Welcome to the WWE TLC review. It’s the final WWE PPV of the year. I am watching it on Monday morning. I knew the results going in, but I didn’t read about the details.
The Kickoff Show match was an eight-man tag featuring Smackdown wrestlers: Big E, Daniel Bryan, Chad Gable and Otis defeated King Corbin, Sami Zayn, Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura.
WWE Tables, Ladders & Chairs (TLC)
WWE Thunderdome at Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg, Florida
December 20, 2020
The opening video package hyped up the main matches on the show and it was very well done as usual.
There was a shot of the WWE ThunderDome setup with pyro going off on the arena, there was the fake crowd noise from the screens of fans and they had tables, ladders and chairs all around the building.
The WWE Championship was shown above the ring because that TLC match is up first. The Raw announce team of Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton and Samoa Joe were on hand to call the action for the Raw matches.
AJ Styles made his entrance as the challenger with the big man Omos joining him. There was a video package that aired to tell the story of this rivalry. Styles won two matches to get this title shot. It was also teased by Styles that he may not be the only one that Drew has to face in a TLC match as we saw highlights of Money in the Bank holder The Miz and John Morrison getting involved in attacks on McIntyre. Styles put McIntyre through a table on Raw and Styles was holding the WWE Title.
Drew McIntyre made his entrance with the big sword along with a kilt around his waist. McIntyre had an intense look on his face showing he was ready to go as he glanced at the WWE Title above the ring. The wrestlers stood in the ring as ring announcer Mike Rome did the championship introductions with Styles receiving boos while McIntyre was cheered.
WWE Championship Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match: Drew McIntyre vs. AJ Styles (w/Omos)
The only way to win the match is to climb a ladder to retrieve the WWE Championship hanging above the ring.
Styles started by hitting a running dropkick to the left knee. Styles kicked at the knee, but then McIntyre used his power to hit a suplex into a slam. McIntyre tossed Styles across the ring. McIntyre whipped Styles into the turnbuckle two times. Styles with a strike to the throat with McIntyre coming back with a back body drop. Styles was seated on the top rope with McIntyre hitting him with a HUGE chop that knocked Styles off the top to the floor. Ouch. That sounded loud. McIntyre set up a table on the floor, he went for a suplex, but Styles blocked it with a knee to the face. McIntyre sent Styles into the guardrail. McIntyre whipped Styles into some chairs that were on another table. McIntyre sent Styles face first into the top of the barricade. McIntyre brought a ladder into the ring, he did a slow climb and Styles hit Drew in the back of the left leg with a chair. Styles with a hard chair shot to McIntyre’s back. McIntyre blocked a whip into a chair, then McIntyre did a catapult into the ladder with AJ doing a climb. And then McIntyre did a catapult that sent Styles into a steel chair that was wedged between the top/middle turnbuckle. Styles took that bump with his forearm hitting the chair. McIntyre did a slow climb, Styles threw a chair at his back and Styles hit a chop block to the back of the left knee. Styles sent McIntyre into the ladder. Styles teased a Styles Clash onto the ladder that was on the mat, but then McIntyre hit a Future Shock DDT to drop Styles in the ring. McIntyre lifted up the ladder and tossed it onto Styles, but only part of the ladder hit Styles, so AJ went after the left knee again. Styles drove the left knee into the ladder and Styles used the ladder to pull back on the left knee to make it look like the Calf Crusher submission hold. That was clever. Styles got a hold of a steel chair again with repeated chair shots to the back and another chair attack to the left leg of McIntyre. Styles used the chair leading to another assisted Calf Crusher as he wrenched on the left knee of McIntyre. Styles kicked the leg of McIntyre and whipped the leg into the ring post as well. Styles with a running attack with the ladder to knock down McIntyre on the floor. Styles set up McIntyre on a table on the floor, but McIntyre managed to get back up and threw a chair at AJ’s head to prevent an attack. Well played.
McIntyre set up a table in the ring, but Styles managed to come back with a drop toe hold that sent McIntyre into the ladder that was still in the ring. Styles slid under the table, he then shoved the table into Drew’s knee, but then Drew came back with a belly-to-belly overhead suplex onto the ladder! That was impressive. Styles came back with a forearm to stun the champion leading to Styles jumping off the top with the Phenomenal Forearm to knock down McIntyre on his back. Omos slid a ladder into the ring to help Styles. There was a slow ladder climb by Styles, but McIntyre got a hold of him and McIntyre threw Styles from inside the ring through a table on the floor! Ouch. That’s a huge bump for Styles with the table helping to break his fall. As McIntyre climbed the ladder, The Miz ran down to the ring in his wrestling gear. John Morrison had the Money in the Bank contract/briefcase with him. Miz gave McIntyre a Powerbomb through the table. Morrison handed the referee the briefcase to say that they are cashing in the contract. That could be a key thing to remember in this story. Anyway, this became a triple threat match.
