On Sunday December 13th in the TD Gardens in Boston, Massachusetts, the WWE presented their annual TLC event. This year’s was quite different, as the publicity leading into the event was built around the Roman Reigns seeking retribution for losing the WWE World Heavyweight championship. This event also had a number of different moments and matches that stood out, not necessarily for the right reasons. Some moments or matches that took place may not have been good, but they certainly left fans talking, and that is part of what made this event stand out. Unlike a typical review that highlights who won and who lost, this article will approach the event in a number of different ways. It is less about who came out on top, but rather what stood out and why. Unlike last month’s Survivor Series, TLC was a demolition derby in the ring.
Fans were exposed to everything from a Diva’s Championship match to a Triple Threat Tag Team Championship match, to culminating feuds, a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match, and the fallout after that match had come to an end. While the event didn’t necessarily do great things, it unquestionably did put things in motion for 2016. The hope is that fans were left wanting more, but were they? What follows are the 10 most significant moments from the WWE’s TLC 2015.
10. Early Highlights of Roman Reigns’ Missed Opportunities and Upcoming Royal Rumble Publicity
When events such as this one take place, it’s interesting to see what it is highlighted in the promotional material, how WWE is encouraging fans to watch the event, and what they are saying is worth looking forward to.
On this night, it was all about lost opportunities for Reigns, and how he has had the chance after chance only to see them squandered or taken away from him. That was the idea behind the early video that was shown to kick off the show: it showed how Reigns’ title opportunity against Lesnar was squandered, and how Sheamus cashed in the Money in the Bank title opportunity against him.
Later on in the show, there was a video that made fans aware of the upcoming Royal Rumble that is set to take place on Sunday January 24th, 2016. It will be hosted in Orlando, Florida where NXT is filmed. Does this mean some NXT talent as part of the Royal Rumble? It would be nice to have talent such as Hideo Itami, Sami Zayn or even Finn Balor a part of the event to see how well they are received in this particular match.
9. Sasha Banks Versus Becky Lynch With a Commercial Mid-Match
This was a last minute addition to the card, but simply because it was late doesn’t mean it wasn’t a worthy addition. When both women are allowed to go in and give it their all, fans will be treated to a wonderful match featuring two of the premier women in the promotion. The problem now is that since there really isn’t much in the way of factions, the match suffered as Lynch was constantly under attack and had no one supporting her.
What was also a concern was that mid-match they cut to a commercial break. While the joke has often been made about taking a bathroom break during a women’s match, this wasn’t the time to do it. They tried to tell a story, but everything was moved along too quickly, and when that happens it doesn’t really help either one of the competitors.
Becky used her disarmer finisher, only to have the referee distracted by Tamina while Naomi got involved in the match. This led to a backstabber/Banks statement finish by Sasha.
8. Triple Threat Ladder Match/Xavier’s Hair is Too Good for Boston
This match featured The New Day, The Lucha Dragons and The Usos for the Tag Team Championship. Fans could anticipate that these three teams would have a solid enough match, but what they got was so much more.
Before the match began, The New Day cut a promo calling the Lucha Dragons “The Lucha Booties” and The Usos “The UsOwwwws.” What was probably the most amusing moment of the entire segment was the five-second Wheaties box pose.
The match itself saw a number of incredible spots by those involved. Kofi Kingston wasn’t highlighted as one of the premier athletes in this match, because it really was an opportunity for The Usos and Lucha Dragons to show just what they can do.
The biggest moment of the match had to be the Salida Del Sol by Kalisto onto one of the Usos from the top of the ladder. It caused the ladder to split in half! The fans chanted “This is awesome!” throughout the match, and it certainly was, as each team put out a great effort. The New Day managed to retain their title, but the match itself was more significant than the winners.
7. Ryback and Rusev Battle it Out
We initially got a replay of what has taken place between these two. We saw the return of Lana and that she and Rusev are back together. This should bring us back to the characters of the cold Lana, and the heartless Rusev that only broke a hold at Lana’s behest. What we got was Lana looking as though she was a member of the Von Trapp family from The Sound of Music, as she played innocent, but was in fact quite deceptive.
The match was pretty even throughout, and didn’t really highlight Ryback or Rusev in the process. Towards the closing moments of the match we once again are faced with Lana pretending as though she was hurt by Ryback, when in actuality it was she that struck him and feigned being hurt after. This left Ryback vulnerable to an attack by Rusev, as he hit him with a superkick. The match ultimately came to an end as Rusev kicked Ryback in the head, leaving him open to lock in his accolade finisher on an unconscious Ryback.
6. United States Championship Chairs Match
It was understandable why this match was scheduled to happen initially, but the motivation no longer seemed legitimate. This past week on Raw saw Del Rio trip over Zeb Colter’s scooter, while escaping an attack by Jack Swagger. Afterward, in the backstage area, Del Rio told Colter he didn’t need him anymore, and thus the allegiance between the two of them is over.
