Tables, Ladders and Chairs was a microcosm of WWE's pay-per-view offerings in 2015.
WWE's pay-per-view slate in 2015 had some peaks (WrestleMania, Hell in a Cell) and it certainly had some valleys (Royal Rumble, Survivor Series).
WWE TLC was similar ride this past Sunday. The show started off at a fever pitch, only to slow to a crawl at certain times. However, it managed to pick back up again to leave the fans wondering what was going to happen next.
It was a wild ride that including some odd turns getting there, but WWE actually left fans wondering what was going to happen, which is usually the sign of a successful show.
Before I delve deeper into my thoughts on the program, here are the full match results from TD Garden in Boston:
- Kickoff match – Sasha Banks def. Becky Lynch
- WWE Tag Team championship (Ladder match) – The New Day def. The Usos & The Lucha Dragons
- Rusev def. Ryback
- WWE United States championship (Chairs match) – Alberto Del Rio def. Jack Swagger
- Eight-man tag team elimination tables match – The Wyatt Family def. The Dudley Boyz, Tommy Dreamer & Rhyno
- WWE Intercontinental championship – Dean Ambrose def. Kevin Owens
- WWE Divas championship – Charlotte def. Paige
- WWE World Heavyweight championship (Tables, Ladders and Chairs) – Sheamus def. Roman Reigns
Roman Reigns may have finally (FINALLY) won the people over
It took a while, and it happened in sort of a confusing way, but it may have finally happened: Roman Reigns may have finally gotten the majority of the fan base behind him as a babyface.
Reigns had to go completely berserk after the main event in order for it to finally happen, but before we get into that, let's examine what happened during the main event first.
Before the match event started, it felt like Reigns and Sheamus were two lambs being led to slaughter, as the apathy amongst the Boston fans was evident by their silence, which is never good.
Even during the match, when Reigns and Sheamus were practically killing each other in order to get a reaction from the fans, they sat on their hands. In fact, the few times they did make noise was when they were chanting about everything else but the match, including a "We want Cena" chant, which was weird even in Boston, which is not far from where Cena grew up West Newbury, Mass.
Let me not gloss over how much punishment Reigns and Sheamus dished out on each other — it was A LOT. Things eventually picked up near the end when Reigns delivered a man Superman punch to Sheamus, knocking him off a ladder and sending him straight through a nearby table.
That spot woke the crowd up, but little did they know this was only the beginning.
Before Reigns could grab the title, Sheamus' running mates in the League of Nations came out to thwart his attempt at winning. They were successful, as Sheamus climbed the ladder and grabbed the title belt to retain the WWE World Heavyweight championship.
My one problem with this part of the match was that Reigns' supposed family, Dean Ambrose and The Usos, were nowhere to be found. It was like they suddenly didn't care about their supposed brother in arms. Instead, Reigns was left to fend for himself against four men. Even with what occurred after the match, that still doesn't make any sense to me.
But now let's get to what happened after the match, as Reigns, frustrated by coming up short yet again, took his anger out on the League of Nations by destroying them with a steel chair.
Eventually, Triple H, Stephanie McMahon and a host of officials came out to diffuse the situation. Triple H jumped into the ring to check on Sheamus, but was then attacked by Reigns.
This attack went on for about 10 minutes and was absolutely awesome. Reigns beat the hell out of Triple H from one side of the ring to the next with a steel chair. Despite McMahon and the officials pleading with him to stop, he still put Triple H through the Spanish announce table anyway.
Even when you thought he was done, he ran back down to the ring and speared Triple H on the floor. The fans in Boston went from booing Reigns, to chanting, "Thank you, Roman" by the time the show went off the air. Reigns can be heard saying multiple times that he knew he was going to be fired for what he did.
This is the Reigns people have been wanting ever since he left The Shield more than a year ago. That's because this is the Reigns people cheered while he was with The Shield. He doesn't talk much, he's not smiling all of the time and cracking horrible jokes about tater tots.
He's relatively quiet, doesn't take any mess and beats people up. Period. It's like WWE finally got that message and told everyone, "Our bad" Sunday night by finally letting Reigns play a role he's comfortable playing instead of forcing him to be someone that he's clearly not.
This version of Reigns works and it's only going to make the eventual match between he and Triple H even more anticipated.
