WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs: Every Match Ranked

That’s a wrap on WWE Pay-Per-Views for 2020, and you know what? I think it’d been a bloody good year for the project on the whole. Sure, it’s far from the best year WWE has ever had, and weekly TV has rarely been anything to shout about, but their PPV output has been consistently great. I don’t usually do a PPV ranking, but I think it’d be fun to look back on WWE in 2020 come January.

That said, I can definitely see how this show may not have been to everyone’s taste, as much as I enjoyed it. However, the one thing you can’t deny is there’s no way we’re going to forget about it anytime soon, which is more than can be said for a lot of WWE PPVs, even the good ones.

Still, even on a good show like this, not everything was excellent, so let’s get ranking.

7 – Daniel Bryan, Big E, Otis & Chad Gable def. Baron Corbin, Sami Zayn, Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura

I mean, it’s an 8-man tag match that was announced two hours before the show and went less than 10 minutes, what do you want me to say?

Quite simply, it’s 8 men who could easily main event any show, any place, any time if they were invested in properly…and Otis. However, given how little time they had and how it was just a match for the sake of a match (something Vince apparently hates, but whatever).

It was ok, but I don’t care.

6 – Randy Orton def. The Fiend Bray Wyatt
(Firefly Inferno)

This match was either great or terrible, depending on what aspects you want to focus on.

As a wrestling match, it was trash. Most of the spots were quite contrived, and there was basically no actual wrestling action to speak of. This is fine for the story they were trying to tell, but the booking was so weird that I’m not sure it really makes up for it. As much as I wanted The Fiend to win, I can see past the fact that he didn’t, but to have the show end on such a shocking, yet somehow downbeat note was odd. Orton lit The Fiend on fire, presumably killing him…Orton posed for some reason and…that’s it, fade to black. It felt like there should’ve been some form of final exclamation point on the whole thing. After all, every horror movie ends with the revelation that the killer is still alive.

All of that said, as a visual spectacle, it was incredible. From the moment The Fiend summoned the fire, it was quite the rollercoaster ride. Yes, the spots were contrived, but when they looked as cool as some of them did, who the hell cares? The trail of fire leading to Orton sitting in the rocking chair was brilliant, and the final spot of The Fiend attacking Orton despite still being on fire was great.

As for where Bray goes from here, I honestly have no idea. I hope this means we don’t see The Fiend for a while now, maybe Bray could believe he’s ‘free’ of The Fiend for a while before slowly falling back into his grasp. That’s just one idea though, and Bray’s an extremely creative man, so I’m sure he’ll be able to spin something interesting from it.

Like I said in the intro, maybe not the best match ever, but it was certainly memorable.

5 – Asuka & Charlotte Flair def. Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler(c)
(Women’s Tag Team Championships)

I guess now we have to sit around and wait for a sudden but inevitable betrayal, yet again.

As much as an NXT call-up would’ve been more exciting, bringing Charlotte back now is the right move. While I’ve been the first to blame WWE’s booking for the horrible state the Raw women’s division is currently in, it’s hard to deny that they’ve been lacking a certain quantity of star power (that wouldn’t be a problem if they actually invested in some of the mid-card women for more than three weeks at a time, but whatever). Hopefully, having Charlotte back will give the division more focus on TV week-to-week, and we can get back to how great Asuka was over the summer.

This match was a lot of fun. This is one of those cases where this is only ranked low because other matches were better, not because this one was in any way bad. As weird as it is for Asuka & Charlotte to suddenly be hugging and friendly, I’m willing to let it slide to see where the story goes, which has surely got to be a Mania match between the two. As much as I wish Jax & Baszler would be able to continue their reign, I highly doubt this is the end of their run. Asuka & Charlotte have got to break-up at some point, and I would expect they’ll regain the titles in the wake of that.

Either way, these teams had great chemistry, and Charlotte was able to slide right back into a spot where it felt like she belonged. Thumbs up from me.

4 – Sasha Banks(c) def. Carmella
(Smackdown Women’s Championship)

See? I told you Carmella was a good wrestler if you gave her a chance.

This match wasn’t perfect. In fact, I thought it started a bit dull, however, once they hit about the midpoint, business really picked up. From there, this was an entertaining back-and-forth match that played to the strength of both women. Carmella made Banks look vulnerable at several points without necessarily out-wrestling her, while Banks played the opportunist, taking advantage of every opening Carmella gave her. Carmella was able to translate her new persona into a match very well, and the one spot of outside interference came at just the right moment to help the match.

My only real issue is where Carmella goes from here. It wouldn’t surprise me if they went for another match between these two, but given that the Royal Rumble is on the horizon, it wouldn’t surprise me if the title isn’t even defended on that show. There have just been so many cases where WWE immediately get bored of a rejuvenized character, and within a couple months they become just another face in the crowd. Truthfully, I don’t want that to happen to anyone, but Carmella has so much promise right now that I hope they find something good to do with her away from the title.

Sasha, meanwhile, is on a roll and will continue to be on that roll until at least Wrestlemania. If she’s going to keep putting on matches like this one, then I’m definitely ok with that.

3 – The Hurt Business def. The New Day(c)
(Raw Tag Team Championships)

A brilliant match that needed more time than it got.

This is one of those instances, like New Day & Usos, where these guys just clicked in the ring. They played with the standard tag team match tropes, but never lingered on anything for too long, and once the action got going, it never stopped. Unsurprisingly, Cedric Alexander was a huge boon to the action, and his sequences against Kofi were undoubtedly my favourite of the whole the match. The others still pulled their weight though, with Benjamin pulling out arguably his best performance since his WWE return.

The only real downside here was the fact that the match only got 10 minutes. I really enjoyed what I saw, but when it ended, I felt like it wasn’t enough. I’m confident that this feud is far from over and that’s a good thing because I absolutely want more from these two teams. If WWE let those guys go out there and wrestle for 15-20 minutes, I think we could easily be looking at a match of the year contender that sky-rockets the stock of everyone in The Hurt Business.

Speaking of, as much as I predicted The New Day, I’m glad The Hurt Business won, and I think it was the right call. New Day aren’t going to suffer from any loss they take and right now. The Hurt Business are the hot property at the moment. I look forward to seeing what they can do with the gold and how it helps all of them out long-term.