WWE Championship Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match: Drew McIntyre vs. AJ Styles (w/Omos) vs. The Miz (w/John Morrison)
I’ll keep this review going as one match that became a triple threat match. The Miz did a slow climb up the ladder, but Omos climbed into the ring, grabbed Miz and dumped Miz over the top rope through a table on the floor. Morrison went into the ring with a steel chair and hit Omos with it, which led to the chair getting broken in half. Nice spot with a gimmicked chair. Omos stared at Morrison, who backed out of the ring and went towards the back with Omos slowly walking behind him. Meanwhile, all three wrestlers were down with Styles on the floor, McIntyre down in the ring and Miz also on the floor after all three guys were put through tables. McIntyre and Styles did a slow climb up the ladder and you could tell that the ladder wasn’t that high up because McIntyre could reach it while standing about halfway up the ladder. Styles kicked McIntyre in the left knee to stun the champion while Miz climbed up a second ladder and nearly had the title. McIntyre with a Glasgow Kiss headbutt on Styles. McIntyre shoved Miz down, Styles jumped off the ropes onto a ladder and Styles punched McIntyre to knock him down. Styles and Miz were on top of a ladder on opposite sides, McIntyre shoved the ladder over and Styles bumped all the way to the floor. McIntyre hit Miz with a Claymore Kick to knock him down. McIntyre climbed up the ladder on his right leg while favoring the left leg and McIntyre reached up to retain the WWE Title for the win at 27:05.
Winner: Drew McIntyre
Analysis: ***3/4 This was a very good TLC match that was in two parts. It might have been a bit long, but that was partly because they were going at a slow pace in the first half of it and then when Miz showed up, that led to a new match that became a triple threat. I liked the story of the match with Styles working on the left knee of McIntyre for most of the match, which makes sense in a ladder match where you have to climb a ladder to win. It shows how crafty Styles is as a veteran heel. The Miz getting involved wasn’t that much of a surprise, but it also changed the course of the match. The last few minutes were great with a lot of near ladder grabs by each guy. They did a lot of table bumps, plenty of chair shots and all of it factored in the finish with Drew winning in dominant fashion to prove that he was still the man. This was also the most physicality we saw out of Omos, so that should lead to him doing more spots during matches. I can see there being a rematch between McIntyre and Styles in a singles match because AJ can complain that Miz cost him the match.
McIntyre posed on the ladder with the WWE Title in his hands with Phillips putting it over as the final PPV event of the best year of Drew’s career while noting that McIntyre was still at the top of the mountain.
Analysis: What a poor job by WWE this year in terms of the Money in the Bank briefcase. First, Otis won it without even climbing the ladder since it landed in his hands. Then Otis loses it to Miz because of Tucker, who isn't even on the same show as Otis now and has disappeared from TV anyway. Then Miz gets booked terribly for most of his run as Mr. MITB and he cashes in during a match only to lose within a few minutes. Please be better, creative team. Money in the Bank should mean so much more. Instead, it was booked terribly this year. I don't blame the talent. I blame the creative team for it.
Paul Heyman was interviewed by Kayla Braxton in the backstage area. Heyman claimed he liked NASCAR because he likes car crashes. Heyman said that this is a dangerous profession where people get hurt and are put through tables while being attacked by chairs legally. Heyman said that somebody is going to get hurt bad tonight and that someone’s name is Kevin Owens at the hands of your Tribal Chief, the Universal Champion Roman Reigns. Heyman: “That’s not just a prediction, that’s a spoiler.”
Analysis: Good promo from Heyman as usual.
The Smackdown announce team of Michael Cole and Corey Graves took over. That led to a video package setting up Sasha Banks defending the Smackdown Women’s Title against Carmella, which was set up by repeated cheap attacks from Carmella. When they did the match on Smackdown two weeks ago, Banks was disqualified and now they have to do the match again.
Carmella made her entrance with Cole talking about her past Smackdown Women’s Title wins while her boyfriend Graves spoke about how beautiful and stunning she looked. Sasha Banks was up next as the Smackdown Women’s Champion. They got the in-ring championship introductions.
