Now before I get into the bulk of this article let me state that I think the ladder match for the Intercontinental title at Wrestlemania will be a spectacular stunt filled exhibition. Given the right combatants who are willing to take chances this match could very well steal the show as has countless other ladder matches throughout the years. I have always been a fan of the ladder match concept as when done correctly it can be the most thrilling and exciting match WWE has particularly in the PG era which had diluted Hell in a Cell and Elimination Chamber matches greatly. My issue is not with the actual match but more the point or reason behind the match which at this juncture only seems to make sense for all the wrong reasons.
Let's be honest Bad News Barrett has been booked so badly that the idea that anyone would care about one of his matches seems beyond comprehension at this point. I don't think Barrett has pinned an opponent since he actually won the title and since that time has lost to such greats like Sin Cara and R-Truth. Funnily enough the one match Barrett did win, granted via DQ, was against Dean Ambrose who is far more over than either of the previously mentioned wrestlers.
To be fair to Barrett it's not like he has dragged the Intercontinental title down or anything, WWE have been ignoring this title for so long that it has no value at this point. Exactly when was the last time WWE put any real effort or thought into the title or the Intercontinental champion? You would have to go back to when Randy Orton was champion back in 2004 to when the Intercontinental champion had any real standing and matches generally meant something. Even that was just a one off though as within a few months of Orton dropping the title to Edge it was back to being of zero importance. Unfortunately the days of Bret Hart vs Mr Perfect or Shawn Michaels vs Razor Ramon are a thing of the past and won't be coming back until WWE has a change in philosophy.
That brings me back to the Wrestlemania ladder match and the possible reasons as to why WWE would put such a match on. Now if one wanted to be optimistic they could say that creative are using the ladder match as a way to relaunch the Intercontinental title and the best way to do that is in a match that may well create a Wrestlemania moment. The flip side to that coin was they already did an ladder match for the Intercontinental title match in December at TLC where Dolph Ziggler beat Luke Harper only to drop the belt 22 days later. If WWE wanted to relaunch the title why didn't they do it then and build it to Wrestlemania where the match would have meant so much more?
The more realistic side of things is WWE is simply using this match as way to get more people on the card and in one match so to make time for the stuff that really matters at Wrestlemania like the big entrances or some musician playing songs. Also it can't go unnoticed that there is a lot of talk of Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler both participating in the ladder match and while some would see this as a come down, especially for Bryan, it shouldn't surprise anyone that WWE would do.
Did anyone really think that Vince or indeed Triple H were going to allow Bryan and Ziggler to have a one on one match and steal the show? Look at the top matches of the card Lesnar vs Reigns is going to be a struggle, Triple H vs Sting will need all manner of extras to lift it above average, Undertaker vs Wyatt is going to need the same assistance, Cena vs Rusev has already been done and a rematch only leaves one winner. Do you really think Vince would allow Bryan and Ziggler to steal the show in a straight up wrestling match on the biggest show of the year? A ladder match is different as it is judged as a gimmick match so no one would compare it with a straight match and it wouldn't bother WWE if it steals the show in that manner.
Just in case you think I am going over the top and WWE doesn't think in that way remember this is the same company that wouldn't allow Triple H to be shown in any losing or beaten positions for the advertisement of a video game so they definitely think about match quality and who can upstage who.
With all that said it doesn't matter if the ladder match steals the show or not as one match with some big high spots won't make any difference to the Intercontinental title in the long run. Meaningful booking with the champion presented as a genuine winner with challengers that actually matter in matches that have some prominence is what will make a difference to the Intercontinental title being looked at as meaningful once again. Until that happens WWE can have as many ladder matches as they like and while they may entertain fans because of the bumps they wont make fans care about the Intercontinental title.
Come Wrestlemania I will enjoy the ladder but ultimately not care about it and that's the real shame as there was a time when WWE was capable of making me do both.