Tables Ladders And Chairs 2020
Date: December 20, 2020
Location: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Tom Phillips, Samoa Joe, Byron Saxton
It’s time to wrap up the year and I’m not sure what that is going to mean. For the first time in a good many years, we don’t have matches based on all three of the letters in the show’s name, but rather two based on all three of them combined. That could be a good way to go and hopefully that is the case here. Let’s get to it.
Kickoff Show: Daniel Bryan/Chad Gable/Otis/Big E. vs. Sami Zayn/Shinsuke Nakamura/Cesaro/King Corbin
Well that’s kind of a huge for a tossed together match. Big E. plays an air version of Nakamura’s violin and Sami, with the two Sami Awards, has a shirt saying I’m The Intercontinental Champion. We also get some audio from Kayla Braxton’s Instagram of Sami giving quite the rant about wanting to fire people who caused it. Sami and Gable start so it’s off to Big E. in two seconds.
Corbin comes in as well and gets powered back into the corner. There’s the belly to belly and it’s off to Cesaro vs. Gable for a change. Gable starts taking him down without much effort and goes after the arm. Bryan comes in to keep the cranking going but gets driven up against the ropes. Nakamura adds a kick from the apron and comes in to work on the cravate. It’s back to Sami as Cole explains the joke about Sami’s backstage rant. Bryan fights up against Corbin as Big E. chases Sami around ringside.
The hot tag brings in Otis, who knocks Nakamura down to set up the Caterpillar. With Nakamura crushed, Gable comes in and gets kicked in the face. Nakamura hits a middle rope knee to the head, setting up a gutwrench jackknife from Cesaro. We hit the parade of secondary finishes, including a running knee from Bryan and Rolling Chaos Theory from Gable to Cesaro. Sami comes in but Gable rolls over to Big E., who counters the Helluva Kick into the Rock Bottom out of the corner. The Big Ending finishes Sami at 8:47.
Rating: C+. If nothing else, it was weird to see this kind of star power in a random match on the Kickoff Show. The ending was all that mattered, but it does kind of leave you wondering how this many people, many of whom are featured on Smackdown most weeks, are only being thrown onto this show with a few hours’ notice. What we got worked well though, as most of the people involved know how to put together a perfectly entertaining match.
The opening video looks at how this is the end of the year and could be the end of the people involved. The two main events get the big feature, probably because they’re named after the show, though the other matches get some focus of their own.
We recap AJ Styles vs. Drew McIntyre for the Raw World Title. There isn’t much of a story here, as Drew is champion and AJ won a mini tournament to get the shot. They have used the various weapons on each other and now it’s time to have the big weapons match.
Raw World Title: AJ Styles vs. Drew McIntyre
AJ, with Omos, is challenging in a TLC match. Styles goes for the knee at the bell but has to settle for chopping McIntyre in the corner instead. That earns AJ a toss out of the corner and Drew is looking especially fired up here. We get a little miscommunication as AJ is whipped into the corner and falls down, even as McIntyre follows for a running clothesline. Instead it’s kind of a running right hand, followed by a backdrop to put AJ down again.
AJ gets a boot up in the corner but Drew hits a loud chop to take him off the top and out to the floor again. Drew sends him into the barricade a few times and loads up the first ladder. That means it’s time for a chair with AJ cracking him over the back and wedging the chair in the corner. McIntyre sends him head first into said chair though and it’s time to climb. AJ is back up to pelt the chair at Drew though and they’re both down again. The Styles Clash onto the ladder is broken up though and it’s the Future Shock to plant AJ instead.
Drew tosses the ladder at AJ but only grazes him a bit, allowing AJ to take out the leg. The Calf Crusher, in the ladder, goes on to make McIntyre scream. With that broken up, AJ unloads on the knee with the chair. The Calf Crusher goes on again with the chair around McIntyre’s knee but he counters by sending him into the ladder for a double knockdown. It’s AJ up first to wrap the leg around the post. A table is cleared at ringside but Drew is up first to throw a chair at AJ for a breather.
