Angi S., Here…
Oh My! It was complete chaos last night for the WWE’s Tables, Ladders, and Chairs Pay Per View. This year we also got to see the debut of a Stairs match, effectively changing the name of this fun ppv to Tables, Ladders, and Chairs (and Stairs). I have been chomping at the bit for the weeks leading up to this one and the main roster had a lot to live up to following the developmental brands NXT Takeover: R Evolution. What worked? What didn’t? Who grabbed the brass ring and who needs to be smacked up side the head with it? How was my heart broken yet AGAIN?! All this and more as I break down what happened at WWE’s TLC(S) PPV.
Dolph Ziggler VS Luke Harper
Intercontinental Title Match
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Many of the best matches of all time are ladder matches, and with good reason. These matches are some of the most exciting matches to witness. Luke Harper and Dolph Ziggler lived up to the hype and surpassed expectations. With the prestigious Intercontinental Title on the line, Ziggler entered to the roar of his hometown crowd. Neither man wasted any time laying into the other or in bringing ladders into the fray. Luke’s brutal style flourished in ways we had yet to see from him.
He proved to be more than capable of holding his own in a match that Dolph Ziggler has made his own in the past. Both men put it all on the line multiple times and both ended up bloodied from the punishment. In the end it was the home town hero with a superkick while still on climbing the ladder that allowed him to climb the rest of the way and unhook his beloved Intercontinental Title Belt. This match was the first of 3 show stealing matches. The crowd was firmly behind Dolph and he fed off of them every step of the way. Luke Harper was amazing in this match. I had full faith in him to hold his own in a match that is typically reserved for smaller more agile competitors. But if there is one thing I know, it’s looks can be deceiving.
I’ve said it before, the swamp rat is deceptively agile. On more than one occasion he has shown he is perfectly fine with high risk maneuvers and doing what it takes to win a match. Harper’s performance last night is a testament to his skills and ability and showed his versatility as a competitor. Yes, he’s a big guy with the typical big guy skillset. But he’s more than a big guy. Like Kane and Undertaker before him, Luke Harper showed he is perfectly comfortable going high risk. Is this the end of this rivalry? Gods I hope not. The IC title picture needs a riveting rivalry and I think a program between Luke Harper, who has a brutal style that matches well against Dolph Ziggler’s highly athletic technical style, has the potential to be one of the most entertaining rivalries that we as fans have yet to see.
The Miz and Damien Mizdow VS The Usos
Tag Team Title Match
Winner: The Usos via DQ
The contest between the Miz and Mizdow and Jimmy and Jey Uso, was anything but a show stealing match and was ultimately forgettable. That wasn’t to say it wasn’t entertaining, just not in a way that stuck with you and made you go, wow. It ended with Miz clubbing one of the twins over the head with Mizdow’s Slammy getting the DQ. We’ve seen these two teams face each other before. We know what to expect. Nothing happened in the match that I won’t see on RAW or SMACKDOWN.
At a PPV that is all about specialty matches, this is a match that needed to be something other than what it was. If the WWE wants to continue this, then up the ante and make it worth our while to get invested in as fans. And leave Naomi out of it. Again, it’s expected, what’s next? Miz’s wife getting cozy with Damien? Actually… that might be entertaining… WWE you have my permission to use it, just leave Naomi out of it and let her kick ass in the Diva’s division. How it ended is something we see EVERY week on regularly scheduled programming, and is below pay per view worthy. And is it me or are the bad guys more over than the Usos. And by bad guys I mean Mizdow?
In a match on a ppv, and the only thing I remember with any real detail is that Damien Mizdow was the best part, there is something incredibly wrong. Jimmy and Jey are better than that. The Miz is better than that. And finally, Damian Sandow is getting the love from the fans he should have been getting ages ago. I have respect for all of but, with the exception of Damien, this match was not their best work. Mizdow on the other hand, golden as usual. Give this man another medal that the Miz can claim as his own!
Erick Rowan VS The Big Show
Winner: The Big Show via Pinfall
Stairs. As a match. On a PPV. What did I just see? If ladder matches are built more for smaller guys, then this match was invented by someone with a fettish for big men doing big men things. (Vince, I’m looking at you.) This match did have some entertaining points, but I struggled to stay invested. I mean, I get that Erick doesn’t like bullies, but how is Big Show a bully? Cuz he turned on Team Cena? Who exactly did bully? The WWE Universe? I seem to recall him asking for forgiveness (which I was happy to give him. Rise above hate ya’ll), them cussing him, and him getting angry for them cussing him.
