A Ladder Match is a type of professional wrestling match used in that is used to refer to two distinct concepts: the first is an Christian Championship Wrestling specialty, in which standard rules apply, except that ladders can be used as legal foreign objects. The second and more familiar form, one where two or more wrestlers compete for an object (typically a briefcase, championship belt, or a foreign object) stationed above the ring, which is only accessible by using a ladder. Again, ladders, are permitted as legal foreign objects. However, in many cases (esspecially within Christian Championship Wrestling) anything else a wrestler can find is also considered a legal foreign object as the match is considered to be a no disqualification.
A ladder match typically ends when the item suspended from above the ring is retrieved - however, if a foreign object is placed there, the match may proceed to a second phase, a one-fall variation in which the wrestler that retrieves the object may use it without disqualification. In team matches, this privilege is typically extended to the other members of the team. However, the privilege applies only to the specific object that was retrieved - if another object of the same kind is used, then it may cause a disqualification.
The object suspended above the ring is typically not named in ladder matches, although specific variations may give a hint as to the identity of the object - the Extreme Championship Wrestling Stairway to Hell specialty match is one such example. Ladder matches are often used as a finale to storylines, and as such, it is more common to have contracts, briefcases, championships, and such than foreign objects.
Because of the relatively extreme flow of the match, ladder matches are often fought under no disqualification rules, encouraging the use of ladders along with other weapons as opposed to the sole exception to the ban on foreign objects. As a result, some consider ladder matches in particular as spotfests, where wrestlers continue to take death-defying bumps for the entertainment of the audience, without regard to their own health and safety. Similarly, ladder matches have been frowned upon by promoters because of the easy ability to injure their wrestlers as a result of errant stunts.
- King of the Mountain Match - Essentially a ladder match in reverse. The winner is the first person to attach the object to the wire above the ring.
- Money in the Bank Ladder Match - Created in World Wrestling Entertainment, but used in several e-feds. This match typically sees six men compete in a ladder match for a suspended breifcase. In this breifcase is a contract entitling the holder to a world title match at any time in the subsequent calendar year.
- Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match - Variation where tables and chairs, in addition to ladders, are permitted and encouraged. Referred to at times simply as TLC matches.