WWE Tables, Ladders & Chairs
To begin the broadcast, Lilian Garcia told us there would be a 26 bell salute to honor the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut. Good move by WWE. It was a tragic event and I think I speak for a lot of people when I say those that lost their lives will be in our thoughts.
There was a video package highlighting the key matchups heading into the show.
The first match is the tag team tables match. We were welcomed to the show by the announce team of Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and John Bradshaw Layfield that handled the honors last month as well. I like them together. Hey there are the Spanish announcers too. Can their table survive the pay-per-view? We will see.
As Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes made their entrance, Sandow wondered if there was a lower form of human than a Brooklyn hipster. It was a basic heel promo where they ripped on the crowd.
Tables Match: Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow vs. Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara
In a match like this all four guys are in the ring at once meaning no tags. Only one person has to be put through a table. Sin Cara and Rey knocked Rhodes out of the ring, then they dumped Sandow and hit a double dropkick on him. Sin Cara and Rey pulled out a table from under the ring. They put it into the ring. Rhodes got hit with a table, Sandow ducked but then they knocked him down and hit him with the table to the face. Rhodes recovered to throw Mysterio out of the ring. The heels double teamed Sin Cara in the corner. The heels tried to put Sin Cara through a table but he fought out of it. Sandow went after Mysterio on the floor while Rhodes hit a Disaster Kick on Sin Cara. Sandow threw Mysterio into the ring post. Sandow threw Mysterio into the security wall. While that happened, Rhodes put the leg of Sin Cara between the ring post and the steps. With Sandow they hit the steps with the table. Sandow rammed Mysterio rib first into the security wall. A loud "Cody's mustache" chant began from the crowd. Good for them!
Sandow and Rhodes placed Mysterio & Sin Cara on two tables outside the ring. They went for a tag team move, but Mysterio fought back. He took down Sandow with a hurricanrana and then hit Rhodes with a seated Senton on the floor. Sin Cara hit a cross body block on Sandow. Springboard body attack by Sin Cara onto Sandow on the floor. Mysterio escaped a table attack and hit a 619 on Rhodes. Mysterio placed Rhodes on the table. He took way too long, which allowed Sandow to trip him up. Crowd was really into the match at this point. The heels used a table to hit Mysterio in the head while he was sitting on the top rope. Sin Cara with a kick to the back of the head of Sandow. Then he hit a kick to the head of Rhodes on the other side of the ring. Another Sin Cara jump kick to the head of Sandow. Sin Cara went for a springboard attack on Sandow, but Rhodes made his way back into the ring and he shoved Sin Cara back. That sent Sin Cara crashing through the two tables that were outside the ring. That won the match for Sandow & Rhodes. The match went 10 minutes.
Winners: Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow
The replay of the finish showed that Sin Cara went crashing through the table that was in the back.
Analysis: *** That was an entertaining tag match. It was the right choice for an opener because you had a babyface team that the crowd really likes working a fast paced match against a heel team that is good at getting the crowd to heat them. With a tables match you don't have the ability to create a lot of near finishes, so it had to come out of nowhere and that's what happened.
At the announcers table, they talked about The Shield vs. Ryback, Kane & Daniel Bryan in a TLC match coming up later.
There was a backstage promo from The Shield similar to their other ones that we've seen on television. They talked about the injustice of CM Punk not being able to wrestle because of Ryback. Rollins said that they would finish Ryback. Ambrose said they're a real team because they will fight together and win together unlike Bryan & Kane, who argue so much. Reigns said they just don't like them.
Analysis: I like their promos. They have a different feel to them. If everybody did promos the same way it would be boring. This style of promo allows them to stand out.
United States Championship: Antonio Cesaro vs. R-Truth
Cole tried to tell us that Truth was on a roll against Cesaro by mentioning wins on television. Of course there was no mention of Cesaro beating him clean last month. Truth got a nice cradle early on for a two count and then he got a rollup for two. If it was a divas match that would have been it. Cesaro hit a back suplex to break out of a headlock. The crowd was chanting "USA" to fire up Truth, but Cesaro hit a knee to the gut to knock down Truth and then he applied a chinlock. Cesaro whipped Truth into the turnbuckle multiple times, so Truth was able to get some momentum back. Flying forearm by Truth and then he connected with the Axe Kick for two. The crowd thought that might be it. Truth hit a jumping sidekick to the head of Cesaro for two. A "Little Jimmy" chant started up. Cesaro countered a front suplex by shoving Truth into the corner and then he hit the Neutralizer for the pinfall victory. The match went seven minutes.
