Date: December 10, 2015
Location: Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Jacksonville, Florida
Commentators: Rich Brennan, Jerry Lawler, Booker T.
It’s the go home show for Tables Ladders and Chairs and the show isn’t looking like the most interesting in the world. Most of the card is set though and that means tonight is all about the build. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing more about the main event, which is a bit of a shame as Smackdown was getting good about building up the midcard. Let’s get to it.
Roman Reigns vs. Alberto Del Rio
Non-title because I don’t think Del Rio has defended the thing since he won it. Swagger vs. Del Rio on Sunday is officially a chairs match. The rest of the League, Ambrose and the Usos are at ringside. Del Rio takes him into the corner for a kick to the back to start but Reigns pounds him in the head. Alberto comes back with some kicks and a way too early chinlock (Sheamus: “SQUEEZE THE LIFE OUT OF HIM!”). That doesn’t exactly work as Reigns fights up, only to be greeted by what sounded like a Y2J chant.
Reigns takes it to the floor but gets in a staredown with Sheamus, allowing Del Rio to kick him in the ribs as we take a break. Back with Del Rio coming off the top with a right hand to the head for two. With the everything else not working, Del Rio puts on the armbreaker over the top rope for all of four seconds until Reigns powers him off the ropes and out to the floor. As usual, I don’t know why I’m supposed to cheer for Reigns when he can do anything. Well aside from get the ratings up that is.
Reigns wins a slugout (duh) and fires off the clotheslines in the corner. The Superman Punch is countered into the Backstabber for two but Reigns does his rollup into a powerbomb for two. A Sheamus distraction lets Del Rio get in the enziguri for two of his own but there’s the Superman Punch for two with the League pulling Del Rio away. The big brawl is on and it’s a double DQ at 14:38.
Rating: C+. They work well together but as usual this was an obvious ending and not for the title because Reigns is programmed for the World Title and therefore doesn’t care about the US Title. It’s the same, standard operating procedure stuff and I’m getting really tired of it, as are most of the fans it seems.
There’s going to be an eight man tag main event. That’s not all though as we also get a CONTRACT SIGNING between Ambrose and Kevin Owens. Good grief this is like a Greatest Hits Smackdown.
Tyler Breeze vs. Dolph Ziggler
Speaking of the exact same things we’ve seen time after time, here’s Dolph Ziggler in the second segment of the show for I think the third show in a row. Oh and it’s in a rematch too because this was screaming for a trilogy. They fight over arm control to start until Tyler grabs a headlock. A nice running dropkick gets two for Breeze and he starts in on the leg.
Ziggler tries to roll out of a knee bar but gets caught in a half crab instead. With that broken up, Breeze tries to wrap the leg around the post but gets pulled face first into the steel instead (with no mention of this from the commentators because Lawler is reading a line about selfies). Back in and the superkick ends Breeze at 4:44. That was Ziggler’s only major offensive move of the match.
Rating: D+. So let’s see. Breeze arrived about a month and a half ago and already has a losing record in general and to Dolph Ziggler. I’m so glad we saw him go through all that work down in NXT, only to have him come up here and lose a feud to the perennial jobber to the stars, who TOTALLY needed to win this feud. As usual, it’s the same old things that we’ve seen for years that don’t work but they keep doing because they’re sure it’s a brilliant idea.
We recap Ryback vs. Rusev. I’m assuming they’ll fight on Sunday.
Here’s New Day and since it’s Smackdown, this is probably their only appearance for the night. Before their match, Kofi talks about LeBron James just signed a lifetime deal with Nike. Big E.: “Lifetime? As in like it and put a ring on it?” Kofi shows off his shoes as E. gives us a quick commercial. As for Sunday, they’re defending their titles in a triple threat ladder match, but getting the belts off of them is harder than getting Adele to answer a phone call. Why you ask? It’s because NEW DAY ROCKS of course.
New Day vs. Lucha Dragons
Again non-title and a rematch from Raw, though this time it’s Big E. on the floor. Kalisto flips Kofi down to start but both guys try a dropkick to give us a stalemate. The Dragons take over again with Cara monkey flipping Kalisto onto Kofi for two. New Day finally gets it together with Kofi sending Cara to the floor as we take a break. Back with Woods stomping in the corner and Big E. not being able to master the trombone.
We get an awkward sequence where Woods misses a clothesline and then hits it a second later with Cara standing there so he can hit it. Cara lifts Kofi up into a powerbomb (ala Reigns), finally allowing the hot tag to Kalisto as things speed way up. The hurricanrana driver gets two with Kofi making the save. When that doesn’t work, Kalisto kicks Xavier in the head and hits the Salida Del Sol for the pin at 8:14.
Rating: C-. This didn’t have much time due to the break and was another rematch from Raw. Just like with Owens in the Intercontinental Title feud, the Usos have been completely forgotten in this whole thing and should have been in this match instead of the rematch with the Dragons where New Day loses AGAIN. In other words, they’re using the same idea in the Tag Team Title feud that they’re doing in the World Title feud. And people wonder why this isn’t the most well received time in creative’s history.
It’s time for the contract signing for Owens vs. Ambrose. Dean comes out first and has to yell at Owens’ attorney. Owens has an attorney? That doesn’t fit for some reason. Owens has been instructed to not show up tonight because it’s not a safe working environment. Oh sweet goodness with the legal storylines. That’s another trope you can check off the list for this show.
