WADE KELLER PODCAST - EARLY PREVIEW OF ROYAL RUMBLE 2020 MEN'S MATCH, PLUS 2019 AND 2010 LOOK-BACK ROUNDTABLES
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WWE TLC PPV REPORT
DECEMBER 15, 2019
MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. AT TARGET CENTER
STREAMED ON WWE NETWORK
REPORT BY GREG PARKS, PWTORCH COLUMNIST
Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Vic Joseph, Samoa Joe, Jerry “The King” Lawler
-A special “TLC Edition” of the Firefly Funhouse aired. It weirdly served as an opening video package that helped preview the matches on the card tonight.
-Michael Cole introduced the show amid fireworks.
(1) NEW DAY vs. THE REVIVAL – Ladder Match for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship
The announcers clarified that no tags would be necessary in this one. After the first minute, the fight went to the aisle among the ladders positioned there. The Revival brought a few ladders to ringside, but it was New Day that utilized them as a weapon first. Dawson and Wilder threw Kingston into the LED board below the apron of the ring. The Revival cut off a Kingston slide out of the ring by slamming the ladder down over his back numerous times. Kofi used his athletic ability to avoid another ladder spot, only to throw his body at the ladder, sending it into Dash and Dawson.
Graves said this is the one night a year that “creativity meets brutality” in WWE. Big E. missed a splash on Wilder, who was on the ladder, as Dawson pulled his partner out of the way. The Revival made the first climb to the title belts just short of 7:00 into the match. They were unsuccessful. Dawson dropkicked the ladder as Big E. was scaling it, and E. came down selling his left knee. Revival propelled the top of the ladder into Big E’s groin while E. was seated in the corner.
Kofi made a comeback for the tag champs, teeter-tottering the ladder into the jaws of both Revival members. Big E. applied a stretch muffler to Dawson while Kofi bashed him with the ladder. Kofi kicked way at The Revival, who were trying to pull him off the ladder. Kingston landed a few highspots to keep the challengers at bay. The crowd began to get into it at that point. Kofi was again thwarted, though, as he climbed the ladder. Revival brought him down with a Shatter Machine.
After bringing Revival down off the ladder, Big E. speared Wilder, who was on the apron, through the ropes and to the floor. Big E. set up three ladders in mid-ring, one of them horizontal attached to a ladder and one corner. Dawson suplexed Big E. out of the corner and onto the horizontal ladder. Dash followed with a splash on the same ladder, bending it in half. Kofi found himself on one of the two other ladders in the middle of the ring, along with Dawson and Wilder.
Big E. managed to stop Wilder from getting the title and hit the Big Ending off one of the top rungs of the ladder. Kofi’s legs were stuck under a few of the rungs and he was bent backward, seemingly helpless. Dawson got his hands on the titles but Kofi used the hanging mechanism to hit Dawson, knocking him off the ladder and to the mat. Kofi was able to get the titles.
WINNERS: New Day, at 19:03.
(Parks’s Analysis: May have been a little more slow-paced than some expected, but there were the requisite creative spots. Most of them could be considered “hits.” There also didn’t seem to be anything overly dangerous.)
-A short backstage interview with King Corbin aired, handled by Kayla Braxton. He didn’t seem concerned that Roman Reigns will be out for revenge tonight.
-They aired a commercial for this week’s NXT show, as well as a few others.
-The Raw announcers talked over a recap of Andrade vs. Humberto Carrillo from the pre-show, with Andrade showing his displeasure with Zelina Vega after the match.
(2) BUDDY MURPHY vs. ALEISTER BLACK
Murphy managed to avoid an immediate Black Mass. Black got the first real advantage with a deep arm-drag. Murphy stunned Black with a knee to the jaw, but couldn’t capitalize. Black leg-tripped Murphy on the apron, causing Buddy to hit the apron hard before falling to ringside. While outside, Murphy was able to bring Black down head-first onto the steps.
The ref put on a pair of gloves as it looked like Black’s nose was bloody. The announcers called little attention to it, instead talking about a possible jaw injury. Murphy sent Black to the outside where Aleister once again came down jaw-first, this time on the apron. The ring jacket of Black was taken into the ring by Murphy, but that just angered Black. Murphy came off the second rope, right into an elevated boot of Black. A comeback was made by Black, relying largely on kicks.
Moonsault into a cover for two by Black. The fight went to the apron where Black pushed Murphy spine-first into the post. Another moonsault by Black, this tie from the apron. Back in, jumping knee connected for a two-count. Black connected on a step-up kick while Murphy was mounted on the top rope. Murphy hit Black with four superkicks with Black dazed on the second rope, then followed up with a powerbomb for two.
