Written by: Scrooge McSuck
– Presented on the WWE Network on December 13th, 2015 from the TD Garden in Boston, MA. Michael Cole, Jerry “The King” Lawler, and John “Bradshaw” Layfield are at ringside to drag down the quality of the matches with their inept banter and senseless commentary, unless otherwise noted.
WWE Tag Team Championship; Triple Threat Ladder Match:
The New Day (c) (w/ Xavier Woods) vs. The Usos vs. The Lucha Dragons:
(Kofi Kingston & Big E vs. Jimmy & Jey Uso vs. Sin Cara & Kalisto)
You’ve got to love the shoe-horned effort of making this random title defense a Ladder Match, just for the sake of the name of the show. The Usos and Lucha Dragons faced off in a #1 Contenders Match, but the New Day made sure there wasn’t a winner, so now we have this. Odd. Woods explains to the Boston crowd they aren’t important enough to waste a special hair-style on him and run down their opponents for being unworthy of being the face of the division (and suggested Mikey the Life Cereal Kid contracted a disease known as “Uso” disease). They also unveil their Wheaties box pose, because these guys are just awesome. Big E plays defense early while Kofi fetches a ladder. Kalisto and Kofi springboard onto the ladder, but everyone takes turns yanking someone else off. Luchas with simultaneous Asai moonsaults, and instead of climbing, the Usos take the ladder, throw it at the pile, and connect with a pair of suicide dives. Kofi shows off his athleticism and gets dumped to the floor for it. Woods takes a break from commentary to add some trombone to Jey Uso being sandwiched against the corner and stomped. Biggest face pop of the match, so far. Kalisto crushes Kofi under a ladder while Woods coins the phrase “Veteran Ladder Match Haver.” Sin Cara with a suicide senton onto a ladder resting on top of the Usos. That seemed contrived. Kalisto tries trapping Big E under the ladder, but he’s TOO STRONG. Usos with a double Super-Kick for Big E. and Kofi. The crowd actually disapproves of the Usos working over the New Day. Jey goes to the top but gets crotched along the turnbuckle. Jimmy saves with the help of a smaller ladder. We get another spot of “everyone climbs”, sans the Champions. Sin Cara monkey flips Kalisto into a somersault splash across a ladder. Xavier actually uses video game logic to explain the New Day strategy. Kofi takes a head-scissors face-first into a ladder. Jey Uso climbs, but here’s Kalisto and he gives him the Solida del Sol over the top of the ladder and through another ladder! That seemed incredibly dangerous and quite unnecessary. Kalisto appears to have the match won, but Woods remembers there’s no DQ, throws his trombone to knock Kalisto off the ladder, and the New Day recovers the belts to retain at 17:47. ***1/2 Fine spot-fest, but some of the spots seemed a bit too choreographed for my taste, and the biggest spot seemed especially dangerous for a company that preaches and demands safer work environment to prevent concussions. I’m sure others will like it more, but I just can’t get into a Ladder Match unless it’s something special.
Ryback vs. Rusev (w/ Lana):
This isn’t something I’m looking forward too. The reuniting of Lana and Rusev is such a cheap effort into finding something for them to do without doing anything that involves the creative process. Lana also seems to become more of an asset at ringside, twice becoming involved in the action in questionable situations and creating distractions. Yes, they took Rusev, who was an unbeatable monster who never needed help, to a coward reliant on his woman faking injuries at ringside to trick morons like Ryback. The most amazing part of the build was Ryback referencing the TV series Teen Wolf in a promo. How the hell does Vince McMahon green-light that? He’s not even up-to-date enough to have heard of the Teen Wolf movie from the mid 80’s. Rusev pounds away but gets sent to the floor with a shoulder tackle. Ryback with a double axehandle from the top, followed by a press slam and splash for two. Rusev stomps away viciously while the commentary hits the skids, debating Lana’s attire. They fight over a suplex attempt in what looks more like a see-saw of moves being blocked in a video game (buy WWE 2K15 on PlayStation and Xbox). Ryback takes control and comes off the middle rope with a missile dropkick! He goes to the top rope and connects with a cross body for two. Rusev teases taking a walk, but Ryback follows, Lana fakes getting hit again, and Rusev KO’s Ryback with a jumping Super Kick. Back in, and cover only gets two. Rusev Crush, and the Accolade knocks Ryback out at 7:56. *1/2 There was a really dull rest period in the middle, but otherwise, not an awful match, just not good, either. You have to love when the heel is booked like a chump and the face is booked to have the intelligence of a 7-year old.