The ladder is set up in the corner and a table is set up across from it, with AJ managing a drop toehold into said ladder. AJ kicks at the knee again but dives into a suplex into the ladder to put him in trouble again. Styles is fine enough to hit a Phenomenal Forearm but can’t follow up. It’s Styles up first to climb the ladder but McIntyre slams him off the ladder and through a ringside table.
McIntyre goes up….and here’s Miz to powerbomb McIntyre through the table. The briefcase is OFFICIALLY cashed in and we now have a triple threat. Miz goes up but Omos pulls him down and drops him through a table at ringside. John Morrison chairs Omos across the back, shattering the (metal) chair, which only annoys the giant. Omos slowly stalks him to the back and we’re down to the actual three involved.
McIntyre goes up but AJ is right there to catch him. Miz brings in his own ladder though and goes up as well. The Glasgow Kiss drops AJ and McIntyre shoves Miz down but AJ is back up with a springboard to the ladder. McIntyre gets knocked down so Miz takes his place, only to have McIntyre shove them both down. There’s the Claymore to Miz and McIntyre retains at 26:58.
Rating: B. This went as expected until the Miz cash-in, as they just had two big stars beating the fire out of each other. The problem is that’s the kind of match that we have seen time after time in TLC, so it hit a pretty firm ceiling. The good thing is that ceiling is pretty high up there and they had a hard hitting match. Not a memorable one or anything, but it worked well. Above all else though, Miz and John Morrison aren’t going to be running around with the briefcase so that annoyance is out of the way.
Paul Heyman is asked about Kevin Owens saying he will win the Universal Title or die trying. After mocking Kayla Braxton for going for aesthetics over competency, Heyman talks about how favorite non-WWE sport is actually NASCAR. Not that he cares about who wins of course, but he likes the car crashes. Tonight it is going to be a huge car crash, and Roman Reigns is retaining because that is a spoiler.
We recap Sasha Banks vs. Carmella for Banks’ Smackdown Women’s Title. Banks won the title from Bayley to end her year plus reign but was then attacked by Carmella. They already had their first match, with Carmella winning via DQ. Since then, Carmella has hit her with a pair of champagne bottles to the back, meaning Banks is coming in a bit weakened.
Smackdown Women’s Title: Carmella vs. Sasha Banks
Banks is defending and Carmella drops straight to the floor to start. That’s not going to work for Banks who chases her back inside for an armdrag. This time around Banks sends her off the apron and into the arms of the sommellier, Reginald. Carmella uses the distraction to drive Banks into the steps for two and we settle down a bit. They head out to the apron where the Bank Statement is broken up, allowing Carmella to send her face first onto said apron.
Back in and Banks kicks away a bit, setting up Three Amigos to put Carmella down for a change. The frog splash connects for two on Carmella but Banks spins around into an X Factor (with a hard landing). That gives Carmella some near falls of her own and it’s time to slap it out with some vinegar. Banks goes up top and gets caught in a superplex attempt, only to reverses into a super sunset flip for two. A backslide gives Banks two more but Carmella slaps on the Code of Silence.
That’s reversed into a rollup for two and Banks flips her into the Bank Statement. Reginald pulls Carmella out though and carries her away, only to get caught with a Meteora off the apron. Carmella nails a superkick for two back inside so she shouts her name a lot. That’s too much for Banks, who pulls her into the Bank Statement for the tap at 12:44.
Rating: C. They were trying here but there are only so many ways that you can get around the idea of Carmella being a serious threat to Banks. Carmella isn’t the joke that she used to be but the champagne deal wasn’t exactly a strong upgrade and Banks shouldn’t be losing anytime soon. And what about Banks’ back being hurt by the champagne bottles?
