The newly-named TLCS came to us live from Cleveland Ohio and wasn’t quite what many of the WWE Universe were expecting. There were the usual shocks, random returns and a little bit of mayhem, but it still felt like there was something missing.
The kick-off show saw The New Day go up against former Tag Team Champions Goldust and Stardust, with Stardust in his new green attire the Brotherhood looked strong throughout but the Midnight Hour saw The New Day through to their first win on pay-per-view, despite Big E trying to make the pin when he wasn’t legal.
The show itself kicked off with a bang as hometown boy Dolph Ziggler went up against former Wyatt Family member Luke Harper. This for me was probably match of the night. Dolph and Harper put it all on the line and Ziggler’s face was busted open early in the match when he collided with a ladder but still continued. Harper also felt the effects of what looked like a botched dive as all his weight landed on his arm and he too was busted open but opted to continue.
In front of his family and friends, Dolph climbed the ladder and lifted the title he lost less than a month ago, and this is hopefully the beginning of a big push for Dolph. But don’t write off Luke Harper – he shone in his first ever ladder match and hopefully he is also put on the right track following it.
The Tag Titles were on the line next and Naomi was shown before the match backstage talking to The Miz who told her if he won tonight, then so would she. Shockingly she played no part in proceedings and Miz just decided partway through the match that he’s had enough and purposely got disqualified. Mizdow again was a stand-out stunt double.
Rusev continued his undefeated run by forcing Swagger to once again submit to the Accolade. This time Swagger put up a good fight, but was taken down by the big Bulgarian. With rumours of a European Championship making a comeback, it will be interesting to see what direction Rusev is pushed into next.
The steel stairs match was new to the WWE Universe, and Erick Rowan looked like he took the brunt of all the abuse in this bout. The former member of The Wyatt family was part of his very first pay-per-view singles match and he put on a show! It looks hard to put over the Big Show, but Rowan did a great job and Big Show walked out the winner after pinning Rowan with the steps.
One of the shocks of the night was the Tables match between John Cena and Seth Rollins wasn’t the main event, but it could have been. A very close second match of the night after Seth was put through a table, but the referee didn’t see it. Cena and Rollins then both went through a table at ringside at the same time but the three referees couldn’t decide on a winner so the match was restarted. This was when Cena finally gained a helping hand, after being the victim of a three-on-one assault for most of the match Roman Reigns made his long awaited return to pick up right where he left of with Seth Rollins. His punch helped Cena AA Rollins through a table and secure his WWE World title match at The Royal Rumble next month.
Much like after The Undertaker lost his streak at Wrestlemania, WWE expected the Divas to follow that incredible match. They tried, Brie was ejected from ringside for trying to help her sister but as the referee was distracted Nikki sprayed something in AJ’s face and hit the rack attack to retain her title. Could this be AJ’s last match? Only Raw tonight can give us the answer…
The Chairs match between Ryback and Kane was next and this was probably the worst match of the night, I had to sit through it in order to see the main event but it was painful, at almost 3am it wasn’t an exciting match that was going to keep you awake. Ryback seems to be continuing to get this push he has recently received and he picked up the win over a sorry version of the Kane we used to know.
Finally, the main event, Dean Ambrose up against Bray Wyatt, would The Ascension debut? Would anyone help Dean? The answer to both questions is no, but it was still a quality match up. Now I will admit, I had my reservations about this match, both men can talk, but can they deliver? Can they main event the final pay-per-view of the year? They can and they did. Dean Ambrose was a complete stand out as ever, and though Bray was pretty mediocre, the match itself delivered. Ambrose even climbed a ladder and put Bray through the Spanish announce table – we’ve all missed the Spanish announce table getting abuse.
But the ending of the match came when Dean tried to use a monitor to hit Wyatt and it exploded in his face. This caused the distraction for a roll-up. This didn’t make Bray look strong because he had been beaten all match, it also just made Dean look stupid. WWE ended the last pay-per-view of the year clean, after Roman had returned earlier to excitement, this was the way they decided to finish the year on the pay-per-view stage.
I don’t know whose idea it was but it was a terrible one and it made me feel really disappointed in the end. TLC itself was a solid pay-per-view but after NXT in midweek the main roster needed to step up and while I feel a a lot of superstars raised their game, some didn’t and this could cause even more friction because NXT was better than TLC.