Metalhead’s Riff: Dissecting TLC 2015 (TLC Tag Team Match, Paige vs Charlotte, Roman Reigns vs Sheamus)

TLC starts with an out of the blue Sasha Banks vs Becky Lynch match. No real build-up, no announcement beforehand, this was just thrown out there. As if WWE creative suddenly realized that they had forgotten to bokk a match for their pre-show. Well let’s throw Becky and Sasha in there, they’ll cover for our incompetence. Anyway, Sasha got a good pop while Becky got a lukewarm reaction. Which is not surprising since they’ve done little to nothing with her since she appeared on the main roster. Team BAD did a New Day tribute that went down like a lead balloon. Why would you put these girls in this situation? Match was solid but a few notches below their Takeover match. They had an hard time getting the crowd into things which is to be expected since both are completely direction-less. Some help from WWE Creative would have been appreciated here, but I hear those guys are already over-worked doing nothing. Solid match but it’s really depressing watching two performers with so much talent just having a match because WWE doesn’t seem to know what to do with them. I guess we should feel lucky we at least got them and not Eva Marie vs Cameron.

On a side note, was it really necessary to put a lengthy add-break which basically featured promos for upcoming network shows during this match WWE? I mean what was there so important on the rest of the show that those adds couldn’t have replaced?

The PPV starts proper with New Day vs Lucha Dragons vs Uso’s. New Day got a great reaction, of course, and while their booking has been repetitive, they’re easily the most over thing in WWE right now. While at times suffering from the usual drawbacks such matches have (lengthy set–ups spot, wrestlers taking a nap at ring-side waiting for their turn, etc) they worked really hard to make this one stand out at least. Some great spots topped with Kalisto going for an insane Salida Del Sol from the top of the ladder unto another ladder. Well-deserved “This Is Awesome” chants here. Perhaps a bit too many spots for the sake of doing spots here, but that’s to be expected in such matches. Xavier Woods was gold on commentary, even going so far has correcting the others when they made mistakes. Ending saw the usual trombone shenanigans, which makes this an overallĀ  very good match with a somewhat weak ending. But like said before the show, this particular feud is supposed to continue for some time, so the trombone-assisted win was to be expected. Great effort from all involved.

I almost felt bad for Rusev and Ryback for having to follow that. Generic big guy match with Rusev doing most of the work and Ryback attempting some new stuff. That Lana spot where she oversold a mild Ryback bump just to reveal that IT WAS A SET-UP ALL ALONG felt out of place since it basically achieved nothing. I guess they felt they had to re-establish Lana as an heel or something. Some sloppy work here and there but at least this match ended with the right result. A Rusev win was indeed necessary for him not to come over like a Wade Barrett-like joke. Instantly forgettable, but it did achieve what was intended.

In what would become a theme for this show, Del Rio and Swagger really worked their asses of, but the simply fact they had to work so hard to get the crowd into this speaks volume about the creative build-up to this match. They delivered a decent match which was at times marred a bit by the chair gimmick. This is always the problem which such gimmick matches. If you HAVE to us chairs because it says so in the match title, some spots will inevitable look forced. Logical Del Rio win for the same reasons Rusev had to win. Only problem is that Del Rio and Rusev will quickly look like more of a threat than World Champion Sheamus. If that hasn’t happened already.

And it’s nostalgia time with some ECW chants. Of course, ECW in WWE means Jobber squad. Expect their opponents played the Jobber Squad role for that other nostalgia act, The Undertaker, at Survivor Series. best that can be said about this match is that it featured the right results since nostalgia acts should (almost) always been used to put over some younger talents. For the rest it was a pale, WWE copy of a garbage match. Is Strowman the worst wrestler on the WWE roster right now? I’m starting to think so.

Ambrose vs Owens was disappointing to me for several reason. Weak build-up, booked as an afterthought to the “bigger” storylines, and, to add insult to injury, they were only given 9 minutes. Difficult for both to give us that show-stealing performance we all know they have in them under those circumstances. Still they gave it their best shot, as those two always do. The Ambrose win seems a bit redundant to me as it does little for both, but that’s only because these two should never have been left to feud over the largely irrelevant IC title to begin with. Some say that Owens losing the title is for him the sign that bigger and better things, but I’m not so optimistic, this is WWE after all. And even if that does come to pass, what about Ambrose then? Why saddling one of your most over guys with the IC title? As always with WWE, more questions than answers.

Because I’ve been so critical about Paige and Charlotte in recent times, I feel the need to make something clear first. I love women’s wrestling, and not only the indie stuff, I’ve loved most of NXT’s women’s matches also. But I don’t like the way this feud has been booked, because it helped no-one. Charlotte comes over as a Ric Flair tribute now, and while I maintain she’s not and never was the most talented of the “Four Horsewomen”, she certainly deserves better. Paige’s character seems completely pointless now Charlotte seems to be turning heel. Although WWE is apparently still maintaining doubt over that heel turn for some reason. Solid match but they had to work SO hard to get the crowd behind them, for the simple reason no-one has any idea who is what in this feud anymore. Paige is dead in the water after yet another loss, but that was already the case after Survivor Series. Charlotte, on her side, is soaking up the audience’s apathy while Ric Flair is enjoying another push. Something is very wrong with this picture. And I hope you now all agree with me this “DIVAS Revolution” is a load of BS, because there is no revolution to speak of.

Main Event time and I do know the rule is basically hate everything Reigns and Sheamus do, but I really can’t here. I can’t destroy tow guys who worked so hard to make something happen. I mean those two really kicked the shit out of each-other. OK it was pointless, sure both have some serious limitations, but A for effort. Sheamus is a difficult case for me. i don’t hate the character nearly as much as most of you guys seem to do because, let’s be fair, he has not be helped by the booking, has he? I mean he has been portrayed as a glorified jobber for most of 2015 and now, suddenly, he has to sell that he is a viable threat as a World Champion. Even Flair at his peak would have struggled with that one. The problems with Reigns are well known of course, but, after his inevitable loss, WWE did make an attempt to book him as he should have been booked form the start. No smart-ass talking babyface, but a no nonsense ass-kicker that gets really dangerous when he “snaps”. On the other hand that was effect was immediately diluted by some more inept booking (why the hell did Triple h end up looking sympathetic here???).

 

Conclusion: This PPV was a rather strange experience. On the one hand , I was really impressed by (almost) everyone having their working shoes on and working hard at making something happen. On the other hand most of those efforts were nullified by a weak build-up and some more booking that made little sense during the event. I think it can be best summed up with a phrase that will sound familiar to some of you: “Don’t hate the players, hate the (WWE) game.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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