Aired live on pay-per-view
Houston, Texas at Toyota Center
Josh Mathews introduced the show as the fans were shown walking in the concourse area and filing into the arena bowl. The panel featured Mick Foley (wearing a Santa hat), Booker T, and The Miz. Foley mentioned that his daughter Nicole turned 20 today. They shifted their focus to the TLC pay-per-view main event.
The panelists discussed the Dolph Ziggler vs. Fandango Kickoff match. Renee Young checked in from the social media lounge.
Powell's POV: Renee's dress looks like something Jimmy MacElroy would wear during an ice dancing competition or maybe something that was designed for Summer Rae.
The panel discussed the Daniel Bryan vs. Wyatt Family handicap match. Foley said that when he listens to Bray Wyatt, he believes every word he says. Foley added that he's not worried about Bryan winning as much as he is seeing Bryan escape without injury...
The focus shifted to C.M. Punk's handicap match against The Shield. Backstage, The Shield delivered a promo about the match. Dean Ambrose said Punk is a man of conviction and beliefs. However, after tonight he will only believe in The Shield...
Miz started talking about the match when Kofi Kingston showed up. Miz stopped and asked, "Can I help you?" Kingston slapped him across the face. They started brawling and had to be pulled apart...
Powell's POV: I'm not a fan of the abrupt cut to the broadcast team, but it was nice to see something out of the norm from the pre-show panel. They may actually heat up the Kingston vs. Miz feud yet.
Michael Cole, JBL, and Jerry Lawler checked in on commentary and set up the Kickoff match...
1. Fandango (w/Summer Rae) vs. Dolph Ziggler. Before the match, Fandango cut a promo in which he said the Texas line dance is nothing more than rednecks and hillbillies sweating all over each other. Ziggler threw a nice dropkick, but was then backdropped over the top rope to ringside just 40 seconds into the match. [C]
Powell's POV: Yes, more pay-per-view commercials during the pay-per-view pre-game show.
Fandango went on the offensive and went up top for his finisher, but Ziggler caught him on the ropes and stopped him. Ziggler set up for a move, but he was distracted by Summer Rae. Fandango regained control and ended knocking Ziggler down and then hit the top rope leg drop for the win...
Fandango defeated Dolph Ziggler in 4:40.
Powell's POV: Disappointing only because the wrestlers weren't given much time to work with. I'd like to see more from these two and I assume we will given the finish.
Backstage, Renee Young read through fan tweets that predicted the winner of the TLC main event... Mathews, Foley, and Booker spoke about the match and noted that Miz was absent. Booker said Kingston slapped the taste out of Miz's mouth... A video played to promote the TLC main event... The announcers discussed the pay-per-view main event...
A limo was shown pulling into the backstage area. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon emerged from the limo and the fans booed. Vince McMahon then stepped out of the limo and the fans reacted positively. "As a friend of mine used to say, business is about to pick up," Foley said to close the pre-game show...
WWE TLC Pay-Per-View
Triple H's music played. Hunter and Stephanie McMahon walked onto the stage and were booed. The title belts were shown hanging above the ring. Hunter spoke about the history of the title belts starting with Lou Thesz and Buddy Rodgers. He mentioned Harley Race, Bruno Sammartino, Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin, and others.
Hunter said those two great championships will become one. He said two great champions will walk to the ring and only one will walk out as the champion of champions. Stephanie asked whether that man will be Randy Orton or John Cena. Orton was booed, Cena received a mixed reaction. "Tonight, we will crown the WWE World Heavyweight Champion," Steph concluded... A TLC video played...
1. C.M. Punk vs. Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns in a handicap match. The Shield members took turns working over Punk early. When Reigns checked in, Rollins sold all of the shots that Reigns took and they laughed about the punishment they were dishing out. At ringside, Reigns dove toward Punk, who moved, causing Reigns to go flying over the announcers' table.
Back inside the ring, Punk targeted the eye of Reigns, who continued to sell it even after tagging out. The ringside doctor checked on Reigns on the floor. Inside the ring, Punk got the better of Rollins and used him as a battering ram to knock Ambrose off the ring apron.
Punk hit the high knee in the corner and then clotheslined Rollins. Punk went up top and performed a cross body block for a two count that the crowd was hot for. Punk applied the Anaconda vice, which Ambrose broke up with a boot. Ambrose checked in and Punk got the better of him, then performed a top rope elbow drop for a two count.
