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Kevin’s WWE TLC 2020 Review

December 20, 2020 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
WWE TLC Bray Wyatt
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Kevin’s WWE TLC 2020 Review  

December 20th, 2020 | Tropicana Field in Tampa, Florida

Big E, Chad Gable, Daniel Bryan and Otis vs. Cesaro, King Corbin, Sami Zayn and Shinsuke Nakamura
This was a welcome surprise on the Kickoff Show. Put eight talented guys in the ring together and it should work, especially with the likes of Bryan, Sami, and Gable in there. Right off the bat, you knew there would be some great exchanges in this. I could watch Bryan, Cesaro, and these guys go at it all day. They managed to weave in several storylines like Sami Zayn wanting to avoid action and Gable teaching Otis. The finishing stretch saw a bunch of sweet offense including a sick Cesaro popup uppercut and Gable’s outstanding Chaos Theory German Suplex on Cesaro. Sami snuck in to try and steal a win but ended up alone with Big E, who bested him with the Big Ending after 8:43. A ridiculously talented group of wrestlers who just went out and had a fun match. [***]

Onto the main show.

WWE Championship TLC Match: Drew McIntyre [c] vs. AJ Styles
Coming in, I figured this would be great if they cut down shenanigans and just let the two of them go at it. This was more intense at the start than you might expect given it wasn’t all that heated of a rivalry. They went into using the weapons early and AJ seemed to hurt his back, which was sold tremendously. When AJ got in control, he put the target on Drew’s knee, slapping on Calf Crushers with the assistance of a ladder and a steel chair. If only he did somehow did it with a table too. Drew did a solid job selling the leg as well. They built to something big and then Drew press slammed AJ through a table outside. That seemed to open the door for Drew to win but then The Miz ran down and put him through a table. It became a triple threat match when he cashed in but Omos put him through a table. John Morrison tried to hit the big man with a chair but it broke on his back. Omos chased him to the back, leaving the three participants alone. They battled it out over who would pull down the title until Drew knocked them off and hit a Claymore. He climbed up and retained after a grueling 27:00. A hell of a match that didn’t overly rely on high spots and had some smart moments. Drew’s selling was top notch and that closing stretch was pretty dramatic. [****]

WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship: Sasha Banks [c] vs. Carmella
Sasha came out with fire, bringing the viciousness. I liked the use of Reginald in terms of him catching Carmella and assisting her on a rana, even if it looked awkward. Carmella targeted the back with a good looking Edge-o-Matic style move on the apron. The Facebuster spot looked great thanks to how Sasha bumped. I dug Carmella’s desperation, going for multiple pins in a row and things like that. Sasha had some great fire, especially with her Eddie Guerrero inspired offense. I loved the way Carmella got the Code of Silence locked in and some of the other submissions that she utilized. Reginald pulling Carmella to safety from the Bank Statement and Carmella taking advantage was a legitimately good near fall. Sasha overcame that and won with the Bank Statement after 12:41. I’ve heard Carmella get a lot of flak but she did really well her. This wasn’t as technically savvy as some Horsewomen stuff but Carmella was vicious, did all the right heel stuff, and they had some good late drama. Maybe I’m biased because I love Sasha and enjoy Carmella but whatever, it’s my review. [***½]

WWE Raw Tag Team Championship: The New Day [c] vs. Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin
I’ve been waiting for these guys to have the big match they’re capable of. The booking of the feud has been lackluster and it has led to some disappointing matches. This one got off to a better start as they come out hot. I really enjoy Shelton Benjamin in the bruiser role. He was similar in NJPW and working smaller guys in WWE lets him do that. It also makes him a great partner for the athletic and quick Cedric Alexander. The New Day were great because they changed up from a power/speed team to one based purely on speed and it works wonders for them. The closing stretch was good other than them teasing Hurt Business problems. Cedric tagged himself in when Shelton lined up a win and hit the Lumbar Check to win the titles in 9:52. Not a blow away match or anything like that but a very good tag with lots of action. [***½]

WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship: Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler [c] vs. Asuka and Charlotte Flair
As expected, Asuka’s mystery partner after the Lana injury was the returning Charlotte Flair. So, all of that Lana build just for Charlotte. She got to hit the ring and go after Nia in the early stages but the obvious setup for this was that Asuka would take the heat. She got isolated to make way for the big hot tag for the returning star. She looked refreshed out there but didn’t really do anything new. Even her moonsault still saw her miss her opponents by a mile. That led to a finish where Charlotte pinned Shayna (remember when she was booked properly?) at the 10:00 mark. It was fine but nothing more. [**¾]

WWE Universal Championship TLC Match: Roman Reigns [c] vs. Kevin Owens
The build to this has been fantastic. Kevin Owens jumped Roman Reigns before the bell, doing something we haven’t seen yet. Jey Uso put up a fight but KO hit Roman in the mouth and put him on the defensive. He even sent Paul Heyman scurrying and beat up an interfering Jey Uso. That still allowed Reigns the opening to get going as he started beating the hell out of KO. Similar to their Royal Rumble match back in 2017, this was brutal and was a case of two guys going to war. Owens fought hard but Jey Uso remained involved, making this a 2-on-1 situation. I loved that because it makes sense for Jey to get involved in a match with no DQs. He had to take Jey out with a table spot to combat him. Of course, that just pissed off Roman even more. He brutalized Owens. It followed the storyline of Owens not staying down no matter how much was thrown at him. They also made it so whenever Owens got a chance, it didn’t feel like he was Superman or something like that. He avoided a Spear that sent Roman through a guardrail and caught him with a flash Popup Powerbomb through a table. Owens nearly had it won but more Jey Uso interreference stopped him. Roman put him down once more to finally grab the championship after 24:44. Roman Reigns is better than your favorite wrestler. He’s on another level right now and nobody is touching him. That’s yet another PPV banger. They had an absolute war that played into the storyline and even the Jey Uso stuff worked beautifully. [****¼]

Firefly Inferno Match: Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton
I’m certainly not interested in this as most Bray Wyatt matches are pretty lame. If he’s not in the funhouse, I don’t care. The action itself was pretty basic for these two in that nothing of real not happened. In terms of antics, they had moments where Bray attempted to use a weight belt that was on fire to whip Orton. He also tried to set Orton on fire while he was in a chair. Eventually, Bray was the guy to catch fire and then he walked into an RKO, ending this around 12:00ish. There was no bell. Post-match, Orton then set Bray’s lifeless body on fire to end the show. The whole thing was about what I expected other than the on-screen homicide. [**]

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
Honestly, that main event keeps this out of the territory of being an all-timer. It wasn’t putrid but it was kind of just there. Meanwhile, you’ve got Roman/KO and AJ/Drew in TLC bangers, as well as Raw Tag Title and Smackdown Women’s Title match that were both better than expected. Throw in the Charlotte return and it’s a show of the year contender.

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WWE TLC, Kevin Pantoja