In this episode of Wrestling Night in America, PWTorch columnist Greg Parks breaks down both nights of WrestleMania with callers and emailers. Topics include the quality of the Firefly Funhouse match, the decision to put Charlotte over Rhea Ripley, the potential of wrestlers getting more creative freedom in the current environment, and more.
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Refresh throughout the night for live WWE TLC PPV coverage, including Sheamus vs. Roman Reigns in a TLC match for the WWE World Hvt. Title, plus every other title on the line in various weapons matches.
WWE TLC PPV Results
December 13, 2015
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor (@jctorch)
– The pre-show panel is Renee Young with Booker T, Byron Saxton, and Corey Graves.
– In the locker room, the Usos and Lucha Dragons talked about challenging New Day for the Tag Titles.
– Backstage, Ric Flair pretended to have a phone conversation, then was interrupted by Paige. They went back and forth about Flair’s indiscretions and whether he’s taking the spotlight from his daughter, Divas champion Charlotte.
– The ringside announcers are Michael Cole, JBL and Jerry Lawler.
– Team B.A.D. was out first for the pre-show match of Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch. Banks, Tamina, and Naomi did a reading of the 12 Days of Christmas changing up the lines to WWE-themed items. The crowd was not very receptive. Becky’s music interrupted to start the match.
A — BECKY LYNCH vs. SASHA BANKS (w/Tamina and Naomi)
Becky worked over Sasha early on as Team B.A.D. tried to get behind Sasha from ringside. It put Sasha, the heel who is a fan favorite, in the position of working from underneath, producing half of a rallying clap from the crowd. Sasha eventually fought out of a mat hold and stood tall heading to a mid-match Network break.
Back from break, Sasha went to work on Becky, now setting up Becky to have to work from underneath trying to rally fan support. Becky made the comeback and had a pin, but Sasha reached the ropes just before a three count. Becky had another pin, but Team B.A.D. distracted the ref. Sasha then suplexed Becky into the Bank Statement, and Bayley was forced to tap out. Afterward, Team B.A.D. gloated while Becky showed sadness at ringside with her world falling down.
WINNER: Sasha at 11:30.
– In the Social Media Lounge, Tom Phillips sat down with U.S. champion Alberto Del Rio. Phillips read some Twitter questions. Most notably, why did you return to WWE? Del Rio said WWE is the “major leagues of pro wrestling,” so if you want to be the best competitor, you come to WWE. After some discussion of his U.S. Title opponent Jack Swagger and the League of Nations, Del Rio stomped off the set after being asked about Mex-America. Del Rio said “it did not work.” Indeed. “Because I trusted an American.”
– In a bland-looking room, the League of Nations had a meeting. WWE World Hvt. champion Sheamus led the chat with U.S. champion Alberto Del Rio, King Barrett, and Rusev, who was with Lana.
LIVE PPV REPORT
Live from Boston, Michael Cole welcomed the audience to the final PPV of 2015. The announced attendance was 14,903. Already hanging above the ring were the WWE Tag Title belts.
Of course, this meant New Day kicking off the show. Big E. shouted out to “Beantown,” then the trio danced out on-stage for a walk-and-talk promo. They had one of their “we’re the only three people in the room” conversations as the audience sat and listened. Kofi then told the audience that they are stars unlike the Lucha Dragons, who “hide behind masks,” and the Usos, who “hide behind facepaint.”
The Lucha Dragons answered their promo and flew into the ring while New Day hung out down at ringside. The Usos were out next to kick off the PPV.
1 — WWE tag champions NEW DAY (BIG E. & KOFI KINGSTON w/Xavier Woods) vs. THE USOS (JIMMY & JEY USO) vs. LUCHA DRAGONS (KALISTO y SIN CARA) — Three-Team Ladder match for WWE Tag Titles
Woods joined commentary, but left early on to play the trombone when New Day had control. Xavier went back to commentary to exchange jokes with Lawler. Lots of crash & burn and high-flying spots and not much selling in the early-going.