Punk hoisted up Ambrose for the GTS, but Ambrose tried to interfere, so Punk hoisted hit the move on him instead. Punk set up Ambrose for the move, but he slipped away. Regins returned to the match and tried to spear Punk, who moved, causing Reigns to spear Ambrose instead, which led to Punk getting the win...
C.M. Punk defeated The Shield in a handicap match in 13:45.
Powell's POV: A good opening match that the live crowd was up for. I feared that the trio that lost the handicap match would look really bad, but this isn't anything that will damage The Shield. However, I do suspect that it will lead to more friction and the eventual breakup of The Shield.
Backstage, Renee Young interviewed A.J. Lee while Tamina stood by. Lee said she's been the Divas Champion for 182 days, but that's not enough to get you a Slammy Award. She vented about the Divas division...
Powell's POV: It seems like the only time we hear about the number of days a champion has held the title is when that champion is about to lose. Of course, the exception is C.M. Punk's title reign.
2. A.J. Lee (w/Tamina) vs. Natalya for the WWE Divas Championship. Lee kissed her title belt before the match. Natalya was distracted by Tamina early in the match, and A.J. took advantage by kicking her knee and knocking her off the apron. Natalya made a brief comeback, but A.J. caught her in a guillotine at 4:15.
Natalya countered it into a bear hug and shifted into position for a move, but Lee slipped away. Natalya caught a seated Lee with a dropkick. Natalya performed a couple suplexes and then scooped up Lee for a split-legged slam. Natalya applied the Sharpshooter in the middle of the ring. Lee crawled toward the rope, but Natalya pulled her back to the middle of the ring.
Lee twisted around and broke the hold. Tamina stood on the ropes and distracted Natalya, which set up Lee applying the Black Widow. Natalya broke free and went for the the Sharpshooter, but Lee reached up and pulled her down into a pin and got the win. The announcers questioned whether Lee grabbed the hair while pulling Natalya down...
A.J. Lee defeated Natalya to retain the WWE Divas Championship in 4:35.
Powell's POV: Lee seemed to play into the suspicion that she would drop the title. The day count may have been a coincidence, but the way she kissed the title beforehand caught my attention. This was a better match than these two had the last time they met for the Divas Championship. The live crowd was tame during the match, but they got did get up for the signature holds of both women.
A video featured past World Champions discussing what the titles meant to them... Damien Sandow delivered a PSA for the Lone Star State on his way to the ring. He said "y'all, reckon, and yee when followed by the word ha, and Big E Langston when followed by Intercontinental Champion" are all garbage. He said he would be the new champion in just a few short minutes...
Cole hyped the Royal Rumble for January 26 in Pittsburgh. He said that unlike past years, the winner of the Rumble won't have a choice regarding which title he challenges for because there will be only one championship...
3. Big E Langston vs. Damien Sandow for the Intercontinental Title. Langston got off to the fast start. Sandow took a powder and Langston followed. Sandow pulled Langston into the ring post, which led to him being the aggressor once they were back inside the ring. Sandow dropped "the elbow of disdain" at one point. Nice.
Langston ended up performing the electric chair on Sandow to regain control. Langston threw a couple clotheslines and delivered a belly-to-belly suplex. Langston performed a running splash. Later, Sandow caught a charging Langston with his boots, but then Langston came right back with a clothesline and followed up with The Big Ending for the win...
Big E Langston defeated Damien Sandow to retain the Intercontinental Title in 6:30.
Powell's POV: They never did anything to make me feel like Langston's title reign was in jeopardy. The in-ring work was solid, yet there was nothing memorable about the match. It felt like just another match rather than a heated battle over the secondary title.
Backstage, Vince McMahon approached Randy Orton and shook his hand. Vince walked away... A commercial aired for chicken wings... The announcers spoke about Steve Austin tweeting about the main event. They previously mentioned that Bruno Sammartino had done the same...
The panel spoke and there were "Foley" chants. Footage was shown of The Miz being bitch slapped by Kofi Kingston. Back live, Booker announced The Miz vs. Kofi Kingston in a No DQ match for the pay-per-view...
4. Goldust and Cody Rhodes vs. Big Show and Rey Mysterio vs. The Real Americans (w/Zeb Colter) vs. Ryback and Curtis Axel in a four-way for the WWE Tag Team Championship. Goldust pinned Ryback in 6:10 to eliminate Ryback and Curtis Axel from the match, so, um, apparently this is an elimination match.
Goldust spent the next few minutes selling for The Real Americans. Goldust nearly reached Cody, but Swagger cut him off. Cesaro tagged in and performed the crowd pleasing Cesaro Swing on Goldust at 11:00. Goldust finally made it to his corner, only to have Swagger pull Cody down to the floor. Big Show then ran Swagger over the barricade.
