WWE PPVs KELLER'S WWE TLC PPV REPORT 12/18: Punk vs. Del Rio vs. Miz, Triple H vs. Nash, Dolph Ziggler vs. Zack Ryder
Dec 18, 2011 - 11:15:05 PM
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By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor
KELLER'S WWE TLC PPV REPORT
DECEMBER 19, 2011
AIRED ON PAY-PER-VIEW
-Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler introduced the event as the camera panned the crowd full of signs, many holiday-related.
1 -- DOLPH ZIGGLER (w/Vickie Guerrero) vs. ZACK RYDER - U.S. Title Match
Cole complained that the "goofs" in the crowd didn't appreciate Ziggler's early wrestling clinic and were chanting "Let's Go Ryder." Cole called Ryder a showoff and said he has ever reason to show off.. Ryder came back at 1:00 with a catapult and then clotheslined Ziggler over the top rope to the floor. Then he did a running flip dive onto Ziggler. He played to the crowd and they chanted back at him. Cole said Ryder was the type of kid who was picked on and didn't fit in while growing, "a so-called underdog." Then he talked about Dolph Ziggler being the leading wrestler at Kent State and having two majors in college in Political Science and Law, along with other athletic accolades. Ziggler dropped Ryder on the edge of the ring apron with a faceplate. Ryder beat the ref's count and returned to the ring where Ziggler controlled the action.
Lawler said he didn't liker Ziggler smirk, indicating how proud of himself he was. Ziggler threw a series of eight rapid-fire elbowdrops. Lawler guessed it was ten. He then showboated, then dropped an elbow onto the back of Ryder's neck as he tried to get up. Lawler said Ziggler doesn't have to pat himself on his back. Twitter plugs continued, including a note here that #wwetlc was the no. 1 term trending worldwide at the moment. Ryder celebrated his domination with some sit-ups. Cole said Ryder made his career takeoff by playing up social media support. Cole said it's turned Ryder into something he can't live up to and he hasn't accomplished anything. In response, Lawler, not making a case to be Ryder's lead defense attorney, said he's "interesting, fun to watch, fun to listen to, he's entertaining."
At 6:00 Ryder began a comeback. He rallied with a missile dropkick and a two count. Ryder continued including his running boot in the corner for a near fall, stopped by Vickie putting Ziggler's leg over the bottom rope. The ref ordered Vickie to the back. She threw a fit, but the crowd popped. Ziggler rolled through on a Ryder pin attempt and held onto the bottom rope for leverage, but Ryder still kicked out. Ryder came back with a near fall of his own. Ziggler fired right back with his Zig Zag. Cole wrote off Ryder, but Ryder managed to kick out. The pop was good, but not quite what it should have been given the build-up. Ziggler came back with a high dropkick for another near fall at 9:00.
Ryder came back with a near fall of his own after a head scissors out of the corner. Cole called him a crybaby for complaining afterward. Ryder then set up his finisher, but Ziggler countered the Rough Ryder by throwing Ryder over his shoulder onto the top turnbuckle. He then rolled up Ryder and yanked on the tights again for a two count. Ziggler charged at Ryder in the corner, but Ryder lifted his knees, then hit the Rough Ryder for the win.
WINNER: Ryder in 11:00.
STAR RATING: **3/4
(WK Reax: Well done. Ryder played his part really well as the underdog who wanted it badly. He was treated as a serious wrestler hanging with Ziggler, not a joke. Ziggler, by the way, was spectacular in many ways in this match, really showing he's great offensively and in terms of selling, plus just his pacing, body language, and psychology is along the lines of Curt Hennig late-'80s and Shawn Michaels early-'90s.)
-Alicia Fox gave Booker T a pep talk backstage. Cody Rhodes attacked him, throwing him into the equipment cases backstage. A ref and security guy made the save.
-Rey Mysterio plugged Slim Jim. WWE announced that if you buy two Slim Jims, one will be sent to the troops.
2 -- KOFI KINGSTON & EVAN BOURNE ("Air Boom") vs. PRIMO & EPICO -- WWE Tag Team Champioons
Cole noted that Primo pinned Kofi, plus at Tribute to the Troops, the have a non-title win over the champs. Cole announced Bourne at 165 pounds. In the UFC era of legit weights, it makes sense to stop the practice of announcing almost everyone over 200 pounds even when it's obviously they're middleweights or welterweights at best, not light-heavyweights or heavyweights.