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Sasha Banks vs. Carmella
Carmella attacked the back of Banks early on, but then Banks came back with an arm drag on the floor. I think I heard Banks say “slap me” leading to a slap by Carmella, then Banks threw Carmella out of the ring where Carmella’s sommelier Reginald Thomas (they gave him a name) caught Carmella. Graves: “Great catch, Reginald!” Banks jumped onto Carmella, who turned it into a headscissors and she sent Banks into the steel steps. That led to a two count in the ring. Carmella stomped on Banks followed by a running corner splash for two leading to a chinlock. Banks with a snapmare into the double knees for a two count. They were on the apron with Banks hitting a knee, but then Carmella hit a move driving the back/neck of Banks onto the apron, which led to a two count. Carmella with a chinlock Banks came back with the running knees in the corner and the Three Amigos suplex sequence like her idol Eddie Guerrero. Banks went up top and hit a Frog Splash like Eddie for a two count. Carmella with elbows to the face, Banks with a kick to the face and then Carmella hit a sitout X-Factor sending Banks face first into the mat leading to multiple nearfalls from Carmella. A nice sequence with Carmella countering a tilt-a-whirl before hitting that move. Carmella choked Banks across the top rope by using her legs. Carmella kept on adjusting her ring gear throughout the match. Banks with a slap, so Carmella punched Banks repeatedly while Banks was laying on the apron. Carmella with a superkick and back in for a two count with Banks getting her hand on the bottom rope. Banks came back with a rollup nearfall and then she used her legs to drive Carmella into the turnbuckle. They battled on the turnbuckle with Carmella hit a hurricanrana into a pin attempt by Banks for two. Each woman got nearfalls after that. Carmella slapped on her Code of Silence submission move with her legs around the neck of Carmella, Banks got out of that and Carmella countered into a submission pulling back on the arms, which Banks countered out of for a two count. Carmella charged, Banks avoided that and Banks slapped on the Bank Statement submission and that led to Reginald pulling Carmella out of the ring. Cole wondered how the referee can allow that and then Banks hit the Meteora double knees on Reginald on the floor. Carmella hit two superkicks and then back in the ring for a two count. Great nearfall there. Carmella was frustrated while trash-talking, Banks countered a move into a Bank Statement submission and Carmella tapped out to give Banks the win at 12:10.
Winner by submission: Sasha Banks
Analysis: ***1/2 This was a very good match with Banks always putting on strong showings in PPV matches while Carmella did well too. I like how aggressive Carmella was throughout the match, Banks sold everything well and won in a decisive manner as expected. I would have liked to see Carmella work on the back more because she smashed a champagne bottle on Sasha’s back twice in recent weeks, so they could have told the story that Banks had a back injury. I still liked what they did with Carmella getting numerous nearfalls throughout the match before Banks managed to take out Reginald and she made Carmella tap out to give Banks the win. I think Banks is going to have a long title reign all the way until WrestleMania or longer. I think Carmella impressed a lot of people with this performance as well.
There was a shot of Asuka backstage with Billie Kay going up to her with her headshot and her resume. Kay told Asuka she would be a great partner while noting she is fluent in Japanese, which is clearly a lie. Kay even had a mask with her. Asuka told Kay she’s not ready for Asuka, so Kay left. The idea here was that Asuka already had a partner.
It was time for another title match as The Hurt Business duo of Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin entered for their title match. MVP was wearing a black and gold suit because those are the Hurt Business colors.
The New Day duo of Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods were back in the Gorilla Position with Charly Caruso showing up for an interview. They said that Hurt Business (or "Butthurt Business" as Kofi calls them) were facing “Big Match” New Day while noting that New Day rocks. That led to the entrance.
Raw Tag Team Championships: The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods) vs. The Hurt Business (Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin) (w/MVP)
The bell rang with Kingston hitting a superkick on Alexander followed by a side Russian legsweep. Woods tagged in with a leg drop off the top rope for two. There were more quick tags from New Day with each guy hitting splashes and moves including Woods hitting a lifting slam on Alexander for two. Benjamin tagged in with a clothesline, suplex and a nearfall as Phillips noted it was 17 years since Benjamin held tag team gold. MVP gave Alexander some water while Benjamin hit a spinebuster on Woods for two. Woods with a forearm, then he sent Benjamin into the ropes, Woods with a splash and Kingston (who tagged in) hit a stomp off the top onto the chest of Benjamin. Woods got the tag, Kingston hit a dive onto Alexander on the floor and Woods hit a Tornado DDT on Benjamin for two. Benjamin came back with a rising knee strike and then he sent Woods into the turnbuckle. Alexander with a hard kick to the back of Woods leading to a two count. Alexander stomped on the back of Woods and Benjamin tagged in with an arm wringer leading to an armbar. Alexander tagged in as he worked on the shoulder of Woods, then he hit a forearm and Woods countered a move with a jumping kick. Kingston tagged in against Benjamin with a forearm off the top, then a jumping side kick and leaping clothesline. Kingston went for the boom drop, but Benjamin caught him on the shoulders and Kofi avoided a move from Alexander. Kofi stomped on Benjamin and Kofi hit the SOS on Alexander for a two count. That was incredible by Kofi there. Alexander avoided a Kofi move off the top, knee by Cedric and a brainbuster got a two count with Woods breaking up the pin. That led to Benjamin kicking Woods, Alexander with a Neuralizer kick and Benjamin with a flatliner on Woods to take him out of the ring. Benjamin got the tag against Kingston, but Kofi countered a slam into a dropkick. Kingston with a kick to the face of both guys, Benjamin met Kingston on the top and hit him with a superplex. That was a big bump. Alexander tagged himself in and he hit the Lumbar Check on Kingston for the pinfall win at 10:01. Benjamin had a shocked look on his face after Alexander tagged himself in while Alexander was ecstatic about the win.
