Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over ten years now and have reviewed over 5,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net, starting today. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?
Tables Ladders and Chairs 2015
Date: December 13, 2015
Location: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
Commentators: Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield, Jerry Lawler
We’ll close out the pay per view calendar with some good violence on one of the shows full of the shows full of gimmick matches. The main event in the namesake match is Sheamus defending his World Title against Roman Reigns in what should be a brutal fight between two power guys. Let’s get to it.
Pre-Show: Sasha Banks. vs. Becky Lynch
This would be another unannounced match because the Divas Revolution isn’t important enough to mention in advance. Sasha gets the huge hometown pop and we get a little 12 Days of Christmas from Team BAD, which they thankfully cover with the final verse. None of the lines are funny enough to mention but you have to expect that with something WWE thinks is amusing. This would be your nightly attempt to make Team BAD into the second New Day. You know, because when you look at Tamina, she just screams charisma.
They start fast with some nice rollup attempts until Lynch headscissors her down. Sasha doesn’t get high enough on a leapfrog and crashes down on her face but it’s not enough to get the Disarm-Her. The announcers talk about Paul Heyman praising Becky as she takes Sasha down with an armbar. Banks finally drives her into the corner and avoids a charge, setting up the double knees (I don’t remember the last time she got to use that) to the back.
We take a break and come back with Sasha nailing the Backstabber into the Bank Statement but Becky gets to her feel and eventually rolls out before the hold can go on full. They trade more rollups for two each until a Regal Cutter takes Lynch down for two more. A pumphandle suplex gets the same on Sasha and there’s the Disarm-Her. Cue Tamina for a distraction so Naomi can kick Becky in the chest, setting up the Bank Statement for the submission at 11:41.
Rating: B-. This felt like an NXT match on the big stage which is how things are supposed to go. They were finally allowed to try some of their submission stuff instead of having the same Divas matches they always have, even with the Naomi and Tamina interference. I can’t wait for the day when Sasha is finally allowed to go on her own because this UNITY nonsense is really holding her down. Other than “we don’t have anything else for them to do”, why is she still stuck with Tamina and Naomi? Good match here though and hopefully a sign of things to come tonight.
The opening video is Reigns standing there while clips of his path through the tournament and Sheamus’ cash in play behind him. The video game themed promo? Nowhere to be seen. The simple yet effective Christmas present themed video that ended the pre-show? Not on here either because why be creative when you can be generic?
Tag Team Titles: Usos vs. Lucha Dragons vs. New Day
Ladder match with New Day defending. I’m not sure why they’re going with their hottest match to open the show but at least the first fifteen minutes should rock. Before the match, Kofi asks Woods why there’s no special hair tonight but Xavier wasn’t about to waste a good hair day on Boston. With tonight’s win, they will secure their spot as the faces of the division because who else can do it? The Lucha Dragons are too small and the Usos sound like a disease. Woods sits in on commentary and we’re finally ready to go.
Kofi and Jimmy start fast with one ladder being slid inside and another being…..dropped back down to the floor. Back in and it’s a double springboard with Kofi and Kalisto landing on the ladder. A double save is made so the Dragons moonsault from the middle rope to take the champs down. The Usos are all alone so they load up a ladder but knock the Dragons off the apron instead of going up.
They throw the ladder onto the guys on the floor and dive on top of them as JBL loses his mind at how stupid that was. Kofi gets thrown to the floor but Big E. runs the ladder over as the champs take over again. We get the Unicorn Stampede to Jimmy with a ladder in between, meaning it’s time for some tromboning. Jey’s save is countered with a belly to belly onto the ladder. The Dragons are back up but Big E. stops their ladder (upside down here) and drives them back into the corner. Kalisto gets smart and dives over the ladder to take Big E. down.
Cara rides the ladder down onto Kofi and takes out the Usos with a running Swanton over the top onto a ladder. The Dragons climb the ladder with Big E. underneath but he bench presses the ladder in an awesome display of strength. Kalisto dives onto the Usos again but they throw him down before dropkicking the ladder into Big E. in the corner. We get the mini ladder as Kofi breaks up a Superfly splash from Jimmy. Woods: “That’s what being a veteran ladder match haver can do for you!” Back up and Kofi gets caught in the Tree of Woe for a running Umaga Attack from Jimmy, leaving the twins all alone.
We get a big staredown between all the challengers with the Dragons taking over, including a monkey flip into the 450 to send Kalisto onto the ladder onto Jey. Woods: “WHY???” Kofi comes back in (with Woods saying it’s due to the rest building up his stamina like in WWE2K16) and wedges a ladder into the runs of a standing ladder.
