The SmarK Rant for WWE TLC 2015
Live from Boston, MA
Your hosts are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler & JBL
Sorry to those expecting an epic drunken rant, but I only ended up having a couple of Root Beer schnapps and Coke, plus lots of food, so the buzz was gone by 4:00. Plus I’m old and have to work tomorrow anyway.
WWE tag titles, Ladder match: The New Day v. The Lucha Dragons v. The Usos
The New Day, as always the most entertaining part of the show, gives us a sneak preview of the new Wheaties box cover and accuses the Usos of being an infectious disease that killed Mikey from the Life cereal commercials. I thought it was pop rocks and soda? I feel like Xavier Woods might not be as strong of a source of medical information as, say, Matthew Santoro or Wikipedia. Big trainwreck to start and the Dragons hit the New Day with stereo moonsaults to the floor, followed by the Usos also trying to kill themselves with a dive into a ladder. When the heels are actually cracking jokes about how much they’re injured, that might be a hint to take it easier. Back in the ring, the New Day double-teams an Uso in the corner while Xavier leaves the commentary desk to provide trombone accompaniment. Even my wrestling-hating wife was laughing at that bit. We get some wacky ladder spots from the Dragons and Sin Cara hits a diving senton onto the Usos outside, taking a bump right on a ladder. Back in, the Dragons trap Big E under a ladder, but he bench-presses them off in an impressive spot. The Usos get their shine and double-team Kofi with some ladders, and then we get the Usos v. Dragons segment. The Dragons feel really shoe-horned into this match. Sin Cara monkey-flips Kalisto onto a ladder, which was supposed to hurt an Uso but really just looked like he ruptured his own spleen. Jey and Kalisto end up climbing for the belts and Kalisto puts Jey through another ladder with the SDS from the top of the ladder. That just seems needlessly dangerous, but it looked impressive. Big E cleans house, but Jimmy dumps him and splashes him under a ladder on the floor. OK, we’ve literally seen 4 or 5 versions of that spot already, enough. This all leaves Kalisto alone, but Xavier hurls the trombone at him to knock him off with pinpoint precision, and Kofi retains the titles at 17:45. Everyone worked hard, but this strayed pretty far from the point of the ladder match, with almost no attempts to, you know, win the match, and a lot of guys splashing other guys under ladders. ***1/2
Ryback v. Rusev
Ryback overpower Rusev to start while I try to figure out why Lana ended up back with Rusev again and why anyone should care. Rusev quickly chokes him down to take over and we get a lengthy chinlock, and then Ryback makes the comeback with the MEAT MISSILE DROPKICK. Ryback continues his aerial assault with a flying bodypress for two, but Rusev takes a walk and Lana gets mildly bumped and does another ridiculous acting job to fool Ryback. Back in, Rusev gets two off this devious subterfuge. High kick and Accolade finish at 7:55. As usual, the heels are cowards and the babyfaces are idiots. *
Meanwhile, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose get together to visualize their respective title wins tonight. WHO TALKS LIKE THIS?
US title, Chairs match
So they show the video buildup for this match, and literally the reason for it happening is that Del Rio hit Swagger with a chair at one point. That’s all they’ve got! They have TWENTY EIGHT writers on staff and that’s the best they can come up with for this. They immediately brawl to the floor while Cole reminds us of when they were fighting at Wrestlemania for the World title, back when anyone gave a crap about either one. Swagger dominates with some shots to the various chairs, but a Swagger Bomb is countered with a chair as ADR takes over. Backstabber gets two. Swagger counters with the superkick with a chair and makes the comeback. Del Rio just looks completely bored and disinterested out there. Can’t blame him. They brawl to the floor again and Del Rio buries him under chairs, which goes nowhere, as he just rolls him back in for two. What was even the point of that? Swagger escapes the armbar and sends him into the post for two and fans aren’t even buying into the near-falls. And then we get a ridiculous spot with Swagger anklelocking him with a chair which is I guess supposed to hurt more? Del Rio, who of course is a coward, runs from the ring to escape and then hits him from behind with a chair. But Swagger makes another comeback with a powerslam and Swagger Bomb for two. And since this is a chairs match, a bunch of chairs get tossed in because that’s their one thing. They fight on the top rope and Del Rio drops down with a hanging armbar in the corner, but he can’t lock it in. So Del Rio hits him with the chairs a bunch of times to set up the ridiculously contrived double stomp in the corner, onto the chairs, and that finishes at 11:10. That finisher still sucks and no one still cares about Del Rio. And what was the point of the Zeb split on Monday? Because it sure didn’t give Del Rio’s character any more direction here. *1/2
Elimination Tables match: Team ECW v. The Wyatt Family