2 – Drew McIntyre(c) def. AJ Styles & The Miz
(WWE Championship)
(Tables, Ladders & Chairs)

In my predictions, I was cautiously optimistic about this match. I worried slightly that the stipulation would hold the match back, but I trusted the two performers involved to pull out a great one, and I was not disappointed.

It took a little while to grab my attention, but once I’d settled into the match, I had a very good time. To the surprise of no-one, Drew & AJ had great chemistry in the ring, and they made good use of the stipulation. WWE seems to finally be able to strike a balance between weapons being an essential factor in the match, without completely throwing everything else out of the window. The match built nicely to its climax, even though that climax ended up being quite the curveball.

There are ups and downs to The Miz cashing in. On the downside, it’s yet another year that the Money in the Bank contract has been utterly wasted. Out of the past four years, only one of the men’s Money in the Bank holders has won the title, and even then, it wasn’t great. 2016 was the last great cash-in that actually meant something, and by now the contract feels hugely devalued. However, in a bubble, it was great and made this match way more exciting. It’s always been hard to make convincing false finishes in matches like this, but they pulled it off here. With the constant up and down of people on ladders, there were points when I genuinely believed all three men were about to win.

Ultimately, Drew retaining was the right move. After the reports from Raw, I was worried they were going to hot-shot the title to boost the ratings, but thankfully that wasn’t the case, and we still have the strong champion we all love.

1 – Roman Reigns(c) def. Kevin Owens
(Universal Championship)
(Tables, Ladders & Chairs)

Maybe the best one-on-one TLC match ever.

This match was structured so well. Most matches that I love gradually speed up as they go on. The slower starts lead to frantic and nail-biting conclusions, but this match did the opposite. This match started at a breakneck pace, with Owens bringing all kinds of fury to the fight, it got me pumped and invested immediately so that I didn’t lose interest when the match gradually slowed down. It’s such a simple technique, and yet the gradual deceleration of the pace gave the whole thing a fierce feeling to it and told the story of these two guys trying to destroy each other excellently.

The action was great too. Once again, weapons were used to enhance the match, rather than completely focusing on them. With Drew/AJ, as much as I liked it, I still felt it would’ve been better as a regular singles match, however, with this match, I felt that the hardcore stipulation was an integral part of the story being this good. Uso’s involvement felt a bit bullshit at some point, but it aided in telling the story and softened the impact of Owens losing. Even though Reigns retained (which I maintain was the right call) Owens looked like a such a hero from his performance here thanks to how he kept getting back up after going through table after table and only falling short thank to his opponent’s underhanded tactics.

I have no idea if there are any long-term plans for Owens here (I’m not optimistic), but he is now in so much of a better position than he was going into December, it would be a shame not to capitalize on it in some way.

And there you have it! Thank you very much for taking the time to read this review. Please, let me know what you thought of the show, either in the comment below or on Twitter @10ryawoo. Finally, make sure to come back here this time on Saturday, where I’ll be running down my favourite WWE matches from 2020!

WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs 2020: Predictions & Analysis

Hey, remember Survivor Series? No, me neither.

I always find myself far less excited for TLC than I do most other Pay-Per-Views, and this time I don’t think it’s WWE’s fault. I honestly like the look of the card, especially the two world title matches, I think it’s just a time of year where I care a lot less about a WWE PPV. Not only is it almost Christmas, but the Royal Rumble is only about a month away, and I’m far more excited thinking about that than I am about a bunch of predictable title retentions. It’s times like this where I really begin to think that a PPV every month isn’t always the best idea, at least, from a storytelling standpoint.

Either way, there are matches, I have opinions, so let’s get predicting.

The New Day(c) vs The Hurt Business
(Raw Tag Team Championships)

Wait a minute, this isn’t Street Profits vs Andrade & Garza…I didn’t even know such a thing was possible.

Speaking more seriously, I’ve actually been vaguely enjoying this feud. The New Day are The New Day, even without Big E, and even when they’re given fairly crap promos, they still sell it well. Meanwhile, The Hurt Business are actually quite fun to watch when they’re not squashing Retribution for no apparent reason. They have a kind of serious aura surrounding them, and MVP can sell them fantastically. Not to mention, this is the first PPV title match in ages for both Benjamin & Alexander.

As long as WWE resist the temptation to overbook this, I think we might be in for a treat with this one. The New Day’s wrestling ability has never been in any doubt, and as much as it’s been easy to forget, Alexander is an outstanding technical wrestler. Admittedly, I’ve not been wowed by Benjamin since his return, but the guy is no slouch so who knows? Maybe this will be the performance that reminds us all how great he can be.

It’s weird, I joked in the intro about the title matches all being quite predictable, but this is the one exception. I could honestly see this going either way. The Hurt Business have been on a roll since Lashley won the US title and there’s definitely some good that could come from them holding a bunch of championships like this. That said, it’s hard to bet against The New Day. As I’ve said before they are the ‘default’ setting for the tag division, and there’s certainly nothing to be lost from having them continue to hold the titles.

Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler(c) vs Asuka & ???
(Women’s Tag Team Championships)

So…we’re not getting a payoff to the Lana thing? I really don’t get WWE’s attitude towards her. We keep hearing reports that people backstage really like her and see her as a potential top star, but they never actually let her wrestle, or even finish a story. Either way, it gives us a good old ‘mystery partner’ situation, and those are always fun.

I really don’t like Asuka’s booking of late. Ever since Summerslam, she’s felt like such a non-factor in the Raw women’s division, and that doesn’t seem right for the woman who was one of the main highlights of WWE during the spring & summer. I get that WWE doesn’t have the deepest women’s division out there right now, but was there seriously no-one they could build up as a contender for Asuka’s title? They sleep on people like Peyton Royce & Dana Brooke then feel the need to do weird storylines like this because ‘there are no credible stars’. It just seems like a problem they made for themselves.

