The Ladder War

A look at the history of ROH's brutal fight...
September 15, 2007...the “Man Up” PPV...that was the night Jay & Mark Briscoe and Kevin Steen & El Generico christened the Ladder War.
 
After months of back & forth violence between the two teams that saw straight-up tags, Street Fights, Lights Out matches, and Cage Matches, it was finally determined that things would be settled in Chicago Ridge in the very first Ladder War. With the tag titles held high above the ring, those four men tore into one another with such ferocity that it set a bar for violence in ROH that has only rarely been equaled. Numerous ladders were destroyed, littered around the ring like so much shrapnel, and their blood stained the canvas, leaving an indelible mark that could not be washed away. This also says nothing for what happened in the aftermath with The Age of the Fall but that is another story for another time...
 
The Briscoes may have retained their titles but the bodies of each man paid a price that ROH officials felt was too high and thus immediately a ban was put on any future Ladder Wars.
 
...Plans change...
 
In the summer of 2009, after Steen & Generico defeated The American Wolves at “End of an Age” in a non-title affair, they earned the right to name any stipulation they wanted in their championship rematch. Steen, coming off of months of war with Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards that included he & Generico losing the belts in a Tables Match on HDNet, declared Ladder War II! ROH officials, torn between their earlier declaration and their obligation to Steen & Generico's demands, set the match for “Glory by Honor VIII: The Final Countdown” and, while not as bloody as its predecessor, it proved as equally physically grueling. Edwards competed with a broken elbow, Steen found himself handcuffed, chains and tables and ladders all came into play, and ultimately it was the Wolves who found the belts back in their possession but with all four men left physically decimated. Some also point to this moment, this loss, as the one that led us to what happened between Steen & Generico at “Final Battle 2009” but that too is a tale for another article...
 
The Ladder War ban was once again active, but in the fall of 2011 ROH officials found themselves between a rock and hard place as the war between The All Night Express and The Briscoes had escalated to uncontrollable proportions. Rhett Titus, Kenny King, and Jay & Mark Briscoe were fighting inside the ring, outside of the ring, in the locker rooms, in parking lots, and their blood had splattered the ground in multiple states and two countries. The ANX demanded Ladder War III, ROH officials refused, but the threat of unending violence between the two teams ultimately made the decision and at “Death Before Dishonor IX”, ANX & The Briscoes collided with a future shot at the World Tag Teams Titles then held by WGTT at stake. It was every bit as violent as the two Ladder Wars that came before, and scary in how much blood was spilt in pursuit of both teams trying to end this score. This was a true war of attrition that all came down to Kenny and Jay slugging it out at the top of the ladder with the contract dangling overhead. Back and forth it went until King knocked Jay from the perch and claimed the future title opportunity for the All Night Express...a contract he signed in the blood of his foes.
 
Suffice to say the Ladder War was once again taken off the table following that bloodbath, but there is always an exception to the rule and when El Generico came calling, looking to end the reign of terror of ROH World Champion Kevin Steen, and demanded to do it in a Ladder War, ROH officials, specifically Match Maker Nigel McGuinness, relented and the fight was set for “Final Battle 2012” THIS Sunday afternoon.
 
If their Career vs. Mask fight at “Final Battle 2010” is any indication of the lengths Steen & Generico will go to when they fight one another, if the previous three Ladder Wars are a portent of things to come at The Hammerstein Ballroom on Sunday, then “Final Battle 2012” may prove to be a true doomsday not for ROH but for the careers of both Kevin Steen and El Generico...