Wednesday, 18 December 2013

WWE TLC 2013

WWE TLC 2013

Live on pay per view on Sunday 15th December 2013 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. TLC opened its doors with principal owners Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. Recovering from her knockdown by Randy Orton in a scuffle on the pre-Raw leading to TLC, Stephanie vowed to crown the new WWE World heavyweight champion. One champion will be crowned as undisputed and unified she informs. Many still wonder by the lack of WWE hype and authenticity as to whether a new champion will indeed be crowned or not.

3 on 1 Handicap
CM Punk Vs Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns

Beginning the show saw CM Punk battle all three members of The Shield. Before the lock up with Ambrose and Punk the announce both explained The Authority of Tripper and Steph may be watching with interest. They also explained Chairman Mr. McMahon had arrived during the pre-show, where Fandango defeated Dolph Ziggler with ease.

Seth Rollins was tagged in after Ambrose and had little cat and mouse play as Punk went outside then back inside the ring as Rollins followed. Punk then held control over Rollins in the ring with turnbuckle action and neckbreakers. The one to watch Roman Reigns entered to anticipation from fans and WWE backstage. Reigns was allowed to use strength to force Punk back into the corner of The Shield. 

Reigns knocked Punk down with a fist as Rollins returned to work Punk back up. Ambrose was given another short, swift tag, keeping fresh team work. Ambrose added some grounding work and foot stomps. Reigns re-enters and walks Punk into a standing clothesline as one chant faintly heard yelling "this is boring" exemplified the start of PPV. Punk was hurled outside later. Reigns was heavily booed soon after. Roman ran at Punk who missed a spear and flung over the announce table with a hand from Punk. Reigns wouldn't allow for a count out, as Punk attacks Reigns' vision. Roman then shoved Punk over the top and regrouped in his corner. Rollins brought Punk back in as the legal man. An Ambrose distraction caused a hard dropkick from Rollins to Punk. Reigns was being attended to as the focal point as Rollins was knocked into Ambrose for Punk to knock a hard knee and close two fall.

Punk and Rollins had a swift flurry of exchanges as Punk charged the running knee. Punk took to the air with the cross body into a two count. Rollins soon became quickly trapped into an Anaconda Vise as Ambrose breaks the submission and tags in. Ambrose attempts a turnbuckle suplex knocked down by CM. Atop the post Punk rises and hits the flying elbow as Rollins on the apron is knocked down. Punk then held a close two fall again. Ambrose avoided a GTS as Seth Rollins got one instead. Reigns then inadvertently speared Ambrose allowing CM Punk to GTS and pin Dean Ambrose for the three fall victory in a pleasing starter for PPV that wasn't too little nor too much.

Natalya lookalike Renee Young interviewed AJ with Tamina. AJ proclaimed she was the only one in this division that mattered. The fans, the divas and Total Divas were "jokes." Tonight AJ was going to be "the only one laughing" she finished.

Unified Women's championship
Natalya Vs AJ (c) w/ Tamina

In the guise of the Diva's title, Natalya's first real title opportunity since holding it in 2010 was on the table. Natie gets a quick roll over. AJ slams a hard boot to Nat's gut. Suplex from Nattie. Nattie calls AJ "crazy" whilst working her over with mat work. AJ was soon smashed into the guardrail outside. Tamina stares down Nat as she re-enters with distraction allowing AJ to kick Natalya down. 

AJ got the legs up to regain control in turnbuckle as match spot calling was heard. AJ then locked in her Black Widow submission. Natalya powered out as AJ rolled through to get kicked in the face by uncle Bret's niece. Natalya screams before suplex and slamming AJ down. 

AJ became trapped into Bret Hart's submission leg lock. AJ couldn't reach the ropes and instead reversed out of nowhere in a chance happening. Tamina stood on the apron to cause problems as Natalya botched a clothesline with no connection. After AJ failed to capitalise, Natalya regained control and tried a second leg lock to be rolled up by AJ with a small package in a humilaiting pin beating Natalya to hold the platinum title as champion. Natalya was near to tears with emotion in the ring for failing to grasp the victory.

Damien Sandow arrived and expressed his dismay at language being misused with American culture. Certain words were not acceptable. They include "Ya'll. Reckon. Yee followed by Haw and Big E. Langston when followed by Intercontinental champion. In a few minutes, I will be your Intercontinental champion. You're Welcome!" Sandow was eaisly met with indifference by the crowd as intended. 

Intercontinental Championship
Big E. Langston (c) Vs Damien Sandow

The importance of the Intercontinental championship was upkept by Michael Cole explaining to us those champions have gone on to become a World or WWE Heavyweight champ. This was why it was supposedly "important" to be the prestigious Intercontinental champion. 