Still, the mystery partner, who is it? The way I see it, there are two main possibilities. Firstly, there’s the woman who has been weirdly absent from TV for a considerable chunk of this year for seemingly no reason at all, which is Charlotte Flair. For someone who fans apparently say they ‘shove down our throats’, they’ve had absolutely nothing for her since she lost the NXT title. Reintroducing her here just before we head into Wrestlemania season would undoubtedly be a good call. I’d be down for Asuka vs Charlotte 2. Other than that…I guess it could be Rhea Ripley? She’s felt like she’s had one foot out of the door of NXT for half the year, and it’s not like the NXT women’s division need her anymore with all the talent they’re holding. Raw would definitely benefit from her presence.

Either way, I think Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler are going to retain, which is why I’m leaning towards Charlotte Flair as the mystery partner. If it’s Ripley, then you risk her looking bad if she immediately loses, unless she does some massive swerve. However, if it’s Charlotte then you can easily create a story of her not getting on with Asuka and losing because of that, not to mention, this kind of loss wouldn’t hurt her in the slightest.

The Fiend Bray Wyatt vs Randy Orton
(Firefly Inferno)

My excitement for this match depends on a couple of things.

Firstly, if this is going to be a pre-recorded match, then I’m all-in on it. WWE has knocked it out of the park with those kinds of matches this year, and I’d be thrilled to see another one come our way on Sunday. However, if this is just a regular inferno match with a fancy name, then count me out. I didn’t think this was going to be much of a classic in terms of the action, but if it’s an inferno match, then all of that goes even deeper into the bin. It remains to be seen, but those are my thoughts on the stipulation.

As for the story, I think it’s got a decent amount of legs. The Fiend seems to wildly switch his focus between winning titles and writing Bray Wyatt’s wrongs, but I definitely think that these kinds of stories are better. The match between Orton and Wyatt at Mania 33 may have been a stinker, but the story building up to it was some mental fun, and this has been no different. It’s been interesting to see such a brutal character like Orton be put on the back foot like this. All year he’s been the one dominating his opponents in the build, so a shift in dynamic was the right choice.

I’m a little torn on this one because I think this might not be the only match in this feud. I know the Royal Rumble is next month, and Orton will probably be in that, but I just can’t shake the feeling that this is a multi-month feud. Either way, I’m going with The Fiend Bray Wyatt to win. The Fiend always wins these gimmick matches of his, and I don’t see what could be gained from Orton winning. Orton has reached the status where he can believably square off with anyone regardless of his recent history, as where The Fiend is WAY more fragile, and definitely shouldn’t be losing these kinds of matches.

Sasha Banks(c) vs Carmella
(Smackdown Women’s Championship)

So a lot is going on here, and I’m not sure how much of it I enjoy.

Firstly, I’m glad Carmella’s back, and I’m glad they’re treating her like a credible threat again. As much as her face persona was a lot of fun, it seemed to be artificially limiting her, but now the image of her riding R-Truth’s back as he’s chased by half the locker room is far from my mind when I see her. The problem, though, is I’m not sure how far this can go, at least not in the immediate future. While I don’t like to be blunt, there’s no way Carmella is winning this, and what does she do once Sasha is done with her? I assume we’re going to get at least one more month of this feud, but WWE has never been great at booking their women’s mid-card.

Those concerns aside, I think this could be a really good match. I know Carmella is never really in the conversation for the best women’s wrestlers right now, but I think she’s better than many believe. With this fresh injection of a new persona too, we could be in for quite the treat of the match. As I said though, Sasha Banks is definitely walking away with the title. It’s possible Carmella could get a cheap DQ win or something, but there’s no way anyone is taking that title from Banks before Mania.

Roman Reigns(c) vs Kevin Owens
(Universal Championship)
(Tables, Ladders & Chairs)

I love matches like this. They’re the kind of feuds that I never would’ve thought of if you’d ask me what I wanted to see, but now it’s been presented to me, I’m really looking forward to seeing it.

Roman has been perfect since his return, and this feud is no exception. The attitude with which he carries himself makes him the most hatable person in the world and having Paul Heyman at his side only boosts his aura of indestructibility. As such, it makes him the perfect opponent for Owens’ current character. He’s a little removed now from his anti-authority persona, but he still carries that rebellious edge that you just can’t help but love, he’s the kind of person who always speaks so genuinely, and it really resonates with me.

I’m also very excited about the match. As with any WWE gimmick match, there is a possibility that it leans too heavily on the gimmicks and ruin it, but all of the gimmick matches over the past few months have struck a good balance, so I have faith. On top of that, I think a weapon focus might be beneficial to this one. Reigns’ current style is ferocious, and Owens’ build makes him the perfect tough-guy to put in a barbaric match like TLC. Not to mention, Owens has been more than happy to take some crazy bumps in the past, so I think that there’s a high probability that this will be the match we’re all raving about come Monday.

As much as I’d like this one to be a bit more of a toss-up, Roman Reigns is going to win, because it’s Roman Reigns. That’s not the insult it perhaps was a few years ago though, Roman is the perfect guy to sit at the top of the ladder on Smackdown right now, and I would be thrilled to see his title reign go on well into 2021. It’s a shame because I really like Owens, but Roman’s just the right guy to go with at the moment.

Drew McIntyre(c) vs AJ Styles
(WWE Championship)
(Tables, Ladders & Chairs)

Ever since Drew first won that title, this was the feud I’ve been waiting to see. It’s no secret these days that Styles can have a good match with just about anyone, and there’s something about these two guys that just clicks in my head.

Despite being one of the biggest ‘indie’ darlings in history, Styles has always seemed to fare far better as a heel in WWE than a face, at least from a character perspective. When he talks as a face, I don’t always get behind him (his title reign through 2018 was a great example of this) but when he talks as a heel, I always listen, and I always find him annoying and despicable in precisely the right way. Meanwhile, Drew has recovered excellently from his Survivor Series loss to the point where you’d barely even remember it happened. After the feud with Randy Orton for so long, it feels like a breath of fresh air to see him free to do something new, with someone exciting.

As before, there’s a risk that they lean too heavily on the gimmick here, but I’m optimistic. Styles is one hell of an innovative competitor, and Drew can definitely keep pace with him if they want to go for a faster match. The in-ring styles of these two can be quite different at times, but I think the quality of this match will come from how both men adapt to the other, especially with weapons involved.

