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Despite being built-up by some of the worst Monday Night Raw's in history, TLC was not the worst PPV of the year for WWE. Far from it, the end result was a fairly entertaining show that had some notable moments that should leave an impression on fans. Despite prior prognostications, TLC was not a complete waste of a PPV.
Roman Reigns vs Sheamus: ***
Sheamus was able to retain his WWE World Heavyweight Championship in a decent match, although the ending with the League of Nations coming in and costing Reigns the championship. Reigns apparently has a whole family on the roster that always has his back, but they were nowhere to be found when the League of Nations were out and costing their man the championship.
I didn't care that much for the bulk of the match. They seemed to go through one spot after another, and taking several minute breaks after each bump, which sucked the life out of what was a pretty decent crowd for a WWE show these days. I thought the finish was pretty good, and WWE is building up Reigns as a face by having him come extremely close to winning the championship only to have it ripped away by forces beyond his control. I don't know if it is going to work, but at least it follows some real logic.
The post-match happenings are interesting. Reigns against Triple H has been rumored for Wrestlemania, but considering the lack of star power on the current roster and the need for a big draw for the Royal Rumble coming up, it makes some sense to do that feud sooner rather than later. Reigns actually got over with the live audience, which is a big step for him. The only negative I can say about it is that Triple H somehow lost his ability to sell and reacted to Roman's offense by flopping around like a fish. Oh, and Cole sucks at calling big moments.
Dean Ambrose vs Kevin Owens: ***1/2
Owens and Ambrose have an interesting contrast in styles in the ring. Owens really is a technician who has his moves calculated out beforehand. Ambrose really is wild, running around the ring with no gameplan other than to cause chaos. Sometimes I think Ambrose relies on that style too much, but when he is wrestling someone like Owens it makes for a good match. I thought this was fun with a lot of near-falls as Owens is such a terrific worker and can carry anyone to the best match of their career. I didn't really care for the finish however, that hurrancanrana by Ambrose was really slow and didn't seem to be an appropriate way to finish the match.
The funny thing about this match is that the emotion in it felt way more real than in the main event. In Owens you have a heel that the fans don't like and he cut a really good promo before the match. Ambrose connects with the crowd in a way that Reigns hasn't been able to do, and the fans really popped for Ambrose winning the Intercontinental Championship. When you consider how boring Raw has been for the last month, maybe WWE wants to consider giving these guys more time.
Charlotte vs Paige: **3/4
Is everyone in the Diva's division a heel? Charlotte is clearly a heel, especially after that finish. However, Paige is certainly acting like a heel, slapping Flair in the face and mock-strutting around the ring. I don't think that is actually that big a problem. Paige is really good in her current role, and if that has some heel aspects so be it. Charlotte also looks a lot better as a heel, and the result was a solid match that told a story and got the job done.
Team ECW vs The Wyatt Family: **1/2
The beginning of this match was very disjointed. One of the important things about having a wild match like a multi-man tables match is to always look like there was a plan, but in a lot of ways the two teams looked like they had no idea what the next spot was supposed to be. They saved it with a decent finish, although it's cruel to tease the fans with fire and then not deliver. The Wyatt Family finally picked up a victory, although they are running out of opponents to face.
The New Day vs The Usos vs The Lucha Dragons: ****1/4
I said in my preview of TLC on Friday that although there isn't a tremendous storyline for most of this PPV, watching guys fall off ladders and crash through tables is never not going to be entertaining. This match had a lot of good athletes that were willing to take big bumps and they didn't disappoint. The Salida del Sol by Kalisto is the high spot of the year for WWE as far as I'm concerned. The New Day was over in Boston and the right team won.
Ryback vs Rusev: **
Not the worst match in the world, although anytime they went into a rest hold the crowd was looking for their pillows. The terrible spot with Lana getting bumped came off poorly and the fans were not really behind Ryback that much. WWE looks like they are building up Rusev again with Lana in a sway similar to how they did it pre-Cena, so it will be interesting to see who they are building him back up for. Who would make a good Wrestlemania opponent for Rusev? You can't do Cena again and Reigns is likely aiming a little bit higher. He could be a decent opponent for Ambrose.
Alberto Del Rio vs Jack Swagger: ***1/4
In a vacuum this was a very good match. I think the concept of a chairs match is really dumb, and it seems like such a forced idea, like just because there is a ladder match and a tables match on the show, there has to be a chairs match for some bizarre reason. However, the guys made the most of it did everything they could to make the match interesting. I don't understand the storyline at all, how on earth is Zeb Colter a babyface? I don't the future of either of these guys is going to be and my best guess would be that it isn't very bright, but for tonight they did a solid job.
From top to bottom, the show was pretty strong. The tag team match was the match of the night and really took things up and notch and set the tone for the rest of the show. The rest of the card was mostly okay, with the chairs match and the Intercontinental Championship match sticking out as really good efforts. The main event wasn't great, but it also wasn't a complete disaster and Reigns looked the best he has in months in the final segment, assaulting Triple H. TLC might not go down as a great PPV or even a good one, but considering the pile of crap WWE has given us over the last month, fans will be pleasantly surprised with how this one turned out.