So shouldn’t Rowan be angry at the WWE Universe for bullying Show? He’s the real victim here. And now he’s in a match against an award winning wine maker in a beat up sheep mask. The match was back and forth with each titan displaying feats of strength us mere mortals can only stare at in awe. But as much of a genius Erick Rowan is touted to be, it was Big Show’s intelligence and ingenuity that picked up the win as he used the steel stairs to pin Sheep Boy for the 1,2,3. I like the Big Show, but I would be remise if I didn’t point out that I’m getting a bit bored with his in ring work. He’s still fun on the microphone, but it almost feels like watching paint dry to see him in the ring right now. I go back and watch his older stuff and he still leaves me in awe.
He seems like he’s stuck in a rut. Perhaps it’s time to reinvent himself, do new things. Erick Rowan is a treat to watch in the ring. He, like Luke Harper, does things that are unexpected of big guys. He has an intensity in the ring that is almost magnetic, I want to watch him. This match had the potential to be something great, but it failed to deliver. Was it the stairs? Was it the fact that I had no idea why these two were actually going at it? Either way, I was left wanting and not in the good way. But at least we got a new game out of it. I want to go STAIR BOWLING! (Can I use Cena as my ball? There is no one I want to throw into a stack of steel stairs more than him.)
Speaking of John Cena…*growls*
Seth Rollins VS John Cena
Winner: John Cena
I admit I was surprised to see this match not as the Main Event. I mean, isn’t that where Cena lives? But that just meant I got to witness the living breathing undisputed future of the WWE, Seth Rollins, earlier than I had expected and that is always a huge treat. This match promised to be insane as the only way to win is to put your opponent through a table. It was also the second match that lived up to and surpassed its hype. Tensions were high as the stipulation if John Cena lost was that he would lose his spot as number one contender to Brock Lesnar’s Heavy Weight Championship. If the stairs match put me to sleep this one woke me up (That might also be because Seth’s entrance music is what I have programed in my iphone to wake me up every morning and he did come out first. >.>)
It was fast and intense for the entire match. J & J Security were on point stealing tables and JBL cracked me up with his commentary, (“If Cena had friends, he’d have brought them.” Classic and so so true.) The crowd couldn’t make up it’s mind about Cena, as per usual and it warmed my black cold little black heart to hear the “Let’s Go Rollins” chants. The fans were treated to something special. I will give props where it is due as just because I can’t stand him doesn’t mean I don’t respect him, John Cena using the barricade as a weapon was a bit innovative. Can’t say I can recall the last time I’ve seen that. I was on the edge of my seat the entire match. So many close calls for Mr. Money in the Bank and at one point, my boy was put through a table by that big meany, John Cena. It was fortunate that the ref was too busy taking a nap in the middle of the match and didn’t see it, and even more fortunate that Jamie and Joey were able to clear the evidence of the travesty.
But that didn’t stop Cena, the man who never give’s up (even when he should just go away) Rollins and he both crashed into tables causing the match to stop briefly. One referee raised Cena’s hand (I disagreed vehemently.) And another raised the true winner’s hand, Seth Rollins. But alas, the match was restarted as some say it was too close to call, but I watched Cena’s knee hit the table before anything of Seth’s touched. Try as he might, Cena could not keep Rollins down. Even trying to AA him through the announce table would not stop Seth and only speaks volumes of the man’s resilience. In the end, Big Show came down to aid Seth.(I will believe that he did it because he sees John Cena as a bully who needs to be dealt with for picking on guys like Seth and J & J Security.) And right before Cena was about to meet the table that he had a date with, Roman Reigns’s music played, and my favorite Samoan Superman decided to get involved in business he had no right being involved in. He superman punched Show and speared him through a table.
Reigns then, for some unknown reason, felt the need to Superman punch Seth which then allowed John Cena to add insult to injury, and AA him through a table. John Cena wins… BECAUSE ROMAN REIGNS BROKE MY HEART!! Why Roman Why? Is it that whole destruction of the Shield thing? Why can’t you forgive and forget and THANK Seth for what he did? Is grudge holding a common trait with the Shield boys? First Ambrose, now Reigns. Seth Rollins did them a favor and this is how he is thanked for his selfless act. It’s not right and needs to be rectified. So while Cena gets to go get suplexed repeatedly at the Royal Rumble, one has to wonder how Seth will retaliate against that ungrateful meddler, Roman Reigns. (I still love you Roman, but NO ONE messes with my beloved Seth Rollins, the UNDISPUTED living, breathing future of the WWE *growls more*)
AJ Lee VS Nikki Bella
Diva’s Title Match
Winner: Nikki Bella via Pinfall
Short and forgettable. Pretty sure NXT has spoiled me for women’s matches. Excuse me, I mean DIVA’s matches. I like AJ, but there is only so much that she can work with in the Bella twins. I guess we are supposed to just accept that the Bella’s are besties again. Blood thicker than water, even when your sister wishes you’d never been born and treated you like crap. Never knew Brie was masochistic, but it explains a few things. The match was typical diva stuff. AJ looked good but it was the distraction of Brie getting sent to the back that allowed Nikki to spray something into AJ’s eyes and allowing her to hit the Rack Attack for the win.
