LIVE from the Bowling Alley. Decent turnout, but nothing to brag about. I'm always up for a round of beers, so I came to catch the PPV tonight, while the monitor in the corner helps me keep up with the Chargers/Ravens (Go Chargers!). So let's dive in!
WWE - The Champ is Here!
We start with cheesy Christmas narration. This card looks rather unremarkable and, like I said in the past, it's going to be very interesting to see what this show pulls in, considering it's the first official Cena-free PPV in years.
-Zack Ryder d. Dolph Ziggler to win the WWE United States Championship After months of buildup, why is this match OPENING? Both of these guys deserve so much better than to jerk the curtain. And again, why isn't this a LADDER MATCH? Why not give them a chance to steal the show? Ryder and Ziggler go back-and-forth for most of the match. Ryder makes the babyface comeback at about 6 or 7 minutes in. Broski Boot hits, but Vickie puts Dolph's foot on the ropes. That gets Vickie ejected. Dolph hits the Rocker Dropper for 2. Ryder hits a top-rope 'rana for 2! Rough Ryder is countered and Dolph gets the tights-assisted roll-up for 2! Dolph's corner charge hits knees and the Rough Ryder finishes for the pin and the title. Crowd pops huge, but this wasn't the breakout match that it should have been. Just felt like an average TV match.
The first thing we see after Ryder's win is his father celebrating in the audience. What's the second thing we see? The camera panning in on Michael Cole. Why was that necessary? Why does this company seemingly feel the need to revolve around that little pissant?
Backstage, Booker looks pumped and ready and exchanges pleasantries with Alicia Fox. Suddenly, Cody Rhodes ambushes Booker. Is that like the third or fourth time that's happened? You'd think Booker would have learned by now.
-Air Boom d. Epico & Primo (w/Rosa Mendes) to retain the WWE Tag Team Championships This feud was built up on Superstars, so if you haven't been watching that online-only show, you're totally lost as to why these two random guys suddenly have a tag title shot. This would have been much more suited to open the PPV, just because Air Boom's moves would have sparked the crowd while they could have saved Ryder's win for later in the night. The Hispanic contingent isolate Bourne while Rosa speaks in Spanish a lot. Epico and Primo aren't doing too bad here, but the crowd is already spent after the emotional Ryder win, so they're dead for this match. Kofi gets the hot tag and cleans house. Pier 4 breaks out, as Bourne wipes out Epico with a top-rope crossbody to the outside while Kofi polishes off Primo with Trouble in Paradise.
Backstage, Josh Matthews notes that the trainers are checking on Booker.
Backstage, Santa Long offers a gift to Elf Hornswoggle. Hornswoggle wonders when Santa was black. Ahhhh, racial humor. Long responds by ragging on Hornswoggle's jive segment from Monday, so he gives Hornswoggle the gift of Rosetta Stone: Ebonics. Why yes, people ARE paying good money for this, why do you ask?
-Randy Orton d. Wade Barrett in a Tables Match Announcers recap Orton winning the Beat the Clock Challenge, but fail to note that it was Barrett who introduced the idea of the table, thus rendering that entire exercise completely pointless. Orton hits some of his spots early and they start fighting around tables. The fight goes up to the top of the ramp. Barrett tries for the pumphandle slam through the table, but Orton counters and Barrett shoves the table away in a nice bit of psychology. We go back to the ring where Barrett takes over thanks to the steel post and steel steps. More brawling on the outside ensues. Barrett tries for Wasteland through the table on the outside, but Orton turns it into the Hanging DDT. Orton tries for the RKO and Barrett nearly shoves him off into a table. Orton stops himself, but runs into the Boss Man Slam. Barrett places Orton on the table and tries for a second-rope elbow, but Orton pops up and catches him with the RKO through the table! Nice ending and it was a good brawl, but this crowd was dead for most of this match.
Backstage, the Bellas argue while atop Santa Long's lap. Santa Long gives the Bellas the gift of...his phone number. Yup. Jack Swagger enters the picture and demands something be done about Mark Henry attacking him on Friday. Sheamus enters the picture and...oh, I smell PADDING!
