By Jason Powell
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WWE TLC 2015
Aired live on WWE Network and pay-per-view
Boston, Massachusetts at TD Garden
A video package on Roman Reigns and his struggles with Seth Rollins, Triple H, and Sheamus aired…
Powell’s POV: For those who missed the Kickoff Show, Sasha Banks defeated Becky Lynch with help from Naomi and Tamina… Michael Cole hyped that 14,903 fans had sold out the building. He was joined on commentary by JBL and Jerry Lawler. Lilian Garcia was in the ring to introduce the ladder match…
New Day made their entrance. Kofi Kingston pointed out that Xavier Woods usually does something special with his hair for these occasions. Woods said that’s true, but he wasn’t going to do anything special for Boston. Woods delivered his schtick, and then Kingston said they would officially cement themselves as the faces of the tag division. Woods asked who else could play that role. Kingston said the Dragons look like kids, and he said the Usos sounds like a disease. Kingston said they don’t hide behind masks or face paint because they are stars. They posed and said it was a preview of the next Wheaties cereal box cover. The rest of the entrances took place…
1. Big E and Kofi Kingston (w/Xavier Woods) vs. Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso vs. The Lucha Dragons in a ladder match for the WWE Tag Team Championship. Woods sat in on commentary. The ladders came into play early. The Uso Brothers had one that they used to ram the Dragons off the apron, and then they tossed the ladder to them and performed a suicide dive onto their opponents on the floor. The Usos set up the ladder, fought off Kingston and dumped him to the floor, but then had Big E cut them off.
Later, Sin Cara performed a running dive over the top rope and rolled onto a ladder that was covering the Uso Brothers on the floor. In the ring, Kalisto and Sin Cara climbed the ladder that was overing Big E, who pressed it up to knock Sin Cara down, yet held it in place long enough for Kalisto to dive onto The Uso Brothers in a cool (albeit a bit contrived) spot.
At 11:10, Sin Cara catapulted Kalisto, who did a flip before landing on a ladder that was covering Kingston in the ring. A ladder was set up on the big ladder and draped over the middle rope. Kalisto performed a huracanrana that drove Kingston onto the ladder face first. Kingston rolled to ringside. Kalisto slowly climbed the ladder, but one of the Uso Brothers stopped him. The Dragons and The Usos fought on the main ladder briefly.
In the most insane spot of the night, Kalisto performed his finisher on one of the Uso Brothers from the top of the ladder and they both crashed through the smaller ladder that was draped over the ropes and the main ladder. Wow! The fans chanted “this is awesome.” At 16:10, one of the Uso Brothers leapt off the top rope and onto Big E, who was covered by a ladder on the floor. Lawler and JBL said they didn’t understand the mentality given that Uso chose to dive onto E on the floor rather than make a play for the belt.
Kalisto climbed the ladder. Woods got up from commentary, grabbed his trombone from the timekeeper’s area, and threw it at Kalisto to knock him down. Kingston pulled Kalisto down violently, then climbed the ladder and pulled the titles down to win the match. New Day celebrated with the title belts on the ladder and appeared to have a lot of supporters in the crowd…
New Day defeated The Uso Brothers and The Lucha Dragons in a ladder match in 17:50 to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship.
Powell’s POV: They really set the bar high in the opening match of the night. There were some truly insane spots, but none more so than the Kalisto finisher on Kofi that put both men through the ladder. It’s just a shame that the fans weren’t given more incentive to care about the babyface teams because the wrestlers worked their asses off. It will be interesting to see if we look back on this as the peak of the show.
An ad aired for NXT Takeover: London and then Cole hyped Wednesday’s live special (join us for live coverage)… A Rusev, Lana, and Ryback video package aired…
2. Ryback vs. Rusev (w/Lana). Ryback slammed Rusev off the ropes and set up for his finisher, but Rusev rolled to the floor at 5:45. Rusev and Lana started to leave, but Ryback caught up to them and dragged Rusev back to ringside. Lana suffered her injury of the week when Ryback accidentally backed into her after he was shoved by Rusev. Rusev superkicked Ryback, and Lana suddenly started cheering as if nothing happened. Rusev rolled Ryback back inside the ring and covered him for two. A short time later, Ryback had Rusev up for his finisher, but Rusev slipped out, superkicked him, and then applied the Accolade. The referee called for the bell…
Rusev beat Ryback in 7:55.