However, I find myself once again faced with a straightforward decision when it comes to picking the winner. While I don’t think it’s entirely impossible that Styles could win the title as a surprise, I definitely think Drew McIntyre to retain is the far safer bet. He only won the title back recently and is coming off of a significant loss to Roman, not to mention that all of the current dirt sheets are reporting that all talks for Wrestlemania have Drew going in as champion. Not to mention, I really like Drew, and I want him to hold that title for as long as possible.

WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs 2019: Every Match Ranked

And with that, the last WWE Pay-Per-View is in the books and…meh.

I just felt a bit deflated watching this show, there were some highlights and I’ll get to those, but at least 75% of this show was just a bit dull. I’ll elaborate as I break down each of the matches, but this is absolutely going to be a show that is well and truly forgotten by the time the new year rolls around.

Let’s take a look at the match then, shall we?

8 – King Corbin def. Roman Reigns
(Tables, Ladders & Chairs)

BORED.

I honestly have nothing to say about this match. It wasn’t even bad in some weird or interesting way, it was just a completely and boringly average match from start to finish. The action was predictable WWE affair and as I mentioned in my predictions, Corbin is not the kind of wrestler that Reigns gels well with.

On top of that, there’s the fact that The Revival have gone back to being Corbin’s lackeys which is fine I guess but given the number of times we’ve seen it this year, I can’t help but not care. Looking back at how Roman Reigns has been booked since his return, it makes me wonder if WWE think that if they have Roman lose basically every feud he’s in all year, we won’t all be mad when he wins the Royal Rumble, because that’s pretty much the only explanation I can come up with to justify Corbin winning this close to Wrestlemania season.

7 – Bobby Lashley def. Rusev
(Tables Match)

BOOOOOREEEED.

Once again, it’s another bog-standard and extremely boring WWE weapons match, that was arguably even further hampered by having to force a bunch of “almost” table spots every 2 minutes. The reason I’m ranking it above Roman & Corbin is that I thought that in the opening few minutes before the weapons came out, these two actually had some pretty good chemistry as two hosses that were trying to destroy each other. Unfortunately it mostly just made me wish we could’ve had a normal match instead of these tacked on gimmicks.

I highly doubt this is the end of the feud though and I think that might be to its benefit since I’d actually quite like to see a regular match between these two as it’s clear they’ve got some heat behind this story. WWE do have a New Year’s episode to stack after all.

6 – The Kabuki Warriors(c) def. Becky Lynch & Charlotte Flair
(Women’s Tag Team Championships)
(Tables, Ladders & Chairs)

I REALLY wanted to like this match, I even watched it back this morning to make sure it wasn’t my tiredness that was ruining it for me, but it just wasn’t good.

It opened really strong, there were some quick spots with the weapons and a nice amount of actions that gave the match a big-fight feel. I especially liked the large amounts of tandem offence on both teams, it made a big deal out of Becky & Charlotte teaming together, which I don’t think had been done nearly enough on TV in the build to this match.

Unfortunately, around-about the half-way point of the match, it just STOPPED. The competitors would take over a minute to set up almost every spot and the resulting spot was never worth it, they stopped literally everything at one point so Asuka & Kairi could have a whole conversation and then fumble around with a ladder for what felt like an eternity. That whole segment completely lost me and the match did nothing to win me back from that point onwards which is such a disappointment, especially when you consider how good the triple threat TLC between Asuka, Becky & Charlotte was last year.

I’m overjoyed that Asuka & Kairi got a clean win and the performance made Kairi feel like a big deal for the first time since coming to Raw & Smackdown, but I didn’t have fun watching this match at all, so it’s got to get a low ranking.

5 – The Viking Raiders(c) vs The OC ended in a double countout
(Raw Tag Team Championships)

Oh. They went for the extremely obvious yet extremely underwhelming options then…FIINE.

Admittedly predicting The Usos to show up here was a bit of wishful thinking, but given what match we ended up getting I feel justified in wanting it. As I’ve gotten used to in recent years with WWE, this match was just fine. I don’t have any problems with it, but I also don’t have even the slightest shred of interest in it.

…At least that’s what I thought until the match ended in a double countout, meaning we’re going to be getting this on the Royal Rumble pre-show next month. So I guess I’ll see you next month when I cover this match again!

4 – Bray Wyatt def. The Miz

So here we have an absolutely fantastic bout of story-telling that we very rarely see from WWE and a match that didn’t quite click for me.

I liked the idea of Bray just letting Miz beat the life out of him, but I don’t think they went about it in quite the right way. The way Bray kept trying to break through but got countered made it seem like Bray was actually trying to get offence in, but Miz was outmanoeuvring him, I would’ve instead preferred it if Bray was voluntarily offering himself up to be beaten up by The Miz. That said, the main story beats still landed as intended and I’d love to see Bray wrestle as the funhouse character more often just to see more of this.

What happened after the match was great too, we finally got the idea that The Fiend really is a separate entity to Bray and things got genuinely creepy when Bray looked up at The Fiend and laughed “Ok, I’ll do it”. I’m not entirely sure why Michael Cole was so shocked by the mallet when it was at least the third time he’s seen it, but that’s beside the point. The return of Daniel Bryan is something I’ll always be in favour of and this feud now feels like it’s got some real heat behind it, so I’m looking forward to the coming month of TV between these two.

Like I said, the match itself was nothing special, but the story was definitely the main focus and that absolutely worked.

3 – The New Day(c) def. The Revival
(Smackdown Tag Team Championships)
(Ladder)

Oh…to be honest, this was one of the few matches I was optimistic about going into the show.

I have no idea why, but this match just didn’t click with me. It ended up similarly to the main event in that it started out well, (very well, in fact, that’s why I’ve ranked it so much higher) but around the mid-point, it just totally lost me. Things started to slow down and I was ok with it, but then there were a solid 2 minutes of Big E wandering around the ring doing pretty much nothing and the whole match just fell apart from that point onwards.

