This year's edition of TLC had a lot to live up to coming off the heels of a live NXT special that had the wrestling world buzzing.
Despite throwing in the kitchen sink … and stairs onto this card, the WWE did not top its own developmental system with this show.
Sure, the event had its high points just like any other show. But for the most part, nothing really happened. It was just another show.
Before I go any further, here are the full results from the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio:
- Kickoff Match – The New Day (Kofi Kingston & Big E) def. Goldust & Stardust
- WWE Intercontinental Championship (Ladder match) – Dolph Ziggler def. Luke Harper
- WWE Tag Team Championship – The Usos def. The Miz & Damien Mizdow via disqualification
- Stairs Match - Big Show def. Erick Rowan
- Tables Match - John Cena def. Seth Rollins
- WWE Divas Championship – Nikki Bella def. AJ Lee
- Chairs Match - Ryback def. Kane
- WWE United States Championship – Rusev def. Jack Swagger
- TLC Match - Bray Wyatt def. Dean Ambrose
With all of that out of the way, let's run through my highlights and observations from the show:
Dean Ambrose lost to a television
Look, I understand why this was done. It was so that Dean Ambrose could lose to Bray Wyatt under his own doing instead of something Wyatt actually did.
The only problem is that it just seemed kind of silly, not to mention it handed Ambrose yet another pay-per-view loss.
At some point in the match, Ambrose inexplicably picked up a television monitor that was under the ring. Michael Cole smartly explained why the monitor from under the ring was actually on and working.
Ambrose then proceeded to check himself out in the television to make sure he was looking good before inexplicably dropping and turning his attention to something else.
Obviously, the monitor came into play later in the match when Ambrose picked it up and attempted to hit Wyatt with it. Apparently, Ambrose wasn't smart enough to realize that the monitor was still plugged into something and that the cord was too short to reach across the ring because he attempted to yank it loose and sparks flew into his face.
This left Ambrose blinded and he walked right into a sister Abigail to end the match.
I don't know how much sense it makes to make arguably your No. 2 babyface look so dumb. I understand that he's a loose cannon or as WWE constantly says, the lunatic fringe. (By the way, that's a little too eloquent of a nickname for someone who is out of his mind).
But he has to be smart enough to realize that he could have easily unplugged the monitor.
Before all of those shenanigans, I thought Ambrose and Wyatt were having a very good match that was worthy of the main event spot it garnered.
Ambrose highlighted the match by jumping off a ladder onto Wyatt three times, each looking more painful than the one before it.
But the finish kind of took me out of it. That's a recurring issue with the WWE in recent years — unsatisfying finishes.
Roman Reigns returned, helped John Cena defeat Seth Rollins
John Cena and Seth Rollins were having an entertaining match where Rollins' security constantly ran interference for him.
Even Big Show came out to help Rollins, but Roman Reigns made his long-awaited return to even the odds and help Cena win the match to retain his No. 1 contender status.
Cena will move on to face Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship here in Philadelphia at the Royal Rumble.
But that's not the major story coming out of this match. That belongs to Reigns, who received a huge pop from the fans in Cleveland upon his arrival. I'm certain Vince McMahon felt so good about his self-fulfilling prophecy.
Whether you think Reigns is ready or worthy of the spot of the next big star or not, you have to admit that the pop he received at TLC was huge and telling of his popularity.
My only hope is that it sustains itself.
Reigns garnered that huge pop, but then proceeded to fumble a promo right after. If the fans don't deem him worthy of this spot, they will turn on him.
The fans have done it to bigger, more established names in the past. A prime example being Batista just last year.
I just don't want WWE to take that pop he received in Cleveland as a sign that he is bulletproof in the fans' minds because he isn't.
The fans are happy to see him back, partially because he is cool, but also because we're just happy to see someone outside of the normal rotation on television again.
I'm personally rooting for Reigns. I think he has a star quality, but I just don't want his ascension to be forced. If it isn't working, the WWE should abandon ship because the spot that he is in line for has to be given to someone that is firmly adored and respected by the fans.
Didn't agree with Ziggler with winning the Intercontinental title
Let me start by saying that I am a huge Dolph Ziggler fan, but I believe that he should be above the Intercontinental title at this point.
He's won it on three different occasions this year alone and it hasn't done anything to enhance him or the title, so let's move in a different direction.
Did I also mention that he's above it?
After the way he was featured in the main event of Survivor Series, you would think that he would be involved in top-level feuds exclusively, but apparently that's not going to be the case.
I understand that he could enhance the profile of the Intercontinental title and make it a top-level program, but that's mostly up to the WWE. The WWE has not had a good track record of making that title mean anything in the past, and I doubt they will put a ton of effort into doing so heading into WrestleMania season.
Wasn't upset at Tag Team title finish
I typically don't like disqualifications on pay-per-views, but I didn't mind that finish in this match.
Now I think that disqualifications should be avoided at all costs in the main events, but in a mid-card match like this I think it's okay.
All that finish told me was that we're going to see more of this feud. I know some people are tired of seeing The Usos, but that's not their fault. That's the WWE's fault for over-exposing them.
But I believe that this program could be intriguing moving forward, and it's nice to see some storyline development surrounding the tag titles. It's a lot more than what it usually done, which is zero.
Surprised Erick Rowan didn't beat Big Show
I didn't care too much for this match, but I was surprised that Erick Rowan didn't defeat Big Show.
Personally, I didn't see a reason for Big Show to win, so why not attempt to elevate a younger star like Rowan? I'm not the biggest Rowan fan in the world, but I believe he's been doing the most with what he's been given, which hasn't been much.
Chairs match was very, very boring
"Boring! Boring! Boring!" was what the fans chanted during this match.
I hate to say it, but agreed with them.
If you wanted to see two 300-pound men hit each other with steel chairs over and over again, then this was the match for you because not a whole lot else happened in this match.