Action quickly went to the outside as Sandow smashed Bigster Langston into the pole outside. Back inside Sandow added fierce jabs, grounded, to Langston. The announcers debated tweeting with obnoxious behaviours, a helping tweeter on your behalf by someone named Ignacio and failing to understand gathering "tone in a tweet" from JBL. JBL said it was not possible to measure such tone through 140 characters. Quite right.

Sandow continued dominating the whole match structure as langering Langston did literally nothing. As Damien climbed atop Big E's shoulders Langston easily moved and dropped Sandow to the ground and started obscenely grunting for impact, as he was rising. Big E. ran the ropes to drop the body splash onto Sandow's back. Langston was countered over the shoulders with a back drop down with two fall return in a good, quick tension builder. Langston easily lifted Sandow who then rolled up the big block of muscle which still left Sandow looking weak. Big E. then pulled his straps down and dropped a random Big Ending in a wasteful and uneventful IC title match, despite a strong performance from the ever workable Sandow.

Lacing his boots, WWE champion Randy Orton was greeted with handshake by Mr. McMahon. They spoke. There was no audio. Oops! Don't flip ya'll lids!

Miz was interrupted on the pre-show by Kofi Kingston who gave Miz a necessary slap in the school of hard knocks. They scuffled as the announcement by Josh Mathews, Mick 'festive Santa hat' Foley and Booker T explained a match was now booked for the evening later. Ho Ho Ho!

Tag Team Championship
Fatal 4 Way, Elimination Tag
Antonio Cesaro and Jack Swagger w/ Zeb Colter Vs Rey Mysterio and Big Show Vs Curtis Axel and Ryback Vs Cody Rhodes and Goldust (c)

Ryback started the battle with Cody Rhodes. Ryback hammered down Rhodes as he then changed with one move to tag in Goldust. Curtis Axel was then entered who laughed. Goldust flung Axel over the ring with hip toss and ground knees to arms. JBL compared himself to Brad Pitt. Who needs Adam Ant when you've got JBL on your wall. Well, I'm a modern day Meryl Streep. Big Show now enters to chop Axel's chest for amplified sound. Show then smashed Axel to the floor with a harder chop for crowd laughter. Axel then shoved little man Rey into the corner as Ryback came in. Rey was squashed with a splash. Ry-b hit hard punches which looked feeble. Axel returned. Rey countered over the rope of Axel as they ran into each other. Recovering first Ryback came back into the match. Goldust gained a swift tag from Rey to take down Ryback with a spinebuster. Ryback booted Goldie down in the gut. Goldust covered a school boy pin as Ryback and Curtis Axel were eliminated. Antonio Cesaro made his entry now. Jabs to Goldie occurred then 'Tonio switched in Swagger.

Swagger ran a clothesline into Goldust outside. The pair continue swift tags. Cesaro lifts and gut wrench suplexes Goldie over the head with a fantastic flip drop of strength. Headbutt to the mid section is sold hard by Goldie, revelling in pain. Weedy Swagger bearhugs Goldie, who fights back. 'Dust almost grabs a tag to Cody dazedly strutting along but caught by Swagz as Cesaro enters and launches the swing. Swagger argues with Cody as legal man. Cesaro leapfrog knee drops over Swagger onto Goldust expertly. Goldust caused a chance to break free but failed a tag once again. As he reached the post Rhodes was pulled off by Jack from outside. Goldust then levelled with Cesaro both down as Big Show grabbed Swagger outside to hurl over the barricade. Cesaro threw running knees into Rey knocking him off the apron. Annoyed Big Show begs for the tag from Goldust, who gives it. Show then smashes Cesaro in a good hype exchange moment, despite tacky performance. Show knocked out Jack Swagger and punched out Antonio Cesaro jumping from the turnbuckle. Show takes the pin to send them to the showers. 

Show now stares down Rhodes, tending to a battered Goldust in the corner. Weary Goldust composes himself against Show. Show easily pushes Goldust out the ring. Show lifts 'dust inside. Show waits simply standing in place as Goldust climbs to hit across body. Countered chokeslam leads a two fall by Goldust. The tag to Cody is finally achieved. Rhodes takes a two count. Rhodes failed a disaster kick as Show touches the chest to act as a chop/slap. It was weak. Rey flies in and action begins faster. Rey takes a two fall only soon after. Rhodes smacks the Disaster Kick on Rey for two only. Rhodes trips as Goldust comes in and instead Goldie gets the 619. Show smashes 'dust outside. Big Show then goes at it with Cody outside. Show smashed into the corner post. Cody turnbuckle dropkick caught into senton bomb pin for swift two. Cody caught Rey, reversed into ropes. Cody catches the 619 as Rey reverses into an intense two fall. Suspense continues until Cody Rhodes hits Rey Mysterio with the Cross Rhodes to maintain the title for himself and Goldust over challengers Rey Mysterio and Big Show. Big Show then shook hands with Rhodes and Rey was cared for by Goldust. Many were unsure if Rey was injured again so soon returning from injury.