Winners by pinfall: The Hurt Business (Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin)
Analysis: ***1/2 That was an exciting tag team match that was fast-paced from the moment the bell rang. I didn’t expect them to go under ten minutes, but I certainly don’t mind it because it was so exciting to watch. New Day dominated the first half of the match with Kingston/Woods getting a lot of nearfalls, but then things slowed down with Woods as the face in peril. I loved the moves these guys with Kingston really standing out and showing how athletic he is. Benjamin continues to impress in every match, Woods was bumping his off to make the new champions look good and Alexander was put in the position to be the star of the match because he tagged in to get the win. I thought it was the right time for a title change. The New Day are obviously established as a great team, so it’s nice to see another team holding the gold.
The Hurt Business guys left the ring and they were joined on the ramp by US Champion Bobby Lashley. They have the US Title and Raw Tag Team Titles now. They celebrated their success. Shelton Benjamin dedicated the match to his late friend Shad Gaspard, which is really cool to see.
Analysis: It’s been fun to watch The Hurt Business evolve and succeed this year. Raw has been frustrating in a lot of ways, but this foursome has been booked very well for most of the year and I’m genuinely happy for them especially a guy like Alexander, who wasn’t doing much before this. Benjamin wasn’t doing much either while MVP is perfect as a mouthpiece and Lashley has been booked so strong. An issue with the group is they have feuded with the same people for so long that we saw them wrestle guys like Apollo Crews, Ricochet and now New Day for several months now. I just want the booking to be a bit more fresh, which is a problem with Raw.
There was a commercial for the WWE Royal Rumble on Sunday, January 31. That’s a show where I’m really going to miss a crowd if they can’t have any fans there, but that’s the world we’re living in.
The WWE Slammy Awards take place this Wednesday at 10 am on Youtube and WWE’s other social media outlets.
They showed clips of Big E ruining Sami Zayn’s “Sami Awards” on Smackdown. It led to a “leaked” tape with Sami yelling at people about ruining his awards. That was a parody of the Tom Cruise leaked audio from earlier in the week. It was funny.
Sami Zayn, the Intercontinental Champion, walked up to Kayla Braxton for leaking his audiotape on Instagram (WWE posted it on Youtube, plus social media outlets) along with her photos of her derriere by the pool. Sami asked who sent it assuming it was Big E, but Braxton said that a journalist doesn’t reveal their sources. Braxton left while Sami yelled at her for suddenly having ethics.
A video package aired about the Women’s Tag Team Title match with Lana beating Nia Jax on Raw, so Jax and Shayna Baszler beat up Lana after the match. That led to an injury angle for Lana, so Asuka has to find a new partner for this match. It’s a mystery partner storyline.
Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax entered first as the Women’s Tag Team Champions. Asuka was up first for her team with Asuka also holding the Raw Women’s Title.
The mystery partner of Asuka was revealed to be…Charlotte Flair. It has been six months since Flair was in action after being taken out by Nia Jax in the storyline. Flair was off to fix her body. Back in July, Charlotte commented on it being a cosmetic issue to fix a prior instance of silicone poisoning although this time there was not poisoning. It was just a matter of taking care of the issue. I believe she was cleared earlier to come back sooner, but it was a matter of time and place. Jax and Baszler did their best to have shocked looks on their faces while Asuka was excited.
Analysis: I’m glad that Flair is back in action and looking healthy. If you read my Raw Deal review on Tuesday then you know I said it would be Flair. That wasn’t just a guess by me. Sometimes I know things too. I also mentioned it in the TLC preview we did too.
