The SmarK Rant for WWE TLC 2017
Live from Minneapolis, MN
Your hosts are Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Booker T
Emma v. Asuka
Asuka works a headlock to start and goes to the arm, then puts Emma down and gets a nice rolling anklelock before Emma sends her to the floor to escape. Back in, that gets two. Emma with a rollup for two and she takes Asuka down by the hair for two. Asuka gets hooked in the Tree of Woe and Emma stomps away in the corner and follows with the running splash for two. Asuka gets fired up and puts Emma down with the low kick, and follows with a missile dropkick, but Emma cuts her off with a basement dropkick for two. Asuka catches her in an anklelock and turns it into a german suplex to put Emma on the floor. Emma yanks her out of the ring by the hair, but back in Asuka catches her with a high kick and the Asukalock at 9:25. They went too long and it should have been a demolition. Match was OK, but too much back and forth. **1/2
Meanwhile, Team Miz gets motivated while standing in a line looking at the camera instead of talking to each other like human beings do. Braun Strowman is going to break Kurt Angle’s freakin’ neck again. Miz feels they can run the show if the babyfaces are thoroughly destroyed tonight.
Elias the Goddamned Drifter is here to sing us a song, but Jason Jordan throws produce at him to cut him off, which might be the first legit babyface reaction that Jason ever got.
Brian Kendrick & Jack Gallagher v. Cedric Alexander & Rich Swann
Swann gets caught in the heel corner early on and Gallagher works on the leg. Is he seriously working in a suit now? Kendrick gets dumped by Cedric, but Jack trips him up, so he waits until the heels regroup and then hits them with a dive. Back in, the faces work on Kendrick with a double team backbreaker for two, but Kendrick sends Swann into the corner to get the heat. Gallagher comes in with a cravat on Swann and Kendrick gets the butterfly suplex for two. Kendrick misses a blind charge and gets dumped to the floor, and Swann makes the hot tag to Cedric. Handspring kick to Gallagher gets two. Springboard clothesline gets two, but Kendrick pulls him out of the ring. Swann comes over to save, but Kendrick suplexes him on the floor. Back in, Cedric cradles Kendrick for two, but Brian superkicks him into the Captain’s Hook, which Alexander rolls over for two. Swann breaks it up with a Phoenix Splash, but Gallagher puts him on the floor with a headbutt. Cedric then finishes Kendrick with the Lumbar Check at 7:58. Really good match, but the crowd didn’t really care. ***1/4 No matter, I enjoyed it.
RAW Women’s title: Alexa Bliss v. Mickie James
This feud is so dumb. Funny bit as Alexa snarks on Mickie in the pre-match interview, noting “she probably wears mom jeans”. And indeed, Mickie’s gear is mom jeans now. Alexa works the arm while Mickie kips up on her, but Mickie goes to the apron and Alexa snaps the arm on the top rope to take over. Bliss keeps working it over and now Mickie has been upgraded to “first ballot Hall of Famer”, since I guess we’re running out of other women to put into the Hall at this point. Alexa keeps working the arm and working the arm, but Mickie comes back with a headscissors out of the corner and they slug it out before knocking each other out with high kicks. Mickie makes the comeback with more kicks and gets two. Rollup gets two. Alexa with a Code Red for two. Mickie goes up and Alexa cuts her off and goes up with the Sparkle Splash, which misses. Mickie goes up with a missile dropkick (emphasis on the “miss”) that gets two. Alexa suckers her into the turnbuckles, however, and finishes with the DDT at 11:28. Way too long, mostly boring, and it completely fell apart at the end. *1/2
Meanwhile, the Shield presents Kurt Angle with an honorary flak jacket.
Elias returns for another try at his song, and the crowd is very rude to him. And then Jordan chases him off with produce again. Holy cow we’re in serious time-filling mode on this show.