-"The Glamazon" Beth Phoenix d. Kelly Kelly to retain the WWE Divas Championship This match came about because what happened on last Monday's Slammy show. So yeah, we're seeing this match on PPV for the fourth time in five months...which makes no sense, because I thought they were positioning Alicia Fox as the Divas Flavor of the Month. This is your usual Kelly/Beth match. Should be noted that I'm on my third beer at this point. Beth tries to turn the K2 into the Glam Slam, but Kelly's got that scouted to death by now, so it leads to a roll-up sequence. Kelly tries to follow with a 'rana, but Beth catches her and powers her into an Alley Oop drop to retain. Decent match, but it's been done to death.
Backstage, Alberto Del Rio's car isn't ready yet, so Del Rio yells at Ricardo. The Miz enters the picture and tells Del Rio that their temporary partnership ends when the bell rings. Del Rio responds that he was simply using Miz that entire time. Miz scoffs at this notion. Del Rio tells Miz that he couldn't even take Ricardo. Ricardo re-enters the picture with some food for Del Rio...which Miz shoves into Ricardo's face. D'oh!
We have a false start with the IC title match, as Cody attacks Booker from behind during his entrance and lays him out. Jeez, Booker just doesn't learn, does he?
-Triple H d. Kevin Nash in a Sledgehammer Ladder Match Oh lord, let's get THIS trainwreck over with! We "brawl" for a bit before moving to the outside where both guys fight with ladders. More brawling on the outside, as it's becoming clear that Nash has nothing beyond elbows, boots, and dropping guys onto places. Back in the ring, Hunter bashes Nash with the ladder for a bit. Crowd's falling asleep, so Hunter wakes them up with a LADDER-ASSISTED FIGURE FOUR! That's a beautiful spot! Nash takes control with a corner whip into the ladder. So...much...slowness. All I can think about is how much more entertaining Ryder/Ziggler could have been if they had these props to play with. Speaking of extra props, it's time to clear off the announce table. Nash tries for the Jackknife, but Hunter backdrops him (barely) over the announce table. H goes for the sledgehammer, but Big Kev knocks him down and removes the ladder. Nash brings out a table, probably to make anal dopes like me argue semantics. Nash wants a Jackknife through the table, so Hunter drags Nash into a ladder. H takes Nash out with the ladder and he starts climbing. Both guys are atop the ladder, so Hunter bangs Nash with the sledgehammer until the forces of gravity and irony send him crashing through his own table. H unhooks the sledgehammer and the match is over, YAYYYY! Wait, no it's not. Darn. H bashes Nash with the sledgehammer for a bit and hits the Pedigree. No cover. COME ON! END THIS ALREADY! Nash begs for his life with the "Too Sweet" hand signal, but Hunter gives him a crotch chop and finishes with the Greco-Roman Sledgehammer to the Face. This had its moments, but for the most part, it was really dull.
Post-match, Nash does the stretcher job, which likely means we've seen the last of Kevin Nash.
Backstage, the demoted Matt Striker talks to CM Punk about what happened last Monday. Punk brushes off Miz and Del Rio's attack on him and focuses on Super Dave Laurinaitis accepting his Slammy. Vince McMahon Super Dave Laurinaitis enters the picture and tells "Stone Cold" Steve Austin CM Punk to focus on his title match, to which Austin Punk tells Vince Laurinaitis that he'll still be champion at the end of the night. Laurinaitis responds with a text message. Maybe he's trying to get something to trend on Twitter.
-"The Great White" Sheamus d. "The All-American American" Jack Swagger I understand this match being booked last-second to bring the crowd down from a major high, but they're aren't exactly on one of those after the last match. This is your typical Sheamus match. Brogue Kick, goodbye in 5 minutes.
Backstage, Josh Matthews talks to Big Show. Show says his 9-year world title drought will end tonight.
