The SmarK Rant for WWE TLC 2012 – 12.16.12

The SmarK Rant for WWE Tables Ladders & Chairs 2012 – 12.16.12

This one’s gonna take some explanation.

When I was doing the MSG show review last night, I was hopping around the internet checking out what Steve Lombardi’s early and late matches were while reviewing his career for fun, and apparently his final PPV appearance was on this show.  And I was like “Huh.  I don’t remember that.”  So I called up the rant from the archives, and it just stops after the Shield six man and I apparently never finished it and whatever happened with Lombardi happened after that.  So now I’m really confused and I search for it on the blog to see if I explained it at the time, and it turns out that I had ordered the PPV back in the weird days before WWE Network where you had to PAY for pay-per-view, and for whatever reason Sasktel’s feed cut out 1:45 into the show and never returned, so I never actually got a chance to finish the PPV and I just posted the amount I had done and forgot about it.

UNTIL TODAY.

So here’s a Frankensteined rant, with the original leftover version up until the feed died, and then I’ll finally finish the last hour nine years later and find out what the hell Steve Lombardi was doing on this show.  Because really it’s this or slog back into the stupid goddamn 1994 Superstars shows again because that’s apparently all they’re going to give us on the Network until the end of time.

Live from Brooklyn, NY.

Your hosts are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler & JBL.

Tables Match:  Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara v. The Rhodes Scholars

Brawl to start as the crowd again focuses on Cody’s mustache. Bunch of jealous hipsters.  The heels get tossed and the masked men retrieve a table and abuse Sandow with it.  Cody saves his partner and they double-team Cara, but he escapes a suplex attempt and dumps Sandow.  Cody comes back with the disaster kick and the heels take over on the floor, with Sandow beating the hell out of Rey and setting up a pair of tables on the floor, but Rey comes back with the senton on Cody and a rana to send him out of the ring again.  Sin Cara fires off a sloppy  rana and a corkscrew dive on Sandow, clearly in a lot of pain.  Cody tries the Alabama Slam on Rey, but gets 619’d instead and Rey puts him on the table.  Sandow saves and Cara puts Rhodes on the floor again, but he goes for a springboard and Cody shoves him through the table on the floor at 9:30 to finish it.  Great finish, and the fast-paced highspots to end it were a lot of fun.  ***1/4  (I feel like Cody might be ready for bigger things soon.) 

US title:  Antonio Cesaro v. R-Truth

Cesaro gets a big babyface pop in New York, as you’d expect. Cesaro shoulderblocks him down for two and works a headlock, but Truth rolls him up for two.  Another rollup gets two.  Cesaro puts him down for the double-stomp and a knee to the gut gets two.  He goes to a cobra sleeper on the mat, but Truth comes back with the leg lariat for two.  Truth escapes a suplex, however, and finishes with the uppercut and NEUTRALIZER at 6:39 to retain.  Pretty standard RAW match.  **

Meanwhile, Dolph Ziggler complains about preferential treatment for John Cena.

Miz TV presents 3MB.  Trainwreck alert.  Heath goes after the Rolling Stones and then they threaten the Spanish announcers, which draws out Ricardo Rodriguez and then Alberto Del Rio for an apparent face turn.  So we have another match for later tonight.

Intercontinental title:  Kofi Kingston v. Wade Barrett

Barrett gets a pair of takedowns for two and tosses Kofi, but he heads back in and follows with a dive of his own.  Back in, Wade with a back kick and backbreaker for two. Middle rope elbow gets two.  Kofi comes back with a Russian legsweep and the boomdrop, but Wade ducks the kick.  Kofi keeps coming with the SOS for two and he pounds away in the corner, but Wade hits a full nelson slam for two.  Kofi with the kick out of the corner and he goes up with the crossbody, but Barrett rolls through for two.  Kofi with a small package for two.  Wade with the Bossman slam for two.  Wade sets up for the big elbow, but Kofi reverses to the wacky kick for the pin at 8:08 to retain.  Well that was unexpected.  Guess the title’s changing on RAW tomorrow night instead.  Fun match!  ***

