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. 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 2017
Date: October 22, 2017
Location: Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Booker T.
Now this one has my attention as the card has almost been thrown out the window due to a string of medical issues. AJ Styles is replacing Bray Wyatt to face Finn Balor, but in a bigger story it’s Kurt Angle’s first WWE match in over eleven years as he replaces Roman Reigns in the show’s namesake match. Let’s get to it.
Kickoff Show: Alicia Fox vs. Sasha Banks
Rematch from Raw. Fox bails to the floor to start before taking her down and grabbing a way too early chinlock. Sasha fights up and knocks Alicia outside and we take a break without much having happened so far. Back with Fox messing with Banks’ hair and shoving her off the top in a heap. Alicia pulls at her hair a bit and it’s mostly one sided so far. Back in and Fox slams Sasha right back to the floor but there’s no immediate count. Fox to the fans: “EVERYBODY HELP THE REFEREE DO HIS JOB!”
A backbreaker gives Fox two and Booker compares her to the Missing Link of all people. Sasha kicks her to the floor without much effort and a headscissors takes Fox down back inside. Another backbreaker has Banks in trouble but only for two, meaning Fox screeches a lot. Not that it matters as the ax kick misses and it’s the Bank Statement makes Fox tap at 10:12.
Rating: D+. So we had a short match on Monday and now a longer match tonight. I still have no reason to believe that Fox is in Banks’ league and it’s kind of a waste of time to make this work at all. Fox isn’t going to beat Banks anytime in a competitive match but the fans went nuts for Sasha’s entrance, which is the point here.
The opening video looks at all of the changes to the card with a focus on Angle, as you would probably expect. The rest of the card gets a shorter look.
Emma vs. Asuka
Asuka is making her main roster debut and the fans are VERY excited for her entrance. An early cross armbreaker has Emma in early trouble and the hip attack puts her down again. Asuka can’t get the ankle lock and Emma kicks her down for two, meaning it’s time for the confidence to start. A hard shot to the back gives Emma two more and the fans are all behind Asuka.
Emma slaps on a seated full nelson but makes the mistake of slapping her in the face. That earns Emma a sliding knee to the face, only to have Emma hit a sliding kick of her own for two. It’s time for the pain though as Asuka snaps off a German suplex, only to have Emma head outside and pull Asuka outside by the hair. Not that it really matters as Asuka kicks her in the head and slaps on the Asuka Lock for the tap out at 9:21.
Rating: B-. That’s the most obvious ending of the whole match and there’s nothing wrong with that. Asuka was a killer here and, despite Emma getting in more offense than I was expecting, she looks like someone who is going to be a star for a long time. Now if only I could believe that WWE won’t manage to screw her up.
Miz gives the Bar a pep talk until Strowman comes in to yell at them. Kane comes in as well and promises to turn the main event into a nightmare.
Here’s Elias to talk about how awesome he is and play a little song. As he’s playing though, vegetables are thrown into the ring by….Jason Jordan. This goes nowhere and is as fillerish as you can get.
Jack Gallagher/Brian Kendrick vs. Cedric Alexander/Rich Swann
Kendrick has turned Gallagher evil and they targeted Alexander. Swann came in to help out his buddy. Cedric and Gallagher start things off but it’s already off to Swann to speed things up (not the worst idea when you need a shot of adrenaline) with his flips. Jack is sent outside where he trips Cedric, only to be taken down by a Swann flip dive from the apron. Cedric isn’t about to be outdone and hits a flip dive of his own over the top.
Back in and Kendrick cravates Swann to slow things down and Rich is sent head first into the buckle. Swann escapes a belly to back and brings Cedric in off the hot tag. Cedric cleans house, including a spinning kick to Gallagher’s head. Kendrick takes him outside and scores with a northern lights suplex, to put Cedric in trouble. Back in and the Captain’s Hook is broken up as Swann drops a Phoenix splash. The Lumbar Check ends Kendrick at 7:57.
