Written By: Alexander Settee
Tables Ladders & Chairs 2009, December 13, 2009, AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX
Announcers: Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, & Matt Striker
Opening Match, ECW Championship Ladder Match: Christian vs. Shelton Benjamin
These two came right out and announced that they were going to steal the show here tonight and I can’t say that I would bet against them. There’s ladders everywhere of course so we don’t have to screw around, but we actually do anyways with a bit of a feeling out period that ends with Christian hitting a dropkick. Shelton leaps to the top off a whip and comes off with a press, then works Christian over. Christian comes back with a Killswitch attempt which is countered to a backbreaker and now the crowd starts to buzz as Shelton goes for the first ladder. Christian follows him and they go at it on the floor which ends with Christian being sent to the barrier. Shelton goes for the ladder again, but this time Christian dives on him to break it up. He then gets a ladder in the ring and climbs, but Shelton makes it back to save. He monkey flips Shelton out of the corner, with Shelton landing on his feet and going for the quick win, but Christian pulls him down and tosses him. He grabs the ladder and looks to throw it at Shelton, but Shelton trips him up and the ladder lands on Christian’s face, busting him open. The match actually grinds to a halt so that the medics can patch Christian up to preserve the PG rating. Matt Striker claims that this is mandated by the Texas State Athletic Commission, but then Lawler actually ruins that perfectly plausible cover up by saying that it’s actually a WWE rule. We finally get going again with some trading on the floor which leads to them climbing a ladder on the floor, Christian falling, and Shelton hitting a flip dive off the ladder. Shelton then makes a ladder bridge between the apron and the announce table so he can catapult Christian into it, but Christian kicks him off. In the ring, Christian gets a ladder in the corner, but his whip is reversed and he hits it. This sets up a Stinger Splash, but Christian throws a ladder at him to block. He climbs, but Shelton saves and nails a spinkick. He then runs Christian to a ladder and climbs. Christian recovers and joins him so he can take Shelton down with an inverted DDT. Next we get a real cool spot where they’re fighting on the ladder again and it tips over, but Shelton lands on his feet on the top rope. Not the corner mind you, but the rope. That’s an amazing display of balance. He then rides the ladder down into a clothesline on Christian. Another dual climb sees Shelton take him down with a powerslam after climbing over him. Christian gets a ladder in the corner again, but this time falls victim to the Stinger Splash. Shelton climbs, but Christian pulls the ladder out so he’s left dangling. He can’t knock Shelton down though, so he resets the ladder and goes up to knock him down from there. Christian just about has it, but this time Shelton removes the ladder and drags him down. Soon they’re both climbing again and Shelton sets up the sunset flip spot, but Christian counters it to a headscissors to the buckle. They fight on the apron with Shelton teasing the German suplex to the floor, but Christian holds on. He knocks Shelton back onto the ladder bridge from earlier, and then splashes him off the top, breaking the ladder in half in the process. That’s it for Shelton, so Christian climbs, grabs the belt, and retains at 18:06. Not blowaway awesome as there have certainly been better ladder matches, but it was still really good. I hope Christian stays in ECW forever as he gets to shine here but would be lost in the shuffle anywhere else. As for Shelton, he deserves better then to just be a guy they drag out when it’s time for a spotfest, but that’s a broken record by this point. ***3/4
Intercontinental Championship Match: John Morrison vs. Drew McIntyre
They start out with some mat wrestling, and they Morrison kicks it up with a spin kick. Corner whip is reversed, but Morrison gets to the apron and shoulders McIntyre from there. Headscissor takedown and a running kick get a 2 count. McIntyre bails and Morrison makes the mistake of following and ends up getting sent to the post. Back in, that gets 2 and now McIntyre goes to work. Short clothesline gets 2 and he goes to an armbar. Morrison fires out, but gets quickly cut off. Suplex gets 2 for McIntyre, and then he cuts off another comeback by hitting a big boot for a couple of 2 counts. To an armbar, and this time Morrison fires out and has success by countering a backbreaker to a DDT for 2. He follows with a clothesline, high knee and kick for 2. Top rope dropkick gets another 2, but then he runs into a knee. An inverted flapjack gets 2, but Morrison revives and dropkicks McIntyre to the floor. He follows again and looks to have been taken advantage of again, but ends up taking McIntyre to the barrier with a drop toehold. He then springs off the apron and nails a kick. Back in the ring, McIntyre misses a charge and hits the post. Starship Pain connects, and Morrison covers, but the ref rules that McIntyre’s foot is under the ropes and waves the count off at 2. A frustrated Morrison stomps away, but then has an issue with his belt where it seems to break. The ref makes him take it off and as the ref is getting rid of it, McIntyre gets a shot to the eyes. He follows with the double arm DDT, now dubbed the Scot Drop and that gets the 3 count. Drew McIntyre is the new IC Champ at 10:20. A decent outing here, but kind of a sad way to do a Title switch. One of the bigger problems with having too many Titles comes up here. We’re supposed to buy this as a big moment, but really this is probably the sixth (out of seven) most important match on the show, and of the three Title changes, this is by far least important, so it just gets buried and forgotten under the upper card stuff. **
We also get a post match segment where Vince McMahon congratulates McIntyre on his win, and then Josh Matthews interviews him. Not much of note is said, but Sheamus then interrupts and promises that McIntyre isn’t the only newcomer leaving with gold tonight.
