Wrestling Review: WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs (2017)

Just two days before this event was scheduled to go live, everything has changed. WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs will come to you live on the WWE Network from the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The star-studded, action-packed main event will see Kurt Angle return to action in the WWE for the first time in over a decade as he replaced Roman Reigns in the TLC Match in the main event. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins will team with the Olympic Gold Medalist as the trio face the almost unbelievable five man unit of the Intercontinental Champion The Miz, Sheamus & Cesaro, The Big Red Machine Kane and the Monster Among Men of the WWE, Braun Strowman. Also removed from the show due to illness was Bray Wyatt, which left Finn Balor without an opponent – at least, until the Phenomenal AJ Styles stepped up to take Wyatt’s place. The two former Bullet Club leaders will go head to head for the first time ever in the WWE, and the match is certain to be too sweet. Not to be outdone, many of Raw’s women division will be in action, not least of all is the main roster debut of Asuka, the undefeated former NXT Champion as she goes one on one with the Australian, Emma, in Emma’s first ever singles PPV match. All of this and much more, including two huge title matches, at WWE Tables, Ladders & Chairs.

+ AJ Styles vs The Demon Finn Balor: while it made no sense for The Demon to be in this match, dammit I’m not complaining. This was incredible, ith both men looking fantastic when it was done. To my surprise, there was even a clear winner, which frankly I was not expecting. Definitely watch this match
+ Alexa Bliss (c) vs Mickie James (Raw Women’s Championship): this was a good match. A combination of year long callbacks, a simple-but-effective reason to fight and a solid “youth vs experience” story worked really well. This was a lot of fun, and frankly I hope there is more to come (maybe without the “you’re old” promos, though)
+ Cedric Alexander & Rich Swann vs THE Brian Kendrick & Gentleman Jack Gallagher: this new bad guy persona for Gallagher is such a welcome break, but it does make me sad we will never see Gallagher and Neville as a bad guy team. This was a fun match, and although it just felt like a regular Raw or 205 Live match, the crowd was into it, and all four guys looked really good at the end
+ Asuka vs Emma: considering the way Asuka had been hyped up, win or lose for Asuka this match should not have gone for more than, say, five minutes. Unfortunately, much like Nakamura against Ziggler a few months ago, this was a bad way for the Japanese sensation’s main roster debut to go, but even still this was a good match between the two
+ Alicia Fox vs Sasha Banks: Alicia Fox has always been just underneath the radar with all the Raw women, but her character work is significantly better than almost everyone else. This went on much longer than I thought it would, and both women looked good in the end
+ Drew Gulak’s Powerpoint Presentation was “cut for time”, according to Gulak himself, but it at least led to a fantastic promo on the kickoff show. I said when Gulak was signed he was going to be a big player in the Cruiserweight division, and I stand by that. Give the man the time to show us all 277 of his Powerpoint slides

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It didn’t make much sense for “The Demon” to face AJ Styles, but it was the man under the pain that made sense.

– The Shield (Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose) & Kurt Angle vs The Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro), The Miz, Kane & Braun Strowman (TLC Match): this was a trainwreck, from start to finish. Angle looked lost from the opening bell, and the contrived circumstances to keep the numbers in the Shield’s favor only made everyone on the bad-guy team look bad. Eventual shenanigans dragged things down further, and killed any remaining interest in the match for the crowd, and for me at home. I cannot even fathom the thought process behind whoever though this is how the match should go
– Kalisto (c) vs Enzo Amore (WWE Cruiserweight Championship): Enzo’s bite is so much better than his bark, and his bark was embarrassing here to say the least. Kalisto was a surprising addition as champion, especially with Mustafa Ali and Cedric and Swann from earlier, but Kalisto is just not good enough to help someone like Enzo to a good match. This was the first really disappointing match on the show

> Elias and Jason Jordan had several run-ins throughout the whole show, and frankly it made me like both of them that much more. Who would think that consistent character work can make people care for the characters?

Should you watch this event: The addition of Angle and Styles was an exciting addition, but it was only the latter that effected the quality of the show. Styles/Balor was easily the match of the show, and whilst some will find joy in the clusterf- mess of the main event, I certainly did not. The undercard was good, the main event was garbage.

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