Rating: C+. It was fun, but this was something you could see on almost any given episode of 205 Live. They flipped around and did their thing for about eight minutes but that doesn’t make it anything too fancy. The story is standard and that’s really all there is to say about it. It’s not going to help 205 Live that much but these guys deserve a little spotlight.
Alexa Bliss thinks Mickie James is only mad at her over the age jokes, but the truth is that Bliss idolized Mickie growing up. Mickie has gone toe to toe with Hall of Famers, but after tonight the good old days will just be old.
Women’s Title: Alexa Bliss vs. Mickie James
James is challenging and headlocks Bliss to start, much to the champ’s annoyance. Bliss pulls the hair to escape a few times before snapping Mickie’s arm across the top rope. That means it’s time to rip at the arm and slap on an armbar for good measure. You can feel Bliss’ confidence here, which is exactly how this story should go. A near fall only frustrates Bliss more and Mickie fights out of the corner with a good looking hurricanrana.
They slap it out until a forearm from Bliss and a high kick from Mickie connect at the same time. It’s Mickie getting the better of it and hitting some running forearms. Bliss goes to the arm again but Mickie slugs her down and nips up. Mickie gets crotches on top but Twisted Bliss only hits mat. A bad looking missile dropkick gives Mickie two but Bliss seems to be hurt. Mickie goes for it of course and gets pulled shoulder first into the corner. Bliss adds the DDT to retain at 11:30.
Rating: B. I liked this one more than the opener and I’m only somewhat surprised by that. Bliss is getting better in the ring and she’s getting that DDT over as a finisher. Of course I can’t imagine her holding the title by the end of the Royal Rumble as Asuka should win the belt in the near future but we can enjoy Bliss while she lasts.
Post match Mickie says she’s disappointed but she’ll be back. We get a thank you to the fans and Mickie is out.
Angle is getting ready in the back when Ambrose and Rollins come in. They’re ready for the match but have a gift for Angle: his own riot squad gear. Angle says he’s in all the way.
Here’s Elias to try his song again but one more time he’s delayed by Jordan throwing vegetables, this time from a shopping cart. Even Graves mentions that we’re filling time.
We recap Enzo Amore vs. Kalisto. Enzo won the Cruiserweight Title last month but Kalisto won it in a big surprise. That wasn’t cool with Amore, who said that he was the only real star in the division. Tonight is the rematch.
Cruiserweight Title: Enzo Amore vs. Kalisto
Kalisto is defending. Before the match, Enzo, with a hoarse voice, does his usual shtick and says he’s not going to be one of those people who stands around while everyone else gets whatever they want. Enzo bails into the corner to start and the chase is on with Kalisto grabbing a headscissors for his first big offense. Another spin sends Enzo bailing to the floor and we hit the stall button. Back in and Enzo sends him head first into the top turnbuckle to take over for the first time.
A hard kick to the ribs keeps Kalisto down and there’s the baseball punch for two. We hit the chinlock with Enzo grabbing the mask to pull Kalisto right back down. Kalisto finally fights back up and sends him hard into the corner, followed by a springboard seated senton. Enzo gets two off a middle rope DDT but the Jordunzo is broken up. Not that it matters as Enzo pokes him in the eye and hits the Jordunzo for the pin and the title at 9:02.
Rating: D+. Well duh. This was only slightly less obvious than Asuka winning as they were just trying to make Enzo sweat a bit before becoming a two time champion. Hopefully they can have other people get title shots now but otherwise, we could be in for some stretchy booking to keep him defending the title. Enzo remains a necessary evil, but that doesn’t make him any easier to sit through.
Post match Enzo thanks himself.
The announcers give all the preview they can for AJ Styles vs. Finn Balor. There’s no story here but they had to give us a huge match with so many last minute changes. For once, this actually lives up to the term Dream Match and that’s a nice change of pace.
Finn Balor vs. AJ Styles
Balor is the Demon and the fans are split here. A lockup goes nowhere so they trade shoulders for no advantage either. They try a technical sequence and it’s a standoff as the fans are very pleased. Balor goes to the apron and scores with a kick to the head, setting up a kind of awkward sequence where Balor didn’t seem to realize that AJ was on his stomach and tried to cover.
