Pro Wrestling

10 Things We Learned From TLC 2015 Source:

This Sunday, Roman Reigns got yet another chance to become the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, after falling short so many times before, as he faced Sheamus in a TLC Match. But that wasn’t the only potentially brutal match on the card, as tables, ladders, and chairs were thrown around with wild abandon, and the result was…a Pay Per View that wasn’t as bad as some might have feared. It wasn’t a show that blew anyone way, but it had some good matches, and one impressive development as the Pay Per View ended. One way or another, we could be looking at a whole new era getting underway in WWE. As always, we try to make these events a learning experience, so here’s everything we learned while watching TLC 2015.

10. The 12 Days Of A Horrible Parody

Look, we get it. You don’t want Sasha Banks to get cheers in her hometown of Boston. It’s understandable, she’s supposed to be a heel. Although to be fair, it would help a lot if you’d start letting the faces of WWE be half as entertaining as the heels. But what that means is giving the good guys better material, not deliberately (because that had to be intentional) giving the heels terrible stuff like, say, a poorly-written parody of “The 12 Days of Christmas”, so the crowd will boo. Anyone can write terrible material, WWE did it last Monday when they sent their alleged top face in the company out to the ring to repeat the words “Tater Tots” incessantly. But you’re ruining the entertainment value of the show by doing it. Source:

9. The Lucha Dragons Are Insane

If a picture is worth a thousand words, an animated .gif has to be worth a million or so, right? Source:

In a match where six people tried to kill each other and themselves with ladders, and at least made people fondly remember the classic Hardy-Dudley-Edge & Christian bouts of the Attitude Era, that would be the big spot that’s going to be on highlight reels (and “Don’t Try This At Home” advertisements) for years. The fact that they even thought a spot like that would be possible and then actually decided that they’d be okay with doing it speaks volumes about the insane dedication of professional wrestlers (and also their relative intelligence, but that’s another story). The match was everything you could want to start off a Pay Per View, and also a very good ladder match, which is a gimmick that hasn’t had many truly outstanding matches in recent years. It seems like every year there’s an incredibly late contender for Match of the Year lists, and while this almost certainly won’t top any of them, it is a definite Top 10 contender. Source:

8. Rusev Is Still The Good Guy

Over the summer, when we were trapped in the depths of the ridiculous Rusev-Lana-Dolph-Summer soap opera, a lot of people started to see Rusev as the good guy. Yes, he occasionally said unforgivably mean things, but he was under a lot of stress and clearly regretted lashing out. Meanwhile, his ex-girlfriend was taking every opportunity to show off how happy she was with her new boyfriend, and when Rusev tried to move on, his new manager seemed like she was also betraying him for the same guy (who, it must be said, was also acting like a dick). Who wouldn’t feel sympathy for that guy? Now that Rusev and Lana are back together and happily engaged, WWE seems to be trying to tell us that love is a crime and they’re disgusting people for…wanting to be together forever? Seriously, though, when even the pre-match video package makes Ryback look like an asshole for repeatedly interrupting two people declaring their undying love for one another, it really feels like WWE has lost the thread on what makes someone a good person. Source:

7. Chairs Matches Don’t Make Sense

Here are the rules for a Chairs Match, as we’re given to understand them: Chairs are legal as weapons, but nothing else. Except, the match is also fought under a no-DQ stipulation, which was enforced on separate occasions at TLC, when Alberto Del Rio and Jack Swagger both attempted to use the ropes to force their opponent to break a submission move, only to be told that the ref was powerless to enforce it. If you can’t get disqualified for refusing to release a submission hold, what is stopping anyone from using non-chair weapons? At that point, the entire concept of the match breaks down, which is why Chairs matches have never been a good idea. And just to further ruin the established psychology of the idea, early in the match, Jack Swagger wins a chair fight with Del Rio, who drops his weapon, leaving Swagger still armed. Swagger then drops the chair so they can have a wrestling match! The whole point is that you can use a chair indiscriminately! No wonder nobody cares about Jack Swagger.—united-states-championship-match-photos?r30_r1_r1:page=3 Source:

6. The Case For Hardcore

The fact of the matter is, at least half the participants in the match between Team ECW and The Wyatt Family are mediocre wrestlers, at best. And from a technical standpoint, their Elimination Table match was pretty terrible. But that’s the reason why big, stupid hardcore matches exist, because you don’t have to be a particularly great wrestler to hit someone with an ax handle, and the crowd gets enough garbage spots that you can actually get a good reaction from what is, objectively, a “bad” match. It’s a factor that has been missing from WWE programming once they decided to phase out the concept of a Hardcore division, and that’s a shame. While we’re not asking for over-the-top matches with increasingly dangerous weapon use every week and in every match, the Hardcore division was an entertaining part of WWE, where wrestlers with nothing better to do, and from a wide variety of wrestling styles, could interact in a type of match that would generally get a positive reaction from fans. It may be garbage, but it’s fun, and fun is something that WWE has been in dire need of lately. Source:

