Hi everyone, Bryan Here….
TLC. Tender, loving, Care. That’s not the case when we’re talking about WWE by any stretch of the means. TLC in the WWE universe means Tables, ladders, chairs, all of which are used to take down each other in the ring. Some of the most memorable matches in WWE history have been TLC matches with WWE superstars sacrificing life and limb, falling 50 feet in the air into the hard concrete or a folding table, only to be hit by a steel chair or a steel ladder. TLC matches basically mean that there are no rules. All is “legal”, even the kitchen sink, title belt, and even a trombone in some cases.
This is the seventh TLC pay-per-view in WWE history, which will take place in Boston. This is setting up to be quite a fun and interesting PPV, because of all the chaos and uncertainty going on with the WWE over the past couple of months. To recap, a couple of months ago, the WWE champion Seth Rollins was injured during a match and will be out thru next April or May, which left the Championship belt with no owner. Last month’s pay-per-view of Survivor Series held a tournament to see who would get the belt, which Roman Reigns won for a total of five minutes, which was when Sheamus entered the ring, cashed in his “money-in-the-bank” contract and beat the exhausted Reigns for the belt.
Now, Sheamus has the belt, has created a faction called the ‘League of Nations’ and is a big heel in the WWE world. Not to mention, he will be in the upcoming TMNT 2 sequel. Perfect timing for the Irish Ginja Ninja if I say so myself. If it were bad enough that Seth Rollins is out due to an injury, it gets even worse. John Cena is out on a much needed hiatus, Randy Orton is out due to an injury, Daniel Bryan still can’t get cleared to wrestle by the medical team, and Undertaker and Kane are out looking for their souls that were taken away.
That’s some top tier talent that is not wrestling at the moment, which has led the WWE creative team, scrambling to bring new and old talent in, which is why we have seen the likes of the Dudley Boyz and most recently Tommy Dreamer return to the ring in the WWE. In fact, there is a match at TLC this year with the Dudleyz and Dreamer, something I’ve dreamed of (no pun), but thought would never happen again. I expect a highly entertaining match from them at the least. Without stalling any further, let’s get to the match by match breakdown, shall we?
RYBACK VS. RUSEV WITH LANA (SINGLES MATCH)
In real life, the big bad Russian Rusev, similar in taste and personality, but certainly not looks to Ivan Drago from ‘Rocky IV’ got engaged to Lana, his manager on television. The two are an interesting yet lovely couple. They announced their engagement via social media, which pissed off Vince McMahon, because they didn’t go to him first. I’m not kidding about that either, as Rusev and Lana were in a storyline where they were broken up and seeing other people. Needless to say, Rusev and Lana didn’t wrestle for a while up until recently where reality met entertainment and their story is now that they are back together as one Soviet powerhouse who would love to wine and dine with Putin himself. Enter the big man who always wants to be fed more – Ryback. Poor Ryback. This beast of a guy just doesn’t have the creative team behind him at the moment, thus he is not up for any belts and a throwaway match that may or may not continue as a feud after the PPV. Dolph Ziggler was a main opponent to Rusev and Lana’s love interest for a while, and while Ziggler has no booked match yet at TLC, he could very well interfere here. Rusev and Ryback might weigh the equivalent of a large cargo van together, which would put this match in a slow yet powerful battle. Since no title is on the line, the match can go either way, but I believe Rusev will win this one as Lana tries to distract Ryback. In any case, have a dirty martini and act Russian with boots on during this match. I know I will.
ALBERTO DEL RIO VS. JACK SWAGGER (CHAIRS MATCH FOR THE USA TITLE)
So remember when I said above that John Cena is out for the time being? Yes, Cena is out of wrestling for a few months going the Hollywood route, promoting his upcoming film ‘Sisters’ and working on a new television show. That, and he needed a long break to regroup and figure out a new character and persona. The one he had might have been good for kids under eight, but the rest of us need something more. It’s been the same schtick for more than a decade. His last match in WWE a couple of months ago was an open challenge for the US Title, to which Alberto Del Rio (a former WWE Champion who left on very bad terms from the WWE a long time ago), came back and won the match very easily. It looked like Cena was just emotionally and physically done for the time being with WWE. It was a shock to say the least. Not only that, Alberto Del Rio came out with a new manager, which was the long mustached Zeb Colter, who at one time tried to get Rio deported in a storyline. Alberto has the title, is a big heel, and part of the newly formed ‘League of Nations’ with Sheamus. Enter Jack Swagger out of nowhere who used to be paired up with Colter and is firm believer in the US Constitution and consistently puts his hand over his chest and yells “WE THE PEOPLE”. I just don’t get it. Swagger has been sitting in the locker room for a while and I guess was ready to wrestle again, and now here we are. This is a chairs match meaning, I’m sure no less than a baker’s dozen chairs will be in the ring for each superstar to hit each other with. Since Alberto is part of the League of Nations now, I expect some interference, which will allow Del Rio to keep his belt.
THE ECW ORIGINALS VS. THE WYATT FAMILY (8-MAN TAG TEAM ELIMINATION TABLES MATCH)
This should be a highlight of the night for sure, but the match doesn’t make any sense. The Wyatt family just has nowhere to go right now, hence this match is happening. The ECW originals consists of The Dudley Boyz, a newly returned Tommy Dreamer, and veteran superstar Rhyno (who has been wrestling in NXT for a while). These are all crowd favorites. Then you have the Wyatt family with Bray, Luke Harper, Erick Rowan, and Braun Strowman. Three of those four guys are giants. Young giants at that. The ECW originals all have their AARP card, but can still fight with the best of them. Since Bray or the Wyatt family don’t have a strong storyline, WWE creative have them just going after wrestler after wrestler, eating their souls. It makes no sense for the ECW originals to win this match, which I don’t expect that they will by sheer physical domination and endurance, but anything is possible. Expect a ton of tables in this match with the Wyatt family winning at the end. Perhaps we might see yet another ECW original come out and help. Spike Dudley, anyone?
