By Jason Powell
WWE TLC 2017
Aired October 22, 2017 live on WWE Network and pay-per-view
Minneapolis, Minnesota at Target Center
WWE TLC opened with a video package that focussed on Kurt Angle’s story getting a new chapter… The broadcast team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Booker T checked in from the stage. The stage area beside them was filled with tables, ladders, and chairs…
1. Asuka vs. Emma. Asuka applied an early armbar, but Emma reached the ropes. Emma slapped Asuka when they stood up. Cole said Asuka has sudden offense and is lethal. He also noted that it was Emma’s first singles match on WWE pay-per-view. Asuka slammed her backside into Emma, then Cole got all douchey by talking about how she loves to have fun in the ring and is all about entertaining.
Emma grabbed control briefly and then ate a couple of kicks before rolling up Asuka, who rolled through. Emma tied up Asuka in the tree of woe and then slid to ringside and pulled her hair to wrench her backward. Emma performed her sandwich splash in the corner and got a two count. A “let’s go Asuka” chant broke out. Asuka rolled up Emma for a two count, then performed a running kick.
Asuka threw more kicks and stomped on the fingers of Emma. Asuka performed a missile dropkick at 6:50. Emma came back and got a two count before driving Asuka’s face into the mat. Asuka grabbed her leg and applied an ankle lock. Emma got to her feet only for Asuka to perform a German suplex. Emma rolled to ringside. Asuka followed only to have Emma slam her off the apron and down to ringside at 8:55. Emma rolled Asuka back inside the ring and followed her. Asuka caught her with a kick to the head and then applied the Asuka Lock for the win…
Asuka defeated Emma in 9:25.
Powell’s POV: A quality match and a good debut for Asuka. This was longer than I anticipated, but it was a better showcase for the newcomer than Shinsuke Nakamura and Dolph Ziggler had at WWE Backlash. At the same time, Emma came away from this looking a bit stronger than she did going in.
A WWE breast cancer charity video aired…
The Miz, Sheamus, and Cesaro spoke backstage. Sheamus said Mick Foley never would have done what Angle did. He said it’s okay because he’s always wanted to Brogue Kick an Olympic champion. Miz said Angle only cares about himself. He said Angle could have postponed the match or even cancelled it, but he wanted to face him in the main event. Miz said he would meet a Monster Among Men.
Braun Strowman entered the picture and told Miz to save the pep talk. He said he was taking out all three men as along as his teammates stayed out of his way. Kane showed up and said he does whatever he wants. Miz said there will be enough of their opponents to go around and then they will run Raw. Strowman said there is no tomorrow for Angle, Rollins, and Ambrose. Kane said TLC will be hell on earth. Miz, Sheamus, and Cesaro did the Shield fist bump pose…
Elias sat on his stool on the stage and delivered the Prince opening lines to his “Let’s Go Crazy” song. He started playing his guitar only to have Jason Jordan come out and throw produce at him. Elias stopped playing…
Powell’s POV: If you missed the Kickoff Show, first of all, kudos to you for making the right time management decision. Second, Elias mocked Jordan for not being on the pay-per-view card in a backstage segment, so one can only assume that they were setting up a match between the two. Also, Sasha Banks defeated Alicia Fox in the only Kickoff Show match.
2. Brian Kendrick and Jack Gallagher vs. Rich Swann and Cedric Alexander. Vic Joseph and Nigel McGuinness served as the broadcast team for the cruiserweight match. The babyface duo jumped out to a fast start with some crowd pleasing offense that concluded with a flip dive by Alexander onto (or over) both heels at ringside. The heels ended up isolating Swann for a stretch.
Alexander checked in and the heels maintained offensive control with Kendrick applying his Captain’s Hook finisher. Swann broke it up with a Phoenix Splash. Moments later, Alexander hit the Lumbar Check for the win…
Rich Swann and Cedric Alexander defeated Brian Kendrick and Jack Gallagher in 8:00.
Powell’s POV: A solid tag match with the crowd being into the offense of the babyface team.
