Tonight is WWE's final pay-per-view offering of 2012, known as Tables, Ladders, and Chairs (TLC for short). After some injury issues caused some scrambling around, tonight's card shapes up as follows:
CM Punk is slated to appear but will not be defending his WWE Championship due to injury. Also, it's rumored that The Rock might appear. Will he? Only time will tell.
Join us for periodic updates throughout the evening.
Scott Stanford and Matt Striker introduce the show. They give us some hype for Big Show vs. Sheamus. They go to a shot backstage with Booker and Sheamus. Sheamus says he can't get the image of a smirking Big Show out of his head. Booker hands him a chair and says he can make up for that tonight.
They send it to a video package to hype the six-man tag main event.
The announcers follow that up and then turn it over to Josh Mathews and Michael Cole. They hype tomorrow night's Slammy Award Show on Raw. They give out a few awards tonight: Brodus Clay won best dancer of the year; the crowd chant of the year is "feed me more;" AJ won Diva of the Year. They also included a video package of Jerry Lawler's interview following his heart attack.
Not shocked AJ got Diva of the Year - anticlimactic. Surprised they didn't hold the Diva of the Year award for tomorrow night.
Match #1 - "Santa's Little Helper" Battle Royale to determine the #1 Contender to Eve Torres' Diva's Championship
The entrants are Tamina, Alicia Fox, Aksana, Natalya, Cameron, Naomi, Kaitlyn and Layla. Eve is on commentary.
Layla is first out. We get a series of fairly unforgettable eliminations. It comes down to Tamina, Kaitlyn and Naomi. The latter two take out Tamina. Naomi dropkicks Kaitlyn off the apron to win.
After the match, they run through some more awards. Daniel Bryan won facial hair of the year and tweet of the year. Zack Ryder gets the best online show award. Big Show gets the best betrayal of the year.
We have a pay per view coming up, right? They don't care enough to give these awards any sort of serious attention, so they should spend time selling the PPV event.
They recap the AJ/Cena/Dolph/Vickie storyline in video to close out the pre-show.
WWE TLC Pay Per View Event:
They open with Lilian Garcia asking the fans to stand as they toll the bell 26 times for the lives lost in Newtown, CT. The fans offer a polite round of applause afterward. Classy.
They air a TLC video package.
Match #1 - Team Rhodes Scholars (Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow) vs. Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara
Sandow and Rhodes cut a promo first. Cody still has the mustache, and he mocks the fans for ridiculous facial hair. All four guys will work in the ring at the same time here, and only one has to go through a table to end it.
The fans get a "Cody's Mustache" chant going. Cole points out it's trending on Twitter. Late in this one, Sin Cara tries a springboard move, but Cody shoves him backward and Sin Cara eats a table on the floor. That spot was wild.
Sin Cara could have easily missed the table. That was a wild bump.
They show a promo from the Shield, using their hand-held camera method.
Match #2 - Antonio Cesaro (c) vs. R-Truth; United States Championship
Cesaro controls this one. He locks on a hold to keep Truth down. The live crowd seems restless with the lack of action. Cesaro finishes this off with the Neutralizer, which does get a good reaction.
Afterward, Striker gets in the ring and asks Cesaro what his response is to fans' dislike. Cesaro puts himself over as the best US Champion ever, so when fans boo him they're booing their own country. He says the fans have no respect for their fans or themselves.
Winner - Antonio Cesaro to retain the US Championship
Given the events in CT this past week, probably not a good time for such an anti-American promo like that. The match was fine, but you can tell the fans are restless with Cesaro's slow style.
They hype "WWE Week" on the USA Network, then set up a hype video for Tribute to the Troops that includes soldiers sending greetings to their friends and families.
Josh Mathews interviews Dolph Ziggler, who gets a mix of cheers and boos. Ziggler vents about having to defend the MITB contract. He says it doesn't make any sense. He says that Cena's star will fall as his own rises. "Mark my words, tonight everything changes."
