Powell’s WWE TLC Hit List: Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka in a TLC match for the Smackdown Women’s Championship, Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles for the WWE Championship, Ronda Rousey vs. Nia Jax for the Raw Women’s Championship


By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)


Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka in a TLC match for the Smackdown Women’s Championship: The appropriate main event and it delivered in a big way. We’ll see what they do tonight, but it was refreshing that the company just presented this as the rightful main event and didn’t fall all over themselves while putting this over as yet another historic achievement for the women. Charlotte was the MVP of the match. She had the biggest spots and she worked at a great pace. The Ronda Rousey interference sets her up for possible singles matches with Charlotte and Lynch or one big Triple Threat at WrestleMania. Asuka didn’t earn the win the right way, but she continues to be a popular figure despite how poorly she’s been booked since WrestleMania. I don’t know if I’m more amazed by Charlotte getting up from taking Lynch’s leg drop on the table or Matt Taven getting up from his big dive over the top rope and landing chest first on the barricade at Friday’s ROH Final Battle event.

Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles for the WWE Championship: A terrific match. It says a lot about WWE booking that I spent the majority of the time waiting for the other shoe to drop in the form of a cheap finish. But they didn’t go with a nut shot finish or a double disqualification or any shenanigans. It was a rare clean win for the heel and the match was strong enough that the babyface was not hurt in the process. I’m curious to see where they go next and whether they take the approach that Jake Barnett laid out in last night’s members’ exclusive audio review of WWE TLC. Jake’s hope is that if Vince McMahon announces some type of shakeup and it results in Styles and Seth Rollins essentially changing places. It’s a logical move that frees up Rollins from an Intercontinental Championship feud to move into a main event position, while Styles could use a change of scenery and fresh opponents following his successful run as the face of Smackdown.

Ronda Rousey vs. Nia Jax for the Raw Women’s Championship: Rousey delivered again. She has yet to have a bad performance in a pay-per-view match and she shows signs increased confidence and in-ring improvement with each outing. It’s just a shame that WWE failed to make Jax feel like a bigger threat going into the match. She’s the monster of the women’s division and yet she’s booked like just another heel far too often. In this case, it was hard to view her as a serious threat to Rousey and thus the outcome felt predictable.

Buddy Murphy vs. Cedric Alexander for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship: Another quality cruiserweight championship match. But the cycle continues in that while the cruiserweights deliver good matches on pay-per-view Sundays, there’s no indication that their hard work is leading to more people watching 205 Live. The brand was severely damaged under Vince McMahon’s booking run and I’d prefer to see the company pull the plug on the show and simply spread the talent out amongst their various brands.

Braun Strowman vs. Baron Corbin: A minor Hit. It was nice to see the babyface outsmart the heel for a change by taking advantage of the no disqualification rules. An argument could be made that Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre should have made a play to help Corbin since they benefited from his heel authority figure run. Nonetheless, the heel authority figure blamed for Raw’s poor quality and all-time low ratings was beaten up in a crowd pleasing sequence that led to his dismissal.

Drew McIntyre vs. Finn Balor: A minor Hit for match quality. The Dolph Ziggler interference and the backstage promo sets the stage for a potential three-way feud. The in-ring action should be good, but I hope they find a way to make people actually care since it’s a low stakes feud that seems more about finding something to do with all three men rather than actually serving a real purpose.

R-Truth and Carmella vs. Alicia Fox and Jinder Mahal in the Mixed Match Challenge Finals: A crowd pleasing opening segment. Fans still love R-Truth after all these years, and Carmella has been a fun addition to his act. I am not a fan of giving away the identities of the thirtieth entrants of the Royal Rumble match in advance, but this match was quick and got the main show off to a solid start.

WWE TLC Misses

Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose for the Intercontinental Championship: Rollins and Ambrose had some terrific matches when the heel and babyface roles were reversed. This time around, it felt like Ambrose’s heel in-ring style was too slow and deliberate and the match just never kicked into another gear. The match lacked intensity given the nature of the feud, and they instead opted to tell the story that Ambrose knew Rollins’s emotions would eventually get the best of him and then he would capitalize. It didn’t work for the live crowd, which actually chanted “this is boring” at one point. I never would have anticipated that happening, but the fans were absolutely right.