Powell’s POV: The replay was effective in showing that Lana was faking her injury (from a storyline standpoint).
Backstage, Roman Reigns approached Dean Ambrose and spoke about their title matches. Reigns said he pictures himself on top of the ladder and taking the title belt. Reigns said he’s willing to break every knuckle of his fist and every run of the ladder with Sheamus’s head. Reigns said that win, lose, or draw it’s about making a statement. What? Ambrose said their statement will be holding up their title belts together at the end of the night…
Powell’s POV: Tonight is about making a statement? He has a chance to win the title, so the match should be about that for him, not about making a statement. Is that their way of softening the blow for Reigns’s fans if he loses tonight?
3. Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger in a chairs match for the U.S. Championship. There was no sign of Zeb Colter as the match started. However, we did see a Facebook message from Swagger, who said no one deserves to be treated the way Del Rio treated Colter last week. Swagger even said he’s fighting the match for Colter. Del Rio slammed a chair over the back of Swagger and then set up for a superkick, but Swagger threw the chair at Del Rio’s face instead. Well, that was unexpected.
Del Rio recovered quickly and stacked a bunch of chairs onto Swagger on the floor and then threw several more at him. Del Rio rolled Swagger back inside the ring and covered him for two. Del Rio teased the Cross Arm Breaker, but Swagger rebounded by running him through the ropes and shoulder first into the post. Swagger delivered several chair shots to the back of Del Rio. Swagger rapped Del Rio’s leg in a chair and then applied the Patriot Lock. Del Rio eventually reached the ring apron and pulled himself to the floor.
A short time later, Swagger performed a Swagger Bomb for a two count. Swagger threw several chairs inside the ring from the floor. Swagger slammed a chair over Del Rio’s back and then set him on the top rope. Del Rio caught Swagger in a Cross Arm Breaker while hanging from the ropes. Cole noted that there were no disqualifications, and JBL was quick to say Del Rio let the hold go because he could only hang on so long.
Del Rio grabbed a chair and struck Swagger’s back with it repeatedly as he was seated on the second rope from the Armbreaker. Del Rio put chairs underneath Swagger and then followed up with the double stomp from the top rope for the pin…
Alberto Del Rio defeated Jack Swagger in 11:15.
Powell’s POV: A good match because it was about more than just swinging chairs. They did a nice job of incorporating their usual spots into the match and creating a bit of suspense on Swagger’s final near fall. I was surprised to see the chair thrown to the face of Del Rio even if he did put his hands up. I’d like to go back and get a second look at it, but my feed has been spotty enough that I’m fearful of messing with anything at this point. I suspected this would be a big night for the heels (see my predictions) and they have won each match thus far, including getting the rare Kickoff Show win. Updated: I watched the chair to the face spot again via my laptop and it looked like Del Rio blocked it with his hands.
A video package recapped the Wyatt Family vs. Team ECW feud… Backstage, JoJo interviewed Team ECW. Bubba Ray Dudley spoke first and said they’ve been set on fire, put through barbwire and tables. He said someone tried to pull out D-Von’s teeth with a pliers once. Tommy Dreamer talked about how they can take a lot of punishment and added that age is just a number. D-Von Dudley said all four members of The Wyatt Family will go through tables…
4. Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, Erick Rowan, and Braun Strowman vs. Bubba Ray Dudley, D-Von Dudley, Tommy Dreamer, and Rhyno in a tables match. Cole said there are 85 years of experience on Team ECW. It’s apparently an elimination match. The teams fought in and around the ring. Strowman kicked his way through a table set up in the corner and was cleared from the ring. Rowan was put through a table that had his name on it via 3D.
Later, Harper delivered a big boot to Rhyno that drove him through a table to eliminate him from the match. The Dudleys teamed up for a Doomsday Device on Harper. Bubba jumped off the apron toward Strowman and they both fell awkwardly to the floor. Despite all the table spots, the crowd actually chanted “We Want Tables.” Wyatt slammed D-Von through a table with a uranage.