Kofi got in some offense early, then tagged in Bourne. Bourne springboarded off the second rope but Primo and Epico caught him and threw him to the floor, then took over offense in the ring. At 5:00 Bourne hot-tagged in Kingston into the match. Primo caught a charging Kingston with a boot, but Kofi came right back with a flying crossbody for a two count. Bourne then stopped interference from Epico, knocking him to the floor and then diving on him at ringside. Kingston then hit the Trouble in Paradise kick for the win. Lawler said Cole's favorites are 0-2 so far tonight.
WINNERS: Air Boom in 7:00 to retain the tag titles. (**)
(WK Reax: Solid early-card tag title defense, giving Kofi and Bourne a chance to sell a little, but mostly shine on offense with some big spots.)
-Backstage Josh Mathews said Booker T is being evaluated by trainers and medical staff. Mathews said Cody just walked by with a big smile on his face, so that makes him think their match is off. He said that's not official and he'll let everyone know right away if that's true.
(WK Reax: Shouldn't someone at this point call for Cody to be suspended and decry his actions? Instead, Lawler and Cole threw to a Santa skit.)
-Smackdown G.M. Teddy Long was dressed up as Santa backstage, decorating the tree. Long called Hornswoggle a "good little boy." Hornswoggle said he's not a boy, he has a beard and "mature testes." (I can only imagine what the first draft of that joke said.) He said he's dressed ridiculously (as an elf). He told Long, "Since when is Santa black." Long said in the neighborhood he grew up in, no fat white man would come down his chimney. Long said he has a present for him in response to Hornswoggle's "horrible" attempt to "talk jive." Hornswoggle opened it and discovered a Rosetta Stone "Ebonics" CD set. Long said, "With this, you can never embarrass yourself again." Hornswoggle said he loves it and then he yanked down Long's beard and stomped on his feet. Cole laughed uproariously. He said Santa looks like he's been on a hunger strike.
(WK Reax: Ebonics jokes? Really? Is it the mid-'90s? Even then they weren't the least bit money. WWE joke-writers really should find a new line of work. It's just awful. Hornswoggle, as a character, appears to be on his last legs, too, if this skit is any indication.)
3 -- RANDY ORTON vs. WADE BARRETT -- Tables Match
Cole said during Orton's ring entrance that there's a ton of chatter on social media about Ryder's U.S. Title win. Orton kicked Barrett to start the match. Barrett fired back with punches. They fought to ringside and brought tables into the mix quickly. By 3:00 they were on the stage fighting around tables that were set up. Orton dragged Barrett to ringside and rammed Barrett's head into the ring apron. Lawler said sometimes a wrestler doesn't detest his opponent, but in this case Orton is showing he does. Barrett countered Orton by ramming him face-first into the ringpost. At 5:00 Barrett set up Orton on a table at ringside and was going to leap off the top rope onto him, but Orton moved. Barrett hit a top rope elbow mid-ring a minute later. Barrett tried to give Orton a running powerslam through a table propped up in the corner, but Orton escaped and made a comeback at 7:00.
Orton set up a DDT, but Barrett escaped and almost knocked Orton off the ring apron through a table at ringside. Barrett set up a Wasteland off the ring apron, but Orton elbowed himself free. Orton came right back with a DDT off the middle rope. BarrettBarrage was trending on Twitter, at this point, as noted on the screen. Barrett set up a table inside the ring. Barrett leaped off the second rope, but Orton turned it into an RKO mid-air and drove Barrett through the table to win.
WINNER: Orton in 10:00. (**1/4)
(WK Reax: Pretty short. It was fine overall, but didn't feel particularly epic given the length and placement on the card. Barrett looked like he could hang with Orton pretty evenly and just happened to get outmaneuvered at the end.)
