December 15, 2014 by Joey Keogh
The final PPV of the year is upon us and it isn’t just any old TLC PPV, oh no, it’s tables, ladders, chairs and stairs (if ya nasty) so without any further ado, let’s head straight over to our “experts” panel, of which Alex Riley is still inexplicably a part, and hear what their predictions for the night are. As per usual, they don’t have much of an insight. And, suffice to say Booker T no longer gives a shit, if he ever did in the first place, choosing to make reference to the duck with the hair again while Paul Heyman trolls like a boss and work experience Tom is way too stoked to chair the #AskZiggler tag on Twitter which, as you can probably imagine, elicits gems of knowledge from the current favourite. We’re treated to a so-called match during the pre-show, featuring The New Day, who pick up the win against Goldust and Stardust. It’s a rubbish start to what is, unfortunately, a rather rubbish PPV. So, before Riley can give away how jealous he is of Miz any further, let’s get to it.
Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match: Dolph Ziggler -v- Luke Harper
Ziggler opens the show opposite Harper (because WWE hates us and wants us all to die), in a sloppy, spot-heavy and strangely violent ladders match that goes absolutely nowhere. Lillian takes a moment to explain the terms before we get started, because she has to earn her paycheque somehow, as Ziggler and Harper busy themselves putting every single ladder in the building into the ring – teamwork! Harper gets the first hit in, as Cole overuses the word “harbinger” because he seems to have just learned it this afternoon. This is a hometown match for Ziggler, so we know how it’s going to end, but even so it’s disappointing to see such obvious agenda-pushing from two otherwise very gifted wrestlers. Harper climbs the ladder first, before cracking Ziggler full in the face with another one. Ziggler then lines up a ladder on the outside, but Harper leaps out to tackle him, seemingly breaking his fucking arm in the process. Back in the ring, he powerbombs Ziggler onto a ladder on the second rope – fuck, this is a painful-looking match, and both are bleeding by about halfway through. Ziggler manages to counter his opponent’s second attempt at a powerbomb and slams him headfirst into a ladder. The crowd goes nuts as he ascends again, before being thwarted by Harper and using the ladder to simultaneously whack him and climb the “main” ladder once again. He subsequently wins, and the crowd fucking lose it.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler (new champ)
Tag Team Championship Match: The Usos -v- The Miz & Damien Mizdow
The Usos kick things off by performing for their Slammy awards, which they’ve laid out gingerly on the ramp in front of them. There’s a massive pop as their opponents enter. This is a hometown show for Miz, as well as Ziggles, but considering what happens later on, the pop is probably for his stunt double, who has toy Slammy awards (that you can purchase from the online store NOW!) to match his boss’s. The crowd chant “We want Mizdow” throughout, meaning the hot tag is teased for ages while The Usos do their thing and Naomi watches proudly from backstage, in full ring gear, even though she has no chance of a match tonight. The crowd boo the hell out of Miz until he points to Mizdow, and The Usos, dying for a bit of the spotlight, copy him and vamp it up for a bit to annoying effect. A blow to Miz in the corner seems to have won it for them until the man himself uses his Slammy on them, getting his team disqualified but retaining the championship anyway.
Winners: DQ (Miz & Mizdow retain)
Backstage, Rollins cuts a promo about how sad it is that The Authority are watching at home instead of being here with him, and that it’s all Cena’s fault and he’s going to make him pay later, and it’s wrong wrong WRONG. There’s a big pop when he mentions Sting, who is apparently considered a “vigilante” now for some reason, even though he literally only interrupted the proceedings that one time and hasn’t shown up since. Rollins’ security team nod sagely throughout, with Noble especially impressed with his usage of the word “carcass”.
Stairs Match: Big Show -v- Erick Rowan
If you’re excited for the first (and last) ever stairs match, then you need to re-evaluate your life because this is pure, gimmicky garbage. Show has been going through the motions lately, and he clearly hates being heel, so it stands to reason that he isn’t too into this bullshit, even though Rowan is dying to show off what he can do, bless his heart. Refreshingly, the stairs don’t feature right away, with some decent back and forth between the two before Rowan builds a giant Jenga game out of them and we have to wait about ten minutes for someone to be chucked through them. They fight at the announce table for a bit, but it doesn’t go anywhere. Rowan shows off how agile he is, in spite of his bulk, but gets chucked into the stairs on the outside and ends up looking like shit as a result. Finally, Show goes through the Jenga blocks and the crowd barely even react. Show then wins by pinning Rowan with the stairs, the commentators noting that THAT is how one wins a stairs match. Er, okay then.
Winner: Big Show
Tables Match: Seth Rollins -v- John Cena
Praise the lord, Cena isn’t headlining for once! Oh, happy day! Heyman strolls out to watch from ringside, but isn’t on commentary for some unknown, cruel reason. Lillian explains the match stipulation, as though we haven’t had it shoved down our throats for weeks. Rollins starts off by staring at Cena in the most intimidating way he can muster, as Cole wonders aloud how Cena is going to manage to overcome the odds this time around (has he not been watching his matches for the past decade or what?) The security team interrupt almost immediately, and set Cena up to go through a table but he powers out to kick Rollins before using a railing on them, possibly setting up next year’s PPV – TLCR, tables, ladders, chairs and railings (is it any dumber than stairs?). Next, Rollins sets up two tables on the outside and teases chucking Cena into them but he counters with a Suplex, then suffers one himself as Rollins fires back, possibly referencing Lesnar, who they’re competing to fight against at the Royal Rumble. Rollins then grabs his by now battered briefcase and thumps Cena with it, before leaping clean over a table to superkick him in what is easily the spot of the match (and that’s saying something). Cena manages some offence by putting Rollins through the table, basically winning the match, but the ref misses it so the security team quickly move into the ring to destroy the evidence. Cena catches them and AAs both through the table, before he and Rollins simultaneously go through the two tables on the outside. The refs fight over who won, leading the match to be re-started. Show and Reigns show up, do absolutely nothing of interest, and of course Cena ends up winning.