That earns him a hurricanrana to send Kofi face first into the side of the ladder. Woods: “Our paintbrushes are fists and feet and you’re about to see Kofi do some fantastic art!” Back in and all four challengers climb up with Jey and Kalisto slugging it out on top. In the totally insane spot of the match, Kalisto gives Jey a Salida Del Sol over the top of the ladder and through the bridged ladder, sending Woods (and the crowd) into shock.
Somehow Kalisto isn’t dead and climbs up for a slugout with Jimmy but Big E. makes the save and stops Jimmy’s charge with a forearm (Woods: “LOOK AT THAT TRICEP MEAT!”) but a baseball slide into the ladder puts Big E. down again. Kalisto is all alone but Woods declares the match No DQ (in case there was any confusion beforehand) and hits Kalisto in the back with the trombone, allowing Kofi to retain the titles at 17:46.
Rating: A. Well that’s your match of the night by about a mile. That Salida Del Sol was absolutely nuts and one of the best spots they’ve done in years. I’m glad New Day retained because they’ve earned the right to keep the titles a bit longer, and maybe even a program with Enzo and Big Cass. Imagine the promos on that one.
We recap Rusev vs. Ryback, which is built around Rusev being all romantic with Lana and Ryback wanting to fight.
Ryback vs. Rusev
Rusev forearms him down to start and they quickly head outside with Ryback getting the better of it before taking Rusev back inside for a top rope ax handle. Some right hands in the corner set up a powerbomb from Rusev and it’s time to slowly stomp on the back. We hit the chinlock as Cole talks about Lana saving herself for marriage to Rusev. They fight over a suplex until Ryback takes over after about the tenth try, followed by a middle rope dropkick for two.
The Shell Shock is broken up so Ryback gets two off a high cross body instead. Points to him for trying some new stuff at least. Lana offers a distraction to break up the Meat Hook though and Rusev superkicks him down. Back in and the Accolade is broken up, only to have Rusev kick him in the head to get the hold on for the knockout at 7:56.
Rating: C-. I’m so tired of seeing either of these guys built up only to lose to another upper midcarder because they have no idea how to build up anyone else. The match was a decent enough power brawl but I have no idea how many more times they can go with the Lana injury idea before it gets even less interesting than it is now.
Reigns and Ambrose are ready for tonight and can’t wait to see Sheamus and Owens beaten down so they can walk out as double champions.
Quick recap of Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger which is mainly over Zeb Colter, who split with Del Rio on Monday.
US Title: Jack Swagger vs. Alberto Del Rio
Del Rio is defending and this is a chairs match. Both guys grab chairs to start and we get the early duel. That goes nowhere so they head outside to fight among the dozen or two chairs set up. Del Rio is sent into one face first time after time until he its Jack in the throat to take over.
A Backstabber gets two for the champ but Jack throws a chair at him. The Vader Bomb is blocked and the tilt-a-whirl backbreaker gets two for Del Rio. They head outside again with Alberto burying him under a pile of chairs and then throwing even more on top. Back in and the armbreaker is broken up with Swagger sending him shoulder first into the post for two more.
Swagger wraps a chair around the leg and puts on the Patriot Lock (meaning the chair doesn’t change anything) until Del Rio falls out to the floor. The powerslam sets up the Vader Bomb for another near fall. Jack throws in about ten chairs but Del Rio counters into the armbreaker over the ropes. A bunch of chair shots to the back sets up the top rope double stomp onto the chairs to retain the title at 11:19.
Rating: C. The match wasn’t bad but again this was such a mess with such an uninteresting story that there’s almost no way the match can be good. The finisher is still stupid, the chairs match gimmick is even worse (maybe) and the fans never bought the idea that Del Rio was going to lose. At least Colter wasn’t involved though.
We recap the ECW guys vs. the Wyatt Family. The Dudley Boyz were the Wyatts’ latest targets due to whatever bizarre reasons the Wyatts had this time (as usual they aren’t really clear). This meant the Dudleys had to bring in Tommy Dreamer and Rhyno to even things out, setting up an elimination tables match.
The ECW guys says they’ve seen it all over the years and now they’re here fighting one more time because hardcore is forever and age is just a number.