Sheamus and Cesaro vs. The Usos vs. New Day for the Smackdown Tag Titles: More of an in the middle than a true Hit or Miss. It was a well worked match that just lacked any sense of importance. Each of these teams has had title reigns and will presumably have title reigns again. It’s not that the tag titles don’t matter, it’s that there was no reason to feel excited by the possibility of either pair of challengers regaining the titles because we’ve been there and done that. The longer the heels hold the titles the more it will feel like a meaningful accomplishment if one of these teams eventually dethrones them. That said, the company still needs to come up with a reason why fans should be excited about another title reign for either team if one of them ends up winning the tag titles again.

Randy Orton vs. Rey Mysterio in a chairs match: Gimmick match fatigue really set in for me during this match and it seemed like the fans felt the same way. Less is more. The build to this match was uninspired and the company would have been better off having them work a regular match rather than having a chairs match just for the sake of having a chairs match.

Natalya vs. Ruby Riott in a tables match: Let me explain this one more time for the defenders of WWE’s exploitation. It’s not all about you and it doesn’t matter who gave their blessing. So just because you are not turned off by things such as Jim Neidhart’s death being used to make his daughter seem sympathetic or Roman Reigns’ leukemia battle being used to put heat on Dean Ambrose, there are viewers who are turned off by one or both of these moves. The turned off viewers don’t care who approved or didn’t approve, so it’s really a moot point because the damage is done with those viewers. And with WWE’s ratings slumping to record lows, is it really worth it from a business standpoint to turn off these fans even if you personally don’t object?

Elias vs. Bobby Lashley in a ladder match: Another pointless gimmick match just for the sake of having a gimmick match. If there was one positive about the match it’s that Lashley and Lio Rush seemed to have more heat than usual.

Check below for the new Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Konnan, who discusses his return to the ring for MLW and shares the crazy story of how he started in pro wrestling.


Readers Comments (12)

  1. Can see Charlotte changing places with Nia and Tamina in the shake up, giving them the chance for feuds with Ronda and Becky. Ronda beating Charlotte in their feud while Becky wins the rumble and faces Ronda at wrestlemania.

    • Agreed, assuming we get a full shakeup. I’d much rather see those feuds happen now rather than Becky Lynch put in a WM match with Nia Jax rather than with Ronda Rousey.

      • Would be such a waste putting Becky against Nia at WM, surely even Vince isnt that mad?? what what am i saying, lets just pray he doesnt

    • I don’t know if the shake up thing will happen or not, but I can see them going with a triple threat match at Mania.

      They’re hitching their wagon to Ronda for the mainstream media attention.

      Charlotte has always been one of WWE (Vince’s) favorites, evidenced by her pushes.

      Becky is the hottest act in wrestling, and can’t be denied a spot at that table.

      I do hope they work Alexa into some type of meaningful match at ‘Mania though.

  2. Fans should never chant anything regarding “boring.” The match may not be going the way you want it, maybe it was written differently than the wrestlers wanted, but most of the time it’s not lack of effort. Get up and go get something, use the restroom, and get over yourself. That chant should never happen.

  3. I thought that Dean vs. Seth was supposed to be a ladder match for the IC championship. That may have gone over better. A rare miss for both of them, but the match was boring.

  4. This may just be a difference of opinion, but lately you’ve made the assertion several times that you’d prefer WWE cancel the weekly 205 Live program and spread the cruiserweights across the main shows Both subjectively and objectively, I respectfully disagree.

    Subjectively, there probably isn’t a wrestling show I look forward to more than 205 Live. I know that isn’t necessarily a popular opinion, but most of my friends that follow WWE enjoy it almost as much as I. And as you’ll probably be able to tell from my War and Peace-length comment, I enjoy it a great deal!

    The assertion that viewership across the board is low doesn’t hurt my enjoyment nor is it my problem. Sure, it would be nice if a show featuring such basic (in a good way), quality, “old school” booking intertwined with “new school” workrate had more buzz, but they don’t do nearly enough to promote the show. My hope is that integrating some CWs into Raw/SDL is a step toward a course-correction in regards to increasing viewership, but time will tell.

    Arguing for it to be shuttered simply because it’s not as popular as other shows without speaking to it’s (much-improved) quality seems like putting the cart before the horse. It’s my impression that you don’t dislike the show. However, if part of your argument is that you don’t enjoy it, then I can understand your viewpoint while still disagreeing they should pull the plug.