WWE Cruiserweight title: Kalisto v. Enzo Amore
Enzo sidesteps a spinkick and runs away, but Kalisto takes him down with a headscissors and enzuigiri. Enzo runs away again and Kalisto follows with a dive as they’re literally doing the match they did at the house show here last week, move for move. Back in, Enzo hides in the corner and then suckers him in for a necksnap to take over. Neckdrop out of the corner gets two. Enzo goes to an awkward neck hold on the mat, but Kalisto gets a rolling kick from the mat after Enzo fakes a top rope move. Apparently Kalisto is “trying to feed off the energy of the crowd”, which is hilarious because everyone is off getting nachos during this match. Enzo slugs him down for two and goes to a chinlock. Kalisto fights back with a rana for two and apparently Kalisto is “the first ever luchador Cruiserweight champion”. I don’t even know where to start unpacking that one. Enzo hits the middle rope DDT for two. Kalisto tries Salidas Del Sol, but Enzo grabs the apron to escape, pokes him in the eye, and hits Eat Defeat to regain the title at 8:53. No shock there, 205 Live is already the Enzo Show so they might as well put the title back on him. This was a complete mess and went too long, like everyone else tonight. *
AJ Styles v. Finn Balor
The crowd is chanting “This is awesome” before the match even starts, so hopefully they can live up to it. They trade headlocks to start while the Bullet Club nerds chant “too sweet” and sketch out their Young Bucks costumes for Halloween so their moms can have plenty of time to sew them. Balor tries some kicks, but AJ hits him with the dropkick, so Balor kicks him from the apron and ties him up on the mat with a surfboard. AJ with a sunset flip, but Balor rolls through into a dropkick to put AJ on the floor. He comes back in with a dropkick of his own and drops a knee for two. They slug it out in the corner and the crowd is very torn, but AJ hits a springboard forearm for two. They trade forearms and AJ puts him down with an enzuigiri for two. They trade chops in the corner and AJ pops up, so Balor kicks him to the floor and follows with the dive. Back in for the sling blade, but Finn walks into the fireman’s neckbreaker. Styles Clash is reversed, so AJ hits the facebuster for two. Finn gives him a double stomp to the face and pounds him down to turn subtle heel, and follows with a dropkick in the corner, but AJ rolls him into the Calf Crusher. Finn gets to the ropes, so AJ rolls him to the middle and Finn desperately smashes AJ’s face into the mat to break. Finn backdrops him onto the apron and counters the forearm by pushing him onto the floor, and he follows with a running kick from the apron. Dropkick into the railing follows, but AJ runs him into the announce table and they’re both down. They both beat the count and collide for the double down. They slug it out and AJ gets the kick combo, but Finn catches him with his own Pele Kick to put him down. They trade suplex attempts, but AJ blocks the 1916 with a knee to the head and Finn hits it on a second try. Finn dropkicks him into the corner and goes up to finish, but AJ catches him with a Pele from the mat to the top rope to stop him, then springboards into a rana from the top that gets two. AJ misses the 450 and Finn hits a lariat and dropkicks him back into the corner, and Coup De Grace finishes at 18:16. Felt like they were just REALLY getting going, but leave ‘em wanting more, I guess. **** And then they share the “too sweet” gesture to set the Bullet Club rumors going again.
By the way, since when was Ultimate Warrior a crusader for breast cancer? Can we please stop with the “Warrior was a saint who walked the earth” rhetoric at some point? He was fired THREE TIMES during his WWE career! Are we now pretending he donated all the money that he held Vince up for to cancer research?