There were flickers of excitement, almost all of which were thanks to Kofi but the finish felt extremely awkward, with Scott Dawson just kind of standing there on the ladder, he wasn’t being hit by anyone and he wasn’t selling, he could’ve easily just climbed the ladder, but instead, he was just stood there doing absolutely nothing. All of this wasn’t helped by the fact that Kofi had to awkwardly manoeuvre himself out of the position he was stuck in on the ladder before he could grab the titles.

This was a match that started off as good as you’d expect between these two teams but the longer it went on the more it dragged to the point where I came away from it feeling glad it was over.

2 – Humberto Carrillo def. Andrade
(Kickoff Show)

How come the cruiserweight title could never get this much time on the pre-show?

With how last-minute and throwaway this match seemed I was not expecting much from it at all, I was expecting about 7 minutes of good, but not great action that served pretty much no purpose whatsoever. What we instead got was a 13-minute match between two guys with great chemistry who made the most of the opportunity that was before them by putting on a really fun match.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s nothing that’s going to set the world on fire, but in a show like this with so much dull crap, I was overjoyed that a match I initially thought nothing of turned into something very enjoyable. I’m not sure what kind of story they’re looking to tell with Andrade & Vega, but I imagine it’ll amount to nothing, much like this mini push they’ve decided to give Humberto, maybe he’ll get to do something cool in the Rumble match.

Still, whether this is the start of something great for Humberto or just a flash in the pan, I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts.

1 – Aleister Black def. Buddy Murphey

So it turns out when you take two really good wrestlers and just let them wrestle instead of forcing pointless gimmicks upon them, it’s actually really good, who knew?

As I think most of us expected, these two gelled really well in the ring. Black’s style of offence has always been very strike-based which was something Murphey was able to bounce off of very well. This match had a bit of everything, from fast-paced action that looked incredibly impressive, to slow and hard-hitting strikes that genuinely caused me to exclaim at a couple of points.

There is the issue that this match had no build to it at all, especially since we hadn’t seen Black wrestle in any noteworthy spot since June, however, I’d be ok with him having a bunch of matches like this if there was any kind of consistency to it. Every time we get a little taste of Aleister Black like this it reminds me how much I love him as a wrestler and I want to see so much more of him; the same goes for Buddy Murphey too if I’m being honest.

So in short, great match, but give me MORE!

And there you have it! Those were my thoughts on WWE TLC 2019, thank you very much for taking the time to read this review, please let me know what you thought of the show either in the comments below or on Twitter @10ryawoo. Finally, make sure to come back on Saturday, where I’ll be running down the best “old” games that I played for the first time in 2019!

WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs: Predictions & Analysis

Wow, I’m glad Survivor Series had lots of longterm consequences that weren’t forgotten after a week of programming.

I don’t know if it’s just because it’s the end of the year and I’m tired, or if WWE programming has really just been this bad over the past month, but I’m not looking forward to TLC at all. Looking through the card, there are a few matches that I’m hopeful would be good, but when looking at the storylines building up to them, I can’t help but feel apathetic towards all of them, none of the stories have been interesting and I just don’t care about the outcome for most of these matches.

Still, that doesn’t mean I don’t have opinions on them, so let’s get predicting.

The Viking Raiders(c) vs TBD
(Raw Tag Team Championships)

So let me get this straight, WWE decided to do a segment on Raw where The Viking Raiders issued an open challenge…in order to build to segment on Sunday where The Viking Raiders issue an open challenge. *sigh* fine.

There’s a couple of possibilities here, firstly is that this lands on the pre-show, in which case it’ll probably The Street Profits again and they’ll lose again in a slightly more competitive match than we saw on Monday. If it’s not on the pre-show, then I think it’ll be one of two teams. Either it’ll be the boring option in The OC, since The OC beat The Viking Raiders at Crown Jewel, in a decision that has only become more baffling given how The Viking Raiders have been treated since then.

The much more exciting option is that we see a return for The Usos, which is something I’ve been wanting for a while now because they’re just what the Raw Tag Division needs to spice things up because Viking Raiders have been spinning their wheels for a while now. If it’s The OC, then I’m expecting The Viking Raiders to retain, however, my official prediction is that it will be The Usos to answer the call and they’ll win the titles to boot.

Aleister Black vs Buddy Murphey

So are they actually planning to do something with Aleister Black now? Or is this just like it was in June when he had a pointless match so we didn’t all forget he existed?

I love both of these competitors and Black especially, but given how much build Black has had behind him this year, I can’t help but feel like a match like this with no build behind it is an absolute waste. If you want people to react to the guy, then I’d say keeping him off of TV until there’s something meaningful for him to do is the best idea. The audience aren’t idiots, we’re not going to suddenly forget who he is, he had a Wrestlemania match this year for Christ’s sake. If he was just saved until they were ready to put him in a program with someone like Orton or Styles then the reaction to him finally showing up and kicking ass would be huge.

That aside, this match will be great. Both Black and Murphey can go a mile-a-minute when they want to and I’m sure that both of them will be eager to get a big reaction here. I’m pretty confident Aleister Black is going to get the win though, because quite frankly if he doesn’t, they may as well just release the guy now and stop wasting everyone’s time.

The New Day(c) vs The Revival
(Smackdown Tag Team Championships)
(Ladder)

I think it says a lot that this match, a match between two of the best tag teams in the world, is one that I just don’t care about.

Putting aside the fact that we’ve already seen it a bunch of times this quarter, this whole thing has had basically no build and The Revival, along with WWE’s Tag Division as a whole, has been treated like a joke and an afterthought for so long, that I just don’t have any reason to care. Even with The New Day, although I absolutely love them and think they’re amazing wrestlers, they’ve been the “default” setting for the Smackdown Tag Team Championships for so long now that I don’t think there’s anything more they can do in the division that isn’t retreading old ground. So I’m left in a situation where either The Revival win and the tag titles go back to being treated like they’re nothing, or The New Day win and the boring status quo remains.

Like I said, as far as tag team wrestlers go, there are few that can equal these two teams, so I’m sure the match will be a great watch provided they get enough time and who knows, maybe this will be where tag team wrestling in WWE starts to turn around and I’ll be proven wrong, I doubt it though.

Oh, and The New Day are going to win.

