Written by: Scrooge McSuck from DaWrestlingsite.com
– Oh, WWE… I’ll never understand your logic. You give away an entire month of WWE Network access, including a PPV with one of the hottest Main Events and biggest surprises in recent memory in order to entice new subscribers. Then you give us TLC, which on paper, is a show that isn’t even worth $9.99, let alone the original PPV price tag of $44.95/$54.95 HD. On a Network that no longer requires any kind of commitment and allows subscribers to cancel at any time. Tell me, what is the point of going out of your way in making sure one show is something you have to see, and following it with one of the least anticipated possible? “Yes, pay nothing for the debut of STING, but we’ll charge you to watch the lazy, thrown together, pile of crap December PPV. Brock who? Does he still work for us?”
– Courtesy of the WWE Network! Live from the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, OH on December 14th, 2014. Michael Cole, Jerry “The King” Lawler, and John “Bradshaw” Layfield are at ringside to call some of the action, make terrible jokes, and laugh at people who paid upwards of $55 for this on regular old PPV, unless otherwise noted. Renee Young, Alex Riley, Booker T, and Paul “Don’t Ask Me About Brock Lesnar” Heyman are on hand as the Expert Panel.
The New Day vs. Goldust & Stardust:
Kickoff Match. Kofi and Big E. are representing the New Day tonight, with Xavier Woods at ringside. JBL and Cole keep calling Stardust “”Great Gazoo”, because of his bright green look. You know a character reference is dated when you have to tell the audience who “The Great Gazoo” is and the oldest guy at the table doesn’t even know. Kofi out-wrestles Goldust, so it’s Big E. turn to throw Stardust around. Awkward back-drop/dropkick double team spot sees Stardust almost land on his head. Stardust sucker punches Big E., making him your face-in-peril. Big E. catches Stardust charging with a modified sidewalk slam. Kofi tags in and comes off the top with a big clothesline. Kofi with a dropkick, another clothesline, and the New Day Boom Drop. He charges to the corner with a pair of knees, but Goldust distracts him long enough to allow Stardust to ram him against the post. Stardust with a reverse Boston Crab. Stardust charges, but takes a back drop to the floor. Big E. with the tag, and he runs through everyone with clotheslines. Belly-to-belly suplex and overhead throw on Stardust. He comes off the ropes with a BIG splash. Goldust runs in to prevent the Big Ending, allowing Stardust to connect with the Disaster Kick for two! Kofi with the blind tag, and they hit the double team Big Ending/DDT (The Midnight Hour) for a three count at 11:21. **1/4 Standard formula match. Gold and Stardust really didn’t do much on offense, and were just there to make the repackaged New Day look good. Unfortunately, the focus of the match was making dated Hanna-Barbera references and “subtly” announcing the WWE/Flintstones cross-over. I don’t think it will be nearly as entertaining as the Scooby-Doo WrestleMania Mystery.
WWE Intercontinental Championship, Ladder Match:
Luke Harper © vs. Dolph Ziggler:
PPV opener, proper. These two have been trading wins for a while now, because that’s all WWE knows how to do these days. Ziggler is announced from Cleveland, which means he’s losing. In my day, WWE went out of their way to job the hometown hero. They waste little time throwing ladders into the ring. Ziggler gets tossed into a comically short ladder and thrown over the barricade, into the timekeeper. Ziggler prevents a climb, but takes a boot to the face for it. Ziggler avoids a Powerbomb across a ladder, then runs into a twirling Bossman Slam. Harper continues to dominate, dumping a ladder across Ziggler’s body. I don’t get how throwing a ladder into someone’s face is approved, but a chair shot to the head isn’t. LOGIC! Ziggler finally gets some offense, throwing a ladder back in Harper’s face, but a trip to the top rope is interrupted by a dropkick into the ladder, knocking him to the floor. Harper tosses the ladder at him for a bonus. Ziggler pulls another ladder up, so Harper dives INTO THE LADDER with a sucide dive, and lands square on it. He’s already bleeding from his arm, and I’m sure there’s going to be a nasty bruise. Ziggler scrambles to climb, but Harper pushes him over. Ziggler slips out of another Powerbomb attempt and dropkicks Harper onto a ladder.