-The Bellas sat on Santa Teddy Long's lap. They argued over who was Santa's favorite. Long gave them his direct line and invited them to play reindeer games, then he added, "Do ya' feel me?" They slapped him and said it was a total waste of their time. He said, "Call me." Jack Swagger walked in and looked at Long and said he makes the most ridiculous Santa ever. He said he's also the most-ridiculous G.M. ever. Long invited Swagger to sit on his lap so maybe they can work something out. Swagger said someone spiked his egg nog because he'd break his hip if he sat on him. Sheamus walked in and wished Long a Merry Christmas. Sheamus told another story about a family member back in Ireland, a cousin who did somersaults downhill and hit a tree one day and put his head up his are. Sheamus said he'll do that to Swagger if he mouths off to him again. Swagger demanded Long stop him from talking to him like that. He gave Swagger a match against Sheamus tonight. Sheamus thanked him as Swagger stormed away.
4 -- BETH PHOENIX vs. KELLY KELLY -- Divas Title Match
After some slap exchanges, Kelly ducked a charging Phoenix early, so Phoenix flew through the ropes to the floor. Kelly gave Phoenix a bulldog off the ring apron. Kelly yanked Phoenix back into the ring with a head scissors, then gave her a spinning head scissors into the turnbuckle. At 2:00 Phoenix lifted and dropped Kelly over the top rope throat-first and went on the attack. Kelly made a lot of noise early in selling to Phoenix, at times sobbing like she just found out a loved one died in a horrible fire. Beth Phoenix was trending worldwide in the top spot, as noted on the screen. Kelly avoided a top rope legdrop and then went for her finisher. Phoenix blocked it and went for her finisher. Kelly rolled out of it and got a two count. Phoenix countered with a two count of her own. Phoenix then came back with a flapjack/electric chair type move for the win.
WINNER: Phoenix in 5:00 to retain the Divas Title.
-Backstage Alberto Del Rio chewed out Ricardo Rodrigues for not having his car or food ready for him. He said that is Ricardo's only job. Then he and Miz stared at each other. Miz said they worked together to weaken C.M. Punk, but when the bell rings tonight, it's every man for himself. Del Rio said he knows their alliance dead, "and, in fact, there was no alliance in the first place." He said he was just using him. Miz said, "Really? Really? Really?" He took a dig at the Baltimore Ravens and then touted that he beat Cena at WrestleMania last year whereas Del Rio lost to Edge when his neck was holding on by a thread. Del Rio called Miz a "stupid little boy who comes from a reality TV show." He called his weak and pathetic. Ricardo showed up with food. Miz shoved it in Ricardo's face. Del Rio shoved Ricardo down.
(WK Reax: Are they turning Ricardo babyface, or just using his likability to get Del Rio over as a heel by his being mean to him? It doesn't exactly work to building sympathy for Punk when they establish that the heels aren't going to be working together against him. The psychology is all off here.)
-A plug aired for the Royal Rumble, then a video aired of the Maryland National Guard thanking WWE for the chance to wish their family and friends and happy holiday season.
-Booker T's ring entrance took place. Cole said they thought the match was called off, but Booker looked ready to go. Cody then attacked Booker from behind in the aisle.
5 -- KEVIN NASH vs. TRIPLE H -- Sledgehammer Ladder Match
Nash came out first, then Triple H. Lawler said he doesn't know if Triple H has ever looked better. Nash kneed a charging Triple H at the start. Triple H fired back with a barrage of punches in the corner. Nash kneed him and then chased after him across the ring. He threw elbows to Hunter's head. Hunter moved to the next corner and reversed Nash and threw a series of punches to his head. Nash threw Hunter into the corner and his several knees. Nash forearmed Hunter to the mat. Hunter threw his shoulder into Nash, then rebounded off the ropes and knocked Nash through the ropes to the floor. Hunter followed Nash to the floor and rammed him into the announce table at 2:00. When Hunter turned to grab a ladder, Nash gave him a boot to the back. Nash then charged at Hunter with the ladder and knocked him over the security wall. Nash slid a ladder into the ring and walked up the steps. Hunter climbed onto the announce table and ran at Nash, leaping at him with a flying forearm. Then he mounted Nash and punched away at him.
They brawled for another couple minutes at ringside. Hunter reversed Nash head-first into the ringpost. Cole called Nash "the man known as Diesel." Hunter brought a ladder into the ring. Hunter jabbed Nash on the side of his knee. Nash went down. Hunter continued to work over Nash's knee, including smashing inside the ladder and then a figure four leglock with Nash's leg stuck through ladder rungs. Cole said Hunter's sole intent there was to maim. Hunter then suplexed a ladder onto Nash. Lawler said he thinks Hunter could have won with the figure-four, but he won't be happy until he gets his hands on the sledgehammer. Nash eventually stood up and whipped HUnter into the ladder in the corner. Hunter bumped over the top rope to the floor. Nash went after Hunter at ringside, but favored his knee.
