It’s time for the last Raw brand PPV of 2017 called Tables, Ladders & Chairs or TLC for short. Big changes on this card on Friday with Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt missing the show due to illnesses (viral infections according to WWE) while Kurt Angle and AJ Styles replace them.
The Kickoff Show match was Sasha Banks beating Alicia Fox with the Bank Statement just like last Monday on Raw. That’s the usual for them. I didn’t watch the Kickoff Show. Let’s get to it.
WWE Tables, Ladders & Chairs (TLC)
October 22, 2017
Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota
The opening video package focused on Kurt Angle making his WWE in-ring return after 11 years. They also highlighted other matches on the card including Alexa vs. Mickie, Asuka vs. Emma and the TLC match main event.
Analysis: I’m a huge Angle fan that watched him wrestling elsewhere over the last decade, but there is something special about him back in a WWE ring after being gone for that long.
The set for the show was a bit different from normal because they had tables, ladders and chairs on the stage.
Emma made her entrance for the opening match. The announce team of Michael Cole, Booker T and Corey Graves welcomed us to the show. They spoke about the viral infection that took Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt off the show. They hyped up Angle’s return as well as the dream match between Balor and Styles.
Analysis: The illness also affected Bo Dallas. I believe Reigns and Wyatt travel together on the road, so Dallas is the brother of Wyatt and that's how it got to Reigns. The rest of the roster was told to get vaccines for it, so hopefully there are no more sicknesses. We don't know when Reigns, Wyatt or Dallas will return.
Asuka made her highly anticipated main roster debut to a great ovation. She was wearing the mask that she usually wears for her entrance and a colorful ring jacket as well.
Asuka vs. Emma
Asuka with a takedown followed by a leg bar submission. Emma got to the ropes. Cole noted it was Emma’s first singles match on PPV. Emma took down Asuka and went for an armbar. When Asuka slapped on an armbar, Emma slapped her. Asuka hit a running hip attack to take Emma down. Asuka did an ankle lock, but Emma sent her to the floor followed by an Emma dropkick while Asuka was on the apron. Emma took control with a headlock. Asuka went for a big kick, Emma avoided it and pulled down Asuka by the hair for a two count. Emma put Asuka in the tree of woe upside down against the turnbuckle. Running cross body block by Emma on Asuka in the corner for a two count. Asuka started her comeback with a seated pin attempt followed by a bounce off the ropes and a running kick by Asuka. Kicks to the back by Asuka followed by a missile dropkick off the middle ropes. Emma slowed her down with a running kick to the head for a two count. Asuka went for the Ankle Lock again, she held on relentlessly and then hit a release German Suplex. Emma rolled to the floor. Emma slammed Asuka off the apron onto the floor. Back in the ring, Asuka with a hard kick to the head. Asuka slapped on the Asuka Lock head/arm submission and Emma tapped out. It went 10 minutes.
Winner by submission: Asuka
Analysis: **1/2 It was okay, but not as dominant of a victory as it should have been. The result was no surprise. They spent over a month building up Asuka’s main roster debut, so of course she was going to win. I thought it should have been a shorter match. Putting over Asuka in a more emphatic fashion would have been better and showed Asuka’s talents early in her Raw career. That’s not a knock on Emma at all because I feel like she’s underrated, but having Asuka look more dominant would have had more of a lasting impact instead of just a regular match.
Post match, Asuka was all smiles as she celebrated her victory.
A video aired about breast cancer awareness month.
The Miz was shown in the back with the Intercontinental Title and he had Sheamus with him along with Cesaro. Sheamus and Cesaro worked in their “The Bar” catchphrase. Miz complained about how Angle leveraged himself to put be in a main event position against him. Miz said that Kurt wants to play superhero, but he’ll run into a Monster Among Men and Braun Strowman walked into the picture. Strowman told them to stay out of his way. Kane showed up to say that he does what he wants. Miz said there’s enough carnage for all of them. Miz said with Angle done, Seth and Dean injured, they will run Monday Night Raw. Strowman said there is no tomorrow and Kane said he’s turning TLC into hell on Earth. The big guys left. Miz, Sheamus & Cesaro did The Shield's three man fist pose and Miz did the Angle catchphrase saying “it’s true, it’s damn true” to end it.
Analysis: Good promo by the heel team in the main event. They appear to be a functional unit with Miz thinking he’s the leader, but nobody else really seems to want to buy into him in that spot. It was necessary for the heels to do that in order to hype up the new main event.
Elias was on the stage trying to do one of his concerts. As he was playing the guitar, somebody threw lettuce and celery at him. It was Jason Jordan on the side of the stage throwing fruits and vegetables at Elias. Jordan left with his cart full of groceries. Elias didn’t sing, so that was the end of it.