Ziggler goes for the Fameasser, but it’s countered with a Powerbomb across another ladder! Ziggler’s body is getting torn apart by the various ladder spots. Harper with a slingshot beneath the ropes, assisted with a ladder. Ziggler’s bleeding, which wouldn’t surprise me at all as hardway, considering the dangerous placement of his head and ladder, but considering the next spot, it’s definitely a blood packet. Officials tend to Ziggler, but he pushes them off to fight Harper off the ladder! Harper goes for another Powerbomb, and this time it’s countered with a facebuster! Harper pulls Ziggler off the ladder, but Ziggler turns it into a DDT! Harper gets a ladder kicked into his head, then knocked off the apron, across another ladder he originally set up at the start of the match. Ziggler is inches away from grabbing the belt, but Harper pushes him over, complete with an ugly landing. Unique spot with Ziggler riding a ladder into Harper and landing on another ladder to climb, but Harper interrupts and climbs besides him. Ziggler knocks him off with the Super-Kick, and he’s a 4-Time Intercontinental Champion at 16:42. ***1/2 Rating ladder matches is always a bit difficult for me. As a spotfest, it worked, and the “Dolph Ziggler is a plucky underdog who never gives up” story always works, because it’s what Ziggler does best. Some of the spots were fairly brutal, and I don’t think there was more than a handful of actual wrestling moves, but this was, overall, a very satisfying opener.
WWE Tag Team Championship Match:
The Miz & Damien Mizdow © vs. Jimmy & Jey Uso:
Weird they would put a decent match like this on after a hot opener. Earlier on Kickoff, Miz tried to persuade Jimmy’s wife, Naomi, into making sure he leaves TLC as Champion in exchange for stardom. Mizdow has replica belts and miniature Slammy, of course. Miz and Jey Uso start. Jey with a series of pin attempts, but again, the main focus of the camera, and if not the camera, myself, is watching Mizdow acting along with Miz’s antics. Jimmy pounds away and lays into Miz with chops. Uso’s with a double suplex, while Mizdow does a hand-stand in the corner to sell it. Miz gets knocked through the ropes, and Mizdow follows. Jey Uso with the Uso-Crazy Dive onto both of them. Back in the ring, Miz avoids a high risk move and connects with a DDT for two. Miz plays the “boo me, cheer him” game and gets rolled up for a near fall. Jimmy with the hot tag and Samoan Drop on Miz. Miz comes back with a kick to the head for two. Miz with the running clothesline into the corner, but it’s countered with a back slide. Jimmy to the top with a corkscrew moonsault for two. Miz with the Skull Crushing Finale on Jey. He sweeps the leg of Jimmy for the Figure-Four, but Jimmy rolls through and slaps on a single-leg crab! Miz goes to tag, but Mizdow is selling the hold on the opposite side of the ring. Jimmy with the Super-Kick, but Miz rolls away from a splash. The Miz tries taking a walk, pushes Mizdow into the way of a suicide dive, and KO’s both Uso’s with his Slammy, drawing a cheap Disqualification at 7:18. **1/2 If I thought scoring a Ladder Match was hard, try these matches with Miz and Mizdow. It was energetic, and Mizdow was great, but the finish sucked.
– Seth Rollins dedicates his victory tonight over John Cena to Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. They keep dropping the name “Sting”… whoops, sorry. THE VIGILANTE STING. I guess we can add that to Surfer Sting, Crow Sting, Lobster Sting, the Icon Sting, and whatever random nicknames TNA gave him, as if anyone watched to catch any of it.
Stairs Match: Erick Rowan vs. Big Show:
This isn’t going to be pretty. Are we that desperate for a gimmick match? STAIRS MATCH? I love the nonsense kayfabe stats they come up with for their hollowed out steps. According to the latest WWE writing staff, Rowan is a Genius who doesn’t like bullies, and the Big Show is back to being a bully. I guess it’s a leap year thing with him. Rowan pounds on Show to start and sends him to the floor with a spinning kick. Show boots him in the midsection and slams him on the floor. Weak whip into the steps, and the crowd already doesn’t care about this one. Rowan comes back with stairs to the face of Big Show. He tosses around the decorations and creates a wall of steps. Show interrupts Rowan’s dreams of being an architect and rams him into the post. Show rams Rowan into another set of steps, and we finally bring the “action” into the ring. Rowan comes back from out of nowhere and slams Show on the steps. Would be cool if we hadn’t seen it happen three times in one week back when the Wyatt Family was jobbing to Show and Mark Henry every night. Rowan climbs the ropes with a set of steps, but Show avoids it. They wander near the wall of steps, because who didn’t see it coming, and Big Show tackles Rowan through it. Crowd barely reacts to it. Back in the ring, Rowan kicks steps into Show’s face. Show no-sells it, chokeslams him onto the steps, and hits the KO Punch. He “pins” Rowan under a set of steps at 11:15, except his arms and shoulders are free, so he just wiggles around looking like a goof. DUD Who booked this to go that long? Completely void of any redeeming qualities. This was either a bad match you act out with action figures or a bad match that is all CPU on whatever WWE video game you happen to be simulating.