The last line leaves the door open for a lot, if they follow it up. Could Dolph be involved with The Shield? Will he cash in MITB? Or is it just a tease?
Miz TV Segment:
Why this is on pay per view, is beyond me. Miz comes out and introduces his guests, the 3MB. Drew McIntryre, Heath Slater and Jinder Mahal come to the ring as the announcers mock them. JBL calls them "dreadful and horrible" as a musical act. He does point out their in-ring winning streak though. 3MB does their air guitar gimmick.
3MB puts themselves over, saying they're better than the home town Jay-Z which draws some boos. Slater says they will perform live during the Slammys tomorrow night. Miz says this will set an all-time bathroom break record at the Slammys.
3MB mocks the Spanish announce team for not speaking English. The three go to ringside and tell the Spanish announce team they better not be speaking bad about them in their 'foreign, Mexican voices.'
Ricardo Rodriguez runs out to the announcers' aid. 3MB backs him up to the ring apron and Alberto Del Rio runs out for the save on his own announcer, attacking 3MB. The numbers are too much though. 3MB puts Del Rio in the ring and Miz gets involved. He and Del Rio clear 3MB from the ring. Slater challenges the pair to find a partner and have a match later.
Miz says it's not a problem while the fans chant for Zack Ryder. Miz pauses to listen then says the duo will find a partner and the beating 3MB gets will be awesome.
Not only am I not sure how I like this, but I am speechless that WWE went with a face turn on Del Rio. Maybe that will freshen him up - but maybe this is all a swerve somehow?
They air an ad for the Royal Rumble that focuses on The Rock.
Daniel Bryan talks to Kane and asks if they're all on the same page. Bryan says he doesn't like the Feed Me More chant because he hates when people repeat themselves. Kane says bodies will be broken tonight and they will be the ones doing the breaking. He says if Ryback is hungry, they will feed him The Shield. Bryan chants "Yes!" repeatedly.
Elsewhere, Matt Striker is with Wade Barrett. Barrett says Kofi has nine lives, but tonight the Wildcat will be neutered by the Barrett Barrage.
Match #3 - Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Wade Barrett; Intercontinental Championship
Barrett gets a fast start here. Kofi is able to battle back with his signature offense, hitting the SOS for a near fall about 6 minutes in. Barrett hits a swinging slam for a two-count of his own.
Kingston hits a high cross body, but Barrett rolls it through and gets a good near fall. Barrett complains to the official that he should have won. Barrett hits another swinging slam and sets up for his finisher, but Kofi hits Trouble in Paradise out of nowhere to get the win.
Winner - Kofi Kingston to retain the Intercontinental Championship
This was a good back and forth match, but the announcers were all over the place comparing how many Slammy awards they won and such. This has the makings of a good feud and the loss by Barrett isn't going to hurt him here.
CM Punk and Paul Heyman are introduced, and they're shown standing in one of the luxury boxes. Punk calls himself a fan of The Shield even though he isn't affiliated. He boasts about starting the year as WWE Champion, and he will close out the year that way. Cole points out that this is day 392 of Punk's title run.
They're not going to wait for this six-man match, it seems. If they're doing this now, I wonder if this means we're getting a more newsworthy angle out of the World Heavyweight Championship instead?
Match #4 - The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns) vs. Ryback and Team Hell No (Daniel Bryan and Kane)
The Shield makes their entrance through the crowd and they wear the same gear to wrestle in that they have been wearing. Ryback gets some "Goldberg" chants early on. Ambrose hits a really nice spot where Ryback flips him; Ambrose lands on his feet then hits a drop kick.
Ryback gets a double suplex spot when he dumps Rollins and Ambrose onto a ladder. Reigns takes control and that allows the Shield to gang up and hit a triple powerbomb on Ryback through the Spanish announce table. They celebrate but Bryan hits them with a suicide dive. Bryan goes on offense but the numbers get to be too much. Kane makes the save.
