TLC wasn’t as bad I’d expected. There were still some flaws here and there, but hey, considering the incredibly weak build and the cold champion they have, this show ended up exceeding my expectations. Most matches delivered in some way, and they might’ve finally solved the mystery of getting Roman Reigns over.
WWE Network: BOTCH
I’ve had issues with the WWE Network before, but never this bad. The network froze up and skipped a lot, then it outright stopped working right at the start of the show. I tried this on my PC, via Chromecast, via PS4 and had no luck. It ended up working after a solid half hour, and I evidently wasn’t alone in these issues. I understand that technical problems will always be around with something like the WWE Network, but it seems like every month there are a bunch of viewers that complain about errors and glitches with the network, ruining the show. This isn’t cool, being able to watch the show live uninterrupted is a major selling point for the network.
This was a hell of a match, and really it was the only match I was looking forward to. Even if The Lucha Dragons and The Usos aren’t all that over as they should be, you know that this match would deliver – and it did. I loved that they had some creative spots we hadn’t seen before. Xavier was entertaining on commentary and I loved that he made a big deal out of Cole confusing Sin Cara for Kalisto and viseversa. The big spot of this match saw Kalisto hit the Salida del Sol on Jey Uso from the top of a ladder, crashing through a second ladder. It was insane and there was so much that could have gone wrong, but the spot was executed perfectly. We can probably expect a big pop for The Lucha Dragons tomorrow on Raw. Great match.
Rusev vs. Ryback: Botch
The match was very standard stuff, aside from the random Ryback crossbody from the top rope. I feel like the guy is really going out of his way to stand out and get noticed with all these highflying moves lately. The match still didn’t do much for me, and it ended with yet another angle where Lana feigns an injury to distract Ryback, and it worked. It’s a fine heel thing, but it does make the babyface look like an idiot when he keeps falling for it.
Chairs Match for the US Championship: Botch
It was okay, I guess? I wasn’t invested in it though, purely because they haven’t handled Del Rio very well since he returned. They suddenly dropped the Mexamerica storyline, so the (bad) story that was driving this match was effectively dead before the match even began. To top it off, no one in the world expected Swagger to win, and we likely won’t see him on TV again until there’s another anti-American threat that he needs to job to. The work was alright, but I just didn’t care.
Elimination Tables Match: Hit
I was a bit on the fence about this, but overall, I had the same stupid fun watching this as I would have had watching a bad action movie. That’s kind of what this was. I do wonder why they bothered eliminating Rowan at all if the babyfaces weren’t going to eliminate any other heels before the end of the match. The match was also pretty rough and Strowman’s greenness really shined whenever the camera was on him for more than 5 seconds. Still, a fun match and the right team won.
Kevin Owens vs. Dean Ambrose for the IC Title: Hit
Ambrose wins! I expected Owens to retain here, but this is actually a good result. They’re doing nothing with Ambrose, giving him the belt gives him something to do and gives him a place on the show. Meanwhile, this frees up Owens to do other things, whether it’s a rematch with Ambrose or perhaps something bigger? Time will tell. The match was good too and I really liked the end sequence and the fact that Ambrose treated winning the belt like a big deal.
Charlotte vs. Paige for the Diva’s Title: Botch
The match was more enjoyable than their Survivor Series match, and I like heel Charlotte, I really do. She’s more natural as a heel and following her dad’s lead than she was as the plain babyface. But I’m also not sure if WWE intends us to view her as a heel yet. Paige, who turned against PCB, has caused all kinds of trouble and mocked the death of Charlotte’s brother, almost worked like a babyface here. The fans didn’t really support one or the other because they’re all confused. Who do we cheer for? The mean one that makes fun of the champion’s deceased brother, or the one that’s cheating to win and being a jerk to her best friend? Somewhere in this mess of a feud, there’s supposed to be a babyface, and I don’t know which is which.
Sheamus vs. Roman Reigns for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Hit
The match was incredibly hard hitting and some of the spots were actually kind of scary. With the crowd chanting “we want Cena” and “we want Rollins”, Sheamus and Reigns still managed to keep it together and put on a great show. I’m iffy on the ending though. Rusev and Del Rio come out to attack Reigns, he overcomes them, but still gets beaten by Sheamus. It’s like they were trying to have their cake and eat it too by making Reigns look strong for overcoming the numbers, but also make Sheamus look like a legitimate champion. You can’t have it both ways. And where was Barrett? Did they just give him the night off? What about Reigns’ buddies?
The true hit of the night came after the match though. Roman Reigns obliterated Triple H and the crowd went nuts. This was a crowd that was hating on the main event a few seconds ago, but suddenly became huge Roman Reigns supporters. So people like it when Roman Reigns is a quiet, badass, ass kicker, and they don’t like it when he does long recap promos with bad jokes? Huh, who’d have thought? That’s been a big part of the problem all year. They’ve tried to treat Roman Reigns like he’s John Cena or Daniel Bryan, but that formula doesn’t work for everyone. Reigns has always needed to just be a badass. People won’t pay to see him talk, they’ll pay to see him beat guys up. They may have turned a corner with Reigns here, but time will tell and I think the follow through from this angle needs to be good. Either way, they ended the show with a great hook and a reason to tune into Raw.