Highs and Lows: WWE TLC 2014’s Best and Worst Moments

WWE Tables, Ladders, Chairs…And Stairs (long enough name for you?) had a chance to top the stellar NXT R Evolution from Thursday night. In the last PPV outing for WWE in 2014, and still missing a World Champion, TLC 2014 was an opportunity for the big stars to burn brighter and for hungry talents to make a mark. But did it happen? Here are the highs and lows from WWE TLC(S) 2014.

High Point: Dolph Ziggler wins the Intercontinental Championship

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TLC 2014 kicked off with a ladder match between reigning Intercontinental Champion Luke Harper and challenger Dolph Ziggler. This was an excellent opener for the show and both men were looking to make a statement. The psychology of the match was excellent and Ziggler benefited from being in the ring with a guy who can go just as hard as he can.

I cringed, as did everyone else watching, when Harper utilized a suicide dive to the outside of the ring and landed flush on his arm on a prone ladder on the floor. By the conclusion of the match, Ziggler was bleeding from his head and his back was covered with a litany of bruises and welts. Harper was sporting a gash in his head, a deep cut on his arm and an equal amount of lumps.

All in all, an excellent ladder match with the right guy picking up the win. These guys had a lot to prove and I expected nothing less from them, but, unfortunately, the rest of the show didn’t have the same flair.

Low Point: Miz and Mizdow Finish Prematurely

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It doesn’t seem like that long ago that the Usos were tearing the house down with the Wyatts, the Shield was obliterating everything in sight and Gold and Stardust were freaky-freaking their way into the title picture. So, what happened? I know some folks are less-than-enamored with the whole Damien Mizdow stunt-double thing but I’ve enjoyed it so far. I think it’s funny as hell when Mizdow stands outside the ring copying every hit and miss The Miz makes. I’m also a fan of the Usos, and I firmly believe they’re the most consistently good tag team in the entire WWE.

So, there’s absolutely no excuse for what happened at TLC. It was a thrown-together 8 minute tag team match that made little sense and ended with a DQ when The Miz hit one of the Usos with a Slammy award. It was a sloppy match with a lame ending that completely sapped the energy from the live crowd that had just witnessed an extremely good ladder match.

Low Point: Big Show vs Erick Rowan in a Steel Stairs match

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Why? Why did this have to be a thing? A steel stairs match? That’s like putting two guys in an “exposed turnbuckle” match. This was an awful match between two guys who could have done a thousand times better with a less restrictive stipulation. I’m of the same mind with Chair matches. These kinds of matches are only made to play off the gimmicky name of the PPV. In this case, they even re-worded the name and made it even longer by adding the “…and Stairs” crap to it, all just for this one match!

And what did we get? We got an extremely awkward and poorly placed showcase of two very large men going to extreme lengths to find creative ways to throw heavy metal stairs at each other. Seriously, this kind of crap is what gives pro wrestling a bad name

Low Point: Ryback bludgeons Kane in a Chairs match

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Same issues I had with the Stairs match. Why does this need to be its own match? Where was the psychology? This was by far the most stoic emotionless match of the night. Both men simply arrived, beat each other with steel chairs, and left. Ryback just happened to be the guy who got the pinfall.

Neutral Point: Cena vs Rollins in a Tables match

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This was definitely the other best-executed match of the night aside from the ladder match, but it wasn’t without plenty of faults.

First things first; John Cena was protected. That shouldn’t surprise anyone. The man doesn’t even sleep because his blankets won’t cover him for longer than a 2-count. On top of that, Seth Rollins (who is quickly becoming one of my favorite WWE Superstars) was also protected.

As fun as the match was to watch, it was hampered a bit by the fact that Seth Rollins needed the help of two cruiserweights in Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury just to compete with Cena throughout the match. Tables broke all over (along with the match psychology), the ref got bumped and we got a cliché “three ref debate” over who actually won. In the end, it took a returning Roman Reigns, who was by far the best part of this match even though he wasn’t even a participant, to finally set up Rollins for a clean table slam by Cena.

This match would have been a high point, except for the fact that it was easily the most convoluted match of the night. Tables matches are the easiest to book. There are no rules, aside from “someone has to go through a table one way or another” and “the person going through has to be doing so through the actions of his opponent” meaning falling off of something and going through doesn’t count.

So why did we need to break a fistful of tables? Why did we need a dusty finish with a bunch of referees? Why did Cena need Reigns to win the match? Why did Rollins need the cruiserweight division to avoid losing the match? This one just left me with too many questions.

Low Point: Nikki Bella Retains the Divas Title

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At NXT R Evolution, we got a stellar Women’s Title match in Charlotte vs Sasha Banks. At TLC, we got a throwaway scrap.

This was unacceptable. AJ Lee is the best Diva the WWE has had in years but she can’t wrestle herself. If she could, the title might mean something. The second best Diva they’ve had in years is Paige but she wasn’t even on the card.

Nikki Bella has improved in the ring by leaps and bounds but she has the acting skills of a drunken Pygmy Sasquatch. Instead of a wrestling match, we got 5 minutes of back and forth, some interference by Brie Bella and a really sloppy ending that saw Nikki spray (what was apparently real hairspray, according to online reports) into the eyes of AJ before hitting her finisher for the cheap win.

Lousy match with a poor choice in winner. Where do any of these women go from here?

Low Point: Rusev and Jack Swagger Exchange Christmas Cards

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Nothing to see here folks. Rusev and Swagger exchanged a few punches and kicks and traded submission finishers until Swagger passed out. Seriously. That’s literally all that happened. Rusev wins a pissing content. Oh, and the US Title was there. Somewhere.

High Point (Mostly): Bray Wyatt wins; Dean Ambrose loses to a TV

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I’m not going to completely trash this, because it was an entertaining match. Wyatt and Ambrose beat the bejeezus out of each other. Ambrose flew off a ladder and put Wyatt through the announce table. From a performance standpoint, it was an incredible match.

From a consequential standpoint, it was meaningless. Aside from the (typically) brilliant promo work done by both men, this entire feud has been taped together on looseleaf paper. For all intents and purposes, the rivalry between Ambrose and Wyatt was put together just to give them both something to do. It was a no-win situation, in my opinion, for these two guys to have to carry the PPV, especially given the exceptionally unexceptional night of wrestling that preceded their match.

To take even more away from what was otherwise a good match, Ambrose lost to a TV monitor. After all the bumps and abuse both men took, an exploding television monitor is what decided the match. That’s just a little too much for me to handle.

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