Winner: Antonio Cesaro
Analysis: *1/2 It felt like a basic television match where nobody believed that Truth had a chance to win. As I wrote in the preview, I'm hopeful that they can find an opponent for Cesaro that benefits both guys because that will really raise him up to another level. I'm a huge Cesaro fan and I like his run as the US Champion, but he needs feuds against opponents that are bigger than guys like Justin Gabriel and R-Truth, who have been his recent PPV opponents. On another note, Truth tweeted a picture of his knee that was cut open at some point in this match. I'm not going to link to it because it's pretty disgusting.
After the match, Matt Striker tried to interview Cesaro, who just shoved him away. Cesaro said he was the greatest US Champion in history and by booing him the fans were booing his own country. The crowd booed.
Analysis: Basic heel promo.
It's WWE week on USA Network: Monday is a three hour Raw, Tuesday is a commercial free edition of Smackdown and Wednesday is the Tribute to the Troops special.
There was a video that previewed Wednesday's Tribute to the Troops special with some comments from American soldiers that sent out some Tout messages.
Backstage, Josh Mathews talked to Dolph Ziggler who said that when he wins tonight Cena's career is over. He said because if Cena loses this match then the pressure will get too big for Cena because he'll have to watch the rise of the biggest star of 2013 and beyond: Dolph Ziggler. Ziggler said to mark his word: "Tonight, everything changes."
Analysis: Fantastic promo by Ziggler. The best thing about Vickie Guerrero being moved to the Managing Supervisor role is that it has meant that Ziggler has had a chance to deliver his promos. He's done a wonderful job of showing fire during these promos and you can tell that he exudes confidence.
Miz TV Segment
The Miz walked out for a Miz TV segment. The couches were in the ring along with his "M" logo. He sucked up to the crowd. He called his guests a trainwreck and he introduced 3MB - Heath Slater, Drew McIntyre & Jinder Mahal. The announcers said they've won all their matches while making fun of them for being idiots.
Slater was mad at Miz for calling them a trainwreck while Miz wondered why they call themselves a band. Mahal said they were a supergroup while McIntyre said that 3MB is better than that idiot Jay Z, who is a Brooklyn native. Slater said that on Raw at the Slammy Awards the 3MB is going to perform live. Miz congratulated them on setting up the bathroom break at the Slammys. This is supposed to make people want to watch the awards? Mahal wondered if people thought that was funny and then he pointed out the Spanish announcers saying they didn't think it was funny because they didn't speak English.
The 3MB guys went over to the Spanish announcers and they talked trash to them. Slater said the Spanish announcers talked in their "foreign Mexican voices." He said in this country they speak American. That's not a language. All of a sudden, Ricardo Rodriguez made his way out to argue with 3MB. Alberto Del Rio ran out for the save. He decked Mahal with a clothesline, Slater with a kick and dropped McIntyre with a back suplex on the side of the ring apron. All three members of 3MB attacked Del Rio and threw him into the ring. Miz went after Slater and then he knocked Mahal out of the ring with a clothesline. Del Rio gave McIntyre a clothesline outside the ring.
Slater suggested that Del Rio & Miz find a partner for later on in the night for a match against 3MB. The crowd started to chant: "We Want Ryder." Miz said they'll find a partner and the beating that 3MB receives will be awesome.
Analysis: There's your Del Rio babyface turn that was rumored in the last couple of weeks. I thought it was something that might take place down the line, but I didn't expect it to happen so quickly. Since the roster is so full of heels it makes sense to turn a guy like Del Rio babyface. He would be the third heel to turn face in recent months along with Daniel Bryan and Miz. Kane turned face earlier in the year, but he turns more than anybody in the history of the company. As for the promo segment, it wasn't very good. They got their point across, though.
In the locker room, Kane and Daniel Bryan talked about their match. Bryan said he didn't like the "feed me more" thing and said that he hates it when people repeat themselves. That's WWE comedy for you. Kane said if Ryback is hungry he'll feed him Seth Rollins (Bryan yelled "yes), Dean Ambrose ("yes") and Roman Reigns ("yes"). Kane said they would burn The Shield down. Bryan yelled "yes" repeatedly to end the promo.