Billie Kay tries to talk Asuka into being her partner, complete with offering her resume. She points out that she speaks Japanese, which has Asuka rather pleased. Kay doesn’t quite get what Asuka says, but she has even made her own mask. Granted it looks like a paper plate on a popsicle stick, so Asuka is disturbed. It doesn’t matter though, as Asuka already has a partner and Kay ISN’T READY FOR ASUKA.
New Day says they’ve beaten the Hurt Business but this is BIG TIME New Day, so…..dang it they’re still not used to not having Big E. to do the entrance.
Raw Tag Team Titles: New Day vs. Hurt Business
Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander are challenging for the Hurt Business with MVP in their corner. Kofi kicks Alexander down for two at the bell and Woods comes in for the same off a legdrop. A crossbody gives Kofi two more and it’s time for the legdrop into a sliding clothesline into a springboard splash for two more on Alexander. Shelton comes in and gets forearmed by Woods as Kofi fights Alexander on the floor.
A tornado DDT gives Woods two on Shelton, who sends Woods hard into the bottom turnbuckle. That gives Alexander two and MVP is rather pleased about the chinlock with a knee in Woods’ back. The armbar doesn’t last long on Woods as he fights up and brings in Kofi off the hot tag.
As Tom brings up Shelton vs. Kofi on ECW of all things, Kofi hits the Boom Drop into the SOS for two on Alexander. Trouble in Paradise misses though and Alexander hits a running knee into a brainbuster. The Neuralizer into Paydirt puts Woods on the floor and Shelton runs the corner to superplex Kofi. Alexander tags himself in (much to Shelton’s annoyance) and the Lumbar Check finishes Kofi for pin and the titles at 9:43.
Rating: C-. Kind of a disappointing match but the absolutely right ending. The Hurt Business is becoming one of the best factions in a long time now and I could go with them being at a higher level on the roster. New Day has held the titles ten times now so losing them again isn’t going to mean a thing. Not a bad match, but they got the result right and that’s what matters.
Bobby Lashley comes out to celebrate and the Hurt Business holds up their titles.
The Royal Rumble is coming on January 31.
We recap the Sami Awards with Big E. interfering, plus the leaked audio.
Sami Zayn rants to Kayla Braxton about the leaked audio, but she won’t say who gave it to her.
We recap the Women’s Tag Team Titles. Nia Jax beat up Lana for months, then Lana got Asuka to give her some pep talks, then Lana pinned Jax, then Lana was taken out and now it’s Asuka and a mystery partner getting a title shot against Jax and Shayna Baszler.
Women’s Tag Team Titles: Asuka/??? vs. Shayna Baszler/Nia Jax
Jax and Baszler are defending against Asuka and…..Charlotte, who seems to have lost something during her time away (it’s in the upper region). It’s Asuka starting with Baszler, who can’t take out Asuka’s arm early on. Charlotte comes in to face Jax, who takes her into the corner early on. You don’t do that to Charlotte, who fights out and brings Asuka back in. Baszler goes after Asuka’s arm again, including sending it into the post.
Back in and the standing armbar goes on but Asuka fights her off, allowing the hot tag off to Charlotte. Chopping abounds and the big boot drops Jax to the floor. Charlotte mostly hits the moonsault to take her down again and it’s the missile dropkick from Asuka back inside. Baszler comes in for the Kirifuda Clutch but it’s broken up in a hurry. Instead a small package gets two on Baszler, followed by Jax having to break up the Figure Eight. With Jax being dispatched again, it’s the Natural Selection to finish Baszler for the pin and the titles at 9:14.
Rating: C. How in the world did we start with Lana being sent through tables over and over and wind up with Charlotte getting another title reign? It was nice to have Charlotte gone for a good while like this though as I think we needed a breather from her after all the title matches. I doubt they hold the titles for a long time, but you know Charlotte is coming for Asuka sooner or later.