Suddenly, the babyfaces found themselves alone in the ring. All four tried to climb a ladder simultaneously, but ended up canceling each other out. Xavier equated this match to a video game, saying New Day was getting their health and stamina back by resting on the outside. Cole was indignant, saying this is the real thing for the WWE Tag Titles.
Jey Uso and Kalisto eventually found themselves on top of the ladder battling for the Tag Titles. Suddenly, Kalisto gripped Uso and delivered a huge Salida del Sol off the ladder through a ladder down below. The crowd and Xavier went nuts. Sin Cara topped it off with a Swanton off the top onto Uso, which should end his night.
Reset with Jimmy Uso trying to climb, but Big E. pulled him down. Uso threw him to the floor, though, and nailed a splash onto a ladder and Big E. on the outside. Lawler said he doesn’t get the thinking sacrificing your body and title shot.
Kalisto was the only man left in the ring. He tried climbing, but Xavier left the announce table, grabbed his trombone, and chucked it at Kalisto’s back. This allowed Kofi to knock down Kalisto and climb the ladder. Kofi reached for the Tag Titles and unhooked the belts to win and retain.
WINNERS: New Day at 17:45 to retain the WWE Tag Titles. A lot of chaos and crash & burn’ing, which would burn out the audience on a normal night, but WWE hopes they have enough stunts the rest of the night to keep the audience engaged. Kalisto’s Salida del Sol off the ladder was the highlight of the match. (**3/4)
Announcers: Cole and Co. hyped the NXT Takeover: London special this Wednesday night/afternoon from the U.K. Tour.
In-ring: Rusev and Lana were introduced to the ring for the next match. No weapons in this match, but Ryback brought some muscle to the ring to battle Rusev.
2 — RYBACK vs. RUSEV (w/Lana)
Big meeting in the middle of the ring once the bell sounded. Ryback drove Rusev out of the ring, then pounded Rusev into the barricade. Back in the ring, Ryback climbed to the top rope and landed a double axehandle smash. Ryback followed with a big press slam for a two count.
Ryback tried to follow with a corner attack, but Rusev powered him into the air and dropped him throat-first across the top rope. Ryback gasped for air, then Rusev pounced with clubbing blows. Meanwhile, Lawler had a personal therapy session talking about his relationship history as it relates to the Rusev & Lana storyline.
Ryback suddenly responded to Rusev with a dropkick from the second rope. Rusev decided to bail from the ring and try to leave with Lana, but Ryback tracked him down. Lana then faked another injury, distracting Ryback, who turned around to take a kick to the face.
Rusev rolled Ryback back into the ring and wanted The Accolade, but Ryback blocked. Rusev kicked him in the face again, then applied The Accolade a second time. Ryback closed his eyes and sold a lack of life. The ref had to call for the bell, giving Rusev the win.
WINNER: Rusev via submission at 7:58. About what they’ve been doing on TV. Just a placeholder that didn’t seem to move either guy since Ryback keeps losing and Rusev isn’t taken seriously anymore. (**)
Locker Room: Dean Ambrose taped his fists, then Roman Reigns walked into the shot. Dean said he was looking for Reigns earlier. Reigns said he’s been visualizing winning the WWE Title while standing over “that stupid little Sheamus.” He said that win, lose, or draw, tonight is about making a statement. Dean shared his own vision – both of them standing in the ring together as champions. He’s also visualized the after-party.
Announcers: Cole and Co. talked about the U.S. Title feud before Alberto Del Rio and Jack Swagger came to the ring. No Zeb Colter, who is no longer affiliated with Del Rio.
3 — U.S. champion ALBERTO DEL RIO vs. JACK SWAGGER — Chairs match for United States Title
Del Rio quickly introduced a chair into the match, bashing Swagger across the back with the weapon. Del Rio landed two more blows to the back. He tried another round, but Swagger blocked and turned the chair on Del Rio. Swagger tried to follow with a Swagger Bomb, but Del Rio got his feet up to block. Del Rio followed with the Backstabber for a close two count.
