So WWE TLC 2013 wasn’t a complete bust. In fact, the first and last hours were surprisingly entertaining, and the stuff in-between was just alright. Best of all, no Hornswaggle!
Dolph Ziggler has become WWE’s favorite whipping boy and, unfortunately, his stock is starting to plateau a little. Ziggler was the hottest thing in professional wrestling right after Wrestlemania. Now he can’t pick up a win over (no offense) a lower-to-mid card talent. I understand that he’s in the dog house for whatever reason, but how much longer until we’re discussing what Ziggler’s career could have been instead of what it might still be.
CM Punk and The Shield opened TLC in a hot way. The handicap match was better than I could have expected, and the near-falls down the stretch had my full attention. Was it the best thing on the card? Nope. But it was still better than Daniel Bryan vs. The Wyatt Family, which suffered from a profound case of too many big men and not enough sweet, sweet Daniel Bryan technical wrestling. And on that note… at least Bray Wyatt picked up a pin. There’s hope for him yet!
Remember that time you paid 50 bucks to see R Truth wrestle Brodus Clay? What’s up?
Natalya and AJ Lee delivered a good, just not quite great, Divas match. These ladies deserve more time to work together. And, I even think a Natalya title run might liven up the division a little bit. I’m definitely not rooting against AJ here. but women’s wrestling is in a weird state of ambivalence, and a fresh face might do us all good.
Many props to The Real Americans, Rybaxel (ugh), Big Show & Rey Mysterio, and the Rhodes brothers for delivering the match of the night. WWE made the right call in having Axel and Ryback lose first, and kept The Real Americans around long enough for them to look like stars. Most impressively, the final 10 minutes of the contest between Cody Rhodes and Rey Mysterio was some of the best action WWE has seen in weeks. Rhodes has superstar written all over him – hopefully 2014 gives him a spot to shine.
Randy Orton and John Cena delivered what was asked of them, and then some. These guys aren’t the best in the business at anything in particular, and while they’ve both been bestowed with carrying the company at various points, neither guy would be my go-to for an instant classic. All that being said… I really liked this. They gave it a big fight feel, and both Orton and Cena made everything seem credible. My biggest takeaway was that Orton won “cleanly” (yes, I know he used handcuffs, but that’s considered LEGAL in a TLC match), and as a result, finally looks like a legitimate champion. All around great effort by everybody involved here.
Overall show was good enough. On a 1-10 scale of “classic WWE” it might pull in a 4 or 5, but for 2013 Pay-Per-Views, I’d give it a solid 7. Unfortunately, there’s your problem – we have to grade on a curve because 2013 has been a tough year for wrestling, and the traditional PPV model is quickly dying. Hopefully WWE Network can save us all, or at the very least, remind us of a time when wrestling mattered.
Watch our full post-TLC roundtable where Brian Fritz, Steven Muelhausen, and myself discuss our complete thoughts on last night’s Pay-Per-View. And be sure to let us know what you think in the comments below!