    Having said that, even if you hate the show (which I doubt) it wouldn’t make much sense to wish it dead, unless it’s absence would result in a net positive for the show’s fans, along with wrestling fans in general. I would strongly disagree with that notion, but I will also concede that is with some prejudice as I am a 205 devotee, nor have I heard your specific plan (unless your plan consists solely of “cancel their show, and do what they’re doing now, on a larger scale”, such as it were).

    If your argument is that without 205 Live’s weekly show, the CWs would be implemented better in the Main Roster, I have to contend that hypothesis is misguided, in that not only is there no evidence that would be the case (I don’t think the LHP Rules matches nor Lio/Drake’s awful, counterintuitive Raw characters reasonably represent good implementation, now imagine them stretching those thin ideas across the entire WWE spectrum!), I actually think we have more than enough evidence to the contrary when looking at how the “smaller” wrestlers are historically used on WWE programming.

    I will freely admit that 205 was poorly conceived and launched in its original iteration, and I was not a regular viewer for much of that early run. But they have stuck with the show and have been making subtle improvements (changing the taping format) and not-so-subtle improvements (changing writing teams while focusing on tighter storytelling, character development, less gimmicks/humour, while elevating a solid half-dozen or so standouts and their stories throughout the fabric of the show).

    Pulling the plug now rather than continuing to build the audience slowly while creating an enjoyable hour of programming on a Network that quite frankly needs all the pure wrestling-based content is not the answer. I believe the current integration of a few top stars into main roster shows, with perhaps a fluid rotation of 205ers that will allow a few to shine at a time, along with actually promoting the show, will lead to a successful fourth brand that can anchor the Network for wrestling purists such as myself.

    If you couldn’t tell by now, I categorically prefer the cruisers having a niche home, free of the creative whims of an out-of-touch septuagenarian who won’t have any interest using the 205 roster in any meaningful way, apart from his reductive idea of “comedy” (see current 205ers only getting screentime because of pee jokes and annoying mic work).

    If I had my uncompromising way, I’d rather they were incubated from the main roster altogether…but in service to the greater good, I tolerate this usage in hopes that it will allow the show I actually enjoy to continue running, and hopefully thrive, as time goes on.

    For now, I’m amenable to a CW Title Match on the odd PPV, and hopefully better representation on the main roster in small doses, but I am categorically opposed to full on main roster absorption. I shudder to imagine what, if any, roles they would have on WWE programming in a future without their flagship show…but if history is any indicator, we only need look at the past to see that even at their best, it was exponentially less than what 205 Live accomplishes on a weekly basis presently.

    I can’t be the only person who feels this way, and I don’t think it would be a stretch to infer you and I aren’t as far apart on this as it seems. But I’ve been wrong before, feel free to correct me if I am improperly paraphrasing your position. I’m only going by what you’ve recently written about the subject.

    If 205 Live isn’t not your cup of tea, that’s perfectly fine. But throwing the baby out with the bathwater is only going to cause myself to drop WWEN altogether, and I don’t believe it will help the Cruiserweight Division (or anyone’s enjoyment thereof) at all.

    • Thanks for the thoughtful response. It’s not a show quality issue, it’s a push it or pull it type of thing. WWE does next to nothing to promote this show. If they are not serious about it, then I’d rather they just do away with it and spread the talent out (Raw/Smackdown/NXT/NXT UK) so they actually have an opportunity to make more money and get more exposure. The original vision for this was to run house show tours, but they gave up on that quickly. Thus, I don’t believe the talent who are not crossing over have a real chance to earn money beyond their downside guarantee. It’s nice to hear from a fan of the product. I just question whether there’s enough of you out there to make this work and what WWE is doing to create even more fan interest.

      • Fair point. I definitely hadn’t considered the talents’ income as a factor. I had perhaps falsely equated the prestige of having their own show with higher earnings. Any further insight on that discrepancy would be interesting…perhaps a future Viewpoint!

  5. Is it me, or the logical next step in the AJ/Bryan saga is a Submission Match? Throughout their match on Sunday AJ worked Bryan’s leg methodically and almost made him tap out to the Calf Crusher. He can always claim Bryan has never made him tap out (true), that he made Bryan tap out in the past (true) and that Sunday’s victory was flukey. What do you think?

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