Rusev vs Bobby Lashley
(Tables)

Well…this storyline has been a bit all over the place.

First of all, this feels a lot like McMahon is trying his damndest to get revenge for 2015 when they originally tried to do a storyline where Rusev & Lana broke up, but they ruined it by having the audacity to get married in real life.

As a whole, this storyline hasn’t been great. There were a couple of weeks in the middle where things were ok, as the focal point was on the physicality between Rusev & Lashley, but pretty much any segment that relied on Lana’s talking ability was just plain awful and, for a married couple, she has surprisingly little acting chemistry with Rusev. In addition to this, Lashley has felt entirely unimportant to the story outside of giving Rusev someone to beat up, because he can’t beat up Lana.

Unfortunately, I don’t think this storyline is over just yet, Tables matches are prime contenders for screwy finishes and I’m fully expecting Lana to get involved and somehow contribute to sending Rusev through a table, handing Bobby Lashley the win and we can keep this whole stupid thing going into the Royal Rumble next month.

Roman Reigns vs King Corbin
(Tables, Ladders & Chairs)

So there have undoubtedly been a lot of bad storylines this month, but I’ve got to say that this is the worst of the lot.

For one thing, it involves a King gimmick, which have been done to death and quite frankly it’s just a half-assed excuse to give Corbin an extra shread of credibility. The thing with Corbin is that he’s been doing the same stuff for so long that I honestly just don’t care about anything he has to say or do, I don’t hate him, the stuff he says doesn’t generate any heat with me, it’s just pure apathy.

On top of this, Corbin’s style is one that Reigns doesn’t typically mesh well with as it generally makes for a pretty generic affair where Corbin “wears him down” with 10 solid minutes of rest-holds until Reigns suddenly comes flying out with a burst of exciting offence for a win. Unfortunately, this match was the one that got the TLC stipulation, so it’s going to be way too long, very slow and probably quite boring outside of one or two big spots.

If this were any other time of year, I’d be tempted to say that WWE were going to hand Corbin the win for shits and giggles, but we’re coming up to the Royal Rumble and in my mind, Roman Reigns is the main contender to win it right now, so he needs a solid and decisive win here.

Bray Wyatt vs The Miz

After Bryan lost clean to Wyatt at Survivor Series I was interested to see how they’d justify continuing the whole story, but I’ve got to say, this whole build has been great.

Removing Daniel Bryan in the way they did made the whole thing feel incredibly creepy and the way Miz has stepped in to stand up to Bray has finally helped legitimize The Miz as a face. I don’t think it’s any measure of a surprise when you consider how great these two guys are on the mic, but I’ve found each of their segments on Smackdown throughout this month to be really compelling, with the segment on last night’s episode, in particular, being fantastic.

I think having regular Bray Wyatt facing off against The Miz is an interesting twist and it opens up a world of possibilities for things that could happen, both in this match and with The Fiend in general going forward. I think it could be interesting if Daniel Bryan showed up in some capacity during this match, maybe The Fiend could appear on the screen, torturing Bryan backstage, causing The Miz to abandon the match and get beat-up.

I’m really interested to see what’s going to happen with this one, but I don’t have any doubt that Bray Wyatt is going to be the winner, he’s the Universal Champion after all, even if this isn’t a title match.

The Kabuki Warriors(c) vs Becky Lynch & Charlotte Flair
(Women’s Tag Team Championships)
(Tables, Ladders & Chairs)

Apparently, TLC is the one time of year when Asuka gets treated like a real wrestler.

This is one match that I have no doubt will be great to watch, as it’s essentially just the match we had between Becky, Charlotte & Asuka last year, only with Kairi Sane involved, thus making it ten times better. I’m sure the tag team format will allow for a huge variety of spots and action to take place and hopefully, there’ll be a nice bit of drama to spice things up too.

The interesting part comes from the fact that this whole thing feels like it’s leading to some sort of twist. I don’t know what that twist could possibly be, but I’ve just got this gut feeling that there’s no way this can just be a straight forward match for the titles. In terms of what I want it to be, I want it to be Shayna Baszler, although I’m not sure how likely that is given that her title match with Rhea Ripley is less than a week away. Maybe it will be as simple as Charlotte turning on Becky, hell, maybe Becky will turn on Charlotte, although that will probably lead to a repeat of Summerslam 2018.

Either way, I highly doubt Becky & Charlotte are walking away with the tag titles. Mostly because it would just make the titles worthless props in a more important singles feud, much like the Raw tag titles were with Seth & Braun earlier in the year. I don’t know what kind of shenanigans are going to happen in this match, but the result is going to be The Kabuki Warriors walking away with their championships in tow.

And those are my predictions! Thank you very much fort aking the time to read this post, let me know what you think is going to happen, either in the comments below or on Twitter @10ryawoo. Finally, make sure you check back here on Monday for my review of the show!

WWE TLC Tables, Ladders & Chairs 2018: Every Match Ranked

The final WWE Pay-Per-View for 2018 is finally in the bag, and we’ve had this crazy year topped off with a show that was really…..ok.

While there wasn’t a match on this show that I can say I hated, but I didn’t feel the show was as good as I thought it would be when I read the card. The amount of matches really made the show drag a little, especially towards the end. However the focus of the show seemed to be in the right place, so it made for a decent night.

Now let’s talk about the matches themselves, as I rank them from worst to best.

12 – Carmella & R-Truth def. Jinder Mahal &      Alicia Fox
(Mixed Match Challenge Season 2 Final)

Not a whole lot to say about this one really…

I haven’t watched any of the Mixed Match Challenge this year, so I don’t really have any investment in what happened here. I prefer Truth and Carmella to Jinder and Alicia, but that’s mostly just by default. More to the point, there wasn’t anything noteworthy about the match either.

There were a couple of minor slip ups, but aside from that it was a pretty standard match that wouldn’t feel out of place on Raw or Smackdown. I know most people are digging the “Dance Break” thing, but I hate it with all my being, and of course the Singh Brothers were around so they had to go ahead and make it even stupider.

I’m glad Mella & Truth won, but I’m not looking forward to Truth being #30 in the Royal Rumble, or the “comedy” sketch on Tuesday about their trip to WWE’s head offices.

