Hello Misfits! It’s the Wrestling Classic here with my review for WWE TLC. This is the final PPV of 2018. This event is going the wrap up a lot of the feuds and angles before we head into the new year and on the Road to Wrestlemania. Also, with the announcement that Vince McMahon will be appearing on the Raw after this PPV, leaves you wondering if there are going to be any major shake ups on either roster following this event. There are matches with the TLC stipulation as well as matches that maybe only be a chair match, table match or ladder match. There are also many competitive grudge matches as well on this card. Its one of the larger cards of the year with 12 matches. There are many questions to be answered too, such as will Braun Strowman be 100% or will “The Man” Becky Lynch be able to overcome the odds in the triple threat TLC match? Lets find out.
WWE TLC 2018
This show is coming to us from the SAP Center in San Jose, California.
I caught bits and parts of the kick-off. From what I saw both matches were good. The cruiserweight put it all out there. Murphy and Alexander work well together and told us a great story. The right man won with Murphy retaining but they did a good job making it seem like Alexander might have had the victory. Elias and Lashley made sure they made the most of their ridiculous ladder match on kick-off. Elias was also basically in a handicap match and overcame the odds. Lio took some nasty bumps and so did Lashley. Lashley took a powerbomb through a ladder. Elias won by capturing the guitar but it was Lashley who got the last laugh by hitting Elias with the guitar after an assist from Rush. I think they did great job of making both guys look strong. Elias won but Lashley got the last laugh.
– The show opened up with great hype video for the event.
– The commentating is split between the Raw and Smackdown teams. Michael Cole, Renee Young and Corey Graves will call the Raw matches while Tom Phillips, David Otunga and Corey Graves will call the Smackdown matches. The 205 Live announce team will call the Cruisweright championship match and Vic Josephs will join Renee Young and Michael Cole for the MMC finals.
Mixed Match Challenge 2 Finals Winners Awarded a Vacation and Number 30 in their respective Royal Rumbles R- Truth & Carmella def. Jinder Mahal & Alicia Fox w/ The Singh Brothers in 06:20 by submission This was a fun match as have all the MMC matches have been. I enjoyed the moment where the Singh Brothers got involved in Mella and Truth’s dance break with some bhangra. They had some back and fourth until the finish which I think played out well. Carmella picked up the victory for him team by making Alicia Fox tap out to the code of silence. I felt like this was more fitting than having former WWE Champion Jinder Mahal take the fall and it still showcases Carmella as a strong competitor. I mean she was a former Women’s Champion this year and its great to see her cap it off on the last PPV of the year with picking up the W. The interview after the match was hilarious, especially when R-Truth announced they’re going to take their vacation at the WWE HQ in Stamford, CT and Carmella’s facial reaction explained it all.
Smackdown Tag Team Championship The Bar (C) def. The Usos & The New Day w/ Big E in 12:15 by pin fall These three teams put on an action packed and perfectly paced match. If the MMC Finals wasn’t on the show, this would be the perfect match to open up the show. They did a great job making it seem like any one of the teams could go over at different points of the match. There were a lot of times guys tagged themselves in without their opponents knowing which kept the match fun because two guys who thought they were legal would be thrown off by a guy who low-key tagged himself in. These three teams are filled with workhorses and the work-rate here was phenomenal. I dont think this match slowed down at any point. I mean there was a spot where the Usos super kicked everyone but other than that, it was go-go-go. In the end, The Bar retained after Sheamus caught Xavier Woods with a brogue kick. If you missed this match definitely go check it out.
TLC Match Braun Strowman def. Baron Corbin in 16:00 by pin fall This was a bit of a letdown because I think we all would have loved to see an actual TLC match between these two giants but I understand why it was booked the way it was under the circumstances since Braun is still recovering from a shoulder injury. This was more of a segment rather than a match but in the end Strowman still was victorious. The stipulation was that if Baron Corbin won, he would become the full-time official GM of Raw but it Strowman wins, Corbin loses all power and Strowman gets Lesnar at the Royal Rumble. Due to those implications. they had to do something to give us a clear for this match that goes in the direction they’re looking to head creatively. I guess I’ll run down how it played out. Heath Slater was out there as the referee and Corbin tells him to count to ten which would name him the winner due to forfeit. Mid-way through Braun Strowman makes his way out and reminds Corbin that there are no rules so he could have help to beat Corbin from all the people he has pissed off as their boss. This brings out Apollo Crews, Roode/Gable and Balor out and Slater to throw off his referee shirt and turn on Corbin too. They surround and beat Corbin up with chairs. As Corbin tries to escape, Kurt Angle appears and hits Corbin with the chair until he’s back in the ring. Everyone hits a move on Corbin and Strowman pins Corbin with his foot for the win. Strowman celebrates while Angle stares down Corbin.
