Tables, Ladders and Chairs matches haven’t really been the same since the Attitude heyday of Edge & Christian and The Hardy Boys but still the WWE perserve with the pay per view each and every year. 2015 looks set to be an interesting PPV with – at least on paper – a few matches that could really make their mark on fans: the triple threat match featuring three high-flying tag teams; the Intercontinental Championship match between Kevin Owens and Dean Ambrose (definitely a crowd-pleaser) and then there’s the main event… Sheamus versus Roman Reigns; and we all know how fans react to Reigns getting anywhere close to the title!
As always SPOILERS if you haven’t seen the PPV yet…
TLC 2015 opens with a video package hyping the matches for the night before The New Day heading out to the ring to their usual mixed reception. After some trash talking from the trio (those guys really know how to work a mike – and props to Big E for embracing the comedy big-tim), both The Lucha Dragons and The Usos make their way to the ring.
Once again Xavier Woods sits out the match, leaving up to Kofi Kingston and Big E to take on the challengers whilst he offers some colour commentary. The New Day get the early start, with the first attempt at climbing the ladder but to no avail. The Luchas moonsault off the top rope to The New Day out side the ring, as The Usos follow up with e tremendous dive over the top rope and onto the both teams AND a ladder! Some back and forth, with and without ladders ensues before Sin Cara once again stuns with a huge dive out of the ring, leaving Kalisto free to climb the ladder. No joy. The Usos take the lead, giving Big E and Kofi Kingston a pounding. Another close call as The Usos and The Lucha Dragons battle up the ladder to grab the title before Kalisto pulls off THE move of the pay per view, a Salida Del Sol off the top of the ladder ont another ladder! The rest of the match pales in comparison to that stunning move. As expected, after some more grueling and high-flying ladder action, Xavier Woods interferes (this is a no-DQ match) by throwing his trombone at Kalisto, allowing Kofi Kingston grab the belts for the win.
Winners and still WWE Tag-Team Champions: The New Day
A high-energy and undoubtedly crazy action-filled ladders match is followed by a sluggish head to head between Ryback and Rusev, building on the feud the pair have set up on Raw of the past few weeks. A sure sign of how this match will play out is evident by the terrible video package that opens the match – focussing of Rusev and Lana. It’s a total waste of the talents of both men – neither have benefitted from this storyline, in so far as their careers, but hey at least they’re on TV right?
Ryback opens with the upper hand before the action spills out of the ring and Rusev gains the upper hand. After Ryback mounts more offence and pulls down the straps – signalling he’s going for the win – Rusev and Lana make a run for it. Oh and guess what? Lana gets “hurt” again. After hitting the Accolade TWICE, Rusev eventually gets the win. Big deal.
A brief interlude featuring Reigns and Ambrose talking shop, Albert Del Rio makes his way to the ring for his chairs match against Jack Swagger. Zeb Colter has already been dumped by Del Rio (and Michael Cole reads a “statement” to that effect too) so he’s nowhere to be seen tonight. Let’s say that with the US Chamopinship on the line I don’t expect Swagger to get the win… And he doesn’t. Despite getting Del Rio in the Patriot Lock and hiting him with a cornucopia of chairs, Swagger just cannot get the pin. Del Rio hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker but Swagger kicks out after two. Del Rio tosses Swagger out of the ring before burying him in chairs for no good reason other that it looks “hardcore”. Swagger eventually fights back hitting Del Rio with a Swagger Bomb for the near fall. Stacking chairs underneath him in the corner, Del Rio goes to the top for a double foot stomp on Swagger putting him through the chairs for the win.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio
Next up is the The Wyatt Family vs. The Dudley Boyz, Tommy Dreamer & Rhyno in an 8-Man Elimination match. As per usual with large matches, the fight splits up in various parts of the ring – and on the floor – before the first elimination, of Erik Rowan, takes place. The Wyatt’s fight back as Luke Harper narrowly avoids getting put through a table, before gicing Rhyno the big boot to push him back through a table to even the score. After hitting a clothesline off the top rope, one half of the Dudley’s, Devon, is put through a table by Bray Wyatt and is eliminated. In a brief flourish reminiscent of the old ECW days, Tommey Dreamer and Bubba Ray beat the living hell out of Bray with Kendo sticks. Harper gets his second elimination of the night after putting Dreamer through a table, leaving only Bubba Ray to face Harper, Bray and the man-mountain Braun Strowman (who yet again is wasted in a vain attempt to keep his “strongman” persona going).
