TLC is all done, and the injury depleted WWE had a tall task to get people talking about them in a good way again. Did they accomplish that? Here’s how I saw things from last night.
Triple Threat WWE Tag Team Title Ladder Match: The New Day (c) vs The Lucha Dragons vs The Usos
I said in my preview that this could be match of the night. I was not wrong. Wow! Best opening match of the year, and a match of the year candidate from where I’m sitting. They broke out all kinds of ladder spots that had not been tried before, and were flying all over the place. Xavier Woods even got to do his trombone routine at one point in the match. And the Selina Del Sol Kalisto executed from the top of the ladder is one the craziest spots you will ever see.
When I was watching this it was clear that everyone knew they had to deliver on this show and that no stone was to be left unturned. They knew what was possible with this match and gave them enough time to make it work all it’s magic. If you didn’t see the WrestleMania 17 TLC II match live, then this was your TLC II moment. It was that good.
Ryback vs Rusev
This went about how I figured. Decent enough big man match, they did what they do. Lana returning a few weeks ago and helping Rusev cheat to win is a new wrinkle to his character and I’m here for it. I know some people are upset with the way Rusev has been booked this year; it’s been really bad in a lot of ways but I was never that big on him to start with. I wouldn’t have played up the unbeaten record like they did; once it ends, then what? And they didn’t have the ‘then what?’ figured out very well. We’ll see where it goes from here. I don’t see him as a headliner, ever, but there’s no reason he can’t reestablish himself as some kind of perpetual threat to everyone on the roster.
U.S. Title Chairs Match: Alberto Del Rio (c) vs Jack Swagger
I said earlier: “This might be the forgone conclusion match of the night. No way Swagger wins the title here. The chairs should make for some nice spots in the time that they have to work. But that’s it.”
Yeah that sums it up pretty well. Match was decent enough. The chairs made it interesting.
The ECW Originals (The Dudleys, Rhyno, and Tommy Dreamer) vs The Wyatt Family – Eight Man Tables Elimination Match
This match had it’s moments, although it ended up being pretty one sided. I figured Luke Harper would get eliminated too, but that didn’t happen. The match became three against one and Bubba Ray’s teased table lighting was thwarted by Strowman for the win. OK time filler.
Intercontinental Title Match: Kevin Owens (c) vs Dean Ambrose
I wasn’t looking for much here so call me surprised at Dean winning the match and the Intercontinental Title. Hopefully this means Owens is going to get bumped up to main events and not down the midcard. Match was pretty good and worth watching again, but ended a little sooner than I thought it would by the way it was going; it was only 9 minutes and some change so maybe they had to cut it for time. Dean winning seemed a real get happy moment for the live crowd. For the one face victory of the night this was a good pick.
Diva’s Title Match: Charlotte (c) vs Paige
OK, so the Charlotte heel turn is in full effect, with a double turn being a possibility since Paige was on the receiving end of the chicanery. Charlotte and her dad Ric Flair engaged in some dirty trickery a la Tully Blanchard and JJ Dillon back in the day. Match was pretty good overall, and good to see the ladies get enough time (10 minutes and some change) to have a real match with some believable back and forth and what not. Thank God that the five minute specials that they used to get aren’t happening any more. Where this goes….you got me. Sasha Banks still looks to be the big opponent for Charlotte but with both of them working heel I don’t know how you do that. We’ll see.
Main Event: WWE World Title TLC Match – Sheamus (c) vs Roman Reigns
Good main event, good big man stuff, and some very good spots with all the props – the tables, the ladders, and the chairs. They got plenty of time to work and they did well. Roman has been in these kinds of matches a lot and he’s pretty adept at them. Sheamus kept up his end of the bargain, and they put together a good one. I would be remiss if I did not speak on the dealing ‘We Want Cena! Cena Sucks!’ that broke out early on in the match. If you’re wondering why the guy has gotten so much run for a decade there’s why. Like him or not he brings something out of the crowd. That’s what the company is looking for, the next guy who can do that, who can get his name chanted after being off of television for two months. That guy isn’t on the roster right now, and they (and we) can only hope that someone grows into it. Could Roman be that guy? They want him to, but a lot of you flat out don’t. But if he can keep putting in work like last night you guys are going to be out of legit reasons to crap on him. It could be Seth Rollins (he got a chant as well), but ratings were down earlier this year during his run so I don’t know. But as far as this match, it was a good one.
The finish was what I expected. Roman about to win, Sheamus’ League of Nations mates come in and interfere and help him get the win and keep the title. I think this leads to a Roman victory next month, but as far as WrestleMania I think we’re going to get Roman and Triple H because of…..
THE POST MATCH BEATDOWN
This deserves it’s own comment. This was the mother of all post match ‘eff you guys’ beatdowns. They kept the show running until 11:00 to fit this in, and for good reason. Pissed off Roman decimates three guys with a chair and renders Sheamus damn near unconscious, then Triple H comes down to do the whole ‘what the hell’s going on here?’ routine and gets completely destroyed, complete with a stretcher job to finish it off. Wow….just wow. This was probably the most well done attempt to really get Roman over and it seems to have done the trick. Pissed off, silent killer Roman is better than him getting the 20 minute promo segments and trying to talk his way into the crowd loving him. The follow up tonight is crucial to keep the momentum going but this was a good start to it.
They were badly in need of a hit, and I think they got it here. An all time great match to kick off the show, a good main event, an epic post match beatdown, and some other good stuff happened. They hit the most important benchmarks for the night and they left us with a satisfying ending. TLC has often been a throwaway show, and last year’s event was called the worst show of the year by a lot of people (I agreed) but this year’s version was far more than that.