TLC Match:  The Shield v. Ryback, Daniel Bryan & Kane

The crowd boos Ryback and then chants “Feed me more” for some reason.  Big brawl to start and Ambrose chops Ryback and goes for the knee, but Ryback slugs him down.  The Shield triple-team him and dump him, then abuse Bryan with a ladder, but Ryback saves and does really dangerous things with it.  I personally would not trust Ryback to drop a ladder on me and not fuck it up.  Kane and Bryan finally unite and double-team Reigns into the ladder, as Bryan has EMBRACED THE YES.  Well finally.  (Hopefully it catches on with fans.)  Kane gets two on Rollins and beats on him with a chair, but Ambrose saves with a DDT onto the chair.  A pissed off Ryback spears them into the corners, but Rollins puts him down with a ladder.  Ryback comes back again and splashes them into the ladder, then suplexes both Ambrose & Rollins onto the ladder.  Reigns saves and we get another beatdown, leading to Ryback getting powerbombed through the poor Spanish announce table.  And while they gloat, Bryan hits them with a dive for a giant babyface pop.  Back in the ring, Bryan grabs a chair, but the numbers game beats him again and Ambrose slams him on a chair.  They set up a table in the corner and run Bryan into the edge in a nasty spot, and TO THE TOP for a double superplex that gets two.  Kane saves and now he gets double-teamed by Rollins & Ambrose, but he fights them off and comes off the table with a flying clothesline on Ambrose.  He goes after Reigns with a sideslam for two, but Ambrose recovers again, only to get chokeslammed onto a chair for two.  And again, they divide and conquer, as Reigns spears Kane through the timekeeper’s area and the Shield regroups for the pack attack.  What awesomely smart booking.  In the ring, however, Bryan hooks the No-lock on Ambrose and makes the big comeback, getting it on each heel in succession, but once again the Shield is smarter and teams up to fight him off.  Bryan fights off Ambrose & Rollins alone with kicks, but Rollins gives him the BLACKOUT onto the chair for two.  Ryback suddenly recovers and destroys everyone, dumping Ambrose & Rollins and hitting Reigns with a spinebuster, but again the triple-teaming.  He fights off Ambrose with a spear and lariat, and Shellshock get two as the Shield teams up to save again.  Ryback gets mugged on the floor now and fights down the aisle with Reigns, and once again the heels team up and clobber him three-on-one.  They’re like ninjas in a bad action movie, but SMART.  They put Ryback on a table and Rollins goes up a GIANT ladder, but Ryback follows him up and poor Seth goes through the tables.  Back in the ring, the other two double-team Bryan and powerbomb him through the table to finish at 22:43.  The in-ring ending was kind of a throwaway, but the rest was a hellacious brawl right out of the 90s, featuring some of the smartest heel booking I’ve ever seen.  There’s your $55 right there, and one hell of a debut for the Shield.  Plus Ryback stayed protected.  ****3/4  (Jesus, I was paying FIFTY FIVE DOLLARS for these shows at that point?  How did I afford to eat?!?) 

Divas title:  Eve Torres v. Naomi

This is quite the contrast to the previous match.   Naomi slugs away in the corner and takes Eve down for a legdrop, and Eve bails.  Naomi stops for some dancing, but Eve controls with a wristlock.  Naomi comes back and goes up, but misses a dive and Eve retains with the neckbreaker at 3:06.  Well at least it was something different than Kaitlyn again.  *

(And now we go BACK TO THE FUTURE as I pick things up on the WWE Network in 2021 and finish the rant!)

World Heavyweight title, Chairs match:  Big Show v. Sheamus

Oh man, Sheamus is all about TOO MANY LIMES at this point.  I completely forgot about that lame theme.  The recap shows that Sheamus beat on Big Show with a chair about 30 times at Survivor Series in their last sports entertainment encounter to up this rematch.  The crowd is dead silent for Big Show’s entrance and I’m not even sure if he’s a babyface here or what.  Sheamus beats on Show in the corner and dropkicks the knee to take Show down, but Show swats him to the floor.  The crowd starts singing the “Ole” song.  What do you think, you’re gonna sing that song and then Steen and Generico are gonna sign with WWE?  NERDS.  Sheamus collects some chairs for this chairs match, but Show kicks it back in his face and beats on him with chops.  Sheamus fights back with a shoulderblock off the apron and they head back in the ring and stumble around, and Show slugs him down and steps on him.  Back to the floor for more dull brawling.  JBL:  “Nothing entertaining at all about what’s going to happen right here.”  I love shoot comments that aren’t supposed to be shoot comments.  Back in the ring, Sheamus gets some chairshots and a slam for two.  Sheamus goes up with a flying chairshot, but he tries it again and Show kind of shoulderblocks him on the way down to block.  I don’t really see how one was less painful than the other for Show.  So Sheamus beats on him and beats on him and beats on him and finally Show chokeslams him, but then he doesn’t cover and goes out and throws a bunch of chairs in the ring instead and beats on him with those.  Show goes up with a pump splash that has two feet of air between himself and Sheamus, and that gets two.  Show sets up a pair of chairs, but Sheamus hits him with White Noise onto the chairs and that gets two.  Sheamus sets up the Brogue Kick and misses, and Show punches him out, but only gets two.  So Show goes outside and brings in a comically oversized chair and hits Sheamus with it to retain at 14:20.  Has there EVER been a good chairs match?  There was a couple of impressive power spots from Sheamus but this was mostly a bore.  *1/2  Meltzer gave this ***1/4 in the Observer and I’m not seeing it AT ALL.