Bryan brawls with Rollins, but Ambrose cuts that off. Bryan gets slammed on a chair as Cole says The Shield "just has too many guys." JBL makes fun of Cole and reminds him it's three on three. JBL then praises the strategy of the Shield to gang up when they can.
JBL calls it a fair fight and puts the Shield over as dominant. Cole points out that Reigns is watching over Ryback and Kane while Ambrose and Rollins double team Bryan. They set a table up and hit a double superplex on Bryan. Kane recovers to break up the pin.
Kane hits a big clothesline off the top then follows it with a choke slam on Ambrose onto a chair. Kane covers, but the pin is broken up. Kane ends up back at ringside. Reigns lets out a yell and spears Kane through the security railing. Fans chant "this is awesome."
Bryan locks on the Yes lock in the ring, but Rollins breaks it up. Bryan locks it on Rollins, but Reigns breaks it up. Bryan locks it on Reigns, but Ambrose breaks it up. Rollins and Ambrose team up on Bryan and set up a chair. They hit a neat spot with Bryan's head being driven into the chair set up in the ring.
Ryback gets back in the fray and goes on a roll. He throws Rollins out onto Ambrose and goes to work on Reigns. He sets up a powerbomb but Ambrose runs in. Ryback spears Ambrose then hits the Meathook to follow up. The fans start a "feed me more" chant.
Ryback puts Ambrose down with Shellshock, but the other Shield members break the cover up. The announcers put over how good the match is and Lawler asks if it will ever end. The action spills out of the ring and up to the stage area where there's more ladders and tables. JBL quips that justice isn't done yet.
Rollins starts to climb a very tall ladder while Ryback is placed on a table below. Ryback gets up after Reigns and Ambrose walk away. Ryback chases Rollins up the ladder then knocks him off through the table in a dangerous spot. Rollins holds his head as he sells.
Reigns and Rollins put Bryan on the top turnbuckle back in the ring. They hit a double powerbomb that pops the crowd. Reigns covers to get the win, as Ryback can't get back in time to break it up.
Afterward, Ryback checks on Bryan as Ambrose and Reigns check on Rollins. Ambrose screams "that's what happens!" as they celebrate. The cameras focus on Ryback still standing.
Winner - The Shield
This was a great match. A few of the spots were unnnecessary really, though. Good energy though that really put the Shield over with a good story and a united force. The fans weren't behind Ryback that much, oddly.
Match #5 - Eve Torres (c) vs. Naomi; Diva's Championship
Time to come down from the TLC affair. They show Brodus and Cameron cheering her on from backstage in front of a monitor.
Eve finishes off Naomi rather quickly with her neckbreaker finisher. Afterward, she does the mugging with the title and a fallen Naomi.
Winner - Eve Torres to retain the Diva's Championship
Next contestant of the month, please step up. Eve has a character, the rest of the division doesn't.
Striker interviews Big Show about Sheamus' chance to win the World Heavyweight Championship. Show says Sheamus' best chance was to hit him on Smackdown to avoid this match. But now, Sheamus has put a chair in Show's hand and that will do more damage than his closed fist can. Show says Sheamus' Irish eyes will be closed shut tonight.
Match #6 - Big Show (c) vs. Sheamus; World Heavyweight Championship
Sheamus comes out first, then Show. They use a video package to set this up with the end of Survivor Series ending when Sheamus beat Show down with a chair. Light reactions for both wrestlers either way. Crowd seems flat from TLC still.
Sheamus spills outside early to get a chair. Show knocks it away. The battle goes back inside, and Show exits to take a powder but Sheamus gives chase, chair in hand. Show kicks it into Sheamus' face. After Sheamus checks to see if his teeth are still there, Show greets him with two slaps to the chest.