Women’s Tag Team Championships: Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler vs. Asuka and Charlotte Flair
Baszler opened up with kicks on Asuka, who came back with kicks of her own and Asuka went for an armbar. Baszler isolated the left arm, but Asuka avoided the stomp with Flair wanting the tag. Flair went after Baszler with a clothesline and she tripped her up, but Flair wanted Jax, so Baszler brought her partner into the match. Flair with a shoulder tackle that barely moved Jax and Flair grabbed a headlock leading to Asuka tagging in. Asuka with an elbow to the face and then the double knees to the face and a hip attack. Jax came back with a punch to the face followed by a headbutt and Jax sent Asuka shoulder first into the ring post. Baszler tagged in with a stomp to the left arm of Asuka. Baszler with a clothesline on Asuka to keep her isolated. Jax tagged in as she drove Asuka’s shoulder into the ring post. Jax whipped Asuka into the barricade. Baszler was back in with a block of a kick leading to a trip into a pin attempt. Jax was legal again, Asuka hit her with a spinning back fist and a kick to the head. Baszler pulled Flair off the apron to prevent a tag, but then Flair hit Baszler with a forearm. Flair got the tag against Jax with chops as Charlotte’s dad Ric Flair was watching on a TV backstage. Flair with a running boot to Jax and then an overhead suplex on Baszler across the ring. Flair with a forearm to the face followed by a knee drop to the left leg and a running boot for a two count. Asuka hit a sliding knee on the apron followed by Flair hitting a moonsault off the top onto her opponents on the floor with Flair’s arms hitting both women. Jax kicked Flair into the turnbuckle, Asuka tagged in, Jax with a Samoan Drop on Floor and Asuka hit a missile dropkick on Jax. Baszler was back in, she battled over submissions with Asuka and Flair hit a backbreaker into a whip into the turnbuckle. Flair kicked Jax off the apron to the floor. Baszler got a cradle on Flair for two. Flair slapped on the Figure Eight submission, but Jax pulled Flair’s arms to break that up. Asuka hit a hip attack on Jax on the floor. Flair fought off a submission attempt into a two count and then Flair hit the Natural Selection neckbreaker for the pinfall win at 9:55.
Winners by pinfall AND NEW Women’s Tag Team Champions: Asuka and Charlotte Flair
Analysis: *** It was a good match with the action really picking up after Flair got the hot tag. There’s the title change as expected because it made sense for WWE to bring back Flair in a strong way. It would have been nice to have Flair beat Jax as revenge for Jax injuring her in the story, but I guess that’s more of a singles feud. Asuka has already been a Tag Team Champion with Kairi Sane, but now she’s a double champion with Flair. I don’t think many fans viewed Jax/Baszler as a long term team anyway since they had issues getting along, so it makes sense to do a title change. What bugs me a bit about a title change like this is that I was hoping a team like the Riott Squad to win the titles at some point and now I’m not sure when or if that will happen.
Asuka and Flair celebrated with their titles while Ric Flair was shown celebrating as he watched on a TV backstage. This means that Charlotte joins Asuka, Bayley and Sasha Banks as a Grand Slam Champion that has won the Raw Women’s, Smackdown Women’s, NXT and now Tag Team Titles. Charlotte was also the champion when it was the Divas Title that became the Women’s Title, so you could add even more to her legacy now.
Analysis: I assume that we’ll see Baszler or Jax challenge Asuka for the Raw Women’s Title next although obviously with Flair back, we could see her against Asuka soon as well. I just think a feud with Flair vs. Jax is most likely soon. Good luck to Charlotte with that.
A video aired of WWE’s Happy Holidays video with Drew McIntyre and other superstars beating up the 2020 “wrestler” voiced by Braun Strowman. That led to the 2021 animated character eliminating 2020 as well.
There was a shot of Big E with R-Truth backstage looking at Big E’s phone and Sami Zayn showed up claiming that Big E leaked the audio of Sami’s rant. Big E said he had nothing to do with the little leak, but be glad it was that kind of leak and not the other kind of leak. Big E mentioned conspiracy theory, so Truth said a conspiracy theory is that your lips don’t stay together when you say “touch” but they do when you say “separate.” It’s true! Anyway, Sami ripped on Big E saying his career has been treading water ever since he’s gone solo. Big E told Sami to keep playing and he’ll see him real soon.
Analysis: We found out later in the night that Big E will challenge Sami Zayn for the Intercontinental Title at Smackdown on Christmas this Friday. That will be taped on Tuesday when they tape Christmas Smackdown a few days early.
The video package aired to set up the Universal Title match between Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens, which has featured a lot of chairshots and vicious attacks with Reigns standing tall over Owens week after week while Owens refused to stay down.
Analysis: I thought that they would go on last, but after seeing what happened in the Orton/Fiend it does make sense why WWE would choose to end with that match.
The Universal Champion Roman Reigns was up first with his Special Counsel Paul Heyman joining him at ringside. As Reigns held up the title, the fireworks went off. The reason the champion entered first here is because they had to raise the title above the ring for this TLC match. It was also done because as the title was being raised, Kevin Owens attacked Reigns with punches before the bell rang! The bell rang at that point and the match began.
