WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs 2016
Watch: WWE Network
American Airlines Center – Dallas, TX
Meet The Reviewers (and director of words):
Trevor (@das_trevor): Trevor is the reviewer of Raw for Wrestling With Words. Having just joined the team, this is his first PPV review contribution, but the young boy of WWW is fired up to get more involved in the site game.
Dan (@ReigninDan): Dan is an OG member of Wrestling With Words. He dabbles in joshi, bad wrestling and WWE. He is rumored to carry a lot of WWW members in Overwatch.
Editor Trask (@TraskWWW): Trask is the founder of Wrestling With Words. He bounces around everywhere within the realm of WWW, contributing over 200 posts so far this year.
WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship: Bray Wyatt & Randy Orton (w/Luke Harper) def. Heath Slater & Rhyno (c)
Dan: Everyone had slight heart attacks as Randy’s classic ‘Burn In My Light’ theme started to play before transitioning to ‘Voices’, and then to the spooky Wyatt video, like the first time you tried to mash-up themes in 2K17. A match that went in the blink of an eye and the timing was pretty damn perfect and an absolute definite win for the refreshed Wyatt Family. Randy as the cold, emotionless Wyatt just simply works and no one really expected it. Heath worked the babyface in peril to maximum effect while Rhyno got the hot tag and played the immovable object, albeit shortly. Randy was in danger of a Gore on the outside when the world’s best third wheel Luke Harper rushed in to take the bullet. Bray stalked his prey and Randy flew in to nail an RKO for the title win. Bray finally holds some gold for the first time, and my god it looks like they’re gonna Freebird the damn thing as Bray and Randy dress Harper with the titles as we fade out. Great stuff.
Trevor: Not a bad match, but much shorter than I expected it to be. I enjoy Slater and Rhyno a lot so I was kind of sad they dropped the title. Heath Slater has kids and needs the money! However, I think they finally managed to get the Wyatt Family over with Randy Orton on board and that’s a great thing. Also great to see Bray finally get himself a championship. The scene after the match with Harper holding the belts alongside Bray and Randy posing in the center of the ring was perfect. Overall, pretty good!
Nikki Bella def. Carmella
Dan: The Carmella/Nikki feud is three months deep and has really been pretty fire and they’re gonna blow it off in a SHOOT FIGHT~! They even have their hands taped up and Nikki rocking the MMA fighter braids. The presentation for the match was great and the match was another short and sweet bout. Carmella got the momentum early and worked Nikki’s leg throughout but boy when Nikki got in control did things pop off. A stiff kick to send Carmella faceplanting into the mat and a damn Disaster Kick off the barricade! Nikki is really great at portraying genuine dislike in her actions. Nikki emptied a fire extinguisher on Carmella and hit the Rack Attack 2.0 to make short work of her and pick up the win. Nikki is one of the best and Carmella is very much improving. All good things.
Trevor: This match wasn’t bad either. The disaster kick off the barricade that Nikki Bella did was sure impressive. I thought the working of Nikki’s leg was kind of pointless though as it didn’t really lead to anything other than Nikki just holding it a bit throughout the match. The fire extinguisher spot I think was dragged out and it tested my suspension of disbelief a bit. Still an entertaining match in the end.
WWE Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match: The Miz (c) (w/Maryse) def. Dolph Ziggler
Dan: One of the strongest contenders for 2016 Feud of the Year hits an insane climax littered with steel and danger. Half the match was spent on the outside as the two stopped each other’s attempt at getting a ladder in the ring over and over, tossing each other into the steel and stopping the other by any means necessary. Ziggler gets within grasp of regaining the title multiple times with huge hope spots that had the crowd on their toes each time. Miz continues his stellar 2016 run by going full-on destructive heel as he ruins Ziggler’s leg, wrapping it around ladders, slamming it in them, even locking in the figure-four in a damn ladder. It’s beautiful carnage and shows off just how dirty and violent Miz is willing to get to close out this rivalry and showing off his brilliant ring psychology. One of my favorite spots in a while, Ziggler going for a superkick but stopping short because of the pain into Miz hitting the Skull Crushing Finale on a ladder. Beautiful and fluid action. The desperation in the finish is some of the best, both men heavily wounded, crawling up the ladder with no intention to lose despite the agony. Ziggler plays his best wounded babyface throughout the match, fighting through pain to get closer to the championship. Ziggler was about to win when Miz crawled back up and low blowed Ziggler and kicked him down, grabbing the title to finally win an insane match. One of the most intelligently worked ladder matches I’ve seen. I was a huge Miz detractor at the start of 2016, and I stand at the end of it a huge, huge fan.
