WWE – TLC 2014 (Cert 15)
1 Disc Blu-ray / DVD (Distributor: Fremantle Media) Running Time: 167 minutes approx.
The 2014 instalment of this annual stunt fest comes with an addendum to its name as it was promoted as Tables, Ladders, Chairs and Stairs. Stairs you ask? Yup, but not the same as ladders where the stairs are climbed, this refers to the “steel” ring steps which have been used as weapons in past matches. This time they get their own gimmick match – sounds exciting huh?
The big stipulation match would, naturally, be the tables match between Cena and Rollins where Cena’s No 1 contender status to the WWE title would be on the line. Yet shockingly this wasn’t the main event match on the card! Did Satan invest in a pair of ice skates?
Elsewhere we have a ladder match, a chairs match and a TLC match. That’s a lot of gimmick matches for one card and sadly it seemed that this wasn’t enough incentive for fans without the WWE Network as this drew a measly 39,000 buys, the lowest ever for a WWE PPV, while we don’t know how many Network subscribers actually watched.
The show emanated from the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio on December 14th before a reported 14,000 fans. Your commentators are as always the trio of Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and JBL.
Onto the matches and as always no results spoilers but plenty of opinion.
WWE IC Title Ladder Match – Luke Harper (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler
Harper defeated Ziggler for the IC Title prior to the Survivor Series and after a series of rematches the decider would be this ladder match. Ziggler was the hometown hero so this match was heated but the action was so great that it would have got over anyway. Both guys worked hard with Ziggler bumping all over the place as usual and Harper took some impressive falls for a guy of his size. Great opener but sadly it would all be downhill from here.
WWE Tag Title Match – The Miz & Damien Mizdow (c) vs. The Usos
The Usos won a tag team turmoil match on RAW to become number one contenders. the gimmick here is that Mizdow carried two replica belts while Miz hogged the real belts. Oops, I said “belts” – Vince McMahon probably just had a coronary! Match wasn’t much at the lame finish certainly didn’t help it either. A waste of time in fact.
Steel Stairs Match – Big Show vs. Erick Rowan
This match accomplished many things – It showed that Erick Rowan might have improved as a wrestler but the fans don’t care about him. It also showed that the Wyatt Family split far too soon. And it showed that the ring stairs do not make for a dramatic gimmick match. Even stacking them up in a wall arrangement in the aisle for a big bump spot couldn’t make this interesting. Suffice to say I doubt we will see another stairs match again anytime soon and good riddance I say.
Tables Match – John Cena vs. Seth Rollins
Heading into this match there was a slight chance that Cena *might* lose since he wouldn’t have to be pinned in a table’s match but as we know Vince believes God will kill a kitten every time Cena isn’t in a title match so Vince has to save the poor kittens. Okay match but wildly overbooked with liberal interference and a surprise return to protect Cena as usual, which makes it very hard for me to be objective about his matches. At least no kittens were harmed during the match to the best of my knowledge.
WWE Divas Title Match – Nikki Bella (c) vs. AJ Lee
After the 30 second debacle at the Survivor Series these two ladies (and the so-called creative team) had a lot of making up to do. It didn’t help that we never got an explanation for Brie turning heel to reunite with her sister after feuding all summer with her while for some reason AJ and Nikki just didn’t click here, resulting in an awkward match with another lame finish.
Chairs Match – Kane vs. Ryback
Much like the Stairs match earlier, chairs do not make for a dramatic match once the first blow has been struck; from then on every other chair shot becomes redundant. Thus the match here was plodding, repetitive and very dull which the sent the fans to sleep again. I doubt even if the participants were more dynamic wrestlers than Kane and Ryback it still would have been a flop.
WWE US Title Match – Rusev (c) vs. Jack Swagger
I’m not sure we really needed to see this match again, especially since Swagger was soundly beaten numerous times by Rusev during the Summer then Rusev moved on but here we are. They only got five minutes and it showed as they rushed through the match but then again that is nothing new for Rusev as he is always Russian! Ahem…I’ll get my coat.
TLC Match – Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt
Putting these two in the headline spot was a brave but welcome move breaking up the monotony of endless Cena main events. There is no questioning that both Ambrose and Wyatt took the challenge head on and gave their all in this match, taking some brutal bumps and dishing out some stiff punishment on each other. Unfortunately this match came after we had already seen all the chief gimmick components used ad infinitum over the previous two hours lessening their impact. The ridiculous ending also cast a dark shadow over this match too essentially putting both guys behind the eight ball so to speak in winning the crowd over.
With Christmas approaching and the wrestling year almost over, it is little surprise that the creative batteries are running low and the buzz for the last PPV of the year is less than overwhelming compared to earlier months. The idea of the TLC gimmick is supposed to help overturn this but this show it proved to be counterproductive by overloading the matches with similar gimmicks until they wore out their welcome.
Once again this is no fault of the talent who all worked hard but creatively this had a winding feel to it and as ever, the status quo was maintained with no new forward momentum for anyone coming out of this show thus no real incentive to recommend this as must see event.
Best match – Luke Harper vs. Dolph Ziggler
TLC 2014 Kickoff Match – The New Day vs. Gold & StarDust
Post Match Interview with Dolph Ziggler
Post Match Interview with The Bella Twins
Rating – **
Man In Black