It’s a surfboard instead though with Balor starting in on the leg. Back up and AJ catches him with a hard forearm, followed by a slingshot Phenomenal Forearm for two. The fans are split as Balor comes back with a series of shots in the corner, including a hard shot to knock AJ off the top and to the floor. That means a big flip dive, which the fans think is awesome. Back in and Balor scores with the Sling Blade but AJ grabs the fireman’s carry backbreaker to cut him off.
The Styles Clash is broken up so it’s a belly to back faceplant to give AJ two of his own. Now it’s Balor back up and stomping away in the corner, followed by a running kick to the face. That just earns Balor the Calf Crusher until he has to grab AJ’s head and slam it into the mat for the break. The Phenomenal Forearm is loaded up again but this time it’s Balor shoving him off the top for a big crash to the floor.
Balor follows him up with a running dropkick to send AJ into the barricade, only to have AJ drive him over the announcers’ table. They dive back in at nine and stereo crossbodies put them both down. The Phenomenal Blitz staggers Balor but he’s right back with the Pele to give us another standoff. A reverse implant DDT takes AJ down but a Pele cuts off the Coup de Grace. AJ isn’t about to be outdone so it’s a super springboard hurricanrana. He misses the springboard 450 though and the shotgun dropkick puts AJ in the corner. The Coup de Grace ends AJ at 17:54.
Rating: B+. This was the only option they had with all the changes. WWE had to deliver something special and that’s what they did with something that actually lived up to the dream match moniker. Balor winning was the right call as there’s no point in not giving the Raw guy a rub on the Raw show. It’s also a very good match with both guys looking like stars the whole way through. WWE did what they could here and that’s very nice to see for a change.
They shake hands post match and we get the TOO SWEET that will be talked about to a completely unnecessary degree.
Elias is out here a third time and this time he’s in the ring. At least there’s a match this time around.
Jason Jordan vs. Elias
Bonus match. Jordan wastes no time in powering Elias down to the mat so Elias shoves him in the face. Elias bails to the floor for a breather, followed by a headlock back inside. Something like a powerslam takes Elias down but Jordan gets sent hard into the post. Elias grabs a seated abdominal stretch as Booker changes his mind on Elias in the span of a minute. A regular abdominal stretch keeps Jordan in trouble until he powers Elias into the corner.
There’s the belly to belly and a swinging Saito suplex gets two more. Jordan can’t hit the belly to belly superplex so Elias slams him into the corner instead. Elias tries a suplex but gets reversed into a small package. Jordan lets him go at two but the referee counts the pin anyway at 9:54. It looked like Elias’ shoulder was up and Booker is borderline livid.
Rating: D. Standard Raw match here but they had to fill in the time with something. Jordan winning that way seems to set up another match down the line (by which I mean tomorrow night) but at least they seem to be pushing someone. Now of course watch them have Elias win the rematch and make this a big waste of time.
Quick video on Angle’s career, followed by a recap of the main event. The Shield members were dealing with Miz and company and decided there was strength in numbers. Ambrose made the mistake of saying the team could face three, four or five men so Miz took him up on it. Then Reigns got sick so Angle is taking his place.
Dean Ambrose/Seth Rollins/Kurt Angle vs. Miz/Braun Strowman/Kane/The Bar
Tables, ladders and chairs but you win by pinfall or submission. Angle is in Shield gear for a nice touch and it’s Rollins diving on the pile, allowing his partners to grab some chairs and take over to start. Strowman gets chaired down and Kane gets the same treatment, allowing Ambrose and Rollins to hit stereo dives. Sheamus and Cesaro remember that they’re in the match and save Kane from going through the announcers’ table.
The Shield guys take over again though and Kane is set on the table, only to have Strowman fight back. Rollins saves Kurt from going through a table and Strowman is chaired down again. It’s double ladder time with Strowman and Kane being laid on the tables, setting up a splash and elbow drop for the first big spot of the match. With everyone else down, Angle throws Miz back inside but gets met by Cesaro and Sheamus. Ambrose and Rollins get back in to break up the TripleBomb, leaving Angle to roll some German suplexes on Miz.
