Thursday, 20 December 2012

WWE TLC on Sky Box Office - TV Review

With the world due to end within the next few hours what better time is there for my latest better late than never review. Numerous MMA events and a stinking cold meant that I’ve only just caught up with WWE’s TLC, shown in the early hours of this past Monday morning on Sky Sports here in Britain.

The show began with Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara taking on Team Rhodes Scholars, Damian Sandow and Cody Rhodes, in a tables match to determine the number one contenders for the Tag Team titles.

As a show opener this was pretty good. The two teams complimented each other very well as they went about their business, putting together all the sequences you’d expect from a match of this kind.

The tables were brought into the equation early on, and there was one brutal moment when Rhodes and Sandow trapped Cara’s leg in the ring steps and then rammed it with a table.

Needless to say that our masked heroes made a high flying comeback, but when Cara went to springboard off the top rope Rhodes pushed him backwards into a couple of tables that the clever boys had set up earlier, finishing the match earning themselves a shot at the titles.

Title action followed as R-Truth challenged Antonio Cesaro for the United States title.

Once again we saw a very entertaining US title encounter, with another impressive performance from Cesaro.

It was one of those short and sweet encounters that fitted in perfectly with this show. Cesaro did a good job of grounding his opponent with what looked like a good old fashioned Cobra Clutch as our esteemed commentators discussed everything Swiss except cuckoo clocks and hoards of hidden Nazi gold.

Truth made his comeback and almost took the win after taking the champion down with a scissors kick. But Cesaro recovered, and after Truth stopped himself from barging into the referee in the corner Cesaro came up from behind with an uppercut before sealing the deal with the Neutraliser for the pin.

After an edition of MizTV that set up a six man tag for later in the evening it was back to title action as Wade Barrett challenged Kofi Kingston for the Intercontinental title.

If anything this was better than the last title match. It certainly had a lot more to it.

Both guys put in great performances, and unlike the Cesaro/Truth encounter you got the feeling that we could see a title change.

Barrett did a good job of controlling the action as he thwarted Kingston no end of times as our esteemed commentators began to wonder if the champion had some kind of mental block as far as his challenger was concerned.

These two took each other down time and time again, but they still couldn’t get the job done, and when the frustration began to tell on Barrett’s face he looked to put his man away with his big elbow thing, whatever it’s called.

But when he went for the move Kingston countered with his Trouble in Paradise kick, and a three count later he had the title retaining pin.

After a brief appearance from injured WWE Champion C.M. Punk in his private box it was on to the next match as Tag Team Champions Team Hell No, Kane and Daniel Bryan, along with their partner Ryback, took on The Shield team of Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns in a TLC match.

This was a fight, plain and simple. It was also one of the most entertaining fights I’ve seen this year.

For what seemed like an age these six men beat the proverbial you know what out of each other in what was a perfect piece of storytelling. It certainly made you forget about the cancelled WWE title match.

The psychology was relatively simple. The Shield team would take out two guys and then centre their attack on the third, and whenever one of them was in danger of losing the match the others would be there to back him up.

It was the kind of pack mentality that was perfect for this kind of match. Rollins, Reigns and Ambrose elevated themselves to new heights against their more illustrious opponents as they showed that they belonged on the big stage.

Praise must go to Ryback, Kane and Bryan as well. You can’t have a match as good as this without foils, and the babyface team played their part perfectly.

As for the big bumps there were plenty of them. The furniture was certainly flying around, but the Jeff Hardy moment went to Rollins.

When the fight spilled out of the ring and up the aisle the Shield boys looked to put Ryback through a table, with Rollins climbing the tallest ladder in the building. But when Ambrose and Reigns left him to it Ryback recovered and scaled the ladder before throwing Rollins down into a couple of tables below.

The end soon followed. Back in the ring Ambrose placed Bryan in position so Reigns could take him down with a powerbomb through a table. A three count later and it was all over.

With the brutality out of the way it was back to title action as Naomi challenged Eve Torres for the Divas title. This came about when Brodus Clay’s dancer won a pre-show Christmas-themed battle royal.

Looks like it was back to filler material for the Divas again this time around. It was okay, and Naomi pulled off some nice moves, but there really wasn’t much of note here as Eve took her challenger out with her spinning neck breaker for the title retaining pin.

Then it was on to the Smackdown main event as Sheamus challenged the Big Show for the World title in a chairs match.

As with their previous encounters this was more of a fight than a wrestling match, and even more of a fight this time around thanks to the chairs stipulation.

These two tore strips off each other even before they reached for the toys, and as the match progressed Sheamus skin was looking more black and blue than white.

It was still pretty good though, and when the big knockout punch failed to put his challenger away Show grabbed an enormous steel chair from under the ring. A big swing laid Sheamus out, and that was enough to give Show the winning pin.

The penultimate match of the show was the six man tag set up earlier in the evening as the Three Man Band team of Drew McIntyre, Jinder Mahal and Heath Slater faced Alberto Del Rio, the Miz, and their mystery partner, none other than the Brooklyn Brawler. Yep, you read that right.

This one was quick. The Brawler got in a few shots before becoming the 3MB’s personal punching bag before the inevitable big scrap. In the middle of all this Miz took Mahal down with the Skull Crushing Finale before the Brawler took the submission with a Boston…I mean Brooklyn Crab.

The main event saw John Cena taking on Dolph Ziggler in a ladder match, with Ziggler’s Money in the Bank briefcase on the line.

This may have been billed as a ladder match but in truth it was another addition to the TLC legend.

It began as your normal everyday kind of wrestling match with move countered by move etc, but it wasn’t long before the toys came into play. And these guys weren’t happy playing with just one type of toy.

As well as ladders tables and chairs were soon added into the mix, and it only seemed right that these particular items entered into the equation considering the name of this show.

These additions made this thing a whole lot better. We had Cena climbing a ladder while Ziggler was on his back applying a sleeper hold, with both guys falling off the ladder through a table. Later we saw Cena pull off a hurricanrana from out of nowhere as Ziggler went through a table for the second time.

But while all of this was going on I kept thinking that it was obvious that Cena was going to win. In the end I couldn’t have been more wrong.

As both men lay prone our esteemed authority figure Vickie Guerrero came down to the ring with a steel chair, intent on clobbering Cena. This brought our hero’s girl A.J. Lee skipping to the ring. She went on to stop the attack before taking Vickie down with some of Cena’s trademark moves.

As Cena recovered he realised he was in a prime position to grab the case, but as he scaled the ladder his girl turned nasty and pushed the ladder over. Cena came crashing down, with Ziggler connecting with a kick to make sure he was out of it.

A confused Ziggler then watched as the lovely A.J. skipped away. He then climbed the ladder to reclaim his briefcase and win the match.

In conclusion - WWE’s final pay per view of the year was satisfying in more ways than one.

Good points: The majority of the matches delivered. As is the way with these kind of things some were better than others, although the main marquee matches, especially the six man TLC, were well worth the price of admission.

Bad points: Interview show segments such as MizTV really don’t seem right on pay per view. Also, what can be done about the Divas? It doesn’t say much for the prestige of the title that the shot was given to someone whose been portrayed as a dancer all year.

Now it’s time for the moment you’ve all been waiting for, the match of the night away. This time the esteemed no-prize is going to the TLC encounter between Ryback and Team Hell No against The Shield. But you probably already guessed that.

So with all of that out of the way it’s time to wrap this pay per view year up and give TLC the big thumbs up.

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