After being quickly put together, WWE aired its annual TLC PPV tonight. Unlike its predecessors, this year's installment did not feature any Ladder, Table or Chair matches. All those stipulation matches were discarded in favor of having just one major, TLC match, and hoping that the lone match would feel like more of a special attraction.
The only Tables, Ladders and Chairs match on the card was for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, which is what it is apparently going to be called despite fans electing to call it the Unified Championship last week on Raw. Because the match was rapidly built and put together many fans (including myself) felt that there would not be a clear winner of this match. Surprisingly, Randy Orton defeated John Cena cleanly, or as cleanly as you can win a TLC match, to become the first WWE-WHC Champion in history.
As the PPV was happening, it became clearer to me that they would crown a champion tonight. WWE put way too much effort into pushing this match, having multiple video packages talking about the history of the titles, and the competitors. The amount of build-up for the match was extraordinary for just a PPV main-event, so that began to change my mind on the finish of the match.
The match itself was fairly mediocre, especially for a match with such high standards as a TLC match. It followed the normal WWE pattern, with Orton punishing Cena for most of the match, cutting off any chance Cena had at making a comeback. The hand-cuffs that came out which was somewhat surprising, and Cena unlocking the turnbuckle to free himself was a nice touch. Orton going over was the big shocker of the night, since most fans tend to assume (correctly) that Cena is going to win every match he is in. The feud is likely not over, so a probable coronation for Orton tomorrow night on Raw will give more details.
The match suffered from some basic lapses in logic. Wrestling is always going to have some holes in its philosophy, but tonight's main event was filled with them; Cena dropping the five-knuckle shuffle off of the ladder when the belts were easily within his reach, Orton grabbing a larger ladder from the outside, even though it was clear that a regular ladder would suffice, Orton grabbing a coat hanger instead of the titles, etc. It is a collection of those little failures in execution that can sink a match.
CM Punk vs The Shield: *** 3/4 (3.75 stars)
The first match on the show was a good one, as Punk beat the odds and defeated The Shield in a 3-on-1 handicapped match. Punk was at his best tonight, hitting all of his moves and doing a wonderful job of selling the exhaustion that comes with taking on three men by yourself. The Shield, as always, was very good in their role that they have perfected; taking advantage of the numbers game.
Normally, one man defeating three would be viewed as a burial for those three men, by tonight that wasn't the case. The Shield had been mildly teasing dissention amongst the ranks, and tonight they flashed that in a big way. The future is likely Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins turning on Roman Reigns, launching Reigns' prospective face-push.
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