Since 2005, the Money in the Bank ladder match has been the perfect vehicle to launch promising WWE Superstars into title contention.

The premise is simple: climb the ladder, retrieve the briefcase suspended from the ceiling, and earn a world title shot at any time of your choosing. Want to cash in the briefcase immediately after the champion just competed in a brutal match? No problem! That's how most briefcase winners have successfully become world champions.

The Money in the Bank ladder match is heavy on highlight reel spots and low on narrative and emotional investment. The goal is to cram as many eye-popping, death-defying stunts as possible.

But in a more traditional format, and properly built to and performed well, the WWE ladder match is the perfect climactic last match to a hotly contested feud. It's what happens when two wrestlers have exhausted their more civilized options, and are now resorting to drastic measures, where the goal is not only to beat the opponent, but to shorten his or her career.

In preparation for the upcoming Money in the Bank pay-per-view on May 19, these are the 10 greatest ladder matches in WWE history. We're including all permutations of the concept: the classic ladder match, the Money in the Bank ladder match, and the TLC: Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match.