The Stepladder of a Professional Wrestling Career
July 3, 2007 by Andrew Rudd

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It's been in wrestling since professional wrestling got noticed, always will last and determines how successful, or not, your career is going to be. It's the stepladder of wrestling life and although it only has five steps, these steps are pretty important. The five steps are simply squash match, card opener, mid-carder, near-main eventer and, of course, main eventer. These five steps have certainly been occupied too, with some wrestlers never making it off the first step and some wrestlers going to the top step and staying there.

Squash match/ Curtain Jerker

The match where there is clearly one winner. This format of match has seen debuts be won, try-outs get contracts and, even sometimes, been a match type where superstars in rivalries have tried to impress their opponents. The wrestlers in this match have to be good, as wrestling fans do like a good non-televised match to get them in the mood. It is also a match that some superstars have been associated with, mainly heavyweights. Yokozuna, MVP, Snitsky and Kane have all benefited from this type of match-up with their opponents, notably the likes of Maven, William Regal, OVW students and Funaki, just there for pride. Some superstars have also benefited from this type of match with The Road Warriors, London and Kendrick, The Boogeyman and Umaga all getting noticed from this type of match. How the wrestler treats this type of match can also result in two ways: being fired or climbing up the stepladder.

Card opener

The fireworks have gone off and the show is underway. Sometimes an interview segment, or main-event setting-up segment, will kick off the show, but it is more likely to be a match. This type of match must be exciting, a good old-school style match or a tag team match, with lots of tag work. Fans love an unpredictable opener with this sometimes being an advertised match, from the week before. Many superstars' careers have barely reached this stage of the stepladder, some even becoming known for kicking off shows. Cruiserweights, energetic tag teams and Champions, who hold the likes of X-Division, United States and Women's have all benefited from this match. Although wrestlers are likely to be giving more opportunities at succeeding at this stage, some wrestlers have fallen a step or lost their jobs.


The stage of your career that can blow your career apart, benefit from it, make it a legendary one or even just a fans' favourite career. There are actually more benefits, than negatives, to the mid-card stage, with wrestlers getting paid more, entering more exciting types of match-up, engaging in feuds and stealing shows. The mid-card stage of a career also sees wrestlers have a major leap, with Shelton Benjamin, The Texas Tornado and Rey Mysterio all benefiting from this stage, with their high-flying antics. Fans even love the mid-card so much, that it's said that you get more chances at succeeding, than at any other stage of your career. Wrestlers older than most of the roster, or nearing retirement, also enter this stage of their career at one point on a show. As for their position on a roster, once you enter mid-card, you can't be just fired, with a step down the wrestling stepladder a more likely option.

Near main-eventer

They're not there just yet! The near main-event stage wrestlers are normally big names, just like the main event itself. Chris Benoit, Kurt Angle and even some more unusual choices have all benefited from this, with some wrestlers just entering this stage because of a feud considered successful. The wrestlers, who reach this far down the card, can consider it a successful career, if it stops there. Again, this is major choice for the likes of Kurt Angle, Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker, with it as near to the main event as some wrestlers get. A favourite type of match for this position is the Steel Cage.

Main Event

They're there! The main event, the crème de le crème, the World Title matches and the show-sellers! Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant and Ted Dibiase all benefited from this stage in the 80's, with Stone Cold, Undertaker and Bret Hart all benefiting in the 90's. These days Edge, John Cena and Bobby Lashley benefit from it. The main event has got to be 5-star, long -awaited and feature a battle of the titans. Sometimes, the matches get brutal, with Hell in Cells, long feuds and Screwjobs all considered main event worthy. The main event, though, has got to feature good, talented wrestlers, as some shows depend on the main event, and some main events, if not satisfactory, can decide the fate of a company, or a wrestlers' career. While some wrestlers do go to the top and stay there, not everyone's successful, with some wrestlers seeing, at the maximum, three main events in their career.

Every amateur and professional wrestler lives, and breathes off this stepladder. Like I said at the beginning, not everyone makes it to the top, some falling off the first step. Wrestling will change with the ages, but the wrestling stepladder will never change.

By Andrew Rudd (View/Submit your feedback here)

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