Analysis: They had a trash talking segment on the Kickoff Show, so this was done to add to that.
The announce team of Vic Joseph and Nigel McGuinness was on commentary for the next match because they are the 205 Live announcers.
Brian Kendrick made his entrance. The Spanish and German announce teams were shown at ringside. As usual, they told you to visit TJRWrestling.net because that’s their favorite website. Me too.
The entrances of Jack Gallagher, Cedric Alexander and Rich Swann took place. Videos aired of the rivalry building over the last couple of weeks.
Brian Kendrick & Jack Gallagher vs. Cedric Alexander & Rich Swann
The heels isolated Swann early in the match. Alexander made the tag, Swann dropkick on Gallagher, Alexander cleaned house with a dropkick that sent Kendrick to the floor. Gallagher was also on the floor, so Swann jumped on him. Both heels were on the floor, which led to Alexander hitting a somersault dive over the top to the floor to take out both heels even though it looked like he barely hit them. Alexander hit a backbreaker on Kendrick for a two count. Gallagher distracted Swann, so Kendrick pulled him off the ropes and that led to the heels taking over against Swann. Kendrick hit a butterfly suplex on Swann followed by a move where he rammed Swann’s head into the top turnbuckle. Quick tags by the heels as they worked over Swann. Back body drop by Swann sent Kendrick over the top to the floor. Alexander got the hot tag with a spinning back elbow to Gallagher followed by a handspring into a roundhouse kick for two. Leaping kick to the head by Alexander followed by a springboard clothesline. Kendrick pulled Alexander out of the ring. Kendrick hit an overhead suplex on Swann on the floor. Kendrick boot to the face of Alexander, superkick by Kendrick and then Captain’s Hook submission. Swann broke up the submission with a Phoenix Splash off the ropes. Gallagher headbutt on Swann leading to both of them going to the floor. Alexander with a Lumbar Check on Kendrick for the pinfall win. It went 8 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Cedric Alexander & Rich Swann
Analysis: **1/2 Solid tag match that built up to the finish well. The Lumbar Check is a great finishing move. Alexander could be in line for a singles push because he hasn’t been given the chance to stand out on his own yet on 205 Live, so maybe this will propel him to that next level. I thought the heels might win since Alexander won a singles match on Raw, but it was a win for the faces. Since WWE loves repeating matches, they’ll probably do it again on Raw or 205 Live and the heels will get the win there.
There was a commercial for Digorno’s pizza. A commercial aired for WWEShop items.
There was a tweet from The Rock showing his excitement for Kurt Angle’s return later in the night.
A video package aired for the Raw Women’s Championship match between Alexa Bliss and Mickie James. The story was about Bliss thinking Mickie was too old (she’s 38, which is not that old) and Mickie wanted to prove she can win the title again.
Analysis: Why don’t the guys in the main event show mock the fact that two nearly 50 year olds are main eventing? The answer is because the writing for WWE’s women’s division is terrible. Kudos to Alexa and Mickie thriving in spite of that.
Alexa Bliss was interviewed by Charly Caruso. Bliss fired off more insults towards Mickie. Bliss said when she was young, she idolized Mickie James and put her over for going toe to toe with Hall of Famers like Beth Phoenix, Lita and Trish Stratus. Bliss called her old again.
Mickie James made her entrance signalling “seven” for what could be her seventh Women’s Championship, which would tie her with Trish Stratus for the most ever. Solid reaction for her. Alexa Bliss, the Raw Women’s Champion, got a mix of cheers and boos like usual.