11 – Elias def. Bobby Lashley
(Ladder Match)

Gimmick matches on the pre-show now? A bit weird, but alright.

I’m not sure that the guitar thing was really necessary for this match, it could’ve quite easily have just ended in a pinfall and I don’t think it would’ve made much difference. I know it was unlikely Elias was ever going to pin Bobby, but if you were just going to have Bobby lay Elias out immediately after the match anyway then what’s the point in even having Elias win?

It’s not like either of these men are about to compete for a title, and they’re certainly not in the running for Royal Rumble winner, so this whole thing was ultimately pointless. The match was at least somewhat entertaining, with some nice versions of spots we’ve seen in every other ladder match since the dawn of time.

These two men don’t really have the greatest about of chemistry together, so I really hope this feud doesn’t continue any longer.

10 – Natalya def. Ruby Riott
(Tables Match)

Who knew “tables with pictures on them” would be one of the major stories on this show.

I feel bad putting this match this low, because there was actually some stuff to like about it, but the overall story didn’t really draw me in at all. I liked all the stuff with the Riott Squad taking the bullet for Ruby in a couple of spots to make sure she didn’t lose, it was a nice way to make their present felt without having them directly hinder Natalya.

The main problem I had here was how slowly these two would set up every single spot. It wasn’t just the table spots either, even Natalya locking in the Sharpshooter felt like it took forever. It was a little bit annoying that the tables were so obviously pre-cut, but I guess you didn’t want a situation like Hell in a Cell 2016, where the women are too light to break the table when they fall on it.

It was a perfectly serviceable match, with nothing amazing to draw me in, and buckle up, because I’m going to be saying words to that effect a lot in this review.

9 – Rey Mysterio def. Randy Orton
(Chairs Match)

Please, no more chair matches.

I think that this was the only match on the show that was actively hindered by the stipulation, chairs matches just don’t really seem to work as a concept. For one, all it really is, is a no DQ match where the ring is surrounded by chairs, but more importantly it means that every single major spot has to involve chairs in some way.

There’s only so much you can do with a steel chair and while they’re good in small doses, basing a whole match around them gets old fast. While there were a couple of fun spots, including a rather nasty looking one where Rey went arse first into a chair, but nothing particularly outstanding, and although I didn’t hate this match, I can’t help but feel it would’ve been better without this stipulation.

8 – Dean Ambrose def. Seth Rollins(c)
(Intercontinetal Championship)

Oh….well ok then.

I really don’t understand what it was about this match, but it just didn’t click. The placement on the show probably didn’t help, being the second to last match on a show this long pretty much guarantees a worn out crowd, and they were almost dead silent the whole time.

The match also didn’t really feel like it was a fight between two men with the history that these two have. Dean needed to be a lot more vicious, and Seth needed to have a lot more energy and fire underneath him for it to really click like it should’ve. At the end of the day, you could replace Dean and Seth with pretty much any other heel and face on the roster and the match wouldn’t have felt any different, which really isn’t a good thing.

While they did touch on the story in the closing minutes, given how badly the story’s been built over the past month and how underwhelming the match had been up until that point, it didn’t really feel earned. Part of me wants to see them try this again, but another part of me really just want them both to move on.

It sucks that, in a year where Seth Rollins put on the match of the night on almost every show, he’s down this low on the final show of the year. Let’s just hope he moves on to blow the roof of Wrestlemania against Lesnar next year and we can all forget this ever happened.

7 – Braun Strowman def. Baron Corbin
(TLC Match)

How heroic of these good guys to all team up and beat the ever-loving piss out of their boss.

When I think about how all of this went down, I feel like I should hate it, but I just can’t for some reason. Sure, Strowman probably could’ve still beaten Baron with a broken arm, but this solution make Braun seem quite smart too. It was also a pretty clever way to get them out of this spot they ended up in, where Baron needed to be out of power, but Braun was injured.

Given how crap Raw has been these past few weeks, it was kind of cathartic to see one of the main culprits put to rest, although I’m not all in on WWE using him as a scapegoat for the whole mess. Corbin’s probably going to end up fading into the background a bit more now, and Braun can move on to lose to Brock Lesnar again at the Royal Rumble, but let’s just enjoy this while it lasts.

6 – Finn Balor def. Drew Mcintyre

I never thought WWE could make me feel simultaneously disappointed and pleasantly surprised, but here we are.

I really don’t understand the rationale behind Balor winning here. As much as I’m glad to see that WWE aren’t continuing to hand him loss after loss, I really felt like this was a match Drew needed to win, especially as it seemed like they were trying to build him up. You could argue it was a protected loss since Dolph Ziggler got involved, but this is the same Drew Mcintyre who damn near killed Kurt Angle, two small dudes attacking him shouldn’t really be a problem.

The match itself did feel more like an above average Raw match than a decent PPV match, but everything in it was solid, and Dolph’s interference does at least make sense from the character’s perspective. I really feel like Drew needs to be a much more vicious heel however, he shouldn’t be using rest holds and shouting at his opponent, he needs to be trying throwing them around the ring like they’re nothing.

I really hope this isn’t the start of a decline for Drew, because it seemed like things were going so well for him up until now.

5 – Buddy Murphy(c) def. Cedric Alexander
(Cruiserweight Championship)

Well that was fun while it lasted.

It’s a real shame that the cruiserweights got bumped to the pre-show once again, after putting on two fantastic main card performances in a row, but there was a lot of matches on this show, and I can’t really say that anything else could’ve been bumped to make room for this one.

Regardless, these guys don’t care what part of the show they’re on, they’ll still put on a great match if they can. While it did feel like they toned things down a bit due to being on the pre-show, it was still an entertaining match, with lots of fun action.

One thing the cruiserweights seem to be really good at, is winning over a crowd that usually doesn’t seem to care. The crowd started out dead silent at the start of this match, and by the end they were loving it. It goes to show that even if a good portion of that crowd probably have no idea who these guys are, they’ll still invest in a match if they like what they see. If only they’d go home and watch 205 Live afterwards.

