WWE Tables Ladders and Chairs (TLC) took place from the American Airlines Center in Dallas Texas on 12/04/16.
Table? Check. Ladder? Check. Chair? Double Check. Great matches. Of course.
Bray Wyatt / Randy Orton vs. Heath Slater
Winners: Bray Wyatt / Randy Orton
For a team that is very new as a tag team, Bray and Randy certainly looked like a veteran tag team facing the world champions. Rhyno made a rare start in the match with Bray, but the sides quickly changed to Randy and Heath. The momentum changed as Bray took out Heath’s leg, which allowed Randy and Bray to mount a strong offensive against Heath, who was clearly outmatched. Heath was able to recover and tag in Rhyno who started a comeback versus the Eater of Worlds. However just as Rhyno was about to gore Bray in the corner, Randy pushed Bray out of the way effectively saving the match. Randy went to the outside where Rhyno gave chase, and as he attempted to gore the Viper, Luke Harper returned the favor to Randy for saving their leader and took the gore himself. As Rhyno re-entered the ring he was distracted by Bray, unaware that Randy was the legal man in the match. This allowed Orton to RKO the man beast and getting the pin. After the match an interesting exchange occurred as Luke Harper brought the belts into the ring for his fellow family members. Both Bray and Randy handed the belts back to Harper, who then raised them high as Bray and Randy struck their respective poses. The crowd was full of fireflies tonight as the Wyatt family (especially Randy) were getting “face” cheers from the very beginning. Perhaps a sign of things to come?
Nikki Bella vs. Carmella (No DQ Match)
Winner: Nikki Bella
As soon as the bell rang Nikki speared Carmella and began what I can only describe as a brawl. A small exchange on the outside resulted in Carmella pulling off a head scissor sending Nikki crashing into the steel steps. This allowed Carmella to focus on Nikki’s left leg, performing multiple snap suplexes into the ropes. At one point Carmella even put Nikki into a Tree of Woe, find a Kendo stick under the ring, and unload on the already injured leg. Carmella attempted to end the match with a Code of Silence but the aforementioned Kendo stick was within Nikki’s reach, which she happily used to get Carmella to release the hold. Nikki was able to mount a Kendo stick offense of her own after pulling off a great jumping roundhouse off the outside barricade. As both wrestlers were collecting themselves after a brutal exchange, Nikki used a fire extinguisher to disorient Carmella. This was enough to execute the Rack Attack 2.0 and get the win. As Nikki walked away celebrating her victory, Carmella grabbed the mic and said that she didn’t settle the score from Survivor Series. That Carmella was not the one who attacked her. It was none other than her Nikki’s friend Natalya who caused her to miss the 5 v 5 match. Looks like we will probably have a new storyline shortly in the Smackdown women’s division. I was not overly impressed with this match. In a company that now has women’s matches of the caliber of what we have seen recently from Charlotte and Sasha, it is clear that there is a substantial talent divide within the ranks.
The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler (Ladder Match) – IC Title
Winner: The Miz
Prior to the match there was a promo all about the Intercontinental Championship. It showed some of the first champions, some great moments from title matches, and then focused on the feud between Dolph and Miz. The promo foreshadowed just how great this match would be. This would be the curtain call to the feud between two great talents. There was so many uses of the ladder in the match I can’t possibly cover them all here. What I will focus on is just how great both these competitors are. Dolph Ziggler’s athleticism shined, while the Miz showed that he is one of the best at selling moves in the business (an art that has become more and more rare recently). One of the highlights of the match was when Miz started to use the ladders to damage Dolph’s legs, at one point even locking in a figure four while Ziggler’s legs were wrapped in the ladder rungs. However, Miz would not escape the match without injuring his own leg. When trying to capitalize on an injured Ziggler and climb to grab his belt, Dolph pushed the ladder out from underneath Miz. This left Miz hanging from the wire holding the belt, before ultimately crashing down and selling so well I thought he was injured. The match ended as Ziggler was about to secure the victory after landing three vicious headbutts to Miz and sending him crashing to the mat. As Dolph straddled two ladders reaching for the belt, Miz quickly climbed the ladder and landed not one, but two kicks to the groin. This sent Ziggler to the mat, from which he would not recover, allowing Miz to retain his title. After the match Miz dedicated the win to Daniel Bryan, with whom he has had a feud with for quite some time. If this win does not solidify Miz as one of the best heels in the game, I don’t know what will.
