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Barclays Center – New York City, NY – Sunday, December 16, 2012
Michael Cole, JBL, and Hall of Famer Jerry Lawler are on commentary.
Team Rhodes Scholars (Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow) defeat Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara at 9:27 in a Number One Contender’s Tables Match. Only one member of the team must go through a table to end this match. The crowd is fired up here because they love them some tables. Mysterio and Cara work a fast pace and go for a quick win. Rhodes and Sandow fight back and slow the pace down, using their collective size advantage to work the luchadores over. The finish comes a bit out of nowhere, but it’s a cool one, as Sin Cara goes for a springboard move and gets pushed back through a table at ringside in a nasty looking bump. Fun opener here and a good clash of styles. Plus, the right team won.
United States Champion Antonio Cesaro defeats R-Truth at 6:38 to retain the title. Cesaro has been the Champion since 8.19.12, and this is his eighth defense. Truth starts off hot, trying to win the title for the second time. Cesaro cuts him off and tries keeping his energetic challenger on the mat. Yadda yadda yadda, Cesaro hits The Neutralizer to get the pin. Total tv-style match here, but seeing Cesaro cleanly defend his title is always somewhat enjoyable.
Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston defeats Wade Barrett to retain the title at 8:13. Kingston has been the Champion since 10.17.12, and this is his fourth defense. This is an instant styles clash, with Kingston trying to stick and move, and Barrett using the “Barrett Barrage.” I love that the commentators are trying to get “Wild Cat” over as a nickname for Kingston. After the usual back and forth, Barrett goes for the Bull Hammer but Kingston counters to Trouble in Paradise to get the pin. This was another tv-style match, but with better energy than the previous bout. Barrett was just never all that interesting as a wrestler, but he was solid enough and Kingston did his thing.
The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins) defeat Ryback & Team Hell No (Daniel Bryan & Kane) at 22:44 in a Six Man Tag Team TLC Match. Kane and Bryan are the current WWE Tag Team Champions. Pinfalls and submissions to win here. This is the first match for all three Shield members on the main roster. The fight starts right away on the floor and away we go. Bryan is of course massively over with the Brooklyn crowd. It doesn’t take long for the weapons to get involved, and the pace never slows. What’s so great about The Shield, is how seamlessly they work as a unit, all working for the common goal. A group like that hadn’t been seen in WWE for a very long time. The Shield successfully divides and conquers numerous times, isolating their opponents from their partners. Late in the match, Ryback and Rollins battle on top of a ladder down by the entrance way, and Ryback tosses Rollins through a stack of tables! But Ambrose and Reigns have a two-on-one advantage on Bryan back in the ring, and they execute a double powerbomb off the middle rope through a table, and Reigns gets the pin. You really couldn’t ask for a better debut for the Shield here. They came off as a dynamic group that worked like a well-oiled machine, with no one member standing out above the rest. Bryan, Kane, and even Ryback all also worked a phenomenal match, putting their opponents over without sacrificing any of themselves. Great stuff here.
Divas Champion Eve Torres defeats Naomi at 3:05 to retain the title. Eve has been the Champion since 9.16.12, and this is her fifth defense. Naomi earned this title shot by winning a battle royal on the preshow. Eve is totally dismissive of her challenger, who was relatively new to the ring at this time. Naomi shows off a bit of her athleticism, but after missing a cross body block Eve hits a spinning neckbreaker to get the pin. It was only three minutes long, and it was fine for those three minutes.
World Heavyweight Champion Big Show defeats Sheamus in a Chairs Match to retain the title at 14:17. Show has been the Champion since 10.28.12, and this is his second defense. These two have a heated issue and brawl in and out of the ring. Even with the size difference, Sheamus has a style that lends itself very well to matching up with the massive Show. Sheamus controls the early going, and it doesn’t take long for him to start using a chair. Show fights back and slows the pace down, even hitting a Chokeslam but it only gets two! The Champ sets up a couple of chairs but it backfires when Sheamus counters with White Noise! That’s not enough to get the pin. Show hits the KO Punch but even that doesn’t end the match. He finally goes outside the ring and produces a giant-sized chair, and whacks Sheamus with it to get the pin. Highly entertaining brawl here that made good use of the stipulations. Sheamus looks like a real tough bastard here.
Alberto Del Rio, The Miz & Brooklyn Brawler defeat 3MB (Heath Slater, Jinder Mahal & Drew McIntyre) at 3:23 in a Six Man Tag Team Match. This was set up earlier in the evening on an episode of Miz TV. Del Rio and Miz have a mystery partner, and it’s the Brooklyn Brawler! That’s a cute little thing to do for their first show in Brooklyn. It’s funny to see today’s NXT and WWE Champion in this kind of match. One of them should still be in this kind of match. Speaking of that one, Miz hits Mahal with the Skull Crushing Finale. Brawler tags in and locks on a Boston Crab, and Mahal taps out. Harmless little buffer match between the World Heavyweight Title match and the main event.
Dolph Ziggler defeats John Cena in a Ladder Match at 23:20. Ziggler’s Money in the Bank briefcase is on the line in this match. Cena is a mere 10-time World Champion at this point. He controls the early going with wrestling, but it doesn’t take long for a chair, a ladder, and a table to get involved. Ziggler and Cena go back and forth, each executing some cool moves and counters. Late in the match, Vickie Guerrero comes out with a chair and looks to hit Cena. AJ Lee comes to the rescue and takes Vickie out. Ziggler is down from an Attitude Adjustment, so Cena climbs the ladder. AJ pushes it over, and Ziggler blasts Cena with a superkick! That’s enough for Ziggler to climb up the ladder and retrieve his briefcase. I liked a lot of what they did here, but then the Vickie and AJ interference dragged it down a bit. Still, Ziggler hung with Cena here and the crowd was happy to go along with them. This of course led to a big bowl of nothing for Ziggler, and Cena went on to continue his program with The Rock.
A solid opener, two good matches at the top of the card, and a match of the year candidate in the middle of the show make this an easy recommendation. It’s disheartening to see that one year after facing Cena in the main event, Ziggler was jobbing to Fandango on the preshow. But such is wrestling. If nothing else this show was a great showcase for The Shield, and helped get them started on their road to superstardom.
Tags: Dolph Ziggler, John Cena, The Shield, TLC