Del Rio tossed Swagger to the floor and Swagger kind of fell down into a group of chairs. Del Rio then went to the floor to pile up several chairs on top of Swagger, drawing a Terry Funk reference from JBL on commentary. Back in the ring, Del Rio covered Swagger for a two count.
Swagger made another comeback, this time using the chair to Del Rio’s ankle/leg looking to set up the Patriotlock. Swagger then put Del Rio’s ankle inside the chair and went for a chair-assisted Patriotlock. Del Rio tried a rope break, but it does not apply in this match. Del Rio eventually wrapped himself in the ring skirt and pulled himself out of the ring to escape. On the floor, Del Rio grabbed a chair out of Swagger’s sight and popped him in the gut.
Back in the ring, Del Rio tried a top-rope move, but Swagger intercepted and bodyslammed him. Swagger Bomb, but Del Rio kicked out just before three. Swagger then left the ring to grab more chairs to use on Del Rio. Meanwhile, the crowd randomly picked up a “C-M Punk” chant.
Del Rio turned the chairs on Swagger, smashing him repeatedly in the back, reddening Swagger’s back. Del Rio followed with his big two-foot stomp off the top rope into a pile of chairs for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Del Rio at 11:10 to retain the U.S. Title. Just not enough build-up for Swagger to engage the crowd as the babyface in this scenario. Plus, no one seemed to think Swagger had a chance of winning, so a cold babyface without hope meant a soft reception to the match. Del Rio looked solid in victory, though. (**3/4)
Backstage: Jo-Jo welcomed in the Dudleys, Tommy Dreamer, and Rhyno for an interview before facing the Wyatts. Bubba Ray Dudley talked about the Wyatts doing things to them that no other men have done to them. Dreamer and Devon echoed Bubba’s comments while Rhyno looked tough as the enforcer.
In-ring: Lilian Garcia announced the Tables Elimination rules – each member of the four-man teams must be eliminated to declare a winner. Down at ringside were tables with the name of each Wyatt Family member.
The Wyatts were introduced first, led by Bray Wyatt’s lantern. Once they hit the ring, the lights came on to show Bray sporting devil horns for his PPV gear. Out first for the hardcore team was Rhyno, followed by Tommy Dreamer and The Dudleys.
4 — THE WYATTS (BRAY WYATT & BRAUN STROWMAN & LUKE HARPER & ERICK ROWAN) vs. TEAM HARDCORE (BUBBA RAY & DEVON DUDLEY & TOMMY DREAMER & RHYNO) — eight-man Tables elimination match
The two teams met in the middle of the ring and started fighting once the bell sounded. Dreamer quickly went under the ring to retrieve some weapons. Strowman said thank you very much and turned the weapons on the hardcoreists. Strowman tried to smash Bubba in the corner, but Bubba moved and Braun clumsily bounced into the table, too easily breaking it, exposing how flimsy the tables are. No elimination was rendered.
Bubba tried to cover for the spot by quickly attacking Braun. The rest of his team then ganged up on Strowman before they dumped him out of the ring to the floor. The hardcore team then grabbed Rowan and ganged up on before sending Rowan through a table for the next elimination.
*** Rowan eliminated at 4:10 ***
After Rowan was eliminated, the Wyatts went back on the attack, clearing the ring of everyone except for Rhyno. Rhyno fought back and wanted to Gore Bray through a table, but Bray smashed him with an elbow. Harper then smashed Rhyno through a table for an elimination.
*** Rhyno eliminated at 6:25 ***
The hardcore team took back control, then Devon went to the outside looking for a table to use on Bray Wyatt. However, Bray did the up-side down pose as Devon set up the table, coming back to life. Bray then grappled Devon and smashed him through the table with a uranage.