Raw Women’s Championship: Alexa Bliss vs. Mickie James
James got a jackknife cover early on for two. Bliss went to the ropes to try to get away, but Mickie countered that by smacking her in the ass. That drew a good reaction. Cool sequence where James did a few kip ups in row followed by a running kick to the head. Bliss took control by draping James’ left arm against the top rope. Bliss pulled on the arm against the rope. Bliss continued to work on the arm with knee drops to the left arm of James followed by an armbar. James tried to break free with a forearm, but Bliss took her down with an arm wringer leading to multiple two counts. James created some space with several right elbows to the face and then they engaged in a slap fest where they exchanged hard slaps. Each woman connected with a kick to the face at the same time leading to both staying down for nearly a ten count. They battled while they were on their knees. Two running clotheslines by James, forearm to the face, kick to the gut, kick to the face and a running forearm earned a two count. James did a yell for her DDT finish, but Bliss avoided it and James did a bridging pin for two. Bliss hit a sunset flip into a pinning attempt for a two count. James came back with a flapjack. James up top, Bliss hit her with a forearm and James crashed leading to her selling the left arm more. Bliss up top and she missed her Twisted Bliss move. James up top again and hit a missile dropkick for a two count. It didn’t connect perfectly because it looked like Bliss went down too early. Bliss with a forearm thrust to the throat. James hit a kick to the face for two. Some fans were chanting “we want tables” because they’re idiots, I guess. James went after Bliss by the hair, the ref admonished her and Bliss sent James left shoulder first into the middle turnbuckle. Bliss hit her DDT with James selling it by falling forward and Bliss covered to win. It went about 12 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Alexa Bliss
Analysis: **3/4 It was a competitive match that was pretty good. This was one of the better Bliss singles matches because James is such a great seller and the story of the left arm injury helped the match. I think they should have done a spot where Mickie hit her Mick Kick leading to Bliss kicking out at two or getting her hand on the ropes. Just do something to give Mickie a spot where it looked like she might have won because that’s what it was lacking. I’ve said this before, but Bliss using the DDT as a finisher is weak. I realize she does it because it’s a move she can do against any opponent. The problem is so many people use DDTs in matches and at least some of the others add something to it. With this, it’s just a regular DDT. It was the outcome I expected, but not the outcome I wanted. The Bliss title reign has produced a bunch of average matches because she’s really just average in the ring. There’s nothing wrong with what she does in the ring. It’s just obvious watching Alexa’s matches that she is limited in what she can do (partly because she’s so small and also her skills) while somebody like Mickie was carrying her through the match. I also think Sasha Banks would make a much better heel champion.
Post match, after Bliss left, James was interviewed in ring by Caruso. James said maybe she is disappointed, but she is proud of her performance and she gave her heart and soul. James said that it won’t be her last time in a Women’s Championship Match or as our Women’s Champion. James thanked the entire WWE Universe for all of their love and support. James said she loves the fans and they are why she does what she does. Mickie was crying a bit to put over the emotion of the moment. James left the ring to a nice ovation as her music played.
Analysis: Cool moment for Mickie, who did a good job selling that left arm during the entire match and even in the interview. The promo also makes her more likable by showing emotion while also saying she is going to be Women’s Champion again. Most of Mickie's promos in this feud have been great. I hope she remains in the spotlight instead of being pushed to the side for the others.
A video aired promoting Survivor Series on November 19. It looks like it will be Raw vs. Smackdown matches as the theme of the show.
Kurt Angle was shown getting ready in the locker room. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins showed up. Angle wondered if they were there to talk strategy, but Dean said they aren’t there for that. Angle said he is going to give them 100%. Rollins said they respect Kurt for doing what he did. Rollins said they weren’t there to talk strategy, they came there for this and gave Angle a Shield vest. Ambrose said if you’re in, you need to be all in. Angle said he’s in and you can believe that (Roman line). Dean and Seth left.
Analysis: That’s cool. Having Angle join The Shield and wearing the vest for one night was fitting for this match.
A graphic aired showing the media coverage for Angle’s in-ring return.
Elias was on the ramp trying to do his song again. Fans tried to drown him out with boos as he said nothing will stop him from giving us the performance we need. Elias said he would sing a song that would change our life. With the crowd booing loudly, Elias said he was going to start over, which led to more boos. The booing increased. Jason Jordan showed up with vegetables again as the crowd cheered. Elias ran away from the groceries to end the segment. Graves ripped on Elias while Cole was supportive of him. The announcers argued about it.
Analysis: That musical performance got Elias more heat than anything he had done in the past. The key is doing it more than once in a show. Anyway, it felt like filler during a long show.
Cruiserweight Championship video was up next. Kalisto won the title a few weeks ago on Raw and now Enzo gets his rematch.
Enzo Amore did his pre-match promo. Enzo had a sore throat, yet he still did a long promo. Enzo said there are three types of people in this world such as people like him that make things happen, people that just watch what happened (the losers like us apparently) and people that wonder what the hell just happened, which is Kalisto. Enzo ended it doing the “SAWFT” bit.
Analysis: The sore throat hurt the quality of the promo, but he got through it.
Kalisto made his entrance with the Cruiserweight Championship around his waist. The international announce teams were shown in the arena: Portuguese, Russian, Japanese (hey Funaki), Hindi (they wish Jinder Mahal was on this show), French and Mandarin.
Cruiserweight Championship: Kalisto vs. Enzo Amore
This is Kalisto’s first title defense and everybody in our preview picked Enzo to win.
