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WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders, and Chairs 2013 PPV Review
By Jared Silberkleit –
TLC was the fifth straight underwhelming PPV from WWE. I hate to sound like a broken record, but since SummerSlam this company has yet to produce a PPV that is even close to the quality that should be expected for these very expensive shows. The wrestling has been nothing special, the booking has been mostly poor, and there’s a general feeling of indifference toward the product. Tonight’s show was par for the course given the quality of the last four PPVs. The one positive is that there was a conclusive, decisive finish to the main event, but the match was very flat and unexciting for the most part. There were some good matches on here, but this felt like an episode of Raw.
The show opened up with the now-standard Triple H and Stephanie promo. They mainly just hyped the main event.
- 3 on 1 Handicap Match: CM Punk vs. The Shield
Interesting to see Punk in the opener, can’t remember the last time this happened. The match was good, but nothing above what these guys have produced on free television recently. Shield beat up on Punk for several minutes, using the numbers advantage. Midway through, Reigns went for a spear on the floor but Punk moved and Reigns went flying over the announce table into one of the chairs. He sold an apparently worked eye injury for the next few minutes, but he did have significant swelling. Punk made a comeback and got near falls on Rollins with a roundhouse kick and a flying cross body. Punk got the Anaconda Vise but Ambrose broke it up. Punk hit the Savage elbow on Ambrose for 2. GTS to Rollins, then Reigns went for a spear but Punk sidestepped and Reigns nailed Ambrose. Punk threw Reigns out of the ring and covered Ambrose for the pin. Solid match with good storytelling, and it should progress the teased dissension within the Shield guys. The guys are all capable of better, but this was perfectly enjoyable. Match Time: 13:41 Star Rating: ***
- Divas Championship Match: AJ Lee(c) vs. Natalya
This was better than the usual Diva fare, as expected. AJ worked Natalya’s arm early before they went to the floor where Natalya threw AJ hard into the barricade. Natalya countered out of the Black Widow and they went back and forth for a little bit. Natalya eventually got the Sharpshooter but AJ made it to the ropes. Tamina got on the apron, causing a distraction, and AJ got the Black Widow. Natalya powered out again, but AJ got the pin with a roll-up. This was an acceptable Divas match. It was short as usual, but had some nice sequences and was fine overall. Match Time: 6:36 Star Rating: **
- Intercontinental Championship Match: Big E Langston(c) vs. Damien Sandow
This was what you would expect from these guys on free TV. Basic back and forth early on before Sandow worked over Big E for a couple minutes. Big E hit a belly to back suplex and a big splash for 2. Both guys countered each other’s finishers before Big E hit a big shoulder block and the Big Ending for the win. Match was fine, but just average stuff. Match Time: 6:28 Star Rating: *3/4
- Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match for the WWE Tag Team Championship: Cody Rhodes and Goldust(c) vs. Real Americans vs. Rey Mysterio and Big Show vs. Ryback and Curtis Axel
They got a ton of time here since nothing else except the main event was going long. Goldust got beat on by Ryback and Axel early on before Goldust escaped a powerbomb and rolled up Ryback for the pin. Real Americans then worked over Goldust for several minutes. Cesaro hit the Giant Swing and Swagger hit a Vader bomb. Goldust eventually hit a hurricanrana and powerslam on Cesaro before Show got a tag. Show made a comeback, hit the KO punch on Swagger, and punched Cesaro in mid air for the pin. Now it was down to the two face teams. Goldust hit a flying cross body for 2 and suplexed Show with Cody’s help. Cody went for the Disaster kick but Show swatted him down. Cody and Rey went back and forth for a bit, with Cody hitting a Disaster kick for 2. Rey sent Cody into the ropes for the 619 but ended up hitting it on Goldust. Show then tosses Goldust into the barricade on the outside. Rey powerbombed a springboarding Cody in mid-air. Cody and Rey had another awesome sequence of counters and reversals. Rey went for the 619 but Cody caught him and tried for an Alabama slam. More counters and Cody hit the Cross Rhodes for the win. After the match all four showed respect to each other. The last few minutes with the face teams were really good and Real Americans were solid in their role. The match did take a while to get going but it really heated up down the stretch. Cody and Rey have terrific chemistry together and their exchanges were easily the best parts. Another very solid performance from the WWE tag division, which is by far the best aspect of the company at the moment, and the best match of the PPV. Match Time: 21:05 Star Rating: ***1/4
- Brodus Clay vs. R-Truth