Nash catapulted Hunter upward into a ladder lying on the bottom rope at 10:00. Then he went to ringside and set up a Jackknife. Hunter backdropped Nash onto the table. Nash rolled off the table onto the floor. Hunter re-entered the ring and climbed the ladder. As he reached for the sledgehammer, Nash grabbed him from behind and yanked him down. Nash then put the ladder in the corner. He was going to leave the ring, then returned and chokeslammed Hunter. Then he reached under the ring and pulled out a table. He was moving very slowly at this point. He set up the legs of the table, set it up mid-ring.
Nash continued to favor his knee. He dropped his straps and then set up Hunter for a Jackknife. Lawler said Nash could barely walk, so how could be possibly Jackknife Hunter. Hunter pushed Nash into the ladder in the corner instead. Hunter jabbed Nash with the ladder again and then began to climb the ladder to get the sledgehammer at 13:00. Nash climbed the other side of the ladder slowly. Hunter stalled, waiting for Nash. Nash threw some pinches. Hunter swung the sledgehammer into Nash's head. Nash bumped off the ladder and through the table below. Hunter huffed and puffed, then lifted the sledgehammer free from the hook on which it was hanging.
Hunter dropped to the mat and rammed the sledgehammer into Nash's knee and ribs several times. Hunter threw the sledgehammer aside and set up a Pedigree instead of using the weapon. Nash's legs gave out from under him. On the second attempt, Nash got up a bit, although the whole sequence exposed a bit the need for the opponent to cooperate with the move. The crowd chanted "One more time!" Hunter picked up the sledgehammer. Nash sat up and flashed Hunter the Wolfpac hand symbol. Hunter bashed him with the butt of the sledgehammer and scored the pin. Cole said, "What a war!" Hunter kneeled and trash-talked Nash afterward. Time for a "bad lip reading" YouTube clip?
WINNER: Hunter in 18:00. (*3/4)
(WK Reax: In some ways these two really really looked their age and it was distracting because they seemed so exhausted and it affected their ability to pull off moves. That said, it also had a way of playing into the idea that this was a grueling, epic battle. I'm not sure Nash should be out there doing some of these moves at this point, especially with Hunter who's how well past 40 and not exactly out there night after night getting his timing and balance and strength down. Collectively, despite the faults, the effort and ambition was there to make it watchable and feel like an appropriate end to this feud. This was very close to being a complete disaster, though, and I was cringing and almost scared to watch a few times.)
-Matt Striker interviewed Punk backstage. Punk said he has watched the attack on Raw over and over the last six days. He said ten times more painful than his arm being destroyed by Del Rio was John Laurinaitis accepting his Superstar of the Year award. He said he isn't hard to find and he has yet to receive the Slammy trophy. Laurinaitis said he mailed it to him, but it may take a while to get to him given the heavy holiday mail. Punk said when TLC is over, he'll still have to put up with him as his WWE Champion. Laurinaitis said he is going to be the bigger man "because, after all, I am taller than you," and he wished him luck and a Merry Christmas. Punk said luck is for losers.
6 -- SHEAMUS vs. JACK SWAGGER (w/Vickie Guerrero)
Swagger dominated the opening minutes. Sheamus made a comeback mid-match and scored some near falls. Swagger came back and went after Sheamus's ankle. He applied his anklelock and pulled him mid-ring. Sheamus still managed to power out and send Swagger head-first into the corner turnbuckle. Sheamus then gave Swagger a Brogue Kick for the clean win.
WINNER: Swagger in 6:00. (*1/4)
(WK Reax: Could have been on any episode of Smackdown and instantly forgotten. It was a toss-in match and felt like it. Not bad at all for what it was, but what it was was more of a time-filler than something that felt like it part of a TLC PPV package worth paying for.)
-Mathews interviewed The Big Show who walked in smiling and saying he's feeling it. He said the match will end "in a giant way!"
