It’s the latest in WWE’s attempt to saturate the market with special events as the “Worldwide Leader in Sports Entertainment” presents TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs. That means a lot of props being tossed around and broken.
The main show begins at 8 p.m. on the WWE Network (and on pay-per-view, too, I would guess), with the pre-show starting at 7 p.m.
The show is a SmackDown! Live exclusive, which should be fun, as I haven’t watched SmackDown! Live in a while. But the main event should be a fun match and we should start to see the direction the roster will head towards for the Royal Rumble next month.
American Alpha, The Hype Bros and Apollo Crews vs. The Vaudevillains, The Ascension and Curt Hawkins: It’s the “Battle of Who Could Care Less,” apparently, with 10 guys who the SmackDown! booking team don’t seem to bother with. Which, in the case of American Alpha, is a shame. They really deserve better after the run they had on NXT. The match was a typical 10-man cluster designed to give everyone some time with big spots, but it doesn’t really mean anything, because WWE won’t capitalize on anything from the match. Thankfully, American Alpha’s Chad Gable gets the win and it hopefully leads to a push for the team going into the new year. Hell, I’d settle for getting Alpha on the main pay-per-views in the new year. Otherwise, this match was completely pointless.
The Main Show:
Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt vs. Heath Slater and Rhyno (c) – Tag Team Title Match: Things I don’t understand: (1) Rhyno and Slater as tag team champs; (2) Orton as a Wyatt; (3) Orton and Wyatt challenging for the tag team titles. I just can’t buy the champs as any kind of threat against main eventers Orton and Wyatt. Luke Harper on the outside takes a spear from Rhyno, who eats an RKO…. OUTTA NOWHERE… from Orton, to give the titles to the New Wyatt Family. Might as well have been a squash for how quickly the match was over. I can only assume this ends with an Orton-Wyatt match at WrestleMania, but for now we have a fairly formidable team at the top of SmackDown. American Alpha could get a nice bump by beating them…
Carmella vs. Nikki Bella – No Disqualification: Carmella has been randomly attacking Nikki Bella since Bella returned from injury, so this should blow off a three-month feud between the two. Carmella is probably the worst of the NXT call-ups on the women’s side of things, and putting her in the ring with the oft-injured Bella seems like a bad idea. A no-DQ match is supposed to hide the shortcomings of the people in the match with some overbooking, but the emphasis on the countout rule being in effect was a bit weird. Especially since the ref didn’t seem to enforce it the whole way through the match. Bella incapacitated Carmella by spraying her with a fire extinguisher before hitting her finisher for the win.
After the match, Carmella tells Bella that Natalya attacked her at Survivor Series, which is really no surprise for anyone who watched that show.
Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz (c) – Ladder Match for the WWE Intercontinental Title: They said this was the final meeting between these two, who have traded the Intercontinental Title back and forth the last few months. The two sons of Cleveland have a good amount of chemistry with each other, but they have fought WAY too much in a variety of matches. The more interesting feud is between The Miz and SmackDown! authority figure Daniel Bryan, who unfortunately can’t get in the ring himself. Miz used the ladder to destroy Ziggler’s leg, including a unique figure-four leglock spot with Ziggler’s leg wrapped inside the ladder. And then, of course, Miz twists his knee when he falls from hanging by the title. So both guys hobbled towards the end of the match. Miz kicks Ziggler in the crotch twice while on top of the ladder to knock Ziggler down and grab the title to retain.
Another good match between the two, but I really don’t want to see another one any time soon. Hopefully, they both move on to something new.
Kalisto vs. Baron Corbin – Chairs Match: Baron Corbin cost Kalisto the Cruiserweight Title at Survivor Series, meaning he also cost SmackDown! the cruiserweight division. Chairs are legal here in what is not one of your classic match types. Kalisto hits a seated senton on Corbin through a half-dozen chairs for a two count and I lose all interest in the match. That’s something that should have ended the match. Corbin eventually hits End of Days on Kalisto on a bed of chairs for the win in a match that went way too long.
Alexa Bliss vs. Becky Lynch (c) – Tables Match for the SmackDown! Women’s Title: The women on Raw get most of the attention as far as the main roster goes, but the women in the SmackDown! title match are pretty high quality. And the WWE allowing the women to be in a specialty match like this, and the Raw match at Hell in a Cell, is a definite change from even just a couple of years ago. Bliss managed to leverage Becky through a table set up outside with a power bomb for the win and the title after a better back-and-forth than the first women’s match tonight. I’m not sure putting the title on Bliss was the right move, but I assume Becky will be looking for a rematch somewhere down the line. If Nikki Bella is moving to a feud with Natalya, I don’t think there’s any other credible challenger for Bliss other than the now-former champ. The SmackDown! women’s division still pales in comparison to Raw.
Dean Ambrose vs. AJ Styles (c) – TLC Match for the WWE World Title: AJ Styles has easily been the MVP of WWE for 2016, having a series of great matches with everyone since debuting in the “big leagues” at the Royal Rumble in January. I don’t really get the point of “mascot” James Ellsworth, the chinless wonder, but it seems to be over. And Ambrose seems to be having fun out there with Styles, which definitely translates into some fun matches. The TLC match here was an intense brawl with both guys going all out. “The Phenomenal One” has manages to raise Ambrose’s game, which he amazingly also managed to do when he went up against the other former Shield member, Roman Reigns, earlier this year. Styles’ springboard 450 splash onto Ambrose through the table on the outside was a ridiculous spot, but it looked so cool. Of course, then there’s Ellsworth. Instead of ending the match, Styles goes after Ellsworth, giving Ambrose a chance to recover and slam Styles onto the steel steps with Dirty Deeds. With Styles on the outside and Ambrose about to grab the title, Ellsworth turned on Ambrose and tipped him off the ladder and through MORE tables, giving Styles a chance to climb the ladder and retain the title.
Maybe Ellsworth, guaranteed a title shot after pinning Styles, wanted the guy he’s beaten before to keep the title. Or, it’s just another wacky swerve. I’m sure it will all be explained Tuesday night on SmackDown! Live.
Final Thoughts: Good show, with nothing really offensive. The main event was good, but slightly diminished by the chinless ending. Definitely worth a watch, and will probably be better than the Raw show later this month, Roadblock.