By Jason Powell
WWE TLC 2017 Kickoff Show
Aired live on WWE Network and social media
Minneapolis, Minnesota at Target Center
-Renee Young hosted the show and was joined by the panel of David Otunga and Peter Rosenberg. Young addressed the lineup changes with Kurt Angle replacing Roman Reigns in the main event, and AJ Styles replacing Bray Wyatt in the match against Finn Balor.
-The Miz checked in from backstage and accused Kurt Angle of trying to steal the spotlight from him again. He said the big news is that he and Maryse announced that they are having a baby girl. Miz said the numbers advantage will lead to a win for his team in the TLC main event. Miz said he wants Angle to come out and shake his hand on Raw to let him know there are no hard feelings about what he intends to do to him with tables, ladders, and chairs. Otunga noted that Miz was making it very personal between him and Angle. Miz said he’ll give Angle another broken freaking neck.
-Young hyped “The Demon” Finn Balor facing Styles, so it looks like the Demon persona is still in play. The panelists put over the match as being special.
-Charly Caruso checked in from the social media lounge where she will ask Mickie James the very worst of the questions that fans submit via social media.
-The panel shocking split when it came to predicting the outcome of the Sasha Banks vs. Alicia Fox match. Rosenberg picked a Sasha Banks win because it’s National Boss Week, while Otunga went with Alicia Fox.
-An Asuka teaser video aired. “No one is ready for Asuka,” she said.
-Backstage, Kayla Braxton interviewed Emma, who complained about all the attention that Asuka received compared to her. She showed Braxton comments from fans on her phone. She said all eyes will be on her, the creator of the women’s revolution. Meanwhile, Rosenberg and Otunga both predicted a win for Asuka over Emma.
-The WWE video game commercial that was cool the first time you heard it and now couldn’t be more annoying after 200,000 airings played.
-Backstage, Jason Jordan greeted Kurt Angle with a hug. Jordan asked if he was ready. Angle said he had to do something to fill the void. Elias showed up and said he wanted to make it a truly special night by delivering a musical performance. Jordan took exception to Elias interrupting with that request. Angle granted the performance and then asked for a moment with Jordan, who mockingly thanked Elias for saving the pay-per-view. “At least I’m on the pay-per-view,” Elias replied.
Powell’s POV: Get ready for Jordan vs. Elias.
-The panel discussed the WWE Cruiserweight Championship match. Drew Gulak interrupted with a siren on his megaphone. He complained that his advertised presentation was cut for time. He said he had 277 slides to show. He spoke through the megaphone and said it was the perfect time to start a “we will not be silenced” chant. He looked into the camera and said he believes in a better 205 Live and a better cruiserweight division. He wants to get rid of flying, use of the top rope, costumes, etc. Young spoke over him heading into a break.
-After a video package on the Raw Women’s Championship match, Mickie James was interviewed in the social media lounge by Caruso. The first question was how it feels going into the match knowing it could be her seventh title win. Amazing. The second question was whether age is catching up to James. No, absolutely not. She pointed out that she’s not the oldest female on the roster and she said half the male roster is older than she is. She noted that Fabulous Moolah was 76 when she won her last title. The third question was what the first thing she would do if she won the title. Give the title a facelift and FaceTime her son in the morning since it’s past his bedtime.
-In a shocking twist, the panelists split when it came to predicting the outcome of the Raw Women’s Championship match. Rosenberg picked James, Otunga went with Bliss.
-AJ Styles was interviewed by the panel as he stood backstage. He praised Balor. Styles also said he’s a pro and is ready for anyone. Styles said he’s heard that The Demon has never been beaten on WWE television and he’ll be happy to be the first to do that. After Styles checked out, Otunga said Styles has been traveling nonstop and he questioned whether that will be a factor in the match.
-The Raw broadcast team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Booker T checked in and recapped the Alicia Fox vs. Sasha Banks feud…
1. Sasha Banks vs. Alicia Fox. Alicia was out first and had feathers as part of her entrance. Sasha went right at Fox and dominated the offense until they cut to a break. [C] Fox came back and performed two Northern Lights suplexes and got a couple of two counts. Booker compared Fox to The Missing Link (look him up, kids). Fox caught Banks with a big punch late, but Banks came back and applied the Bank Statement for the submission win…
Sasha Banks beat Alicia Fox in 11:00.
Powell’s POV: The outcome was never in question, but the live crowd was into the match and clearly liked Sasha. By the way, the broadcast team and the panel have done a nice job of making the addition of Angle to the main event, and the Styles vs. Balor matches seem like major positives.
-The panel delivered hype for the 30-day network trial, NXT Takeover, and Survivor Series. They set up a video package that focussed on the addition of Kurt Angle to the main event.
-Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose stood backstage and were interviewed by the panel about teaming with Angle. Ambrose said he doesn’t know what Angle’s plans or motivations are, but he stressed that it’s war. Ambrose said Angle would do his thing, while they would do their thing. Rollins said he never dreamed he would be teaming with Angle. They were asked about a strategy for the main event. Rollins said The Shield always has something up their sleeve and this was no exception. Rollins said he doesn’t know what Angle has left in the tank, but he believes Angle will bring everything he has. Ambrose said he doesn’t care if Angle has nothing left, it he’s crazy enough to ride with them then he’s cool.
-The panel wrapped up the Kickoff Show.
Live coverage of WWE TLC is available on the main page.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Will Pruett on the Roman Reigns whodunnit angle, WWE heading into SummerSlam, AEW's October 2 premiere on TNT, the New Japan Pro Wrestling G1 Climax Tournament through Day 11, and more (77:45)...