Sami Zayn finds Big E. and R-Truth laughing at the leaked audio, meaning it’s time to claim a conspiracy. Truth knows a conspiracy: your lips don’t touch when you say separate. Sami calls Big E. a loser since he went solo, and that’s enough to bring out serious Big E. This isn’t going to end well for Sami is it?
We recap Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens in a TLC match because TLC is being headlined by a match involving fire. Reigns told Jey Uso to get respect from the losing team at Survivor Series, including beating Owens down. Owens didn’t like the fact that Reigns had Jey do all of this and wanted the title match as a result. Reigns has since destroyed Owens over and over but Owens refuses to stay down.
Smackdown World Title: Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns
Reigns, with Paul Heyman, is defending in a TLC match. Owens comes in through the crowd and jumps Reigns to start as the beating is on in a hurry. The Cannonball connects and Reigns is sent outside for the frog splash off the apron. Cue Jey Uso to try and help Reigns but Owens chairs him down and Pillmanizes his ankle. Reigns uses the distraction to kick Owens in the face and then drops the top of the announcers’ table onto Owens’ back.
The steps go off of Owens’ head a few times as Heyman is starting to understand that this is getting serious. Owens is thrown back inside for a chair to the back but he picks up his own, only to have Reigns drive his own chair into Owens’ to put him down again. The chairs are set up and, after blocking a powerbomb attempt, Reigns backdrops him through the open chairs for a huge crash. Somehow Owens manages to fight his way up and chairs Reigns off the ladder.
A suplex through a chair keeps Reigns in trouble and Owens goes up until a limping Jey makes the save. The distraction lets Reigns get in a Superman Punch and Owens is down again. Reigns sets up a table in the corner and looks like he knows what he has to do. Owens kicks Jey down though and hits a Stunner on Reigns. The ladder is set up but Owens goes outside to powerbomb Jey through the announcers’ table.
Now it’s time to climb but Reigns makes another save. A spinebuster puts Owens through a table and Reigns chokeslams him through another at ringside for a bonus. Reigns isn’t done yet as it’s a Samoan drop through a third table. That’s enough for the slow climb but Owens grabs his foot, much to Reigns’ annoyance. Reigns looks down and laughs at him, even saying that Owens is embarrassing his family.
A slap to Reigns’ face earns Owens a spear through the table in the corner but Reigns can’t follow up for some reason. Owens is already pulling himself up with a ladder on the floor and Reigns can’t believe it. He tells Reigns he’ll have to kill him but another spear only hits the barricade. Reigns makes the save and sends Owens into the ladder, only to take two superkicks.
The Pop Up Powerbomb is countered into the Superman Punch but Owens hits the Pop Up Powerbomb through the table. Owens goes up again but has to deal with Jey, who is taken down by headbutts and a Stunner. Reigns catches Owens with a low blow on the ladder though and now it’s the guillotine on top. That’s it for Owens as he crashes down, allowing Reigns to retain at 24:43.
Rating: B+. If they don’t do a Last Man Standing match at the Rumble, they’re goofier than I thought. This was one of the better performances I’ve seen in a good while from WWE as I bought into the idea of Owens overcoming the odds, even though there was no reason to believe he could pull it off.
They made this work very well though as Owens just kept coming until the numbers games, and Reigns himself, became too much to overcome. There is a rematch to be had here though and just like Jey, they turned what should have been a completely obvious ending into some great drama. Reigns is on another level right now and that was on full display again here. Owens did his part too though, turning this into a heck of a match.
Big E. is challenging Sami Zayn for the Intercontinental Title on Smackdown.
We recap Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton, which goes back to their time together in the Wyatt Family. Orton outsmarted Bray, to the point where he burned down the Wyatt Compound and destroyed the remains of Sister Abigail. Now Bray is in a better place with the Firefly Fun House and the Fiend wants revenge on Orton for his recent and past sins. Orton is being outsmarted but may have found Bray’s weak spot with Alexa Bliss. That being said, setting Bray on fire didn’t work, as the Fiend popped up and took Orton out. Tonight it’s a Firefly Inferno match, which needs a bit of an explanation.