Tables Match Natalya def. Ruby Riott w/ The Riott Squad in 12:40 by sending Ruby Riot through a table This was a Natalya’s match to get retribution for Riott mocking her father who passed away last Summer. Fun fact, Natalya was also in the first ever women’s table match at TLC in 2010, when she teamed with Beth Phoenix to defeat Lay-Cool. This started off with Natalya trying to fight off her disadvantage in numbers as Logan and Morgan kept getting involved. Natalya at one point hit a spear on Liv that sent her flying through a table with a badass looking bump. This took Liv out of the equation. Good stuff Liv. Natalya eventually got rid of Logan by putting her through a table as well. It came down to just Natalya and Riott. Riott had a table with Jim Neidhart on it but Natalya retaliated with a table with Ruby Riott on it. Natalya puts on her fathers jacket for the closing stretch of the match. In finishes with Natalya countering a top-rope hurricurana into a powerbomb sending Riott crashing through the table with her body on it. Natalya celebrated in her dads jacket and sunglasses after the match. This was solid stuff with the right person winning.
Finn Balor def. Drew McIntyre in 12:20 via pinfall There were rumours that this match might not take place due to Finn being sick but I’m glad it did. These are two guys who really need to be pushed harder and faster in my opinion due to the current landscape of Raw and lack of talent in the top spots. I feel like the company is strongly behind McIntyre right now, more so than they are on Balor. However, I think both guys could use the rub by winning this match. Its crazy how big McIntyre looks compared to Balor. This was a very back and fourth match with the crowd heavily behind Balor. Drew talked a lot of trash during the match which included him throwing jabs at Dolph Ziggler. The match was in the favour of both guys at different times but near the closing stretch it seemed as if McIntyre had gotten the upper hand on Balor. Ziggler appears out of nowhere as Drew is gloating outside of the ring and hits him with a super kick. Ziggler brings a steel chair over but Drew kicks it into his face. Drew rolls Ziggler into the ring and the referee tells him not to bring the chair in. Drew brings it in and Balor kicks it back into him. Balor goes to the top and hits Coup de Grace on Drew for the pin to win. This was a smart finish that protected both guys. McIntyre didn’t lose cleanly to Balor but Balor earned a massive victory. It wasn’t what I predicted but I’m not against it. I was 6-2 at this point with my predictions.
Chairs Match Rey Mysterio def. Randy Orton in 11:30 by pin fall I’m not going to lie my expectations for this match were a lot higher. It involves to legendary veterans facing off in a match with a silly stipulation. I had faith that these two would make it work though. They made sure they used the chairs enough so the stipulation makes sense. It just felt like this match never had that ah-ha moment. It was very competitive and both guys were one step ahead of the other considering their experience as superstars and facing each other in the past. Rey Mysterio picked up the victory after avoiding an RKO onto four chairs that were lined up and catching Orton with a roll-up. I think this was just a step forward in their feud and not the end so I hope they give us a banger the next time around. Mysterio picking up the victory is what I predicted because it gives Orton more reason to continue stalking Mysterio until he can hopefully get the best out of him. I’m of course a big fan of both guys since I feel like I grew up with them but this match is pretty forgettable.
– Backstage we go to Finn Balor for an interview. Balor isn’t happy about Dolph Ziggler interfering in his win over Drew McIntyre. Ziggler appears and they have words. Balor tells Ziggler to keep his nose out of his business next time. Ziggler says Balor was lucky he was there. Ziggler attacks and drops Balor, then sends him into a stack of production cases.