After some advertising, they showed a tweet from The Rock wishing Kurt Angle luck in the main event… A video package set up the Raw Women’s Championship match…
Backstage, Charly Caruso interviewed Alexa Bliss and noted that harsh words had been exchanged. Bliss immediately brought up biscuit butt and said she doesn’t understand it because her butt is cute. She said she knows Mickie was dedicating the match to her son. She spoke about the good old days for Mickie and said that after tonight they will just be old…
3. Alexa Bliss vs. Mickie James for the Raw Women’s Championship. Bliss received the stronger crowd reaction. Ring announcer Mike Rome delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Alexa ducked through the ropes early on and Mickie responded by slapping her ass. A very male sounding crowd pop occurred. Bliss took offensive control and targeted the left arm/shoulder of James.
At 6:15, the women traded slaps in the middle of the ring. James got the better of it, but then they both connected with kicks to the head. James scored a two count at 8:15 that only Cole bought into. James rolled into a bridge for a two count at 8:40. Bliss came back with a sunset flip powerbomb for a two count of her own. Bliss threw a fit after not getting the win.
Bliss went for Twisted Bliss, but James avoided it. James performed a missle dropkick for a two count. Late in the match, Bliss feigned injury and then pulled James into the corner face first and then DDT’d her for the clean win. After Bliss left, Caruso entered the ring and interviewed James, who said she gave her heart and soul into the match. She said it won’t be her last time in a women’s championship match or as a women’s champion. She thanked the WWE fans…
Alexa Bliss pinned Mickie James in 11:25 to retain the Raw Women’s Championship.
Powell’s POV: Another solid match. This was a better match than they have had in the past. The effort was there, but there was nothing particularly memorable about the match, nor anything truly wrong with it either. I liked the James interview after the match. It was simple and she came off as genuine.
Backstage, Kurt Angle was getting ready for the main event when Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose entered the room. He asked if they were there to talk strategy. Ambrose said no. Angle spoke about not knowing what he had left after not being in a WWE ring in eleven years. Rollins cut him off and presented him with a Shield vest…
Elias sat on his stool on the stage for another attempt at a musical performance. He started singing a third time when Jordan pushed his shopping cart of produce onto the stage and threw more vegetables at him. Elias ran off…
Powell’s POV: Angle, Rollins, and Ambrose are super over with the live crowd based on their reaction to seeing them backstage. Elias also had great heat before Jordan came out.
The broadcast team set up a video package on the WWE Cruiserweight Title match…
Enzo Amore made his entrance and sounded hoarse as he performed his entrance routine. Once in the ring, he acknowledged that he lost his voice. He said he was celebrating his victory a little too hard the night before. He said his voice is the only thing he’s losing. He delivered a little heel mic work and said he would be a two-time cruiserweight champion because Kalisto is sawft. Kalisto made his entrance and then it was time to meet the international broadcast teams…
4. Kalisto vs. Enzo Amore for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. Joseph and McGuinness were back on the call for the cruiserweight match. Early in the match, Enzo did a baseball pitcher windup before throwing a punch at Kalisto. At 7:40, Enzo performed a DDT after leaping off the second rope and got a two count. With the referee distracted, Enzo poked Kalisto in the eye and then performed the Jawdonzo (Eat Defeat) finisher and scored the pin. Afterward, Caruso interviewed Enzo, who said he owes all the thanks to himself and none to the fans…
Enzo Amore defeated Kalisto in 8:45 to regain the WWE Cruiserweight Championship.
Powell’s POV: Stay hot, trusty pick’em quarter (see my predictions piece). The hot crowd was not so hot during this match. It’s hard to blame them. Most fans wanted to cheer Enzo before WWE turned him because he was unpopular backstage, and Kalisto was losing to everyone until he moves to the cruiserweight division recently.
An ad for Raw focussed on Brock Lesnar responding to the Jinder Mahal challenge…
The broadcast team spoke at their desk after acknowledging a pair of military veterans in the crowd. The focus shifted to the AJ Styles vs. “The Demon” Finn Balor match…
5. AJ Styles vs. “The Demon” Finn Balor. Styles made his entrance and Cole emphasized that he was on a Raw show for one night only. Balor made his Demon entrance and was not in pumpkin head mode. Many fans stood and chanted “this is awesome” before the bell. Graves said that’s one of the first time it’s ever happened.
