|Date: December 16, 2018
|Venue: SAP Center |City: San Jose, California
|tweet me: @BastionBlogger
The show opens with a video package which mostly focuses on Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose, Ronda Rousey vs. Nia Jax, and Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles.
Michael Cole welcomes us to TLC.
R-Truth & Carmella vs. Jinder Mahal & Alicia Fox
Background: This is the finals of the Mixed Match Challenge, a tournament to determine who will win the #30 spot in both the male and female Royal Rumble matches next month.
Previous PPV matches: This is a first time mixed tag team match between these two teams.
TLC PPV Record: Carmella is 0-1, R-Truth is 1-1, Jinder Mahal is 0-1 and Alicia Fox makes her TLC debut tonight.
Match: R-Truth and Jinder Mahal kick off the match but it’s not long until it all breaks down. R-Truth and Carmella clear the ring and then dance break. But The Singh Brothers get involved, dancing, until Truth disposes of them. It’s then back and forth really, with Truth and Carmella having the advantage for most of the match. Carmella eventually locks the code of silence on Alicia Fox who taps out.
Result: R-Truth and Carmella win by submission.
Review: This match wasn’t very good. I don’t think anyone really cared who won this tournament, especially as I doubt many people saw it as it was all on Facebook. IT had a couple of comedy spots but I couldn’t get into the dance break.
R-Truth and Carmella are interviewed after the match and reveal that R-Truth opted for their second prize to be a trip to WWE Headquarters.
The Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro) (c) vs. The New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) vs. The Usos (Jimmy & Jey) – Triple Threat match for the Smackdown Tag Team Championships
Background: On the SmackDown 1000 episode on October 16, The Bar (Cesaro and Sheamus) defeated The New Day (represented by Big E and Xavier Woods) to win the SmackDown Tag Team Championship with help from Big Show. On the November 27 episode of SmackDown, The Usos (Jimmy and Jey Uso) defeated The Bar. On November 30, a triple threat tag team match between the three teams was scheduled for TLC.
Previous PPV matches: This is a first time triple threat match between these teams.
TLC PPV Record: Sheamus is 3-3, Cesaro is 1-2, Kofi Kingston is 4-2, The Usos are 1-1 and Xavier Woods wrestles at TLC for the first time tonight.
Match: Kofi Kingston and Sheamus kick off the match, there’s lots of history between these two men. The New Day and The Bar make tags between themselves, keeping The Usos out of the match. The Bar make quick tags and stop Xavier Woods from making a tag but he does eventually make a hot tag to Kofi Kingston. Cesaro counters trouble in paradise and Jimmy Uso finally tags in. The Usos clean house and then Jey hits a splash on Kofi but Cesaro tags in, disposes of Jey and then pins Kingston for a near fall. Cesaro swings Kofi and then locks on the sharpshooter but Woods makes the save. Sheamus then tags in but Kofi counters his brogue kick. Kofi hits Sheamus with trouble in paradise and Woods hits an elbow drop for a near fall. All hell breaks loose with all six men but Sheamus hits Xavier Woods with a brogue kick to retain the titles.
Result: Sheamus and Cesaro win by pinfall.
Review: This was a good match. They’ve all put on better but this was still good. These probably are the best three teams of the past decade. Sheamus and Cesaro win tonight and they really are in a stacked tag team division.
We’re shown some footage of Baron Corbin attacking Braun Strowman with help from Drew McIntyre and Bobby Lashley.
Braun Strowman vs. Baron Corbin – TLC match if Strowman wins he gets a Universal Championship shot, if Corbin wins then he becomes the permanent general manager of Raw
Background: On the Raw prior to Survivor Series, Braun Strowman demanded to have another Universal Championship match against Brock Lesnar as well as a match against Acting Raw General Manager Baron Corbin, who had cost Strowman his Universal title match at Crown Jewel, and get to choose the stipulation for both. Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon agreed under the condition that Strowman would help Raw to victory over SmackDown at Survivor Series, and that he would not touch Corbin until after the event. Stephanie also said that if Raw was successful in the interpromotional matches on the main card at Survivor Series, she would consider making Corbin the permanent Raw General Manager. Raw indeed won all interpromotional matches on the main card, with Strowman scoring the final elimination in his respective match. The following night on Raw, Strowman was granted a match with Corbin at TLC and chose a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match. Stephanie added the stipulation that if Strowman won, he would get his Universal Championship match at the Royal Rumble and Corbin would be removed from authoritative power, but if Corbin won, Corbin would become the permanent Raw General Manager. On the same night, Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre crushed Strowman’s elbow with the steel steps. Strowman required surgery, leaving his TLC match in limbo. The following week, Corbin said he would not cancel their match and would accept the win by forfeit.
