WWE – TLC 2015 (Cert 15)
1 Disc Blu-ray / DVD (Distributor: Fremantle Media) Running Time: 163 minutes approx.
It finally happened – at the Survivor Series PPV Roman Reigns was crowned WWE Champion after defeating his “brother” Dean Ambrose in the final of the hastily arranged tournament held in the wake of former champion Seth Rollins vacating the title due to a knee injury.
At the end of that show Triple H came out to congratulate Reigns but instead eat a Spear. While the confetti was still falling from the arena roof Sheamus ran in, attacked Reigns, cashed in his MITB briefcase, and became a three time WWE Champion. Yup, Sheamus is the WWE champ and in a direct retelling of the summer 2013 feud between Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton. And the fans still boo Reigns!
It certainly helped the TV ratings because the RAW hit an all time low number the next night but fear not because reigns would get his rematch in the titular TLC Match at this show. However the odds are again stacked against him as Sheamus formed a new stable with Rusev, Alberto Del Rio and Wade Barrett called the League Of Nations who were so effective that all of the members at one point in their two month existence have been out with an injury!
Elsewhere the Dudley Boyz found themselves in a spot of bother with The Wyatt family so they called upon their ECW brethren Tommy Dreamer and Rhyno to help make it a fair 4-on-4 fight; Charlotte managed to turn heel in her own feud with Paige; and Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens are fighting over the IC title.
This show was held on December 13th 2015 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts before 11,900 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 Tag Title Triple Threat Ladder Match – The New Day (c) vs. The Usos vs. Lucha Dragons
The usual insanity we’ve come to expect from this match is present and correct with all three times killing themselves for the gaudy bronze belts. Kofi and Big E represent the New Day here but don’t believe that Woods will remain a neutral bystander. With natural high flyers the Lucha Dragons involved the number of aerial stunts is increased somewhat, capped off by the oft-replayed Salida del Sol off the ladder through another ladder by Kalisto! Superb if dangerous opener.
Rusev vs. Ryback
Lana is back with Rusev because reasons. After she (thankfully) killed the love quadrangle feud with Ziggler there was really nowhere else for her to go. This match came about because Ryback accidentally “injured” Lana during a bout on Smackdown so Rusev is playing the dutiful fiancé by seeking revenge. Solid big man clash with Ryback busting out some high flying moves (!) but an extended RAW match at best.
US Title Chairs Match – Alberto Del Rio (c) vs. Jack Swagger
Swagger was brought of out the woodwork and given this title shot purely by being the former protégé of Del Rio’s manager Zeb Coulter although a week before this show Del Rio dumped Coulter. Match was quite long and brutal for one of the hardest gimmicks to get over since repetitive chair shots do not an exciting match make. However both guys worked hard and incorporated the chairs into what was essentially a brawl with some innovative spots to liven things up a bit.
Elimination Tables Match – The Wyatt Family vs. The ECW Originals
You know what to expect from a match featuring four guys who have abused their bodies for twenty plus years and aside from the lack of blood and shots to the head, this was the typical ECW-lite brawl the PG era WWE would allow these guys to have. The biggest pop came from Bubba Ray teasing setting a table alight which says it all about this match, the loose structure of which still wasn’t enough to hide Braun Strowman’s greenness.
WWE IC Title Match – Kevin Owens (c) vs. Dean Ambrose
After defeating Owens in the WWE Title tournament at Survivor Series Ambrose had already vexed the champ before winning a Triple Threat match on SD to be the legit no 1 contender. Decent match since these two have an interesting chemistry but too short to build any real drama or play off the heat which had been built up on TV, barely scratching the surface of what they could do together.
WWE Divas Title Match – Charlotte (c) vs. Paige
As ever this match was well worked and the ladies gave it their all in a strong bout but the psychology was utterly compromised by the fact that Charlotte, who was the face in this feud, had somehow turned heel on TV the week before, while Paige was still the heel forced into adapting the de facto face role. The fans were into the match and got behind Paige but coming off the tasteless angle prior to their match at Survivor Series designed to get Charlotte sympathy this development is still baffling.
For more great women’s action check out Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks pre-show match in the Extras.
WWE World Title TLC Match – Sheamus (c) vs. Roman Reigns
You can tell how over both guys are when the crowd starting chanting “We Want Cena/Cena Sucks!” early into the match. While both guys made and effort, not all the big spots worked since the crowd had already seen some incredible ladder spots and broken tables earlier in the show. Interestingly the fans started to boo Reigns at one point when it looked like he was about to win although they didn’t exactly cheer Sheamus either.
Much like the Survivor Series the big story is what happened after the match which I won’t spoil (the front cover of this DVD goes some way to doing that) but it went someway to rehabilitating Reigns in the eyes of the fans.
Whether the fans are accepting Roman Reigns as the top guy in the WWE is a moot point because Vince McMahon has deemed it so and that is that. One does have to credit Vince for actually applying some rare long term planning to this storyline, as the result of this show follows directly on from Survivor Series and the weeks leading up to that event.
Certainly The Authority gimmick is a hackneyed and moribund one many years past its sell by date but at least it is doing something in putting Reigns in a position where the idea of his struggle against the oppression of those in power *should* win him some fan support. And whether fans like it or not, it does appear that Wrestlemania 32 will be the culmination of this storyline for Reigns, a year after the original coronation was due to take place.
By the end of this PPV reigns was in a better position than when he started but that doesn’t necessarily apply to the rest of the roster, who remain stuck in their water treading ruts despite working hard as they always do. A solid show overall that flowed well albeit one which is only really memorable for a couple of wild moments, which for a gimmick/stunt based event isn’t a good sign.
Best match – The New Day vs. The Usos vs. Lucha Dragons
TLC Kickoff – Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks
Monday Night RAW – 23rd November 2015
The New Day’s First Anniversary Country Music Jamboree & Tag Title Open Challenge
Smackdown – 26th November 2015
IC Title No 1 Contenders match – Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Tyler Breeze
Monday Night RAW – 7th December 2015
Duelling Divas On MIZ TV
TLC Comes Early For Sheamus And Roman Reigns
Smackdown – 10th December 2015
IC Title Contract Signing
Rating – ***
Man In Black