Kalisto vs. Baron Corbin (Chairs Match)
Winner: Baron Corbin
This was a classic David vs. Goliath match. Kalisto was first in the ring and he wasted no time in filling the ring with chairs prior to Corbin’s arrival. Kalisto attempted to neutralize his much larger opponent with typical quick high flying moves. Every time Kalisto seemed to be getting the upper hand Corbin overpowered the Lucha Dragon and stopped his momentum in it’s tracks. At one point Baron set up six chairs in order to destroy Kalisto, but it was Kalisto who was able to drive Corbin into the chairs when he jumped from the top rope onto Corbin’s chest, driving the Lone Wolf through the chairs. The beginning of the end for Kalisto happened when Kalisto attempted to dive from the ring onto Corbin who was staggered on the outside. When Kalisto flew towards Corbin, he was caught be Corbin who proceeded to Deep Six the high flyer onto the outside floor. Corbin rolled Kalisto into the ring, attempted a pin, but Kalisto kicked out. This enraged Corbin, who then began slamming chairs into the mat, creating a bed of folding chairs to put Kalisto to sleep on. Baron stalked Kalisto on the outside of the ring with a chair, swinging wildly at him. Luckily for Kalisto, his swings missed their mark. This allowed Kalisto to mount a comeback in the ring, even pulling off a crazy moonsault double knee on a prone Corbin with a chair on his chest. Motivated by the near fall, Kalisto attempted one more high spot, but this risk sealed his fate. Corbin hit Kalisto with a chair and finished him off with the End of Days onto the pile of chairs he had previously set up in the center of the ring. After the match Corbin walked to the announcer table and ripped the top off of it. Screaming at the announce team that every wrestler would soon meet their end of days. I hope this is a turning point for Corbin, who I believe should be higher up on the card.
Alexa Bliss vs Becky Lynch (Tables Match) – Women’s Championship
Winner: Alexa Bliss
It seems that the epic match between Charlotte and Sasha banks from Raw put these two competitors on notice that the bar has been raised. This match did not disappoint. Alexa Bliss is every bit a world champion. Her aggression in this match was outstanding and congratulations should also be given to Becky Lynch who sold everything beautifully. There are not too many people who can match Becky’s intensity, but Alexa rose to the challenge. The match structure was fairly basic for a tables match, each wrestler trying to set up their own table in a variety of ways, both nearly being put through a table only to save themselves at the last minute. There was one moment that Alexa used a table just to inflict damage, when she DDT’d Becky into it while it was flat on the ground. This time though it would be the first table set up that would be the last one used for the win. As Alexa was outside the ring, Becky walked towards her along the ring apron. Alexa used this opportunity to trip Becky up and powerbomb her through the table. I’m very excited to see where this title run takes Alexa. She has all the tools to become a great heel champion.
Dean Ambrose vs AJ Styles (TLC Match) – Men’s Championship
Winner: AJ Styles
In a match that would seem to fit Ambrose’s style, it was no surprise to see him gain the upper hand early. Dean immediately attempted to drag AJ away from the ring, attempting to use whatever he could along the way. Ambrose may not be the great talent that AJ Styles is, but he makes up for it with his attitude and persona. At one point as AJ was lying on the ground, Dean set up two chairs and asked AJ to come sit down so they could “talk about whether this was a good idea”. There was also a point where Dean was not satisfied with just using tables, ladders and chairs. He emptied out a garbage bin and put it on AJ’s head and proceed to punch the can. Once they neared the ring again it was AJ’s turn to show why he is called the Phenomenal One. Ambrose gained the upper hand again and utilized chairs in ways that I haven’t seen prior to this match. There was also a point where Dean laid out AJ on one of the announcer’s tables, set up a ladder on another announcer’s table and jumped off the ladder driving and elbow into Styles, destroying the table in the process. As Dean took this opportunity to climb the ladder to victory, AJ came out of nowhere and hit Dean off the ladder with a Phenomenal Forearm. AJ then performed what I think was the sequence of the night when he performed a moonsault into a reverse DDT out of the ring onto Ambrose, only to follow that up with a springboard 450 splash onto Ambrose lying on a table. None of these moves would put Dean away though. It would be James Ellsworth coming to ringside that would be Dean’s downfall. What’s that you say? How did Ellsworth mess up this time? It wasn’t a mistake this time folks. James Ellsworth made a heel turn. Yup, you heard me right. After saving James from a Styles Clash on the steel steps, hitting AJ with Dirty Deeds on those same steps, and climbing the ladder to regain the title…..Ellsworth pushed the ladder over sending Ambrose crashing through two tables on the outside. Then, with Ellsworth cheering him on, AJ Styles was able to climb the ladder without opposition to retain his title. I for one am excited to see the promos “Heel Ellsworth” is going to cut. It will be great everybody…..chin up.