Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D and occasional guests write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Sunday, December 04, 2016

WWE TLC 2016 Somehow Ended Up Being a Live Blog

I'm not going to really attempt to stay live on this one, but still wanted to see the show. So I'll be a little more pokey than normal. The brand extension and its ushering in of seemingly weekly PPVs is the bane of Rachel's existence.

1. American Alpha/Hype Bros./Apollo Crews vs. Vaudevillains/Ascension/Curt Hawkins

ER: Leave it to Mauro to call out a battle of the Edgeheads. Mojo debuts a "Hammer Time" fist drop that is genuinely so stupid that it might be the very thing to get him over. Every single person in this match is super vocal. There is constant chatter going on. It's like every Barry Darsow gimmick having a multiman tag against themselves. Viktor still works really hard which is pretty impressive considering how things have gone for his team ever since the NXT call up. Him matching up against Gable was fun and the flapjack into a superkick looked impressive. Crowd is mic'd really well, feels like you can hear really strong reactions, but they all sound individual, not just bulk roars. It's like it's mic'd in stereo. I was really enjoying the scenic pace things were traveling at, but you can tell immediately when they got the "everybody's finishers" signal which is kind of a bummer. This could have easily gone 20, just trim some time from the kickoff show. Hawkins runs nicely into a Crews high kick and suplex from the ring to the floor was cool. Nice little kickoff match.

2. Randy Orton/Bray Wyatt vs. Heath Slater/Rhyno

ER: Here's four guys I really didn't care much about several months ago, who I could see having a good match. And I love all the stuff with Slater on the apron. He gets totally upended by a lariat to his legs, and then gets almost alleyooped back into the ring right into an Orton powerslam. Rhyno looks super orange here. Curt Hawkins looked super orange in the first match. Are these guys trying to subtly play to Vince's Trump boner? Especially Hawkins, with his orange glow and swept back hair and spreading of facts that are in fact nothing close to factual. Oh and things ended while I was rambling. That felt quick.

3. Nikki Bella vs. Carmella

ER: Love people pointing out Nikki's MMA braids. So awesome. They both have their hands and wrists wrapped too. Carmella's figure 4 headscissors is a great spot, especially with her grabbing her own foot. Though Nikki's stick shot to break it up could have looked way way better. But she more than made up for it with that roundhouse kick off the barricade. Carmella ran right into it, too. The boot into Carmella's shoulderblades to set it up was gross too. Man Nikki really went out of her way to fire extinguish Carmella's ass and vagina. Her finisher was literally set up by an extended icing down of Carmella's asshole. Which, would probably leave someone fairly vulnerable, so, sure.

4. Ladder Match: Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz

ER: This starts nicely with a bunch of fast work, especially loved Ziggler trying to grab a ladder under the ring and getting blasted by a through the ropes dropkick. All of their stuff fighting around an upright ladder looked good too, and then Ziggler takes a great drop toehold into a ladder. This is good! We're almost 10 minutes in and haven't gotten any silly climbing spots, which is refreshing. This is more ladders being used as weapons, and guys taking spills into ladders, which certainly comes off more painful. Setting up the propped ladder in the corner spots was a little wonky, but the Ziggler elbow off the top looked nice. Once they start climbing and falling I lose some interest, thought things were going way better during the first 10. Miz hears me complaints and starts slamming Ziggler's knee in the ladder a bunch, then locks on a vicious figure 4. Ziggler gets a little medodramatic on the superkick attempt but I appreciate what he was going for and liked how it lead right to the SCF on the ladder. Miz dangling from the belt and getting a ladder smacked into him was novel and Miz sold the hell out of that knee. Maryse as a second has been really fun and I love her selling Miz' knee injury not with a flip out, but more of a "awkwardly sucking in through teeth". And I love that horizontal ladder in the corner callback spot, with Dolph getting powerbombed into it. This was good for 10 minutes, lost its way a little bit, and has now come rushing back to being real good. Miz limping up a ladder while Ziggler does pull ups up his ladder was suuuuuper overwrought but kind of wonderful pro wrestling. And Rachel predicted the finish before the match even started by saying "Well Ziggler never wins, so that can't happen right?" When she's right, she's right. This match was real good. And then Miz calls Maryse over to the apron to help him with his bad wheel, and that's awesome as Dolph is just fetal position crying on the ground in the background.