Analysis: It would have been nice to see Ryback join in on the promo, but I assume they kept him out of it to play up his loner status.
Backstage, Wade Barrett talked about his upcoming Intercontinental Title match against Kofi Kingston. He tried to play up the Wildcat name of Kingston, but said that Kingston would be muted by the Barrett Barrage.
Intercontinental Championship: Kofi Kingston vs. Wade Barrett
The crowd was supportive of Barrett early on as he hit a body slam on Kingston. Barrett knocked down Kingston with a shoulder tackle, but Kingston came back with a dropkick. Barrett gave Kingston a clothesline that knocked him out of the ring. Barrett tried to whip Kingston into the side of the ring, but Kingston jumped into the ring and then he jumped back out with a dive. That was an athletic move…like a wildcat. No. That nickname doesn't work. Back in the ring, Barrett hit a side kick followed by a pumphandle slam for two. Backbreaker by Barrett got two. Another backbreaker by Barrett earned him a two count. Barrett hit an elbow drop off the middle rope for two. Kingston hit a Russian legsweep to start his comeback. Kingston hit a dropkick followed by a leaping clothesline and then the Boom Drop as the crowd started making some more noise. Kingston missed Trouble in Paradise, but then he got a rollup. Kingston hit the SOS for two. Barrett delivered a Full Nelson Slam for two. I like that move a lot. Kingston hit his boots to the face of Barrett in the corner. Cross body block by Kingston didn't earn him a pinning attempt because Barrett rolled through for a two count of his own. Kingston rolled him up for two. Barrett hit the Bossman Slam for two. Barrett went for the Bull Hammer elbow, but Kingston countered that and connected with the Trouble in Paradise kick to the face. He covered for the victory after nine minutes.
Winner: Kofi Kingston
Analysis: **1/2 The match was solid as you'd expect from these two. There was nothing special about it, but they had enough time to tell a good story in under ten minutes. I thought Barrett would win, but I wasn't that sure of it. It could still happen in the near future or they might just keep the title on Kingston for a long reign. I'd expect Barrett to get more of a push into the new year. That doesn't mean he has to win the IC Title, though.
The WWE Champion CM Punk was in his own personal skybox. Paul Heyman was with him. Of course he had a microphone with him. Punk had a new t-shirt that said "Knees 2 Faces" on it. The Rock has a "Boots To Asses" shirt, so that's a good way to set up their match at the Royal Rumble. He said he wasn't going to talk about the status of his knee injury because it's none of our business. He insulted Brooklyn to get some heat. He said the fans don't know what it's like being a champion just like Ryback. The fans are dumb just like Ryback, according to Punk. He said Ryback was lucky that Punk can't compete on this show. Punk said his track records in TLC matches speaks for itself. Punk talks about what he would have done to Ryback if they had their match. He claimed Ryback was not unstoppable because he's already beat him. Punk also that while he's not affiliated with The Shield, he is a fan of their work. Punk reminded us that the he's the longest reigning WWE Champion of the modern era. Punk ended the promo by saying that he started the year as WWE Champion and that he's just getting started.
Analysis: That was a solid promo. The reaction was mixed when he mentioned his long WWE title reign with some cheers thrown in. Most of the promo was met with boos largely because he was ripping on the people in Brooklyn. "Oh no you said something mean about my city. I must boo you!" You know how it goes.
At the announce table, Michael Cole noted it was day #392 of CM Punk's WWE Title reign.
The first ever six man tag team tables, ladders & chairs match was up next. Quite a mouthful isn't it? I thought this match might go on last, but I'm fine with it happening earlier in the show. Kane entered first for his team. Even though he's pretty much a babyface now, Bryan was yelling "no" for his entrance while the fans yelled "yes" at him. Good reaction for Ryback, but not huge. The Shield had some generic rock music for their entrance. They entered through the crowd.