Women’s Championship Match: Michelle McCool (w/Layla) vs. Mickie James
Layla still has the “Piggie James” shirt on as they feel the need to bury the most consistently popular woman they have for who knows what reason. Michelle bails right away, and then when Mickie finally gets here they do this intense lockup spot where they hold it even while rolling out of the ring in order to sell the hatred here. Michelle charges, but gets rolled up for 1, and tripped up for another 1. Second rollup gets 2 before Michelle finally nails her. Mickie goes for a crucifix, but Michelle back her to the corner to break it and then drops a knee for 1. Michelle goes to work on the back for a bit until Mickie makes a comeback, but ends up running into a backbreaker for 2. Mickie then gets a cradle for a 2 of her own, but ends up getting tossed and sent to the barrier. Michelle misses a running knee, and then Mickie connects with a headscissors followed by a Thesz press off the apron. Back in, Layla tries a distraction, but Mickie no sells it and hits another Thesz press and then a dropkick for 2. Two clotheslines and a forearm follow. She knocks Michelle down and goes up, but Layla shoves her off. Mickie nails her and then causes Michelle to run into her and knock her to the floor. Mickie gets a quick rollup for a close 2, but then gets up right into a kick from Michelle and that gets the 3 count to retain at 7:32. Michelle is ok by Divas standards, but not head and shoulders above the rest as her push would suggest, and I don’t really get the appeal of her. And I mentioned it at the beginning, but still, poor Mickie. *1/2
WWE Championship Tables Match: John Cena vs. Sheamus
Well, in the time since Survivor Series, Sheamus has been built up relatively well. I wasn’t sold on him as a challenger originally, but it is good that it’s not one of the usual suspects and there are certainly worse choices. Cena attacks, ramming Sheamus to the buckle and nailing the bulldog. Corner whip sees Sheamus get the elbow up and nail a clothesline. He then hits a suplex and drops a knee. He goes for a table, which by the way are all under the ring with none pre set, but Cena stops him and rams him to the announce table three times. To the barrier is next, but Sheamus turns the tide and sends him to the post. Whip to the steps is reversed however and Sheamus hits. Cena successfully gets a table setup and puts Sheamus on it, but Sheamus rolls off before Cena can put him through. Sheamus then attacks, dropping some knees to the back and hitting a powerslam. He gets Cena on the apron in front of the table on the floor and almost gets Cena down, but Cena hangs on. Cena sets up the Attitude Adjustment, but Sheamus escapes and rams him to the buckle. They fight outside near the table again with both guys teasing a big move through it, but not being able to get it. They fight up the ramp and Cena suplexes him on the steel. He then grabs the table and picks it up to take an overhead swing with it, but Sheamus moves. That was kind of goofy as the table is so big and awkward that it can only be swung like that in slow motion. They brawl back to ringside through the crowd and Cena clotheslines him back over the barrier. Cena sets another table on the floor, but gets back in the ring and walks into the Irish Curse Kick. Now Sheamus sets the table in the corner of the ring and sets Cena up like he did Mark Cuban last week, but Cena comes out with a sunset flip, which saves himself, but there’s obviously no pinfalls here. He goes for the STF, but Sheamus escapes. Cena does get the double shoulderblocks and the Protobomb, followed by the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Sheamus is dazed, but has the presence of mind to realize that a table in the corner benefits Cena now much more then it benefits himself, so he dumps it to the outside which is a cool moment. Cena indeed follows up with the AA, but with no table there he can’t win it. So now he has to stop and get a table and set it up, which he does. He sets up for another AA from the top through the table, but can’t hold him up. They trade blows and Cena appears to try for a superplex instead, but gets shoved off and goes through the table to end it at 16:24. Sheamus is the new WWE Champion, which is something I really didn’t believe they would pull the trigger on so the genuinely surprised me. The match was alright as most of it was brawling which both of these guys are better at anyways than wrestling. Another cool touch was that they found some kids in the crowd decked out in their John Cena merchandise, who were practically crying at the result. It’s still real to them damnit. **1/2
World Heavyweight Championship Chairs Match: The Undertaker vs. Dave Batista