Avoiding a Sister Abigail, Bubba Ray heads out the ring and grabs a bottle of lighter fuel, teasing the audience with the possibility of having a flaming table ion the match. But that’s all it is, a tease, as Bubba is instead chokeslammed through a table to give the Wyatt’s a clean win.
Winner(s): Bray Wyatt, Braun Strowman & Luke Harper
Kevin Owens makes his way to the ring for his match against Dean Ambrose, cutting a promo the entire walk, taking the piss out of Ambrose’s popcorn and coke attack on him on Raw. We all know Owens can talk and he proves it again here, he has the crowd eating up his every word.
Owens pretty much rules the opening of the match, showing fans the reason why he’s made to the roster faster than his NXT peers. The man can wrestle, he can sell moves – and he sells Ambrose’s Dirty Deeds VERY well (better than 99% of the rest of the WWE roster). The two go back and forth, with Owens going for the Pop Up Powerbomb, but Ambrose reverses and goes for the pin. Somehow Owens gets two fingers on the ropes and he keeps them there. For a looong time. Almost to comedic effect, it’s showboating without saying a word. Ambrose would eventually get the 1,2,3 for the win and the championship.
Winner and NEW Intercontinental Champion: Dean Ambrose
A video package showing the machinations of the “Team PCB” fallout opens the Divas Championship match between Paige and Charlotte – who also has her father in her corner. It seems after trying to make it on her own, Charlotte is finally cashing in on her daddy’s infamy. The two divas go at it whilst daddy Flair decides playing dirty is the only way for his daughter to win – not onlky does he expose the turnbuckle (which would eventually cost Paige the match), but he also helps Charlotte survive pinfalls from Paige – by putting her feet on the ropes! Paige manages to hit a Ram-Paige on Charlotte but in the end Charlotte drops Paige on the turnbuckle for the win. Deeply, deeply disappointing; a total waste of the talents of both woman… I understand you need “something” to stand out on the roster but Charlotte could just have the Flair attitude – having her dad cheat for her makes a mockery of her success in NXT in my opinion.
Winner and still Divas Champion: Charlotte
Who really cares about the details of a main event whose outcome we knew? In short, Reigns would take the fight to Sheamus, who would resort to cheating (in this case bringing in the League of Nations) and Reigns would lose. As predicted. After all, the WWE are never going to let Reigns win the championship after the backlash last time…
But hell. Forget the match, it’s the post-win free-for-all that makes this particular main event! Reigns flips, the fans go wild and Triple H is beaten to shit, put through an announce table and eventually speared outside the ring. Now THAT’S how you take out your frustrations with the company you work for. Please god let this storyline play out Attitude-era style!
Oh, and finally Roman Reigns gets the huge pop he deserves from the Boston crowd.
Winner and still WWE Champion: Sheamus
TLC 2015 opened strong but it was all downhill from there. Kalisto’s Salida Del Sol set a standard which couldn’t be matched for the rest of the night. Well, at least until that main event… Whilst the match ended as expected, it was FANTASTIC to see Roman Reigns lose it post Sheamus’ win and just decimate everyone. Including the boss! If done right, Reigns could be this generations Sting – bringing back that vigilante attitude The Shield had in the early days. But hey this is WWE, so that’s not going to happen, it will be more bad booking for Reigns methinks.
Not a great pay per view by any stretch of the imagination but it was saved by great opening and closing matches. The biggest disappointment was the Divas match (again) but – like WWE management – I don’t know what the company can do to make their Divas look as impressive as they do on NXT.