WWE Universal Championship Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match: Roman Reigns (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Kevin Owens
Owens was very aggressive as he beat on Reigns with punches and a cannonball against the turnbuckle. They went to the floor with Owens whipping Owens into the barricade and he hit another cannonball on Reigns on the floor. Owens hit a Frog Splash off the apron onto Reigns on the floor. Jey Uso ran down to the ring, so Owens was ready for him with a superkick. Reigns grabbed a steel chair that he used to hit Jey in the spine. Owens with a chair to Roman’s back as well. Jey went for a running kick, but Owens used a chair to hit the leg. Owens put the chair around Jey’s left ankle and Owens stomped on the chair on the left ankle to injure the left foot. There were referees checking on Jey and telling Owens to back off. Reigns took advantage of the situation to hit a running Drive By dropkick on the apron. Reigns slammed the hood of the announce table on Owens while Jey was helped to the back by WWE officials. Reigns used the steel steps to attack the shoulders of Owens and he slammed the steel steps onto KO’s chest repeatedly as well. Reigns got a hold of a ladder and beat on Owens with the ladder in the ring. Reigns grabbed a chair, Reigns hit KO in the back and then Reigns hit Owens with repeated chair jabs to the ribs. Reigns with another chair shot to the back. Reigns with an uppercut, Owens fought back going for a Powerbomb, but then Reigns countered with a back body drop onto two chairs that were open in a seated position. Reigns tried his first ladder climb of the night with Owens coming back with multiple chair shots to the back. Owens gave Reigns a Fisherman’s suplex onto a chair that was opened in the ring with Heyman doing a great job of having a shocked look on his face. Owens started his first climb of the match as he got his hand on the title, but there was Jey Uso limping into the ring and pulling Owens down. Cole complained about how it wasn’t fair. Owens beat on Jey for punches, which allowed Reigns to come back with a Superman Punch on Owens. Jey brought two tables into the ring with Graves saying that Jey was doing what he had to do while Cole noted that Jey was forced to do it because of what Roman has done to Jey in the past.
Reigns set up a table against the turnbuckle while the other table was set up in the ring. Owens kicked Jey, then kicks to Reigns, Owens sent Jey out of the ring and Owens hit a Stunner on Reigns to send him out of the ring. Owens left the ring where he picked up Jey and gave him a Popup Powerbomb on Jey through the table although it was more like a spinebuster. It’s the same kind of thing, though. Owens put part of the table on Jey and threw a leather chair onto the table that was on Jey. Back in the ring, Owens climbed to the top of the ladder with his hands on the title, but Reigns managed to get back on the other side of the ladder to stop Owens. Reigns did an eye gouge as both guys went down to the mat again. Reigns blocked a kick and hit a Powerbomb onto the ladder that led to Cole saying “spinebuster through the table” even though it was definitely a Powerbomb on a ladder. Cole misspoke there. Reigns slammed Owens back first onto the side of the ladder. They left the ring with Reigns picking up Owens and slamming him through a table with a Chokeslam like move. Reigns threw the leather chair onto Owens. Reigns picked up Owens on the floor and gave him a Samoan Drop through the table. Reigns slowly walked into the ring and then went towards the ladder leading to a slow climb, but the camera panned down to show that Owens was back in the ring hanging onto Roman’s pant leg. Reigns told KO that he was embarrassing his family, KO slapped Roman in the face and Reigns gave Owens a Spear through the table that was against the turnbuckle. Owens rolled to the floor after that. Owens told Reigns that he had to kill him to beat him. Reigns charged at Owens on the floor, but Owens moved and Reigns hit a running Spear into the barricade with Reigns breaking the barricade.
Owens got back in the ring for a climb, but Reigns was back in the ring and he got a hold of Owens to stop his climbing attempt. Owens with two superkicks, but then Reigns hit a Superman Punch to rock KO again. As Reigns ran the ropes, KO caught him and gave Reigns a Popup Powerbomb through the table that was in the ring. That was really well done with some big moves leading into the table bump. Owens climbed up the ladder again, KO got his hands on the title, but there was Jey Uso again to stop Owens from pulling the title down. Owens got back to the mat and gave Jey a Stunner to put him down. Owens climbed back up the ladder again, he reached up for the title and Reigns stopped Owens with a low blow punch to the groin. Reigns slapped on the Guillotine choke on top of the ladder while Jey was holding the bottom ladder to help balance it. KO’s body went limp as he passed out to the hold and KO landed on the mat. Reigns was near the top of the ladder as he reached up and grabbed the Universal Title to win the match. It went 24:45.