A knockout knee was avoided by Black, but a second was not. Brainbuster for two by Murphy. Murphy was in desperation mode staying on the offensive, but it was to no avail as Black hit Black Mass out of nowhere for the pin.
WINNER: Black, at 13:40.
(Parks’s Analysis: Really good match. Tight and crisp, as you’d expect. Who would’ve guessed the first blood we saw on this night wasn’t from any of the TLC-related matches. It seemed like only Lawler wanted to call attention to it, while Joseph and Joe stuck to the storyline of the match of Black’s jaw possibly being hurt. Murphy has come a long way since teaming with Wesley Blake in NXT).
-Backstage, Charly Caruso asked Rusev for his thoughts on Lashley’s plan to propose to Lana tonight. Rusev was not put off by that idea, and in fact seemed to encourage it. He ended by talking up Rusev Day, so I guess that’s back as a thing.
-After a WWE Shop ad, we saw clips of what happened this past Monday as Seth Rollins revealed himself to be in cahoots with AOP.
-As the Viking Raiders came to the ring, four fans were shown to have won a KFC Ultimate Fan Experience, sitting ringside and eating KFC. Uh-oh. The Viking Raiders made an open challenge to any team. Not surprisingly, the Minneapolis crowd was behind the Raiders. The OC came out and reminded Viking Raiders they are the only team to beat the Viking Raiders. They talked up their Best Tag Team in the World trophy.
(3) THE VIKING RAIDERS vs. THE OC – RAW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Erik rag-dolled Anderson to the mat. Ivar worked over Anderson’s arm. The announcers were drawing so much attention to the folks eating KFC at ringside that you knew it’d eventually play a part in the match. The OC eventually took over outside the ring. Big spinebuster by Anderson on Erik. The OC worked to slow the pace. Ivar made the hot tag and did some damage to the heels.
The OC managed to stymie Ivar’s onslaught. Ivar fought off a double-team, but a double back-elbow came up short. The heels sold it anyway. Viking Experience but Gallows broke up the pin. The two teams threw bombs at each other until all four men were down. Erik was thrown into the crowd at ringside. Ivar dove through the ropes and into Gallows. Nobody could get back into the ring before the ten-count.
WINNERS: Double count-out, at 8:28.
After the match, the fight continued, with The OC grabbing the KFC table. “KFC!” chant by the crowd. The Raiders powerbombed Anderson through the table.
(Parks’s Analysis: Nothing settled here. Could it lead to a rematch on Raw tomorrow night? The two teams seemed a bit off on a couple spots. It was fine, but nothing special).
-Miz was interviewed backstage by Kayla Braxton. Miz said he moved his family to an undisclosed location to keep them away from Bray Wyatt. Miz said this was his most personal match ever and that he wasn’t fighting as a WWE Superstar tonight, but rather as a husband and a father.
-Ads for Raw tomorrow night and Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Sessions on the WWE Network aired. Then Graves thanked Kevin Rudolf for “Do You Feel Me?,” tonight’s TLC theme.
-A video package aired on the King Corbin vs. Roman Reigns feud.
(4) King Corbin vs. Roman Reigns – TLC Match
Corbin did some pre-match mic work, saying he’d show the fans what he does to people who don’t show him the proper respect. Corbin’s security went after Reigns before he could even get to the ring. Reigns destroyed them. Corbin ran at Reigns with a chair. As Reigns connected with a right hand on the ramp, the bell rang to officially begin the match. Reigns threw Corbin into a ladder atop the stage. Corbin was then launched off the stage. The two men fought into the crowd.
Reigns tossed Corbin over the barricade and near the Spanish announce table at ringside. Once in the ring, Corbin connected on Deep Six for a two-count. Another two-count was registered a few minutes later off of a lariat by the King. A reversal led to Corbin being driven into the barricade on multiple occasions. Corbin shook it off and sent Reigns into the ringside steps. A ladder was readied, then directed into the ribs of Reigns. In the ring, Corbin used a chair on Reigns. Reigns fired back with a clothesline, jumping clothesline, then just to change things up, ten corner clotheslines.
Reigns favored his ribs after his attack. “Roman” chants from the fans. Corbin avoided the Superman punch, eventually hitting a chokeslam/back-breaker combo. Corbin taunted Reigns, which was a mistake. Reigns sent Corbin into a chair that had been set up in the corner, then hit a Superman punch for a two-count at about 11:00 of the match. The crowd demanded tables. Reigns obliged and began to set up a table in the ring. Corbin had snuck out of the ring and from under the ring, grabbed a can of dog food, hitting Reigns in the head with it. “A full can!” exclaimed Graves.