-The Big Show d. "The World's Strongest Man" Mark Henry in a Chairs Match to win the World Heavyweight Championship Show immediately starts tossing in chairs! At least they aren't dawdling. Henry responds to this by stalling. He tries to take a walk. Show chases with the chair. Henry tries to catch him with a belt shot, but Show ducks and starts wailing away with the chair. Henry comes back with headbutts and a chair shot, before slamming Show's hand on the steel steps. We get dueling chairshots and Show ends up dropping his, to tell the story of his injured hand, and Henry takes control. Henry tries to swing at Show with the chair and eats the Mayweather Sucker Punch. Show's slow to cover and...he gets the pin and the title...after five minutes? HUH??? What the hell was THAT???
Post-match, Henry attacks with chairs. Henry DDT's Show on a stack of chairs. Show's out and...DANIEL BRYAN'S MUSIC HITS! Bryan hands in the briefcase and...
-Daniel Bryan d. The Big Show to win the World Heavyweight Championship Bryan covers Show for the pin and the title. Show NEARLY kicks out at the end (in fact, the replay looks REALLY close), but it's too late.
Post-match, the celebration is on. And NOW Bryan gets to rub the title in Cole's face! And THAT is your best visual of the year! Announcers go out of their way to note that Show lost out after a 9-year journey, so I'd expect the double turn between Show and Henry to happen this Friday. Not that it matters anymore, because Henry's heat is GONE after this anti-climactic end to his reign. I actually wonder if they were running short on time (**cough**Hunter/Nash**cough**) and they had to cut this match short.
Backstage, Josh Matthews talks to Booker T. Matthews tries to talk Booker out of this match, but Booker says it's a matter of respect.
-Cody Rhodes d. Booker T to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship This time, they have Cody Rhodes enter first to avoid anymore false starts. It's all Booker to start, but Cody takes control on the outside. Booker makes the babyface comeback. Spinebuster hits and we get a Spin-a-rooni. Axe Kick misses, Harlem sidekick misses, and Cody connects with the Beautiful Disaster for 2! Booker's noticeably punch-drunk, so Cody hits a second Beautiful Disaster to retain the title.
-CM Punk d. The Miz & Alberto Del Rio in a Triple Threat TLC Match to retain the WWE Championship Miz and Del Rio double-team Punk to start. The fight moves to the outside, as Punk continues to dodge the heels. Punk works over Miz with the chair. Punk tries to climb the ladder, but Ricardo swoops in and handcuffs Punk to the ladder! Del Rio stomps away on Punk before he starts climbing. Punk kicks the ladder causing the handcuffs to come loose and send Del Rio crashing down. Miz tries to sprint up the ladder and nearly gets caught with the GTS! Punk tries to set Miz up for a top-rope move, but gets caught with Del Rio's enziguiri, which sends Punk crashing through a table on the outside. Del Rio chucks a ladder at Miz and kicks his ass with a chair. Del Rio clamps on the ladder-assisted juji gatime on Miz! He follows by clamping on a chair-assisted juji gatime on Punk! Del Rio climbs the ladder, but Punk and Miz tip it over and Del Rio gets crotched. Punk and Miz KO each other with clotheslines. Now RICARDO tries to climb the ladder! Punk and Miz send him flying through a table on the outside, to effectively remove Ricardo from the match! Punk misses the corner charge and Miz quickly handcuffs Punk to the steel post! Punk kicks Miz in the head, but he's still got nowhere to go! Del Rio's back in, so Punk realizes he's racing against time. Miz is also setting up a ladder! The heels climb up, as Punk undoes the bolt to the second rope completely to get himself loose! Punk takes out the heels, but Miz catches him before he can grab the title. Punk dispatches Miz with the GTS and grabs the title to retain!
CM Punk celebrates to close the show.
Indeed...it's going to be VERY interesting to see how this PPV does, numbers-wise. The main event was really the only good part of the show, as Ryder/Ziggler felt a little disappointing, HHH/Nash dragged on way too long, and Show/Henry just felt like a ripoff.
It's a Thumbs Down for TLC.
EDIT: However, tonight did bring us THIS, so that's something!
Didn't get to watch most of it, but from what I saw:
They've established CM Punk as the most genre savy wrestler in the company.
Henry apparently is legit hurt, could explain things.
After months of trying to get himself noticed, improving his ring and mic skills, trying to connect with fans, not missing a week of his Youtube show. The L.I. rib that Vince did? He sucked it up and kept in trying.