WWE United States Championship; Chairs Match:
Alberto Del Rio (c) vs. Jack Swagger:
The Mex-American relationship is over after about six weeks, and I’m surprised they didn’t put Zeb Colter back with Swagger on Smackdown. It’s LAUGHABLE that in Swagger’s pre-match promo, he credits Colter for doing something great to band the WWE Universe together. Xenophobia and racial profiling is a real thing that unites people, so I guess he’s right, but I doubt WWE’s writing team remembers that. That’s how good a heel Rusev was it turned Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter baby-face by hating on the foreigner. Another match with a poorly tacked on gimmick. We get dueling chairs to start, with Swagger getting the upper hand and slamming Del Rio repeatedly onto a chair. He goes for the Swagger Bomb, but a chair to the midsection interrupts. Swagger blocks being thrown into a chair, but Del Rio follows up with the Back Stabber for a near fall. Del Rio rallies the crowd for a Super Kick and ends up taking a chair to the face instead. Swagger rallies with clotheslines, goes for the Swagger Bomb again, but has to settle for a Patriot Lock attempt. Del rio kicks him off and connects with a tilt-o-whirl back breaker for two. Del Rio slams chair after chair on top of Swagger as I question “does WWE have to put in a special order for the hundreds of chairs and ladders used for this show from some prop-making company?” Swagger counters a cross arm-breaker attempt and sends Del Rio shoulder-first into the post. Swagger with chair shots and a chair-assisted Patriot Lock, but Del Rio pulls himself to the floor to break the hold. Del Rio sneaks in a chair shot to the midsection. He goes to the top and gets caught with a Power-Slam. Swagger Bomb finally connects, but it only gets two. Del Rio hooks a hanging cross arm-breaker, but can’t hold on for too long. Chair shots to the back, Del Rio piles chairs up in the corner, and the Double Stomp onto the pile finishes this one at 11:11. **1/2 Fine at times, but the Chairs stipulation handicaps the match regardless of the participants. I actually didn’t mind Del Rio’s finisher for once, but he really does need to find something else for a full-time finisher.
Eight-Man Tag Team Elimination Tables Match:
The ECW Originals vs. The Wyatt Family:
(Bubba Ray & D-Von Dudley, Tommy Dreamer, Rhyno vs. Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, Erick Rowan, Braun Strowman)
Aren’t we a few weeks late for the 8-Man Tag Team Elimination concept? This angle has been nothing but a time waster, since there’s really nothing for the Wyatt Family to do at the moment, and the Dudleys return has already grown stale, so let’s dig up a 44-year old Tommy Dreamer (who moves like he’s much older for obvious reasons) and call up that young-stud, the 40-year old Rhyno, from NXT to drag things out more. My official pre-match prediction: Rowan is eliminated first. It’s a tables match, so Dreamer naturally goes for the kendo sticks and trash cans, because he moves like he’s 60 years old, and still thinks he needs to punish his body further. We get an awful spot where Strowman is supposed to punch a trash can into Bubba’s face, and TWICE he just stands there, doing a simple spot in slow motion, looking like a doofus. He charges at .0002 mph for a boot and somehow shatters a table like that. Rowan goes wild and another table breaks despite absolutely no force being made. Rowan takes a 3D through a table to be eliminated at 4:00. What a loser. Brawling, brawling, Wyatt interrupts a Gore and Harper boots Rhyno through a table at 6:28. Another sequence of little substance (and an awful spot on the floor with Strowman and Bubba) until Wyatt puts D-Von through a table at 8:29 with a Uranage. More brawling, and now Tommy Dreamer goes through a table at 10:41 courtesy of a Harper suicide dive. Bubba rallies, tries to set a table on fire (Spoiler: IT’S PG, MORON!), and Strowman Choke-Slams him through a table at 12:30 for the victory. * The brawling was dull, and at times horrible when Strowman was involved, and damn if those tables didn’t look pathetic breaking with so much ease. They FINALLY book the baby-face to be the underdog and don’t even give him one desperation elimination. What was the point of knocking Rowan out if the rest of the team survives? We all know he’s a geek, but he’s easily made to look awful every time he’s involved in a match.