Randy Orton vs. The Fiend
Orton, in sweatpants and a hoodie, has to fire himself up on the way to the ring. After some rather long entrances, the bell rings, even though we have no explanation of how you win the match yet. There is no fire to speak of to start and Orton’s right hand just makes Fiend laugh. A kick to the ribs gets the same result and the threat of the RKO is shrugged away. Fiend knocks him down in the corner but Sister Abigail is blocked. Orton hits a dropkick but Fiend is back with the running crossbody.
Sister Abigail is countered into the backbreaker, only to have Wyatt score with Sister Abigail. Fiend throws his arms up to start up some fire behind the barricade. Commentary says we know you have to set your opponent on fire to win (first mention of the way to win and the match started four minutes ago) as they fight outside with Orton being knocked around ringside. Orton gets whipped with a strap….which Fiend then lights on fire.
The big swing misses so Fiend whips out a pick ax. That only hits barricade, as commentary can’t believe Fiend would go that far. So do they just think the LIGHT YOUR OPPONENT ON FIRE rules are here because they were pulled out of a hat? With Orton down, Fiend whips out a rocking chair and some gasoline, which he pours over the chair and then in a path towards it. Orton is sent hard into the steps and then gets set in the chair, so Fiend can pull out a lighter.
The trail is lit up and Orton dives out of the chair just in time (or just before the camera cuts can keep you from seeing everything in one shot). Orton finds an ax handle to knock the steps out of Fiend’s hands and then hits him in the face with them. A chain around the face isn’t enough to drag Fiend into the fire so they head back inside. Fiend plants him with a release Rock Bottom and it’s time to go outside, with Fiend lighting the ax handle on fire. Orton breaks that up as well but the RKO is countered into the Mandible Claw. They fight near the fire with Orton reversing him into the flames for the win at 12:05.
Rating: D+. The fire stuff was forced in the first place and then they didn’t even have fire (or established rules) when the match started. These things are always going to be a stretch of logic at best and that was the case here, as it turns into a horror movie instead of a match most of the time. Orton didn’t need to win but you know this is going on to the Rumble at least. Just stop doing these Inferno matches already though, because they tend to be horrible as soon as you actually try one.
Post match Fiend is still on fire as he charges….right into the RKO. Orton isn’t sure what to think of this as he kicks Fiend over, so he grabs the gas can and covers Fiend. Now it’s time for a match, which Orton throws on Fiend to burn him alive (and send the cameras into complete insanity). Orton poses and we go off the air. I really hope this isn’t the more serious path they’re taking for USA, because they might be in more trouble than I thought.
I know the idea is to have Fiend come back for a big fight at the Rumble, but do I have any reason to believe that this is going to be some big serious moment? Last week’s show featured Orton trying to burn Wyatt and seven minutes later, Riddle was having a doughnut. Maybe they go somewhere smart with it, but I wouldn’t get my hopes up.
Overall Rating: B-. The two TLC matches are enough to carry things, but this was rather typical of a big WWE show: when they let the people do their thing and tell a story, it works. When they try to get too smart, everything collapses under its own weight, which is what happened at the end. The rest of the show was good to very good, with the TLC matches both delivering and some of the other stuff hitting as well. Just cut it off after Reigns wins and you’re in for a much better night, as the big angle at the end was getting into “you might as well hold up the IT’S FAKE” sign.
Drew McIntyre b. AJ Styles and The Miz – McIntyre pulled down the title
Sasha Banks b. Carmella – Bank Statement
Hurt Business b. New Day – Lumbar Check to Kingston
Charlotte/Asuka b. Shayna Baszler/Nia Jax – Natural Selection to Baszler
Roman Reigns b. Kevin Owens – Reigns pulled down the title
Randy Orton b. The Fiend – Orton lit the Fiend on fire
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