*** Devon eliminated at 8:26 ***
Bubba and Dreamer were left for the hardcore team. They took Strowman to the floor and bounced a few tables off him, then tried to bury Strowman underneath the tables. But, Dreamer walked right into Harper, who pounded him on the mat before bouncing him off the ring apron through a table down on the floor.
*** Dreamer eliminated at 10:41 ***
Bubba was left alone with the Wyatts’s Bray, Luke, and Strowman. Bray wanted to end Bubba with Sister Abigail, but Bubba popped him with a Kendo Stick shot. Bubba then went under the ring to retrieve lighter fluid. He approached a table in the ring and doused it with fluid. But, Harper superkicked him in the mouth before he could light the table. Strowman then emerged from his table bed and slammed Bubba through the table for the crowd-downer.
WINNERS: Wyatt members Bray, Harper, and Strowman at 12:26. The heels advance to five-for-five on the night. The hardcore team was just there to help re-establish the Wyatts after the Wyatts went through a series of big losses.
The PPV shifted to the pre-show panel to discuss the first-half of the PPV. Renee Young then hyped the Royal Rumble PPV next month, officially kicking off the Road to WrestleMania.
In-ring: Kevin Owens was introduced to the ring first for the Intercontinental Title match. Owens strutted out on-stage holding the title belt in his left hand and a microphone in his right hand. Owens said every time he comes to Boston, all he hears about is are their sports teams. He said people talk about “we” as if they accomplished something, when all they did was watch. He said it’s kind of like Dean Ambrose not accomplishing anything in WWE. Owens vowed to stomp out that “cockroach” Dean Ambrose tonight. He said this is the Kevin Owens Show. Dean Ambrose was out next as the challenger.
5 — IC champion KEVIN OWENS vs. DEAN AMBROSE — Intercontinental Title match
Fists flew as soon as the bell sounded. Ambrose controlled early on, but Owens cut him off and started talking trash while wearing down the challenger. Ambrose fought out of a reverse chinlock, then clotheslined Owens over the top rope to the floor. Ambrose did something like a Shinsuke Nakamura/Jeff Hardy dance move, then flew onto Owens on the outside. But Owens, responded by slamming Ambrose into the guardrail before hitting a running butt splash to the mid-section. Ambrose barely beat a ten count back into the ring at nine.
Back in the ring, Owens went for another butt splash, but Dean got his knees up to block. Ambrose then nailed strikes and chops over and over again. But, Owens responded with a release German Suplex. Owens tried a cannonball splash, but Dean moved out of the way and followed with a flying elbow for a two count.
Next, Dean took Owens to the top turnbuckle, but Owens blocked with a big suplex for a two count. Owens flipped out not getting the pinfall, which Dean took advantage of by hitting Dirty Deeds. Ambrose pinned Owens, but Owens got one little finger on the bottom rope to stop the ref’s count. Dean flipped out, then ripped off his shirt to show more intensity. Owens tried to take advantage by going for a pop-up powerbomb, but Dean countered with a huracanrana, he trapped Owens to the mat and scored a three count for the win.
Post-match, Ambrose celebrated around ringside with the IC Title belt as JBL freaked out about a crazy-man like Dean Ambrose representing the Intercontinental Title. Typical WWE discussion worried more about superficial things to selling a sports-like result. WWE stayed with the celebration for a while as Lawler celebrated on commentary.
WINNER: Ambrose at 9:53 to capture the Intercontinental Title. WWE flipped this one late, probably seeing that all male heels were going to win tonight, so they needed a babyface celebration at some point in the night. Solid match, but not long enough to get to that next level. (**3/4)
Video Package: Divas Title feud, especially involving Ric Flair.
In-ring: Paige was introduced first to the ring to challenge for the Divas Title. Charlotte’s music then brought out the Divas champion with Ric Flair to a mixed reception since there is not a clear likable person in the feud. Lawler framed it as “no clear-cut favorite” in this because both Divas have “alienated some people” in the build-up to the match.