5. Chair Match: Kalisto vs. Baron Corbin

ER: The feud that's been driving all those new Network subs! This starts really fun though, with Kalisto using speed to stay a step ahead while Corbin sets up chair spots that backfire. The opening was really cool David/Goliath stuff with Kalisto trying to spin kick a chair into Corbin but Corbin wisely just letting go of the chair, then rushing Corbin with a chair but Corbin just holding his arms out to catch it. Corbin chokes him on the floor and wings him upside down into the barricade by his neck. Corbin hits a high slam in the ring and sets up tons of chairs, and Kalisto hits a short rana into the set up chairs, then hits a massive Thesz press off the top sending both through a bunch of set up chairs. This is unexpectedly really great. Kalisto flies to the floor with a dive and Corbin catches and just plants him with a brutal backdrop. We get some fun stuff with Corbin chasing Kalisto with a chair, and Kalisto dodging shots, but then Kalisto throws a chair at him and hits a nice rana off the barricade. Back in and Kalisto does a moonsault kneedrop onto a chair/Corbin and my god these guys are really trying out there. Crowd does not care. But they're wrong. Kalisto bashes Corbin around the ring with a chair, but then leaps into a nasty shot when jumping off the top, and Corbin hits a nasty end of days on a pile of chairs which had to be no walk in the park for him either. This far far far exceeded any kind of expectations. Both guys were nuts.

6. Tables Match: Alexa Bliss vs. Becky Lynch

ER: The rules of a table match seem pretty weenie after the two matches that just happen. Those matches had chairs and ladders being used as weapons, and people taking rough spills into both, and now this one is built around avoiding one bump through one table. But we shall see. Becky is good about bouncing her face off various surfaces for Bliss offense. Liked the mini curb stomps, and in general whenever a move requires a face to be whipped into a mat, Lynch goes in fast with a nasty whip motion. Tough for me to get into this one as it's based all around avoiding the one big bump instead of just taking tons of big bumps. It's the escape the cage vs. violent cage match problem. They do start winning me over with that sick DDT on a flipped over table, with Lynch technically taking it but Alexis going back first over the table brace. Becky is real nasty about bending Bliss' arm through the table legs in painful ways. And then Bliss flies ribs first into a table edge and on replay it doesn't look as good but I'll pretend I didn't see that. And yeah this mostly didn't work. Building to one bump that was not even a top 10 impressive bump on the evening just isn't a really satisfying match to be handed. They did about all they could with a kind of limp stipulation, but that doesn't make it any more interesting.

7. TLC Match: Dean Ambrose vs. AJ Styles

ER: Styles is working OT in this one. Everything in the first few minutes is Ambrose lightly doing things that requires AJ to fly recklessly into ladders, across tables and into chairs. Dean caps off the half-assery with the lightest running lariat to the back of AJ's head. I don't know how AJ even knew how to bump for that. But this does just continue to evolve into a real AJ show. He's bumping like mad and throwing himself so impressively through everything. But Dean amps it up about 10-12 minutes in. His jab/chop combo is the best it's looked in ages. But this is the Styles show, baby, and not just talking about the ever widening split in his tights revealing more and more of his buns. He takes a wild bump through a table but can't stop there as we also get him doing a balls out (maybe soon with those tights!) springboard 450 to the floor through a table, crashing through Ambrose and face planting into the floor. This dude is nuts. James Ellsworth comes out and gets booed as they liked the match just fine as it was. Styles takes a nutso fast flipping bump off the ladder and to the floor, and then Ellsworth turns on Ambrose and shoves Dean off a ladder through two tables, leading to the Styles win. Boy, Ellsworth. That guy is still around. It's weird when somebody good gets over on their own and WWE flips out and cuts their legs out, but then someone like Ellsworth gets over and WWE pushes them more than anybody ever actually wanted.

Well this ended up being a really great show that went by super quick. Some of these PPVs have been total never ending slogs but this one was paced just right. Miz/Ziggler and Kalisto/Corbin were great in totally unexpected ways, other stuff was kept inoffensively short, and really only the tables match left me sorta flat. Can't actually remember the last PPV I enjoyed as much as this one.

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Blogger Brian said...

Christ The Miz is so good right now

9:12 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

A lot of clever work around the table in this so far

9:56 PM  
Blogger EricR said...

Teases around taking one bump through a table are a tough sell following some of the violence we saw in the previous two matches. It's weird to get to the "avoiding violence" portion of the evening after we saw two guys rushing right into it.

10:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thought the tables match was kind of shite. Alexa looks lost out there at times.

10:02 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

I actually really liked it. Keeping the focus, from the middle of the match on, completely centered around trying to avoid going through the table, was a nice change of pace, and stuck me as smart and logical.

They couldn't logically follow the previous two matches with more of the same, the rules/general formula for a tables match just doesn't allow it. I thought it was one of the next tables matches I've ever seen (granted, nobody is begging Will to make a "Best Table Matches" DVD comp)

10:16 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

I love AJ about equally to how much I can't stand Ambrose. This is an amazing effort from Styles though. That speed flip thing was insane.

10:36 PM  
Blogger EricR said...

The Ambrose thing is weird as he used to be a total favorite of mine and now he's a guy who I never look forward to seeing. What happened? Did he just get bad or do I have incredibly poor and inconsistent taste in wrestling?

10:43 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

I'm in the same boat there.

I think part of it is his skill set just does not fit the WWE style and tone.

The more time passes, the more obvious it is just how much The Shield was the greatest ever example of "greater than the sum of their parts" in wrestling.

10:50 PM  

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