WWE TLC 2017
Author’s note: Due to the reactions I received since my first article, I’m going to switch up the format a bit. Since most people who have reached out to me after reading have access to the WWE Network, and thus, the PPV events themselves, I’m going to steer away from more of the play-by-play stuff, marking only highlights I feel should be noted, and make this more of an opinion piece. But, please, feel free to comment with criticisms and the like. After all, this is just me wasting time if nobody is entertained by reading it.
WWE’s TLC event took some really weird twists in the two weeks prior to the event. With illness popping up seemingly all over the Raw roster, WWE had to make some real quick decisions on how to carry on with the show. Luckily, Creative did a great job, and I feel the overall quality of the show got a real boost from what had at first looked like a real lackluster event.
Alicia Fox vs Sasha Banks (Kickoff Show)
Winner: Sasha Banks
Not a bad way to warm up for the show. Maybe I’m a sucker for it, but I always get a real kick out of the mentally crazy characters if they’re done well, and Alicia Fox does a good job at really bringing that out. Just her demeanor and way she carries herself from the second she steps through the curtain until she’s backstage again really makes her seem unstable and unpredictable. So, bravo to her for that, and I hope we get to see more of Foxy soon.
Sasha has been just kind of floating around for a bit since her title feud with Charlotte has ended. She’s still around, but not too many people are paying attention. But WWE still feels they want to keep her in the public eye. Whether it’s because of the limited number of female talent on the roster, or if they still plan to utilize her in more meaningful storylines later is anybody’s guess at this point.
Asuka vs Emma
Asuka’s debut on the Raw roster, and her opponent is… Emma? Sure, Emma has talent, but they’ve bumbled around with her character so much at this point that it seems like maybe she should start over in NXT to get some real momentum going. It feels like keeping her on the main roster is just a tad cruel at this point. Yeah, she did beat four other women to get the chance to take on Asuka in her debut match, but when you really look at the fact that there was no way Creative was going to waste a debut the caliber of Asuka’s by having her break her undefeated streak from NXT, then Emma just begins to look like the person who would take the least of a hit by jobbing for the debut of somebody people have been waiting for.
Asuka, however, does do a good job making her opponents look good. Emma got some good spots in, and Asuka does know how to sell. But, these things are fleeting, and the inevitable Asukalock forced Emma to tap, giving Asuka a win for her debut.
Cedric Alexander and Rich Swann vs The Brian Kendrick and Jack Gallagher
Winners: Cedric Alexander and Rich Swann
Like most Cruiserweight matches, this match was very fast-paced with plenty of high spots, which isn’t a bad thing. It’s what’s makes the Cruiserweights different from the rest of the roster. Jack Gallagher is doing some good work as a heel now, but I can’t help but wonder how uncomfortable his ring attire is now. I’m sure it’s specially made for wresting, but it just seems like it would hinder a lot of movement. I could be wrong. The ending came in a fast series of finishing moves between the two teams until Alexander and Swann came out on top.
It was nice to see the Cruiserweights get some more screen time on a PPV event. I’m hoping this turns into a regular thing.
Alexa Bliss (Champion) vs Mickie James (Raw Women’s Championship)
Winner: Alexa Bliss
Mickie James is still around? I know she did a real short stint in NXT a bit back, but I figured she’d be done. To be honest, I don’t feel she fits in with the rest of the Women’s roster anymore. Things have changed since she left. The Women’s division of today has shown a real change towards the legitimacy of women’s wrestling in general. Hell, back when Mickie James was Women’s Champion, WWE was still doing Bra and Panties matches. I guess what I’m saying is that Mickie can’t really keep up here, and it became apparent during this match.
Alexa Bliss has the talent to pull a match by herself, but when what she’s pulling is close to dead weight, that becomes a hard hill to climb. She tried her best, though, and it worked in some spots. Bliss pulled out the dirty tricks and the trash talking during the match to try and make her opponent seem strong, but Mickie looked like a fish out of water more than a couple of times. Anyway, I’m done ranting. After Alexa hit the Blissful DDT for the pin and made her way to the back, Mickie got a few seconds of mic time in the ring to say she’s still proud of the opportunity, and it won’t be her last one. We’ll see.
Kalisto (Champion) vs Enzo Amore (Cruiserweight Championship)
Winner: Enzo Amore
Enzo is getting a lot of crap these days, both from his peers and the crowd. Personally, I love Enzo’s hell turn. It fits his character so well that I wonder why he was a face in the first place at all. No, he’s not a strong wrestler, and before I get a bunch of backlash for bashing Mickie James’s lack of skill but praising Enzo here, let me explain.
