What we learned from WWE TLC 2014
After one of the best years ever for WWE pay-per-views, the company ended things with a whimper.
Cleveland hosted Sunday night’s pay-per-view, the cumbersomely-named WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs … and Stairs, the last major event for the company in 2014. It was a thoroughly average PPV and suffered even more from coming just a few days after NXT TakeOver, which was one of the company’s best events of the year (if not of the past few).
January will bring us the Royal Rumble, which begins the Road to WrestleMania, the best time of the year to be a wrestling fan. But I suppose we have to talk about last night first, don’t we? Let’s get to it, then.
The New Day def. Goldust & Stardust
On the kickoff show, Big E and Kofi Kingston of The New Day picked up the victory in a just-sort-of-there match in front of a mildly-interested crowd.
What we learned: Both of these teams are going nowhere fast. The live crowds largely don’t care about The New Day and they’re rapidly losing interest in cheering for Goldust & Stardust, who has all the momentum and support in the world just a few short months ago. Now they’re losing match after match against a stream of tag teams the WWE has no idea what to do with. It’s a shame. Everyone had a lot of promise a little while ago. Now they’re on a sad treadmill in the sad, nearly-nonexistent tag team division.
Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match: Dolph Ziggler def. Luke Harper (c)
Opening things up with a bang, hometown boy Dolph Ziggler finally prevailed over Luke Harper to once again become the Intercontinental Champion. These guys absolutely killed each other. Harper nearly broke his arm with a dive and both men got busted open by ladders. The rest of the PPV was largely downhill from here
What we learned: As expected, these two went all out and wowed us in what was easily the match of the night. The crowd (especially his home crowd) continues to love Dolph Ziggler more than just about anything else. It will be interesting to see where both men go from here, as there really isn’t anything for Ziggler to do or prove as a mid-tier champion and Harper could do a lot more with the belt at this point. Hopefully they don’t continue to tread water and/or make us sad.
Tag Team Championship Match: The Usos def. The Miz & Damien Mizdow (c)
The Usos won by disqualification when The Miz hit one of the Usos with a Slammy Award. Due to the champions’ advantage, the titles did not change hands.
What we learned: Damien Mizdow continues to become more and more popular, which will make his eventual split with The Miz all the more exciting. Their feud with the Usos will obviously continue after this non-finish. It’s just as well, because these are the only two teams in the tag division that anyone takes even halfway seriously at this point.
Stairs Match: Big Show def. Erick Rowan
The world’s largest athlete picked up the win after a knockout punch. Stairs were involved.
What we learned: Both of these big men did indeed hoss up and beat the hell out of each other, but like so much else on this card, the overall effect was plodding and didn’t really mean much of anything. Maybe they’ll both move onto other opponents, maybe they’ll have a rematch at the Royal Rumble. Ultimately, it’s just another meaningless win for Big Show and gives fans no real reason to care about Rowan.
Sorry if this review is overly negative for me. I don’t mean to be like this. I just keep wanting to watch NXT instead.
Tables Match: John Cena (c) def. Seth Rollins
This match — which was thankfully not the main event — featured an untoward amount of shenanigans, including rampant interference from Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury, the match restarting after three referees couldn’t determine who went through a table first, Big Show interfering and Roman Reigns returning to assist John Cena, who was handily defeated four men with little difficulty before Reigns walked in through the crowd to punch Big Show.
What we learned: John Cena is never in danger of losing a match. Even when four people are attacking him and referees are knocked out and someone is blasting him with a flamethrower and a million Lilliputians are tying him to the ground, it’s okay, because the only other guy in the company who never loses will descend from the heavens on a winged flaming pegasus and smite everyone with a flaming sword and John Cena will win.
In theory, I’m excited for Cena vs. Lesnar IV at the Royal Rumble. They just could have skipped this step and saved us all a lot of frustration and eye-rolling.
Divas Championship Match: Nikki Bella (c) def. AJ Lee
After Brie Bella distracted the referee, Nikki Bella sprayed hairspray in AJ Lee’s eyes to blind her and get the pin to retain the title.
What we learned: The WWE needs to bring up a bunch of NXT women, fast. Nikki is fine. AJ Lee is good. The rest of the Divas division is just a perpetual motion machine. Things need to be shaken up in the worst possible way. There are a half-dozen ridiculously talented women who need to be brought up to feud with the various cast members of Total Divas. I’ll keep holding my breath.
Chairs Match: Ryback def. Kane
In a surprisingly hard-hitting match, Ryback picked up the win after hitting Kane will Shell Shocked. The crowd was getting ice cream treats during this match, I think.
What we learned: This was the definition of a placeholder feud for two men who have absolutely nothing to do, but WWE still wants them on TV. At least this had one perfect, phenomenal moment, when Kane straight-up threw a chair at Ryback and it hit him right in the face. It was wonderful.
United States Championship Match: Rusev (c) def. Jack Swagger
Rusev won a short match after he forced Jack Swagger to tap out with the Accolade. It’s almost like we’ve seen this before! ALMOST.
What we learned: Rusev probably isn’t losing until WrestleMania. Will he lose to John Cena at WrestleMania? Who knows? He has run through basically everyone else on the roster, to the point where they’re running him through guys a second time.
Also, a big “no thanks” to Jerry Lawler, who tried to diss Lana by saying, “You know how women are: they always need to get the last word in!” Don’t ask Lawler his opinions on women drivers, or how long women take to get ready to go out. You have places to be.
TLC Match: Bray Wyatt def. Dean Ambrose
The main event ended after this happened:
Bray Wyatt took advantage of Dean Ambrose being nearly electrocuted (in wrestling storyline terms) to hit the Sister Abigail for the pinfall.
What we learned: These two got the main event, which they deserved, but for some reason, the match ended like … that. It wasn’t even a child with a demon voice, or a spooooooky hologram. It was a malfunctioning television set. That’s how the main event of the last PPV of the year ended. It was a really good, brutal match up until then, as well. TLC ended on a baffling note, which was just as well, given the build-up to this lackluster PPV.
It’s really a shame. An absolute shame, since every other PPV this year that looked bad on paper ended up drastically exceeding expectations. This was the only true flop of 2014. What a bummer.
Bring on the Road to WrestleMania.