– Total Divas returns on January 4th on the E! Network. Nobody who watches the actual WWE product cares.
Tables Match: John Cena vs. Seth Rollins (w/ J&J Security):
… Wait, they’re going with Ambrose and Wyatt last?! I honestly didn’t see that coming. Short and sweet, Cena has to win, or he loses his shot at Brock Lesnar at the Royal Rumble. Spoiler Alert: Cena Wins LOL. Something about Rollins’ entrance music makes me want to listen to some Metallica. Slugfest to start, won by Cena. He’s distracted by Noble and Mercury, allowing Rollins to take him down with a neck breaker. Whip to the corner and Cena comes exploding back with a clothesline. Cena puts a table in the ring, but Noble and Mercury pull it back out. They repeat the process, with Rollins taking advantage of the distraction each time. Rollins with a DDT, and he finally sets a table up. Cena avoids a whip into the table and goes through his Five Moves of Doom. J&J interrupt the AA. Cena fights everyone off, to my surprise. Felt like a perfect spot for a babyface return, like Orton or Reigns. Cena takes Noble over with a suplex onto an old fashioned security rail. Rollins and Mercury continue to punish Cena while Noble plays dead. They splinter a table across a ring post, and Cena sends Mercury into the timekeeper’s pit with an AA.
Rollins sets up a pair of tables for a suplex spot, but Cena counters, bringing Rollins back into the ring. They go through a series of counters until Rollins connects with an Asai DDT (Ultimo Dragon’s old WWE finisher). Rollins whacks Cena with the MITB briefcase. That thing is looking rough. Rollins teases a 5-Knuckle Shuffle of his own, but Cena counters with a kick to the head. Rollins avoids an AA through the table and hits an enziguri. Rollins to the top rope for a Curb Stomp, but Cena interrupts. Cena climbs up with him for the Super-AA through the table, but the referee is still out! Noble and Mercury recover and dispose of the broken table. Cena fights off another three-on-one situation and puts both Mercury and Noble through a table with an AA at the same time. Rollins and Cena go to the apron and slug it out until both men take a dive through tables, and it’s a No Contest at 18:14? ANOTHER SHITTY FINISH? One referee says yes to Cena, another to Rollins, but the assigned referee says restart it.
Rollins knocks Cena to the floor and dives out on top of him. Cena from out of nowhere with an AA onto the announcer’s table, but it doesn’t break. Here comes Big Show to stink up another segment until ROMAN REIGNS RETURNS with a Superman Punch on Big Show, followed by a SPEAR through a table. Superman Punch to Rollins, and Cena with the AA through a table to finally end this at 23:37. Cena Wins, LOL. ** I don’t know what to say other than my rating is far from an accurate scale, because of the weak gimmick and the nonsensical overbooking ruining my enthusiasm for the overall product. This felt more like something out of the TNA Department, with multiple false finishes, excessive run-in’s, and a stupid gimmick stipulation. The only thing to make it worse would be going with the inconclusive finish before the restart.
– We’re halfway into the show, and so far, the latest NXT special is blowing this PPV out of the water.
WWE Diva’s Championship Match:
Nikki Bella © (w/ Brie Bella) vs. A.J. Lee:
There’s absolutely NO CHANCE IN HELL this will be better than the Women’s Championship at NXT rEvolution. Not even close. Watching the Bella Twins acting is like torture. I’d call it wooden, but that would be insulting all trees around the world. Nikki stalls, instantly making this match longer than their first encounter at Survivor Series. A.J. sends Nikki to the floor with a spinning head scissors and takes a shot at Brie. A.J. with a charge, countered with a Spinebuster for two. Back breaker for two. She uses the ring post for a modified bow-and-arrow. Nikki keeps working the back, this time applying a modified surfboard. A.J. fights to her feet, only to get thrown back down. Nikki with a hammerlock and slam for two. A.J. escapes a chinlock and applies a front Dragon Sleeper, but Nikki takes it to the corner. She misses a charge, allowing A.J. to roll her up for two. Both get to their feet, and quickly go right back down with a double clothesline. A.J. with a Thesz Press and neck breaker for two. Whip to the corner is reversed, A.J. gets knees up on a charge, and takes Nikki down with a Tornado DDT for another two count. Nikki gets an elbow up on a charge and springs off the second turnbuckle with a kick to the back of the head. A.J. counters a slam attempt with a bulldog for two. SHINING WIZARD, but Brie puts Nikki’s foot on the rope. The referee claims seeing it, and ejects her from ringside. Nikki sprays A.J. in the eyes with the hidden perfume bottle while the referee is distracted, and the Rack Attack finishes at 7:39. **1/4 Better than I had anticipated. At least we had a pinfall, but not without some kind of bullshit. Would’ve been more enjoyable without Brie’s annoying screaming at ringside.