Tables, Ladders & Chairs: Ryback, Kane & Daniel Bryan vs. The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns)
You can win the match using pinfall or submission only. All three members of The Shield wrestled in the same black pants and black jackets we've seen them wear for weeks now. They all started brawling outside the ring. Bryan was working on Rollins while Kane was with Reigns and Ambrose was trying to handle Ryback in the ring. Loud "Goldberg" chants for Ryback, who hit a Thesz Press on Ambrose. Ryback gave Rollins a clothesline to the floor while Ambrose dropkicked Ryback outside the ring. Kane brought a ladder into the ring, but he got that dropkicked into his ribs. Reigns threw Bryan into the side of a ladder that his partners were holding up. Ryback destroyed all three members of The Shield and then he rammed a ladder into Ambrose & Rollins repeatedly. Reigns hit Ryback with a chair to the back. Kane slowed down Reigns and Bryan destroyed Reigns with a series of kicks in the corner. Together, Team Hell No whipped Reigns into a vertical ladder and Bryan hit his corner dropkick on Reigns. Ambrose threw Bryan into the ring post. Rollins jumped off the top, but Kane decked him with a punch to the jaw. Kane put Rollins in between a ladder and used a chair to hit a ladder. Ambrose hit a DDT on Kane on a chair in the ring. Ryback came back with power moves, but Rollins was able to slow down Ryback with a ladder shot to the ribs. The crowd chanted "we want tables" as Ryback prevented a double team. He splashed Rollins & Ambrose in the corner while they were up against a ladder. Ryback hit a suplex on Ambrose & Rollins at the same time while a ladder was underneath them. Suplex on a ladder is painful, but it's a good thing they have those jackets on. Ambrose did a great job of using a painful facial expression to sell the move. Reigns saved his partners as the three of them attacked Ryback with the ladder as well as some chairs. Reigns cleared off the Spanish announce table. The crowd should have been chanting "Spanish table" at this point, but that didn't happen. The Shield hit the three man Powerbomb on Ryback through the Spanish table. The pace of this match is incredible.
Bryan hit a diving attack between the middle and top rope that took down all three Shield. Crowd was loving Bryan's fiery comeback. Kane went after Reigns. Back in the ring, Bryan hit some chair shots on Rollins. Ambrose saved his buddy and slammed Bryan onto a steel chair. Rollins hit Bryan in the back with a steel chair. The story of the match is that The Shield is isolating on a member of the babyface team and working well as a team. Reigns was working over Kane on the floor as the other two members focused on Bryan in the ring. The Shield set up a table across the rope and threw Bryan face first into the side of the table. Rollins and Ambrose climbed onto the table where they gave Bryan a superplex off the table. That was an awesome visual. Kane made the save for his partner. Kane got thrown into the side of the table. Kane fought off an attack to hit a clothesline off the table that was on the top rope. He sent Rollins to the floor. Ambrose opened up a chair in a seated position and Kane got the advantage, so he gave Ambrose a Chokeslam through the chair. Reigns broke up the pinfall attempt. Outside the ring, Rollins clipped the knee of Kane. Then Reigns tackled Kane through the security wall outside the ring. The Shield buried Kane under some equipment outside the ring. The crowd was chanting "this is awesome" at that visual. I tend to agree.
In the ring, Bryan applied the No Lock on Ambrose. Rollins broke it up, so he received a No Lock too. Bryan put the No Lock on Reigns too. That didn't last long due to The Shield working together so well. Bryan ended up hitting a number of kicks on Ambrose and Rollins while the crowd chanted "yes" during the sequence. Ambrose ended up hitting a knee to the gut, which allowed Rollins to hit a running boot to the back of the head of Bryan that sent Bryan's head into a chair. It's a move that they called "Blackout" during Rollins' matches in FCW. Ambrose covered, but Ryback broke up the pin. He took down Reigns and then gave Rollins a powerslam. He gave Rollins a Gorilla Press Slam by throwing him over the top rope onto Ambrose on the floor. That was impressive. Ryback spinebuster to Reigns in the middle of the ring. Ambrose was met with a spear by Ryback as the crowd chanted "Goldberg" again. Ryback hit the Meat Hook Clothesline on Ambrose as the "Feed Me More" chants started up. Ryback hit Shellshocked on Ambrose, but the other members of The Shield broke it up.