Corbin then chokeslammed Reigns through the table for a near-fall. Reigns seemed pretty well out of it despite the kick-out. Corbin set up Reigns on one of the announce tables. Corbin set up for a powerbomb, but Reigns instead made it a Samoan drop through the announce desk. Reigns sprinted around the ring to take out Corbin, but instead, was met with a Dolph Ziggler superkick. Ziggler appeared to come from under the ring. Ziggler continued the attack and then grabbed a pair of handcuffs from under the ring.
Reigns, though, hit a Drive By that took out both Corbin and Ziggler. Reigns used a kendo stick on Corbin’s security force. The Revival came out to take out Reigns and used the kendo stick on him. Reigns took out both with Superman punches. He flew over the top and onto Revival, Corbin, and the security force. Reigns set up for a spear in the ring, but Ziggler threw a chair at Roman’s head, then hit Zig Zag. Shatter Machine by Revival on Reigns. End of Days by Corbin onto the chair. That allowed him to pick up the win. “Disgusting,” sneered Cole.
WINNER: Corbin, at 22:12.
(Parks’s Analysis: Not particularly creative for a TLC match. This is another high-profile loss for Reigns. The storyline is a dog, pun intended, but it has gotten the crowd behind Reigns and they’re booing Corbin. So I guess that’s something. Corbin winning here isn’t a good sign for those who have tired of his schtick.)
-A WrestleMania ad led into a video package for The Miz vs. Bray Wyatt.
(5) THE MIZ vs. BRAY WYATT
As expected, Wyatt came out playing his Firefly Funhouse character (complete with that music) rather than The Fiend. Wyatt wrestled in a brown argyle sweater and black pants. Miz went right after Wyatt at the sound of the bell. Wyatt tried to get Miz to take it easy on him, but Miz wasn’t having it. As Miz pounded on Wyatt in the ropes, Wyatt bit the middle rope and Cole noted Wyatt was laughing. Miz kicked away at Wyatt in the corner. The announcers noted Wyatt wasn’t fighting back.
The expression changed on Wyatt. He missed Sister Abigail, but Miz hit the Skull Crushing Finale. He didn’t go for the pin, however. Wyatt had a smile on his face as Miz slammed his face into the mat. Miz worked Wyatt’s arm, though Wyatt went to ringside and slammed his arm against the barricade, popping the shoulder back into place apparently. Miz continued dishing out the punishment there. Wyatt was able to avoid Miz’s offense long enough to put Miz down with Sister Abigail outside the ring. Back in the ring for another Sister Abigail and the win. Cole referred to it “one of the oddest matches I’ve ever called.”
WINNER: Wyatt, at 6:35.
On the Titan-Tron after the match was The Fiend, or at least a still photo. Wyatt picked a mallet (think Bludgeon Brothers) out from under the ring and brought it into the ring. Wyatt seemed excited when some of the lights went out “He’s here!” shouted Wyatt. Instead, Daniel Bryan appeared on the opposite side of the ring, delivering a running knee to Wyatt. Bryan had a crew cut and a trimmed beard. He looked about 10 years younger. Bryan assaulted Wyatt with kicks in the corner, then running dropkicks and a knee. Bryan kicked Wyatt in the face over and over again. Before Bryan could destroy Wyatt with the mallet, the lights went out. They came back on and Wyatt was gone. Bryan celebrated as his music played.
(Parks’s Analysis: The difference in the ring between Wyatt and Fiend adds another dimension to the character, but it serves to further muddy it rather than follow a clear path for fans to understand. Getting a win over Miz here was a nice distraction to allow the Bryan feud to continue to build without having to do another match here. Miz did good work in his role. Bryan’s transformation makes another match against The Fiend, presumably for the title, worth it after he was soundly defeated at Survivor Series).
-A TMZ-like recap of the Lashley/Lana-Rusev feud aired. They didn’t play it up as a serious feud at all.
(6) LASHLEY vs. RUSEV – Tables Match
Lana accompanied Lashley to the ring. The two men brawled at ringside to kick off the match. Rusev tried to put a table into the ring, but Lana pulled it out. That distraction allowed Lashley to take over. The fight went onto the ramp, where Rusev delivered a suplex. Rusev tried to put Lashley through a table at ringside, but Lashley flipped the table over. Lashley whipped Rusev into the steps, then sent him spine-first into the ring post. Rusev managed to avoid a table being thrown at him by Lashley.
A table was set up in the corner inside the ring. Spinebuster to Rusev. Lashley set up another table in the ring. Rusev tried to send Lashley through a table at ringside, but Lashley held onto the top rope from the apron. Lashley tried to suplex Rusev out of the ring and through the table. Rusev knocked Lashley off the apron, but he managed to overshoot the table. Rusev walked back off the side of the stage and grabbed a guardrail. He brought it to ringside. Lashley, though, picked Rusev up and slammed him through the guardrail.