WWE Intercontinental Championship Match:
Kevin Owens (c) vs. Dean Ambrose:
The entire build up to what should be a great match can be summed up in nine words: Ambrose threw popcorn and soda pop in Owens face. WWE hasn’t quite ruined Owens (yet), but stuff like that doesn’t help. Owens cuts a surprisingly poor promo on the crowd based on their sports teams. Seriously, Owens is one of the best at trolling crowds, and this was flatter than the soda Ambrose threw at him on Raw. Ambrose pounds away to start. He springs into the corner with a forearm, but the bulldog is countered with a clothesline to the back of the head. Owens grabs a headlock as we get the tired “how can THIS guy be a Champion” argument. Ambrose escapes, only to run into belly-to-belly suplex. The next debate during a rest-hold is Owens’ ability despite his unpleasant physique. Ambrose goes for Dirty Deeds, but Owens counters. Ambrose sends him to the floor with a clothesline and follows with a suicide dive. He tries doing his spin-around clothesline, but Owens counters with a fall-away slam into the security wall, followed by a running senton. Back in the ring, Owens goes for another senton, but meets the knees. Ambrose with a flurry of chops and jabs, followed by his signature clothesline. Owens blocks the flying elbow and throws Ambrose with a German suplex. Ambrose avoids the Cannonball (called a Gutterball) and hits the elbow on the second attempt for a near fall. Owens with a rolling senton from the top rope for a two count. Ambrose counters the Pop-Up Powerbomb, Owens counters the Dirty Deeds. Another sequence and this time Ambrose hits the DDT, but Owens get his fingers on the ropes to break the count. Owens goes for another Powerbomb, but Ambrose counters with a sunset flip and hooks the legs for the three count and the IC Title at 9:52. *** Disappointing match, thanks to a lack of time and rushed action. This should’ve been one of the best matches on the show, but instead, it’s just a TV quality match that was only slightly better than Del Rio vs. Swagger.
WWE Divas Championship Match:
Charlotte (c) (w/ Ric Flair) vs. Paige:
I guess Charlotte is still supposed to be the baby-face, but she’s completely in heel mode, and Paige is supposed to be the heel, and is just being her usual self. The end result: a crowd that doesn’t give a shit about anyone. Seriously, how is everything consistently written in a clumsy, chaotic manner, and yet their “developmental system” gets it right at a much higher success rate? Charlotte with a sneak attack, but she’s the baby-face, so it makes sense. Paige comes back with a series of knees to the midsection. They trade kicks, with Charlotte taking a signature Flair Flop. Flair with a distraction for a clumsy sequence. Charlotte with knees across the chest for two, followed by the old “shin across the throat” spot her dad used. Neck breaker gets two. Charlotte hangs onto a front face-lock for a while as JBL continues to bury the idea of Ambrose as IC Champion. Charlotte with a knee drop for two. Paige from out of nowhere with a sleeper, but Charlotte escapes with a jaw buster. Paige counters the Figure-Four attempt, but Charlotte quickly follows by clipping the knee. Meanwhile, backstage, Team B.A.D. are wearing wigs to mock the former Team PCB. Not all team names need “TEAM” in front of it. Just saying. Paige with a series of kicks and a running knee in the corner. Paige with her own Figure-Four to one of the few face pops of the night. Charlotte with a boot to the face and a sloppy twisting body press from the top rope for two. Paige with a fisherman suplex for two. Charlotte with her own version of the Rampaige for a near fall. Paige with a school boy for two. Paige with the Rampaige, but Flair puts his daughter’s foot on the ropes. Charlotte finds the time to undo a turnbuckle pad, rams Paige face-first into the exposed steel, and covers to retain at 10:39. **1/2 This was alright with solid work, just uninteresting with two poorly developed characters fighting for reasons that have been muddled by too many script re-writes.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship; TLC Match:
