Tables and Ladders and Chairs- Oh My!
After a week where many WWE superstars have been struck down with a ~ mysterious virus (talk is viral meningitis but as I don’t claim to know anything we will stick with a mystery virus), there was quite a shake up to the planned TLC Card here.
A dream match featuring AJ Styles vs Finn Balor was suddenly thrown together- and in almost impossible bigger news – Kurt Angle returned to the ring to team with the two members of the reunited Shield who had already been reunited prior to this show being planned out. Oh well.
On top of all that there was the much anticipated debut on the Raw roster of Asuka. Did she live up to the hype?
Did the show exceed the limited expectations people had before the shake up? Did it manage to stand up to the heightened ones after? What oh what happened at TLC?
Asuka vs Emma
The debut of Asuka is first. I don’t mind her getting the opening match because it means the crowd should be pretty hot, and they are. I had thought this would be a squash match for Asuka and am torn on whether or not it’s a good thing it wasn’t. I’m happy Emma got a chance to actually look aggressive against Asuka, but it would have made Asuka look very dangerous to take Emma down with one shot. As it is, Emma gets some good offense in before Asuka makes her tap in the Asuka lock.
It wasn’t as exciting a match as I would have hoped if it was going to be competitive, but at least we have Asuka on the main roster now. Hope they don’t screw it up.
Backstage The Miz is hanging out with SheaSaro discussing how they’ll take apart Kurt Angle tonight. They’re joined by BRAUN and Kane, who says he’s bringing hell on earth to TLC. It ends with SheaSaro (sigh… The Bar) and Miz doing the Shield fists.
We’re invited to walk with Elias who sings a beautiful song before he’s interrupted by Jason Jordan… who throws produce at Elias. Okay.
THE Brian Kendrick & Gentleman Jack Gallagher vs Cedric Alexander & Rich Swann
Not very gentlemanly to be a bad guy…this was a pretty decent match outside a flip to the outside by Alexander that misses both Kendrick and Gallagher. Rich Swann is the victim of the heels for most of the match, allowing Cedric to get the hot tag and get some great offense in. He’s eventually caught up in a Captain’s Hook by Kendrick though until it’s broken up by a Phoenix Splash from Swann. Cedric follows it up with a Lumbar Check for the win. Good finish. Crowd seemed into it too.
Winners: Rich Swann & Cedric Alexander
Backstage with Chuck – Alexa Bliss says that Mickie James is wishing for the good old days but after tonight they’ll just be old. I think. She also talks about biscuit butt and how she likes her own, and I’m sure that’s all the males talking about this show will focus on.
WWE Raw Women’s Championship Match: Alexa Bliss(c) vs Mickie James
Mickie is on the offensive early, taking advantage of Alexa overlooking her. After Mickie gets caught up Alexa takes control and works over Mickie’s left arm. The tide turns after both women hit kicks to the other knocking each other down. Mickie jumped on the opportunity until Alexa caught her in a sunset (flip?) bomb and went for Twisted Bliss but Mickie moved and hit a drop kick that definitely didn’t fully connect. Alexa managed to take advantage by dropping Mickie into the turnbuckle on her left arm and hit a DDT for the win.
Pretty good match for the women that was blatantly disrespected by a section of the crowd chanting “We Want Tables” for no reason during it.
Winner: Alexa Bliss
Kurt Angle is backstage and Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose join him. He said he knows they wanted to fight just the two of them but he couldn’t let that happen. Seth and Dean offer him a vest. They’re ready.
More Elias and Jason Jordan and produce.
WWE Cruiserweight Championship: Kalisto (c) vs Enzo Amore
Well Enzo talked first with nearly no voice then he wrestled a pretty bad match with Kalisto. I’m sorry. I want to like the Cruiserweights but I can’t help but think Enzo still makes it a joke. Enzo gets the win after the referee is distracted by him ruffling the ring skirt being pulled in from the outside by Kalisto who gets a thumb to the eye for his trouble. Great.
Winner & sigh…new Champion: Enzo Amore
Demon Finn Balor vs AJ Styles
This was a really good back and forth match. Both men got some great moves in early – AJ getting a near fall with a Phenomenal Forearm and Finn hitting a sling blade and shotgun drop kick only to get a Tyebreaker from AJ for his trouble. Finn kept control until AJ caught him up in the calf crusher. Finn escaped by continually knocking AJ’s head to the mat and then making AJ miss a phenomenal forearm to the outside. To stop a count out, Finn went to the outside himself but caught a spine buster to a foreign announce table for his trouble.
