Last night, the WWE held its annual TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs event at the TD Garden in Boston, Mass. This was the 7th annual event. Last year, TLC was held in Cleveland and Mark and I were in attendance. The WWE has been putting out some pretty piss poor programming of late and last month’s Survivor Series was no exception. In fact, things have been so bad that with the exception with one month when the Cavs were in the NBA Finals, this marks the first PPV in over a year where Mark and I didn’t watch it together.
That said, I had high hopes for this “off” PPV as they have a tendency to be some of the best of the year. I’m thrilled to say I was 100% correct. This was a great show. That’s not to say it was without its issues as there were several but it was a huge step up from last month’s event and far superior to the RAWs we’ve been getting.
I had some MASSIVE issues with my WWE Network while I was watching the event. I started the show about an hour and half late (I went to the Browns game) and it kept jumping around and I had some audio issues. After the show went off the air I was able to go back and watch with no issues.
With that out of the way, let’s get into it. (All photos courtesy WWE.com)
Sasha Banks Defeated Becky Lynch
I don’t normally watch the pre show matches but with Banks and Lynch in the opening contest I made an exception. After a silly and rather terrible rendition of 12 Days of Christmas the match got started and the ladies worked hard. I would have preferred to have seen Sasha win cleanly, but she’s playing the heel (to perfection mind you) so a little outside interference is to be expected. Good stuff here with the ladies going over the 11 minute mark. I was upset to see Sasha dancing with The New Day as I don’t want her to turn into the joke act that they are. The more of her being The Boss the better.
The New Day Defeated The Usos and The Lucha Dragons To Retain The Tag Team Championship – Ladder Match
This… was… tremendous. Period end of story. Everyone here worked really hard, took insane risks and it paid off in a match that folks will be talking about for years. I won’t bother with a match recap here other than to say there were a couple of times where wrestlers did some things that while they looked spectacular were really silly in the grand scheme of things. Not sure why you’d ever consider diving onto a ladder just to hurt the other guy. It was nice to see the commentary team (joined during the match by Xavier Woods) point this out. Speaking of Woods, I would have preferred if he stayed out of the match entirely and let Kofi and Big E win it entirely on their own, but just like with Banks above they’re the heels so I can let it slide. Even though they’re a bit on the silly side for my liking they’re one of the best things WWE has going right now and they earned their spot at the top of the tag ranks with this match. Outstanding.
Rusev Defeated Ryback
This was fine for what it was – a match between two guys that I really don’t care about in a feud that I really don’t care about. It was the only match on the card that didn’t involved either a gimmick or a title and it showed. Luckily it was the shortest match on the card. The end came when Lana faked an injury. Ryback checked on her allowing Rusev to hit a superkick and then lock in his submission until Ryback “passed out”. I spose this was a good way to elevate Rusev and get him back to the super heel he was during his undefeated streak but it sort of fell flat to me as I didn’t see any scenario where glorified jobber Ryback would ever pick up the win.
Alberto Del Rio Defeated Jack Swagger To Retain The US Championship
Before I get into this one I have to say I don’t like either guy in this match and it was probably my low point on the card. Swagger has always bored me and Del Rio isn’t much better. He’s certainly a great in ring guy but I’ve never liked the gimmick and he’s just so wooden as a heel that I can’t love or hate him. The one big bitch that I have about this PPV was Del Rio’s no selling Swagger Patriot Lock here. Swagger has him in his submission with a chair involved to add to the pressure. Del Rio’s in the hold for a good long time and the next thing you know he’s walking around like nothing ever happened. He even went to the top rope for his stop finish after that with no issue. There was one time afterward that he sold it for a moment almost as if he went, “Whoops… forgot to sell,” but that was it. I may be being nit picky here but it really bugged me. That said, this wasn’t too terribly long and both guys DID work hard and had a couple of innovative chair uses. I’m guessing that with the decisive win here Del Rio can move along and leave Swagger behind him… and that’s a good thing.
The Wyatt Family Defeated Team ECW – Elimination Tables Match
This seemed to me like it was a make good match from last month. The Wyatt family has been booked very strangely over the last several months. They’re made to look like machines on TV but when they get to PPV they lose in spectacular fashion… often. It only makes sense that the younger, faster, stronger Wyatts would get the win here especially over the likes of ECW legends (old guys) Dreamer and Rhyno. It’s tough to have a true hard-core / ECW style match in the PG era but this was fun and entertaining to watch. Braun Strowman is being made to look like a beast here and Wyatt himself was essentially absent for most of the match. Not sure why you’d tease the flaming table spot and not pay it off either. Missed opportunity.