Meanwhile, John Cena and AJ Lee have an awkward meeting backstage.  AJ is a bit crazy but as always, Cena plays peacemaker.

Impromptu match:  3MB v. The Miz & Alberto Del Rio & The Brooklyn Brawler

So this was set up by the Miz TV angle earlier on the show, which is nine years ago for me, and BOY have things changed for 3MB in those nine years!  Of the many things that would probably blow my mind if you told me about them at the time, “Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre combining for 3 WWE World titles” would likely top the list.  Meanwhile this was the start for the disastrous babyface runs of Del Rio and Miz, each of whom was somehow worse than the other as top level babyface.  Anyway they’re in Brooklyn so Miz sucks up to the crowd by picking Brooklyn Brawler as their mystery partner. Brawler actually cleans house to start, but Slater hits him with a superkick and puts the boots to him.  Drew comes in with a suplex for two, but Slater goes up and misses a flying knee and Miz gets a tag and he runs wild for a bit.  Meanwhile the announcers are going overboard with dumb 80s references, and Cole even makes my joke about how Brawler is missing from the pre-tape room while doing the match, referencing his frequent DVD appearances.  Miz hits Jinder with the Skull Crushing Finale and Brawler comes in with a Boston crab, and Jinder taps at 3:35.  *

Ladder match:  John Cena v. Dolph Ziggler

Dolph’s Money in the Bank briefcase is on the line here based on the wacky love story between Cena and AJ Lee.  Cole talks about Ziggler thinks that Cena’s time is up, but his feelings are directly contradicted by Cena’s theme song, which clearly says that his opponent’s time is up and Cena’s time is now.  QED.  I will say, this is at least something different from a main event perspective.  Cena takes him down with a headlock and they fight over a wristlock before Cena gets the fisherman’s suplex and monkey flips Ziggler out of the corner.  Cena dumps him as the fickle fans switch from chanting his name to booing him again.  Cena gets all distracted by that, and Ziggler brings in a chair and wedges it in the corner, but Cena lays him out and retrieves a ladder, ramming that into Ziggler’s head before sending him to the floor and smashing him into the table.  Cena grabs the stairs and smashes those into Ziggler’s head while the crowd is in full “Let’s Go Cena / Cena Sucks” mode.  Back in the ring, Cena sets up a table, but Ziggler necks him on the top rope and makes the first climb.  They slug it out, with Ziggler now the clear babyface, and Dolph grabs a sleeper.  That’s a really smart move in a ladder match, actually.  But Cena climbs the ladder with Dolph on his back and after unsuccessfully pawing at the case, he falls off and both guys go through the table.  Dolph recovers first and climbs, but Cena folds up the ladder with Ziggler on it and then BOOSTS IT ONTO HIS SHOULDERS to tease the most fucked up AA ever, but Dolph dives off to prevent that and hits the fameasser.  Ziggler grabs another ladder, but Cena traps him in the STF and Dolph taps, which means nothing.  Cena charges him with a ladder and Dolph knocks it away, but Cena catches him and tries the AA, which Dolph counters with the Zig Zag.  Dolph puts a table in the corner, but Cena hits him with the Five Knuckle Shuffle, and then Dolph DDTs him and both guys are down.  Ziggler recovers first and finds the giant ladder on the floor for the climb, but Cena cuts him off and slugs him down and he goes for the case.  Ziggler sprints up and hauls Cena down, and then runs him into the ladder, but Cena hits Ziggler with the rana and puts him through the corner table.  Cena retrieves the giant ladder again, but Ziggler dropkicks it out of his hands and both guys are down.  Cena takes him to the top rope and Ziggler fights him off and hits a bodypress, which Cena catches and rolls into AA position.  But Ziggler grabs the chair out of the corner in a clever callback and beats on Cena to escape that.  Cena hits him with the AA and Ziggler bumps to the floor, but Vickie Guerrero runs in and threatens Cena with a chair.  And this brings out AJ to save with her versions of Cena’s moveset as she goes full stage 5 clinger.  And then Cena does the climb for the case, and AJ pushes the ladder over to turn heel and Ziggler superkicks him as the crowd goes BATSHIT.  And with Cena down and out, Dolph climbs the ladder and retains his briefcase at 23:10, which if we’re being honest was his peak moment in the sport because his World title run ended up as such a debacle and he never sniffed a PPV main event like this again.  Finish ended up being a tad flat because Cena had to play dead off a superkick for way longer than was realistic for a guy who was superhuman for 20 minutes straight.  But really, this kind of match is perfect for a stunt monkey like Dolph Ziggler and Cena was basically in his prime at this point so this was an awesome match to end the show with.  ****1/2

And there we go, closure after nine years, now that I can just go back and finish random stuff like this on the Network.  Anyway, a strong thumbs up show with two ****+ matches.