Previous PPV matches: This is a first time singles match between these two men on PPV.
TLC PPV Record: Braun Strowman is 0-1, Baron Corbin is 1-0.
Match: Heath Slater, newly appointed referee, is the referee for this match. With Braun Strowman suffering an injury a few weeks ago at the hands of Corbin, Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre, Corbin hopes to win the match by forfeit but Strowman walks out with his arm in a sling. Braun grabs a mic and says the match is no disqualification so if someone wanted to help Strowman then it would be perfectly legal. Apollo Crews then shows up with a chair, Bobby Roode and Chad Gable also show up with chairs, Finn Balor is also there with a chair. Corbin backs off the aisle but Kurt Angle’s music hits and out walks the former General Manager of Raw. He grabs a chair and its Corbin with it, sending him back to the ring where everyone hits their finisher on him and Heath counts the 3 to give Braun Strowman the win.
Result: Braun Strowman wins by pinfall.
Review: Well this wasn’t really a match but it was good fun and the crowd were really into it. Kurt Angle got a huge pop when his music hit and Strowman got a good pop when he won. Braun Strowman goes on to challenge Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship at the Royal Rumble. He’s definitely over despite switching between face and heel and back recently and maybe now is the time to pull the trigger.
We’re show some footage from recently with Ruby Riott disrespecting Natalya and her late father, Jim Neidhart.
Natalya vs. Ruby Riott – Tables match
Background: On the December 3 episode of Raw, The Riott Squad (Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan, and Sarah Logan) came out and distracted Ronda Rousey and Natalya, after which, Nia Jax and Tamina attacked Rousey and Natalya. The Riott Squad then powerbombed Natalya off the ring apron through a table. On December 6, a tables match between Natalya and Riott was scheduled for TLC.
Previous PPV matches: This is a first time singles match between these two girls on PPV.
TLC PPV Record: Natalya is 1-1 at TLC, Ruby Riott wrestles at TLC for the first time tonight.
Match: The Riott Squad walk out with a table with an image of Jim Neidhart on. It isn’t long before Sarah Logan attempts a cheap shot on Natalya. That fires up Natalya who smashes Riott’s face of a table. Natalya then looks to shoulder charge Riott off the apron but Liv Morgan takes the bullet instead and goes crashing through a table. That was a great bump from Morgan. Logan is next to eat wood as Natalya powerslams her through a table. Riott takes the advantage and sets up the Neidhart table in the corner of the ring. Both girls block attempts from the other to throw each other through the table. Natalya then locks on a sharpshooter but Ruby breaks it up by tipping the table onto her. Natalya pulls another table out from under the ring with a big picture of Ruby Riott on. Natalya then pulls out a Jim Neidhart jacket and points up to the heavens before setting up a table but Riott takes her down with a big kick. Ruby lays Natalya on a table and heads to the top but Natalya knocks her down, lays her on the table but this time Ruby gets up and heads up top with Natalya, attempting a hurricanrana but Natalya blocks and powerbombs Ruby through the table for the victory.
Result: Natalya wins.
Review: This match was decent. For me the biggest bump was Liv Morgan’s off the apron, that was really impressive. Natalya was the right winner and this should put this story to an end.
There’s an ad for WWE 2K19.
There’s a VT for Lars Sullivan who will debut on the main roster soon.
Finn Balor vs. Drew McIntyre
Background: At Survivor Series, Drew McIntyre and Finn Bálor came to blows when tagging in to the men’s elimination match, resulting in a confrontation between the two. Balor would cost McIntyre a match against Dolph Ziggler and a few weeks later McIntyre would get his revenge, attacking Finn. Bálor also made an enemy of Acting Raw General Manager Baron Corbin, who scheduled Bálor to face McIntyre at TLC.
