WWE TLC: Chair smashing mayhem in all its glory!
It was time for Tables, Ladders and Chairs (TLC). That moment in World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) when things started to change and a new landscape came forth.
Sunday night featured various filler matches and two high-profiled handicap matches but of course the highlight was the unification of the company’s biggest titles.
Be warned that the following review contains spoilers, features and debatable opinions and focuses on the entertainment that is the WWE Pay Per View (PPV).
The former Indie gods faced their toughest challenge
It is one thing to compete against a formidable opponent but it is quite another to take on a team by yourself. CM Punk and Daniel Bryan, legends that emerged from the Indie circuit, faced their respective three-on-one handicap matches against two of the most intimidating trios – the tactical hounds, the Shield and the insanity-prone Wyatt Family.
Both Bryan and Punk showcased their amazing wrestling abilities in the ring and showed that they could compete against the best new talent that the company had to offer. It was like watching the present generation of the company facing its future.
The match between CM Punk and the Shield had a lot of back-and-forth with a predictable domination by the Shield. Roman Reigns however, made one mistake by trying to spear CM Punk out of the ring resulting in him being out of the match. Without the units’ muscle the Shield had problems over-powering the ‘Best in the World’.
Towards the end of the match Reigns missed another spear and hit Dean Ambrose instead, costing them the match. Tempers were running high and it seemed like the Cerberus had one head that might stray. Recent events even hinted that Reigns was not happy with his position on the team.
Bryan came out as the star of the night but the atmosphere of the arena changed when the creepy Wyatt Family walked down the ramp. Bryan was dominated almost throughout the match as the Wyatt Family tried to de-throne the former WWE champion. It looked like they were trying to break Bryan down both physically and mentally, especially with moves like the devastating Vertical Suplex Drop. Although Daniel Bryan put up a great fight, being the swift and fierce rapid fighter that he is, he was cut short by the Wyatt Family’s brutal combination of force and peculiar technique.
The tides changed in the Diva's division
It is no secret that women's wrestling has been on the downfall. Long gone are the days when talent such as the Fabulous Moolah, the star power of Trish Stratus or the ability of Lita graced the international squared circle. However, Natalya and AJ Lee stepped into the TLC PPV and represented a heartbeat, a struggle and a hope for the women's division in the WWE.
As recently as a few months ago all the Diva's matches were considered toilet breaks and lasted under five minutes. However, this match featured great storytelling and in-ring manoeuvres by the cream of the division. Natalya seemed like a true descendant of the legendary Hart family packing lineage and showed the power and technical strength that her family is known for. On the other hand, there was the new rebellious and arguably the most charismatic Diva in the company at the moment, AJ Lee. AJ however, fought through all the offenses and out-wrestled one of the Harts, retaining her championship and making it even more prestigious.
Although the Diva division had its share of embarrassing representation, these two wrestlers sparked some hope in the company for female talent. They showed that there is more to them than their pretty faces and fan service.
The Tag Team was on fire
With all the hype created, viewers had only anticipated and looked forward to the World Title's main event. But then came the Tag Teams of the company.
The Rhodes Brothers defended their titles against veterans Rey Mysterio and Big Show, Ryback and Curtis Axell and Cesaro and Swagger.
It was a Fatal Four Way tag match and delivered the entertainment it promised.
The chaotic match featured numerous memorable moments. Cesaro provided his monthly spot for the PPV and this time it was a delayed gutwrench suplex. Goldust used a springboard back elbow and a top-rope Hurricanrana.
When was the last time viewers got to see that?
The match did not go so well for the heel teams as they were eliminated first.But the Rhodes Brothers emerged victorious and retained their championships against the two veterans that had come so close.
The unified champion
This is not the first time the company has unified two major championships. The first undisputed WWE champion – World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and WWE title holder – was Chris Jericho back in 2001 who won the title from both, the Rock and Stone Cold who were the best of their era. He was also tweeting during the event.
The new unification showcased the 13 times World Champion John Cena and the nine times World Champion Randy Orton. Both men are accustomed to controversy but happen to be the most decorated superstars of this generation of professional wrestling. The titles they were defending predate the formation of the company itself and are the very pillars of the industry.
This match was to decide which of these stars would be the face of the company and what would be the conclusion of their long rivalry.
All the tools available were used in the match – tables, ladders and chairs. Sickening chair shots reverberated around the arena and from our TV sets and computer screens. When Orton was thrown on the Spanish announcer’s table, I wondered when that table would meet its certain demise.
Their back and forth surrounded the ring side and there was a point when Cena was handcuffed to the bottom rope.
But the famous powerhouse managed to struggle out of that predicament and stayed in the fight.
Although TLC only featured one Tables, Ladders and Chairs match, it was definitely worth the wait. All the weapons and more played a part in this match including the microphone and the ring itself!
The high-risk manoeuvres that we are used to may have been missing from the match but that did not stop it from being entertaining. There was more to this match then a showdown of finishers; there were high hopes, shattered dreams, storytelling and in the end Randy Orton prevailed in becoming the Unified Champion and the face of the WWE.
Randy Orton's win gives the @WWE an undisputed champ for the first time in 4,122 days. Bruno Sammartino held the title for 4,040 days alone.— Sean Grande (@SeanGrandePBP) December 16, 2013
The main event might not have been ‘match of the year’ but it did leave the crowd pleased. The handicap matches served their purpose, the Wyatt Family was established as a dominating force and the Shield was cracked. The Divas had a good showing and we had a stellar Tag Team bout that shadowed the rest of the night's fillers.
Overall, it was good Pay Per View and a new game for the locker room.
And now we wait. Until next time.