Powell’s POV: The first time I remember “this is awesome” chants before the bell at a WWE event was actually in the same venue. The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family at the Elimination Chamber 2014 at Target Center received the same type of reaction and chants. Well done, Minnesota. Oh, and a shout out to the guy in the third row wearing the Guns N’ Roses shirt, presumably from the amazing U.S. Bank Stadium show that I also attended.
At 7:10, Styles delivered a couple of hard chops. Balor returned the favor with a chop in the corner and then threw rapid fire punches and another chop. Balor whipped Styles into the other corner and performed a running chop. Moments later, Styles ended up on the ropes and was kicked down to ringside by Balor, who followed up with a flip dive.
Back inside the ring, Balor performed a sling blade clothesline. Balor charged him, but Styles caught him and dropped him across his knee at 9:05. Balor avoided the Styles Clash, but Styles still performed a sit-out facebuster for a two count. Styles ended up applying a Calf Crusher a short time later. Balor broke it by slamming the head of Styles into the mat a few times. Another “this is awesome” chant started up.
At 12:00, Styles set up for a Phenomenal Forearm, but Balor shoved to ringside. Balor delivered a kick from the apron and then performed a running dropkick that drove Styles into the barricade. Balor could have won the match via count-out, but he stopped the referee’s count and went back to ringside where Styles picked him up and ran with him until they both tumbled over the broadcast table. Both men returned to the ring at the same time to break the ref’s count. They performed simultaneous clotheslines and stayed down at 14:40.
At 15:15, Balor performed an overhead kick. Cole noted that Balor was still selling his leg from the Calf Crusher earlier. Balor got a two count off a 1916. Balor dropkicked Styles into the corner and then went up top, but Styles recovered and caught him with a Pele Kick at 16:50. Styles performed a huracanrana that pulled Balor off the top rope for a two count.
Styles went up top and fans chanted “this is awesome” again. Styles went for a springboard 450 splash, but Balor avoided it. Balor performed a running dropkick and followed up with the Coup de Grace for the clean win. After the match, Balor helped Styles to his feet and many fans chanted “too sweet.” Both men stared at one another and then made the “too sweet” hand gesture to a big pop…
Finn Balor defeated AJ Styles in 18:20.
Powell’s POV: A terrific match that the live crowd adored. The post match scene was cool with the former Bullet Club leaders performing the too sweet hand gesture in the middle of the ring. WWE officials obviously know matchups like this are crowd pleasers, so why don’t we see more of them? It seems like we’re more likely to get these types of “dream matches” in NXT than on the main roster for some odd reason. All of that said, this was really good and it’s hard to imagine a Demon vs. Sister Abigail match being nearly as satisfying.
Elias stood in the ring with his guitar and said he’s sick of Jason Jordan’s childish pranks, but he also knows that he didn’t have a dad around to show him the right way. He said he was going to perform a song for Jordan to play him to the ring. Jordan’s entrance music interrupted him…
6. Jason Jordan vs. Elias. Cole said the match was made after the last altercation the duo had. Jordan was in offensive control early, but Elias broke his suplex setup and then caught him with a knee to the back that drove Jordan into the corner. Elias put the boots to Jordan.
Jordan came back and got a two count off a suplex at 7:15. Jordan sat Elias on the top rope. They fought for position and Elias ended up catching a charging Jordan with a knee to the face. Elias picked up Jordan and tossed him into the corner. Moments later, Jordan caught Elias with an inside cradle and got the win even though Elias’s shoulder was clearly up. Booker T protested on commentary and the replay proved him right…
Jason Jordan defeated Elias in 8:50.
Powell’s POV: The Elias guitar segments with Jordan interrupting seemed to be well received, but the fans just sat on their hands during this match. The finish seemed designed to set up a rematch on Monday’s Raw.
The broadcast team hyped Survivor Series, and Raw Talk for after TLC with guests AJ Styles and Alexa Bliss. Cole said the main event was about tables, ladders, and chairs. A video package set up the main event…
Backstage, the Miz told his team that he had a surprise for them. He said they weren’t just going to win, they were going to treat their opponents like garbage, which he said you drive to the dump…
Powell’s POV: Curtis Axel hasn’t been with Miz today, presumably because he would get a favorable reaction in his home state. It will be interesting to see if he interferes or if they just keep him away from this match.
