Wrestling Review: WWE TLC Tables, Ladders & Chairs (2018)

The final WWE event of 2018 comes to San Jose, California, as TLC Tables Ladders & Chairs is headlined by a first time ever triple threat. There has been nobody hotter in the WWE over the past months than Becky Lynch, and the Irish Lasskicker will be seeking to defend her SmackDown Women’s Championship in a match not only against long time rival Charlotte Flair, but also the always dangerous striker, Asuka. These three have beaten each other with kendo sticks, chairs and each other over the past weeks, and it all comes to a head in the final match on this stacked card. The WWE Championship will also be defended at the show, as the NEW Daniel Bryan looks to once again defeat the Phenomenal AJ Styles and retain the one thing he has always dreamed of: the WWE’s top title. Ronda Rousey also looks to defend her championship for the Raw brand, as she faces the Facebreaker, Nia Jax. These three matches, along side a grudge match between two former Shield brothers, a triple threat tag team championship match and a match where steel chairs are not only legal, but encouraged.

+ Becky Lynch (c) vs Asuka vs Charlotte Flair (SmackDown Live Women’s Championship): to say this was deserving of the main event is an understatement. This was dangerous, at times hard to watch and above all thrilling. The first ever womens’ TLC match was a huge success, it made everybody look good, and it even set up some things for the future
+ Daniel Bryan (c) vs AJ Styles (WWE Championship): damn, now this was really good. These two are two of the very best in the WWE, and it never felt boring. These two went back and forth, with some of the best kicks and chops you’ll see in the WWE. The longer it went the better it got, but unfortunately it again had a very flat ending, though I can admit it sort of made sense in the story they were telling
+ Ronda Rousey (c) vs Nia Jax (w/ Tamina) (Raw Women’s Championship): Nia Jax is so unbelievably bad she makes the still relatively new Rousey look like Cesaro. Ronda real-life background give her such an insight as to how it should look and feel to get hurt in a wrestling match that it’s almost like we should have all new rookies get punched in the face a few times. Nia sucks, Rousey is so good for her experience level, and I hope these two never fight again
+ Natalya vs Ruby Riott (w/ Liv Morgan & Sarah Logan) (Tables Match): this was good, as you’d expect from two women who actually know how this is all meant to work, but it went on a little bit too long. By the time the reveals were, well, revealed, it still went on a few more minutes, and it should have just ended when it reached its peak. Still, this was good, and Natalya and Riott deserve all the credit for making it as good as it was
+ The Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro) (c) vs The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) vs The New Day (Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston) (w/ Big E) (WWE SmackDown Live Tag Team Championships): this was really good, as you would expect from any combination of these three teams, Frankly I do want to see these three mixing it up with others, especially considering the huge number of great tag teams around these days. The Usos are easily one of the most underrated teams, but I still can’t get over how much I like Sheamus and Cesaro – even if I truly believe Cesaro could be the world champion of any promotion he’s in. And yeah, The New Day are still around, doing their same old thing

Seth Rollins (c) vs Dean Ambrose (Intercontintenal Championship): Seth Rollins is an incredible athlete, and Dean Ambrose can be a fantastic character. But I think, at this stage, we all just need to admit that Rollins and Ambrose do not have chemistry in matches against each other. The story going into this had all the makings of a bloody, violent grudge match, but instead it was nothing more than a standard middle-of-the-show Raw match. This was disappointing in every way, and even the loud all night crowd felt the same way
Rey Mysterio vs Randy Orton (Chairs Match): these two have simply been too involved lately, so this didn’t feel like anything new, or any sort of big payoff. This just felt like another match hampered by its gimmick, where both men spent far too long setting things up for relatively little payoff – someone being slammed on a chair is not flashy like a table breaking, and there is no risk of injury like there are with ladders. This would have been better as just a regular match
Drew McIntyre vs Finn Balor: this was a well above average match, but it didn’t feel special, especially since Drew’s undefeated streak wasn’t even on the line. Following a tables match, this felt extra plain, and the fact these two have been going back and forth over the last month made this more of a retread than ever
Baron Corbin calls out Braun Strowman: as a segment, this was fine, and it may have even been good enough to make some new stars. But it was a waste of a PPV slot. There is no reason at all this couldn’t have happened in the main event of Raw last week and saved us all some time here
Fabulous Truth (Carmella & R Truth) vs Mahalicia (Alicia Fox & Jinder Mahal) (Mixed Match Challenge Final): I can admit this was fun, but it ultimately proved the entire Mixed Match Challenge pointless and has potentially devastating effects on the Rumble. At least they are a comedy duo, and their win can essentially be ignored if need be

Should you watch this event: Overall, this was a really good show. With only the Orton/Mysterio and especially Ambrose/Rollins matches not being worth watching, for better or worse, this was well above average for a WWE show. The main event TLC match and the Bryan/Styles match are well and truly match of the year contenders, just sneaking in before the end of the year, and are nothing less than must-see.

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