Having left Rey behind, Batista has his sights squarely locked on the World Heavyweight Championship and gets his shot here having beaten Kane in a number one contenders match. He goes for a chair right away, but Taker stops him. They then fight over one on a floor for a bit before getting back in. Taker hits a clothesline and stomps away. Corner whip leads to Batista getting the elbow up and hitting a clothesline for 1. Taker pulls him to the floor and sends him to the steps. He gets a chair, but Batista kicks it away and runs Taker to the apron. Whip is reversed and puts Batista over and into the timekeepers’ pit. Taker stops to toss some chairs in the ring before going back at Batista, but misses the boot and hits the barrier. Batista gets in our first chairshot and then chokes Taker with it. Another chair misses and he hits the post with it which sets up Taker booting him on the apron and dropping the leg for 2. He sets up Old School, but gets crotched and then Batista gets a superplex for 2. Now he wants a Batista Bomb on a chair, but Taker backdrops out of it. They trade shots and then Taker gets sent off the ropes into a spinebuster for 2. Batista wedges a chair in the corner, but nothing comes of it yet. Taker comes back with a flying clothesline and goes for Old School again, but hits it this time. He follows with Snake Eyes, but Batista explodes out of the corner with a spear for 2. He then hits a spinebuster on a chair, but out of nowhere Taker hooks him with Hell’s Gates. The announcers point out that it’s not fully applied and sure enough Batista makes the ropes. Batista goes to the floor and nails Taker with a chair from there. In the ring he misses a charge and hits the chair in the corner from earlier. Taker gets a clothesline from that for 2. Chokeslam hits and gets another 2. He sets up for the Tombstone, but Batista escapes, shoves Taker into the referee to put him out of position and then nails a low blow. Chairshot follows and gets the pin to give Batista the World Heavyweight Championship at 14:44. But wait! Teddy Long comes out and says he can’t let the Title change hands like this so he restarts the match. The odd part here is that he never actually mentions that he’s starting it up again because of the low blow, so if you were there live and didn’t catch that it may have been confusing. Also, isn’t the Hell’s Gates still illegal? Why didn’t anyone say anything about that? I guess it didn’t lead to the finish, but still. So Batista gets back in the ring where Taker boots a chair in his face. He then nails Batista with it and hits the Tombstone for the pin at 15:13 to retain the Title after all. Unfortunately the nature of the finish they booked meant that they couldn’t do anything else that was illegal in the match to make it interesting and being handcuffed like that did not help things. *1/2
Kofi Kingston is warming up when Legacy comes in and to try and intimidate him, but instead Kofi just blows them off and goes straight to Orton himself to tell him what he thinks of the situation.
Randy Orton vs. Kofi Kingston
Up to and including Survivor Series, they did a really good job building this up, but since then they’ve managed to generate less interest in this match by the week. They go with some mat wrestling to open things up and right off the bat this match has no heat. Granted they are also in a bad position on the card, but the botched buildup is probably a bigger factor. Orton works him over in the corner and then whips him across, but Kofi gets the boot up. He charges out into a powerslam that gets Orton 2 and then Orton goes to a rear chinlock. Kofi escapes to a rollup for 2 and then hits a Russian legsweep, but Orton rolls out to avoid the Boom Drop. Kofi follows and then springs up to the top for a dive, but Orton catches him with a dropkick coming down and Kofi lands on the steps. He’s selling the ribs so Orton drops him on the barrier. In the ring, he gets 2 and then continues the assault with stomps to the midsection for another 2. He drops him on the ropes and then drops a knee for 2. He takes too much time setting up though and Kofi comes back with the SOS out of nowhere for 2. Clothesline to the floor sets up a suicide dive and then back in the ring he gets a crossbody off the top for 2. He follows with chops and a clothesline. His corner whip is reversed, but he leaps up and comes off with a clothesline for 2. Orton catches him with the backbreaker, but again spends too much time setting up and eats a dropkick. Boom Drop hits, as does Trouble in Paradise, but Orton grabs the ropes at 2. He rolls to the floor so Kofi has to drag him back in, but then takes advantage and nails the hanging DDT. Orton sets up for the punt, which Kofi blocks with his arm, but he sells it like it’s been broken. Orton targets it with a single arm DDT. Kofi comes back with a desperation try for TIP, but Orton ducks and then finishes with the RKO at the unlucky time of 13:13. Cole tries to sell that even in defeat, Kofi proved he belongs at Orton’s level, but really we had Orton get out of the finisher and beat him clean, so that’s not a good sign for him. Time will tell, but this experiment could be over. They were also suggesting that this sets Orton up for a Title shot. **1/2
Batista confronts Teddy Long about how he’d better make things right or the next time he swings a chair it will be at Long’s head. Teddy looks terrified so it would seem Batista will get the next shot at Taker as well.