Dreamer and Bubba grabbed kendo sticks and used them as weapons. They sent Strowman to the floor in front of his table and then ran him into the ring steps. Dreamer pulled out a cheese grater and slammed it gently into the crotch of Strowman. A short time later, Harper dove off the ring apron and drove Dreamer through a table at ringside. In the ring, Bubba performed a uranage on Harper. Wyatt ran in and set up for his finisher, but Bubba hit him with a kendo stick.
At 11:45, Bubba pulled out a container of lighter fluid and the place came unglued. Bubba doused a table that was set up in the middle of the ring. He tried to light the table as he had Wyatt between his legs, but Harper kicked him and then Strowman slammed him through the table…
The Wyatt Family beat Team ECW in an elimination tables match in 12:35.
Powell’s POV: I’m surprised they felt the need to make the age thing an issue. Sure, we know these guys are older, but we don’t need to be reminded of it by Dreamer and the broadcast team. Anyway, they tried to incorporate some ECW throwback moments such as the cheese grater and the fire tease, but the tameness of the cheese grater shot and the lack of the fire spot merely served as reminders of just how tame a WWE version of an ECW hardcore style match is. I did have to laugh at the live crowd chanting for tables after getting so many of them.
The Kickoff Show panel of Renee Young, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton, and Booker T spoke from their usual spot on the floor… The broadcast team hyped the Royal Rumble for Sunday, January 24…
Kevin Owens headed to the ring and cut a promo about the city of Boston and its sports teams. “Sports, yeah!” Owens yelled. Funny. He said the fans run around and say “we won” when their team wins when the truth is that they as fans have done nothing. He said they want the teams to win, but the fans as individuals had nothing to do with it. He said that makes them like Dean Ambrose, who walks around and acts like he’s accomplished something too. Owens recalled Ambrose throwing popcorn and soda in his face, and said that he eats popcorn and drinks soda every day of his life. He said he will stomp out Ambrose like a cockroach. Ambrose made his entrance and they aired footage of the popcorn and soda bath, and from the contract signing…
5. Kevin Owens vs. Dean Ambrose for the Intercontinental Title. Owens came back from an early Ambrose flurry and performed a fallaway slam into the barricade. He followed up with a running senton and dumped him into the timekeepers area. Ambrose struggled and barely beat the referee’s ten count.
Ambrose came back and connected with a top rope elbow off the top rope on his second try and got a two count. A short time later, Ambrose performed a rolling senton off the middle rope for a two count and then threw a fit when Ambrose kicked out. Owens went for his finisher, but Ambrose kicked him and then caught him with Dirty Deeds. Ambrose had Owens pinned, but Owens reached the ropes with his finger tips to break it. The live crowd was fired up and many were standing as Ambrose ripped his t-shirt. Owens came back and went for his finisher, but Ambrose performed a huracanrana into a pin for the win…
Dean Ambrose defeated Kevin Owens to win the Intercontinental Title in 9:55.
Powell’s POV: An entertaining match that the live crowd was hot for. It worked out nicely that the live crowd had seen all heel wins before this, as I’m sure some of the casual fans are even more excited because they finally had a finish to cheer. You knew they wouldn’t have all the heels go over tonight, so it was just a matter of which babyface would win. It’s nice to see the Ambrose and his fans be rewarded. I’m curious to see how Owens is booked on Raw now that he lost his title.
The WWE Network commercial that aired during the Kickoff Show match was replayed… The broadcast team spoke at ringside. Cole said Ambrose held up his end of the bargain and then questioned whether Reigns will do the same in the main event. Lawler thanked Dorothy for the theme song, then Cole set up a video package for the Divas Championship match…
6. Charlotte (w/Ric Flair) vs. Paige for the Divas Championship. Lilian Garcia handled the in-ring introductions for the title match. Lawler said both women have done things to alienate people in recent weeks. The fans “wooo’ed” a lot. Charlotte yelled that it was her house early on and got no reaction. Paige had Charlotte between the ropes and threw several knees to her head and then taunted Flair. Paige caught Charlotte with a boot to the head and Charlotte performed the Flair flop.