6 — Divas champion CHARLOTTE (w/Ric Flair) vs. PAIGE — Divas Title match
Charlotte surprised Paige from behind in the opening seconds, taking advantage of Paige’s cocky attitude. The match moved to the floor, where Flair got involved distracting Paige by taunting her. Flair then chased after Paige as she returned to the ring, giving Charlotte another opening to work on Paige.
WWE randomly cut backstage to show Team B.A.D. watching the match dressed up in Halloween costumes mocking Flair, Becky Lynch, and Paige. Back in the ring, Flair tried to un-do one of the turnbuckle pads. All of the outside activity worked against Charlotte, who found herself in the figure-four leglock. But, Charlotte knew the escape route to keep the match going.
Paige then had a cover, but she was too near the ropes, allowing Flair to put Paige on the ropes out of the ref’s view and stop the ref’s count. Paige freaked out and yelled at Flair, who acted like nothing happened. Charlotte then rammed Paige face-first into the exposed steel of the second turnbuckle. It was good for the pin and the win as the crowd sat quietly.
WINNER: Charlotte at 10:38 to retain the Divas Title. Flair was a distraction from whatever match they were trying to have between two unlikable characters with no sympathy for Paige. Charlotte being corrupted by her elderly father playing a teenager isn’t exactly compelling.
Kay Jeweler’s Spot: Right after Naomi played heel, they had her playing herself in a spot with Jimmy Uso helping a guy find a ring to propose to his girlfriend in a WWE ring.
Backstage: Flair and Charlotte prepared to celebrate, but Becky Lynch interrupted the celebration. She did not like the way Charlotte won, so Charlotte asked if she’d rather have Paige be champion. Well, no. But. Charlotte shouted that she got the job done, so let’s go party.
Video Package: WWE Title feud between Sheamus and Roman Reigns.
In-ring: Sheamus came out first holding the WWE World Title belt. He handed over the belt, which was placed on the hook and suspended above the ring. Long pause before The Shield’s music played to bring out Roman Reigns as the title match challenger. Reigns walked through the crowd down to ringside as Sheamus stood over him in the ring. Reigns eventually entered the ring for formal ring introductions.
7 — WWE World Hvt. champion SHEAMUS vs. ROMAN REIGNS — TLC ladder match for WWE World Title
As soon as the bell sounded, Sheamus charged Reigns, who smashed him in the face with a right hand. “Sheamus ran right into it like an idiot,” Lawler quipped. JBL followed with a reference to the 13-second UFC knockout last night. Suddenly, the crowd broke into a “Let’s Go Cena / Cena Sucks” chant. Well, they are in Cena’s home market.
The fight moved to the floor, where Sheamus tried to smash Reigns with various weapons available to him. Back in the ring, Reigns caught Sheamus with a boot to the face. But, Sheamus responded with a tilt-o-whirl slam. The fight then moved back to the floor. It sounded like a Seth Rollins chant broke out ringside.
Reigns took Sheamus to the top of the stage, where he smashed Sheamus into a stack of weapons. Back down the ramp, though, Sheamus back-dropped Reigns through a table. Sheamus found another table on the entrance ramp and dumped Reigns through it. As Reigns recovered, Sheamus smashed him with a ladder. Sheamus followed with a hard clothesline on the ring apron.
Sheamus then took Reigns onto the ring apron and took both of them through a table with White Noise. After a pause for guys to catch their breath, Sheamus dragged Reigns back into the ring and taunted him. Sheamus wanted White Noise again, but Reigns blocked and slammed Sheamus back-first onto a ladder.
After both men recovered, Reigns and Sheamus traded blows as the crowd grew restless. Reigns then exploded off the ropes with a clothesline that generated a reaction. Reigns followed with a leaping smash to the face using a chair. Reigns then wanted the Superman Punch, but Sheamus blocked and hit the Irish Curse backbreaker.