Back elbow by Enzo, who has the poop emoji on the back of his shorts. Kalisto used his quicks to take advantage with a headscissors takedown followed by kicks to the legs and an enziguri kick to the head. Kalisto hit a suicide dive that took out Enzo on the floor. Back in the ring, Kalisto attacked by the ropes, so Enzo dropped him head first onto the turnbuckle. Enzo got a two count after a slam in the corner. Kick to the gut by Enzo followed by a field goal salute. Enzo up top, but then he dropped down without doing a move and Kalisto hit a rolling kick to the face. Boot to the chest by Enzo got a two count. Punch to the face by Enzo got two. This was pretty boring. The boredom continued with a chinlock by Enzo. Kick to the head by Kalisto off the top followed by a seated senton. Snap hurricanrana got a two count by Kalisto as Enzo got his foot on the bottom rope. Enzo did a rollup that sent Kalisto back first into the turnbuckle. Enzo jumped off the middle ropes with a DDT for a two count. Crowd was dead for this. Kalisto went for his finish, but Enzo crawled away and held onto the ring apron. The ref told Kalisto to get back, then the ref put the ring apron back in its right spot and Enzo did an eye poke (illegal move, sort of) and Enzo hit the Jordunzo finishing move. Enzo covered for the win after nine minutes.
Winner by pinfall and New Cruiserweight Champion: Enzo Amore
Analysis: *1/4 Bad match because Enzo’s offense is very limited. There’s just not a lot he can do to keep a match going. The crowd was dead for a lot of it because they had to see Enzo do the most basic moves that are not exciting to watch. If WWE can build up a cruiserweight that’s a likable face then it would mean something when they have a feud with Enzo, but Kalisto really didn’t have much crowd support. The finish was like Bliss/James where the ref stopped the face from attacking, the heel took advantage and won. I’m not surprised by the Enzo win because I picked him to win and so did the three others in our preview team. We knew Kalisto’s title reign wasn’t going to last long because Enzo is better as the champion.
Post match, Enzo was interviewed in ring by Charly Caruso. Enzo: “I owe all the thanks to me. And you know what I owe all of you? A big no thank you! How you doing?” Enzo left to boos.
Analysis: There were not a lot of boos because the crowd did not care about this match very much at all.
A commercial aired for WrestleMania 34 next year in New Orleans. Tickets available on Friday, November 17.
This week on Raw: Brock Lesnar (and Paul Heyman) will answer Jinder Mahal’s challenge for a match at Survivor Series.
The announcers talked about the viral infection that affected Bray Wyatt, so now we are getting Finn Balor vs. AJ Styles, who is a Smackdown guy.
AJ Styles made his entrance. Biggest ovation of the night so far, which was no surprise. His shirt says “Hard To Follow” and I agree because his matches are so good they are tough for others to follow. Styles was in South America on the Smackdown tour and was called in for this, so he had a long travel day to get there.
Finn Balor made his entrance as “The Demon” and the crowd was into it. The Balor entrance took about three minutes. They talked about how they were part of the same faction without saying Bullet Club, so Graves just called it a club. Styles was part of it after Balor left for WWE.
Analysis: Balor usually went to “The Demon” look when the feud called for it. In this case, it didn’t call for it, but they advertised Balor in that look for several weeks, so it was probably a case of WWE feeling obligated to do it.
AJ Styles vs. “The Demon” Finn Balor
Fans chanted “this is awesome” for them before the bell even began. They had a tight lockup. Some fans tried a “too sweet” chant. Balor got in some strikes, but Styles came back with a dropkick. Leaping kick to the head by Balor while on the apron. Balor slapped on the surfboard submission that drew a good reaction. Styles managed to get to the ropes. Balor charged at Styles, which led to Styles dropping him with a back elbow followed by a suplex and knee drop got two. The fans chanted for both guys as Styles connected with a leap over the top into a forearm for a two count. Styles continued on offense with another leaping kick to the head for two. Balor with a hard chop in the corner and a kick to the head leading to Styles bumping from the middle rope to the floor. Balor nailed a somersault dive over the top to take out Styles outside the ring. Balor with the Slingblade neckbreaker in the ring. Styles came back with the Ushigoroshi (fireman’s carry into the knee to the back) leading to both guys being down. Styles with a seated facebuster slam for a two count. Balor hit the double stomp to the chest. Balor was on offense, but Styles countered him with the Calf Crusher submission. The crowd was cheering as Balor tried to fight out of it, which he did by slamming Styles’ head repeatedly. Styles hit Balor with a forearm again. Styles went for the Phenomenal Forearm off the ropes, but Balor shoved him down to the floor. Balor nailed his running kick while on the apron. Balor hit the running dropkick that sent Styles into the barricade. Styles picked up Balor and drove him over the German announce table leading to them crashing to the floor. Both guys broke the ten count and got back into the ring. The ref took some time to start counting, but I liked that that they both got in the ring at the same time to show how even the match was.