Previous PPV matches: This is a first PPV singles match between these two men.
TLC PPV Record: Drew McIntyre is 1-1 at TLC events, Finn Balor is 1-0.
Match: It’s a back and forth start to the match but Balor looks for his finisher too early and McIntyre kicks him down from the top and hits a big belly to belly suplex. McIntyre dominates for a while until Balor gets back into it with a satellite DDT and then a suicide dive. The fight goes to the outside where Balor uses the apron to lay into McIntyre but Drew fights back. Dolph ziggler then shows up and superkicks McIntyre! Dolph grabs a chair but McIntyre kicks it out of his hand and then throws Ziggler into the ring. Drew grabs the chair and takes it into the ring but Balor hits a running dropkick on him and then the Coup De Gras for the three!
Result: Finn Balor wins by pinfall.
Review: I’m not sure where I stand on this match. It was between two very talented men but it seemed to drag a bit. There was some good quality in there but the crowd didn’t really seem into it either. It would be harsh to mark the match poorly because it’s was good in parts. Anyway, Finn Balor wins which is a little surprising.
We’re shown some recent footage form the rivalry between Randy Orton and Rey Mysterio.
Rey Mysterio vs. Randy Orton – Chairs match
Background: Following Rey Mysterio’s full-time return to the WWE, Randy Orton began attacking him after matches. A chairs match between the two was scheduled for TLC.
Previous PPV matches: This is a third PPV match between these two men. Both have previously won a match each.
TLC PPV Record: Randy Orton is 4-1 at TLC, Rey Mysterio is 0-3.
Match: Both men waste no time bringing chairs into the match. Orton is the first man to beat his opponent with it. Rey hits an awesome bodyboarding splash to Orton on the outside. Orton soon take the advantage and it’s the slow methodical assault that we’re used to seeing. Rey manages to fire back with a 619 and then heads to the top but Orton crotches him. Randy sets up a row of chairs in the ring but Mysterio hits a victory roll out of nowhere for the three!
Result: Rey Mysterio wins by pinfall.
Review: This match was ok. It was slow but the psychology was good. Not a memorable match for either man but a good win for Rey Mysterio.
Charly Caruso is backstage with Finn Balor who isn’t happy that Dolph Ziggler got involved in his match. Ziggler turns up and tells Balor that he was lucky he was there before hitting him with a right hand and throwing him into some boxes.
There’s a video package next for Ronda Rousey and Nia Jax.
Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Nia Jax – Raw Women’s Championship match
Background: At Evolution, Nia Jax won a 20-woman battle royal to earn an opportunity at the Raw Women’s Championship. At Survivor Series, she was the sole survivor of the women’s elimination match. The following night on Raw, Jax’s championship match against Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey was confirmed for TLC.
Previous PPV matches: These two girls fought at Money In The Bank and Ronda won by disqualification.
TLC PPV Record: Both girls make their TLC debut tonight.
Match: Nia Jax has Tamina in her corner tonight. Nia uses her power in the early going to take the advantage. Jax throws Ronda into the ringpost and then follows it up by ramming her from the apron. Ronda locks on a guillotine out of nowhere and then. sleeper which show looks to roll through to an armbar but Nia gets to the ropes and then drags Rousey out and smashes her into the barricade. Ronda hits a cross body to the outside and then rolls her back into the ring for a near fall. Rousey fires up, hitting lefts, rights and knees. Rousey hits a cross body but Nia Jax rolls through and hits a Samoan drop for a near fall. Ronda hits a sunset flip powerbomb for a near fall. The crowd are really into this match. Ronda fights off Tamina and then locks the arm bar on Nia Jax who taps out!
Result: Ronda Rousey wins by submission.
Review: This was a really good match. Ronda Rousey has been such a great addition to WWE. She’s picked it up really quickly and has put on a lot of really good matches. No surprises in the result of this one, Ronda wins and will probably continue to win until Wrestlemania.
There’s an add for some WWE merch.
Nia Jax is backstage and shrugs off Charly Caruso. Becky Lynch then shows up, gives Nia a forearm to the face and then throws her into a wall.