Ryback threw Rollins out of the ring. Reigns was there too, so they double teamed Ryback outside the ring. Ryback took down Reigns with a tackle on the floor. They were fighting up the aisle, which had tables, ladders and chairs everywhere. Ambrose hit Ryback with a chair to the back as all three members of The Shield attacked Ryback with a series of chair shots to the back. The other two members of The Shield held Ryback on a table while Rollins climbed up a ladder that was about 15 feet high. Think of the famous leaps that Jeff Hardy has made over the years. It was that big. Rollins told his buddies to leave because he had it taken care of. Ryback climbed up the ladder after Rollins. Rollins was about ten feet high when Ryback grabbed him by the back and threw him down onto tables that were stacked. Ouch! Rollins landed back first through the tables. He immediately grabbed the back of his head because it looked like the back of his head hit the side of the tables that were there. Crazy bump. Hopefully that fall didn't hurt him too bad. Back in the ring, Ambrose and Reigns worked on Bryan. They had a table set up in the ring. Ryback was shown slowly trying to make his way back to the ring. Reigns held Bryan up for the Powerbomb off the middle rope and he drove him through the table. He covered for the pinfall victory while Ryback was still on the floor, so he was unable to make the save. The match went 23 minutes.
Winners: The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns)
Analysis: ****1/2 It was a fantastic match that was exciting from beginning to end. It's one of the five best WWE matches of the year although I wouldn't say it's the best. There were no slow spots where the match dragged or lost the crowd. The audience was hot for all of it. They reacted in a big way to everything just as they should have. I thought Rollins stood out the most for his team by displaying the athleticism he did while Ambrose is very good at using facial expressions to get his point across. Reigns impressed me a lot as well because his power moves look really awesome. I liked the story of how The Shield worked together so well as a team by isolating individual members of their opponents and then taken them out in order to set up for the finish. All three guys on the babyface side did an excellent job with Bryan carrying a large portion of the match. Ryback was still booked very strong despite being on the losing team. In terms of the booking it was exactly what I expected. The Shield had to win and I figured that Daniel Bryan would be the one that would be pinned. This was a special match. That doesn't mean it should be done on every pay-per-view, but once in a while a match like this can really stand out from the pack. That's what happened with this one.
They replayed the bump that Rollins took off the ladder. There were four tables. Two on the bottom and two on top. Rollins went crashing through the two tables in the front while the back of his head hit the side of the other table on top. Hopefully Rollins escaped this match without any major injuries.
Back at ringside, the Spanish commentators didn't seem too bothered by their lack of a table. I guess they're used to it, huh? More replays of Rollins bump with his head hitting the side of the table.
Divas Championship: Eve vs. Naomi
Naomi earned the title shot after winning a battle royal in the pre-show. I didn't see it. I'm sure it was great. That's heavy sarcasm. Naomi used a leapfrog to avoid an attack followed by a leg drop and then a running butt attack. She started dancing to get the crowd behind her. Eve gained control after draping Naomi's arm across the top rope. Naomi came back with a headscissors and then a sloppy corner attack. Naomi missed a cross body attack off the top rope. Eve hit her spinning neckbreaker for the victory after about three minutes.
Post match, Eve posed with the Divas Title while Naomi was out on the mat. I like that post match celebration by Eve.
Analysis: 1/2* It wasn't very easy to follow the awesome TLC match that just took place. I guess this was a way to give the fans a break before the other big matches that would follow. There wasn't much of a flow to the match although it was a nice showcase to allow Naomi a chance to show how athletic she is. It will take some time, but I think the potential is there with Naomi.
Before the next match, they showed a clip of Big Show attacking William Regal with a chair on Smackdown while Sheamus looked on. This three month feud doesn't get a video package. They only get a short clip from Smackdown.
Backstage, Matt Striker talked to the World Champion Big Show. Show said that Sheamus hit Show with 31 chair shots at Survivor Series last month and that he was waiting for this.
Sheamus made his entrance. They aired the video of the end of their Survivor Series match with the controversial finish involving Sheamus hitting the Brogue Kick on the referee due to Big Show pulling the ref in front of him. Big Show entered last, which is fine with me because the champion should come out last.