When they got back in the ring, they did a double cross body spot to knock them both down. They both got back up leading to a double clothesline spot. When they got back up from that, they had a slugfest and Balor nailed an overhead kick. Balor did a good job of selling the leg injury from the Calf Crusher earlier in the match. Balor with an elbow drop into the reverse DDT. Balor hit the 1916 slam where he picked up Styles into the sitout slam for two. Graves noted that was a popular move in Japan. Balor with a dropkick that sent Styles into the turnbuckle. When Balor went up top, Styles nailed a Pele Kick to stop him. That looked great. With Balor on the top rope, Styles hit a top rope hurricanrana for a two count. Fans chanted “this is awesome” again. Styles went for a Springboard 450 Splash, but Balor moved. Balor with a hard clothesline followed by a dropkick that sent Styles into the turnbuckle. Balor up top and he hit the Coup de Gras double foot stomp that connected very well. Balor covered for the pinfall win after 18 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Finn Balor
Analysis: ****1/4 Awesome match that lived up to the hype. While I wouldn’t put it at match of the year level, it was great to watch. The last few minutes were outstanding. I was a bit surprised that they didn’t have either man kick out of a finishing move, but that’s fine because it puts over their finishers as stronger moves. The lack of a story may have hurt it for some people, but once the bell rang it was all about the action with both men trying to prove who was better. Styles came close to winning a few times, but when he went for the springboard 450 Splash and missed, it ended up costing him the match because Balor hit three moves after that leading to the victory. I thought Balor was going to win because he’s normally on the Raw brand and WWE is going to try to build him for a match against Brock Lesnar possibly at the Royal Rumble, so giving Balor the win was important. I don’t think either guy would have been hurt with a loss anyway because it was a face/face match between two guys that are popular with the crowd and seen as main event level talent. Also, if this kind of thing matters to you, Balor is undefeated when he dresses up as The Demon.
Post match, both guys soaked in the cheers of the fans. Balor helped Styles to his feet. They did the “too sweet” hand gesture out of respect as the crowd cheered loudly. Styles left. Balor celebrated the win as the crowd cheered some more.
Analysis: Cool moment after the match. Looking forward to the rematch one day.
A commercial aired for the third season of Ride Along airing on WWE Network after Raw this Monday.
A commercial aired hyping WWE’s “More Than Pink” campaign for breast cancer awareness.
Elias was in the ring trying to do his singing routine again. Elias complained about Jason Jordan interrupting him and he said he was going to play a song for Jason on his way down to the ring. Before the song could get going, Jordan interrupted for a match.
Analysis: It would have been better if WWE set up this match on Raw last Monday instead of spending three segments on it on this show. This is what they call a buffer match by putting on a midcard match in between what most considered the two major matches of the show.
Jason Jordan vs. Elias
Jordan used his power to take down Elias early on. The announcers bickered about the guys with Booker and Cole saying they liked Elias while Graves does not. It’s so backwards how the heel announcer Graves doesn’t support the heel Elias. Elias slapped on a weak looking armbar as Booker was critical of Jordan, who caught Elias with a running slam. With Elias on the apron, Jordan hit a dropkick for a two count. Elias came back with a knee to the back that sent Jordan face first into the turnbuckle. Great bump by Jordan. Running lefty clothesline by Elias as the announcers bickered about the guys in the ring again after Booker praised Jordan, so the others called him on it. Elias with an abdominal stretch. Jordan made his big comeback by driving Elias into the turnbuckles, Jordan hit a belly to belly suplex and a shoulder tackle in the corner. High angle back suplex by Jordan got two to no reaction. The announcers ripped on Booker again for changing his opinions. They battled by the corner, Elias hit a knee to the face and a body slam that sent Jordan into the corner. Elias went for a suplex, Jordan with an inside cradle and the ref counted three even though Elias clearly got out of it. It went nine minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Jason Jordan
The announcers argued about the finish. Replays showed that Elias may have gotten his shoulder up, but it wasn’t that obvious.
Analysis: ** Below average match with a controversial finish that should lead to a rematch soon. The crowd didn’t get into it at all even when Jordan was making his comebacks. Elias does a good job of working like a heel while Jordan’s selling is a strength of his. Both guys are in similar spots on Raw in terms of where they are on the card as midcarders on the rise, so it’s no surprise that neither man was put over strong. The commentary in this match was poor and confusing in terms of who they were supporting.