7 -- MARK HENRY vs. THE BIG SHOW -- Chairs Match
Lilian Garcia did the formal ring introductions. Show began tossing chairs from ringside into the ring as soon as the match began. Henry decided to bail out as soon as Show entered the ring. "You're ou'ch'your mind!" said Henry. He began to walk to the back. Lawler wondered what would happen if Henry just left. Henry swung his title belt at Show. Show ducked and then bashed Henry across his and shoulder with the chair, then followed up with punches and a headbutt. Henry came back and rammed Show's KO hand into the ringside steps. Lawler called it smart.
Back in the ring they each swung chairs at each other. The chairs hit each other. Show sold a wave of intense pain in his right hand. At 5:00 Show blocked a chairshot and punched Henry. Show sold pain in his hand and was slow to make the cover. He rolled Henry over and scored the pin.
WINNER: The Big Show at 5:31 to capture the World Hvt. Title.
(WK Reax: That wasn't quite the ending to Henry's successful title reign I had envisioned, but it quickly became a means to a different end...)
-Afterward Henry attacked Show and gave him a DDT onto a chair. Then Daniel Bryan ran to the ring with the MITB briefcase. He cashed it in.
8 -- THE BIG SHOW vs. DANIEL BRYAN -- World Hvt. Title match
Bryan covered Show and won the title. Show did kick out at 3.1 for some reason. Bryan celebrated, including shoving the belt right in Cole's personal space and gloating. Bryan said, "To everyone who supported me the last 12 years, this is for you!" The camera showed Show huffing and puffing in disbelief that his first title reign since December 2002 ended almost instantly. Cole said, "You can't help but feel bad for Big Show after nine long years."
WINNER: Bryan in 0:07 to capture the World Hvt. Title.
-The WWE Network commercial aired.
-A replay aired of Cody attacking Booker backstage and then later during ring entrances.
-Mathews interviewed Booker backstage, who said he's in a whole lot of pain, but tonight Cody will be in more. He said he didn't ask for this fight, but he'll damn sure finish it.
(WK Reax: I was hoping Mathews would do what Booker has done on commentary all year - extinguish Cody's heel heat by praising him for "taking matters into his own hands" and "showing initiative" and all that other praise Booker heaped on heels for sneak attacks earlier this year. I mean, all Cody is doing is dishing out to Booker what Booker has praised heels for doing all year on Smackdown.)
8 -- BOOKER T vs. CODY RHODES
Booker started the match the way James Storm should have against Kurt ANgle last week. He stopped a Cody punch and then attacked hum aggressively. Cody is taller than Booker, by the way. The crowd chanted "Let's Go Booker!" early, as Booker punched and chopped Cody at ringside. Cole said he hasn't seen Booker like this in years. At 3:00 Booker threw Cody back into the ring. Cody kicked Booker as he reentered the ring and then dropped him throat-first over the top rope. He followed up with a flying forearm, knocking Booker to the floor.
Cody dominated with some mat work for a minute, then they collided mid-ring with simultaneous clotheslines. Booker rallied a minute later and scored a two count after a sideslam. Booker followed up with a sidewalk slam, then he played to the crowd for a Spinarooni. He seemed off-balance and blinked a little, then did the Spinarooni, but he hung his head afterward and barely kept his balance as he stood. He went for a scissors kick, but Cody ducked and then nailed him with a Beautiful Disaster kick for a two count. Cody hit another Beautiful Disaster kick for the win.
WINNER: Rhodes in 7:00. (*3/4)
(WK Reax: Decent match. What it needed to be for this feud. Cody should have won, but Booker put up a spirited fight and looked like he belonged in there.)
-A plug aired for the Austin 3:16 DVD.
-Lawler and Cole recapped the U.S Title and World Title changes earlier in the night.
9 -- C.M. PUNK vs. ALBERTO DEL RIO vs. THE MIZ -- WWE Title Three-Way TLC Match
A loud "We Want Ice Cream" chant began as the heels beat down Punk with double-teaming moves. They were clearly leery of each other, though. They did double-suplex Punk at 2:00. They dropped to ringside where Del Rio hit Miz with a chair to the gut and then across his back. Del Rio picked up a ladder, but Punk flew over the otp rope onto Del Rio and the ladder. Lawler said that might have hurt Punk as much as Del Rio. Miz leaped off a chair mid-ring at Punk, but Punk moved, then hit Miz in the corner with a high knee and running bulldog. Miz countered the running bulldog and dropped Punk across the chair, his head landing on it, denting it. They showed the dent in the chair from the impact. Miz set up a ladder against the ring apron at ringside and went after Del Rio, but Del Rio backdropped Miz onto the ladder instead.