World Heavyweight Championship - Chairs Match: Big Show vs. Sheamus
The crowd was dead from the beginning with Sheamus using his speed to take down Show with a shoulder block to the leg. Show dumped Sheamus to the floor, so Sheamus grabbed a chair. Show kicked the chair out of the hands of Sheamus. Outside the ring, Sheamus charged with chair only for Show to kick him in the face so the chair went into the face of Sheamus. Outside the ring, Show hit some very loud chops to the chest of Sheamus. Show went looking for a chair, so Sheamus just took him down with a shoulder block off the apron. They went back into the ring where Show decked Sheamus with a big clothesline. Sheamus knocked Show out to the floor with a kick. Sheamus was able to slow down the giant with a chair jab to the gut and then three chair shots to the body. A body slam got a two count for Sheamus. That woke up the crowd a bit. They like chair shots. Sheamus went to the top rope and hit Big Show in the shoulder with the steel chair that was in his hand. He went for that move again, but Show gave Sheamus a spear. That's what happens when you repeat a move, fella. Show used the chair to attack Sheamus outside the ring. In the ring, Show hit Sheamus in the back with the chair. Show hit a running body attack (a Show Splash?) in the corner. As Show tried to walk over the top to get out of the ring for something, Sheamus hit the top rope as a way to crotch the champion.
The two men started throwing punches while they were on their knees. Sheamus hitting a running shoulder charge in the corner and then a knee lift. Show came back with a Chokeslam for two. Good nearfall although the crowd didn't pop big for it. Show threw four steel chairs into the ring. He hit a back splash off the middle rope while a chair was on Sheamus' chest that was good for a two count. Show opened up two chairs so they were seated. He went for a Chokeslam, but Sheamus countered it and gave Show White Noise through the chairs. That was a cool spot. Biggest crowd reaction of the match so far. Sheamus went for the Brogue Kick. Show moved, so Sheamus' leg was caught on the top rope and Show decked him with the KO Punch. Show covered for just a two count. Best nearfall of the match. That was a really good spot. Show grabbed a chair that was about double the size of a regular chair. I'm sure if it had a theme song it would begin with: "Well it's a big chair." Show nailed Sheamus in the back with the "Big Chair" and that was enough to keep him down for the pinfall. The match went 15 minutes.
Winner: Big Show
Analysis: ***1/4 It was a good match to end this feud assuming it's actually over. I liked the story they told with Show being able to handle every comeback that Sheamus made and he outsmarted him with the really big chair that he used to finish the match. I had predicted a Sheamus win because I thought the reason for them getting three pay-per-view matches was to put the championship back on Sheamus. That didn't happen, which is okay with me. Show has been booked so strong during this heel run. Not only is he the biggest guy on the roster, but he's crafty too. If they keep building him up this strong then the person that beats him for the title is going to look like a huge star because of how dominating Show has been. It will be interesting to see what happens with Sheamus from here. If I had to rank their three PPV matches I'd say Hell in a Cell was the best one, then this match and then Survivor Series.
Backstage, John Cena was warming up for his match. AJ Lee walked up to him and she was wearing the Cena t-shirt. Even the armbands. That's cute. She thanked him for what he did last week. He told her to thank him at the end of the night after he beats Dolph Ziggler. She said okay and she skipped away.
Analysis: She had the crazy eyes look on her face, which I guess is her normal look. This was basically a way to hint at the idea that she may get involved in things later.
3MB made their entrance for their match against Alberto Del Rio, The Miz and their partner. Who was that partner? Miz said they looked for somebody from Brooklyn: The Brooklyn Brawler.
Analysis: Of course I'm a fan of Brawler since he was one of the greatest jobbers of the 80s and early 90s. I figured they would have him appear on the show in some capacity, but I didn't expect him in a match. If you don't know, Steve Lombardi (Brawler) has worked backstage in WWE for well over 20 years.
The Miz, Alberto Del Rio & The Brooklyn Brawler vs. Drew McIntyre, Heath Slater & Jinder Mahal
Lawler made a joke that Brawler is so old that his favorite rock group is Mount Rushmore. Brutal. Del Rio the new babyface started with Slater. Brawler tagged in with punches, a shoulder block and an arm drag, but Slater came back with a side kick. McIntyre hit a suplex on Brawler. Slater missed a knee drop off the middle rope, which allowed Brawler to tag in Miz. The crowd wasn't that excited for this hot tag as Miz hit his corner clothesline on Mahal followed by a DDT for two. Del Rio hit McIntyre with a Back Stabber. Slater whipped Del Rio into the ropes so Del Rio dove between the middle and top rope to send McIntyre flying into the announce table. Nice sequence there. Rodriguez pulled Slater out of the ring. Miz hit the Skull Crushing Finale on Mahal. He tagged in Brawler, who applied the Boston (Brooklyn) Crab leading to the Mahal tapout. The match went about four minutes.