Main Event, Unified Tag Team Championship TLC Match: Chris Jericho & The Big Show vs. Triple H & Shawn Michaels
Wow, the Tag Team Titles get to main event a PPV again. They start off with a shoving match that quickly breaks down to a brawl as Shawn/Jericho and Show/HHH pair off. Show whips HHH to the barrier, but charges and ends up going over. A table gets setup against the barrier at the other end, but they end up brawling away into the crowd for a bit while Shawn and Jericho go in the ring. Jericho gets another table setup but can’t suplex Shawn through it. Back in the ring they go at it with Shawn countering an attempt at the Walls and hitting an inverted atomic drop and a slam. He goes up, but the elbow hits knees. Jericho goes for a ladder, but sees HHH working over Show up near the set so he goes there to make the save with a chair. HHH foils him though and sets up for a Pedigree, but Jericho backdrops out. Shawn joins the party with a chair of his own leading to a duel with Jericho won by Shawn, but he ends up getting nailed by Show anyways. Jericho and Show go back to the ring and get a ladder, but Shawn and HHH are quickly back there. HHH works over Jericho and nails him with the ladder. They then suplex it onto Jericho and also take out Show with it. Cole notes at this point that Shawn and HHH can win the first Tag Team Titles in the history of DX, so adjust your WWE Approved History Textbooks accordingly by erasing any references to the New Age Outlaws. Shawn climbs, but Show makes the save and then goes to work on HHH. Jericho comes back as well and a double team ensues. He baseball slides the ladder into Shawn and then bulldogs HHH on it. They then set it in the corner and hang HHH upside down by the leg. Shawn gets whipped into him and then Show splashes him before he finally gets free. Jericho goes to whip him to it again, but it’s reversed and he goes over and out. Show misses a charge and takes a facebuster, and then gets hit with the ladder. HHH then tosses it at Jericho on the floor, but that lets Show recover. He sets up HHH for a chokeslam, but HHH counters to a DDT. Shawn drops the top rope elbow and sets up Sweet Chin Music, but Jericho returns and gets him with the Codebreaker. HHH gets Jericho with a spinebuster, but then takes a spear from Show. Since he’s the only one left, Show sets up a ladder and c l i m b s… v e r y… s l o w l y… until HHH returns with a chair and nails him. This just makes Show angry though, so he punches the chair back in HHH’s face. He climbs again, but both of DX are there now and they tip the ladder over on him. HHH hits the Pedigree and Show goes to the floor. Shawn climbs now, but Jericho tips him over and he falls to the floor where he’s caught by Show and they both go down. Jericho climbs and keeps kicking HHH off, but HHH finally takes him down with a powerbomb. That makes it HHH’s turn to climb, until Show chokeslams him off. Show then breaks the ladder for some reason before going to work on HHH again. Jericho gets another ladder and the champs sandwich DX inside it and beat it with a chair. Show rips the ladder apart as well before they toss Shawn and HHH to the floor. Show puts them both through the table setup on the barrier earlier on and he and Jericho seemingly have a shot at the belts. Jericho is trying to climb the half ladder but obviously can’t balance it. So he gets on Show’s shoulders and tries for the belts while struggling to balance, but back comes DX to catch them in this compromising position. Shawn hits Show with SCM which sends Jericho outside and he was probably supposed to go through the table that was there but he didn’t quite clear the top rope completely and kind of just hit the edge of it. A second SCM and a clothesline with the ladder put Show down for good and that leaves HHH to hold the ladder while Shawn climbs to retrieve the belts for the win at 22:32. The reaction isn’t even that over the top considering this is Shawn’s hometown and all, but it’s still a good one. I don’t know where you go with the Tag Titles from here as Shawn and HHH came right out and said that they don’t matter. I presume a short run and a huge screwjob to get the belts off of them, but I don’t know who it’s going to be as Jericho and Show appear to be done as a team after this week’s Raw. With the news of Bret Hart signing they could go the direction of DX/Hart Dynasty, but that would require Bret to be a heel and I’m not sure I see them going that direction. As for the match itself, it was very different then the opener, with less crazy spots and more storytelling, which is good and I think that the two matches were pretty much on par but I liked Christian/Shelton a bit better so it gets the extra ¼* to edge this one out for match of the night. ***1/2
Ok, so that’s TLC, our final PPV of not only the year, but the decade as well. It was a pretty good show as nothing sucked, or was even really too far below average for that matter. The ladder matches led the way, which is pretty much what I expected coming in, plus we had a legitimate cool surprise of Sheamus walking out as the new WWE champion. It was also a very wrestling oriented show as everything else was minimized save for three quick backstage segments, all of which added to the show rather than just being something to waste time or amuse Vince. The only real low point for me was the complete lack of logic in the finish to Undertaker/Batista, but that’s not really that big of a deal. I’m going to go Thumbs Up for TLC, and it gets a recommendation as a good little show void of the crap that you usually find on the TV shows.