And tonight, he did it. With his dad and one of his best friends there.
He'll lose the title tomorrow to Brodus probably. Or they'll crush him some other way.
For this night, for this one night, they did it right. And this mark right here is beyond happy.
This is why Henry lost the title tonight and why the match lasted like five minutes http://www.prowrestling.net/artman/publish/WWE/article10022382.shtml HHH and Nash tried but HHH is in the worst shape of his career and Nash is 52 years old. The Nash chokeslam on HHH was hilarious as he got no lift and HHH just couldn't get up in the air. The pedigree was horribly botched. The crowd was into some big spots in that match but was quiet the rest of the time. The Main Event was very strong and there was some other pretty good matches. If the buy rate is terrible it's because of the awful booking headed into the PPV on Raw. I'm happy for Daniel Bryan but I wonder how long he'll hold onto the title. I feel bad for Mark Henry as he was doing a great job until they started knocking him down a peg and now an injury cuts his title reign. All in all a fairly solid PPV.
It was a great night for white, male faces, that's for sure.
Ziggler's bump off the Rough Ryder was a thing of beauty and it was nice to see Zack enjoy his title victory like that.
The tag title match was filler.
The Orton RKO was obvious and I wasn't feeling this one at all.
Thankful that Beth won, but my god, what is it about women wrestlers that says they must always scream after every move their hit with? It's about as bad as listening to Cole, who was unbearable early on.
The ladder match was a snore-fest. That should be the end of Nash, right? The man does know how to no-sell, I'll give him that much. The ladder figure four was such nonsense. What was that meant to accomplish exactly?
Oh yeah, forgot to mention the foregone conclusion of the night of Sheamus squashing Swagger. Why add a match when the outcome is so clear from the very start?
How anti-climatic was the finish of Big Show/Henry? It's quite difficult to buy that Show's hand being smacked on the steps would really be that damaging. No idea where they go with the title picture now, but surely it would have made sense for the roles to be reversed with Henry retaining and Bryan pinning him for the title instead. Not that it matters much, as Bryan will be in Swagger-ville soon enough.
Cody & Booker was just there. Again, they sell those post match assaults as some kind of big deal. How is that exactly? Is Booker made of egg shell? At least use a weapon or throw him through a wall. Give the viewers some reason to think Booker may actually be hurt. How lazy.
Quite enjoyed the TLC match. Excellent worth with the handcuffs spots and Ricardo had a helluva bump off the ladder and through the table on the outside. Happy to see Punk retain, but it was a forgone conclusion as Cole just about telegraphed the outcome of each match with his shitty commentary. He really needs to go.
I am very happy that Big Show finally got a (brief) run with a "world" title for the first time in years. It will be more plausible to imagine him winning future title matches now that he has gotten a little bit of credibility back.
Zack finally did it! I can't remember the last time when a US title victory felt so important.
What a show, it was different, that's for sure. I recorded it, kind of watched the Ziggler match and the Orton match, then ffw-ed to the World and WWE title matches, which I liked both, but both for different reasons: I totally marked out for the D-Bryan title win. And the Punk match was just an awesome match. Loved the handcuffs-spots and how clever Punk handled these situations.
Some mornings you wake up out of bed and think Man, why did I bother. Today, I wake up to a Ravens lose, Kim Jon II dead, an official Cena sucks shirt and two guys from ROH as your heavyweight champions. These are the good days, enjoy it, because at 9 pm Raw starts and lord knows what we wake up to tomorrow. It does suck about Henry and Vince being a bitch about it makes me concerned if he will see a push like that again. Also Punk/Bryan Unification at Mania?
(edited by lotjx on 19.12.11 0722) The Wee Baby Sheamus.
Twitter: @realjoecarfley its a bit more toned down there. A bit.
Wow, yet another time I loved a PPV, only to log onto The W and find people tearing it apart. Did we watch the same show? I thought TLC was wall-to-wall awesome - just about the best show in ages. I even enjoyed HHH/Nash.
Originally posted by Parts UnknownWow, yet another time I loved a PPV, only to log onto The W and find people tearing it apart. Did we watch the same show? I thought TLC was wall-to-wall awesome - just about the best show in ages. I even enjoyed HHH/Nash.