Raw Women’s Championship Ronda Rousey (C) def. Nia Jax w/ Tamina Snuka in 10:50 via submission Its a rematch from the Summer but this time Ronda Rousey is walking in champion and Nia Jax is the challenger. The story is the same though, Ronda Rousey has to overcome a monstrous Nia Jax who is twice her size. Jax overpowers Ronda for the majority of the match and threatens her with her big right hand. If you haven’t been watching Raw a ton lately, Nia Jax has been using that she broke Becky Lynch’s face with one punch as her shtick to get more heat and build more credibility for herself. Ronda Rousey would continue to try to lock the armbar on Nia throughout the match. Jax stays in control for a bit and Ronda does a great job selling. Its something she’s excelled at right of the bat. There was also a spot where Rousey hit a flying cross-body to change to gain the momenteum which might have been the first time we’ve seen her use that move. Its crazy how strongly the fans are behind Rousey when she’s not up against the man Becky Lynch or Charlotte Flair. There were some near falls after this. Rousey hit this super-cool step up right hook, the kind of reminded me of shining wizard superman punch. This was only possible because the size of Jax. There was another awesome Rousey moment as she power bombed Nia Jax from the top rope. The finish was great. Snuka tried getting involved but it didnt help because Rousey climbed Jax’s body to lock on a gruesome looking arm bar. While having it locked in Rousey taunted Tamina and kissed Jax’s “facebreaker” fist until Jax tapped out. I enjoyed this match more than I was expecting.
– Backstage, the cameras catch SmackDown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch approaching Nia Jax backstage. Becky asks Jax, who is still recovering from the loss to Rousey, if she remembers all that stuff about breaking her face. Becky kicks Jax in the gut and drops her with a punch. Becky walks off. Tamina Snuka comes running up but she’s too late.
– Kayla Braxton is backstage with AJ Styles. Styles says there’s no difference between The New Daniel Bryan and The Old Daniel Bryan because both are beatable. AJ goes on and says he’s played Bryan’s game now, Bryan will play his.
WWE Championship Daniel Bryan (C) def. AJ Styles in 23:55 by pin fall The fans chanted “this is awesome” during this match and it was just that, awesome. These two have faced each other twice on Smackdown already and it felt competitive both times but this time it felt more personal. It may be the fact that it is not face vs. face but a “new” heel Daniel Bryan against a face AJ Styles which allowed them to tell a different story. This was once again extremely competitive and both guys are known for being extremely skilled in that squared circle. Bryan started off this match similar to his match with Lesnar where he powders and then jogs around the ring and messes with his opponents mind. The fans were chanting back and fourth for both guys so Bryan would get his heat back every time he rolled out of the ring to powder. The match started going back and fourth with both men trying to get the best of one another. Bryan would drop Styles on the barricade ribs first which was vital the rest of the match as Bryan would focus on the ribs and Styles would sell it. There was a lot of trash talking going on between the two guys throughout the match. I loved that Bryan would try to plead or beg off Styles during this match which showed him trying to outsmart and play mind games against his opponents. Bryan kept finding ways to avoid the Styles Clash as well. They trade submissions which had us feeling like either guy was going to win there. Styles locked on the calf-crusher but Bryan fought out of it to get the LeBell lock tied on Styles. I love how he’s no longer calling it the Yes Lock but the LeBell Lock again. The fans chanted awesome chants after both men go down after a pele kick. The match was in AJ’s favour following this as he hit a 450 only to get two count and locked in another calf crusher only for Bryan to make it to the ropes. Styles hit a phenomenal forearm onto Bryan outside of the ring. A referee blocked Styles from hitting the Phenomenal Forearm. They trade roll-up attempts only for Bryan to keep Styles shoulders down for the three count. Styles was shocked and Bryan successfully retained his championship. What a match! These two work great together and I wonder where they go from here.
– Back from the break and Ronda Rousey and Natalya are backstage for an interview. Rousey is asked about Charlotte Flair. Rousey says payback is a b—h and she’s the baddest b—h on the planet. She walks off.
Intercontinental Championship Dean Ambrose def. Seth Rollins (C) in 23:00 by pin fall Finally, Seth Rollins will get Dean Ambrose in the ring after the betrayal of Ambrose on the same evening Roman Reigns made his leukaemia announcement. I’m only bringing up Reigns because they used it as well in the video package prior to the match to make this a more emotion filled angle. These two always work well together and I didnt expect anything different here. The roles have changed for the first time between these two though, as Ambrose is a now a heel and Rollins is the babyface. The two face off the “burn it down” chants. This match was back and fourth but eventually turned into brawl most of the time. Ambrose starts getting frustrated with Rollins always coming back from his offence. They go back to the Rollins story they go to in most of his big matches. where his knee goes out on him and becomes a factor in the story telling of the match. There is a ton of near falls and one point the fans break out in a “this is boring!” chant which was quite odd and kind of hurt the match. Both guys started showing more expressions and tried to get the fans invested by resorting to the story. Ambrose teases going for Rollins stomp but misses and gets caught with an enziguri. Rollins with the Ripcord knee for a close 2 count. Rollins goes to the top for a Frogsplash but Ambrose gets his knees up. Eventually we see Ambrose try to play mind-games with Rollins offering him the Shield fist bump. There was a moment of contemplation by Rollins who ends up pushing the fist away and dropping Ambrose. Rollins was in full control at this point and has Ambrose in the ring ready to finish him off. He grabs Ambrose’s face and tells him that he didn’t want it to come to this and says this is for Roman. Rollins slaps Ambrose and goes for the stomp but Ambrose catches him with a dirty deeds outta nowhere for the win. Ambrose is the Intercontinental Champion because Rollins emotions got the best of him. This was a solid match that I think the live crowd should have appreciated more. Renee Young was solid on commentary here playing somewhat of a tweener defending her husband.