Darren Young and Titus O'Neil tried to sell a Rock brawlin' buddy. Titus showed the Cena doll. Great Khali brought in Sheamus as El Torito (with Los Matadores) revealed Brodus Clay. Vickie Guerrero interrupted and told them to grow up. Brad Maddox entered to play with the Cena dolly and fought Vickie's Brodus Clay who she took a gorgeous liking to. Kane entered with music in the locker room? He then ferociously smashed Clay's doll over Cena. The music then sounded outside as Brodus Clay and Sweet T arrived with the Funky-dac-tills. Ring a ding ding!

Brodus Clay w/ Sweet TCameron and Naomi Vs R-Truth w/Xavier Woods

"My Bad..."
Aggressive Clay drops heavy elbow drops on Truth. Woods gave some encouragement for Truth from outside. It was a good position for the unknown Xavier to make a name on WWE TV at least. Clay threw his body into Truth at the corner leaving him a limp rag doll. Clay was annoyed with Sweet T being in the way. Telling him "I'm winning" Truth was placed in the ring by Woods. 

Clay charged into an upside down Truth. He told Sweet T to get out of the way. They argued who was better. Sweet T then left foloowing their disagreement. The Funkadactyls then abandoned Clay. As quick as it was R-Truth came up from nowhere to defeat Sweet T, referenced as Tensai, to win the rather dry match up.

Vinnie Mac was seen chatting to John Cena backstage around the arena and gave a handshake to ensure impartiality for the night's historic event. We heard a mutter of good luck from these two. Given the problems with audio with Orton, WWE made sure a camera was there for double protection. They should have decided to not use audio with Cena to make it look as though McMahon was discussing unheard whispers to both, which would have added further implications of possibility to the match upcoming. 

No disqualification
Kofi Kingston Vs The Miz

Kofi took early control with aggression on The Miz to begin the match. Kingston brought Miz into the ring so he could throw him back out again. Kofi launches a running tope at Miz only to be squared in the jaw by quick thinking Miz. Kofi responds by hurling vanilla pint sized Miz into the outside barricade. Once back inside the ring Kofi Kingston plans the Trouble In Paradise only for The Miz to duck and work on the leg of Kofi. 

Miz retains control in a turnaround of pace. Kofi changes the outlook dropkicking Miz mid air from the turnbuckle soon after. Fans were dismayed and let out a "boring" vocal and requesting tables. Kofi Kingston then planted The Miz with the Trouble In Paradise to cover for a three fall at the near eight minute mark with an empty but contestable win. 

3 on 1 Handicap
Daniel Bryan Vs Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan

Bray sits in his rocking chair at ringside. Bryan launches for ginger bald beard Rowan. Bryan was quickly slammed to the canvas with a hard elbow. Harper joins in with fists. Rowan gave an impressive side wrench bearhug throwing Bryan around then tossing him aside to the ground with very high impact. Bray Wyatt was then summoned to the ring. "I could've helped you!" Bray yells at Bryan. As Jerry Lawler contemplates what its like being an enemy after spurning an opportunity to be "friends" Wyatt soon baffles a disorientated Bran with the eerie upside down spider crab. The crowd express "that was creepy" as it was so intended and so difficult for the abstract mind to understand without thought. Knowledge is power, my friends. After worked down by Harper, Bryan is back for seconds. 

"Look at these disgusting human beings" Bray refereed to the crowd. "Ill give you one last chance. Take my hand, I will make this all go away." Bray extended his hand. Bryan foolishly spurned his advances and was pummeled by Wyatt. Harper was brought back in and told to "finish him" from the leading Wyatt family member. A tough powerbomb took a two fall as Bryan holds on in defiance. Harper catches his goolies in the corner from a running charge as Bryan shakes his head and 'Hulks up.' Bryan drops the suplex on Harper after taking off Rowan. Bryan looks like he's having a seizure as he 'Hulks up' again. It's BryanaMania! 