Goldust power slammed Cesaro, then tagged in Big Show at 13:50. Show worked over Cesaro and set him up for the chokeslam, but Swagger distracted him. Show punched out Swagger, then shoved a diving Cesaro aside and pinned him in 14:35 to eliminate The Real Americans from the match.
The match came down to Goldust and Cody Rhodes vs. Rey Mysterio and Big Show. Goldust was selling in the corner to the point that even Big Show walked over and helped him get to his feet. In an awkward moment, Goldust remained in the ring even though he was in his corner and could have tagged in Cody.
A short time later, Goldust caught Show with a DDT and got a two count. Goldust tagged Cody into the match and they teamed up to suplex Show, who kicked out when Cody covered him. Cody went for the Disaster Kick, but Show simply slapped his chest and knocked him down, then tagged in Mysterio.
Mysterio performed a senton and caught Cody with a kick to the head for a two count. Cody caught Mysterio on his shoulders, dropped him, and tagged him with a Disaster Kick for a two count. Mysterio came back and performed the 619 on Goldust after he tried to interfere. Show took Goldust to ringside and ran him into the barricade.
Cody dove onto Show, who caught him. However, Cody came back and ran Show into the ring post. Cody went to the top rope and jumped toward Mysterio with his legs open, leading to Mysterio powerbombing him for a good two count. The fans chanted "this is awesome."
Cody went for CrossRhodes, but Mysterio avoided it. Rey went for the 619, but Rhodes caught him. Moments later, Cody hit CrossRhodes on Mysterio and pinned him. The four babyfaces shook hands and hugged after the match...
Cody Rhodes and Goldust defeated Big Show and Rey Mysterio, The Real Americans, and Ryback and Curtis Axel to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship in 21:05.
Powell's POV: A really good match, particularly once it was down to the two babyface teams. I think they could have sold more pay-per-views had they just gone with those two teams because of the unique dynamic. For that matter, they could have set it up properly if only the Rhodes boys cared about Show knocking out their father, but I digress. Still, another strong outing for the tag champions, who have become among the most reliable wrestlers on the roster when it comes to delivering satisfying in-ring performances.
There was a Brawling Buddies skit with The Prime Time Players, Great Khali, Los Matadores, El Torito, Vickie Guerrero, and Brad Maddox. It came down to Maddox and Vickie pretending to fight with the Cena and Brodus buddies. Kane's music played and the lighting changed, and he shook his head, so the other two scurried. Kane then slammed the Clay doll into the Cena doll and smiled...
Powell's POV: These backstage skits used to be good for a laugh or two, but they just keep getting silly to the point that I don't think anyone at home is laughing. It's like they want to kill whatever momentum the show gained from the tag title match.
5. Brodus Clay (w/Tensai, Cameron, Naomi) vs. R-Truth (w/Xavier Woods). Clay worked over Truth and taunted the crowd by asking, "What's up?" It generated some scattered boos, which was a better than the zero reaction the match had been getting. Truth ended up at ringside and Clay went after him. Clay picked him up and was looking to run him into the stairs or the post, but Tensai stood in his way and told him to get him back in the ring.
Clay bickered with Tensai a bit, then threw Truth back inside and tied him up in the tree of woe. Clay ran into Truth with knees. Tensai stood on the ring apron and untied Truth. "Come on, I'm a main event player," Clay said. "I'm better than you." Tensai walked out. Oh, no!!!!! Then the Funkadactyls followed. Truth came back with a kick to the face and rolled up Clay for the win...
R-Truth defeated Brodus Clay in 6:05.
Powell's POV: Awful. I want to see Clay play a monster heel role, not a whiney guy. He even yelled, "But I'm winning" when Clay first got in his way. Whatever hope I had of Clay becoming a monster heel just disappeared, as it looks to me like he's going to be an undercard player for the time being.
Backstage, Vince McMahon shook John Cena's hand and walked away...
6. Kofi Kingston vs. The Miz in a No DQ match. Kingston went right after Miz as soon as the bell rang. They fought to ringside and Kingston went for the Trouble in Paradise kick, but Miz moved and Kingston kicked the ring post. Kingston sold his leg going forward and Miz dominated the offense.
Miz was in control of the match when he went to the corner and removed the pad to expose the turnbuckle. Lawler was the voice of reason, as he questioned why Miz would do something so stupid when he was in control of the offense. Miz set up for the Skull Crushing Finale on the exposed turnbuckle, but Kingston avoided it.