Winner: Roman Reigns
Analysis: ****1/2 This match was outstanding with Reigns looking like the dominant heel champion that he is, but Owens also got a lot of offense leading to several moments where it looked like he might win even though we all expected Reigns to win. The way this was booked was brilliant with so many hope spots for Owens where he looked like he was going to win at several different moments, but every time KO was close to winning, there was Reigns back up or Jey Uso was there as well. The fact that Jey kept interfering added to the story that Owens had to overcome a lot to try to win the title because he didn’t have to just beat Reigns, he had to survive Jey and KO was unable to do that, but he sure put up a fight. I thought Owens had an incredible performance in this match. I really liked how well this was booked and everybody did an awesome job here.
Reigns laid on the mat with the Universal Title while the announcers put over the performance of both men. They made the point that it took a low blow from Reigns to secure his title retention while KO had to fight off two men to try to win the match. As the replays aired, they highlighted that Reigns hit the low blow and had help from Jey to win the match. Reigns put his arm around cousin Jey as Roman held up the Universal Title as the winner of the match.
Analysis: On Monday morning, WWE announced that Reigns will face Owens again on Smackdown and this time it will be a Steel Cage match for the WWE Title.
There was a commercial for the Broken Skull Sessions interview with Steve Austin and guest WWE Champion Drew McIntyre. It’s on WWE Network on-demand now. I haven’t seen it yet, but I will check it out this week.
There was another commercial for the Royal Rumble on Sunday, January 31. That’s one week before the Super Bowl with no NFL games for that Sunday.
It was officially announced that Sami Zayn will defend the Intercontinental Championship against Big E on Smackdown this Friday on Christmas.
Analysis: That means WWE is having a WWE Title match and Intercontinental Title match on the Christmas edition of Smackdown. I think Big E might win the title there.
There was a video package for the Firefly Inferno Match between “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton. Cool video with Wyatt telling their story as if it was a fairytale.
The rules of the match were announced by ring announcer Mike Rome, who said that the only way to win this match is to light your opponent on fire.
Randy Orton made his entrance wearing an RKO jacket with a hoodie along with black jeans, which is what he wrestled in for this match. It made sense to wrestle in attire that covers your body more than usual. Orton had a very serious look on his face as the camera zoomed in on his eyes.
“The Fiend” Bray Wyatt made his entrance with the Wyatt lantern in his hands. It was the usual slow walk for The Fiend.
Analysis: It was noted by multiple reports that this match was taped earlier in the day on Sunday instead of doing it live just to make sure there were no issues with it. Since there are no fans at the shows, WWE is able to do stuff like that in order to present the best show possible. More power to them, I say.
Firefly Inferno Match: “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton
The regular lights were on rather than the dreaded red lights. There was not fire around the ring like an Inferno match. The fire was behind the barricade and other places around the ring. Orton with punches, Fiend no-sold a lot of them and then Fiend attacked Orton with punches of his own. Fiend went for Sister Abigail, Orton got out of that and hit a dropkick, but Fiend came back with a corner attack. Fiend hit a running cross body block and Orton came back with the modified backbreaker that he loves to use. Fiend got a hold of Orton and gave him the Sister Abigail neckbreaker with Orton rolling out of the ring. The Fiend raised his arms in the air as the fire was lit all around the ring with the fire behind the barricade in most cases. Orton was shaken by all the fire as The Fiend whipped Orton into the steel steps. Orton fought off The Fiend with punches, but Fiend came back with a clothesline on the floor. The Fiend got a leather strap, he lit it on fire, he charged at Orton and Orton moved to avoid the fiery attack. I should point out also that the announce table wasn’t at ringside because they had platforms with fire. Fiend grabbed a pickaxe from under the ring, but Orton moved to avoid that. Fiend whipped Orton into the ring post and then he sent Orton into the barricade. Fiend got a hold of a wooden rocking chair that he doused in gasoline while also pouring gasoline on the floor. Fiend whipped Orton into the steel steps. Fiend put Orton onto the rocking chair that had gasoline, Fiend pulled out a lighter and lit the floor that had gasoline, but Orton managed to get out of the way and the rocking chair was engulfed in flames. Fiend went for an attack with the steel steps, but Orton got an axehandle that he used to hit The Fiend’s body. Orton grabbed the steel steps leading to Orton hitting Fiend with the steps. Orton put a steel chain on his fist to beat on Fiend with punches along with some choking using the chain. Fiend fought Orton off. Back in the ring, Fiend caught Orton with a uranage slam along with the dreaded neck twist that Fiend does. Fiend dumped Orton out of the ring as I should note that there was a row of flames in the aisle. Fiend lit the axehandle on fire, he charged, but Orton kicked Fiend in the gut to stop him. Orton hit Fiend with the DDT off the apron onto the floor. Orton teased the RKO, Fiend gave him the Mandible Claw to counter and they were up against the flames that were part of a setup in the aisle, so The Fiend’s leather jacket was on fire along with parts of his pants. That means Randy Orton won the match at around 12:05.