Winners: The Miz, Alberto Del Rio & The Brooklyn Brawler
Analysis: * It was another filler match to give fans a break between the major matches. The announcers were laughing at the appearance of Brawler, but you could tell the crowd didn't care about it too much. It was Del Rio's first match as a babyface, yet there wasn't much of a focus on him. There's plenty of time for that of course. I'm guessing the crowd would have cared about this more if Zack Ryder was involved.
There was a commercial for the Royal Rumble on January 27th that focused on The Rock, who is getting a WWE Title shot that night.
A video package aired highlighting the Cena/Ziggler feud. I'm glad for the FF button because I don't need to see another video about the affair between John and AJ again.
The blue Money in the Bank briefcase was hanging from the rafters for this ladder match. If you're wondering, Ziggler entered first followed by Cena.
Ladder Match for Money in the Bank Contract: Dolph Ziggler vs. John Cena
The crowd was hot from the beginning of the match as they chanted for Ziggler while booing Cena. Ziggler held onto the ropes after being whipped into them and then he did a Ric Flair strut, which elicited a "woo" from the crowd. There was a "Let's go Ziggler" chant that was very loud. As the two guys traded basic holds in the wrong, the crowd chanted "you can't wrestle" and Cena hit a suplex. Monkey flip by Cena, which allowed Ziggler to take a dramatic bump. Cena threw Ziggler outside the ring and bowed for the crowd, who mostly booed him. Ziggler jabbed Cena in the ribs with a chair. It's a ladder match with chairs being used as well. Cena gave Ziggler a Flapjack. Cena grabbed a ladder, so Ziggler gave him a baseball slide dropkick that sent the ladder into the chest of Cena. Cena recovered quickly to knock down Ziggler with a ladder shot to the head. Cena had a cut around his eye while referee Mike Chioda checked on him (and Chioda put the white gloves on as well). Cena destroyed Ziggler by using the steel steps to hit Ziggler in the face. Cena pulled out a table from under the ring. I guess it's a TLC match now? Pretty much. Cena set up the table in the ring. Ziggler tried to climb a ladder, Cena pulled him down and they exchanged punches as the crowd yelled "yay/boo" during the sequence. Ziggler applied the sleeper on Cena, so Cena decided to just climb the ladder while Ziggler was on his back. They ended up falling off the ladder at the same time and they went through the table that Cena set up. That was an interesting spot to come up with. You don't see that in every ladder match, so that makes it different. It's hard to come up with unique spots in a match like this. I commend them for trying.
Ziggler climbed the ladder, Cena stopped it by picking up the ladder and he was trying to press slam Ziggler over the top rope to the floor. Ziggler got off the ladder before that could happen. The crowd reacted huge to that power spot. Cena hit his running shoulderblocks followed by the spinning suplex. He went for the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but Ziggler kicked out of it and connected with a Rocker Dropper to slow down Cena. The "Let's Go Cena/Cena Sucks" chant started up once again. Ziggler grabbed another ladder. While he did that, Cena recovered enough to apply the STF. Ziggler grabbed the ropes and he also tapped out, but that didn't end the match because you had to grab the briefcase. Ziggler got out of the Attitude Adjustment and he hit the Zig Zag on Cena right in the middle of the ring. Ziggler propped up a table in the corner of the ring. Cena hit his spinning suplex again followed by the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Cena went for the AA again, but Ziggler countered that with a leaping DDT to slow down Cena again. That was a really nice looking spot. Ziggler grabbed the tallest ladder that was in the aisle. He brought it into the ring and set it up for a climb. Cena climbed up the other side of the ladder and gave Ziggler some headbutts to knock him off the ladder. The announcers talked as if the match was over, but Ziggler came back and they went down the ladder together.
They continued to battle in the ring as Ziggler threw Cena head first into the side of the ladder. Out of nowhere, Cena gave Ziggler a headscissors that sent Ziggler crashing into the table that was propped up in the corner. I've written about hundreds of Cena matches over the years and I've never seen that move from him. I don't know if I would call it a hurricanrana. It was more like a headscissors, I'd say. Cena grabbed a ladder, but Ziggler recovered quickly enough to hit a dropkick on Cena while the ladder fell outside the ring. Ziggler went to the top rope, hit a cross body block and Cena caught him as he went for the AA. Ziggler ended up grabbing the steel chair that was in the corner and he hit Cena in the ribs with the chair to break free of Cena. Ziggler went for a superkick, Cena ducked it and Cena hit the Attitude Adjustment, which sent Ziggler rolling to the floor.
