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Thread: WWE TLC 2016 Review

  1. #1

    TLC WWE TLC 2016 Review

    December 4, 2016

    Heath Slater and Rhyno © vs The Wyatt Family w/Luke Harper - Smackdown Tag Titles
    Itís time to get the titles off of the lowcard comedy wrestlers. Thank God. I am completely shocked and appalled by the reveal that thereís four (!!!) commentators for this match. Thereís not even a need to have a third commentator, let alone a fourth, especially on a B PPV like this. Anyways, this is short, but inoffensive. Slater played the face-in-peril for a bit in this short match. Once Rhyno got the hot tag, he cleaned house a bit until The Wyatt Family showed off some great teamwork skills with all three of them focusing on helping each other. It started with Orton shoving Wyatt out of the corner when Rhyno charged at him. On the outside, Harper shoved Orton out of the way, causing himself to be hit with Rhynoís Gore. Then back in the ring, Wyatt distracted Rhyno with the spider walk to allow Orton to surprise Rhyno with an RKO to get the pinfall and become the NEW Smackdown Tag Team Champions. I have no idea why people would still be distracted and freaked out about the spider walk by this point, but the way The Wyatts kept helping each other was clever booking. The match didnít have any business being on PPV though. Hearing that The Wyatts defeated American Alpha on Smackdown to earn this title shot, I would have been far more interested in seeing Wyatts/AA for the Tag Titles here instead. The match was fine though. ** ľ

    After the match, there seems to be some tension between Orton and Harper. Wyatt allowed Harper to hold his title, so Orton does the same to appease Harper. All is grand in The Wyatt Family for now.

    Carmella vs Nikki Bella - No DQ Match
    Did you know that American Alpha arenít booked on this show? Anyways, these two have been feuding for months ever since Carmella turned heel, attacking Nikki during an interview. Apparently, I need to eat some crow because despite expecting this match to be bowling shoe ugly, it was perfectly acceptable. In my defense, they had plenty of smoke and mirrors due to the fact that it was a No DQ match. Carmella brought in a kendo stick to use on Nikki for a bit before Nikki first used it to escape a submission hold. That allows Nikki to kick some ass before busting out a fire extinguisher to keep spraying at Carmella. All of that led to Nikki being able to lift Carmella up into the Rack Attack 2.0 (What a fucking stupid name) to get the win. Was the match ďGoodĒ? Well, no, but I canít say I was ever bored. With the two weapons, the match was oddly entertaining for what it was. These days, Nikki is a bit overrated in retirement with fans claiming she wasnít as bad as people claimed she was (She was awful, especially as the top Diva) and she was up there against an inexperienced Carmella, so by all means this should have been downright awful. The gimmick of the match allowed it not to be, leaving me satisfied. Did this need to be on PPV, despite being a feud ender? Ehh, a benefit of being a brand based PPV. ** Ĺ

    After the match, Carmella got on the mic to reveal that it wasn't her that attacked Nikki at Survivor Series, it was Natalya~! I'm shocked, shocked I tell ya!

    The Miz © w/Maryse vs Dolph Ziggler - Ladder Match - WWE IC Title
    Despite Zigglerís huge IC Title win at No Mercy, he quickly lost the belt back to The Miz on an episode of Smackdown a month later. This match is billed as ďThe final encounterĒ. As someone who took quite a bit of flack for not going crazy over their Backlash match (Despite giving it a very fair rating), I appreciate watching these subsequent matches and finding myself loving them. Itís almost as if their Backlash match wasnít anything more than ďJust goodĒ. As Iím choosing to watch this PPV out of order, Iím watching this match immediately after the Styles/Ambrose TLC match and itís making me dig this match more. This match did the ladder match far better than the main event. For one thing, trying to retrieve the title was the goal throughout the match. This wasnít a ladder match where the goal was just putting on flashy spots before finally remembering to go after the title at the very end. Thereís even a story as The Miz got lucky and began working over Zigglerís knee on the ladder by using the ladder. Both legs end up getting banged up. Obviously, Dolphís selling is a bit hit or mess, but I appreciate the thought regardless. In a great touch, after Miz did all of this work to immobilize Zigger, Miz found himself falling off of the ďClothes hangerĒ that holds the title, causing him to jam his knee, resulting in him also dealing with a bad knee. Thatís great! Mizís selling is a little better than Ziggler. Iím even a big fan of Maryseís ďInvolvementĒ. I thought for sure that the finish was going to be the same as the main event with Ziggler seemingly having the match won, only for Maryse to dump him from the ladder, but instead she didnít interfere a single time. That forced Miz to make his own save every single time and frankly, I felt Miz came out of this match looking like a tough SOB. Itís not quite HBK/Mankind in terms of making a soft wrestler look tough, but in a match that was very easy to book Miz to gain all of these little unfair advantages to cheat, he didnít use a single one of them. There is one drawback to the match though. Late in the bout, Miz, wounded from another big bump, pulled off a ladder from the middle rope and set it up in the middle of the ring, right next to the already standing ladder. Even though it didnít set up a spot where they were both on their own ladder, allowing Maryse to knock over Zigglerís ladder, it was a spot for the sake of a spot. It made zero kayfabe sense, but at least it didnít lead to interference. Instead, Dolph was a moron who tried to be on both ladders at the same time, allowing Miz to deliver a couple of low blows. Ziggler fell off, allowing Miz to pull down the IC Title, winning the match and feud in the process. The two ladders spot was stupid, but I really dug this match. In some ways, I think I even preferred it to their No Mercy match, particularly when Zigglerís time as champion lasted a mere month. Your MOTN. ****

