PWTorch editor Wade Keller presents a special Thursday Flagship edition of the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast featuring a WrestleMania 36 Preview with ex-WWE Creative Team member and professional stand-up comedian Matt McCarthy.
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WWE TLC KICKOFF REPORT
DECEMBER 15, 2019
STREAMED ON WWE NETWORK
REPORT BY MIKE F. MEYERS, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Kickoff Panel: Jonathan Coachman, Booker T, Charly Caruso, David Otunga
-After a rapid-fire rundown of all matches on the card, the panel focused on the odd couple pairing of Lynch and Flair. Otunga compaired the team to the Mega Powers, Hogan and Savage, from the 1980s. Booker predicted the Kabuki Warriors would “shock the world” tonight. Otunga added that trust is the most important aspect of a tag team, and he isn’t sure if Lynch and Flair can trust one another.
-A video package was shown on the unfolding drama among Rusev, Lana, and Lashley. The narration and background music set a tone of flippancy and zaniness, even during bouts of physical violence.
-After the package, Lashley and Lana were interviewed backstage. They indicated that Rusev was jealous of their love, and as soon as they get rid of him, everything will be fine. When Otunga fired some legal jargon at Lana, she became defensive and refused to answer. For some reason, Booker asked Lashley if Lana was holding him back in any way. He said she was not. When Charly asked what would happen if Lashley loses to her ex, Lana again ignored the question and accused Charly of not being as good as Renee Young. Lana began to ramble about how Lashley was going to crush Rusev, and they had to cut away while she was still going. Booker, referring to his first marriage, said he had to write a big check to his ex-wife to get her to go away, and suggested that’s what Rusev needs to do.
(Meyers’s Analysis: In this free-wheeling format, Lashley and Lana did a fantastic job coming off as obnoxious heels. The visual of Lana complaining into the mic while Lashley slowly flexed one bicep was great.)
-The show pivoted to a replay of the AOP / Seth Rollins attack on Kevin Owens – odd as neither of these acts are on the card tonight. It turned out to be a setup for the Revival to appear at the panel and interrupt the discussion. Dawson challenged Booker and Stevie Ray to a match after they win the tag belts tonight. Booker was surprisingly subdued while Revival treated him with the utmost disrespect. They wandered off with no pushback from the panel. Once they were gone, Booker said he was trying to set an example, but if he wanted, he could’ve whipped some ass and been all over the internet.
Announce Team: Samoa Joe, Vic Joseph, Jerry Lawler
(1) ANDRADE (w/ Zelina Vega) vs. HUMBERTO CARILLO
During their entrance, Andrade and Vega seemed to lack enthusiasm for one another – a hangover from their recent misunderstanding on Raw.
Andrade quickly got the upper hand, and went for an early pin for a two-count. Andrade launched Carillo through the air with a back body drop, then postured to the crowd. Carillo turned the tide and took Andrade down twice with lucha-style arm drags, but Andrade knocked Carillo off the top rope while he was preparing for a high flying attack.
Andrade rolled Carillo back into the ring and laid in some kicks and put his boot against Carillo’s throat. Andrade locked an arm bar over the top rope and had to break the hold due to ref count. Andrade quickly grounded Carillo in the middle of the ring and went to work on Carillo’s left arm and shoulder. Carillo battled out and escaped with a jawbreaker. He missed an enzuigiri, but then took Andrade down with a hurricanrana.
Andrade missed a running knee strike in the corner, causing him to topple out to ringside. Carillo lingered in the ring, clutching his right knee. Andrade slowly rolled into the ring, shushing the crowd. The men exchanged blows, and Carillo nailed Andrade with a springboard high cross body, then leveled him again with a roundhouse kick. Andrade slid away from the standing moonsault, then leveraged Carillo into the turnbuckle with a roll-up maneuver.
Andrade’s eye was busted open at this point. Carillo hit Andrade with a twisting somersault senton over the top rope to the floor. Back in the ring, Carillo knocked Andrade to the mat with a missile dropkick, then scaled the top rope. Andrade got to his feet and yanked Carillo down to a seated position on the top turnbuckle. Carillo fired back with forearm strikes, but Andrade knocked Carillo backward. Carillo suspended his torso horizontally, allowing Andrade to jump off the ring post, stomping through Carillo’s chest. The crowd began a “This is awesome!” chant.
The men had a quick exchange in the middle of the ring, culminating with a big clothesline that turned Carillo inside out. The ref began to count out both wrestlers. Carillo charged at Andrade in the corner, but caught a big boot for his effort. Again springing off the middle rope, Carillo kicked Andrade in the face. He lifted Andrade to his feet, but Andrade flipped Carillo over with a back body drop. Andrade hit a double knee strike to Carillo in the corner, then covered for a two-count.
Andrade nearly knocked Vega off the ring apron, as on Raw, but he hit the brakes in time. The men scaled a corner, and Carillo launched Andrade to the mat with an inverted hurricanrana, then hit a mega moonsault from the top rope. Carillo covered for the three-count and victory.
WINNER: Humberto Carillo by pinfall.
Andrade scowled at Vega in the ring, then waved her off and proceeded up the ramp without her. Vega didn’t understand his anger.
(Meyers’s Analysis: High quality match – above average for a Kickoff show. Carillo is kept strong by winning again, this time without the benefit of a breakdown between Andrade and Vega. Whatever crowd was in the arena already was pleasantly engaged in the match.)
-A video package was shown for Miz and Bray Wyatt, then we returned to the panel. Otunga said the Miz needs an exorcist. Booker said that the Miz is a “badass Ryan Seacrest,” and that he’s a guy you can count on to step up in situations like this.
A pre-taped Alesister Black promo was shown. He said he will amputate Buddy Murphy from his career tonight with the Black Mass, “all because you decided to pick a fight with me.” Back on the panel, Otunga said you have to admire Murphy’s confidence. Booker, in a rare moment of complete Kickoff coherence, pointed out that it was Black who asked for someone to step up to him.
A video package was shown for Roman Reigns and Baron Corbin. Afterward, Charly asked if we’d see a new side of Reigns tonight. Otunga said we would. Booker indicated that Corbin was a very intelligent king. He added that Corbin might go down as one of the best big men of this era. Otunga disagreed and said that Reigns would leave Corbin “unrecognizable” after this match.