Winner: Randy Orton
Analysis: **1/4 It’s tough to rate something like this because this is the kind of match that was more about the spectacle instead of putting on some great match that we’re going to remember forever. What we’ll remember out of this is that The Fiend on fire. We’re not going to remember the holds they did in the match. It was about the angle and that’s part of the reason why the match rating is low. Orton winning isn’t what I predicted, but I thought it was possible because it feels like the early stages of the feud and that will lead to Fiend winning when they have another match. They did the best they could in this environment with Orton using a lot of his signature moves during the match.
The Fiend went into the ring with his jacket still on fire along with parts of his pants. He charged at Orton, who dropped The Fiend with an RKO in the middle of the ring. The fire was out on The Fiend’s body at this point while Orton had a stunned look on his face as if he was wondering what he had done.
Orton went over to The Fiend and gently kicked him in the side as if to see if he was moving. Orton flipped The Fiend over with his foot. Orton had a sick look on his face as he grabbed the gasoline at ringside and the announcers used SERIOUS VOICES~! to talk about this.
Orton poured the gasoline all over The Fiend’s body as The Fiend laid in the ring with his arms out and he was motionless in the ring. Orton got a box of matches, he lit a match, the announcers were yelling that he shouldn’t do this and Orton tossed the match onto Bray’s body as Wyatt was on fire in the ring. The announcers were yelling “NO” while Orton left the ring and the flames around the ring were surging. Orton did his classic pose to end the show right there.
Analysis: That was a unique ending, unlike anything I have ever seen before. It was obviously a case of using some mannequin of sorts that they dressed up as Wyatt and since they can edit in a pre-tape match like this, they can make it look like something that was more legitimate. I’m not sure what’s next for The Fiend, but it’s likely some angle to give that character a break before he comes back for revenge against Orton. It’s something we would see with The Undertaker during his career many times and it even happened with Orton lighting him on fire (in a casket), so that’s kind of what they are going for here.
This event had a runtime of 2:59:53 on WWE Network.
Five Stars of the Show
- Kevin Owens - Lost the match, but he was the star of the show.
- Roman Reigns
- Drew McIntyre
- AJ Styles
- Charlotte Flair – Welcome back.
I’m going with a 7.75 out of 10 for this show.
I liked TLC a lot because there wasn’t a bad match on the show. It was six matches over three hours with both TLC matches getting a lot of time. Out of the two TLC matches, I liked Reigns vs. Owens quite a bit and thought it was one of the best matches in WWE this year. The constant interference by Jey Uso makes it look like a cheap win, which helps Owens and makes him look like a threat to Reigns. I was so impressed by KO here. It was one of the best performances of his career. Both TLC matches delivered in terms of memorable moments. I think the failed Money in the Bank cash-in attempt by Miz hurt the quality of the McIntyre/Styles match a bit, but it can also lead to another McIntyre/Styles match in the future, which I would like to see.
The Firefly Inferno Match with Randy Orton beating The Fiend wasn’t a great match by any means, but it was a spectacle with Orton setting him on fire after the match. That’s a visual that you don’t expect to see on a WWE show, yet there it was. The ending visual of The Fiend on fire is a memorable spot for sure and likely means he’ll be making some comeback in the future like we saw The Undertaker do many times in his career.
The other matches were all pretty good with Sasha Banks beating Carmella again in a competitive match. I liked seeing Hurt Business win tag team gold over New Day in a match that was under ten minutes (shorter than I thought), yet it was full of action. It’s nice to see Charlotte Flair back in action as the surprise partner of Asuka that went on to win the Women’s Tag Team Titles. Charlotte was expected in that spot and they had a solid match.
Overall, I thought TLC delivered a very good show. It was one of the best WWE PPVs of the years (third in my rankings).
I did well in the predictions for the show with every match right except I did not pick Randy Orton to beat The Fiend. I thought it might happen, though. That was the toughest match to predict.
My WWE PPV Rankings for 2020 looks like this:
Royal Rumble – 8
SummerSlam – 7.75
Tables, Ladders & Chairs – 7.75
Payback – 7.25
Survivor Series – 7.25
Clash of Champions – 7
Money in the Bank – 6.75
Hell in a Cell – 6.75
WrestleMania 36 - 6.25
Backlash – 6
Elimination Chamber – 6
The Horror Show at Extreme Rules – 5.75
Super Showdown – 3