There’s a video package next for Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles.
Daniel Bryan (c) vs. AJ Styles – WWE Championship match
Background: On the November 13 episode of SmackDown, Daniel Bryan defeated AJ Styles to win the WWE Championship after attacking Styles with a low blow while the referee was incapacitated and continued to attack Styles after the match, thus turning heel. On the following SmackDown, Bryan explained his actions, stating that he was following his dreams and that the fans were not with him during his recovery to return to the ring, and christened himself the “new Daniel Bryan”. A rematch between the two for the title was scheduled for TLC.
Previous PPV matches: This is aa first ever PPV match between these two men.
TLC PPV Record: AJ Styles is 1-1 at TLC, Daniel Bryan is 1-2.
Match: Daniel Bryan starts the match by leaving the ring and warming up much like he did at Survivor Series against Brock Lesnar. When Bryan does decide to get in the ring it’s AJ Styles who takes the early advantage. Daniel Bryan soon gets back into the match and keeps the advantage, slowly picking apart Styles, much like Randy Orton would. AJ Styles fights back and lays into Daniel Bryan around the ring until Bryan backs off with his arms up, begging for mercy. He then runs at Styles who hits a neckbreaker for a two count. Bryan hits an impressive cravat suplex for a near fall. Bryan counters a phenomenal forearm but AJ then locks on the calf crusher! Bryan counters and locks on the LaBell lock but AJ fights out of it. AJ hits a springboard 450 splash for a near fall. The fight goes back to the outside where Styles hits a phenomenal forearm off the barricade before looking for one in the ring but Bryan avoids it. AJ rolls Bryan up but Bryan reverses it and gets the 3!
Result: Daniel Bryan wins by pinfall.
Review: This was a good match by two of the best on the roster. It went on a little too long for my liking. And I feel these two have a better match in them. Daniel Bryan retains and his new gimmick is very intruiging.
Charly Caruso congratulates both Ronda Rousey and Natalya on their victories tonight. Caruso asks Rousey about Charlotte and Ronda says payback is a bitch and she’s the baddest one on the planet.
There’s a VT hyping the Royal Rumble.
There’s a VT hyping up Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose.
Seth Rollins (c) vs. Dean Ambrose – Intercontinental Championship match
Background: On the October 22 episode of Raw, after Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose captured the Raw Tag Team Championship from Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre, Ambrose attacked Rollins, turning heel. Two weeks later on Raw, Ambrose attacked Rollins again, after the latter lost the titles in a handicap match against AOP (Akam and Rezar). The following week, Ambrose burned his Shield gear and explained that being part of the group had made him weak. Rollins was scheduled to defend the Intercontinental Championship against Ambrose at TLC.
Previous PPV matches: This is the 6th PPV match between these two men, Rollins has won 3 of their previous 5 battles and Ambrose 2.
TLC PPV Record: Seth Rollins is 2-2 and Dean Ambrose is 3-3.
Match: It’s a cagey start to the match but not long before Dean Ambrose takes the advantage. Ambrose slugs away at Seth Rollins and then applies a chinlock. Ambrose dominates a lot of this match, taunting Rollins as he does. Most of the commentary is Corey Graves wanting to know what the home life is like with Renee and Dean. Rollins gets back into the match with a buckle bomb. The pace to this match has been a lot slower than I expected. Seth hits a frog splash for a near fall. Seth blocks dirty deeds and then hits a superplex, falcon arrow combo for a near fall. Ambrose tries a Shield fistbump but Seth doesn’t fall for that. Seth hits powerbombs Dean into the barricade. Back in the ring and Ambrose hits dirty deeds out of nowhere for the three!
Result: Dean Ambrose wins by pinfall.
Review: I’m not sure if it’s the mood I’m in today but these matches are going on too long. I’m actually surprised that Dean Ambrose won although I am into Ambrose more than I have been his whole career up to now. I’m sure this rivalry isn’t over and wouldn’t be suprised to see it run all the way to Wrestlemania.
There’s a video package next for the triple threat TLC main event.
