Tremendous Tirades 12.15.13: WWE TLC 2013
As a reminder, this will not be another traditional recap, but instead it will be a mash up of the Rs, Instant Analysis and my usual Twitter ramblings I would do during the shows; completely uncensored and as the ideas flow unfiltered to the old keyboard. Remember, this is a review; and I am here to review the show. As always, I encourage discussion and even disagreement, just do so in a respectful manner. I will be doing the review for Raw and most PPVs and iPPVs going forward.
WWE TLC 2013
Handicap Match: CM Punk vs. The Shield: I am not the biggest fan of handicap matches, especially on PPV, but I will try to overlook that to discuss this fairly. My early thoughts are that Punk wins when there is Shield miscommunication, leading to Punk vs. Undisputed WWE Unified World Champion of The Mega-verse Randy Orton at the Rumble, which will lead to Punk vs. Triple H at Mania. After the Shield controlled early, Reigns missed a charge on Punk and crashed into the announce table, allowing Punk to take control. They played up that Reigns had issues with his left eye. There was a really fun exchange with Punk and Rollins, these guys need a 15-minute match sometime soon. Reigns would return, accidentally spear Ambrose, and Punk would escape with the victory, running from the ring to make sure he didn’t get beat down. The work was good from all three, Reigns sold the eye injury well, and I felt as if they laid this out as well as they could have without completely damaging the Shield. They didn’t look bad at all, instead, they appeared to again slowly show cracks in unit, which had been dominating for a year. Not as good as most Shield matches (they have been in a lot of good PPV and TV matches this year); but it did the job intended, it was clean, and I certainly didn’t hate it.
Match Rating: ***
Divas Title Match: AJ Lee © vs. Natalya: Despite the late Sunday rumors, due to the run in with Michelle Beadle at the Troops show, AJ defeated Natalya to retain the Divas Title. While short (6:30) it was easily one of the better Divas matches this year. It had simple and clean work, with a good back and forth formula. Both ladies escaped the other’s submission, leading to AJ pulling the hair and getting a roll up off the final sharp shooter attempt by Natalya. They certainly should rematch soon, as AJ got the sneaky heel win, and they worked well together.
Match Rating: **¾
IC Title Match: Big E. Langston © vs. Damien Sandow: They worked a lot of reversals of each others finishers right from the start. Big E. Langston retained the title with the Big Ending, in a solid outing. I enjoy Sandow’s more serious approach as of late, and I also feel that Langston continues to improve. This was another short match (about 6:25), and was (in my opinion) made to get over Langston as champion. So far and so good for Langston’s reign, although the crowd wasn’t into the match all that much.
Match Rating: **
WWE Tag Team Title Elimination Match: Goldust and Cody Rhodes © vs. Big Show and Rey Mysterio vs. Ryback and Curtis Axel vs. The Real Americans: It was announced as an elimination match, which I actually liked. The booking leading into the match felt rushed to me, especially with the sudden teaming with Rey and Show (which due to their injury issues I am not opposed to) but I do appreciate the continued effort in regards to the tag team division. Again I wasn’t to give praise to Goldust, who continues to deliver since his return. I mean, he busted out the code red for fucks sake! Ryback and Axel were eliminated first, which I was completely fine with. I continue to really enjoy the work of the Real Americans, who employ simple, and old school tag formula, which still works. Unfortunately the Real Americans got eliminated after eating KO shots from Show, leaving Rey and Show to challenge for the titles. I am saddened that we didn’t get a good Rey vs. Cesaro segment. Goldust got banged up, and Show was a good sport and helped him to his feet prior to the final fall beginning. The crowd was into the match, but I felt it lost steam when it got down to the final two teams, as they were into the Real Americans. Rey looked good off the hot tag, and while he may not be 100%, he knows what to do and when to do it. Some really nice back and forth between Cody and Rey, which should be no surprise since they did have a good feud previously, which led to Cody hitting cross Rhodes and retaining the titles. Show was a good sport after the loss, and the faces all showed respect to each other following the match. I liked that because WWE doesn’t do that a lot, and it felt different. They got a lot of time (21:00), and thus far it was easily the best thing on the show. I really enjoy saying this, since I had asked for it for years, I love the WWE tag team division delivering!
Match Rating: ***¾
Brodus Clay w/Cameron, Naomi and Sweet T vs. R Truth w/Xavier Woods : Clay was destroying Truth with ease, as Sweet T kept encouraging to make the cover to finish it, and Clay would refuse, instead delivering more punishment. Cameron and Naomi looked on with disapproving looks. Clay continued to punish Truth, he and Sweet T argued, which led to T and the girls bailing on Clay. Truth came back and score the roll up victory. This was the type of match that was all about an angle, and should have been saved for TV. First of all there are more eyes watching Raw, secondly they have so much TV time to fill, and finally it completely deflated the crowd. They were dead for this because they did not care. Finally, Clay looks like an idiot because he had the match won, and then lost all of his friends and the match. Brodus Clay vs. Sweet T, can’t wait. This was the worst thing on the show thus far, and whoever put this on the PPV should be ashamed.
Match Rating: DUD
No DQ Match: Kofi Kingston vs. The Miz: Kofi Kingston vs. The Miz was setup on the pre-show, and was a continuation of a feud that no one cares about. I have no issue with creating mid-card feuds, but there is no reason to care. They tried to turn Miz, forgot about his movie, made it into two guys that were frustrated, and then essentially tuned Miz again. They tried to make you care by making this a NO DQ match, but if felt tame as hell. Partly because of the work, and partly because of the fact that there was no heat. The crowd didn’t care at all, the commentary team didn’t seem to care at all, and the momentum the PPV once had is all but gone, which is a shame. Also, this is TLC, and while I do appreciate the “less is more approach” this year, the crowd wanted tables and plunder. They didn’t get it, and didn’t react because they felt there was nothing worth reacting to. Kofi won in 8:00 or so via pin and I am sure we’ll see more from these guys on Raw.