Dean says he was hoping for a quick beatdown tonight instead of having to actually do something. He goes to sign but here’s Owens, blowing off the ploy a good three minutes after it started. Dean is sent into the barricade but whips Owens into the steps and takes out the attorney as a bonus. Owens bails and the attorney gets Dirty Deeds before Dean signs.
Ryback vs. Ascension
Lana and Rusev are on commentary. Ryback throws Viktor around to start and plants Konnor with a spinebuster. The Meat Hook and Shell Shock put Viktor away at 1:29.
If you’re going to do that, BRING BACK JOBBERS! Good grief man. Someone explain to me the reason why we need to beat down a team that could be used somewhere else for the sake of pushing this midcard feud. If you’re going to have someone lose in 90 seconds, bring in jobbers who have nothing to lose. I know Ascension doesn’t have much to lose, but they COULD mean something if they’re built up. Add this to the list of annoying things WWE doesn’t understand that gets on my nerves because they’re so obsessed with this way of thinking and no one comes in and says “hey, that’s stupid.”
Ryback stares at the Russians or whatever country they’re from this week.
Recap of Rhyno returning Monday.
Becky Lynch vs. Paige
Paige’s early headlock doesn’t get her anywhere so she punches Becky in the ribs instead. Some knees to the head set up a chinlock on Becky but she comes back with some hard uppercuts. A double clothesline puts both of them down but here’s Charlotte coming to the ring, complete with full music. The distraction only works on Paige (because they’re feuding you see) and the Disarm-Her makes her tap at 3:23.
Rating: D+. So instead of having the champion get beat, let’s have the challenger get beat so we have even less of a reason to like her. I think they’re trying to make Paige the face here but much like everything else, they have no idea how to make the women likeable either. I’m sure the solution is to have her take credit for the Divas Revolution though and then have her be catty with everyone else.
Long video on Reigns vs. Sheamus. As I’ve said ever since it started: it’s a great Intercontinental Title feud but a lame main event.
League of Nations vs. Roman Reigns/Dean Ambrose/Usos
Alberto shoulders Jimmy down to start but Jimmy (who Booker identifies as having the facepaint on the right hand side, even though they’re exactly the same in the ring) comes back with a loud uppercut. Off to Jey vs. Rusev with the Bulgarian taking over as you would expect. Sheamus comes in with a kick to the head and we take a break. Back with Jey having his shirt ripped open for some forearms to the chest.
Reigns has to be held back from interfering but the distraction allows the tag to Ambrose but the fans aren’t ready to react. The middle rope dropkick puts Sheamus down and the bulldog sets up the strikes against the ropes. Barrett finally does something by tripping Ambrose from the floor, allowing Rusev to come in and choke away. Del Rio comes in for another chinlock (he’s a big fan of those tonight) and a Backstabber for two.
Sheamus’ suplex slam gets two and it’s off to another chinlock. Back to Rusev for a bearhug but Dean counters into a neckbreaker. A tornado DDT to Del Rio is enough for the hot tag to Reigns, though the crowd doesn’t seem that thrilled to see him again. Everything breaks down and the Usos take out Sheamus and Del Rio with stereo dives. The spear finishes Rusev at 13:47.
Rating: D+. Totally uninteresting main event here with nothing standing out. Reigns wins again before he gets screwed over on Sunday like we’re all expecting because that’s what the fans want to see: more of the same thing we’ve seen for a year now while we keep pedaling towards the carrot on a string that we can never reach.
Overall Rating: D-. I don’t say this often but this show was a huge waste of my time. I understand that this was the same taping as Tribute to the Troops but this felt more like that “special” (“Yeah it’s for the troops and totally not just us taping a house show so we can feel good about ourselves. USA!”) than a regular show.
Almost every single thing that happened on this show felt like it came from the book of WWE Easy Ideas and that’s not how you ever want a show to go. Between the champions losing, the contract signing and the tag team main event, I saw nothing on this show that makes me care about TLC. Nothing. Not a single thing. I’m sure the show will be fine, but this was a waste of my time.
It’s very clear right now that WWE isn’t trying. I know it happens every year at this time when the creative team basically puts it on autopilot and throws their feet up for the holidays, but this is the kind of show that makes me wonder why I should bother at this time of year. I never had that feeling before but it’s happening almost every November and December in recent years because WWE is stuck with five hours of TV a week and nowhere near enough ideas.
They need to give me a reason to care in a hurry (hint: you can have a face hold the title for more than five minutes in fifteen months) because this is getting old. Stop having champions lose, stop treating these shows like they don’t matter, stop repeating the same matches with guys trading meaningless five minute wins and stop using the same ideas every few weeks and expecting us to care. I usually give WWE the benefit of the doubt (more often than I should) but this is the kind of show that makes me feel like I’ve wasted my time and that’s the last thing I should feel when I’m watching something that should be entertaining.
Roman Reigns vs. Alberto Del Rio went to a double DQ when the League of Nations, the Usos and Dean Ambrose interfered
Dolph Ziggler b. Tyler Breeze – Superkick
Lucha Dragons b. New Day – Salida Del Sol to Woods
Ryback b. Ascension – Shell Shock to Viktor
Becky Lynch b. Paige – Disarm-Her
Roman Reigns/Dean Ambrose/Usos b. League of Nations – Spear to Rusev
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