This year’s Tables Ladders & Chairs (& Stairs) was a very divisive show bookended by two outstanding matches, the show opening Ladder Match and the show closing TLC Match. While I agree with many saying Thursday’s NXT Takeover special was better, this wasn’t a show that made me feel ripped off or overly disappointed. Sorry, I’m not an internet outrage kind of guy. There were 3-4 matches I enjoyed and hey, it’s entertainment. There are worse ways to spend 3 hours.
What many are talking about, for the second time in 3 months, is a controversial gimmicky ending in the main event. Much like the vision from the lantern at Hell in a Cell, many aren’t happy with the sparking television signaling the downfall for young Dean Ambrose against Bray Wyatt. Silly? Perhaps. Guess what, wrestling is silly which is part of what I love about it. One of the biggest stars in the industry is an undead zombie whose brother was burned alive by a fire that who the hell even remembers started but then wasn’t burnt anymore and now wears slacks to the ring.
Some will call Ambrose’s character “stupid” for not knowing to unplug the monitor that blew up in his face. I counter that the character of Dean Ambrose is insane. Insane to the point where he is a danger to himself. With the ladder sizes getting bigger each time as he delivered elbow after elbow onto Bray Wyatt through a table, the damage to his opponent and himself became greater and greater. Ambrose was consumed with destroying Wyatt and not considering the ramifications of his actions. Is someone blind with rage going to stop and think, “Hey, better unplug this TV?” More likely the thought is, “I’m gonna put his head through this powered on TV and electrocute him!”
Look at this major positive: the past three pay-per-views have ended with someone other than Cena in the spotlight. We as fans want the WWE to not be so predictable, so perhaps when they try to step out of that pro wrestling box and do something different, we not be so fast to crucify them.
TLC Match: Bray Wyatt defeated Dean Ambrose with Sister Abigail after Ambrose was temporarily blinded by an electrical explosion in a monitor he was going to use as a weapon.
Now that I’ve made my case for the finish, let’s discuss the actual match. I loved it, brutal Attitude era style brawl which saw Wyatt go through 3 tables. Ambrose started the proceedings by launching a ladder at Wyatt in the entrance way. The spot of the match was Ambrose’s third dive onto Wyatt through at table, after which lying next to Wyatt, Ambrose kissed him on the forehead only to be met with a Wyatt headbutt. Great moment. If anything this match was hurt by following an evening of ladder and table spots, so much that the crowd wasn’t as shocked at that point in the night.
Would I have liked a clean finish? Sure. But this also means we get more Dean Ambrose versus Bray Wyatt. Sign me up, may they feud for years.
United States Championship: Rusev defeated Jack Swagger with the Accolade.
Short match that probably could have been left off the show. It wasn’t bad but it also wasn’t anything we hadn’t seen before from Rusev & Swags.
Chairs Match: Ryback defeated Kane with the Shell Shock.
If we’re ranking tonight’s matches this one comes in last for me. My main gripe is that in 2014 where concussions are top of mind, give the Chair Match gimmick to someone who’s gonna do some innovative stuff with it since they can’t do head shots. Poking each other in the gut and keeping the chair shots to the back got a little repetitive. Props to both men for putting themselves on the line by taking those brutal back and arm chair shots, but it’s a hard match to do in today’s safety conscious world. I did enjoy Kane launching a chair at a running Ryback, however.
Divas Championship: Nikki Bella defeated AJ Lee with the Rack Attack after spraying a foreign substance into AJ’s eyes.
Not much to add to this one, you? No? Moving on…
Tables Match: John Cena defeated Seth Rollins after Roman Reigns returned to counter a Big Show run-in and Cena AA’d Rollins through a table.
Cena should have won the match once before the finish, but the referee had been knocked out and J&J Security cleaned up the mess. Then, both Cena & Rollins went through a table simultaneously and the match was restarted. I had minor issues with this match, but generally think I enjoyed it more than most voicing displeasure this morning. The referee missing the first table bump was expected and fine, but if had my druthers I would have eliminated the “double table” spot with the arguing referees. Why wouldn’t they mention the table spot that occurred when Chioda was knocked out?
Yeah it sucks Cena wins again, but this marks the second show in a row where someone else was responsible for the Cena win: Dolph & Sting at Survivor Series and Roman Reigns tonight.
Stairs Match: Big Show defeated Erick Rowan after a knockout punch and then pinning Rowan under the steel stairs.
This wasn’t nearly as bad as Twitter was making it out to be. Two monsters threw steps at each other with great frequency, were you expecting Flair-Steamboat? C ouple spots I really enjoyed included Rowan attempting to murder Show with steps from the top rope and Rowan crashing through his Tetris fortress of stairs in the aisle. A lot was being made of WWE gimmicking the weight of the stairs, as if pro wrestling has ever been upfront about the actual heights, weights, or even nationalities of their wrestlers. Those people must be a lot of fun while watching movies.
Tag Team Championship: The Usos defeated Miz & Mizdow by disqualification when the Miz hit Jimmy with the Tag Title.
I’m incredibly torn about the Miz-Mizdow team. On the one hand they have a great chicken sh*t Honky Tonk Man heel slash smoke and mirrors distraction act (with the faces being incredulous at Mizdow’s actions) going on. Damien Mizdow is killing it. On the other hand, not ever getting to see him in ring the act is beginning to grow a little stale. Good on, WWE for showing some patience and not just running through this story in a month or two though.
Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship: Dolph Ziggler defeated Luke Harper after superkicking him off the top of a ladder and grabbing the gold.
Big win for Dolph as the hometown kid makes good. Slower paced than your typical ladder match but what they lacked in speed was made up for in PAIN. An incredible show stealing performance by these two performers. Both appeared to be busted open the hard way by ladder shots. Luke Harper had a sick looking landing on a dive to the outside where it looked like he mangled his arm between two ladders. In fact, it was becoming very hard to tell where the line between serious injury and great selling was drawn with both Ziggler & Harper. Of course when you’re taking a backdrop onto a steel ladder, the selling probably comes naturally.
Kickoff Match: The New Day defeated Gold & Stardust with their double team finisher.
Stardust introduced a green variation on his outfit tonight as well as teasing something else Rodimus Prime inducing on his twitter to go with the green outfit. The New Day still isn’t clicking with me as their act comes off as multiple face Bo Dallases and really who wants that? This match was better than most kickoff matches however, it’s a shame the announcers couldn’t call it instead of talking about the Great Gazoo.