Dudley Boyz/Tommy Dreamer/Rhyno vs. Wyatt Family
The ECW guys go right at them to start and thankfully there are no tags. It’s already weapons time and the fight is quickly on the floor. We get a really bad looking sequence where Bubba puts a trashcan in front of his face so Strowman can punch it back at him. That was horrible. Strowman starts cleaning house until all four fight back. Rowan comes in and puts D-Von on a table but gets shoved off the top as the table breaks anyway. That’s not an elimination because it wasn’t an offensive move, which goes along with the rules these matches have had over the years.
3D puts Rowan through the table for an elimination but Bubba is clutching his knee. Bray and Harper come back in to take over as Bubba’s knee is good enough to go after Strowman on the floor. Rhyno suplexes Bray and Harper but Bray stops the Gore with a cross body. A big boot puts Rhyno through the table and we’re tied up again. Harper takes D-Von to the top but Bubba is back in to turn it into a Doomsday Device. Bubba goes after Strowman on the floor and D-Von gets another table, only to have Bray slam him through it for an elimination.
It’s down to Bray/Braun/Luke vs. Bubba/Dreamer. That means it’s time for kendo sticks and a cheese grater between Braun’s legs. Bubba and Dreamer bury him under a table for no apparent reason, leaving Harper to put Dreamer through a table with a suicide dive. Sister Abigail is broken up with some stick shots to the head and now it’s time for fire. Bubba covers a table with the fluid but Braun comes back in to chokeslam him through for the win at 12:30.
Rating: C+. This was fun enough and I can live with Rowan getting eliminated because no one cares about him in the first place. At least the Wyatts get a win and the jobbers did the job like they were supposed to. Hopefully this is almost it for Dreamer as he has little to offer outside of hardcore matches. Rhyno can do some good enough stuff on his own and might be worth keeping around, but they need to phase the ECW guys out again.
The pre-show panel recaps the show and throws us to the first Royal Rumble ad.
Intercontinental Title: Kevin Owens vs. Dean Ambrose
Owens is defending after Ambrose beat him in a non-title match last month and then won a triple threat match on Smackdown. That’s about it for the recap because there’s barely a story here. Before the match, Owens laughs at Boston fans for bragging about the success of their sports teams because none of them actually did anything in the first place. Dean might have thrown popcorn and soda in his face on Monday, but no matter what happens tonight, this is going to be the Kevin Owens Show.
Owens kicks him in the back to start so Dean punches him in the face. A belly to belly gets two for Owens and we hit the early chinlock. Dean fights up with a suplex but can’t hit Dirty Deeds. Instead it’s a clothesline to put Owens on the floor for a suicide dive. Owens pops right back up for a fall away slam and the backsplash on the floor, leaving Dean to dive back in at nine. Another backsplash hits knees but the top rope elbow is countered into a nice German suplex.
The Cannonball misses though and now the top rope elbow gets two. Dean’s superplex is countered into a middle rope Regal Roll and the kickout stuns Owens. The Pop Up Powerbomb is broken up and Dean grabs Dirty Deeds, only to have Owens touch the bottom rope for the break. Dean is stunned and walks into the Pop Up Powerbomb, only to counter into a hurricanrana for the pin and the title at 9:10. Lawler: “He’s going to be on cooking shows! He’s going to be on soap operas!”
Rating: B-. I wish they had let Owens keep going as champion but at least they FINALLY let Dean have something. This was treated as a big deal and could lead somewhere, assuming you believe the Intercontinental Title could actually mean something instead of being a title that is traded around every few months with no one getting anywhere as a result.
Dean celebrates quite a bit.
We recap Charlotte vs. Paige with Charlotte turning mostly heel and Paige not really turning anything new. Charlotte is embracing her inner Flair and Paige isn’t cool with that, setting up this title match.
Divas Title: Charlotte vs. Paige
Charlotte is defending and has her dad with her again. Paige knees her in the face to start and Charlotte hides behind her dad on the floor. Ric gets yelled at for a bit, allowing Charlotte to trip Paige as she comes back in and drop some more knees. We hit a front facelock on Paige as the fans aren’t thrilled with this so far. Paige’s sleeper attempt doesn’t go anywhere and it’s time for Charlotte to go after the knee. We see Team BAD, dressed as Team PCB for no logical reason, watching the match in the back.
Ric pulls off a turnbuckle pad but Charlotte doesn’t seem pleased. Paige uses the distraction to hit a running knee to the ribs and slap on her own Figure Four until Charlotte quickly rolls over. Back up and Charlotte hits a spinning top rope cross body, only to get caught in a fisherman’s suplex for two.
Something like a Rampaige from her knees gets two for the champ but the spear hits a knee to the face. Now the Rampaige connects on Charlotte but Ric pulls Paige’s leg under the ropes. Even JBL admits that this one happened. Charlotte uses the distraction to get the rest of the buckle pad off though and Paige goes face first to retain Charlotte’s title at 10:44.