Miz performed his clothesline in the corner, then went up top. Miz, who has probably never performed an offensive move off the top rope, jumped into a kick from Kingston. Later, Miz ended up running into the exposed turnbuckle and Kingston hit the Trouble in Paradise kick for the win...
Kofi Kingston beat The Miz in 8:00.
Powell's POV: Remember what I wrote earlier about how they might actually heat up Kingston vs. Miz yet? Back to the drawing board. The crowd was more vocal for the Clay vs. Truth match than they were this match. It might help if one of these guys actually turned full fledged heel. By the way, did they really make that a No DQ match just so Miz could expose the turnbuckle in front of the referee?
A commercial hyped the WWE Tribute to the Troops special... The graphic that listed accomplishments of Randy Orton and John Cena was shown... A video set up the Daniel Bryan vs. The Wyatt Family handicap match...
7. Daniel Bryan vs. Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, and Erick Rowan in a handicap match. Wyatt took a seat in his rocking chair and stayed there even after the opening bell. Bryan had a brief flurry early on, but Haprer and Rowan then got the better of him.
At 4:00, Wyatt stood up and removed his hat and entered the ring. "It didn't have to be like this," Wyatt yelled. "We could have been friends, Bryan. I could have helped you." Wyatt picked up Bryan for a suplex and then threw him across the ring in a cool spot. Wyatt then performed the backwards crab walk toward Bryan and tagged in Harper. The crowd chanted, "That was freaky." Funny.
Wyatt checked back into the match a short time later and once again yelled at Bryan. He told him to shake his hand and it ends. Bryan didn't give and Wyatt got more upset. Harper tagged in and powerbombed Bryan for a two count. Wyatt then barked instructions into Harper's ear. Harper missed a big boot in the corner.
Bryan came to life and dropkicked Wyatt and Rowan off the ring apron with one shot. Bryan went back to Harper and performed a back suplex off the top rope for a two count. Bryan threw a series of "yes" drawing kicks at Harper. Bryan went to the top rope and performed the top rope headbutt. Bryan covered Harper, but Rowan broke up the pin.
Bryan immediately got the better of Rowan and tagged him with a kick, which led to Rowan getting tangled in the ropes, so Bryan could kick him more. Wyatt tagged into the match again, but Bryan kicked him, then dumped Rowan and Harper to the floor. Bryan performed a suicide dive onto Harper and Rowan and ran Rowan into the ring steps.
Bryan performed a missile dropkick on Wyatt and went for the Yes Lock, but Wyatt avoided it and threw a series of forearms at Bryan. Wyatt kissed Bryan, hit his finisher, and pinned him. Afterward, Wyatt cradled Bryan in his arms and laughed...
Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, and Erick Rowan defeated Daniel Bryan in a handicap match in 12:25.
Powell's POV: A solid handicap match. The fact that we haven't seen much of Wyatt in the ring lately helped, as it still feels like a big deal when he does tag in. I figured they would have one of the babyfaces win to avoid having both handicap matches be too similar, but I really thought they would flip it around since they had the out with Wyatt being more concerned with recruiting Bryan to join his faction. The crowd wasn't as hot for this handicap match match as they were the first, but that's probably a combination of the opening match getting a better reaction as usual and because Bryan spent most of his time selling for the trio. That said, I enjoyed the first of the two matches more.
A brief video focussed on the main event... The announcers discussed a Tweet that Rock sent out regarding the main event... The panel spoke about the main event. Foley spoke about Orton having a glass jaw according to Cena, and Booker spoke about how one of the men would cement his legacy as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Foley picked Cena to win, Booker picked Orton... A video set up the main event...
Powell's POV: I am happy they settled in on WWE World Heavyweight Champion rather than the options they gave the Raw viewers a while back. I'd still feel better about getting a unified champion that sticks if they had a new title belt. The video was good and showed footage of both men early in their careers and some of their bigger career moments that paralleled one another.
Both title belts were shown hanging above the ring. Cole once again stated that the new champion will be the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Randy Orton made his entrance and Cole pointed out all of the tables, ladders, and chairs that were set up everywhere. They also have the hanging chairs in front of the stage as part of the TLC set. John Cena made his entrance. Justin Roberts handled the in-ring introductions for the main event...
8. John Cena vs. Randy Orton in a TLC match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Orton got the better of Cena briefly and set up a ladder in the middle of the ring, but Cena recovered and slammed the ladder into Orton. Cena grabbed a chair and set it up inside the corner of the ring while Orton sold an elbow injury from the ladder shot.
