WWE TLC was rocked with medical issues, but that only led to the return of the Olympic Gold Medallist Kurt Angle as he teamed with The Shields Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose. The Empress of Tomorrow Asuka made her long-awaited debut, and AJ Styles came across from Smackdown Live to face the Demon Finn Balor in a dream match!
Sasha Banks defeated Alicia Fox on the Pre-Show. Grade: B- A good pre-show match, nothing more and nothing less. Alicia Fox is very underused and is incredibly entertaining with her Crazy as a Fox gimmick. While I would have loved Fox to get a surprise win as the beginning of a push, it’s hard to complain about keeping Sasha Banks strong.
Asuka defeated Emma. Grade: B+ Asuka’s debut lived up to the hype; she had a big important feel about her as she showcased her skills against Emma who herself was very impressive. Emma showed glimpses of how good she really is, while Asuka looks bound to continue tearing through the Raw Women’s Division.
Elias & Jason Jordan segment. Grade: F- Elias was on the ramp to sing the crowd a song before Jason Jordan started throwing fruit and vegetables at him. This is also meant to be a PPV, I think that’s all that needs to be said here.
Cedric Alexander & Rich Swann defeated The Brian Kendrick & Gentleman Jack Gallagher. Grade: D+ Another example of what is wrong with the Cruiserweight division, while the in-ring action was fine, there was just no real story here and we’ve seen so many versions of this match this just felt flat. Unless Cedric & Swann are going to be a tag team moving forward, why give the team of Gallagher & Kendrick a loss here.
Alexa Bliss retained the Raw Women’s Championship defeating Mickie James. Grade: B+ This feud has been absolutely fantastic to date and this match did the build-up justice. A great match saw Mickie James show why she’s still one of the very best going right now, and Alexa Bliss looks better in the ring every time. Alexa won in sudden fashion faking an injury to trip Mickie in to the turnbuckle and then hitting a quick DDT for the win. Mickie cut an interview/promo after the match that almost hinted at retirement, before saying that she’s not done yet. Personally I’d be all for having this feud continue.
Enzo Amore defeated Kalisto to become the New Cruiserweight Champion. Grade: D- A below average match, disappointing for a Cruiserweight Championship match but almost expected given the two involved. Enzo winning is just a reversal of the puzzling decision to have Kalisto win the title a few weeks ago, what the point of that was I will never know; was it literally just to spite Neville? Enzo has completely lost his voice, that’s fine, it happens, but why on earth would WWE make him cut a promo both before and after the match sounding like that? Enzo’s whole thing is his mic work and how he speaks and sounds, and to boot he said nothing that hasn’t been said already; all this did was make him sound beyond ridiculous and arguably tarnish that, just totally stupid.
The Demon Finn Balor defeated AJ Styles. Grade: A. The phrase ‘Dream Match’ gets thrown around a lot these days, however this was justified; their first meeting in the WWE, given their history with Bullet Club & NJPW, this was awesome! These two men are two of the absolute best, literally top 10 wrestlers in the world today, the crowd was chanting ‘This is Awesome’ before they even touched. An incredible match, Finn busted out the nineteen sixteen again which is a great move, the series of Overhead & Pele Kicks was amazing, these two men stole the show tonight! Finn going over was the right move as it protects the Demon character. While given the filler and waste on the show this match really could have gone another 5-10mins to kick it into the next gear. After the match, the two men embracing with a Too Sweet was a mark out moment if I’ve ever seen one.
Jason Jordan defeated Elias. Grade: F. This match shouldn’t have happened; purely the result of and for the purpose of filler, a slow match finished in what seemed like a rushed, botched roll up. How are you meant to build Jason Jordan as something meaningful when they do stuff like this?
Kurt Angle, Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins defeated The Miz, Cesaro, Sheamus, Kane & Braun Strowman. Grade: B- This was perhaps the weirdest match I’ve ever seen. Seeing the Shield entrance with Angle was pretty cool. Angle showed everyone that he is really the mayor of Suplex City. A big fright early after a cool spot with Rollins & Ambrose going off the ladders putting Kane & Strowman through the announce tables where Rollins seemed to hurt his knee. Angle took a lot of punishment and Strowman put him through a table with a running powerslam putting Angle out of the match, a nice way to make Strowman look like a beast and protect Angle. Kane took out Strowman with a Chokeslam through the stage before pulling all the chairs down onto Strowman from the roof in a spot similar to Cena’s a few years ago. Strowman still gets up but all four of his teammates take him out burying him and crushing him in the garbage truck (the crowd chanting “That was murder” was hilarious). Kurt Angle returned finally giving us his entrance and cleared house Angle Slamming The Bar through tables, Miz hit the Skull Crushing Finale but Angle kicked out before the Shields won with a Shield Powerbomb. Just an absolute mess of a match, that isn’t particularly their fault given the changes that had to be made. Kane vs Strowman moving forward should be okay, The Shield look amazing and Kurt Angle is still beyond incredible.
A few notes on the show. A LOT of filler on this show, for a show that was only 3 hours long (shorter than the usual episode of Raw) it featured way too much filler with everything that happened with Elias & Jordan; its things like this that make the PPV not special. Another side note, Booker T is beyond bad on commentary, he not only doesn’t add anything, but he literally subtracts from the performance. I would rather a commentary team of David Otunga, Bryon Saxton & Percy Watch over having to listen to Booker T on commentary, as all three are significantly better than him. For a show called TLC, there was only one TLC match o even only one match with a stipulation, and it wasn’t even a proper TLC match, just a glorified No DQ match; another example of Gimmick PPV’s being absolutely useless.