Winner: John Cena
Divas Championship Match: AJ Lee -v- Nikki Bella
Before we get started, Nikki notes that she has lots of things AJ doesn’t have – two in particular amirite!? – and that she’s going to lose, because Total Divas or whatever. Speaking of her, er, talents, she’s like a walking art project tonight as she’s covered herself in glitter, while her sister, accompanying her to the ring, is easily the worst dressed Diva of all time. Nikki somehow gets thrown out immediately, and a backbreaker later on looks like absolute shit. A Suplex is slightly better, as is a spot where she bends AJ around the turnbuckle, but it’s more because AJ can sell a bit better than she deserves. AJ counters at the turnbuckle by rolling Nikki up, leading to a near fall, which she follows up with a neckbreaker, a tornado DDT and a Shining Wizard in quick succession, but Brie hooks her sister’s foot on the ropes, stopping AJ from getting the win she deserves. Nikki then sprays hairspray in AJ’s face, apparently knocking her out, before administering the Rack Attack to win.
Winner: Nikki Bella (retaining)
Chairs Match: Ryback -v- Kane
Who cares about this match, like, seriously? It’s painful to watch, in more ways than one, not least because Ryback is allegedly a roidhead and lunatic, who aims to inflict as much pain on his opponents as possible. The teeny, tiny chairs don’t help matters either, especially as they don’t feature for ages, thereby negating the match’s gimmick. It’s also sloppy as fuck, with poor Kane screaming as though his nails are being pulled off his fingers. Ryback beats him with a chair until it bends, leading Kane to whack him full in the face with one as payback before chokeslamming him – this should’ve been the end but it’s only a near fall – into submission. A shellshock by Ryback looks particularly painful, but it hurts more that he misses the chair he was supposedly meant to hit and wins with it.
US Championship Match: Ryback -v- Jack Swagger
Lana is pissed her same ‘ol, same ‘ol promo is interrupted by Swagger’s entrance, but she needn’t be because this is yet another, incredibly dull squash match for Rusev. He grabs Swagger in The Accolade pretty much immediately, but to our collective surprise, he manages to power out of it, after a few moments of being fake unconscious, suggesting this might actually go somewhere. Unfortunately, it doesn’t, and Rusev soon has him locked in again until he taps.
Main Event: TLC Match: Dean Ambrose -v- Bray Wyatt
Ambrose is vamping even more than usual in the ring tonight, and he doesn’t wait for Wyatt to make it over before unloading on him, chucking him into the barricade. The two fight in the crowd for a bit, giving the fans a bit further back more value for their money than usual, as Ambrose easily gains dominance, using every weapon at his disposal – including a Kendo stick, which Wyatt turns around on him a bit later on. To his credit, Wyatt eventually manages some offence by chucking Ambrose through a well-placed table, before rolling him back in for the first pin of the match. He then lines the Kendo stick up at the turnbuckle and launches Ambrose into it, narrowly avoiding skewering his eye. Naomi is backstage like “I feel your pain brother, you can borrow my eye-patch later if you like” – Ambrose could probably work an eye-patch, in all seriousness, so hopefully he goes a bit Mad Max at a later stage, it would suit him. Ambrose delivers a stunning elbow drop from the top of a ladder, sending Wyatt flying through a table in the process, on the outside, before falling victim to a Sister Abigail back in the ring, leading to a near fall. The Dirty Deeds leads to another near fall, as Ambrose struggles to roll Wyatt over. He sells the shit out of an injured arm and leg, limping his way up the ramp to pick up the second tallest ladder on offer (something the crowd boo the hell out of, rather unfairly), off which he delivers another elbow drop to drive Wyatt through a table again, echoing the earlier spot, only even more awe-inspiring. Then, it all comes to a rather silly end as Ambrose attempts to use a TV monitor on his opponent and seemingly electrocutes himself in the process, leaving the way clear for Waytt to administer the Sister Abigail again to win.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
It was a rubbish end to a sadly rubbish PPV, one that ultimately suffered under the weight of its own stupid gimmicks. WWE were unlucky this week, in particular, because they didn’t stand a chance against the incredible NXT PPV, which was broadcast Thursday and, understandably, blew our collective minds. Even if TLC had been amazing, it never would’ve come close to even comparing to [R]Evolution, which was loaded with cool spots, awe-inspiring skill and a variety of talents that, as the crowd themselves noted, more than exemplified what professional wrestling is all about.
Although the year is kind of ending on a dud note, we still have a couple more episodes of Raw to go before 2014 finishes up for real and they could still manage to pull it out of the bag. There have been hints on social media that the European championship belt might be set for a return, following a photo Lana posted on Instagram, and Ziggler being the IC champ is a step in the right direction. On the other hand, Cena lining up to fight Lesnar again is a terrible idea, but Reigns may step in to make things a bit more interesting on that front and, with The Ascension due to debut any day now, the tag team division may just get the shake-up it so badly requires in the meantime also.
Elsewhere, Rollins, Ambrose, Harper, Rowan and Mizdow are all absolutely killing it right now. The issue is that, with NXT to compare it to, the main roster often falls short no matter how hard they try. There is simply no comparison between the truly shocking, moving and thrilling end to [R]Evolution and the utterly stupid and nonsensical finish to TLC. Let’s face it, this time next year, are we going to remember Neville/Zayn or Ambrose/Wyatt?
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