Charlotte rolled to ringside by her father. Paige went out after her, but Ric stood in her way. Charlotte ran back to the ring. Paige followed, but Charlotte hit her coming through the ropes and took offensive control. Team BAD was shown watching the match on a backstage monitor while wearing wigs, presumably mocking the former PCB members. Paige came back and the referee scolded Flair for trying to remove a turnbuckle pad.
Paige caught Charlotte in the figure four, but Charlotte reached the ropes to break the hold. Charlotte put her back down with a big boot to the face. Later, Paige performed the RamPaige on Charlotte in front of her father. Paige went for the pin, but Flair pulled Charlotte’s foot on the bottom rope. Paige spotted it, but the referee did not. Paige jawed at Flair through the ropes. Charlotte undid the turnbuckle pad that her father started untying earlier. When Paige approached her, Charlotte pulled her face first into the turnbuckle and pinned her…
Charlotte beat Paige in 10:45 to retain the Divas Championship.
Powell’s POV: So I guess Charlotte was the heel because of her father’s interference and because Paige didn’t really do anything heelish. The live crowd didn’t really cheer or boo either woman. However, they did “woooo” so Flair helped in that regard. In fact, he and Charlotte as a heel duo have a lot of potential and I liked the finish, but they really need some babyfaces to work with. Meanwhile, Team BAD continue to go for cornball comedy. Why?
A jewelry commercial spot aired with a fan proposing to his girlfriend inside a WWE ring. That lucky, lucky girl!. I’m sure it’s just like she always always dreamed it would be…
Backstage, Becky Lynch wasn’t impressed by the way Charlotte won, but she justified it and Flair wooooed… The broadcast team spoke at ringside and then a video package set up the main event…
7. Sheamus vs. Roman Reigns in a TLC match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Lilian Garcia delivered the in-ring introductions for the title match. Reigns punched Sheamus in the mouth when the bell rang. Cole said Sheamus had a “huge red bruise” on the side of his face seconds later. Sheamus quickly took control, but Reigns put him down with a clothesline. Believe it or not, there was actually a “We Want Cena/Cena Sucks” chant (I stand corrected regarding what I wrote in the preview).
They went to ringside and Reigns backdropped Sheamus into the timekeepers area. The cameras missed it, but Cole noted that Sheamus emerged from the timekeepers area and struck Reigns with a forearm. Reigns fired back with a clothesline that knocked Sheamus down. “These guys are here to beat the hell out of each other,” JBL said. “I love it. I think it’s great.”
Powell’s POV: Way to sell the danger of the match, JBL.
They fought up the entrance area and Reigns ran Sheamus over one of the tables that was set up and Sheamus took out several chairs that were on top of the table. Reigns picked up Sheamus and then ran him into the tables and chairs that were set up on the stage for a nice visual. Reigns picked up a chair and slammed it over the back of Sheamus.
Reigns cleared off a table. Sheamus ended up putting him through it and regained offensive control. Sheamus headed to the ring and set up a ladder to make a play for the title. He had a nasty looking gash on his left elbow. Reigns returned and stopped Sheamus, who tossed him to ringside. Sheamus threw a ladder at Reigns on the floor. Sheamus slammed Reigns onto the steps and tried to hit him with a chair, but Reigns avoided it and ran Sheamus into the steps. Reigns went for a running punch, but Sheamus was there to catch him with a big shot. Sheamus slammed a chair over the back of Reigns.
Sheamus went to the top of the ring steps with Reigns on his back and performed White Noise through a table that was set up next to the steps. The move was impressive, but the crowd wasn’t very responsive because they’ve seen it all tonight. Back inside the ring, Reigns slammed Sheamus onto a ladder that was lying on the mat.
At 15:15, Reigns knocked Sheamus to the floor. Reigns followed and then leapt off the ring steps and slammed a chair onto Sheamus. Back inside the ring, Reigns “cocked the gun” and received more boos than cheers. He went for a Superman Punch, but Sheamus cut him off. A small “NXT” chant broke out. Sheamus delivered his forearms to the chest of Reigns, who was on the apron. Probably not the best strategy given that Reigns wears a freaking chest protector. Reigns stopped him and ended up performing a Samoa Drop off the ring apron that drove he and Sheamus through a ladder that was draped over the ring and the barricade.
