The TLC: Tables, Ladders, Chairs brings a reasonable, if not spectacular, end to the 2015 pay-per-view calendar, certainly an immediate improvement over Survivor Series. So just how did TLC fair? Four talking points from the event should help to give a detailed look at proceedings:
#1 Much like Survivor Series, TLC started off with a bang. The New Day defended the Tag Team Championship against the Lucha Dragons the Usos in a three way ladder match and what a match it was! Many great spots were featured in this thrilling opener, one of, if not the best multi-team ladder match since the Edge & Christian/Dudley Boyz/Hardy Boyz matches in the early 2000’s. But in a near eighteen minute genuine spot fest, with plenty of gravity defying stunts, it was Kalisto of The Lucha Dragons who provided the jaw dropping moment of the match, and the night, with his Salida del Sol on Jimmy Uso off a ladder onto another ladder and while every team put on a great performance, with The New Day emerging victorious to escape with their championship intact, Kalisto was the undoubted show-stealer in what turned out to be the night’s finest match.
#2 The Intercontinental Championship match between Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens was a surprise, in as much that the bout lasted less than ten minutes, thus not rising to the dizzying heights expected in the lead up to TLC. It was also a surprise to see Owens drop the title when there was still some mileage left in his reign. But it was a most welcome watershed moment for Ambrose who ever since his 351 day United States title reign came to an end in early May of 2014, had been on the losing end of previous feuds with Seth Rollins and Bray Wyatt amongst others and not had many wins on pay-per-view during the period in between. This thoroughly deserved victory however, may now be the springboard for more wins in the near future for “The Lunatic Fringe”, wins that are badly needed if he is to remain one of the most over wrestlers on the roster. As well, this feud is far from over; on the contrary, we can expect these two over the coming months to continue a feud that should gather more steam the longer it goes on and better matches as a result.
#3 Due to the inconsistent booking of the women, it was impossible to know just which of the two combatants, Charlotte or Paige, was playing the role of heel in this match. Featured in the match were a Flair strut, Paige using Flair’s signature Figure-Four Leglock, Charlotte performing Ric’s corner flop, both women yelling “Wooo!” and the man himself constantly interfering, leading to Charlotte retaining her Diva’s Championship. Indeed, it is Ric’s very presence that is doing far more to hinder than assist Charlotte in helping to develop her character beyond being known simply as “Ric Flair’s daughter”. His ringside antics are tiresome and with possible intent, completely take away from what is happening inside the ring, with all of the attention being instead focused on the actions of “The Nature Boy”, a huge no-no when just about every woman on the roster is in a constant battle for respect with the viewing audience.
#4 Roman Reigns and Sheamus were on a hiding to nothing in their match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and so it would prove with various chants of “We want Cena! (Cena sucks!)” “We miss Rollins” “NXT” as well as calls for CM Punk. No matter what they did throughout the lengthy bout, and there were many cool spots involved, the fans would not have a bar of it and just tuned out for the most part. But it was the aftermath where the real action begun and it succeeded in awakening the audience from their long slumber. After being screwed out of the title by The League of Nations, Reigns went on an absolute rampage, taking out the entire League of Nations before setting his sights on Triple H, who came out to try and make Reigns stop the assault. Reigns hit Triple H with a Superman punch before teeing off on Hunter with a chair and continued to beat Triple H until he gets him on the Spanish announce table. Reigns Powerbombed Triple H onto the table and it does not break. Spurred on by chants of “One More Time”, Reigns gets on the other announce table and delivers an elbow drop to Triple H, this time breaking the table. The crowd chants “Thank You Roman” but disregarding Triple H being looked at by doctors, Reigns was not quite done and delivered a vicious Spear on the floor, to stand tall at the end of the night. With all of this likely to be a set-up for an epic battle at WrestleMania 32, creative belatedly unlocked the perfect way to book Reigns as a beast and after twelve long months of trying to find the right formula, maybe, just maybe Reigns is finally over as a top level babyface.
So, that is that. With 2015 close to being out of the way, and with only three episodes of Raw and SmackDown to close out the year, it is time to focus in on the road leading up to the 2016 Royal Rumble.