The trifecta of pain
When the WWE's first televised Ladder Match took place inside a WWE ring at WrestleMania X in March 1994, no one could have predicted that it would someday give way to the most unpredictable, fast-paced, nail-biting contest in WWE history and WWE.com's No. 5 Most Extreme Match: The Tables, Ladders and Chairs Match.
Simultaneously respected and feared at the very utterance of three letters (which don't represent "tender, loving care"), the "TLC" Match is a merciless merging of brutal beauty and unpredictability. At any point, a Superstar can sacrifice his body -- even his soul -- to use any or all three items to achieve victory…and a select few have done so willingly. Combining these home improvement items to showcase amazing in-ring ability, the contest is a perilous treat for Superstars and our fans alike, and has created some of the most memorable moments in WWE history.
In the very first TLC Match -- held at SummerSlam in August 2000 -- three teams known for their expertise with specific weapons of destruction collided when Edge & Christian (chairs) defended the World Tag Team Championship against The Dudleys (tables) and The Hardys (ladders). The match was an excruciating testament as to how far each man team was willing to go to claim the gold suspended above the ring. Though Edge & Christian retained their titles, all three tandems' painful participation breathed life into a specialty contest that would provide some of the most incredible and dangerous high-risk moves ever performed inside a WWE ring.
Those same three teams cemented the match's legacy at WrestleMania X-Seven with "TLC II," considered by many as one of the greatest competitive battles in sports-entertainment lore. As the spotlight shone brightest at the "Grandaddy of ‘em all," daredevil Jeff Hardy shocked the entire wrestling world by willingly Swanton Bombing off a 16-foot-high ladder, crashing down on his opponent through the table below. An equally amazing moment came as Jeff dangled from above, trying to unfasten the World Tag Team Titles from their latch…until Edge ascended a ladder and delivered a devastating Spear in mid-air.
No longer isolated to tag competition -- most recently evidenced by Undertaker and Edge's June 2008 battle for World Heavyweight gold at One Night Stand, a conflict that would result in the losing Phenom's banishment from WWE for several months -- the TLC Match's unparalleled levels of carnage and chaos keep it distinctively different from all other specialty confrontations. Only a select few daring or crazy enough to withstand guaranteed punishment would enthusiastically volunteer to take part in such terrorizing combat. The rest of us, meanwhile, are glad to sit back, relax as the Tables, Ladders and Chairs unfold. (Oh, my!)