    Baron Corbin vs Kalisto - Chairs Match
    I have very, very vague memories of this program, but Iím struggling to see how this deserves to be on PPV. I guess if youíre not a member of American Alpha, itís very easy to get on a SD PPV. This ended up being...a match. Itís pretty much all just Kalisto working hard while Corbin didnít need to do much. Kalisto had a big advantage thanks to this being a chairs match, but at no point did it ever feel as if Kalisto had a chance in hell to win. Spot of the match saw Kalisto put Corbin through six open chairs. Despite Corbin not being good, he is always capable of dishing out amazing looking Deep Sixes. In this match, the Deep Six came on the outside. The match mostly dragged for me though despite so many spots involving chairs. In the end, Corbin won the match with End of Days on a stack of chairs. Like half of the matches on this show, this was a Kick Off match pretending to be PPV worthy. **

    Becky Lynch © vs Alexa Bliss - Tables Match - Smackdown Womenís Title
    Man, what was a pretty low profile match in 2016 would be a lot bigger today. At this point in time, Beckyís in this weird state where she sorta matters, but hasnít accomplished anything too significant, especially compared to getting massively over as The Man. Meanwhile, Alexa is just in the early stages of trying to establish herself, compared to today when sheís one of the top women in the company. Much like the SD tag titles match, this was fine, but nothing remarkable. The fact that itís a table match is already a strike against it, but they tried to create a bit of a story with Bliss not wanting to bring tables into it too early. It kind of played into the story of Bliss being the underdog heel, but being smart enough to know that she just needs to work smart if she has any chance of winning. Winning is exactly what sheíd do as sheíd catch Becky off guard on the apron, power bombing Lynch off the apron through a table to win the match and become the NEW Smackdown Womenís Champion. Both women looked solid out there and at this stage, can you ask for more? At this point, all thatís important is establishing the fact that Alexa can be a serious wrestler in the ring. The match accomplished that. I especially liked the fact that she didnít win the match by some mistake made by the star or just a fluke (EG. The Big Show at Extreme Rules 2012 or John Cena at TLC 2012). Maybe Bliss didnít prove that she was the better wrestler on this night, but she did fairly best Becky in one spot. The fact that Bliss was going into the match as the underdog, this sort of win for her is completely okay. ** ľ

    AJ Styles © vs Dean Ambrose - TLC Match - WWE World Title
    Itís time to wrap up this program, the first WWE Title program of the Brand Extension 2.0. Unfortunately, I imagine the main legacy of this match is that itís the match that Styles ripped his tights midway in the match. The result is that for the entire second half of the match, Stylesí ass was hanging out. For a match that is meant to be pretty barbaric, itís difficult to remain in that mind frame when you can spot fans openly laughing at what theyíre seeing. Speaking of the crowd, I was quite surprised at how unover Ambrose came across. The Dallas crowd clearly preferred Styles, chanting his name throughout the match. The crowd even chanted for The Undertaker at one point, but I couldnít remember a single time in which they chanted for Ambrose. The pair worked a very physical match, but one that felt directionless. Itís a total spotfest. Not necessarily a bad thing, but one that wasnít as good as it could have been due to the thin story, Stylesí tights mishap, and the fact that they ignored the title for such a large portion of the match. If youíre a fan of spots, thereís plenty of impressive ones to witness though. Personally, I felt that the spot of the match was one of the more restrained spots as Ambrose picked Styles up in an Alabama Slam position, only to whip Styles around to launch Stylesí head first into the standing upright ladder. Bigger spots, such as the inside out suplex through chairs (Which was responsible for the tear in AJís tights) or the springboard 450 Splash through a table on the outside was flashier, but theyíre spots weíve seen plenty of times in various variations. When Ambrose twirled AJ around, sending Styles into the ladder, head first, it was pretty darn creative. Another drawback of the match is the finishing stretch involvement of James Ellsworth. First, he came out to quickly be attacked by Styles, with Ambrose saving him, but Ellsworth would ultimately cost Ambrose the match, dumping Ambrose off of a ladder through a pair of tables to allow AJ to win the match to retain his title. Initially, it seemed like a clear heel turn, but I believe it was later revealed that Ellsworth only helped Styles because of the fact that Ellsworth already held a few victories over Styles. If AJ is still champion, in theory, it means that Ellsworth can challenge for the title. I donít recall how people reacted at the time, but once this Ellsworth nonsense starts interfering in the main events of PPV matches, it has overstayed its welcome. Weakest SD PPV WWE Title match since the start of the brand PPVs, but itís mostly enjoyable. Turn off your brain and enjoy the fighting and spots. *** ľ