5. Dean Doesn’t Always Do Something Stupid

Dean Ambrose has had two problems recently: he’s been treated like Roman Reigns’ goofy sidekick, and he loses matches in increasingly stupid ways, to the point that it has stretched the boundaries of credibility that he would continue to do such obviously idiotic things. At TLC, WWE finally gave Dean a win to be proud of, over a credible opponent, and he earned the Intercontinental title in the bargain. Obviously, Dean still needs a good follow-up now that he’s got the belt, but that pretty much goes without saying. Meanwhile, even though Kevin Owens should have a title, Kevin Owens also doesn’t need a title, and while he may not fully ascend to a World title contender right away, freeing him from a clearly mid-card title allows him the opportunity to make that leap in the future. Besides, you just know he’s going to spend most of the next month and a half telling everyone that he’s going to win the Royal Rumble, anyway. Source:

4. Charlotte Is A Flair, And That’s Okay

It’s been a common problem for the children of professional wrestlers who enter the business themselves to separate fully from their family legacy. Sometimes, in very special cases, it can be done, but all too often, they end up booked as pale imitations of their parents. That has been the worry since Charlotte began embracing her heritage as a Flair, especially the less honorable qualities that go with it. Everywhere, you’ll find people decrying the move as a bad one, since Charlotte can’t possibly hope to measure up to the 16-time World Champion. And while that’s true, this heel turn and willingness to cheat for every advantage has given Charlotte’s character a fire that wasn’t there in her initial portrayal of a cheerful and generic face character. Yes, she’s copying her father’s tricks, but she’s doing it well, and it’s giving her a personality fans can react to. Bland babyface Charlotte was having good, clean matches, but nobody cared. Ric Flair’s daughter is cheating like nuts and taking shortcuts from a wrestling perspective, and she’s becoming a genuinely good heel in the process that someone like Becky Lynch can play off of to get over as a babyface in her own right.–rhyno-vs.-the-wyatt-family-wwe-tlc-2015 Source:

3. A Match Like A Children’s Book

Going into TLC, while the wrestling world was buzzing about the absolutely terrible Raw-ending promo that fell flatter than a day-old pancake, there were those who figured that at least the TLC Match would be good, because Reigns and Sheamus thrive in an environment where they’re allowed to hit each other as hard as they can. However, that’s not what we got. Instead we got a match that featured two wrestlers wandering around randomly in between spots that would put one or the other down for a good minute and a half, repeated as necessary until they eventually stumbled to a finish that looked terrible on TV. In other words, the match was completely “Go, Spot, Go” (see, now the header for this entry makes sense), when what it should have been was a twenty minute crazy brawl where Sheamus and Reigns try to beat the crap out of each other with assorted weapons, before somebody falls off a ladder through a table and the survivor climbs to win. SourcE:

2. Where Is Everyone?

When the League of Nations ran in, as we knew they inevitably would, certain questions came to mind, Where was purported League member King Barrett? Where, for that matter, was Roman’s best friend Dean Ambrose and his cousins, The Usos, who had been assembled by Reigns for the specific purpose of thwarting Sheamus’ team of goons? At least having everyone come out would have added some much-needed chaos to what ended up being a supremely awkward finish. A popular but totally made-up rumor making the rounds on the Internet is that Barrett was delaying Ambrose and the Usos somehow, which would explain why none of them showed up. Honestly, if WWE actually runs with that idea tonight on Raw, we’ll give them all the credit in the world for at least having the intelligence to come up with a creative explanation. Or maybe they should just hire the people on the Internet who came up with it first. Source:

1. Roman Reigns Wins By Being A Sore Loser

In the end, it all comes down to this: after nearly two years of failure, for the last five minutes of the TLC Pay Per View, after destroying the League of Nations with a steel chair and leaving Triple H laying after a brutal beating, Roman Reigns was finally over. A crowd that had been actively disinterested in caring about the TLC Match that preceded Roman’s breakdown was finally invested in him. And all it took was cutting out all the endlessly boring promos, the wry looks at the camera, the attempts at lame catchphrases to plaster on shirts, and just destroying everything in his path in a period of basically uninterrupted aggression against those who had wronged him. There’s a reason why the world agrees that Liam Neeson is a badass, after all. If this is the new face of Reigns, a man who has had all he can stand and he can’t stand no more, then it’s probably going to work out fairly well in the end. But if the Reigns we get tonight on Raw is back to his old ways, this whole thing could fall apart faster than an abusive Philly crowd can chant “You F***ed Up!” Source:

Stephen Randle

Stephen Randle

Stephen Randle is an avid wrestling and film fan. He's been writing about WWE, movies, and video games for Goliath since 2015.