Show hits a big clothesline and the fight spills back outside. Sheamus gets another chair and Show runs, but ends up getting jabbed with the chair. Sheamus hammers away with two more shots and a slam for a two count. Sheamus goes up top and shoves a chair into Show to knock him down. Sheamus tries a follow-up move with the chair from the top, but Show hits a spear in mid air in a neat spot.
Sheamus rolls out but Show goes after him. Show hits Sheamus with the chair a couple times while some vocal males chant the "Ole, ole ole" chant. Show hits some more chair shots then splashes Sheamus in the corner.
Show didn't follow up right away though, which allows Sheamus to knock him down. The two exchange blows from their knees then start to stand up. Sheamus hits a couple knee lifts but eats a chokeslam that he kicks out of.
Show gets a bunch of chairs from under the ring. Show hits a Vader bomb onto a chair for a good near fall. Sheamus coughs to sell it. Show teases a super chokeslam but Sheamus gets out of it. Sheamus follows up with White Noise through a table. Show kicks out.
Sheamus gets fired up and JBL encourages him to lose it. Sheamus teases the Brogue Kick but Show moves out of the way and Sheamus lands over the top rope. Show hits the WMD Punch but only for a good near fall.
Show goes out and gets a monster chair and hits Sheamus with it. That's enough for Show to get the win. Cole puts Sheamus over, saying he was so tough that Show had to go get a supersized chair to beat him.
Winner - Big Show to retain the World Heavyweight Championship
This was entertaining but not as good as their previous affairs. I guess they're setting Show up for a big WrestleMania bout?
John Cena is warming up when AJ walks in. She apologizes for going nuts and Cena was there for her. Cena tells her to focus on what he does to Dolph Ziggler tonight when he takes away his identity. He will take the MITB briefcase and get revenge for AJ on Vickie. AJ giggles and skips away.
Match #7 - 3MB (Heath Slater, Jinder Mahal, and Drew McIntyre) vs. Alberto Del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriguez), The Miz and The Brooklyn Brawler
This is the bonus match of the night. 3MB comes out first, then Ricardo does his intro for Alberto. The Miz joins Alberto in mid-entrance. He says when they went looking for the toughest New Yorker to join them they found the biggest Brawler. Brooklyn Brawler (Steve Lombardi) comes out in a Nets jersey.
The announcers make jokes and tell stories on Brawler before he gets a tag. He hits a few moves then gets teamed up on by 3MB. The announcers make some old references and play up Brawler.
Miz tags in and it all breaks down. Miz takes care of Mahal, then tags Brawler back in. He drags Mahal around then slaps on the Boston Crab for the submission win. Brawler celebrates and the teammates stand back and give him his moment.
Winners - Alberto Del Rio, The Miz, and Brooklyn Brawler
Fine filler for what it was. This was WWE's first appearance in the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, so to give Brawler some shine in the new building was fine.
They plug the Royal Rumble, with The Rock being the focus again.
They lead into the main event with a video package highlighting the Cena/Dolph/AJ/Vickie story.
Match #8 - John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler; Dolph's MITB Briefcase on the line in a ladder match
Justin Roberts is sure to point out that this is for the World Heavyweight Championship Contract. Ziggler comes out first, then Cena to a strong mix of boos and cheers - probably more boos than cheers. Cole points out that Ziggler hates Cena for all the advantages and attention he gets but Cena has earned it. JBL agrees but says Cena didn't earn this match tonight.
They lock up, and Cena delivers a shoulder tackle that gets booed. "Cena sucks!" chants are drowning out the "Let's go Cena" chants. They lock up again and Ziggler struts to show off. He is getting "Let's go Ziggler" chants. Cena slows the pace with a headlock, and that gets "you can't wrestle" chants. Cena hits a fisherman suplex into a monkey flip, then throws Ziggler out of the ring and smiles.