Prior to this taking place, Swagger was feuding with Del Rio as a result of questioning the allegiances of his former manager Colter. So what was Swagger’s motivation now? Presumably it was “How can you treat Zeb Colter like that, Del Rio?” Before he was angry at Colter, now he’s angry on behalf of Colter. And how exactly did Swagger earn a title shot going into this match? The answer is, he didn’t, and it was given to him as part of this feud.
There were some interesting spots in this match, including Swagger wrapping a chair around the leg of Del Rio as he applied the patriot lock. The biggest moment of the match was Del Rio using his double stomp onto Swagger, who was lying atop a pile of chairs.
5. The 8 Man Tag Team Elimination Tables Match
The commentary on the evening seemed to have a number of gaffes, including in the presentation of the highlights of this feud. Michael Cole stated that this all began the night after SummerSlam, when what he meant was the return of the Dudleys occurred then. This feud began the night after Survivor Series, as what started as a beat down of The Dudleys turned into a feud between ECW originals and The Wyatt Family.
It really is a sad state when so many members of the roster are chomping at the bit to be on the pay per view, and instead spots are taken by wrestlers there for just one match. It’s no disrespect to Rhyno and Dreamer, but their presence hardly helps the others on the roster that is clamoring for their chance to compete on a pay per view.
In the end, the extreme originals couldn’t match up to the size and strength of the Wyatt family. Although Team Extreme teased lighting a table on fire, Braun Strowman put Bubba Rey through the final table, signalling the end and a win for The Wyatt Family. The right team went over in this match up.
4. Dean Ambrose is Your NEW Intercontinental Champion
If there was one match to look forward to on the show, it had to be this one. Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens are two of the most talented stars on the roster, both on the mic and in the ring. Both guys are able to do what they say they are going to do, and there are no questions asked.
As Owens made his way down to the ring, he took his time while talking down to the Boston faithful. It was quite simple, as he talked about how the achievements of local sports teams aren’t a reflection of the city, but rather only a reflection on those teams. It was a great way to have gotten heat on himself and get the crowd behind Ambrose at the same time.
Owens controlled the match early on, but it was only a matter of time before Ambrose would make his comeback. It was a back and forth match up that had what some may believe was a surprise ending. As the match drew to a close, Owens attempted his pop up powerbomb which was countered by Ambrose into a hurricanrana pinning combination for the win.
3. Divas Championship Between Two Heels?
The sudden change of direction in the booking of this feud is odd. This past week on Raw, Charlotte appeared to act more like a heel than the babyface that everyone knew. Does that make Paige the one you cheer now? Add to this that Charlotte is acting more and more like her father, not just the strut, but asking for time and resorting to underhanded measures to capture the title. So should we be jeering her? But how do we forget what Paige said about Charlotte weeks ago?
The match itself wasn’t all that bad, as all involved really did make a conscious effort to put on a solid match. In the end, however, outside interference by Ric Flair coupled with driving Paige’s head into an exposed turnbuckle led to the challenger being defeated.
Charlotte retained the title, but the methods that she used were questioned by her friend Becky Lynch. I can’t be the only one confused by this, but at least this match was better than their previous encounter.
2. WWE World Heavyweight Tables, Ladders and Chairs Match
It was an inevitable encounter, as Reigns immediately demanded a rematch against Sheamus after losing the title at last month’s Survivor Series. The amount of tables, ladders and chairs used in this match really highlight how the WWE wanted this match to be a spectacle to end the year.
Both Sheamus and Roman Reigns appeared to have gone through a car wreck throughout the match. The visible bruising Sheamus’ body endured was evident. By the cuts on his elbow, the lashes on his back and the bruising on his face, the Celtic warrior showed how violent this match was.
As the match was drawing to a close and Reigns appeared to be on the verge of winning, out came the League of Nations (minus King Barrett) to aid Sheamus in his defense of the title. At first it appeared as though Reigns was going to be able to thwart their efforts, as he hit both Del Rio and Rusev with Superman punches, and came into the ring to the dismay of Sheamus. But the result for Reigns was a brogue kick by the champion, who was then able to climb the ladder and grab the WWE World Heavyweight championship, thus retaining his title.
1. Roman Reigns Loses His Mind!
Was there any other way to put it? As Sheamus was held up on the shoulders of Del Rio and Rusev, Reigns hit them with a spear, knocking them over like a strike in bowling. Once Del Rio and Rusev were taken out of the equation, Reigns proceeded to beat Sheamus with a chair repeatedly. This brought out officials, and even Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.
Triple H tried to calm Reigns down, questioning what had gotten into him. That only appeared to set Reigns off, as he then turned his attention to the COO of the company, hitting him with a superman punch. Once on the outside of the ring, Reigns powerbombed Triple H onto the Spanish announcers table, which didn’t break! Reigns then dropped an elbow on Triple H causing the table to crumble.
As Reigns walked away from the ring, Stephanie said to him that he will pay for this, which just provoked for him to come back and spear Triple H at ringside. Fans could be heard chanting “Thank You Roman!” certainly supporting The Roman Empire in his efforts.