I have no clue why this was added to the PPV. The whole match was Brodus on offense, which was about as exciting as you’d expect. He actually busted out Kofi’s Boom Drop. Story was Brodus kept beating on Truth and Tensai was yelling at him to just pin Truth and get it over with. They argued and Tensai walked out, then the Funkadactyls followed. Truth then hit a big kick and rolled up Brodus for the pin. This sucked and nobody cared about any of it. They could have just saved this for the next night on Raw. Match Time: 6:02 Star Rating: DUD
- No Disqualification Match: Kofi Kingston vs. The Miz
They set this up with a brawl on the pre-show. These guys have wrestled each other a billion times over the last 4-5 years. Kofi was all over Miz with punches early on and hit a suicide dive. Miz cut him off and worked the leg for a few minutes. The crowd showed their support for both guys by chanting “Boring” and “We Want Tables.” Miz undid one of the turnbuckle pads. They did a brief counter sequence ending with Kofi kicking Miz into the exposed turnbuckle and hitting the Trouble in Paradise for the win. The No DQ stipulation was useless, the match was dull, and absolutely nobody cared about any of it. It’s obvious they badly needed to fill time on this PPV, but this match is so overdone. Match Time: 8:01 Star Rating: *1/2
- Handicap Match: Daniel Bryan vs. The Wyatt Family
This was similar to the first handicap match in that it had solid storytelling but felt better suited for television. Bray sat in his rocking chair initially while Harper and Rowan beat on Bryan. Eventually Bray tagged in and did his creepy spider walk. Much of the match consisted of Bray telling Bryan to join them as the Wyatts worked him over. Harper hit a Liger bomb for 2. Harper missed a big boot and Bryan hit a back suplex off the top for 2. Bryan hit a flying head butt for 2 before nailing a suicide dive on Harper and sending Rowan into the steel steps. Bryan hit a missile dropkick on Bray and went for the Yes Lock, but Bray escaped, pounded on Bryan, and hit the Sister Abigail for the pin. After the match Bray cradled Bryan’s head in his arms. The match was mostly one-sided, but had solid storytelling and Bryan was his usual great self, so it was still enjoyable. It seems like the Wyatts have finally figured out how to make their matches complement their gimmick after a rocky debut a few months ago. Match Time: 12:25 Star Rating: **3/4
- Tables, Ladders, and Chairs Match for the WWE and World Heavyweight Championship: Randy Orton vs. John Cena
They announced that the winner of this match would be declared WWE World Heavyweight Champion. They hyped this thing up all night with interviews and video packages, presenting it as this big, historic, life-changing match. One major issue was the belts were so low that they were well within reach if either guy even went halfway up a ladder. Orton hit Cena with a chair throughout the early stages and sent Cena into a chair wedged in the corner. Cena stopped Orton from climbing and hit a FKS from halfway up the ladder, which looked silly because the belts were right next to his hand when he did the taunt. Cena knocked Orton off the apron with a ladder, causing him to fall through a table on the floor. Orton hit an RKO but Cena busted him open with the steel steps. Orton beat on Cena with a mic but Cena came back with an AA through the Spanish announce table. Cena slowly climbed a ladder and got to the belts, but Orton moved the ladder and he dangled in mid air. Orton hit Cena with a chair, causing him to fall down. Cena then popped up and drove Orton through a table in the corner. Orton got a pair of handcuffs, cuffed Cena to the bottom rope, and threw the key into the crowd. Cena eventually broke free by undoing the turnbuckle and fought with Orton atop a ladder. Cena knocked Orton off by hitting him with the turnbuckle and then pretended like he couldn’t grab the belts when they were in his arms. Orton and Cena then had a tug of war with the rope and Orton eventually yanked Cena off. Cena was supposed to fall through a table in the corner but he didn’t landed right and hit the bottom of the table with his head. Ouch. Orton then slowly climbed up and got the belts for the win. After the match, Triple H, Stephanie, and Vince all came out to applaud his victory.
This was just about the lamest TLC match ever, which was to be expected with fragile-as-glass Orton and a banged up Cena. There were really no big bumps here at all and the gimmick seemed to get in the way more often than not. The belts, as mentioned, were hung ridiculously low, which forced Orton and Cena to climb ladders in slow motion and pretend that the belts were out of reach, killing any suspension of disbelief. The match overall came across as two guys awkwardly trying to work around a gimmick that didn’t suit them at all. Neither guy showed much intensity and the match severely lacked any suspense or drama until the last couple minutes, and then the finish was botched. As a TLC match it was unexciting, and as a championship unification match it was unexciting. The one positive here is that there was indeed a clean finish with a decisive winner after BS finishes to the last several PPVs, but that’s like praising an umpire for properly calling a baseball game. Yes, it’s nice, but it’s to be expected. This main event was average. Match Time: 24:32 Star Rating: **1/2
Overall PPV Rating: 5.5/10