Tables, Ladders, and Chairs, oh my! Was this year’s TLC able to bring a solid end to 2020? How good were the men who do the wrestles at each other this time around? How many points will I take off of the PPV for that terrible finish to the Fiend match? Read on to find out!
Sami Zayn, King Corbin, Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro vs. Big E, Daniel Bryan, Chad Gable and Otis: As always, the pre-show needs to be something fun but low key, not something you’ll feel like you missed if you didn’t watch it. And this one did its job fine. It was nice seeing Bryan back in the ring even if its just for a little and Big E did get a good showing. Let’s hope his singles push starts to actually yield results in the near future.
Drew McIntyre (c) vs. AJ Styles (WWE Championship – TLC match): If you had told me going into this match that it was just Drew vs AJ, I would have just not cared. AJ is fairly boring as a character currently and I’m beginning to cool on Drew as champion. However, it was a TLC match, which always makes things more fun. On top of that we were given the promise of The Miz doing something. So my expectations weren’t high but I was willing to give this a chance.
All in all, the match itself was fun. Par for the course for such matches. Which is not a bad thing whatsoever, par for the course for a ladder match is a fun time. There just were not many moments that really stood out to me as unique to this match.
And then The Miz came in. He honestly didn’t add much to the match; it would have been more fun if he had just been added in at the start for the entire match. I greatly enjoyed Omos’s bit, but it did seem weird that if he is willing to get involved to stop The Miz, why didn’t he stop McIntyre?
There have been better opening matches for PPVs recently. But it was still fun.
Sasha Banks (c) vs. Carmella (SmackDown Women’s Championship): While this is more of a throwaway feud to build Sasha up as champ, I honestly have enjoyed the build to it. It’s not the best thing in the world but for what it is I’ve been enjoying it. I’ve also really liked that while Sasha is being presented as the face (since she is opposite Carmella), she still has her more heelish traits. I wouldn’t even call her a tweener, more just a heel I want to cheer for, which is something WWE needs to lean into more.
However, despite the build being fun to watch I didn’t really feel like anything was riding on this match. I wasn’t excited to watch it and had no doubt about the outcome, which is a shame because the match was really good. Like really really good.
Everything seemed relatively clean, and I didn’t notice any botches or even hesitations. There were some excellent hits and the pace of the match was perfect. And while having someone ringside is not at all a unique thing, there is something I just love about Carmella’s sommelier and watching Sasha take him out.
All in all a great match, but the buildup to it needed to be longer. If they had let this match stew for another month and made the possibility of Carmella winning seem higher, this match would have been amazing.
The New Day (c) vs. Hurt Business (Raw Tag Team Championship): Meanwhile, this build up was also extremely uneventful. I went into the PPV forgetting that this match was taking place despite having just finished catching up on Raw from this week on Sunday before the PPV.
As always though, I don’t think New Day is capable of having a bad match. No matter how little I care going into a match, their in-ring work is the absolute best. It’s just a shame that they define WWE’s tag division and yet Vince pays absolutely NO attention to the tag division. There were so many amazing spots in this match
I’m glad that the Hurt Business won. I really love their general aesthetic and attitude but they don’t seem like a really dominant faction. Maybe more belts will help them out in that department. Maybe. Hopefully. We’ll see.
Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler (c) vs. Asuka and…. *sigh* Charlotte Flair (Women’s Tag Team Championship): This plot has been extremely frustrating. First: it has Nia Jax in it. Two: it was supposed to be about Lana. We’ve been building up Lana for months and then she was pulled out. Narratively, it makes no sense.
The match itself was fine, but was dampened a lot by Charlotte Flair as well as the previously mentioned issues. Also, having Shayna be the one who took the pin was extremely frustrating. It’s been almost a year since Shayna debuted on the main roster as a wrecking force and then slid into teaming with Nia. She should not be taking pins like this. Meanwhile, having Asuka in this terribly booked match is not helping her whatsoever. It makes her feel like she’s someone who is thrown randomly into things just for the sake of it and not the force of nature that she is.
Roman Reigns (c) vs. Kevin Owens (TLC match – Universal Championship): The buildup to this match has been really good. Whether this turns into a long term feud or ends here, it did a really good job building up a bit more of Roman’s character, which is how short one-off feuds for the champion should be. We’ve gotten to know a bit more about what makes heel Roman tick, what his motivations are, and how he thinks in every interaction between Reigns and Owens.
The match was absolutely insane. Since turning heel, Roman has been amazing. Every match feels emotional and intense. Every match since Roman’s return has been a rollercoaster of emotions.
And all of his matches have been slow paced and methodical, but this one started off at a 9 and only went up from there. Just like the first match of the night, on paper there were no spots that hadn’t been done before in a match like this, but Owens and Reigns took it to another level. This is why plot and characters are so important in wrestling.
The Fiend vs. Randy Orton (Firefly Inferno match): The Fiend is one of the staples on the main card. Sure, Goldberg happened, but other than that all his matches have been from entertaining to amazing, nothing less. Their builds have been great as well.
And most of the match was great. The pickaxe was terrifying, The Fiend having Kane’s firepowers was fun, and the rocking chair was absolutely terrifying. Just like 2019’s Hell in a Cell, this match was so good up until the end, but that ending killed it. And just like in Seth vs. Fiend from 2019, I am sure that the Fiend will eventually triumph but to have him lose here really just kills the momentum of the story.
The thing is, even some sort of slight adjustment would have been fine. Them both catching fire at the same time would have been good. The Fiend losing by catching fire then hugging Randy while on fire would have been great too. But instead The Fiend loses and then gets destroyed.
I can’t do justice to the sheer frustration I have with this ending in a review, so I will leave it at that.
In Conclusion: The women’s tag match and the ending to the main event were the main issues with the PPV for me; pretty much everything else was good to great. However, sometimes certain things drag a PPV down as a whole, and this is one of those times. It’s not as bad as Hell in a Cell 2019, but it’s still frustrating. With some slight adjustments to this PPV it could have easily been an 8.5. Look what you made me do, WWE.
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