Sheamus (c) vs. Roman Reigns:
I can’t believe that they put the Title on Sheamus long enough to be the defending Champion on a PPV. This is the rematch to Sheamus cashing in the MITB briefcase at Survivor Series, ending Reigns’ reign as WWE Champion in about 5-minutes. Unless Reigns completely destroys Sheamus and wins the title in 5-minutes, who cares. The crowd dares chant for Cena during the opening moments of Reigns cleaning Sheamus’ clock. Poor JBL’s hat gets tossed about, but Reigns politely picks it up. Sheamus with chair shots to the back. Back in the ring and Sheamus with a tilt-o-whirl slam. He sets up a table, and it miraculously doesn’t break just from leaning against the ropes. Next up is a “We Miss Rollins” chant as they find their way up to the entrance area. Sheamus takes a trip through a stack of chairs and tables, because it happens to be there, so why not. Sheamus puts Reigns through two tables, but the crowd is still flat. It takes 9-minutes to get our first tease of a climb attempt, and it lasts long enough to miss if you blinked. Sheamus counters the Drive-By with a clothesline and unloads with more chair shots. Sheamus with White Noise through a table for a better reaction than everything else in the match. Reigns comes back with a modified Powerbomb across the Ladder. Sheamus counters the Superman Punch with the Irish Curse. They do a dangerous Samoan Drop spot through a ladder, a similar sequence that lead to a serious injury to Sheamus a couple of years back at a Money in the Bank PPV. Reigns climbs, but Sheamus pulls him down, only to get KO’ed with the Superman Punch. Sheamus tips the ladder over, and Reigns takes an ugly bump. Sheamus climbs and Reigns Superman Punches him off the ladder and through a table. Reigns climbs and now we get the run-in from Del Rio and Rusev (Barrett is hurt… again). Reigns fights them off, but a Brogue Kick knocks him to the floor, and Sheamus retrieves the Title to retain at 23:59. *** Lots of hard hitting action, but this dragged at times, had a mostly quiet crowd, and yeah, another screw-job finish to rob Reigns of the Championship. I’m sure both were sore when they woke up in the morning, so good job in taking a beating for our enjoyment.
– Post-match, Reigns comes back to life, hitting the tower of Rusev, Barrett, and Sheamus with a Super-Sized Spear. He pulverizes Sheamus with a chair until Triple H runs in to try and break things up. All that does is focus Reigns’ anger somewhere else, as he beats the tar out of Triple H with a chair. He takes Hunter to the floor and Powerbombs him onto the Spanish announcers table, but it doesn’t break. When the plan fails, improvise, so he dropped a big elbow on him to break the table. After teasing walking away, Reigns sprinted back to the ringside area and laid Hunter out with a Spear to close the show and become the hero of the night for the Boston crowd.
Final Thoughts: For the most part, the wrestling was very good. The quality of the wrestling hasn’t been the problem though, but the underwhelming creative direction for the majority of the roster. Too many matches with half-assed build up and too many talented wrestlers who, through some insane magic, I’ve come to be disinterested in because of clumsy writing and a complete lack of compelling story-telling. It seems like things change from week to week, and then they only remember the dumbest parts of the story, like the fact Ambrose won a contenders match to earn his title match, but the entire focus was on an awful segment on Raw where Ambrose tossed food in his face. Despite a strong finish with Reigns destroying everyone in his path, the entire show is just a big chore to sit through and I’d give an easy thumbs down.