The crowd was fairly quiet for Miz’s entrance. Sheamus and Cesaro got a pop when they first came out. Kane received a decent reaction, and Cole noted that it was the 175th time he has competed in a WWE pay-per-view match. There was a pop when Strowman raised his arms on the stage and when he did it again in the ring.
The Shield music played for Ambrose and Rollins, who entered through the crowd to a good reaction. Angle walked out behind them wearing his honorary Shield vest. The fans still found a way to chant “you suck” at Angle. Funny…
Powell’s POV: Angle really should have received a separate entrance. Perhaps they are saving that for a singles match return?
7. Kurt Angle, Seth Rollins, and Dean Ambrose vs. Braun Strowman, Kane, Sheamus, Cesaro, and The Miz in a TLC match. Angle, Rollins, and Ambrose surrounded the ring Shield style with chairs. Rollins sacrificed himself, which allowed his partners to hit the heels with chairs. Rollins joined them in clearly everyone from the ring and then hitting Kane with repeated chair shots. The fans chanted Yes!
Rollins and Ambrose grabbed one of the ladders that was set up at ringside and ran it into some of the heels. Angle grabbed another ladder and worked over Strowman with it. Kane grabbed Ambrose by the throat in the ring, but Rollins springboarded his way into the ring to break it up. The broadcast team spoke about how it seemed like the babyfaces were the team with the numbers advantage.
The babyface trio set up for a ladder spot, but Strowman broke it up. Strowman set up to put Angle through a broadcast table, but Rollins and Ambrose broke it up by hitting him with chair shots and then running him into the ring post at 5:00.
With Kane and Strowman laid out on broadcast tables, the babyfaces set up ladders in front of the tables. Rollins and Ambrose climbed the ladders and dove off, putting both big men through the tables. Cole pointed out that Rollins immediately grabbed his knee, then discussed Seth’s history of knee issues. Nothing from the replay looked out of the ordinary for Rollins, so he was likely selling.
Sheamus and Cesaro ended up working over Angle in the ring while the others were down at ringside. They placed a ladder in front of Angle in the corner and then kicked the table into him at 8:20. Miz returned to the ring and they set up for a Shield Powerbomb, but Rollins and Ambrose returned to the ring to break it up.
At 9:15, Angle performed three German suplexes on The Miz for a great reaction. Sheamus and Cesaro also took German suplexes from Angle, who then posed for the adoring crowd. Kane sat up and glared at Angle while fans chanted “you’ve still got it.” Kane tried to chokeslam Angle, but Angle took him down and applied the Ankle Lock. Strowman returned to the ring and broke it up before running Angle into the barricade at 10:30.
At 11:10, Strowman hoisted up Angle and performed a running powerslam through a table at ringside. Two trainers and two referees checked on Angle. The other wrestlers fought at ringside with the heels getting the better of Rollins and Ambrose with chair shots. The trailers helped Angle to his feet and started to lead him away while the five heels worked over Anbrose and Rollins inside the ring at 13:15.
Angle collapsed as the trainers were trying to help him up the ramp. He got back to his feet and walked gingerly while the in-ring beatdown continued. The heels took turns hitting Ambrose and Rollins over the back with chairs. Kane accidentally struck Strowman with a chair when Rollins and Ambrose made a brief comeback. Strowman turned around and shoved Kane to the ground. The other heels tried to make peace. Rollins and Ambrose jumped on their backs, but the heels put them right back down and put the boots to them.
At 18:00, Sheamus and Cesaro set up a table in the ring and performed a double crucifix that failed to break the table. Fans booed. They set up the table in the corner and Strowman whipped Ambrose through it. The Miz called for his teammates to follow him to the stage and then began motioning. A garbage truck backed onto the arena floor at 19:30.
The heels brought Rollins and Ambrose to the area behind the truck and tossed them inside. They quickly sat up and started fighting back. They climbed onto a bar on the back of the truck and dove onto four of the heels. The Miz was left alone and tried to run away, but Rollins and Ambrose caught him at ringside.
At 21:30, Ambrose and Rollins brought Miz to the stage. Kane hit Ambrose and Rollins from behind. They rebounded and set up for a double suplex through one of the tables used as part of the set, but Strowman broke it up. Kane punched Strowman and ended up chokeslamming him off the stage and through a piece of the stage next to the broadcast table.