Rating: C. As usual the psychology was way off here because they have no idea if Paige is a face or a heel. Charlotte is definitely doing better at the moment but Ric really needs to get out of here because the stories are becoming more about him than Charlotte, who actually needs the exposure. The match wasn’t bad but they needed some better focus.
After an ad for Kay Jewelers, Becky isn’t happy with what Charlotte did. Charlotte offers to make it like old times again but does the pinky swear with her dad instead and laughs at Becky.
Long recap of Sheamus vs. Roman Reigns, which is mostly about Sheamus cashing in his Money in the Bank last month and forming the League of Nations soon afterwards.
WWE World Title: Sheamus vs. Roman Reigns
TLC match with Sheamus defending. Sheamus charges into a right hand to start and Reigns pounds away on the mat. The fans are chanting for Cena early on, despite this being a pretty solid show so far. It’s almost like they’re never happy no matter what they’re given. They head outside with the champ being whipped over the barricade and into the timekeeper’s area.
The ladder is bridged between the announcers’ table and apron but Sheamus hits him in the back with a chair to get a breather. The fans think Sheamus looks stupid but at least it’s better than the Tater Tot chants. Instead of going for the title, they fight up the aisle with Sheamus going through a bunch of tables and chairs for a crash. Reigns takes too long though and Sheamus backdrops him through a table. Sheamus gets back inside for the first climb but has to come back down to throw a ladder at Reigns.
The apron kick is countered by another shot to the face and a big White Noise puts Reigns through a table. They finally get back in with Reigns taking another ladder to the back but of course he’s still able to powerbomb Sheamus onto the ladder. Reigns knocks him back to the floor and hits something like a Superman punch off the steps with a chair to the head. Back in again and the regular Superman punch is countered into the Irish Curse as the fans just do not care. Like it’s disturbing how little they care here.
The fans chant for NXT as Reigns powers out of the ten forearms to the chest for a Samoan drop through the bridged ladder (clearly made of wood). That gets the fans back but they boo Reigns out of the building as he climbs again. JBL asks if Reigns is finally going to do it, basically admitting that the five minute title reign means nothing. A quick Superman punch drops Sheamus again but he pulls Reigns down again. Now it’s Sheamus going up but Roman nails another Superman punch off the ladder (cool spot) to knock Reigns through a table.
Reigns goes up and here are Rusev and Del Rio for the save. You knew that was coming sooner or later. Rusev takes him to the floor for the Accolade but Reigns fights out again and Superman punches both guys, only to eat a Brogue Kick from Sheamus. We get the slow climb and Reigns is back again, only to have Sheamus pull the title down and kill the crowd even deader than they already were at 24:00.
Rating: B. The match was fun but we all knew what was coming at the end and there was no way around it. I’m not even going to bother going on a rant about how stupid this is because there’s nothing left to say about it. This story and feud is horrible and it just keeps going because we need the PERFECT moment to put the title on Reigns permanently. What WWE doesn’t seem to realize (or acknowledge because I can’t believe they’re this dumb) is that the moment has already passed multiple times and the Reigns chance is gone.
The League (minus Barrett, who must be busy tonight), poses until Reigns spears them all down and beats them up with a chair. Reigns isn’t done yet (like, he won’t even listen to Stephanie shouting STOP!) and powerbombs HHH onto (not through) the announcers’ table. That sums up Reigns’ career so perfectly. An elbow puts HHH through the table as the announcers freak out that someone could touch the boss. Fans: “THANK YOU ROMAN!” HHH is helped out but Reigns runs back to ringside and spears HHH down to finally end the show.
This worked for many reasons, but there’s one at the top of the list: emotion. Instead of going by what the script says which may or may not make sense, there was a logical progression of Reigns being pushed to his limit too many times and FINALLY snapping like a 6’4 gladiator would do if he kept dealing with stuff like this. Stuff like that is always going to work and it did here. Of course there are still a dozen problems with the show and this doesn’t solve most of them but it was a cool moment.
Overall Rating: B-. This was a very back and forth show with the opener obviously being the high point but the rest was like a boat that was trying to get through a bad storm. It had some good moments and there was definitely more good than bad but the main event was just death due to the horrible build. The violence and carnage carried things as it almost does but they still need a lot of changes. This worked for one night though which is a lot more than you can say most of the time.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. His latest book is KB’s Complete 2004 Monday Night Raw Reviews.
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