– Roman Reigns stumbles over his lines, announcing his participation in the upcoming year’s 30-Man Royal Rumble Match. SUPERSTAR OF THE YEAR!
Chairs Match: Ryback vs. Kane:
I’m not sure I even want to watch this. The ringside area littered with chairs makes it look like we’re going to have a Musical Chairs Battle Royal… remember when they did that on Raw back when Eugene was GM for the night? Great stuff. Both men start with chairs in hand. I figured it out… someone booked this card simulating a playthrough of Smackdown! for the PlayStation (One). Kane sets a chair between the ropes and gets rammed into it. Ryback comes off the ropes with a Thesz Press and slams Kane’s head into the canvas. He comes off the ropes with a splash and scoops Kane up for a Powerslam. He heads to the second rope and connects with a trio of splashes. He whacks away at Kane with a chair. He goes to the top rope, only to splash the knees and a chair. You’d think that would hurt Kane, too. LOGIC IN CHAIRS! Kane with snake eyes across a chair, but it only gets two. I drift off, reading some of the dumbest, markiest of mark “tweets” possible. Please tell me WWE pays these people to write that crap. Kane with a DDT onto a chair, only gets two. The crowd is dead. Ryback blocks the Chokeslam attempt, but takes a seat mid-match and gets kicked in the face for it. Kane boots a chair into Ryback’s face and unloads with chair shot after chair shot. Ryback avoids a chokeslam through two chairs and counters with a Spinebuster, but it doesn’t have the desired impact. Ryback with more chair shots. He goes for the Meat-Hook, but Kane throws a chair into his face, and the Chokeslam gets… two!? He goes for the Tombstone, but it’s countered. Meat-Hook, Shell Shock, and we’re done at 9:51. * Slightly better than Big Show vs. Rowan. It wasn’t good, but it was better. Seriously, both matches shouldn’t have gone longer than 5-minutes each, and were stretched out beyond where both needed to go.
WWE United States Championship Match:
Rusev © (w/ Lana) vs. Jack Swagger:
OK, whoever wrote the banter for the Kickoff said we had THREE Championship Matches tonight, giving me the impression this would be canceled for time. I guess someone liked their matches enough to give them another series. Rusev is selling the ankle, probably from an attack on Raw. No Zeb, who was injured at the hands of Rusev. Swagger unloads with rights until Rusev kicks the leg from under him. Swagger quickly comes back, slamming Rusev so his ankle catches the ropes. He tries taking it to the post, but Rusev kicks him away. Swagger takes him to the corner, wrapping the leg around the rope. Swagger with a clothesline and a big boot. Rusev rolls out of the way of the Swagger Bomb and goes for his jumping kick, but Swagger catches the ankle. He goes for the Ankle Lock, Rusev rolls through and goes for the Accolade, but Swagger fights free and makes it to the ropes. Rusev pulls Swagger back to the center of the ring and applies the Accolade! Swagger hangs in for what feels like forever and gets to his knees! He turns over to escape and picks the ankle! PATRIOT LOCK APPLIED! Rusev with kicks to the face to escape, and he rolls to the floor. Swagger follows and gets laid out with another big kick. Swagger manages to roll back in at 9, only to be greeted by another huge kick. Rusev applies the Accolade again, and this time Swagger taps out at 4:55. So THESE TWO get the shit end of the format sheet, while Show/Rowan and Kane/Ryback were allowed to stink up the ring 10 minutes, each? **1/2 Good, non-stop action, but ridiculously short.