All of a sudden, Vickie Guerrero entered the ring with a steel chair. AJ Lee ran out to attack her with a Cena-like shoulder tackle. Then she tackled her or at least tried to. It did not look good. AJ hit the shortest back suplex in the history of wrestling (unless a midget did it) and then hit the Five Knuckle Shuffle that's right out of Cena's playbook. The crowd liked seeing her do that even though the same crowd didn't like Cena. You figure it out. Cena set up the ladder. He climbed up. As he went to the top, AJ shoved the ladder and Cena went crashing down into the top rope. Ziggler knocked down Cena with a superkick. The crowd cheered that as loud as anything that happened during the entire show. She gave her crazy look and then she smiled before skipping out of the ring. Ziggler set up the ladder, climbed up and grabbed the briefcase to win the match after 24 minutes.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Analysis: **** Excellent match. Loved it. This is what I wrote in the preview of this event: "I don't expect a Cena win and I don't expect Ziggler to win in a clean manner, so they'll have to come up with some kind of creative finish for this match." That's what we got. A number of different scenarios could have come into play, so they went to the story of AJ Lee turning on Cena even though the crowd didn’t boo her for it. I thought the work in the match was exceptional. They really did an awesome job of telling a story in the match. When you have wrestlers that are as good as these two and you give them over 20 minutes to have a ladder match you know they're going to deliver. That's exactly what they did. It was booked in an even manner.
While Ziggler may have been the underdog in the sense that he's not somebody that has main evented many shows in his career, he came off as somebody that was on the same level as Cena. He came up big when it mattered most to him. I think what made the match so entertaining was the amount of counter wrestling they did throughout. They constructed the spots in a way where they were able to pull off some things we hadn't seen before like a sleeper hold through a table, a headscissors by Cena and Ziggler using a chair that was wedged between the ropes to counter the AA attempt by Cena.
After the win, they replayed the moves of AJ Lee where she knocked Cena off the ladder. The replay showed a better angle of the Ziggler superkick that was perfectly placed on Cena's head. The show ended with Ziggler celebrating with his briefcase while Cena was left alone in the ring trying to figure out what happened.
The announcers tried to put this over as the biggest win of Ziggler's career and while you could make that case, I'd say the night he won the briefcase in July was the biggest. He was also awarded the World Title in January 2011, but that wasn't really a win. It was cool to see Ziggler main event this pay-per-view, which turned out to be a night for the bad guys.
Five Stars of the Show
1. Dolph Ziggler
2. Seth Rollins
3. Daniel Bryan
4. John Cena
5. Dean Ambrose
It was hard to pick just five. It was a show where I could have easily picked ten people.
I give TLC a rating of 8 out of 10. Based on the ratings below you can see that I've placed it in the spot as the second best WWE this year.
I think what I'll remember most about this event was how great The Shield was booked in their first match on WWE TV/PPV. That's how you debut "new" talent. They were booked like stars right from the beginning of their careers and that will go a long way in terms of giving them credibility with the audience. I absolutely loved that TLC match. I credit all three of them as well as Daniel Bryan, Kane & Ryback for working their asses off to put on a show for us. Plus the creative team deserves praise as well for booking it the right way.
When you have two matches that hit the four star level and above that's a sign of a very entertaining PPV.
It was a night of the heel victories. We saw big wins for Dolph Ziggler, Big Show and The Shield in the three biggest matches of the show.
Despite the lack of a WWE Championship match, I think this year's TLC PPV was a resounding success.
WWE PPV Rankings for 2012 (Rating out of 10)
If you click on any of the links below you can read my review of the event. Most of them were written live.
I think it's been a good year for WWE PPV events. When you can say six of them earned a rating of 7/10 and above that means you're getting your money's worth.
That's all for me. I'll be back on Monday with the Raw Deal live on TJRWrestling.com and if you don't follow along with me live I'll be posting it on this site after the show is over. On Tuesday we'll have TJR Radio at 10pm ET for two hours as we talk about the year in WWE and then on Wednesday I'll be posting the fourth annual WWE Johnny Awards. Busy days ahead!
Thanks for reading.
John Canton - [email protected]
Facebook TJRWrestling.com on Facebook