However, all of that came after some weird twists and turns in the story. Reigns suddenly looked like a tough guy that didn't need anyone by his side, but WWE has placed him side-by-side with Ambrose and The Usos for weeks. It's a sudden, jarring change that didn't have to be if WWE has\d play its cards right with Reigns from the very beginning.
Speaking of cards, has WWE learned how to play this hand when it's too late? Has months and months of misuse of Reigns damaged him beyond repair in the eyes of the fans? Also, will WWE capitalize on the newfound momentum or will it fumble the ball away like it has with so many talents in the past?
For the first time in a long, however, it will be interesting to see where WWE goes when it comes Reigns.
Dean Ambrose is the lunatic champion
If Reigns' freak-out at the end of the show was the night's biggest surprise, Dean Ambrose defeating Kevin Owens for the WWE Intercontinental championship was the second-biggest surprise, in my opinion.
I certainly didn't see this coming mostly because I thought Owens could have restored some of the luster to the Intercontinental title by holding on to it for a long time, but also because WWE seemingly has no problem having people beat Ambrose on pay-per-view, so giving him the victory here came kind of out of nowhere.
I'll say this much, the fans in Boston ate it up, and for good reason. Despite his mediocre win-loss record, Ambrose is still one of the more entertaining parts of WWE programming every week. He has been for well over a year now.
The reaction he got in Boston was not because the fans were happy to see Ambrose win the Intercontinental specifically. They were happy just to see Ambrose, a guy they've been behind for a long time, get some shine. He got a much bigger babyface reaction than Reigns' would have gotten if he had won the WWE World Heavyweight title.
As for what's next, there's obviously going to be a rematch at some point, but hopefully it's held off until the Royal Rumble next month. While it's nice for Ambrose to have the title now, I think the long-term viability of the title is better off with Owens.
It's nothing against Ambrose. In fact, I think he deserves to be consistently vying for the top title. Ambrose holding the Intercontinental title is cool, too, but I think Owens is the kind of guy that can make the title his own and make it feel special again.
Tag team ladder match was pure insanity
I had high expectations for this match going in, but The New Day, The Lucha Dragons and The Usos far exceeded them by stealing the show Sunday night.
To say that there were some insane spots in this match would be an understatement. Whether it was Sin Cara doing a senton from inside the ring to the outside on top of a ladder that was lying on The Usos or one of The Usos doing a splash from the top rope to the outside and landing on a ladder that was lying on Big E, this match had plenty of aerial displays to satisfy anyone looking for them.
But what took the cake was Kalisto doing the salida del sol to one of The Uso's from the top of a ladder and landing through another. That spot was incredible and I still have no idea how Kalisto got up and walked away from the match.
He landed butt-first through the ladder and looked like he could have easily broken something in his back. Kalisto did a heck of a lot during the match was probably the MVP of the proceedings. He definitely shined in a losing effort.
WWE is probably going to make all of the carnage null and void by having at least one of the teams wrestle on Monday Night Raw, showing no ill effects from the train wreck they went through 24 hours prior, but on this night, these three teams put on a show.
Charlotte-Paige storyline is an absolute mess
Heading into this event I had no idea what was going on between Charlotte and Paige.
Coming out, I still have no idea what's going between these two. The storyline is so muddled, so confusing that I think the fans have simply given up on having an emotional connection with either wrestler.
I guess that's what happens when you have two heels going against each other on a pay-per-view.
And make no mistake, Charlotte has gone full-blown heel. As a matter of fact, Charlotte's work as a heel during this match was probably the only positive I took away from it, as everything else just felt messy and disorganized.
It is as clear as day that Charlotte is way more comfortable as a heel than she is a babyface, and with Ric Flair by her side, it's only helping her cause.
The story may make zero sense, but at least Charlotte is doing her part as a burgeoning top heel in the divas division. If only we could figure out who the top babyface would be and we might be in business.
The Wyatt Family destroys Team ECW
This match did exactly what it was supposed to do: Make The Wyatt Family look strong.
The Wyatt Family not only looked strong by winning but they also did so by winning with three members remaining. The only member of the family that was eliminated was Erick Rowan, who is apparently the perpetual jobber of the group now.
What this does mean moving forward, I have no idea, as there is no obvious direction for these guys to go from here. Let's just hope WWE isn't building up once again to get torn down by someone at WrestleMania … again.