After both men ended up back in the ring, Finn hit a Pele kick, followed by a 1916 and a shotgun drop kick but is stopped before he could hit a coup de grace by a Styles Pele kick. AJ hit a hurricanrana but missed a 450 splash from the apron into the ring leading to another shotgun drop kick and a landed coup de grace by Finn for the win.
Both men delivered in this match, though it didn’t seem as intense as I think a more thought out and well planned match after a good program could be. After Finn wins he helps AJ up and in a real crowd pleasing moment both men hit a Too Sweet.
Winner: Finn Balor
Jason Jordan vs Elias
This match brought to you by… produce! It was awful. Not only was it bad but it had a terrible finish. Jordan sloppily got Elias in a roll up that definitely was not a 3 but was counted as such. I don’t know who screwed up here but damn.
Winner: Jason Jordan
Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose & Kurt Angle vs The Miz & SheaSaro & BRAUN & Kane
This match was a clusterfuck but it was kind of fun. I had loooooow expectations for what they’d allow Angle to do, but he had my favorite moment of the night when he slid into view when The Shield made their crowd entrance.
Seth, Dean and Kurt took control early by staying high energy. After taking down BRAUN and Kane, Dean and Seth dove into Miz and SheaSaro, calling Kurt out and assaulting their opponents with ladders. They cleared an announce table and set Kane up on it. They then get BRAUN on another. Dean and Seth elbow them through the tables! This left Kurt at the mercy of SheaSaro though who took him down followed by a returning Seth and Dean. Kurt came back on the offensive suplexing Cesaro, Sheamus and Miz but he’s stopped by Kane. Kurt regained control putting Kane into an ankle lock only to be stopped by BRAUN who put Kurt into a barricade and then threw a table with a running power slam. This led to Kurt being taken to the back, leaving Seth and Dean alone.
Dean and Seth spend a lot of the next few minutes getting knocked around, outside a misunderstanding between BRAUN and Kane after Kane hit BRAUN with a chair on accident. Miz kept the peace and the heels drag Seth and Dean to the top of the ramp where Miz has a garbage truck brought out. Seth and Dean managed another brief comeback jumping on their opponents from the top of the truck, but they blew it by staying at the top of the ramp to beat Miz up. They’re attacked by BRAUN who is then attacked by Kane! Kane chokeslammed BRAUN through the stage before also pulling down chairs hanging from the ceiling into the abyss. Well.
Kane I guess was only mad at BRAUN as he returned to chokeslam Seth and Dean through tables set up at the top of the ramp. Before they could put them back in the garbage truck though, BRAUN decided to kill all his former “friends”. His attack on them is unfortunately short lived as they trapped him in the garbage truck and sent it away. BRAUN face turn?
Following that near disaster for team heel, they tried for the win dragging Seth back to the ring beating him down and nearly getting the win before Dean breaks it up. They still maintained control until Kurt Angle’s music hit and he took out both members of The Bar with Angle slams on the ramp. He got Miz out of the ring as well but is stopped by Kane who nearly hits a tombstone before Seth and Dean made the save. They hit a double spear through Kane and a barricade on the outside leaving Miz and Angle alone. Miz hit a skull crushing finale but Angle kicked out, getting Miz into an ankle lock that he held out tapping to- kicking Angle to the outside. This just led to Kurt and the Shield duo surrounding the ring on Miz and each hitting their finishers on Miz. Kurt picked up the victory after the three hit a Shield power bomb.
Winners: The Shield 2.5 (Rollins, Ambrose & Angle)
FINAL THOUGHTS: The show was pretty good. I thought all the matches outside Enzo vs Kalisto and Jason Jordan vs Elias were good. I know a lot of people will think the main event was too much, but it kept my attention. I still do think it would have been better with Roman Reigns despite my feelings about him. That being said Kurt did a lot more than I thought they’d let him do. I though both women’s matches were okay but hopefully they let Asuka steam roll through some people too. I can’t wait for Finn and AJ to have a match with stakes.
WATCH THIS MATCH: AJ Styles vs Finn Balor. It’s the best match as you’d expect even if I did think the main event was fun.
SKIP THIS MATCH: Jason Jordan vs Elias. Dumb.
My Twitter is HM_pufnstuf so you can always find me there! Happy Raw day tomorrow.