Legal Battles with Ladders: A Look Back at the Custody Ladder Match

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Professional wrestling is often defined as the soap opera of sports. The drama that would cause two or more people to settle their differences in the ring is larger than life and would be the driving force for why sometimes the best of friends would become bitter rivals. One big example of the soap opera trope is best described in three words: Custody Ladder Match.

The year was 2005. Rey Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero were the WWE Tag Team Champions. Instead of defending the titles at WrestleMania 21, Eddie was coerced by his nephew, Chavo, to have a match against his tag team partner. The two put on a lucha libre clinic in the grandest stage of them all, with Mysterio as the victor of the match. A series of mishaps would later occur for the remainder of their title reign until losing it to the fresh team of MNM.

Eddie’s frustration would reach the tipping point, and after saving Rey from an attack by Chavos Jr. and Sr., would finish the job himself. He wanted to break Rey.

Eddie later teased that Rey had a secret. Their families got involved and pleaded with him not to reveal it. Despite Rey beating him in a match to keep that secret, Eddie revealed it anyway: he was Dominick’s real father and wanted to regain custody of Dominick to further hurt the Mysterio family. The drama boils that even Eddie’s wife and daughters would continue to advise against it. 

Eventually, it would be settled in a ladder match. In SummerSlam. In front of tens of thousands in attendance.

The ladder match was the finale of the rivalry. The drama would come to a close with Rey winning custody over his son.

Looking back, it was a weird storyline, but it emulated popular telenovelas in tones of ridiculousness. The tropes heavily influenced the rivalry between the two, and it didn’t look out of place when you put it with Spanish soaps of the time.

Fast forward to 2020, we’ll see Dominick making his in-ring debut in SummerSlam of all shows. Years after, even when the Custody Ladder Match has passed on to memetic legend, the storyline is still  being brought up, and hopefully it adds to the hype for long-time fans. Hopefully, we’ll get to see him make his papis proud.

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