Monday, September 18, 2017

Kevin's Random Reviews: WWE TLC 2012

TLC 2012
December 16th, 2012 | Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York | Attendance: 15,748

This is one of the few shows that I owned on DVD before the arrival of the WWE Network, simply for the fact that it features the first ever match of the trio known as the Shield. It’s also a noteworthy show because WWE Champion CM Punk was injured and had to miss this event, in the midst of his 434 day reign as WWE Champion. Punk was gearing up for a match with the Rock, but the rest of the card managed to look pretty great without him. This was the final Pay-Per-View of 2012 and the fourth TLC in history.

The WWE Network version starts with a video package focusing on the big matches on the card. However, my original DVD version started with a 26 bell salute to honor the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting. Commentary is Michael Cole, JBL and Jerry Lawler, as always.

Number One Contender’s Tag Team Tables Match
Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara vs. Team Rhodes Scholars

Cody Rhodes can really make anything work as evidenced by the fact that he got a mustache over. He and Sandow run down Brooklyn during their entrance. Since it’s a Tables match, the match is tornado style. The Luchadores send the heels outside before nailing stereo baseball slides. Lawler makes some lame joke about the show being broadcast in Manila, home of the envelopes. A table is brought into play but Rey is sent outside before they can do anything. Kudos to JBL who actually does a good job in putting over Cody Rhodes. They isolate Sin Cara. They fail to put him through a table with a double front suplex though. Cody does hit him with the Disaster Kick while Sandow tosses Rey around outside. Two tables get set up outside and the faces are laid on them. Sandow wants to launch Cody onto them but Rey trips him up to stop it. Now, Rey and Cara unload on both opponents. Original Sin Cara actually looks good here and hits a corkscrew dive outside. Rey hits Cody with the 619 and lays him on a table. Team Rhodes Scholars is back up to avoid losing. Sin Cara takes out Cody and looks to springboard in onto Sandow. Cody sneaks back in and shoves him back and through the table outside.

Winners: Team Rhodes Scholars in 9:29
Hey, that’s exactly what I want from my opening contest. It was fun, fast paced and they didn’t overdo anything, leaving room for the later matches. The right team got the win in one of the better tables matches in recent years. The seemingly out of nowhere finish was a nice touch too. ***¼

We hear from the Shield in one of their awesome old handheld camera promos. They talk about CM Punk not being able to defend the WWE Title and that it’s an injustice. They then focus on their opponents. Roman Reigns gets to keep his stuff short and sweet, which is how he works best.

WWE United States Championship
Antonio Cesaro (c) vs. R-Truth

These two met a month prior at Survivor Series in a really lame match. Why they decided to continue this feud is beyond me. This seems to be about R-Truth representing USA in the face of Cesaro’s anti-American rants. Truth is using his quickness, while Cesaro has the clear power advantage. Truth gets multiple flash pin near falls so Cesaro slows it down and works the mat. Commentary is so bored they are just making jokes about Lawler being old. Truth starts to fire up but the fans really don’t care. They do get loud when he asks “WHAT’S UP”, so there’s that. Truth goes all Booker T and hits a Scissors Kick for two. A “Lil Jimmy” chant breaks out. Cesaro nearly shoves him into the referee and hits an uppercut. He retains with the Neutralizer.

Winner and Still WWE United States Champion: Antonio Cesaro in 6:38
Why was this on Pay-Per-View? They didn’t anyone last month and they didn’t here either. The crowd was mostly not really feeling this and the work felt like something you’d see at a house show or on Superstars/Main Event. At least it was relatively short. 

Matt Striker, who I forgot was employed at this time, tries to interview Antonio Cesaro but gets shoved away. Cesaro just puts himself over as the greatest US Champion in history. He says that if you boo him, you’re booing your own country.

Dolph Ziggler gets interviewed about the main event tonight, saying that he is putting everything on the line tonight, while John Cena has everything to gain. It’s an okay promo.

The ring is set up for Miz TV and the Miz shows up. Lawler calls Cleveland, Miz’s hometown, the “Mistake by the Lake”. Miz’s guests are Heath Slater, Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal, collectively known as 3MB. Poor Drew McIntyre. It quickly becomes a situation where Miz trades insults with 3MB. For some reason, 3MB target the Spanish announce team, saying they were talking crap. McIntyre shoves one of them and Ricardo Rodriguez shows up to try and calm them down. They start to bully him, causing Alberto Del Rio to show up and make the save. When the numbers game becomes too much, Miz jumps in to help clean house. This completed one of the most random and odd face turns ever. However, I think Del Rio is lightyears better as a babyface. 3MB challenges Del Rio and Miz to find a partner and face them later tonight, which is accepted.

Continuing the string of no matches, there is a rather funny Team Hell No segment in the back, hyping their match later. This leads into an interview with Wade Barrett about his upcoming match with Kofi Kingston. He says he’s confident and that’s about it. This was when they were trying to get the “Wildcat” nickname over for Kofi. It never stuck.

