Welcome back to BRM’s Monthly “This Day in Wrestling History” Review Series! This day in history ten years ago was a momentous one in the history of professional wrestling because TheWrestlingRevolution.com was born! And, conveniently for me, that very same day had a WWE PPV take place that I could review for this column. And not only that, but it was a WWE PPV from the same year that had a January WWE PPV that I wanted to review, and that Royal Rumble occurred on the 31st of the month, allowing me to also fulfill my desire to drop these reviews on consecutive days by doing a 31st and a 1st. Yes, I did plan all of this that far in advance. And I’ve got everything scheduled out through mid-2022, because I am that crazy.
But enough about me. Let’s look at WWE TLC 2010.
LADDER MATCH FOR THE WWE INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE:
Dolph Ziggler(c) (w/Vickie Guerrero) vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Jack Swagger - 5.75/10
For some historical context that I wish I had remembered before going into this match, this is a few weeks after Michael Cole turned heel by shoving Lawler off of a ladder, and they’re both on commentary, so much bickering occurred.. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the third commentator is Matt Striker. I’m beginning to regret this already.
The ring announcer explained the rules before the intros, as he should. Cole and Striker were already explaining it to us a second time before Ziggler was even in the ring. That’s how bad they think our memories are.
We got a tease of Vickie grabbing the belt to set up a comedy spot when she screamed in terror when Kofi threatened to tip the ladder over. They did some stuff. It looked like they were going to have a story with Swagger’s wrist being hurt but it only really mattered in one spot before the abrupt finish came. Said finish was Kofi and Swagger both yanking the belt down and it fell to the ground and Dolph grabbed it and was ruled the winner. This came across as total bullsh*t, and looking ahead at some results, it appears that this bullsh*t finish in a ladder match on PPV was done to set up a blow-off in a non-gimmick match on free TV two weeks later on Smackdown. What is this backwards-ass bullsh*t?
NEXUS BACKSTAGE - Fine. Wade Barrett gives his troops a pep-talk. He says that they will stand united, winning back the tag titles and also beating Cena. These guys all look so young.
LayCool vs. the Divas of Doom - 6/10
My first Striker-induced fit of rage requiring me to pause the DVD so I could go punch a pillow happened during the entrances for this match, when he said that Beth was “rendered injured at the hands of” LayCool.
Beth and Nattie have a special table that they have spray-painted with ugly caricatures of LayCool that they want to put them through. Of all of the people in this match, the one the fans are chanting for is Layla. Yes, really.
Beth took an absolutely terrifying bump out of the ring where the arm she was posting wit on the apron slipped and she fell right on her head and neck. Other than that one scary moment, this was a very fun match. It was 95% teasing and teasing the babyfaces putting the heels through the table, and the other 5% the heels managing to isolate a babyface and threatening to put her through a table, all building the biggest tease of the heels doing it before the babyfaces thwarted them and won. And yes, this was also the match with the double-Sharpshooter spot. It’s kind of crazy that a submission is the most remembered spot in a Tables match.
One thing I noticed during this match was that there was a lot of talk from Striker about “how far these Divas™ have come” compared to past generations. That crap didn’t start with the Divas’/Women’s R/Evolution. And yes, the ring announcer did make sure to tell us in his intro that this tag team tables match was a “first-ever” for women.
KANE PROMO - You’ll never guess this, but Kane was never a fan of Christmas as a kid. But now, he is getting weapons to play with, so he’s… well… not happy, but he’s eager to play with his presents. This would have been fine if he hadn’t gone nuts at the end destroying the random Christmas decorations around. I mean… who the f*ck decided to put a bunch of Christmas lights up on this random metal thing in a darkened hallway, anyway?
WWE TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov(c) vs. Nexus (Heath Slater & Justin Gabriel) (w/Husky Harris & Michael McGillicutty) - 2/10
Santino cut a pointless Santino promo before the match. It’s a PPV. Why are you wasting time on this?
Santino wrestled for a while, followed by the heels getting a brief heat on the big, strong, scary guy. Kozlov made a hot tag and Santino was going to hit the Cobra so McGillicutty ran in or the DQ. The heels ran in and beat up Kozmarella. Despite Nexus being a big, mean, group of heels. Not one person came out to help the babyfaces. Wade Barrett came out and beat Santino and Kozlov up with chairs while the announcers built up his Chairs match with John Cena later tonight… so this tag title match on PPV was nothing more than a prop to do an angle for a John Cena match which all of the people who will see the angle have already bought the PPV.
The fans chanted for Cena to come and make the save, but he never did. We got a short commercial for the new video game… and then a f*cking RECAP for the attack we saw less than a minute ago and- once again- in a situation where everyone seeing this replay has already paid to see the PPV in question, so what’s the f*cking point?
#1 CONTENDERSHIP LADDER MATCH:
John Morrison vs. Sheamus - 8.5/10
This was awesome. Just plain awesome. Sheamus got JoMo’s knee stuck in a ladder while he was upside down, and then just turned the whole ladder over, sending it and Morrison down, with it landing on JoMo’s knee. Morrison sold his leg very well and they did their big bumps, but I thought they did a great job of keeping the match centered around trying to climb the ladder and grab the contract rather than doing a bunch of spots with the ladder. The finish was also one of those genius little spots where they start to zig just slightly before zagging.
JOSH MATHEWS INTERVIEWS THE MIZ - Fine.