Match Rating: *½
Handicap Match: Daniel Bryan vs. The Wyatt Family (Wyatt, Harper, Rowan: Bray Watt sat ringside, allowing his goons to do all the work early. Harper and Rowan controlled early, and after a few minutes, Bray tagged in, noting that it didn’t have to be this way, and that he wanted to be friends and help Bryan. Harper and Rowan would beat down Bryan again, leading to Bray offering his hand to end all the pain for Bryan. Bryan of course refused. While not a tag match, Daniel Bryan went into Daniel Bryan hot tag mode and was awesome. The big men sold well for him, and the crowd loved it. It came down to Bryan and Bray, and following some vicious elbow strikes from the mount, Bryan hit the Sister Abigail for the victory. This was a lot of story, but it also was a solid match, with the Wyatts (work wise) looking good in there. Part of that is that they worked hard, part of that is Bryan, but it all worked. I am interested to see where it goes in regards to Bryan’s character, and while the handicap match certainly is not my favorite, it worked well enough with a good balance of story and in ring action, much like the Punk vs. Shield match.
Match Rating: ***
Title vs. Title Unification TLC Match: Randy Orton © vs. John Cena ©: Well here we have it. The match we all wanted (unification) with two guys a lot of people didn’t want in there. Despite varying opinions, and there are a lot of them, there certainly has been a lot of discussion about the match. As I mentioned earlier, I feel Orton wins (they played tension on TV between he and the Authority as a smoke screen) and it makes sense for the heel to win here, and then lose at WrestleMania. I also feel Punk vs. Orton makes sense for the Rumble, to lead to Punk vs. Triple H at Mania. I will say that I wouldn’t have booked this TLC for one reason, well besides the fact that the build was too quick. Cena is coming off injury and Orton has major shoulder issues, you’re asking for trouble by placing them in a TLC match, even if we know they won’t take super crazy bumps.
The crowd was certainly into their John Cena chants, both for and against, as usual. For the most part, I think this was the style of match most expected. Lots of brawling, various weapons used, no crazy high spots, a table spot and Cena sending Orton through the announce table. They did a spot where Cena was hanging from the titles after Orton pulled out the ladder, and then beat him down with chair shots. Cena would come back and spear Orton through a table that was set up in the corner, leaving both men down. This all led to Orton finding handcuffs that were hidden under the mats on the floor, and handcuffing Cena to the ropes. Orton tossed the key into the crowd and retrieved a ladder, as Cena tried to break free from the cuffs. As Orton looked to climb, Cena undid the bottom rope and then climbed the ladder with Orton. Orton and Cena played tug of war with the rope, and then Orton sent Cena into a table in the corner. NASTY FALL for Cena, who did not go through the table, but instead went head first into the bottom of it, which had to suck. Orton then took his time and got the titles to win the match at about 25:00.
Overall I liked the match and thought it was a good main event. While not a crazy TLC match (it was pretty safely worked), the match had a flow, and everything they did felt as if it as geared to winning the match. It was simple, direct, and made sense. Most importantly, there were no shenanigans. The handcuffs were a call back to the 2009 Cena vs. Orton feud, and played well into the fact that Orton would do anything to win, while allowing Cena to still appear to be the hero, fighting to the very end. This was a good match, but the ending felt a bit anticlimactic.
The one thing that annoyed me was the fact that commentary completely ignored the unification from 2001, stating that this match was “50 years in the making”.
Match Rating: ***¾
Overall it was a fine show, but nothing you have to watch. Lots of solid wrestling with two good matches, but also a big dead spot in the middle of the show with the late addition matches, which added nothing to the show and really hurt what momentum they had built. The big problem continues to be the fact that they are asking you to pay $50 or more for a show, and I find it had to call this a good or great show when that is factored in. Yes they did the title unification and wanted to make it feel big, but due to the quick build and overall quality of the show, it came off as just another PPV to me.
What you should watch: The tag title match and the main event.
Show Rating: 6.0
As a reminder, I will be going by the 411 scale…
0 – 0.9: Torture
1 – 1.9: Extremely Horrendous
2 – 2.9: Very Bad
3 – 3.9: Bad
4 – 4.9: Poor
5 – 5.9: Not So Good
6 – 6.9: Average
7 – 7.9: Good
8 – 8.9:Very Good
9 – 9.9: Amazing
10: Virtually Perfect
As a reminder, this is not a basic “how good was the show” number like a TV show, as I have always felt that a PPV is very different from a regular show. I have always judged PPV on how they built to a match, the match quality, crowd reactions to matches and angles, the overall booking, how the PPV leads into the future, PPV price and so on and so forth. I have added this in here for an explanation since so many have asked, and I have previously discussed it on podcasts. I understand that this may seem different, but that is how I grade. Obviously your criteria may be different.
Larry Csonka is a Pisces and enjoys rolling at jiu jitsu class with Hotty McBrownbelt, cooking, long walks on the beach, Slingo and the occasional trip to Jack in the Box. He is married to a soulless ginger and has two beautiful daughters who are thankfully not soulless gingers; and is legally allowed to marry people in 35 states. He has been a wrestling fan since 1982 and has been writing for 411 since May 24th, 2004; contributing over 3,000 columns, TV reports and video reviews to the site.