Lashley found a kendo stick and used it on Rusev. Rusev seemed to plead with Lana, who just laughed at him. The Bulgarian Brute grabbed the stick away from Lashley and wore Lashley out with it. Lana got into the ring at the 13:00 mark and jumped on Rusev’s back. Lashley speared Rusev into a table in the corner, but it didn’t break. He delivered an overhead suplex through a table in the opposite corner to bring the match to a close.
WINNER: Lashley, at 13:26.
(Parks’s Analysis: There has been a real dearth of athleticism on this show. Much of these matches have consisted of brawling and setting up weapons. I guess for a PPV being pushed for the violence it would offer, that will be enough to appease some. Lashley vs. Rusev was a good example of the kind of match we’ve seen all show.)
-Backstage, The Street Profits reacted to the match we just witnessed. A brawl entered their area backstage. Roman Reigns and Baron Corbin were going at it, as well as other members of the Smackdown roster. Street Profits joined in and kicked away at the heels. It appeared New Day was involved, finally giving some babyface help to Reigns.
-A video package aired on the Kabuki Warriors and how tonight’s main event came to be.
(7) BECKY LYNCH & CHARLOTTE FLAIR vs. THE KABUKI WARRIORS – TLC Match for the Raw Women’s Championships
Lynch and Flair seemed to be on the same page to start, both charging at the Warriors to take them out early. Flair threw Asuka into a stack of chairs atop a table outside the ring. Lawler said the fight between Corbin and Reigns is still ongoing backstage. Kairi Sane jumped off the apron in the direction of Flair, but Flair put a boot up and put Sane down. The babyfaces cleared the ringside announce tables. Lynch and Flair took turns throwing Sane from one table to another. Asuka showed back up to even the sides. Sane used a chair to Charlotte’s back. Lynch and Sane battle over possession of a ladder, but Flair seized Sane and bounced her head off the same ladder.
Asuka was meant to be powerbombed through a table, but Sane made the save. Flair picked Asuka up again and sent her over her head and into the ring post instead of through the table. Sane started throwing chairs into the ring at Lynch and Flair. The babyfaces threw them back at her. Sane tried to escape under the ring. They pulled her out from underneath, but Sane had hold of a fire extinguisher. She used it on Flair and Lynch. Asuka found a cargo rope and used it as well. It was chaos at ringside as these four went at it. The heels took a rolling chair and tried to lock Charlotte into it with a kendo stick. It didn’t exactly work as they had hoped, but was effective enough.
Asuka slammed Lynch onto a ladder, then the Kabuki Warriors tied Lynch to the ladder with the rope. They worked over Flair, then had a ladder set up in the ring all to themselves. Asuka and Sane both made the slow climb up the ladder, allowing Flair to appear with a kendo stick. She used it and knocked over the ladder. Charlotte tried to untie Becky, but Asuka nailed her with a chair to the back. Lynchy fought off Asuka and Sane with kicks and broke herself free of the rope. Lynch and Flair put Asuka and Sane in chairs in the ring, then both kicked them to knock them off.
Asuka was put on a table outside the ring. Lynch came off the second rope with a butt splash to Asuka’s midsection, breaking the table. The babyfaces set up a table with the intention of suplexing Sane through it, but Sane turned it around with DDTs to both women. Sane put them both on a single table. Sane jumped off the apron and onto the table. Flair appeared to move but Lynch didn’t. The table didn’t break. It didn’t look like a good spot. Flair hit Sane with a weak spear. She powerbombed Sane through a table.
Chairs were collected by Asuka as she tried to bury Flair and Lynch in them. Asuka took the time to pull Sane up off the floor. The two finally entered the ring to set up a ladder and climb. Flair and Lynch got back up and used a couple of weak chairshots to keep Asuka and Sane away from the ladder. Charlotte set Asuka on a table and readied for a moonsault but Asuka met her on the apron. She pulled Charlotte off the second rope and powerbombed her through the ringside table. Charlotte held her neck upon landing. Lynch beat Asuka with the rope and climbed the ladder. Asuka pulled the rope, still attached to the ladder, to knock it and Lynch over.
This allowed Asuka to climb the ladder, and she grabbed the titles to retain.
WINNERS: The Kabuki Warriors, at 25:57.
(Parks’s Analysis: Very ambitious match that was awkward and unsmooth at times. That could be part of the charm, as you felt like any minute the match could turn into a complete trainwreck. It did manage to avoid reaching that level. Even so, it was probably the best match of its kind tonight for creativity, quality, and sheer brutality.)
Immediately after the match ended, the backstage brawl spilled out into the arena. They went off the air with the brawl featuring both Raw and Smackdown wrestlers. Reigns speared Corbin off an elevated stage into a crowd of wrestlers. That’s where the show cut out.