Dean Ambrose Defeated Kevin Owens For The Intercontinental Championship
I love me some Dean Ambrose. He’s currently my favorite guy on the roster so you can imagine my joy to see him win the IC belt here. This was a bit on the short side for my liking at just under 10 minutes but both guys worked their asses off and it showed. This feud may be far from over and if it’s not that’ll be just fine for me as I think Owens is clearly a top guy in the making. I’ve heard some rumblings that he may be on a collision course with Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania and that would be… awesome. The Intercontinental title has been a bit of a hot potato lately so I’d like to see Ambrose hold onto it for a good long stretch through Mania season. Very interested to how this one is addressed on RAW this evening.
Charlotte Defeated Paige To Retain The Divas Championship
This one really didn’t make much sense to me. Who should we cheer for? Who are we suppose to hate? We’ve essentially got two heels going against one another here with one doing it well (Paige) and one doing it really poorly (Charlotte). I know Charlotte’s dad is Ric Flair. We all know it. We know it because the fact is jammed down our throats every chance WWE gets. Ric Flair need to go away so Charlotte can rise through the ranks on her own merit. She’s an incredible talent and a great in-ring competitor. But this arrogant heel gimmick is just terrible. Her dad is the “Nature Boy” and the “Dirtiest Player In The Game” and always will be. She needs to do something to come out from behind his shadow. Who knows, perhaps that’s where they’re taking her character and she and her dad will have a falling out. I hope it’s sooner rather than later. Paige is great and got the short end of the stick here. I’m guessing Sasha Banks will be the next challenger for Charlotte which will be… amazing.
Sheamus Defeated Roman Reigns To Retain The World Heavyweight Championship – TLC Match
This is a feud that let’s be honest… no one cares about. Sheamus is a champion that was thrown into this position because Seth Rollins got hurt. The real story here is the road that Roman Reigns is on but we’ll get to that later. The match itself was actually pretty damn good and I’ve got to give both Reigns and Sheamus mad props for their work here. They took the concept of the TLC match and ran with it. Between Reigns power bombing Sheamus through a ladder and Sheamus hitting his White Noise through a table you really had to wonder how much punishment these guys could take. For those of you that think wrestling is fake watch this match and take a look at the welts that develop on Sheamus’ back and arms throughout the match. These guys are athletes through and through and whether I like the outcome of the matches or not they’ve got my respect. The (in my opinion) totally predictable end came when the League of Nations (where the hell was Barrett?) came down at the end of the match and beat the hell out of Reigns allowing Sheamus to climb the ladder and retain his title. And that’s when things got good…
The Aftermath – Reigns Snaps
About… fucking… time! This was awesome. The WWE has been trying to push Roman Reigns as a traditional white meat baby face for a couple of years now and it’s just not quite working. Last night he completely snapped and beat the holy hell out of the League of Nations and especially Sheamus. He then turned toward HHH who had made his way to ring side and decimated him as well. Earlier in the match the Boston crowd was chanting, “We want Cena,” and by the time the destruction was over they had totally flipped and were chanting, “Thank you Roman.” Talk about a total WIN for Reigns here. It seems they’ve finally stumbled upon a character for Reigns that the crowd can get behind – a 100% ass kicker that doesn’t care about the consequences. I think it’s pretty clear that we’re going to see Reigns vs. HHH sometime in the near future and I’m guessing it’ll be with Reigns’ job or a title shot on the line. This was an outstanding way to end the show and it was a cherry on top. For the first time in a LONG time I absolutely cannot wait to see where this story goes.
Talk about a great rebound! Survivor Series last month was really a pretty poor effort and the last couple of weeks of television have been nearly unwatchable. It appears that the WWE creative team has taken some of their feedback to heart and did some really good things with the booking of this show. I can’t wait to see where they take the Reigns story and even though it’s bound to be similar to the Daniel Bryan vs. The Authority story line from a couple of years ago, the Reigns “snap” last night makes it a fresh angle with something we’ve not seen in a while. And for as good as Roman Reigns looks coming off TLC, champion Sheamus and his stable the League of Nations look that bad. I think it’s fair to say that Sheamus is nothing but a place holder until we get to WrestleMania season but the way he was dispatched after the match last night cements that in my mind. WWE very masterfully just inserted HHH into the top program and made their champion a second tier player.
It’s time to start thinking about WrestleMania season. We’ve only got 2 PPVs between now and the big night and I’m having a hard time coming up with more than a couple of potential matches on the card. With news that Sting will need surgery that pretty much puts a nail in my Taker vs. Sting thoughts. At this point I’d say we’ll see Cena in the spot. Lesnar vs. Owens? New Day vs. Dudleys? This time of year is traditionally the best time of year to be a wrestling fan and I… can’t… wait! If you didn’t watch TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs because you were put off by the direction of the product over the last several weeks I can’t say I blame you. But you should go back and check it out. It was well worth it.
Did you watch this year’s Tables, Ladders & Chairs? What’d you think?