Trevor: I had a lot of expectations for this one going in, because Miz and Dolph have had such an excellent series of matches. This one did not disappoint. These two do back forth action in such amazing fashion. Right from the beginning of the match without knowing anything it was clear these two had history. There were lots of creative spots which is hard for a Ladder match these days – especially the Figure Four with the ladder. Dolph Ziggler did a perfect job of selling the injured leg throughout the match didn’t slip up once. At one point Miz took a fall to the center of the ring after hanging from the belt that must have legitimately injured his leg. The Miz was able to finish the match amazingly enough and was still able to deliver a great post match promo. This ladder battle was for sure worthy of being the final chapter to this great feud.
Chairs Match: Baron Corbin def. Kalisto
Dan: Kalisto teaches the world a lesson in this match, if you can’t beat your bully, just try to kill him with a bunch of ridiculous chair spots. Kalisto goes full Sabu-mode in this match, jumping off chairs, smacking Baron’s head off chairs and even sentoning him THROUGH a bunch of chairs. It’s a very strange match that over-delivers in every way. Who expected half the crazy spots that were in this?! Corbin catching Kalisto off a dive into the Deep Six was real cool, and Kalisto doing a moonsault friggin’ knee drop onto Baron with a chair laid on him is just batshit crazy. Kalisto went for another move off the top but Baron crushed his face in with a chair throw and then the End of Days on the chair pile to finish him off. Holy hell, what an insane match. I’m not even sure what I just witnessed!
Trevor: I figured this one would be a cool down match, but I was wrong. Kalisto and Corbin went all out for this one and put on a brutal chairs match. It’s hard to have a great Big Man vs. Little Guy match, but they did it. Kalisto had the double knees on Corbin onto all the chairs. Corbin had the Deep Six on the outside plus the End of Days on the pile of chairs. A good match!
WWE SmackDown Women's Championship Tables Match: Alexa Bliss def. Becky Lynch (c)
Dan: Strange match between otherwise two of the best women in the fed, thrust into a tables match for the title. Alexa’s craftiness overcomes Becky’s fiery offense as she picks up the win here. Tables matches in general have a very hit/miss tendency as the majority of them is just teasing of table spots with no considerable action. These two make the best of what they’re given in a lot of ways, having nice sequences of nearly getting the other through a table, or tossing the table over to avoid being put through it themselves. There’s stuff that hits but almost too much that misses in terms of exciting moments in the match. There’s a whole part where Becky sets up a table on the bottom ropes in the corner and…I’m not sure a table would even break there. The finish comes when Alexa sweeps Becky’s leg off the apron and powerbombs her through a table on the outside for the win. Awesome to see her get the title, it’s a shame that the match wasn’t too memorable. Title switches everywhere in the good ol’ WWE but hey, can we get Bliss some merch now?
Trevor: This had to be one of the best Tables matches in recent memory. Alexa Bliss is a great heel and she did amazing villainous work in this match against Becky. The Disarmer under the table legs just looked brutal. This match really proved that the SmackDown Women are just as good if not better than the Raw Women. All in all a success.
WWE Championship Ladder Match: AJ Styles (c) vs. Dean Ambrose
Dan: Not sure anyone expected this match would include seeing more of AJ Styles than anyone want to but uh, yeah. The match was relatively tame until Styles took an Orange Crush through setup, AJ suffering some heavy damage to himself and… his tights, a sizable hole right on the rear. Unfortunate to say but this match did pick up the pace (and the danger) quite nicely after that happened. It becomes a brawl of two madmen as Ambrose hits an elbow drop from the ladder onto AJ laid on the damn announce table. Good god. I’m always amused by the fact that Ambrose’s power level increases in gimmick matches. Ambrose looked to win but was taken out by a surprise Phenomenal Forearm. This was a total spotfest in contrast to the Intercontinental title match and it’s story-focused work, and it was pretty wonderful. A Styles Clash was turned into a Bang-A-Rang into the ladder from Ambrose, a 450 Springboard through a table from Styles, it’s the pure madness you crave from a TLC match. As expected, James Ellsworth makes an appearance, seemingly helping Ambrose win until HE PUSHES AMBROSE OFF THE LADDER THROUGH TABLES! The crowd pop for that was NUTS. Styles climbs the ladder to claim his title with Ellsworth cheering him on. My god. Listen, AJ Styles worked an incredible match with a hole exposing his bare ass for a solid 20 mins, if that doesn’t cement him as the GOAT, I honestly don’t know what does.
Trevor: Dang–this one was brutal. AJ Styles with the 450 splash on the outside was one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen. Although I think this somewhat under-performed compared to the Intercontinental Title Ladder Match, this match was still a good main event. Plus my boy is still the champ that runs the camp! A good way to close out the pay-per-view.
WWE TLC 2016 (12/4/16)
Good - 7.5/10
Via the director of words, Trask, the consensus from our two reviewers tonight is that this was a good show. Although it took a coaster of good-bad, in terms of in ring and booking, it once again proved why SmackDown Live is the superior brand. We rate it better than Survivor Series.