Portland Oregon featured the final build towards the TLC PPV. The Shield carried the majority of the show once again and rightfully so, with The Hounds of Justice returning to their old entrance and attire, before Rollins & Ambrose defended their Tag Team Titles against The Bar & Roman Reigns battled Braun Strowman inside a Steel Cage with The Big Red Machine Kane making his return.
The Shield opens the show. Grade: B+ The Shield came out with their full Shield entrance and attire which was incredible to see, however its curious WWE didn’t save this for the PPV. They teased attacking Kurt Angle which got everyone on the edge of their seats; all three men said their piece to hype up TLC before their opponents at the PPV came out to answer, but the GM kept the two teams apart. A red-hot opening to the show once again!
Apollo Crews, Titus O’Neil & Jason Jordan defeated Elias & The Club. Grade: F. As if the Club haven’t been forced to do enough awful things in their short time in WWE, now they had to sing ‘Honky Tonk Man’ with Elias. Jason Jordan is meant to be Kurt Angles son and he’s just teaming with Titus Worldwide. The Club were one of the best tag teams in professional wrestling and just jobbed out to Titus Worldwide after singing. Pathetic.
Cedric Alexander defeated Jack Gallagher. Grade: C. The match was nothing really special or out of the ordinary, Brian Kendrick got up to trouble at ringside only for Rich Swann to negate his impact. Gallagher did sell the Lumber Check incredibly! It’s such an awesome move.
The Miz Promo. Grade: B. The Miz, Cesaro, Sheamus and Curtis Axel were in the ring together and brought out their main weapon at TLC, Braun Strowman. Miz ran down the Shield on the mic and spoke of how Ambrose said it could be five on three, and so Miz added Curtis Axel to the match. Kurt Angle agreed to Axel’s involvement only if Strowman could beat Roman in the main event.
Curtis Axel goes looking for Roman Reigns. Grade: B. Curtis Axel tried to hype up Strowman to defeat Roman in the main event so he could be part of the match, and then Strowman convinced Axel to go find and attack Roman. Axel finds the Shield backstage, and then later we find Axel hanging from a forklift, clearly beaten and destroyed by the Hounds of Justice. This was perhaps silly but I found this quite funny, however it does make Axel look absolutely ridiculous.
Sasha Banks defeated Alicia Fox. Grade: B+ These two women always seem to have really fun matches even in the short amount of time given. After the match Fox lost her mind in the ring and then attacked both Sasha and an official backstage. Alicia Fox is criminally underused and her crazy character is so much fun, and hopefully this is the beginning of her being featured much more.
Enzo Amore and the 205 Live Heels attack Mustafa Ali & Kalisto. Grade: B- Enzo Amore once again on the mic tore apart Kalisto and Mustafa Ali talking about how he was robbed of the Cruiserweight Championship. Kalisto once again was beyond dreadful on the mic, seeming to forget that he was actually the champion. The fans chanted for Neville as all the heels on the roster apart from the team of Kendrick & Gallagher attacked Mustafa Ali who looked brave here as the babyface and the champion Kalisto ahead of his title defence at TLC. We really need an explanation as to why these heels are aligning with Enzo after Enzo spent so long destroying them on the mic.
Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins retained the Raw Tag Team Championships defeating Cesaro & Sheamus. Grade: A. Some much needed actual wrestling here with these two teams once again putting on an incredible match as always. Ambrose particularly was very impressive here, but all four men involved were creative to make this match feel fresh once again. The energy and intensity was great once again.
Finn Balor Promo. Grade: F. Finn Balor spoke about the Irish myths and legends of his childhood and said that the Demon was coming for Bray Wyatt & Sister Abigail. Balor then transformed into an Orange looking thing that looked like a poor Halloween costume rather than a Demon or anything menacing. Balor’s orange thing is just as bad as Bray Wyatt as Sister Abigail; this whole feud is now beyond bad. Not a single bit of me wants to see this match at TLC.
Bayley & Mickie James defeated Emma & Alexa Bliss. Grade: C. This match ticked all the boxes but just fell a little flat; Alexa Bliss & Mickie James had some good tension between them before their TLC match once again; Emma looked good for a moment in the match ahead of her bout with Asuka at the PPV. This also, although unintentionally highlighted the fact that Bayley is doing absolutely nothing at the moment.
Braun Strowman defeated Roman Reigns in a Steel Cage Match after Kane Returns. Grade: B- The implications of this match on the TLC match really aided this contest in feeling like a big deal. Roman & Braun always seem to have good matches together and this was no different. Strowman dominated but Reigns as always fought back. There was chaos outside the cage as The Bar tried to get involved only for the Raw Tag Champions to negate their impact. Kane returned with his music and lights hitting, before the Big Red Machine emerged from the depths of hell through the ring to attack Roman. Kane & Strowman beat Roman senseless to end the show. Kane’s addition to the match has come completely from left field; hopefully this ties into Roman Reigns retiring Kane’s brother The Undertaker at Wrestlemania.