The commercial aired for Survivor Series on November 19 in Houston. The announcers talked about how they’ll be in Houston for four straight nights: NXT Takeover, Survivor Series, Raw and Smackdown. That’s become a regular thing for the big four PPVs.
The Raw Talk show was advertised for after TLC with Renee Young and Peter Rosenberg hosting the show with Alexa Bliss and AJ Styles as the guests.
Analysis: When Raw had No Mercy last month, they had Bliss on Raw Talk as well. It shows how much WWE loves to feature her.
A video package aired to set up the main event featuring the change in the match with Kurt Angle replacing Roman Reigns as part of The Shield team.
The heel team of The Miz, Sheamus, Cesaro, Braun Strowman and Kane were backstage. Miz said he had a surprise after the match. He said they would treat Angle, Reigns and Ambrose like garbage. Miz said they are garbage, so you drive garbage to the dump.
The Miz, the Intercontinental Champion, made his entrance alone. Cole mentioned this is the 20th TLC match in WWE history. That is true and I ranked the first 19 of them here, so please read that if you haven’t done so already. Sheamus and Cesaro made their entrance. Kane was up next for the heel side in masked Kane mode. Cole said it was Kane’s 175th PPV match, which is more than anybody in WWE history. Braun Strowman was the last man to enter for the heel team.
Analysis: That stat about Kane PPV appearances goes back 20 years since he debuted as Kane 20 years ago this month. If you count him as Isaac Yankem and Fake Diesel there are a few more too. He’s been incredibly durable during his career.
The Shield music hit. Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose appeared in the crowd for their traditional entrance. After a bit of a pause, the Hall of Famer Kurt Angle appeared behind them in Shield gear. The three men walked down the stairs to make their way down to the ring. Booker thinks this will be Angle’s last match.
Analysis: Cool entrance. It’s unfortunate that Angle’s first WWE match in 11 years isn’t him walking out to his theme song, but that can happen in the future. This was still a cool visual.
Tables, Ladders & Chairs: Kurt Angle, Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose vs. Kane, Braun Strowman, The Miz, Sheamus & Cesaro
It’s a 3 on 5 match with weapons surrounding the ring. First pinfall or submission wins the match.
The trio of Angle, Rollins and Ambrose entered the ring with chairs as they cleaned house with the chairs as weapons. Kane worked on Angle with punches in the corner. Rollins nailed Kane and Strowman with chair shots. It took about six chair shots to knock Strowman out of the ring. Angle, Rollins and Ambrose did a three on one chair attack on Kane with the fans chanting “yes” for it. Rollins and Ambrose hit suicide dives to take out Miz, Cesaro and Sheamus on the floor. The face trio used a ladder to knock down those three heels again. Angle hit Strowman with a ladder that he used to keep Strowman down. Rollins hit a springboard knee to the face of Kane and Ambrose dropkick sent Kane out of the ring. The faces worked on Kane outside the ring and they cleared off the announce table, but Sheamus and Cesaro got back into it. Ambrose sent Cesaro into the barricade groin first with a suplex. Rollins hit Kane in the back with a steel chair, which led to the heels taking control. Booker was critical of Angle’s cardio saying he was sucking wind. Strowman went after Angle, so Rollins and Ambrose attacked Strowman with steel chairs and they sent Strowman into the ring post two times. Both big men were laying on tables after the faces beat them with chairs. Two ladders were set up in front of the tables. Rollins and Ambrose climbed the ladders and they jumped off with Ambrose hitting an elbow drop on Kane through the table while Rollins hit a Frog Splash on Strowman through the table. That was a great spot that the crowd loved with loud “yes” chants. Cole pointed out Rollins grabbing his left knee instantly. It looked like Rollins told a ref he was okay, so he was just selling.
The action continued with Angle working over Miz with a chair to the back. Sheamus and Cesaro got back in the ring to work over Angle with a chair to the gut. Sheamus and Cesaro kicked a ladder into the ribs of Angle against the turnbuckle. Ambrose and Rollins got back in the ring to save Angle from the heels. The teams ended up brawling on the floor. In the ring, Angle hit Miz with three German Suplexes in a row with the crowd going wild for it. Angle with a German Suplex on Sheamus and Angle with a German Suplex on Cesaro. The crowd was going crazy for that. That was a signature Angle moment that he used to do in every match. Fans chanted “you still got it” as Kane got into the ring. Angle tripped up Kane and slapped on the Ankle Lock. Strowman into the ring where he tripped up Angle from behind. Strowman sent Angle into the barricade. Strowman set up a table on the floor. Strowman picked up Angle and gave him a Running Powerslam through the table. The live shot missed the slam, but the replay showed it with Strowman protecting Angle very well (hand on the upper back) as he put him through the table. Referees checked on Angle while he was by the table while indy wrestlers that they claimed were medical personnel checked on Angle.
