Hello everyone! It’s time for WWE’s final PPV of the year, and it’s the big gimmick card that is TLC. We expect to have lots of tables, ladders and chairs, at least as props surrounding the ring. Surprisingly, not a lot of the big matches are gimmick matches (not Seth and Dean, not Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles). So, with some major matches missing the crazy stipulations, will we get carnage before Christmas? Will an old fashioned wrestling match steal the show? Let’s crack open this Nutshell and find out!
Best Match of the night:
I will go with 1A and 1B.
1A: Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles. Maybe it lacked the big match feel for some, but these two work well together and bring it constantly. Tonight was no different.
1B: The SmackDown women’s championship match. New champ, plenty of building toward 2019 feuds (Rousey and Lynch, Rousey and Flair etc.). Excellent match, deserving of the main event.
Worst match of the night:
I don’t think I can really say it was the worst. But it was perhaps the most disappointing. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins could have been a very emotionally charged feud. For this, using tables or ladders or chairs (or all of the above) could have made perfect sense. But it wasn’t in the cards, and fans turned on the match.
Crowd Chants of the Night:
Burn it down
This is boring
This is awesome
Star of the Night
By way of their title wins, the stars tonight are Dean Ambrose and Asuka.
Spot of the Night:
I’ve been enjoying Rey doing the under-the-bottom-rope slide. Tonight, he used a chair as a means to slide and inflict more damage.
I have to give Ronda credit for her flying cross-body. It’s becoming easier and easier to see her as a professional wrestler, not an MMA fighter.
And then there was Becky Lynch, finding Nia Jax backstage and giving her a small measure of revenge.
Lynch, from the top of the ladder, landing on Charlotte and putting her through the announce table.
Jobber of the Night:
I think we can agree that, in the context of this evening, Baron Corbin did the job.
Holy Sh** Moment of the Night:
For me, there were a few.
I know WWE wants the MMC to be a big thing. So they let the winners get the 30th slot in the men’s and women’s Rumble match…I have issues with that. I love that R-Truth is enjoying a renaissance, and Carmella has been champ before, but having them win and get the 30th slots? No thanks. I mean, I am a big fan of the possibility of #30 being a shocker, so unless we get another instance of an entrant being jumped and replaced, that intrigue is gone.
Interesting way to have the Strowman match happen. Like, on one hand, hey, you wanted to have Strowman versus Corbin, but Braun is injured…so book him in a no DQ match and have ALL the guys (sans Rhyno) who have been wronged by Baron Corbin during his run as temporary GM come in for the assist. Roode, Gable, even Slater…and none other than deposed GM Kurt Angle. I had heard rumors that Strowman would win in a squash, and this fit the bill. On one hand, a satisfying way for the face to close things out…on the other hand, did it bury Corbin? Or does anyone even care?
I was also very shocked at how the Intercontinental match was received. Perhaps it was getting the “this is boring” chants because people are dying for the main event (like, did WWE screw this match with a bad place on the card?). But as personal as this one was, I think it’s fair to say it needed or deserved to have tables, ladders or chairs involved.
Rousey felt the need to get even with both Charlotte and Becky, shoving the ladder they were both on over, allowing Asuka to become the new SmackDown women’s champion.
Commentary of the night:
Not a line, but a note. We know Renee is married to Dean, but the badgering or banter between her and Corey during the Ambrose/Rollins match was a bit much. I wasn’t the only one in that mindset-check Twitter, plenty of people felt that it was not a good vibe. I don’t know if WWE has to remove Renee from the table during her husband’s matches (this would somewhat make sense to maintain an air of impartiality, as if that meant anything), or to just not go there anymore.
Braun Strowman brought several reinforcements
Dean Ambrose leaves the show with a shiny new Intercontinental Championship.
Asuka (finally) claims gold again. Major assist to Ronda Rousey.
The length of these shows. Look on Twitter and there were more than a few fans complaining about how long things go, from what many consider the “pre-show” (for me, it is, was and always will be any match on before 8PM EST, outside of perhaps WrestleMania) through the main event. I get that WWE has a lot of talents, and you want to have one show per month shared by both brands. But, I think looking back at things, I prefer the show-specific cards that were not as long, and were also a lot more focused. It may be wishful thinking, but perhaps going back to those, or something more like, you have four defined SuperShows-the “Big 4”. Those can run long by design. Then you have 8-10 shows (depending on how you slice things up). Half of the remaining ones can be shorter split-brand shows, and the remaining can be split between the brands. Plus you still have to account for the women’s only PPV…but some of those special attraction shows could still happen, albeit not on Sundays (this is what the WWE Network is perfect for).
Also, it’s perhaps disheartening to hear the “this is boring” chants for the Ambrose/Rollins match. I think both men worked hard, but the heat was gone. Maybe it was where the match went off, or the lack of the tables/ladders/chairs, but it just did not come off as nearly as hot as it should have.
Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles brought it. I totally get why the women of SmackDown closed the show, and I don’t disagree with the call. What I will say is, on any other show, Styles and Bryan should have closed it.
Strowman’s revenge on Corbin was enjoyable, though considering how WWE can book the whole show, it was a corner they didn’t need to have painted themselves into in the first place.
After the final bell:
This was a card that ran hot and cold. It gave us some satisfying moments (Strowman), some great matches (both SmackDown major title matches), but also some low points too. Not a bad way to end 2018, all things considered.