WWE Intercontinental Championship
Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Wade Barrett

According to Wade’s interview, these two have met multiple times in the weeks leading up to this. Makes sense considering WWE’s typical midcard booking tropes. Barrett tries to beat up Kofi outside, but when he throws him to the apron, Kofi leaps through the ropes. He instantly turns around and connects with a suicide dive. Inside, Barrett basically gets pissed and starts the beating again. Each time Kofi nearly gets something going, Barrett is there to stop him. Kofi starts his typical rally, complete with Boom Drop and SOS. Commentary again gives zero fucks about this match, instead focusing on how many Slammy awards each of them has won. Great job guys. Barrett nearly wins by rolling through a cross body. Barrett tries for the Bull Hammer but Kofi instead hits Trouble in Paradise for the win.

Winner and Still WWE Intercontinental Champion: Kofi Kingston in 8:12
A pretty solid outing from both guys involved. Their clash of styles worked well. Barrett looked like a bit of a beast, while Kofi used his athleticism to overcome that. Fine stuff. ***

This show continues to be filled with promos because we now go to WWE Champion CM Punk in a skybox up in the arena. He takes a giant dump on the city of Brooklyn before turning his attention to the man that injured him, Ryback. Punk was so good on the microphone. He came across as legitimately angry, while also captivating the audience and still managing to get in a note about not being affiliated with the Shield.

TLC Match
The Shield vs. Team Hell No and Ryback

Here we go, the long awaited in-ring debut of the Shield. Thank god the Shield ditched those terrible turtlenecks from their first appearance. Once they make it to ringside, the war begins and all six men brawl outside. Ambrose and Ryback go at it in the ring, where Ryback no sells his stuff. Kane is firs to bring out a ladder, but gets it baseball slid into his ribs. The Shield start doing what they do best, using the numbers game. Ryback doesn’t care and starts slamming a ladder onto Seth and Dean. Reigns stops him with some vicious chair shots. Kane stops him and Bryan dropkicks a ladder into Reigns. Ambrose hits Kane with a DDT on a chair. They are not holding anything back with the big spots. Ryback nearly gets double hip tossed into a ladder but blocks and then splashes Dean and Seth into the ladder. He suplexes both of them onto the same ladder and Ambrose’s facial expression is classic. The poor Spanish announce team continues to have a bad night as Reigns clears off their table. The Shield lay out Ryback with their signature triple powerbomb. No time is wasted though as Bryan instantly dives onto all three. The numbers game is too much but Kane is there to help. Still, the Shield is too much and they are in firm control. They set a table up in the corner on the top turnbuckle. Seth and Dean superplex Bryan off of it but only get two. They try to do the same to Kane but he fights them off and leaps from the table with a clothesline on Ambrose. Adding to it, Kane Chokeslams Dean onto an open chair only for Reigns to break up the pin. Bryan puts Ambrose in the No Lock and Seth runs in to save him, but Bryan just puts it on him. Reigns comes in and gets the same treatment. Bryan ends up lighting up Seth and Dena with kicks but he then gets curb stomped onto an open chair! That’s gotta be one of the best curb stomps ever. Ryback is alive again and starts cleaning house. It’s like a hot tag. He does all of his key stuff and plants Ambrose with Shell Shock only for the rest of the Shield to break it up. Things start moving up to the entrance, with the Shield beating up on Ryback. They use that gang mentality to get him on a table. Dean and Roman hold Ryback in place while Seth climbs way high on a tall ladder. Seth sends them to go after Bryan though and Ryback gets up. Ryback climbs with Seth and sends him through about three tables nearby. Back in the ring, Ambrose hoists Bryan up to take a second rope powerbomb from Reigns through a table. Ryback can’t make it back in time to save the match.

Winners: The Shield in 22:44
An absolutely brilliant match. That is how you make your official debut and make an impact. First of all, the match was incredible. They did some sick spots, the pace never slowed and the action was non-stop from beginning to end. The crowd was red hot for everything. Everybody played their part and contributed to the quality. Ryback was booked to look strong, Bryan and Kane were both great and the Shield played up that numbers advantage, working like such a well-oiled machine. Easily my WWE match of the year for 2012. ****¾

WWE Divas Championship
Eve Torres (c) vs. Naomi

There was a Santa’s Little Helper battle royal on the pre-show that Naomi won to earn this shot. Eve cost Kaitlyn the match because they had beef and Naomi is apparently much less of a threat. Good way to build intrigue for this match. Eve mocks her from the start but gets taken down by a leg drop and REAR VIEW! If this was 2014 Naomi would have won with that. Naomi just does a fair amount of athletic stuff because that’s really all that he is. Athletic. She misses a cross body, opening the door for Eve to hit a spinning neckbreaker and retain.