TLC Triple Threat Smackdown Women’s Championship Asuka def. Becky Lynch (C) & Charlotte Flair in 21:45 by pin fall Its time for the main event. Once again the women main event a PPV for a first time ever match, as it is the first time the women compete in a TLC match. Its a triple threat between three of the most dominant woman on the blue brand. Becky Lynch is on fire right now as “The Man.” Charlotte Flair has gone back to her old selfish ways as she lost her mind slowly after not being able to beat Becky Lynch for the championship and getting frustrated about trying to beat Ronda Rousey. Asuka is on her road to redemption since she was unable to capitalize on her big Royal Rumble win to win the championship from Charlotte at Wrestlemania and then not being able to capture it from a sneaky Carmella. These three women tore the house down and really looked as if they were trying to hurt each other rather than just win the match. There is clearly still animosity and tension between Lynch and Flair and Asuka was sick of them being the center of attention. Asuka was in charge and on a rampage for a lot of this match. Charlotte would not stay down no matter the beating she took. Becky Lynch was going to do whatever it took to keep her championship. Lynch took the big first hard bump on a ladder back first and then we were off to the races. There was some back and fourth between Charlotte and Asuka that led to Asuka powerbombing Charlotte off the ladder onto a table leaned vertically in the corner but she didn’t go through it as planned. Becky stopped Asuka from winning there. Charlotte hit her big moonsault on both women on the outside. Becky unloads with brutal chair shots on both women. This was really over with the fans cause you know…Becky is Becky. Becky tops that with setting up a ladder and jumping off it with a leg drop on both Charlotte and Asuka whom she placed on one of the announcer tables. Asuka escaped but Becky got all of Charlotte sending her through the table while bouncing off her ribs. I swear its incredible that Charlotte didn’t get hurt in this match. She is truly indestructible or at least it felt that way during this match. Charlotte unloads with kendo stick shots on both girls. Becky hits bexploder on Charlotte onto a table placed against the barricade. This opened up the opportunity for Asuka to get the kendo stick and beat the living hell out of Becky Lynch with it. Charlotte spears Asuka through the barricade which was funny in a way because Asuka set herself up for it. Minor detail that doesn’t really matter and not everyone will notice. Becky tries to go for the belt at this point only to be stopped by Charlotte. This leads to Charlotte and Becky back on this outside brawling and then to Charlotte hitting senton flip onto Becky Lynch who was laid out on a table. Asuka and Charlotte fight onto of a ladder until Becky brings in another one. They knock Asuka off and its just Becky and Charlotte fighting on top of a ladder. This brings out Ronda Rousey who pushes the ladder with Becky and Charlotte on it down sending both Becky and Charlotte outside the ring. Rousey heads to the back to some boos. Asuka climbs the ladder and FINALLY becomes the Smackdown Women’s Champion. Wow what a match and definitely deserving for the main event. I wouldn’t say this is a match of the year candidate but you’d really be digging to find things to hate about this match or maybe you just dislike Ronda Rousey. I enjoyed it. These girls tore it down.
Final Thoughts This show was fun and capped off 2018 in solid fashion. I was 9-3 with my predictions which isn’t bad. The show was solid overall. It wasn’t the best PPV of the year or anything but it was solid. There were some great in ring action, storyline progression and just some quality entertainment. I really enjoyed the main event, Bryan/Styles, Rousey/Jax and the Smackdown Live Tag Team title match. Smackdown definitely owned the night though. Rollins/Ambrose and Nattie/Riott were pretty solid as well. I think this PPV will be one of those shows that had matches people will forget about and become hidden gems one day. Considering how meh Raw has been these past three weeks, this show was better than my expectations. Final Rating – 7/10
What were your final thoughts on TLC? What final grade would you give the event? Where would you rate it on a scale of ten? Do you agree with my review? Leave your comments, opinions and thoughts below in the comments section.