirit angle and the thoroughness and experience of The Young Bucks was difficult to overcome. Luchasaurus was the wild card and saved the team when needed until The Young Bucks finally took him out by pushing him off a ladder and through four stacked tables.

The Young Bucks won the match to become the first-ever two-time champions in AEW. The real story was Jungle Boy, though. After the match, Christian Cage turned on him and planted him in the middle of the ring with a Killswitch, sending the two on a months long feud that is still progressing.

2. The Young Bucks vs. The Lucha Bros - All Out 2019

An epic encounter by two of the signature tag teams in AEW history. All Out on August 31, 2019 was an event still riding the high that came along with AEW starting earlier that year. The promotion was hot and, though a major curveball was thrown into the mix with Jon Moxley not appearing due to an injury, this ladder match more than delivered on expectations for the show.

The action was crisp, unique, high risk, and fun throughout. "Man, that was breathtaking and seemingly genuinely dangerous," Wade Keller said of the match on PWTorch.com. "Also inventive and dramatic."

The danger Keller referenced also represented the spot of the match. It was an inverted sunset destroyer from the top of the ladder through a table on the mat. Penta delivered the move to Matt Jackson and it not only elicited gasps from the audience, but set a bar of danger that other ladder matches would have to top. The Lucha Bros won the match and Santana and Ortiz showed up as a surprise appearance and attacked The Bucks after the match.

1. Cody Rhodes vs. Sammy Guevara - AEW Dynamite: Beach Break 2022

Sammy Guevara vs. Cody Rhodes at the January 26, 2022 Beach Break episode of AEW Dynamite is the best ladder match to date in AEW. It was a rare singles ladder match, but one that felt right given the journey both Guevara and Rhodes had been on with one another surrounding the TNT Championship at this time.

The spots in this were wild, with Guevara not only delivering a Swanton Bomb on Cody from the top of a ladder through a table, but a perfect Diamond Cutter from the top of one ladder to Rhodes, who was on top of another ladder. It was an epic spot that will be played and played and played in AEW hype videos for years to come. Said spot is up there with Edge and Jeff Hardy at WrestleMania 17 in terms of its beauty, execution, and crowd reaction.

Rhodes gave Guevara a lot in the match, but got his own big spot offense in too with a Cross Rhodes off the top of ladder. Guevara pulled the TNT Championships down to become Undisputed TNT Champion, but the unknown to the public at the time was that this would be Cody's last match in AEW.

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