The YES! kicks are smashed as Danny Boy flies the headbutt down. Rowan saves the match. Bryan smashes a leg which knocks back and traps Rowan in the ropes. Bryan slams knees on Bray Wyatt when instantly getting the tag. Bryan takes out the other two. Two fall on Bray causes angry Wyatt to attack Bryan. Landing outside on fire, Bryan drops them over the tables outside. Missile dropkick down on Bray as a YES! Lock attempt was foiled. Wyatt smiles at Bryan's hearty yet failed attempts and gives the kiss to the forehead as consolation before planting Bryan into the mat for the three fall as Bray Wyatt cradles a seemingly naive Bryan with Erick Rowan and Luke Harper nearby.   

WWE and World Heavyweight Championship
Tables, Ladders, Chairs
Randy Orton (c) Vs John Cena (c)

The time has finally come to crown a new undisputed WWE World heavyweight champion. WWE tell us it will be either Randy Orton, the WWE champion or World heavyweight champion John Cena. Will fans get a champion, or will there be a turn of events that crowns no-one? The match with tons of possibilities and a chance to prove they are the face of the WWE is now upon us. "There will be one winner. One undisputed, unified champion" - McMahon, S. (TLC:2012)

In a TLC match there can be no disqualifications. Anything goes...

The first man to climb the ladder and hold both titles will win, Justin Roberts informs us.

As the historic match begins for WWE's 50th celebration of heavyweight champions, World champ Cena was instantly seen calling a spot not one minute in, on camera. It was a disappointing shambles. Orton brings the first ladder in. Cena stops it and uses it against Orton's arm. Cena introduces a table into the corner as Orton favours his arm. Cena avoids table smash as Orton grabs a chair from outside. The pair fight over the chair as Orton smashes the loud clash of steel onto Cena's back to cheers from the WWE Universe. Cena drops to the floor in front of the steel steps as Orton misses the chair hit. It was a pathetic sell from Cena once more. Orton then smacked the chair to the other corner missing, allowing Cena to grab it and Superman attack Orton down in unreliable fashion.

Cena failed to put Orton through a table outside as Orton hurled Cena into the other side steps. The kids and odd few men chant for Cena as the sound is deafening for "Cena Sucks!" Orton scales the ladder as Cena charges in to pull Randy down the ladder as the pair knock each other down. Orton unpacks the ladder and stamps over Cena on ground to wear down. Cena places his hands on Randy's hips to stand up.

One stepladder to climb. Top of the mountain. 
Cena hit Orton with cheap ladder jab soon after to climb atop. Orton clubs him down. Randy star gazes to the top. Heard having a little chat to direct clueless Cena. Naturally Cena moves from a ladder Orton attack, only to be greeted by chair swings instead. "This is boring" among other chants is heard.

Orton touches the titles as Cena stops him. Comedy character Cena drops the five knuckle shuffle off the ladder. Cena shoved the ladder to Orton on the apron slowly falling back into the ladder below. Cena climbs the top to tip the titles. Orton hurriedly enters to stop Cena and RKO him down, despite still feeling the effects from table smash.

Cena gained intense momentum smashing everything at Orton in a quick turn of superpower from nowhere again. It was once again, unbelievable. Cena gets the ladder as Orton thuds an echoey hit to the skull resounding in the arena. Orton holds the mic by his nether regions as he uses his foreign object over Cena's head bashing him hard hearing the sound of collisions.

Orton went for the punt missing and Cena predictably lifts Orton into the announce table outside. Cena feigns exhaustion scaling the ladder now. Touching the titles, Orton tips the ladder as Cena dangles on the titles. Orton smacks a chair to the spine of Cena. Cena starts jumping up and "Ahh" -ing on every hit in comedy fashion which is just plain pathetic. Hit, bounce, "Aahh!" Repeat five to six times. It was a sad day for wrestling's 50th celebration event. Exhausted, tired and worn down from multiple chair shots, Cena, as luck would have it, instantly shoves Orton into the table stacked in the corner. Orton finds handcuffs under the ring and cuffs Cena to the bottom ropes. "It's over" Jerry says as JBL adds "Randy Orton is going to become the new champion of champions." Thanks for ruining it, guys. Fans felt they knew what was predictably about to happen.

Cena ridiculously tries to pull the handcuffs off by pressing his legs against the ropes and shaking like he's on a vibrating potty. The comedy fashion in an expert match is utterly ridiculous. Cena, after all these years, should have learnt by now how to work to a decent and more importantly, the "WWE way" by now. 