Kane stood over the hole that Strowman was in while the broadcast team questioned why he attacked Strowman. Kane looked up at the chairs that were hanging as part of the TLC set. Kane pulled a string of chairs down onto Strowman, who couldn’t be seen when the chairs fell. There was a shot of Strowman a short time later with all the chairs on top of him.
Kane picked up Ambrose and punched him. Rollins recovered and both men threw punches at Kane. The Miz tried to help, but they ran him into the video wall a couple times. Kane grabbed Ambrose and Rollins by the throat and performed a double chokeslam that drove them both through tables on the stage at 26:15.
Sheamus dragged Rollins to the floor by the garbage truck, then Cesaro carried Ambrose to the same area. At 27:15, Strowman got up. Kane was shown shooting him a look. Miz got on his knees and pleaded with Strowman by saying “there’s five of us.” Strowman attacked Miz and other heels, then went after Kane and had him up in chokeslam position before Sheamus, Cesaor, and Miz stopped him.
Kane, Sheamus, Cesaro, and Miz put the boots to Strowman and threw him into the garbage truck. Miz barked at a man who had been standing beside the truck. The back of the truck closed and trash compactor style. Kane flashed a sadistic smile. The truck drove away with Strowman inside.
The remaining heels brought Rollins back to the ring and then they surrounded it Shield style. “This is completely beyond sports entertainment,” Cole said. Ugh. Sheamus and Cesaro covered Rollins, but Ambrose returned to the ring to break up the count.
Angle’s music played and he headed out wearing his Shield gear while the crowd chanted “you suck.” Angle worked over Sheamus and Cesaro and left them lying at ringside following some suplexes. Kane caught Angle with a clothesline and picked him up for a Tombstone, but Rollins and Ambrose broke it up with chair shots. At 32:35, Rollins and Ambrose ran Kane through the timekeepers area barricade.
The Miz snuck up behind Angle and performed his Skull Crushing Finale and covered him for a good near fall at 33:10. The Miz threw a fit and yelled at the referee. The fans chanted “USA” in support of Angle. The Miz set up for his finisher on a chair, but Angle countered into an ankle lock. Miz teased tapping, but ended up kicking Angle, who tumbled to ringside. Miz sold ankle pain.
Angle, Rollins, and Ambrose all got onto the apron Shield style and surrounded The Miz. Rollins caught Miz with a knee, Ambrose performed Dirty Deeds, and Angle performed the Olympic Slam. Angle, Rollins, and Ambrose performed the Triple Powerbomb (Graves called it an Olympic Shield Bomb). Angle covered Miz for the win. Angle, Rollins, and Ambrose celebrated in the ring to close the show…
Kurt Angle, Seth Rollins, and Dean Ambrose vs. Braun Strowman, Kane, Sheamus, Cesaro, and The Miz in a TLC match in 35:25.
Powell’s POV: A fun brawl that felt like it overstayed its welcome when they were brawling on the stage based on the fans starting to tire out, but they got them back in the end. It was nice to see Angle work a safer brawling style without the big moonsault spot or anything too over the top. Kane’s actions seemed to confuse the crowd a bit, but obviously they are setting him up for a match against Strowman. The garbage truck was silly and they easily could have had Strowman stay down in the hole in the stage. Still, the main event worked for the live crowd, as many of them were on their feet for a good portion of the match.
Overall, the show was far more entertaining than it looked like it would be before lineup changes. That’s not a shot at anyone who had to miss the show, it’s just a simple truth. I will have more to say in the members’ exclusive audio review with Jake Barnett later tonight, and in my WWE TLC Hit List on Monday. Thanks for watching along with me.
Prowrestling.net Live returns on Monday at 3:00 CT/4:00 ET. Jason Powell and guest host Jonny Fairplay (filling in for Will Pruett) will take your phone calls coming out of WWE TLC at PWAudio.net.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Vice TV's "Dark Side of the Ring" executive producers Evan Husney and Jason Eisner discussing the March 24 second season premiere focusing on the Benoit family tragedy, plus their pro wrestling fandom, the show's name and origins, highlights of season two, Chris Jericho becoming the narrator, and much more...