Becky Lynch (c) vs. Charlotte vs. Asuka – Triple threat TLC match for the Smackdown Women’s Championship
Background: At Survivor Series, SmackDown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch was originally scheduled to face Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey, but due to a legit broken nose and concussion sustained just days prior to the event, Lynch was replaced by Charlotte Flair, who was disqualified for brutally attacking Rousey. On the following SmackDown, Flair explained that she attacked Rousey for Lynch, but a week later, she said that she actually did it all for herself. When a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match between the two for the SmackDown Women’s Championship was scheduled for TLC, the remaining eight women of the SmackDown roster took exception, demanding their chance at the championship. An ensuing eight-woman battle royal was won by Asuka, who was subsequently added to the TLC match, making it a triple threat TLC match for the title, also marking the first women’s triple threat match contested under the stipulation.
Previous PPV matches: This is a first time triple threat match between these girls.
TLC PPV Record: Becky Lynch is 0-1 at TLC, Asuka is 1-0 and Charlotte is 1-0.
Match: It doesn’t take long for all three of these girls to leave the ring and grab ladders. Charlotte is dominant in the early going, fighting off both opponents. Charlotte is the first girl to attempt to climb the ladder but Asuka powerbombs her off and through a table! Becky Lynch lays into both girls with a chair and the crowd are right behind her. Becky lays Charlotte down on the announce desk and then climbs a ladder and legdrops Charlotte through the desk in what looks like a stiff shot as the table struggled to give way. Asuka gets her turn to dominate and a kendo stick is her weapon of choice but as she celebrates the beating she gave to Becky she doesn’t see Charlotte who spears her through the barricade. Charlotte lays Becky Lynch on a table and then senton bombs her through it. Charlotte climbs the ladder and looks to win the match but Asuka darts up and stops her. Charlotte knocks Asuka off the ladder but Becky Lynch has setup a ladder next to the original one and climbs it. Charlotte steps over to the new ladder and slugs it out with Becky but out comes Ronda Rousey who tips over the ladder! Ronda gets boo’d for that play. Asuka then gets up and climbs the ladder before taking down the Smackdown Women’s Championship!
Result: Asuka wins the Smackdown Women’s Championship.
Review: Well this was a really fun match. The big story is Ronda Rousey’s involvement and now it’ll be interesting to see how Wrestlemania plays out. A big win for Asuka who finally wins the Smackdown Women’s Championship. It’s easy to forget this is her first main roster title. A really good match here.
And that was TLC 2018. It felt pretty average really but there were a few good matches. The opener was pretty poor but at least there was something on the line which made it more interesting. The triple threat match for the Smackdown Tag Team Championships was good fun. The Bar came out on top in that one. Probably the three best tag teams of the past five years involved here. Braun Strowman beat Corbin in somewhat of a match to win a Universal title shot. Natalya beat Ruby Riott in a decent table match and Finn Balor beat Drew McIntyre in an equally decent match. Rey Mysterio beat Randy Orton in an ok match, they’ve had better. It felt like they werre trying to squeeze a lot of matches in.
Ronda Rousey and Nia Jax put on a really good match. Nia has had a big push over the past few months and it kind of seems like a waste when it could have gone to a newer star. Rousey wins of course and I think she’ll hold the title until Wrestlemania. Daniel Bryan beats AJ Styles in a great match. Two of the best workers of all time here and I could watch them wrestle every month. I like this “new” Daniel Bryan. The match that followed between Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose was good but back to back 23 minute matches are expecting a lot of the audience. Dean Ambrose wins which was slightly surprising but I don’t mind it. In the main event Asuka defeated Becky Lynch and Charlotte to win the Smackdown Women’s Championship. You get the impression there’s a much bigger picture here and Becky will probably win the Royal Rumble and challenge Ronda Rousey at Wrestlemania. A big win for Asuka though who wins her first title on the main roster.
Overall Rating: 63.3/100 (ranked joint 91st out of 369)
Match Of The Night: Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte vs. Asuka
Worst Match Of The Night: R-Truth & Carmella vs. Jinder Mahal & Alicia Fox
Surprise Of The Night: Dean Ambrose beats Seth Rollins
Worst Booking Of The Night: N/A
Superstar Of The Night: Asuka
TLC 2018 Will Be Remembered For: Asuka winning the Smackdown Women’s Championship