Analysis: It’s a flashback to SummerSlam when Brock Lesnar was put through tables and taken away only to return later. They’ve done that before with Lesnar too. Clearly, WWE loves booking spots like that.
The five-man heel team worked on Rollins and Ambrose very well together. Angle was helped to the back. Angle went down to his knees as the guys tried to help him. Booker said it was pathetic and that Angle shouldn’t have signed up for this match while Graves said it was heart. Maybe Booker is the heel announcer now. A chair was wedged between the turnbuckles, which led to Rollins being whipped into it. The heels did a slow beatdown with chair shots to the backs of Rollins and Ambrose. Strowman did a charge, Rollins moved and Strowman ran into the chair that was against the turnbuckle. Strowman loves the charging into objects spot. Kane went for a chair shot, Rollins moved (it wasn’t even close to hitting him) and Kane hit Strowman in the back with the chair. That led to Strowman shoving Kane, which led to Miz, Sheamus and Cesaro trying to stop them from fighting. A table was brought into the ring. Sheamus and Cesaro went for their double Razor’s Edge through the table, but the table didn’t break when Ambrose hit it. They set up the table in the corner, so Strowman whipped Ambrose into it to break the table. Bad luck to see the table not break, but they got through it.
The Miz went up the ramp to signal for something to come into the arena. A garbage truck was slowly backed into the arena by the stage because Miz did a promo earlier about taking out the garbage. Rollins and Ambrose were tossed into the garbage truck, but they fought out of it. They jumped off the top of the garbage truck onto the heels on the floor except for Miz because he wasn’t there. Rollins and Ambrose chased Miz back towards the ring. Rollins and Ambrose beat up Miz for a bit as they went back up to the stage. Two tables were set up on the stage. Strowman went after Rollins and Ambrose, so Kane attacked Strowman with punches. Kane gave Strowman a Chokeslam that put Strowman through a part of the staging area that was near the announce table. Big bump from Strowman that was likely on some padding, but we didn’t get to see that part. It drew a big reaction. Kane grabbed a row of chairs that were hanging above him that were part of the set, which he pulled down and they went crashing into Strowman, or so we were supposed to think. Strowman was shown under the pile of chairs. Kane went back to fighting Rollins and Ambrose. Rollins sent Miz into the video board. Kane got back into it with a double Chokeslam on Rollins and Ambrose. Rollins went through one table while the Ambrose table did not break. That is two times during the show where Ambrose didn’t break the table. That bump looked nasty for Ambrose with his head hitting hard. The heels brought Rollins and Ambrose over to the garbage truck. Strowman got back to his feet after getting rid of the chairs. Kane was shocked about it. Miz begged Strowman to calm down, so Strowman whipped Miz into the video board. Strowman punched Sheamus and Cesaro. Strowman went after Kane by the garbage truck. Sheamus and Cesaro saved Kane. Strowman tried to fight them off, but he couldn’t do it as the four heels stomped him down. The heels dumped Strowman into the back of the garbage truck. The back of the truck moved up, so the idea is that Strowman was trapped in there. Some fans chanted "that was murder" for it, which is kinda funny.
Analysis: I’m not surprised that Kane would attack Strowman like that because WWE likely wants Kane to put over Strowman huge like they had Big Show put over Strowman repeatedly. That was likely the face turn of Strowman as well because when he comes back from that he’ll be cheered for it.