Reigns and Sheamus then battled onto the ring apron. Reigns hoisted Sheamus into the air, then fall backwards with a Samoan Drop through a ladder on the floor, cracking it half. Both men sold on the floor for a while as the announcers wondered what else they can do to each other.
Reigns was the first man to his feet. Cole said Reigns is going to do it and end 2015 as the winner, giving away that he was not going to win. Reigns started to climb a ladder, but Sheamus came to life and pulled him down. But, Reigns smashed him with the Superman Punch. Reigns then started to climb the ladder looking to win, but Sheamus woke up again and shoved Reigns and the ladder down.
Sheamus started his climb and got one hand on the belt, but Reigns woke up and delivered a huge Superman Punch that knocked Sheamus off the ladder. Reigns started to climb again, but Rusev and Alberto Del Rio from the League of Nations hit the ring to attack Reigns. They beat down Reigns, but Reigns fought back against them. He finally escaped, then went after Sheamus, but Sheamus Brogue-Kicked Reigns clear out of the ring.
Sheamus slowly, slowly, slowly climbed the ladder, but Reigns woke up. Sheamus freaked out, so he sped up his final climb and retrieved the WWE Title belt, retaining over Reigns. “How much more can Roman Reigns take?” Cole wondered. JBL said maybe this is a mountain that Reigns just cannot climb. By the way, where was Ambrose to help out?
WINNER: Sheamus at 23:55 to retain the WWE World Title. They tried hard, but the crowd just wasn’t into either guy at the main event level. But, they tried a different approach in the post-match… (***)
Post-match, Rusev and Del Rio held up Sheamus in the air for a big victory celebration. But, Reigns hit the ring with a big spear to Sheamus, sending him crashing to the mat. The crowd was somewhat indifferent to Reigns snapping on the heels, destroying them with chairs.
Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, and refs then spilled out to try to subdue Reigns, who held them off with a chair. Reigns then bashed Sheamus with a chair again, ignoring Hunter’s plea. Hunter calmed everyone down, then stood on the ring apron and tried to talk to Reigns for another WresttleMania teaser. Hunter told refs to get Sheamus out of the ring, then Hunter entered the ring to check on Sheamus. Reigns contemplated doing something as Hunter looked up at Reigns to wonder what the matter is with him. Reigns continued to walk around the ring, then Hunter walked closer to Reigns wondering what’s wrong with him. Reigns then got The Look in his eyes waiting for Hunter to turn around to give him a Superman Punch. Reigns then picked up a chair and jabbed Hunter in the gut. Chair to the back followed as Stephanie freaked out ringside. Another chair to the gut, then to the back. More chair shots to Hunter.
Reigns left the ring and walked over the Spanish announce table as Hunter rolled to the floor looking for help. Refs tried to intervene, but Reigns shook them off and smashed Hunter into the side of the table as Steph continued to yell. Reigns then picked up Hunter, balanced him in the air, and dropped him on the Spanish announce table, which did not break. The crowd chanted “one more time” as Steph pleaded with Reigns to stop.
Reigns then stood on the English announce table, ran off it, and elbowed Hunter through the Spanish announce table. JBL said his career is over. Hunter remained KO’ed on the table as Reigns stood on the remaining table yelling into the crowd. Cole and JBL set up the storyline follow-up that Reigns is done, finished, more than fired. Back at ringside, Steph tried to check Hunter for signs of life. Reigns stood off to the side of the ringside area, then ran clear down the ringside area for a big spear, tackling Hunter hard to the ground. Reigns stood tall on the stage to cheers as medics checked on Hunter at ringside. The PPV signed off right at the top of the hour after a 10-15 minute post-match.
Did you watch the PPV? Send in your Reax, 0-10 Score, and Best/Worst Match to firstname.lastname@example.org.
– LIVECAST ALERT: Join Caldwell and Greg Parks on the Livecast post-game show at 11:30 p.m. EST breaking down the PPV at PWTorchLivecast.com.