Sunday afternoon, before TLC (not acknowledging the “stairs” being added to the title) was going on the air, there were some rumors that the mentality backstage was that everyone was thinking about the NXT event last Thursday. Everyone was going to make sure that there was no way that a NXT PPV full of a bunch of rookies was going to overshadow a main WWE PPV. Well that’s exactly what happened. TLC came and went and it’s safe to say that not only did it fail to outshine NXT REvolution, but it didn’t even come close. And watching the two shows within just a few days of each other it’s easy to see why.
1. First things first, there was never really a chance that TLC would beat Takeover in the first place. NXT has been building up to their event for three months now, while Raw has only been building toward the TLC card for a few weeks. (If we can even call the past three weeks of Raw “building toward a PPV”) That’s like deciding to get a better grade than the person who’s been studying all semester on the day of the exam and trying to cram in all your studying while the test is getting passed out. Too little too late. I’ve wanted to see Sami Zayn face Adrian Neville since NXT’s Fatal 4 Way back in September. I didn’t even know the phrase “stairs match” existed a month ago. Not to mention I’ve already seen just about everything on the TLC card already. I think Ryback and Kane was the only match on the TLC card that wasn’t a rematch of something that happened on either Raw or Smackdown in the past month.
2. TLC was three hours while REvolution was two. WWE can not grasp the concept that bigger is not always better. Bigger is just more. Three hour Raws, and PPV cards with eight matches on them. Nine if you count the pre-show match. REvolution, meanwhile had 6 matches with one of them lasting 41 seconds. Every match on the NXT show felt like it was there to showcase a talent. Matches on TLC felt like they were there to fill time and because somebody had to be in a Chairs match. It’s the rule of the PPV.
3. The Main Event of the NXT show ended in a hard fought back and forth between two opponents that ended in a clean finish. The Main Event of TLC came down to a TV exploding. And you know what? That’s the cleanest finish to a WWE PPV we’ve gotten since SummerSlam. Last month was Authority interference and Sting. (I’ll look past that because it was awesome, but still technically not a clean finish by any stretch of the imagination.) Before that Bray Wyatt interfered with the main event of Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins. Then the month before that was Night of Champions where John Cena was attacked during his main event match with Brock Lesnar.
4. Speaking of clean finishes, or rather the lack of them, Seth Rollins and Cena’s match ended with a whole mess of a finish. The Diva’s match didn’t end cleanly either. Now I’m not taking a blanket stand that all matches should be clean finishes. That just wouldn’t be wrestling. But for those who were watching in the summer of 2010, I’m sure you can remember the whole Nexus effect. At some point we’re not actually watching a match to see who will win between Wrestler A and Wrestler B, but rather just twiddling our thumbs until the inevitable interference comes in.
5. The hardest part about watching TLC on Sunday so soon after watching REvolution on the previous Thursday was listening to the commentary team. I’m almost at a loss of words to try and describe how much better the NXT commentary team is when compared to the Raw team. But what it really comes down to is that the NXT commentary team called the matches on the show. They were invested, they were excited, these guys put over whatever was going on in the ring and were really the cherry on the fantastic Sundae that was NXT REvolution. On the other hand, Michael Cole and Friends were far too focused on their interactions with each other to pay any mind to the people who were fighting just a few feet away from them. This isn’t a TLC exclusive problem. The commentary team’s focus on catchphrases, terrible jokes, and a general focus on each other rather than the in ring content has been a problem for some time now, but one that just kind of gets tuned out after a while. It’s only when NXT shows us how it can be done, that the flaws a few nights later are dragged into the light once again.
Tags: Bray Wyatt, dean ambrose, john cena, NXT, NXT Revolution, Raw, seth rollins, Takeover, TLC, WWE