4 – Ronda Rousey(c) def. NIa Jax
(Raw Women’s Championship)

I know I’ve said this pretty much every time she’s wrestled this year, but Ronda Rousey is really good at wrestling.

Clearly Natalya trained her well or something like that, because she just seems to get it, case in point: this match right here. There really aren’t very many people on the roster who could have a match that good with Nia Jax, maybe Becky & Charlotte, but there isn’t anyone else that good.

This match really was all Ronda, pretty much the whole time, Nia seemed somehow more immobile than usual, but Ronda was still able to make it work. She sold her ass of on basically every move to make sure it felt like it had impact, and was flying all about the place when she was on offence to really get the best out of Nia.

This is probably the last time Nia will have a major role on Raw for a very long time, considering Ronda didn’t seem to struggle too much in putting her away, and then Becky laid her the fuck out after the match.

3 – The Bar(c) def. The New Day & The Usos
(Smackdown Tag Team Championships)

Please, never move these teams to Raw, never.

While this was a very good match, it did feel a bit like it was one of the victims of the over stuffed show, but, these teams could pull a great match out even if they only had 30 seconds to work it. Everyone got plenty of time to shine in this match. I’m not sure I like the whole “only two teams in the ring at once” stipulation to Triple Threat tag matches, but they generally still seem to work and I’m ok with that.

My only real worry is where on Earth do these tag titles go next? This is the problem with only focusing on these three (admittedly brilliant) tag teams, is now you need The Bar to fight someone else and there really isn’t anyone build up enough. The Club have lost so many tag title opportunities, they’re basically a joke, and Sanity kept losing their matches and have been absent for months, with the exception of one underwhelming appearance at Survivor Series. Maybe we’ll get a NXT call up, but it’s not like Heavy Machinery ever stand a chance of taking out The Bar.

I have a lot more faith in the Smackdown writers than I do the Raw writers though, so maybe we’ll get something great in time for the Rumble. Maybe.

2 – Daniel Bryan(c) def. AJ Styles
(WWE Championship)

Who knew this one would be good?…..What? Everyone?! Oh alright.

I had to rewatch this one before I wrote about it, because I didn’t really enjoy it that much watching it live. Maybe it was down to how tired it was, but I just didn’t really get it the first time around, however everyone on Twitter really liked it, so I watched it a second time the next day, and it turns out that past me was very wrong about not liking this one, because this match was great.

Sure, it wasn’t anywhere close to the Styles/Bryan match I had in my head, but this was the match we needed, not the one we wanted. For one, Bryan showing up as The American Dragon was unexpected, and I didn’t even realise it at first, but this dude really is something else. After his return I was starting to doubt if he really was as good as we all remembered him being, but this match reminded me exactly why Daniel Bryan is the best wrestler in the world.

He’s able to blend his fast paced crowd popping babyface style so well with his slow and methodic heel pace that he can wrestle just about any style he wants and it still feels true to his character. More importantly he’s clearly done his homework on AJ Styles, with an answer to pretty much everything he’s got, and when he does get caught, it’s not long before he gets back on top.

The perfect example of this is the finish, winning with a small package after a match like that is brilliant, it feels heelish and cheap, but really he just straight up out thought AJ Styles and won because he was the better wrestler. We’ve got so used to heel champions cheating to win, that it’s really refreshing to see a heel win, because he’s just the better wrestler and that’s all there is to it.

I’d love to see just one more match between these two to really kick things into that final gear and get that truly awesome match we all know they can put on.

1 – Asuka def. Becky Lynch(c) & Charlotte Flair
(Smackdown Women’s Championship)
(TLC Match)

Hey! Smackdown finally main-evented a cross-brand PPV! Only took 8 sodding months.

What a match this was, everything about it was just great. It started just how it needed to, they didn’t rush to get to all of the weapons spots, they started out just wrestling each other like normal and built to all of the crazy weapon spots, it allows the crowd to get a feel for the match, instead of getting worn out with all the high spots early on.

Every single spot felt like it built on the last, and they were able to set them up without slowing the pace of the match down, in many instances they made the setting up of a spot a key part of the match, so it all flowed perfectly. It’s hard to talk about the rest of this match without just listing all of the awesome stuff that happened during it, so here goes:

  • Asuka flipping Becky back first onto a ladder looked so damn brutal and rebuilt Asuka to her former glory in about 5 seconds.
  • Becky’s ladder dive was great, even if she did almost crush Charlotte’s ribcage.
  • There was a really nice catharsis in watching the women wail on each other with chairs and it made the whole thing feel so much more intense.
  • Charlotte spearing Asuka into the time keeper’s area looked amazing, and the fact that the barrier didn’t break properly actually made it seem even more brutal.
  • Then there’s the finish…

First of all, these women did a really good job of making it look like they were about to win when they weren’t. Usually in a ladder match it’s pretty obvious when someone’s not about to win, but there were a couple of moments in the last 5 minutes where I thought Charlotte had it in the bag.

However, the main article here is Ronda Rousey, who came out, pushed both Charlotte and Becky off the ladder, leaving Asuka to climb the ladder and win. Before I talk about the interference, I just want to mention how awesome a moment it was when the crowd realised Asuka was about to win, they exploded in cheers and it was beautiful to see Asuka finally get what many thought she should’ve got in April.

Does Ronda’s interference cheapen Asuka’s win? Well yes, it’s hard to argue that it doesn’t. Does this make me mad? Not really. I know a lot of people are quite upset about the finish to this match, and I feel like I should be too, but I’m just not. The match itself was so good that I don’t really mind and Ronda’s actions make perfect sense in the context of what’s been happening over the past month or so.

I’m not quite sure where all this is leading, personally I still hope it’s Becky vs Ronda and Charlotte vs Asuka II, either way it’s going to be an interesting time in the women’s division moving forward.

So there you have it! That was TLC 2018, overall it was a fairly average show, full of ok wrestling and a fantastic main event, not the greatest thing to end the year on, but certainly not the worst either.

Make sure to share this post around on social media, and follow me on Twitter @10ryawoo for more opinions on wrestling and the like. Stick around for the next few weeks as I will be starting to cover my end of year awards for both wrestling and gaming!