The heel foursome of Miz, Sheamus, Cesaro and Kane brought an injured Rollins into the ring. Miz hit a DDT on Rollins. Sheamus and Cesaro did the double team White Noise as Ambrose broke up the pin attempt at two. Kane signalled for the end as Kurt Angle’s theme song hit and Angle walked out there holding his ribs while the crowd did the “you suck” chant for him. Angle with a back body drop on Cesaro. Angle Slam on Sheamus in the aisle. Angle with an Angle Slam on Cesaro that put him through a table that was in the aisle. Great moment. Crowd was on fire for it. Angle knocked down Miz in the ring, but Kane stopped Angle with a clothesline. Rollins and Ambrose attacked Kane with chairs. Kane went outside the ring, so Rollins and Ambrose hit a double Spear on Kane to drive him through the barricade. Nice tribute to Roman Reigns with that. The Miz snuck up behind Angle for a two count as Angle shot up his right arm before the three count. Great nearfall. The fans chanted “USA” for Angle even though Miz is American. Why not chant “Angle” there? Silly “USA” chant. I know Angle is the American Olympic hero, but it's weird to chant that there. Angle slapped on the Ankle Lock, Miz kicked him away and Angle was sent out of the ring. Rollins, Ambrose and Angle were on the apron at the same time in “Shield position” as Cole called it. Rollins with the knee to the face, Ambrose with the Dirty Deeds DDT and Miz sold it by getting back to his feet right into the Angle Slam by Angle. Usually people sell Dirty Deeds by going down to take the pin, but not here. I get why Miz did it that way. It’s just not consistent with the usual sell. The crowd really came alive for that sequence. Rollins and Ambrose hoisted up Miz for Angle to deliver the three man Powerbomb that Graves called the Olympic Shield Bomb. Angle covered Miz for the win. The match went 36 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Kurt Angle, Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose
FYI: That was the longest TLC match in WWE history. About five minutes longer than the previous longest TLC match, which was Styles vs. Ambrose last year.
Analysis: ***1/2 This was such a tough match to rate because I enjoyed a lot of the action and appreciated the effort by the talent, but some of it was just so cheesy with things like the garbage truck. I understand why they would do that to try to take Strowman out in a way that it doesn’t make him look like a loser at the end of the match. Strowman being taken away in the garbage truck was lame, but it turns him face for the obvious feud with Kane. Angle was written out of about 2/3 of the match partly because of his age and just wanting the story of the heel team disintegrating due to ego and not working well together. This match was not about having a lot of believable nearfalls although there was that close instance at the end with The Miz nearly pinning Angle. The ending was fantastic with Angle taking care of Cesaro and Sheamus followed by Rollins and Ambrose destroying Kane, which led to Miz being isolated against the three faces so that he could take their finishing moves. Rollins and Ambrose were amazing all match long. I loved the energy that they brought into the match including the ladder attack through the tables and then the way they made the heels look great when they were selling. There were some risky spots (poor Ambrose not breaking a table twice), but I’m glad Angle was protected. Angle was put through a table by Strowman, but as I noted you could tell Strowman did it as safe as possible. In my prediction, I thought the heels would win just because it would build to Reigns coming back to help the faces go over these heels. However, once they did the garbage truck spot it was obvious the faces were going to win, which is fine. Angle going over in his first match back shows that he's still got it, which will mean more whenever he has his next match.
Replays aired of the key spots in the match.
The trio of Angle, Rollins and Ambrose soaked up the cheers from the crowd as the show ended.
The PPV had a run time of 3 hours, 3 minutes.
Five Stars of the Show
1. Kurt Angle – It was his first WWE match in 11 years. It has to be him.
2. Finn Balor – That was probably his best match on the main roster so far.
3. AJ Styles – Great to see Styles in a long PPV match against a fresh opponent.
4. Seth Rollins – I thought Seth and Dean were amazing in terms of their energy in the main event as well as bumping their assess off for the heels.
5. Dean Ambrose – I feel sorry for him for the tables not breaking twice because the second time it looked bad.
It gets a 7 out of 10 from me.
Going into the show it was about the two main matches with the main event and Balor/Styles, so if you liked those then you probably enjoyed the show. Like I said in the review, Balor/Styles lived up to the hype or at least close to it in terms of giving us a fantastic match. The main event had some silly moments, but they managed to get through it fine and I enjoyed the nostalgia of Angle in a match as well as most of the action in the match.
Most of the undercard was solid. There wasn’t anything that bad. Some of the Elias stuff could have been scrapped to set up the match in a backstage segment, but it did work in terms of getting heat for Elias.
There were only two titles defenses and the only title change was Enzo winning back the Cruiserweight Championship, which was expected.
The crowd was good most of the night. Hot for the cool spots and bigger names, but also dead at moments where the matches didn’t need much.
WWE PPV Rankings 2017 (Scores on the 1-10 scale)
Royal Rumble – 8
No Mercy – 7.5
Great Balls of Fire – 7.5
TLC – 7
Hell in a Cell – 7
SummerSlam – 7
Backlash – 6.5
WrestleMania 33 – 6.5
Extreme Rules – 6
Payback – 6
Fastlane – 5
Battleground – 4
The last four PPVs (TLC, Hell in a Cell, No Mercy and SummerSlam) all got ratings of 7 or 7.5, so it shows how consistent these shows have been. Nothing has blown me away in terms of how great it was, but they are all solid mainly because PPV matches tend to get more time.
Thanks for reading this review. My contact info is below. I’ll be back during the week with Raw and Smackdown reviews as usual.