WADE BARRETT AND HUSKY HARRIS RETURN TO NEXUS’ LOCKER ROOM AND FIND THAT EVERYONE HAS BEEN BEATEN UP - I guess John Cena has been busy.
TABLES MATCH FOR THE WWE TITLE:
The Miz(c) (w/Alex Riley) vs. Randy Orton - 4/10
The story was that every time Orton would set up for the win, Riley would get rid of the table. Eventually we got a ref bump and Orton put Riley through the table, but then got taken out by Miz, who put Orton onto the broken table and woke the ref up to win via Eddie Guerrero finish.
This would be bad enough as it was, but it got even sillier when the referee decided to restart the match when he saw the replay on the TitanTron. If that’s allowed, why doesn’t the referee always look at the replay every time?
Then it got even worse because less than a minute after the restart, Miz shoved Riley into Orton, knocking Orton off the apron and through a table. This is borderline as to whether it should count, but if Miz is going to win through questionable tactics anyway, why did you do that stupid first finish that does nothing but kill the match’s momentum and open multiple cans of worms that there is no reason to open.
EDGE AND DEL RIO HAVE A BACKSTAGE CONFRONTATION - Bad. We first got Rosa Mendes admiring Del Rio’s car, and Del Rio admiring her. These two never got together, so I don’t know what the point of that was.
Edge and Del Rio then had a pretty wacky confrontation that seemed to have no kayfabe purpose. Edge was the one who came to get Del Rio’s attention, but when Del Rio proposed and alliance, Edge dismissed it by saying it would never work. There was a line here where Del Rio said he wouldn’t care if Edge abducted Ricardo because he could just get another ring announcer, but that didn’t go anywhere, either.
TLC MATCH FOR THE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE:
Kane(c) vs. Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Edge vs. Alberto Del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriguez) - 8/10
Rey’s gear tonight was a tribute to his former WCW coworker, the Kiss Demon. Both Cole and Striker were insistent that the match between Edge & Christian and the Hardys at No Mercy 1999 was a TLC match, even though it wasn’t.
They did all of the usual big TLC spots. There was a bit of a story with Rey and Del Rio always thwarting each other, but really this was just a well-paced weapons match. Ricardo tried to climb the ladder, just in case you didn’t get enough of that same spot earlier with Vickie.
CODY RHODES INSULTS THE FANS FOR BEING UGLY AND IS INTERRUPTED BY THE BIG SHOW DRESSED AS SANTA CLAUS - Atrocious waste of time. Why are you wasting time with this crap on a PPV. Cody cut his promo. Big Show came out dressed as Santa and with the Bella’s in the standard sexy Christmas outfits, giving out presents. They plugged Big Show’s movie. Despite not knowing that he was going to be interrupted, Cody apparently had pictures from the movie ready to go on the Tron to criticize Big Show with. Big Show touched Cody’s tie and said he could get Cody a part in the sequel if Cody cleaned up a bit. Cody yelled at Big Show for touching him, so Big Show beat Cody up and stripped him to his underwear. This wasted ten minutes of time on a PPV and buried an up-and-coming wrestler.
WADE BARRETT AND HUSKHY HARRIS BACKSTAGE - Cena knocked Husky out with a chair while he was going through a doorway, the cheerfully told Wade he would see him in the ring. This was the sort of thing that reminds you why a large swath of the crowd couldn’t stand Cena at this point.
John Cena vs. Wade Barrett - 7/10
CM Punk joined the commentary team for this match. The story here was that Cena knew he could outwrestle Barrett, so he tried his best to keep the chairs away. This didn’t really mesh with the build, which saw Cena use a chair to take out the other members of Nexus. It also goes against the standard idea in wrestling, which is that we want to see the babyface get his hands on the heel, and in most gimmick matches, it’s the heel who is afraid of the gimmick because he doesn’t want the babyface to get his or her revenge.
The match was passable for a PPV main event, but that’s all. They didn’t really go back much to the “Cena’s game plan is to out-wrestle Wade” thing, either. He just kind of did stuff, but always was trying to get the chairs away. In the end, he used an AA onto a bunch of chairs for the win.
Then, for absolutely no reason, Cena grabbed and chair and hit Wade with it a few times. He chased Wade up the ramp, and over to this randomly-placed wooden platform that would boost someone about a foot off the ground. He pulled that over and on top of Wade Barrett, and then pulled down and string of the hanging chairs that WWE’s interior decorators put up so that they all fell onto the platform, not hurting Barrett at all because Cena had made sure Wade was safely beneath it. This was idiotic on multiple levels.
Despite some really great matches, this show was actually kind of meh. The good stuff was spaced out and interspersed with pretty bad sh*t in such a way that it made the show feel like a lot less than the sum of its parts. Ending the night with the Cena/Barrett match (and the Cody/Big Show crap they used as a buffer) instead of the big gimmick match for the World Heavyweight Title was, in hindsight, a big mistake (hell… I’m willing to bet that most people could have seen that coming beforehand, too, but this was the era when Cena always had to be the main event, even if he wasn’t the world champion, so Vince wasn’t going to listen), and there were far too many bullsh*t finishes for a PPV, never mind one full of what are supposed to be big gimmick matches. But disappointment does feel like an appropriate way to close out 2020, doesn’t it?
Join me next month, when we begin 2021 with… the end.