Man, it’s too bad there wasn’t a themed PPV last month where a big 8-man elimination match would have fit in and helped sell the show. So immediately JBL goes “This is gonna be fun to watch!” because it’s not an actual match, it’s a performance, you see. They’re having FUN out there! So Tommy immediately tosses weapons into the ring and it’s the expected big brawl, but the power of Brown Snowman and some garbage cans proves to be too dangerous a combination. The ECW guys recover after Blond Strawman kicks a hole in a table, but the Vintner goes after D-Von and pays the price with a 3D through a table to eliminate him at 4:00. That whole sequence was TERRIBLE. Meanwhile Bray and Harper return from following the buzzards for four minutes and double-team Rhyno because it’s their turn to do stuff, but Rhyno comes back with suplexes, only to miss the GOAR and get booted through the table at 6:27. The Dudleyz double-team Harper with a Doomsday Device and JBL is like “They’re paying tribute to the Road Warriors!” even though they have literally been doing that move for almost 20 years now. D-Von gets the table, but Bray slams him through it at 8:34. Bubba and Dreamer double-team Marcus Stroman on the floor and Dreamer uses the old cheese grater on the crotch, which is kind of a metaphor for watching this shitty match. Back in, Harper slams him and puts him through a table to eliminate him at 10:51. So this leaves Bubba 3-on-1 and you’d have to think even the Wyatts can’t fuck this up. So Bubba gets a brief comeback on Bray and threatens to light a table on fire, which is decidedly not PG, so luckily Brawny Papertowels saves the day for Mattel by chokeslamming Bubba through the wet table to end it at 12:30. Why did they even bother eliminating Rowan? ½*
Intercontinental title: Kevin Owens v. Dean Ambrose
Once again, 28 writers under contract, and two guys who never shut up and love to fight, and the best they can come up with is one guy throwing popcorn at the other. Owens attacks to start and stomps Ambrose down while JBL once again reminds us that Owens is a “prize fighter”. That’s still not an actual character, guys. We go to chinlock city, but Ambrose fights out before walking into a belly to belly that gets two. Back to the chinlock, but Ambrose dumps him and follows with a dive. Owens sends him into the railing and hits him with a senton to take over again. Ambrose beats the count at 9 and blocks another senton to come back, and he dodges a cannonball attempt from Owens. Top rope elbow gets two. While trying to explain the madness of Ambrose, they note that “He’s not thinking about anything, he’s just doing a bunch of stuff.” That sounds an awful lot like the people booking the show. They fight to the top and Owens gets a rolling senton off the top for two, but Ambrose reverses out of the powerbomb and hits Dirty Deeds for two. Owens rolls him up for two, but Ambrose counters the powerbomb into a rana to win the title at 9:50 and FINALLY give this poor crowd something to cheer. Felt like they were going for something and didn’t really get there, as it ended up as more of a good TV match than an epic title change. **3/4 But I guess since heels have literally won every other match tonight, they had to do SOMETHING. Would have been nice if there had been some kind of buildup or story behind the match, though.
Divas title: Charlotte v. Paige
Charlotte has now worked the Flair Flop into her repertoire of moves ripping off her dad, which is a really ill-advised career path to go down. Charlotte bails from the initial attack from Paige, but uses Ric as a distraction to take over. Back in, she chokes away and works on the leg as the crowd could not care any less. Paige tries a sleeper and gets nowhere and we suddenly cut to Team BAD watching on the monitor while wearing wigs. So this is supposed to make them…bad people? I don’t even know what they’re going for anymore. Paige makes the comeback with her own figure-four, but Charlotte reverses and makes a comeback of her own. I have no idea who the crowd is supposed to be getting behind here. Paige with a Perfectplex for two, but Charlotte gets a DDT for two. Paige hits the Rampage, but Charlotte is in the ropes, and she pulls the turnbuckle pad off and sends Paige into it for the pin to retain at 10:37. Much like Ambrose, there wasn’t much thought here, it was just a bunch of stuff. **
Meanwhile, some dude named Coleco proposes to his girlfriend via a Kay Jewellers commercial. COLECO?!? Sadly, his fiancée isn’t named Intellivision.
Meanwhile, Becky continues to decry the cheating ways of Charlotte, but Charlotte blows her off because apparently Becky is too stupid to realize that Charlotte is now a heel. So I guess the thinking is that Charlotte is still a babyface doing a slow burn heel turn, even though she just won by ramming Paige into an exposed turnbuckle after cheating the whole match.
WWE title, TLC match: Sheamus v. Roman Reigns
They fight on the floor for a bit and trade some shots with chairs, and the crowd is totally dead for it all. I mean, they keep fighting up by the entrance and Sheamus suplexes Roman through a table and stuff and no one cares at all. At one point they chant “We miss Rollins”, though, so there’s that. Sheamus beats on him with a chair after a failed climb attempt and they’re just beating on each other to no reaction. Sheamus hits White Noise off the stairs through a table, nothing from the crowd. Back in the ring, Reigns powerbombs Sheamus onto a ladder and makes the comeback with a flying chair on the floor and then backdrops Sheamus through a ladder, and the crowd still doesn’t care. Back in the ring and they trade attempts at the climb before Roman hits the superman punch at the top of the ladder and appears to have it won…and the Legion of Substitute Heroes runs in to screw him over yet again. So yeah, they beat Roman up and distract him long enough for Sheamus to retain the title at 23:56. And Reigns chokes again. This was dull and dreadful. *1/2
So then Reigns snaps on the heels and beats them up alone, as they shift his booking from Daniel Bryan to Steve Austin at a moment’s notice, until HHH comes out to restore the precious order to the show. Now this would make him a babyface, because Reigns is a sore loser who was too dumb to have his “Family” backing him up here, but Reigns attacks HHH anyway and finally shows some fire. Unfortunately the Spanish table didn’t get the memo about Reigns being the star of the future, as it refuses to break for his powerbomb.
Well I guess we’ll see on RAW if attempt #250 to get Reigns over works. Thumbs in the middle, leaning down.
Tags: dean ambrose, HHH, Kevin Owens, Roman Reigns v. Sheamus, SmarK Rants, SmarK WWE Network Rant, TLC 2015