Reigns made a play for the title a short time later, but Sheamus stopped him. Sheamus climbed the ladder and Reigns stopped him. Reigns climbed the ladder again, but Sheamus was there to hit him with punches and then pulled him down in powerbomb position, only to have Reigns land on his feet and then Superman Punch him. Reigns climbed the ladder. Sheamus recovered and pulled the ladder down, and Reigns fell awkwardly.
Sheamus set up the ladder and got his hands on the title belt, but Reigns made a miraculous recovery and knocked him down with a Superman Punch. Reigns started to climb the ladder and the crowd got excited, but Rusev and Alberto Del Rio ran out and pulled him down. Cole said it was ridiculous, yet there were no disqualifications. Reigns put up a fight, but Del Rio caught him with a superkick.
Reigns eventually hit Del Rio with a Superman Punch on the floor. Reigns returned to the ring and pulled Reigns off the ladder. Sheamus connected with a Brogue Kick that knocked Reigns to the floor. The crowd booed as Sheamus slowly climbed the ladder. Reigns returned to the ring, but Sheamus pulled the belt down quickly to win the match.
Sheamus defeated Roman Reigns in a TLC match to retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in 24:05.
After the match, JBL called Reigns “WWE’s bridesmaid” and then highlights of the match were shown. Rusev and Del Rio put Sheamus on their shoulders. Reigns returned to the ring and speared the men underneath, causing all three men to fall down. Reigns grabbed a chair and returned to the ring. Reigns hit Rusev and Del Rio with it, then they rolled to the floor and he struck Sheamus repeatedly. Triple H, Stephanie McMahhon, and several referees ran out. Hunter and Steph barked at him to stop. Reigns hit Sheamus again.
Hunter talked Reigns down and entered the ring to check on Sheamus. When Hunter turned around, Reigns hit him with a Superman Punch. Reigns struck Hunter with repeated chairs jabs to the gut and then slammed it over his back a couple times. The broadcast team noted that Reigns was attacking his boss. Hunter rolled to the floor. JBL said you could kiss Reigns goodbye.
Reigns took the Spanish announce table apart. Stephanie yelled at him, but Reigns picked up Hunter and slammed him into one broadcast table. Hunter took a swing, but Reigns knocked him down with a punch. Reigns put Hunter on the Spanish broadcast table and then performed a running elbow drop from the other table that drove him through it. The fans chanted “Thank you, Roman” and he smiled. Reigns recalled saying that he would make a statement. Hunter was helped up by referees as a concerned Stephanie watched. Reigns returned to ringside and speared Triple H and then played to the crowd again. The fans chanted “Thank you, Roman” again. Stephanie screamed, and Hunter was down as Reigns played to the crowd to end the show…
Powell’s POV: Strong effort from the wrestlers, but the live crowd didn’t seem to care much until they seemed to get excited by the idea of witnessing a world title change when Reigns had a good near grab late. There are some obvious questions. Did King Barrett not care enough to help Sheamus? Did Dean Ambrose not care enough to help Reigns? I’d love it if they at least took the time to show that Barrett had Ambrose trapped in his locker room or something along those lines. However, there’s really no explaining away that the booking continues to make Reigns look stupid for not being prepared for Money in the Bank cash-ins and now not expecting what most fans watching did with the League of Nations interference. The post match angle went over really well and I am curious to see where they go from here from a storyline standpoint regarding how Reigns will keep his job.
Overall, TLC was definitely filled with tremendous effort from the talent. So many of these guys went above and beyond the call of duty. While I have nothing but respect for the hard work the wrestlers put in, it did become too much in the sense that fans seemed numb to a lot of the table and chairs spots by the time the main event rolled around. Overall, though, the hard work of the talent made this show. Thanks for watching along with me.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features ProWrestling.net staffer John Moore returning for an in-depth discussion on NXT, AEW, Impact Wrestling, MLW, and the NWA, and more...