Winner and Still WWE Divas Champion: Eve Torres in 3:05
Well that was completely pointless. I actually really like Eve in this period as she was nailing the heel champion character better than almost any other Divas Champion I can remember. However, this was three minutes of Naomi doing fancy things only to lose. ½*

World Heavyweight Championship Chairs Match
Big Show (c) vs. Sheamus

No, I still have never gotten clarification of what a Chairs match is exactly. There is hope here since they had a great match at Hell in a Cell, but their Survivor Series match left a lot to be desired. They’ve built Big Show up as this unstoppable monster (again) but Sheamus just beats the hell out of him to start. They’re outside when the first chair is brought into play as Show kicks one into Sheamus. Show clubs him for a bit but when Sheamus gets a chair again, Show goes running scared. Like at Survivor Series, Sheamus lays into him with the chair. He hits an interesting shoulder block with the chair off the top. Don’t think I’ve seen that one before. The fans seem to be entertaining themselves with an “Ole” chant. Is Sami Zayn in the crowd? They continue to do mostly uninteresting stuff until Show nails a Chokeslam for two. Show seems to want to wake the crowd up, so he does a corner Vader Bomb onto a chair for two. In an impressive feat of strength, Sheamus gets Show up for White Noise through two chairs, though Show kicks out. Sheamus ends up missing a Brogue Kick and eating the WMD but again kicks out. Now they’re just doing the false finish barrage that big WWE matches have come to rely on. Show exits and pulls out the biggest steel chair in history. Show uses it once and Sheamus dies.

Winner and Still World Heavyweight Champion: Big Show in 14:15
I’ve seen some pretty good praise for this match but I just couldn’t get into it. Some of the things they pulled off were quite brutal and bringing out the giant chair was certainly different at least. Still, not much to write home about. **½

John Cena is preparing for the main event and AJ Lee shows up in Cena gear. This was during her phase of having a new boy toy every few months. Daniel Bryan, Kane, CM Punk, John Cena and finally, one more person to close out the year.

Alberto Del Rio, Brooklyn Brawler and The Miz w/ Ricardo Rodriguez vs. 3MB
Yup, they chose the Brooklyn Brawler. He not only gets a theme song but he also has tron graphics. Wow. Brawler gets worked on for a bit, Miz does some decent offense and then Del Rio gets the tag to do more with his face turn. He hits a nice suicide dive and then Rodriguez pulls Slater out of the ring. Miz plants Mahal with the Skull Crushing Finale but doesn’t pin, instead tagging the Brawler. Brawler applies a HIDEOUS Brooklyn Crab and Mahal submits.

Winners: Alberto Del Rio, Brooklyn Brawler and Miz in 3:23
Between this and the earlier segment, were they just low on time since Punk couldn’t compete? This was just there and I didn’t care for it. *

Money in the Bank Contract Ladder Match
Dolph Ziggler (c) vs. John Cena

This all started because of Vickie’s obsession with outing the Cena/AJ relationship. Ziggler is in the midst of easily the best run of his career. The crowd is heavily in his corner. They trade some basic stuff early on before bringing any weapons into play. Cena uses the ladder first but also brings steel steps into play, wiping out Dolph with them. He’s two years early for the EPIC Steel Stairs match. The fans go back and forth as they trade blows in the middle of the ring. Dolph starts losing out, so he goes to a sleeper hold. Cena is inhuman though, climbing the ladder with Dolph still holding on. He does fade out while on top, even looking purple, and then crash through a table. Dolph is up first and climbs but Cena closes the ladder and then lifts it up like a goddamn press slam. Ziggler gets free but runs into the FIVE MOVES OF DOOM. Ziggler fights him off, avoiding the AA and nails the Zig Zag. They are both slow to get up, with Cena finishing the FIVE MOVES OF DOOM this time. Ziggler again avoids the AA and plants him with a big DDT. He gets his hands on the briefcase but Cena won’t die. He knocks Ziggler off and is alone with the briefcase. Ziggler is up to stop him though. From out of nowhere, Cena does a damn hurricanrana that sends Ziggler through a table in the corner. It was ugly, but still. A “Ziggler’s awesome” chant starts as he gets up but Cena just fires up and kicks his ass. Ziggler escapes the AA again and nails Cena with a chair. He misses a superkick and finally takes an AA, rolling outside. Vickie Guerrero shows up to hit Cena with a chair. A Lee runs out and ducks an incredibly telegraphed chair shot before going into Cena’s FIVE MOVES OF DOOM. It’s a lot more adorable when she does it. Cena brings up a ladder and sets it up while AJ skips around the ring. As he gets high up, AJ shoves over the ladder in a completely obvious heel turn. Cena hits the ropes and bounces right into a superkick from Ziggler. AJ smiles and skips off, leaving Dolph to retrieve the briefcase to a monster pop.

Winner and Still Mr. Money in the Bank: Dolph Ziggler in 23:16
A really good main event, though I think the six man tag should have closed things out. This bordered on great but will settle for very good. Dolph Ziggler was allowed to look like someone that belonged in the ring with Cena for the most part. The involvement of Vickie and AJ wasn’t great, though it at least made sense. ***¾

Overall: 7.5/10; Very good. Clearly, not everything on this Pay-Per-View is very good. The Divas Title, US Title and random six man tag all stunk for the most part. I thought the World Title and Intercontinental Title matches were both pretty enjoyable. It’s the main event and six man TLC that really elevate this show. The Shield debut match was masterfully done and is my WWE match of the year for 2012. This flowed nicely outside of the mid-show promos and is an easy watch. My randomizer has chosen my next “Random Network Review” as World War 3 1997!