Orton was tossed to ringside, but he returned quickly with a chair in hand. Orton swung the chair at Cena, who blocked it. However, Orton knocked Cena down and then slammed the chair over his back and jabbed it into his gut. Orton went on the first prolonged streak of offense, which included the amazingly homoerotic shot of Cena bent over with his face in front of Orton's crotch while Randy reached out to grab Cena's head with his hand.
Anyway, the dueling chants for Cena started as Orton remained on the offensive. Orton missed a ladder toss, but picked up a chair and slammed it over Cena's back twice at 10:00. Orton set up a chair in between the ropes in a corner of the ring. Cena came back with some of his signature spots and received a mixed reaction. He did the "you can't see me" bit, only to have Orton punch him and then run him into the chair that was set up between the ropes.
Cena came back and got the better of Orton and knocked him down. Cena stood halfway up the ladder. Rather than go for the title belts, he did the "you can't see me" gesture and and then dropped a fist on him. Um, okay. Moments later, Orton was on the ring apron when Cena rammed him with a ladder and put him through a table on the floor.
Cena made a play for the title belts, but Orton recovered and pushed the ladder over. Cena landed on his feet, but Orton put him down with the RKO at 13:30. Cena came back with a clothesline that sent Orton over the top rope and down to the floor. Cena picked up the ring steps and slammed them into Orton, who was bleeding hardway around his eye. Cena once again rammed the steps into Orton's head at 14:40.
Orton ended up taking the ring announcers' microphone and slammed it into Cena's head. Orton stomped Cena's head into the ring steps, then jabbed him with the microphone repeatedly at 16:00. Orton took the Spanish announce table apart and the fans cheered.
Orton set up for the punt kick, but Cena avoided it and then performed the Attitude Adjustment that drove Orton through the Spanish announce table at 17:20. Cena set up a ladder and climbed up, but Orton pushed the ladder over. Cena held onto the title belt and was hanging from it. Orton picked up a title belt and struck Cena with it, which knocked Cena to the mat. Orton hit Cena with several chair shots.
At 19:25, Orton wound up for a big chair swing, but Cean recovered and speared him through a table that was set up in the corner of the ring. Orton went to ringside and pulled back the mats on the floor to retrieve a pair of handcuffs. Orton successfully attached the handcuffs to Cena's arm and tied him to the bottom rope at 20:50.
Orton stood in the center of the ring and held up the key in front of Cena, then threw the key into the crowd. Orton left the ring and grabbed a big ladder, but somehow cut his thumb in the process. Cena maneuvered himself to the floor while still handcuffed, but Orton ran the bigger ladder into him. Orton set up the big ladder in the center of the ring while Cena frantically undid the bottom rope.
Cena got the rope undone and brought it with him to the top of the ladder, where he took shots at Orton with it and managed to knock him off the ladder. Cena tried to take the titles down, but Orton grabbed the hanging rope and tried to pull Cena down, which he eventually did, causing Cena to crash very awkwardly into the bottom of a table that was set up in the corner of the ring. Ouch!
Orton went to the top of the ladder and got his hands on the belts while Cena was down. Orton soaked up the moment or something. He undid the title belts and won the match.
Randy Orton defeated John Cena in a TLC match to become the WWE World Heavyweight Champion in 24:40.
After the match, Vince McMahon's music played. Vince, Triple H, and Stephanie McMahon walked to the ring and applauded Orton. Stephanie hugged Orton, then Hunter shook his hand. Stephanie motioned as if she was presenting Orton to Vince, who smiled and shook his hand. Orton held the title belts above his head while Cena was shown shaking his head in frustration to sell the loss...
Powell's POV: A surprisingly clean finish, which leads me to believe we could see a rematch at WrestleMania. I really hope they come up with something better. They worked really hard and while the match had a couple of hokey moments, it was entertaining. The big bump that Cena took at the end of the match was obviously supposed to be a bigger bump with Cena crashing through the table in the corner, but the ladder slipped out from underneath him and he's lucky he wasn't seriously injured.
Overall, the advertised matches were either adequate or better than they appeared to be on paper. The two unadvertised matches were really flat, and for that matter the Vince McMahon appearances were really flat. I assumed he would eventually return to stop The Authority, but right now it looks like his character is content with what's happening. It was nice to get a no nonsense finish to a WWE pay-per-view for a change. We will have a lot more to say about the show in Dot Net Members' audio tonight, and tomorrow via the WWE TLC Hit List, and Will Pruett's Pause review of TLC. Thanks for watching along with me.