I thought it was so-so. There was too much on this show that felt like filler you could see on Raw or Smackdown (the tag match, the Divas match, Sheamus vs. Swagger). I was disappointed in the end of Henry's reign, so that hurt my enjoyment too, even if there were extenuating circumstances. The bookends of the show were really good, but I didn't feel completely invested in the main event because I didn't really buy Miz or ADR as having a legit chance to wni. I guess those are a few of my reasonings for not giving it a glowing review.
(edited by geemoney on 19.12.11 0851) @gregmparks - live Tweeting of Raw and Impact, wrestling thoughts and other slices of life.
I am not seeing how a show that made all the right booking decisions gets a thumps down. I understand HHH/Nash sucking, but I think we all know that going in. I know people love Henry, but the dude is obviously hurt, so what are you going to do, but make a bad decision into an awesome one. Granted, I didn't see the show, but I think if I did there would be three stand up in cheer moments which is about three more than I have had all of the last three years minus this year which has been a good year for moments, maybe not wrestling, but moments. I am a moments guy so I am very excited to see Raw tonight as long as the Steelers' game isn't close.
The Wee Baby Sheamus.
Twitter: @realjoecarfley its a bit more toned down there. A bit.
I thought this was a strong PPV for the most part, with booking which, for the moment, paints an uplifting picture for the future of WWE. They seem to now trust in-ring ability as a means to getting over in a wrestling company - who'd have thunk it?
Ryder vs Ziggler - actually a good match, for which the crowd was hot. An opening match should be exciting and get the crowd into the show, and ideally have a popular face going over. This did exactly what it was required to do. Ryder kept up with Ziggler in the ring and impressed in his big moment. Both these guys have something.
Primo/Epico vs Air Boom - Inoffensive filler match, with some great action. Wouldn't mind an extended feud between these two teams.
Randy Orton vs Wade Barrett - The heat for Barrett was just not there. Guy is solid on the mic and in the ring, but no more than that. He is not connecting with the audience, but I think in time Barrett will make it. One to watch in the summer of 2012, perhaps. Match was as decent as a tables match can be. No better or worse than expected.
Beth Phoenix vs Kelly Kelly - One of the worst Diva's matches on PPV, perhaps ever. I can still hear them calling spots now. Phoenix to the ref - "Do we have time left? Do we have time?". Phoenix to Kelly - "C'mon Kelly, ready?". Dear oh dear.
The only surprise about the ladder match is that we got through the match with no torn quads. Match wasn't very good - Nash moves in slow motion, but it was no worse than anyone was expecting. The blown pedigree was pretty bad. I did enjoy the ladder-assisted figure four leglock, that was a first.
Sheamus vs Swagger really didn't need to be on the show. But it was solid and continues Sheamus' advancement, just a little.
Rhodes vs Booker was a slight disapointment, I felt. But at least Cody continues his advance up the card with another win. I assume the feud must continue.
The World Title match was rubbish, but understandably so given Henry's injury. At least they gave us the wonderful moment of Daniel Bryan's World title win, and what I assume will be the start of a heel turn for Bryan.
The TLC main event turned the show into an easy thumbs up with a risky, gutsy performance. Alberto looked like a killer out there when he was destroying guys with the cross-armbreaker around a ladder. With no Cena on the show, Punk was booked as Cena would have been, as the superman face. And he delivered.
My only problem with Bryan winning by cashing in on Show is he went against what he said he would do. Initially that was to use it at Wrestlemania. With Henry he made his point that he would rather take the title off him than headline Mania for the gold. So why cash it in on show? It would have made more sense for Henry to sneak an underhanded victory over Show and then have Show destroy Henry after the match. That writes him out in order to heal up and gives him 2 possible feuds upon his return, with both Show or Bryan. They could still go with a Show/Bryan programme out if it, but instead they were this nonsensical route that for me, took some of the shine off of his victory.
Couldn't they turn Hornswoggle heel along with Finley? That seemed to work just fine for a time there. He's a perfectly fine distraction when he's biting ankles, just not when he performing finishing blow frog splashes.