Toyota Center – Houston, TX – Sunday, December 15, 2013
Michael Cole, JBL, and Hall of Famer Jerry Lawler are on commentary.
Fandango (w/ Summer Rae) defeats Dolph Ziggler at 4:40. Ziggler bumps around like crazy and they take a commercial around one-minute in. When we come back Ziggler is fighting Fandango off and making the comeback. The back and forth continues and they fight on the top rope. Summer distracts Ziggler and Fandango knocks him down. Fandango follows with The Last Dance to get the pin. Decent, spirited pre-show fare.
CM Punk defeats The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins) at 13:41 in a handicap match. Ambrose is the current United States Champion. Punk does what he can do to divide and conquer, and while he fights hard the odds are just so much to overcome. The Shield mostly beats on Punk save for a few spots (which the crowd pops huge for). This is mostly dull but has a great finishing sequence. Punk hits Rollins with Go to Sleep, and then avoids a Reigns spear, which hits Ambrose instead. Reigns gets dumped to the floor and Punk steals a pin on Ambrose. Not much to see for the most part, but the finishing sequence was well done.
Divas Champion AJ Lee (w/ Tamina Snuka) defeats Natalya at 6:35 to retain the title. AJ has been the Champion since 6.16.13, and this is her eighth defense. AJ dominates the early going, using a variety of offense. Natalya makes a comeback and puts on the Sharpshooter, but AJ escapes. Tamina gets up on the apron and Natalya knocks her down. AJ uses the distraction to lock on the Black Widow but Natalya escapes and hits the discuss lariat. Natalya goes for another Sharpshooter but AJ reverses to an inside cradle to get the pin. That was a perfectly decent match that could’ve happened on TV.
Intercontinental Champion Big E Langston defeats Damien Sandow to retain the title at 6:27. Sandow feels like such a lame-duck challenger after he got beat cleanly during his Money in the Bank cash-in match against John Cena a few months ago. Big E controls the beginning, Sandow the middle, and Big E makes the comeback at the end and hits the Big Ending for the win. Not bad, but not much either.
WWE Tag Team Champions Cody Rhodes & Goldust defeat The Real Americans (Jack Swagger & Antonio Cesaro) (w/ Zeb Colter), Ryback & Curtis Axel, and Rey Mysterio & Big Show at 21:04 in a Fatal 4-Way Elimination match to retain the titles. Cody and Goldust have been the Champions since 10.14.13, and this is their fourth defense. This is quite the interesting collection of talent. The action is fast-paced as everyone tries to set the tone of the match. Goldust scores a roll-up on Ryback for the flash pin and first elimination at 6:08. The Real Americans pounce and isolate Goldust in their half of the ring. After several minutes Goldust makes as hot tag to Show, who throws the Americans around. Show destroys Swagger with the WMD, and then catches Cesaro leaping off the second rope with another WMD to eliminate the Real Americans at 14:35. The Rhodes brothers versus Show and Mysterio isn’t something I ever thought I would want to see, but I’m open minded. They move quickly, and when Cody and Mysterio are left alone in the ring they have a pretty good exchange. Cody catches Mysterio with the Cross-Rhodes to get the pin and retain the titles. On paper this sounded like it would just be a clusterf*ck, but this got plenty of time to develop and it turned out to be pretty good.
R-Truth (w/ Xavier Woods) defeats Brodus Clay (w/ Cameron, Naomi & Tensai) at 6:02. This is really a pay-per-view match, as hard as it may be to believe. Brodus was starting to turn heel here, despite the misgivings of Tensai and the Funkadactyls. I don’t recall if that ever went anywhere. Brodus mostly dominates, but then he and Tensai get into an argument and Tensai bails. Then the Funkadactyls bail too. Truth catches Brodus with a kick to the face and then rolls him up for the pin. That was not so very good.
Kofi Kingston defeats The Miz at 8:00 in a No Disqualification Match. This was set up earlier in the evening, when Miz was on the kickoff show panel and kept talking trash. They brawl in and out of the ring, but the crowd doesn’t much care either way. At least the crowd cares enough to chant boring at one point. Miz exposes a turnbuckle but it backfires on him when he tries a Figure-Four Leglock and Kingston kicks him right into it. One Trouble in Paradise later and Kingston gets the win. I’m glad they eventually found good roles for both these guys, because they were floundering badly here.
The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Erick Rowan & Luke Harper) defeat Daniel Bryan in a handicap match at 12:25. Bray sits at ringside and watches as his boys dominate Bryan with their power. When Bray does get involved things only get worse for the leader of the Yes Movement. Late in the match Bryan isolates each member of the Family and looks like he might be able to pull off the most improbable upset. But Bray catches him with Sister Abigail to get the pin. I don’t really see what this accomplished for anyone character-wise, but the work was solid.
WWE Champion Randy Orton defeats World Heavyweight Champion John Cena at 24:35 in a Unification TLC Match. Orton has been the Champion since 10.27.13, and this is his second defense. Cena has been the Champion since 10.27.13, and this is his third defense. JBL says this is the first time in 50 years that the two Champions have faced each other, so I guess he forgot when this exact thing happened in 2001. The crowd surprisingly seems pretty invested in this match, even though it’s been done a thousand times or so. Orton and Cena wrestle the same match the generally do, fighting in and out of the ring, spicing it up with tables ladders and chairs (oh my). 0rton freshens things up by using the microphone to bash Cena’s head in. Cena fights back and hits an Attitude Adjustment through the Spanish announce table. He climbs up the ladder and grabs the belts, but Orton pulls the ladder out from under him, and bashes a hanging Cena with a steel chair. Cena fights back and tackles Orton through a table. Orton slithers out of the ring to find a pair of handcuffs, and he attaches Cena to the bottom rope. Cena fights and detaches the bottom turnbuckle, freeing himself enough to chase Orton up the ladder and knock him down. Orton goes around the ladder and grabs the rope that Cena is attached to and pulls him down right into a table. That’s more than enough for Orton to pull down the belts and become the undisputed Champion. This was the usual fine Cena v Orton match, and the last couple minutes were cool.
The main event was supposed to be a big deal, but it really wasn’t, and the match was only okay so there really isn’t much to recommend here. The tag title match was a surprisingly fun deal, but the two handicap matches are pretty meh, and the rest of the card is either forgettable or straight nonsense.
Tags: CM Punk, John Cena, Randy Orton, TLC, WWE