Elias v. Jason Jordan
Jordan controls Elias on the mat to start and the Drifter bails to escape and goes to the armbar, but Jordan slams him for two. Elias knees him into the corner to take over and gets the boring heat segment with a clothesline for two and goes to the armbar while the announcers bicker. Jordan makes the boring comeback with a belly to belly for two. Jordan tries a superplex and gets cut off, and Elias slams him into the corner and tries a suplex, which Jordan reverses into a cradle for the pin at 8:53. Elias pretty clearly kicked out at two. Anyway, this sucked and I feel like “They need to pull the plug on Jason Jordan” has become my mantra now. *1/2
MIz, Kane, Cesaro, Sheamus & Braun Strowman v. Kurt Angle, Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins
Angle actually does the Shield entrance in full gear, which kind of robs us of the real entrance. Big shmoz to start and the Shield attacks with chairs and triples on Kane with them. The tag champs hit the others with a dive on the floor and use ladders on them. The Shield preps the table for Kane, but he fights them off and Strowman breaks all that up. More chairshots as the Shield beats on Strowman and sends him into the post, setting up Rollins and Ambrose coming off the ladders with stereo splashes to put the monsters through stereo tables. This leaves Angle along with Team Miz and they go to work on him with chairs, then kick a ladder into his ribs in the corner. We nearly get a Shield powerbomb from Miz, but the other faces break it up and Angle hits Miz with german suplexes. Kane breaks it up, so Angle picks his leg for the anklelock until Strowman breaks that up. And then he powerslams Angle through a table on the floor to get rid of him for a while. So Angle gets hauled off by the paramedics while the Shield is slowly beaten down by the heels. Note: In WWE parlance, Kurt Angle was away from the ring for eleven years. So I guess that made AJ Styles a rookie when he debuted at the Rumble? Ambrose decides to fight back and Kane accidentally hits Strowman with a chair to create some heel problems, but then the Shield gets stomped down again and Ambrose gets powerbombed onto a table that decides not to break. That looked PAINFUL. Strowman sends him into the table to break it on the second try, and then the match continues to grind to a halt while Miz calls in a garbage truck. Rollins and Ambrose escape that horrible fate by diving onto the heels, and chase Miz back to the ring while the others lay on the ground and sell. That was one devastating dive! And then Kane and Strowman turn on each other and Kane chokeslams his partner onto a crash pad. Well there’s a feud to occupy a couple of months, I guess. Braun tries to climb out, so Kane pulls a string of chairs down from the ceiling onto him. This match has literally come to a crashing halt. And then Kane chokeslams the Shield onto tables and THEY don’t break, either. Poor Dean’s neck is gonna be broken at this rate. Like, what is even the POINT of the match? Is someone going to attempt to win the match at some point? Anyway, Braun crawls out of the chair pile and goes after Kane again, so the other four heels turn on Strowman and beat him down. And then HE goes into the garbage truck and gets compacted. Didn’t anyone see Superman III? That NEVER works.
This match has gone completely off the rails, as the crowd chants “That was murder”. Finally they drag Seth back to the ring and hit their finishers on him, but Ambrose saves and he gets beaten down as well. And then finally, after like TWENTY MINUTES in the back, Kurt Angle returns with proper entrance music this time, because he’s playing the part of Roman Reigns and was taking a nap while everyone else did all the work. He puts Cesaro and Sheamus through tables on the floor, but Miz sneaks up on him with the Skull Crushing Finale for two. Another one is reversed to the anklelock, but Miz kicks out of it and Angle bumps out of the ring, nearly hitting another table on the way out. However, the Shield regroups, hits their finishers on him, and then ends it with a Shield Bomb at 35:27. This was an awful trainwreck, like nearing Uncensored 96 levels of ridiculous with seemingly no internal logic, featuring terrible brawling and nothing going on most of the time. They spent 10 minutes trying to shove two guys into a garbage truck, for fuck’s sake! I was so pumped to see it and to call it a crushing disappointment would be an understatement. At one point Miz actually had to yell at his team “IT’S FIVE ON TWO!” because no one was even trying to win the match! I’d go * for a couple of the table spots at the beginning, but the rest was a completely self-indulgent bunch of bullshit and REALLY boring as well.
I gotta go thumbs down. It was sold as a one match show and that match did NOT deliver, at all. AJ v. Balor was great, but not show-saving great.
Tags: Braun Strowman, Kurt Angle, SmarK Rants, TLC