This whole thing with Enzo and the Cruiserweight title despite him being less deserving talent-wise is all part of the story. Enzo doesn’t win because he’s good. Enzo wins by playing dirty. He’s supposed to be down-low, and slimy, and bring all kinds of injustice to this division. He’s that guy who brags about being the best in the world at poker, all the while hiding chips and cards in his sleeves. That’s Enzo. That’s why this works, and it works very well.
So, Enzo wins with a thumb to the eye while the ref wasn’t looking, hits the Jord-Enzo (I don’t get it), and gets the pin.
While this is entertaining and all, I hope they don’t drag this whole thing out for too long. Enzo is a mic guy, so hopefully he can be a manager or something at some point when this thing plays out.
AJ Styles vs Finn Balor
Winner: Finn Balor
Wow, what a match. It was everything you would hope from two former leaders of The Bullet Club. This match gave WWE fans a taste of what Japanese wrestling is about. Both Styles and Balor brought everything to the table and really put on a show to remember.
The only question that remains is where do they go from here? Surely, this won’t be the last time we see Balor and Styles face off against each other. I’ll go ahead and make a prediction here. As of this writing, the 5-on-5 traditional Survivor Series match for Survivor Series here in a few weeks hasn’t been booked yet. With the current brand warfare gimmick they’re going with at this point, it’s entirely possible for AJ Styles and Finn Balor to end up in that match against each other. Something could happen here to set up a story line down the road that would lead to a rematch at WrestleMania. It’s perfect for both Balor and Styles as the top title on both brands are kind of on hold for WrestleMania at this point. It would give them both a meaningful feud heading into the biggest show of the year. That’s my prediction.
Elias vs Jason Jordan
Winner: Jason Jordan
This was definitely a cool down match just kind of thrown in there. Throughout the show, Elias would come out and start doing his street guitar gimmick, only to be interrupted by Jason Jordan chucking vegetables at him. That was it. There wasn’t a lot of build-up here. The match itself wasn’t anything special either. Both Jordan and Elias have talent, but without a proper backstory to back up the matches they’re in, they both seem to just fall flat. Eh.
Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and Kurt Angle vs The Miz, The Bar, Braun Stroman, and Kane (TLC Match)
Winners: Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and Kurt Angle
The only match to include any kind of special stipulation, which is odd since the event is named after such a thing. I suppose Creative didn’t want to burn their audience out before they got to this match.
It was nice to The Shield back, well, two-thirds of them anyway. Rollins, Ambrose, and Angle came in through the audience in traditional Shield style. While Rollins and Ambrose had their game faces on when they appeared in the upper seats, Angle had a huge goofy grin on his face, like a kid who can’t believe his dream is coming true. Understandable, sure, but it really kind of broke the whole return for me. Small potatoes, I suppose
Speaking of Angle, I’m not sure if he is just a bit out of touch, or if it was nerves, but he had an underwhelming performance for the first half of the match. I often caught him standing there, looking like he didn’t know which way was up. He mercifully sold an injury after Braun Strowman slammed him through a table, and disappeared for a bit. When he came back out towards the end, he had that familiar intensity in his eyes. There’s the Kurt Angle we know, Angle Slamming Cesaro through a table, reversing a chokeslam from Kane into an Angle Lock. Nice to see he’s not completely gone.
Another interesting note is the dissention between Braun Strowman and the rest of the group. It started when Kane missed Rollins with a chair shot and hit Strowman instead. They stared down for a moment before Strowman pushed Kane and the rest of the team broke it up. Eventually, everybody makes their way up the ramp to the entrance stage, where Kane gets his two cents in and chokeslams Strowman through a section of the entrance ramp. Kane then pulls down a string of chairs hanging from the ceiling for decoration into the hole on top of Braun for good measure. However, The Monster Among Men wasn’t going to be outdone, and Braun pulls himself out of the hole after a time. The rest of his own team gangs up on Strowman as he begins to rampage through everybody. They put the terror to an end by trapping him in the back of a garbage truck, which Miz wanted to put The Shield in for some reason. As the truck rolls away with Braun in tow, The Bar, Miz, and Kane all look worried. Somebody’s going to get hurt for that one.
Eventually, Angle comes back out and get the pin on The Miz after a Shield Bomb, in which Angle did his best Roman Reigns impression. I got a kick out of that. All and all, despite the few hiccups, the match was pretty good. Surely, this won’t be the last time we see The Shield in action together.
Good show overall. Not quite as good as Hell in a Cell a couple of weeks ago, but it definitely had its moments. Raw is still trailing behind SmackDown, so it’s going to be really interesting to see how things take shape before Survivor Series next month!
A review by Nicholas Hanks
Want to read more? Follow us on Facebook: Hipster University
Did you enjoy this read? Try another: WWE’s Hell In A Cell 2017- Little Caesar’s Arena