TLC Match: Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt:
No Championships here, just two deranged men looking to get into each other’s head. Ambrose is in desperate need of a big PPV win, but at the same time, so does Wyatt. Despite being arguably the most over (active) face, Ambrose is the #4 babyface (once Orton returns), while Wyatt is lost in the shuffle of mid/uppercard heels. ‘Mania 31 Rumor: Wyatt vs. UNDERTAKER. Take that with a dumptruck full of salt. Ambrose throws a ladder on Wyatt and brawls with him up the aisle before the official bell. Wyatt tries getting away, only for Ambrose to follow with a suicide dive. He throws Wyatt into the security wall and sends him into the crowd with a clothesline from the announcer’s table. They take it to the Kickoff Panel set. Take a shot at Alex Riley! Ambrose uses their table to do a stage dive onto Wyatt. They return to ringside, with Ambrose unloading with a chair. He pulls out some kendo sticks, because Tables, Ladders and Chairs™ isn’t enough. Wyatt makes a go for a chair, but Ambrose cuts him off with a flury of cane blows. WHITE RUSSIAN LEG SWEEP! Is that name applicable if Sandman isn’t doing it? Ambrose with a chair assisted elbow drop from the second rope. Ambrose climbs the ropes, only to get knocked off, through a table at ringside.Wyatt follows to pick at the pieces. He slams Ambrose into the security wall and rolls him into the ring for the first near fall. He takes his swings with the kendo stick, then rams Ambrose’s face into the point of it, resting along the top turnbuckle! Wyatt brings a ladder into the ring and runs through Ambrose with it. He positions Ambrose across the ladder, and comes off the ropes with his signature body splash for another near fall. Wyatt with the kendo stick across the head and a whip into the ladder set up in the corner. Wyatt charges, but meets nothing but ladder.
They have a Crazy Man Slugfest until Ambrose rams Wyatt head first into the ladder. He charges into the corner with a forearm, and takes Wyatt down with a running bulldog. Ambrose to the top rope, using the ladder as a platform, and comes down with a double axehandle for two. Ambrose traps Wyatt between the ropes and connects with a running dropkick. He sets a chair underneath him and connects with a guillotine leg drop! It’s only good for two. Ambrose goes for Dirty Deeds, but Wyatt counters. He sets up for Sister Abigail, Ambrose escapes that, and runs into a brutal clothesline, only good enough for a two count. Wyatt tries throwing Ambrose back into the ring, but he rolls right back to the floor and connects with his own clothesline. They fight up the aisle, rearranging furniture along the way. Ambrose climbs a ladder and puts Wyatt through a table with an elbow drop! Ambrose clears off another table, climbs a taller ladder, and connects with ANOTHER elbow drop! Ambrose has the unenviable task of hauling Wyatt’s limp body back to the ring, since falls don’t count on the floor. Wyatt pops up from out of nowhere and hits Sister Abigail, but it only gets two! Wyatt goes for it a second time, but it’s countered with a school boy for two! Wyatt meets a ladder on a charge, and Ambrose connects with Dirty Deeds for two!
Ambrose finds random crap under the ring, including a bottle of gatorade and a flat-screen TV that happens to be streaming the Network… and the proverbial light bulb goes off in his head, complete with over-the-top, comical facial expressions. He hauls the giant ladder from the top of the entrance set back to ringside while Wyatt is playing dead on the floor. He politely asks the Spanish Announce Team to move before tearing away at everything on top of it. Wyatt comes back to life, whacking Ambrose with a chair. It’s his own fault for taking so long. He tries to ram the chair into the throat, but Ambrose blocks it and returns the act instead! He sets Wyatt across the announcer’s table and climbs the giant ladder. Ambrose flies with a third elbow drop, through the table! Ambrose again has to pull Wyatt back in the ring, but Wyatt is fighting him along the way. Ambrose grabs the television, but it’s still hooked up. He tries to use it again, but sells being electrocuted with the electrical explosion. Wyatt recovers, connects with Sister Abigail, and covers for three at around 27:00. ANOTHER CHEAP FINISH. ***1/2 This wasn’t going to be anywhere near a classic, but it was intense with lots of high spots. Unfortunately they booked themselves into a corner, and once again, we get a cheap finish that does nothing for Wyatt and makes Ambrose look like a chump who can’t win a match.
Final Thoughts: This wasn’t nearly as bad of a PPV as I anticipated, but you might as well change TLC… S to stand for Terribly Lazy Creative Shit. We opened the PPV with a pretty good Ladder Match, and closed it on a great TLC Match until the terrible finish, but in between was two hours of nothing. A handful of good matches, but all unremarkable. Peppered throughout those matches were some weak finishes and cop-out finishes. Something like Rusev vs. Swagger is short changed on time in favor of two matches that were easily, EASILY, going to flirt with Worst Match of the Night Honors. Cena’s win was not a surprise, but the over-booking that took place really felt excessive, even by WWE standards. TLC has been hit and miss over the years, but December PPV’s typically fell under the umbrella of “worthless filler.” This wasn’t entirely worthless, but it was clearly filler until Royal Rumble. Solid Thumbs Down.