Monday, December 14, 2015

TLC 2015 Review

At basically the last minute, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch were added to the Kickoff Show. They had Team BAD come out and do a "12 Days of Christmas" parody song that came off terribly. Sasha was super over with her hometown crowd but this piss poor promo killed them. They tried making them a female New Day, but the New Day stuff works because of the delivery of all three men. It failed with these girls. Sasha and Becky worked hard, but the match's rhythm got thrown off by an excessively long commercial break (on their own Network) and the dead crowd. These girls went from a great match at TakeOver: Unstoppable to working a heatless Pre-Show match. Commentary was also horrible, mistaking the Bank Statement and DIs-Arm-Her several times. Sasha won with the Bank Statement at 11:43. **1/2

Last year, TLC opened with Dolph Ziggler and Luke Harper having a great ladder match. This year, another great ladder match kicked things off. The New defended their Tag Team Titles against the Usos and Lucha Dragons. Just like the year before, this stole the show. They worked a lot of the ladder matches spot that we're accustomed to early on, before building to some different and innovative ones. One highlight being Big E basically bench pressing the ladder from being trapped under it with the Lucha Dragons climbing. The biggest moment saw Kalisto hit a damn Salida Del Sol off a ladder and through another one. It was the sickest, more insane spot I saw all year long. Xavier Woods got involved, because it's "NO DQ", throwing the trombone at Kalisto and stopping him from winning. That allowed New Day to retrieve the straps at 17:56. Excellent opener that was probably the best ladder match in a year full of good ones. ****1/4

After an opener like that, you expect a cool down match and that's just what we were given. Rusev took on Ryback in a match that another last minute addition. I honestly don't get why I should boo Rusev. He's just a man that loves his country and his woman. He sounds like a swell guy to me. Ryback implied that Lana slept with Dolph Ziggler on Raw. I think it's clear that Rusev is the face. They did some stuff, but none of it was really interesting. They should have just beat the hell out of each other like two big men, but it didn't really work. Lana feigned an injury again, putting Rusev in control. Ryback survived a bit more offense but lost to the Accolade at 8:07. A nothing match. *1/2

Two talented guys met in another match that had next to no heat. Alberto Del Rio and Jack Swagger were given the Chairs match stipulation and did okay to work with it. They went after the chairs quickly and used them often. Swagger had a pretty cool spot here he put the ankle lock on while Del Rio's foot was trapped in a chair. The problem is, Swagger has been irrelevant for so long that nobody bought him as a legitimate threat. Del Rio beat John Cena clean, in seven minutes. Why would Swagger be able to dethrone him less than two months later. Del Rio won after 11:23 with a double stomp onto chairs. They worked hard but the crowd was dead, which is more of a blame on the build during this program. The fans had no reason to care. **1/4

The Wyatt Family took on Team ECW in a Tables match that I didn't care about in the least. The Wyatts have looked like jokes in big matches and Team ECW shouldn't be a thing in 2015. When it was about to start, I realized that I wanted it to be an annihilation like the Shield did to Kane and the New Age Outlaws at WrestleMania XXX. We nearly got a clean sweep but it wasn't really domination. Erick Rowan got eliminated because he's the clear weak link. Then the rest of the Wyatts sent Team ECW packing in a match that didn't really have much flow. It was pretty much a garbage, throwaway match to get the Wyatts a win on PPV. The win didn't even do anything for me since they always win these midcard PPV matches, but lose the big ones. It went 12:38 and I wish I could have most of that time back. *1/2

Considering the styles of both men, I'm very surprised they didn't get a specialty match. I thought their first match at Survivor Series was really strong but this left something to be desired. They worked in their signature stuff, with both guys getting their stuff in. A cool spot came when Kevin Owens did a second rope Finlay roll. Dean Ambrose hit the Dirty Deeds, but Owens got his finger on the bottom rope to break the pin. Then, Ambrose rolled through a Popup Powerbomb with a rana rollup to capture the title at 9:52. It felt very anti-climactic, not just as a finish, but as a match entirely. They are capable of much more and hopefully, their third match reaches great status. **3/4

The WWE Divas Title match was probably the worst booked thing coming into the show. Both girls have acted like complete heels, which is especially strange after Charlotte was supposedly a sympathetic babyface for the Reid comment. The stuff Paige and Charlotte did in the match wasn't particularly bad. However, the storytelling continues to be abysmal. That really ends up hurting the overall score. None of what they do makes a lick of sense so why should I give a damn? Paige looked like a total idiot by pinning Charlotte right by Ric and then being surprised when Ric put Charlotte's leg on the bottom rope. Charlotte then used an exposed turnbuckle to retain at 10:39. I don't even know what this was. I can watch wrestling in other languages that I understand more than the Divas division. *3/4

The main event had a tough task. They had to work a TLC match that the fans didn't want to see. The fans chanted for a bunch of other things, which had to bother the competitors. It looked like they tried to do extra stuff to get the fans into it, nearly killing each other with some big bumps. Reigns got close to winning before the League of Nations, sans Wade Barrett intervened. Reigns overcame that and still nearly won, but ate a Brogue Kick and Sheamus retained at 24:02. This was a fine match but the fact that the booking had been so bad going in that the crowd hated it, again hurt things. They worked hard but it ultimately didn't lead to anything great. ***1/4

After the match, an angry Roman Reigns attacked the League of Nations with a steel chair, again making them look like a bunch of chumps. Triple H and Stephanie tried to calm things down but Reigns attacked Triple H. He Superman punched him, powerbombed him on a table, elbowed him through the table and hit a Spear. The idea of badass Reigns is great, but the execution felt off to me. Triple H should have been the one to cost him the match and they shouldn't have had Stephanie there as a pleading wife, begging for mercy. Overall, the show was on the lesser scale of Pay-Per-Views his year, along with Extreme Rules, Royal Rumble and Fastlane. One great match and one or two decent ones surrounded by crap. 4.5/10.