    Itís a Smackdown 2016 PPV. They donít have the star power at all to try and put on these three hour PPVs. Drafting John Cena to SD and then him being too busy to work No Mercy and TLC is a huge blow. Quality wise, I know people boasted about SD over Raw at this point, but Raw just had the bigger stars especially when you factor in the part time guys like Brock Lesnar, Goldberg, and Triple H. Here, you have two big matches in Ambrose/Styles and Ziggler/Miz, both delivering. The downside is that the WWE World and WWE IC Titles are the only matches that have truly been delivering on the SD PPVs thus far. On the plus side, out of these first three SD PPVs, I feel that this is the strongest PPV thus far. Thereís not a bad match on the show, although thereís plenty of average matches. Although I nearly always skip the Kick Off matches, the Kick Offs are an example of how poorly these SD PPVs are put together. The Kick Off for No Mercy was American Alpha and Hype Bros vs The Ascension and The Vaudevillians. Meanwhile, the Kick Off for TLC was American Alpha, The Hype Bros, and Apollo Crews vs The Ascension, The Vaudevillains, and Curt Hawkins. Even Summerslam wasnít all that different with it being American Alpha, The Hype Bros, and The Usos vs The Ascension, The Vaudevillians, and The Fashion Police. Thatís not even counting the episodes of Smackdown that featured that match in some variation. For a roster that is so low on stars, youíd think that SD would try to make better use of an amazing team like American Alpha (Not to mention the fact that they were just called up to the main roster), but theyíre stuck in purgatory, facing the same unover lowcard tag teams at every turn. Ultimately, I think the sole reason why Iím so hard on SD 2016 is that fans brag about it so much. While some of the praise is warranted, because when they did something good, it was great, there were also a ton of flaws with the brand at the time. Just like Backlash and No Mercy, TLC 2016 is an enjoyable show mostly because itís from the WWE Network era. You go in with low expectations and they deliver. Go out of your way to watch Ziggler/Miz and while youíre at it, Styles/Ambrose, but the rest of the show feels like an average episode of Smackdown...just like Backlash and No Mercy did.

  2. #2
    Postman Dave's Avatar

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    Re: WWE TLC 2016 Review

    I'm still amazed the tag title match was ever a PPV title match. It just sounds like something that'd be booked by some sort of random generator

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  3. #3
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    Re: WWE TLC 2016 Review

    You are way lower on Kalisto/Corbin and Ambrose/Styles than I am. The chairs match is very good and Corbin's best ever singles match, and I thought the main event was great and a real show stopper to close out another enjoyable PPV from Smackdown.

    I'd agree about the ladder match, around 4 stars is where I would have it.

    Carmella/Nikki really overdelivered on what I was expecting it to be going into it. I'd have that higher than you too. Thankfully it wasn't too long after that they realised the serious route with her wasn't going to work so they went more down the entertaining/comedy direction with her character.

    I think even in 2016 WWE knew they liked Jason Jordan a lot more than Chad Gable and weren't really feeling the tag team even though every other fan loved them. It was really weird how they came in as the fresh new team and had to wait so long for an actual program to start up.

  4. #4

    Re: WWE TLC 2016 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed View Post
    I think even in 2016 WWE knew they liked Jason Jordan a lot more than Chad Gable and weren't really feeling the tag team even though every other fan loved them. It was really weird how they came in as the fresh new team and had to wait so long for an actual program to start up.
    You'd think that if they were so high on Jordan, they would have just had American Alpha become the first SD Tag Team Champions and hold the belts for a few months. If it's a title match, Jordan is the one scoring the victory. If they're losing in a non-title match, Gable is taking the fall. Even bringing up Jordan on his own would have more sense than to bring up such a successful NXT only to do nothing with them, randomly give them the SD tag titles, and then take them off right when SD figures out that Usos should be the main team and it's just a waiting game until The New Day could become their main rivals. At least The Revival had the excuse of injuries fucking up their initial period on the main roster.

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