Punk jumped to ringside and set up a table. He tried to suplex Del Rio through it. Del Rio escaped and tried to back suplex Punk. Punk escaped and gave Del Rio a neckbreaker onto the ringside bat. punk continued to sell being hurt on the back of his head. The camera caught Punk waving with his finger for Miz to attack him with a chair. Oops. Miz swung the chair, but Punk ducked. At 6:00 Punk grabbed a ladder at ringside as the fans chanted his name. Punk climbed the ladder mid-ring and almost had the belt, but Ricardo jumped into the ring and handcuffed Punk to the ladder. It was a bit of a stretch that Punk let him do it. Del Rio then kicked Punk in the face and punched away at him. Cole called Punk defenseless. As Del Rio climbed the ladder, Punk kicked the ladder and broke free. Punk dropped Del Rio over the ladder, then dropped to ringside.
Miz entered the ring and set up a ladder. Punk went after him, but Miz bashed him with the ladder, then set up another ladder. As he began to climb the ladder, Ricardo tried to revive Del Rio at ringside. Punk got up and yanked Miz to the mat, then set up a Go To Sleep. Miz elbowed free. Punk set up Miz for a top rope move, but Del Rio climbed the second rope and kicked Punk in the head, sending him flying through a table back-first at ringside. The crowd chanted "Holy sh--!" Del Rio threw a ladder at Miz at ringside, then bashed him across the back with a chair twice, then jabbed him with it. Del Rio then put Miz in the cross armbreaker in the ladder, the same as what he did to Punk on Raw last week. Cole said Miz can't tap out to end it; he has to grab the title belt.
Del Rio put Punk's arm through a chair and applied the cross armbreaker. Lawler called for the ref to stop the match. Cole said this is what the match is all about. Del Rio rolled into the ring and climbed for the belt. Lawler predicted victory for Del Rio. Miz and Punk crawled into the ring and worked together to top over the ladder and send Del Rio crotch-first onto the top rope. Del Rio fell to the floor and writhed in pain. Miz and Punk were slow to rise. Ricardo climbed the ladder. Lawler wondered what he was up to. Miz and Punk tipped the ladder and Ricardo bumped through a table at ringside. Two refs were quick to run to check on him as the crowd popped. If they planned that spot, why did they create sympathy for him earlier with Del Rio dressing him down. Ricardo overshot the first table and landed on the outer one. During a replay Cole laughed as if it was hilarious what just happened.
Punk, meanwhile, recovered and set up a Go To Sleep. Miz escaped and went for a Skull Crushing Finale. Punk escaped. Miz handcuffed Punk to the ringpost. Miz then taunted Punk, standing just out of reach. Or so he thought. Punk roundkicked Miz to the back of his head, then looked up at the belt hanging above the ring. Del Rio re-entered the ring with a ladder as Punk tried to break the handcuffs. He took off the turnbuckle pad and then began twisting off the middle rope turnbuckle. Good thing he always does that wrist exercise like Wanderlei Silva. Wo knew all these years he was just preparing for these very circumstances.
Punk broke free just in time to ran in and stop Miz and Del Rio as they climbed the ladder mid-ring. All three punched one another on the top of the ladder. Del Rio knocked Miz down. Punk then kicked Del Rio to the mat. Punk then pulled the at the belt, but Miz yanked him down by his boot. Punk dropped down and gave Miz the Go To Sleep. Punk then climbed the ladder and pulled down the belt to win. As Punk celebrated, Lawler said, "This was somethin'! The whole night was."
WINNER: Punk in 18:00 to retain the World Hvt. Title belt. (***3/4)
(WK Reax: Very good main event TLC style match. I could have done without the Ricardo bump as it seemed dangerous and gratuitous, and having Cole and Lawler chuckle about it rather than express concern for his well-being took away from the sense of danger of the rest of the spots in the match. The handcuff spots were cleverly executed. Very good performances from all three. I don't think John Cena's name was mentioned once this entire show.)
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