Cena walks into a chair jab but takes back control. Cena goes for a ladder but Ziggler drop kicks it into Cena. Ziggler puts the ladder in the ring as the fans chant for him, but he takes too long. Cena jabs him with the ladder. Cena drags Ziggler out of the ring. You can see a cut over Cena's eye. Cena runs the stairs into Ziggler's face.
Cena goes for a table that he sets up in the ring. Lawler notes this isn't a tables match. Ziggler knocks Cena down then sets up a ladder. Cena yanks him off the ladder then the two men trade blows. Ziggler hops on Cena's back to lock in the sleeper, and he fades at first but recovers and climbs the ladder with Ziggler in tow. Cena fades again and the two go crashing through the table.
Ziggler comes to and goes for the ladder but Cena blocks him. Cena lifts Ziggler and ladder, which wows the fans. Ziggler falls off, but is able to recover and hit the Fameasser. The dueling chants get going again and Ziggler goes for another ladder. As Ziggler comes back Cena slaps on the STF and Dolph taps...meaningless. Cena keeps the hold on, then tries the AA but Ziggler counters to the ZigZag.
Ziggler goes for another table and sets it up, but turns into a side slam from Cena. Cena hits the Five Knuckle and tries the AA, but Ziggler counters with a jumping DDT. Ziggler goes for a big ladder this time as Cole recalls Cena beating Edge in this kind of a match a few years ago in Toronto.
Ziggler scales the ladder and gets a hand on the briefcase. Cena blocks it and they trade blows at the top of the ladder. Cena knocks Ziggler off and Cole says it's over. Ziggler, however is able to block Cena from taking another step up the ladder. Ziggler shoves Cena into the lad der, then eats a "sort of" head scissor from Cena where he ends up in the corner in a table.
Cena grabs the ladder, but Ziggler knocks it out of the ring. Cena gets up off the mat and starts landing shots, but Ziggler absorbs them then hits a cross body. Cena rolls it through to a fireman's carry but Ziggler manages to grab a chair in the process. He spanks Cena with the chair then clears the ring of debris. He ends up eating an AA though and rolls outside.
Here comes Vickie with a chair. She threatens to hit Cena but AJ comes out. AJ ducks the chair shot and tackles Vickie, hitting a sit out slam then the Five Knuckle Shuffle pose that Cena does. AJ skips around the ring and Cena just watches her.
Cena climbs the ladder, but AJ decides to tip it over. The crowd popped big for that one. Ziggler hits a superkick on Cena as a follow up. AJ gives Ziggler her crazy eyes look, then glares at him. Dolph's shocked. He eventually climbs the ladder to retrieve his briefcase to win the match as AJ gives him a big crazy smile.
Afterward, Cole says he doesn't get why AJ did this after Cena defended her. JBL says you can't figure out AJ because she's crazy but Ziggler's a future world champion. Dolph celebrates on the stage while Cena is shown kneeling and selling disbelief. He then realizes he was conned by AJ and should have seen it. That's the show.
Winner - Dolph Ziggler to retain his MITB Briefcase
This was the right result and Dolph gets a big PPV win over the face of the company. Admittedly, I am disappointed that this match didn't go to Dolph on his own merit though (I hesitate to say "not a clean win" because ladder matches are no DQ) by having the outside involvement. Non-Cena fans go home happy because Dolph won, Cena fans have someone to blame for their guy's loss.
They did manage to refresh AJ a little here and make her the "crazy chick" she was earlier in the year. Cena, in the meantime, has an "out" for losing because of the outside interference at the end so he doesn't really lose anything as we head for WrestleMania season when the Rumble comes around. I don't suspect we get anything different from Cena after this loss - but I do hope the "scandal" storyline is now done.
A solid PPV, with its share of filler material. The Shield looked VERY good tonight and their match was definitely match of the night material. They delivered well in their pay per view debut. If you missed viewing it, I do suggest seeing a replay if you can.
Join us tomorrow night for Raw coverage for all the fallout of tonight's event, starting at 8 p.m. EST.