Can we please get the intensity into Diva’s matches that is present in the NXT brand? When I watch a Diva’s match I want to see the moves the men pull off. I want to see high risk maneuvers and not so much preening. Perhaps it is that most of the story of a main roster Diva’s match is told outside the ring, while the NXT women’s matches are brutal stories told inside the ring. What ever the answer, this match lacked so much, that the only thing it did right was finish quickly.
Ryback VS Kane
Winner: Ryback via Pinfall
So why are these two fighting again? Kane didn’t like that Ryback was called a monster? Ok… uh… right. I think I’m the only one not swallowing the Ryback koolaid because there is nothing interesting to me about him. (and it has nothing to do with a certain podcast. I didn’t like Ryback before it was cool to think he was dumb as f*ck) I don’t like watching him in the ring and I don’t like him on the mic. There is only one superstar I don’t like more than him (go ahead, guess who.)
The match with Kane was, as the crowd chanted, BORING. It was 10 minutes of mindless dribble whre the only real cool thing that caught my interest was the repeated chair shots Kane gave Ryback. (Though it nearly triggered my Shield destruction PTSD. What? I still have nightmares! Just cuz I mark out for Seth doesn’t mean there aren’t still emotional scars man.) I needed a shot of espresso just to make it to the pinfall that Ryback got thanks to a Shell Shock. I like Kane, but this current incarnation has turned him into the corporate jobber. Can anyone actually remember the last time Kane won a singles match? Really I want to know!
Jack Swagger VS Rusev
United States Title Match
Winner: Rusev via Submission
Is it bad I forgot this match was on the card? It’s okay though, this was the weakest match of the night. Jack Swagger couldn’t get it done. He came on strong but Rusev turned it around, locked in the Accolade and Swagger tapped. That’s it. Can’t say I didn’t see this coming. Swagger wasn’t able to beat Rusev in any of their other matches, one even at a PPV. This replay of nothingness will just fall into forgotten obscurity where it belongs.
Dean Ambrose VS Bray Wyatt
Tables, Ladders, & Chairs Match
Winner: Bray Wyatt via Pinfall
Can crazy out crazy crazy? Nope. It just leads to more crazy. And as a crazy person I’m surprisingly cool with this. This is the final match that lived up to and surpassed its hype. And how does the Unstable one start the festivities? Why playing catch with Bray Wyatt using a ladder! Complete chaos then ensued as tables, Ladders, and chairs (Oh MY!) were used with reckless abandon. Kendu sticks were swung like baseball sticks and attached to turn buckles like vile spears. These two men destroyed each other and still had the where with all to keep digging to destroy what was left. Ambrose owned most of the match and had Wyatt reeling.
Elbow drops from increasingly taller ladders onto Bray’s prone body should have been enough to put him away. But the issue Ambrose ran into was, how to get Bray BACK in the ring, knocked out, and pinned. When he attempted it, Bray was aware enough to begin to get to his feet and Dean had a TV monitor and brutal intensions. I’ve heard it said that the Lunatic Fringe is technologically inept, but I figured even he would know to unplug the thing first. He didn’t and it exploded in his face. This explosion allowed Bray to pounce, and Sister Abigail Dean into next week. The battle belonged to Bray, but is this war over? Hard to tell. It could be. But you can’t plan for Dean Ambrose. It’s not that he’s crazy, it’s that he doesn’t care if he wins or loses as long as it’s on his terms.
A TV exploding in his face is definitely NOT on his terms. Yes, he did get to beat the hell out of Wyatt and in the end, the rocking chair was avenged, but can we really end it there? In the grand scheme of things, both men accomplished what they set out to do so what’s left? This rivalry finally got interesting but There is no definitive direction for them to go. It’s not like there was outside intereferance that robbed Dean of the win. I doubt he’s going to feud with an exploded TV monitor. I just don’t see where this one can go after this. A great match with an ending that satisfied me even if it left others to scratch their head or start interwebs riots.
– Angi Sanders