CHARLOTTE (WITH RIC FLAIR) VS. PAIGE (SINGLES MATCH FOR THE WWE DIVA’S CHAMPIONSHIP)
Charlotte is Ric Flair’s daughter and ever since her debut at NXT, she has dominated the sport. She’s in tip-top shape and seems to be able to do anything in the ring, including wrestling with a “hurt back” most of the time, which is her weak spot. Recently, Flair himself has been coming out with his daughter and standing in her corner, distracting her opponents, WOOOOOOOOOOOO! Meanwhile, the Brit with an attitude, Paige wants her championship back and since every place is “her house”, she will do anything to get it. Paige is supposed to be the “bad guy” here, but she’s just so damn charismatic and fun to watch that the WWE universe cheers her on no matter what. Unfortunately, there are no tables, ladders, or chairs here as of yet, but hopefully there will be some high flying stunts. Knowing these two superstars, this might be one of the better matches of the night, but I expect Charlotte to retain her championship this PPV, although since Flair will be in his daughter’s corner, Paige might have one of her minions come out and steal the belt away.
THE NEW DAY VS. THE USOS VS. THE LUCHA DRAGONS (TRIPLE THREAT TAG TEAM LADDER MATCH FOR THE TAG TEAM TITLES)
New Day Rocks! New Day Rocks! New Day Rocks! This triple threat tag team match should be all sorts of fun and fairly brutal I imagine. The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston with Xavier Woods and his trombone) are one of the BEST things in WWE right now. Their chemistry and penchant for buggery and comedy hits every note perfectly, no matter if it’s their love for unicorns or the trombone. Not only do they bring the mic skills and comedy, but they are all excellent wrestlers . I expect Xavier Woods to lose his voice tonight, yelling at everyone and trying to distract their opponents. The Usos are a fan favorite for sure, but have only come back to the ring within the last couple of months due to injury. Then there is the Lucha Dragons, who as of recently, become much more popular with the fans. It would be fantastic to see the Luchas win it here, but I don’t think it’s the right time yet nor is it for the Usos. I do still think The New Day will triumph again with Xavier causing some major annoyance and interference to win it for his team. I imagine will get hurt during this match as we’ll have the tag team titles strung up 50 feet above the ring and the first person to grab them from a ladder will win. I can’t imagine Big E taking anyone down from the top of the ladder. Brutal. Unicorns. Trombones. Expect it.
KEVIN OWENS VS. DEAN AMBROSE (SINGLES MATCH FOR THE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP)
Dean Ambrose is known as the lunatic fringe and should be part of the ECW crew, because he is that crazy and takes big risks. Kevin Owens, formally the NXT champ, but now the Intercontinental champ and victor over John Cena many times could also be thought of as a hardcore champion as well. Oddly enough, there are no tables, ladders, or chairs in the match. It’s odd, because if there were to be such a match, this is the one to do it in. Maybe we will get lucky and the rules will change prior to the match, which they tend to often do. I have a feeling that this match will start off with a bang, then drag on, then have an exquisite finisher. I don’t think Ambrose will take the title here either, because Owens is so good as the bad guy with the belt. They might wait until a bigger PPV for this. That being said, I know Owens has been sick for a while and needed time off. If that’s still the case, Owens will lose the belt to Ambrose who more than deserves it. I expect this match to head out into the crowd and possibly take out an announce table. This feud could be excellent and go on for a while, I just wish there was a TLC aspect to it, considering the PPV.
SHEAMUS VS. ROMAN REIGNS (TABLES, LADDERS, CHAIRS MATCH FOR THE WWE CHAMPIONSHIP)
What can you say? It’s a lackluster main event for sure, but given that the big big names are all out on hiatus or injury, there isn’t anywhere to go but here. The reason being is that the WWE creative team along with Vince and Triple H want Roman Reigns to be John Cena version 2.0, or the new face of the company. This isn’t anything new, as the WWE tried this angle a while ago, which was met with the audience boos and sneers. I think people like Roman Reigns. He’s a good wrestler, but they were moving him up way to fast in the ranks. His finishing moves are severely lacking as well with a spear and a “Superman punch”, which is just him jumping in the air and punching someone. Dumb, I know. Not only that, Reigns isn’t exactly amazing on the mic yet either, at least in long monologues. He still needs work and there are plenty of other wrestlers who could do the job better while Seth Rollins is gone. Then there is Sheamus, who is an excellent wrestler and a lot of fun, but the WWE universe is not happy with him being champion right now. It makes sense though with his upcoming role in TMNT 2 and him being a big heel and cheating his way to a win with each match. Like Roman Reigns, Sheamus’s finisher is lackluster as well, which is more or less just a boot to the face. That doesn’t matter here though, because this is an authentic tables, ladders, chairs match, where any and all thing are legal. Yes, that means tons of interference from the League of Nations as well as Roman Reigns’s friends from the back can come out and help. Or….someone can turn on Roman Reigns, making Reigns more popular with fans. Mother of God…if John Cena came back tonight and turned heel on Roman Reigns, it would be AMAZING. One could hope, but it won’t happen.
That is the title card for 2015’s TLC PPV. I expect some great matches and some entertaining spots, but I don’t see this being one of the better events in the company’s history. Maybe I’ll be proved wrong.
TLC airs on the WWE Network Sunday December 13th at 6:30pm. Enjoy.
– Bryan Kluger