Cesaro and Sheamus take one each as Angle is all fired up. Speaking of fire being up, Kane sits up but gets taken right back down with an ankle lock. Strowman makes the save and it’s a running powerslam through a table to knock Kurt silly. The villains come back with chair shots and it’s Angle being taken to the back by medics, only to fall to his knees in the aisle. Booker actually rants about how selfish Angle was as Rollins is thrown head first into a chair in the corner.
The beating continues for a good while as the fans want Lesnar. Ambrose and Rollins try to fight back and Kane accidentally chairs Strowman. For some reason the Shield guys break it up, which is enough to end the brawl. It’s table time but the double Razor’s Edge sends Ambrose bouncing off the table in a SICK crash. Miz has the Bar take Rollins up the ramp and it’s a garbage truck backing into the arena. Ambrose and Rollins fight out of the truck though and hit dives onto everyone but Miz in the big hope spot.
Kane gets beaten down but Strowman is back up to stop a suplex through a table. For some reason Kane slugs away at Strowman, setting up a chokeslam through the stage. Strowman is still getting up so Kane grabs the chairs hanging from the ceiling and pulls about eight of them down, burying Strowman on the floor. Kane isn’t done yet and chokeslams Ambrose and Rollins onto tables (neither breaks AGAIN). The Bar helps carry them to the truck…and Strowman is up.
Miz begs him to stop but Strowman takes out all of his partners, setting up the fight with Kane. Everyone gets together and Strowman is thrown into the truck, which turns on. Rollins is thrown back into the ring and it’s Miz/the Bar doing the Shield entrance. A springboard assisted White Noise plants Seth but Dean makes the diving save at two. Kane calls for a chokeslam….and here’s Angle back again.
The Bar takes Angle Slams on the floor but Kane takes him down with a clothesline. Ambrose and Rollins come back in with chairs before driving Kane through the barricade. The Skull Crushing Finale takes Angle down from behind for a heck of a near fall. The ankle lock has Miz in trouble but Miz sends Kurt outside for the break. Rollins gets back in for the wind-up knee into Dirty Deeds into the Angle Slam and Miz is basically done. The TripleBomb is good for the pin at 35:23.
Rating: A-. WOW. I’m really not sure what to say about this but I think we can call it the most ridiculous, insane, over the top and crazy entertaining match that will mean a grand total of nothing in recent history. I mean…..THEY PUT A MAN IN A GARBAGE TRUCK AND CRUSHED HIM! LIKE SHREDDER IN TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES! And that’s not even the first time someone has used a large truck to try and destroy him this year!
The match was a complete over the top mess and that’s all they could do here. Instead of trying to have a match (which would have been ridiculous given how one sided it was on paper), the whole thing was just a chaotic mess and that’s the best possible outcome. I could have gone with Sheamus, Cesaro or Kane taking the fall but at least it was after a lot of offense. Angle looked fine and I get the break he took, though it makes me wonder if Reigns would have taken that break as well had he been in there (probably not of course but it’s not out of the question). Insanely fun main event and really all they could have done.
Overall Rating: C+. I’m not sure what to think of this one, but it’s safe to say that they weren’t able to put forth their best show given all the last minute changes. That being said the matches we got were probably a lot better, which brings up the fact that a horrible disease is booking the pay per views better than the Raw creative team (I wish I could take credit for that but I saw it elsewhere). It’s not a show that anyone needs to see again (though the last two matches were a blast in different ways) but all things considered, this was good stuff.
Oh and by the way: they added two segments, a bonus match, admitted they were filling in time and STILL MANAGED TO GO OVER! I don’t know if that’s really impressive or pathetic but it made me chuckle.
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. Get the latest and greatest in professional wrestling news by signing up for our daily email newsletter. Just look below for “GET EXCLUSIVE UPDATES” to sign up. Thank you for reading!