Anyone remember this old match?
Orton teases Cena by slowly setting a ladder to walk the top. Cena starts unscrewing the ring ropes and not surprisingly breaks free. The tension builds. The pair climb atop the ring. Cena smashes Orton with the steel metal which is against his mentality of nobility again. Orton yanks the ropes in a tug of war with Cena. Orton flings him off as Cena fails to fall into the table stacked next to him, slanted in corner post and hits his head on the corner instead. That was another botch for point scorers at home. Orton climbs and touches the titles. Randy Orton waits for a moment until he unhooks the titles to cradle his dangling delights and now becomes the undisputed WWE World champion over John Cena.

The music begins as Mr.McMahon's theme sounds and out walk all three McMahon family members Steph, Hunter and Vince. All three praise messiah Orton with congratulations to mark the historic end to the year with crowning of a new title era. 

PPV Rating - 8/10

Men/Women of their matches - Seth Rollins, AJ, Damien Sandow, Brodus Clay, Kofi Kingston, Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton

Man/Woman of the PPV - Randy Orton

Kofi Kingston has been given a green light which is encouraging, however after last month's failed switch to aggressive behaviour, Kingston was deprived of an effective turn. He needs to be given high momentum in his course. He excelled himself in a smooth and average stone stepper with The Miz, who is quite frankly, beneath him. 

The tag team collision was a Triple H bragging move once more. However, the tag division is growing as a result. When WWE want to, they can, but only focusing on one division and then abandoning it after it gets bored ruins the overall outlook for fan engagement. If it can't handle all divisions at once, which it cannot, it should considered hiring an extra force into handling one 'minor' division more manageable for the product. 

Having Big Show placed with Mysterio actually works better for him. The problem, is that Show's first entry in the match was minimal but worked well. Then he continued and became sloppy in a millisecond. With so many teams, however, it is plausible to crack apart a couple over coming months. 

Of course Sandow was going to lose, but after holding the entire match together, WWE need to implement procedure to protect Sandow for such loss to build a non-entity based on muscle and height criteria.

Divas champ AJ. Wasn't upset for now.
Perhaps Nattie's time has past. We shall see. What's Uncle Bret up to these days? Wonder if he's dropped the ego to become apologetic and humble as he claims. We're watching.

Brodus Clay has opportunities if done correctly. Play could indeed be a bigger player for the big boys and the show. We shall see. At this time, Clay has shown something that could be expanded upon. Where this leaves Tensai and the Funky Divas is actually quite prosperous. Let's hope WWE doesn't rush it. Royal Rumble could deliver the outcome for all four's paths. Tele-show Total Divas should not be an influence to the choice of Naomi and Cameron's future prospects.  

Punk held a compact battle with The Shield and their interplay was smooth, connected and full of interest. A slow progression was advised and has now delivered a decent and longer lasting entertainment and wrestling value. 

Bryan's loss to the Wyatt's was another secret gem. The growing family of eerie undertones are what WWE needs to further intrigue and confuse product cleverly. With a tag team also in play and Bryan's own skills, much is achievable. 

After its historic event with its two most significant heavyweights, WWE decided to restore some mild faith to the fans by crowning only one champ, in Randy Orton. The move from predictable Cena is still seen as political powerplay of the WWE Universe, however, has kept fans happy to an extent. Electing Orton as its stronghold, at least for now, is vital for WWE to drive the New Year run to 'Mania. The only question is will it have the manpower to boost a number of superstars into the spotlight now the title has merged into one? Some fans settle, some pick a side to bearable standard. Others greeted botch, and indeed the company and its titles, with indecision towards both men. However, all in all, in this instance, with PPV direction, the fans went home happy.

Was it a good choice to unify?

As Wrestling Wonders has debated previously, we said titles shouldn't be unified. We can understand exactly why WWE have done so, and it is a workable decision given WWE limited stockpile of challengers. Without any call ups and reliance on old favourites, slim as they are, WWE must move faster in laying creative foundations. With only Cena and Orton with Bryan and Punk as its fall backs alongside Del Rio, the company need to establish a multitude of contenders. Without this, the decision to unify was obvious. If they had enough in place, it would not have been needed. In order to become fully effective, fans do not wish to see re-runs continuously as well as having John Cena exchange pointless title victories back and forth for the record books to become its most decorated star atop the WWE tree. 

TLC is a weird PPV, indeed. At the closing stages of the year, WWE pulls out its trump card and gives an enjoyable and directive stance for the Road to Wrestlemania. It's just a baffling shame to fans who cannot comprehend why only this one has the strongest effort and appeal often lacking in the previous PPV's in the pro-wrestling calendar. Let's hope WWE really pull more surprises at Royal Rumble and beyond to create new opportunities, challengers and feuds that the audience really can contribute to with their cash and be fully satisfied as a result.

©  Max Waltham 18th December 2013

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