WWE Tables, Ladders and Chairs 2015 HITS:
The Lucha Dragons vs. The Usos vs. The New Day – Allow me to admit, I haven’t been as diligent at watching Monday Night RAW or Thursday Night Smackdown as I have been in previous years. I find a three hour RAW to be a huge undertaking at this stage in my life, and with the company’s chosen creative direction, there just hasn’t been much for me to get excited about. NXT is the exception to that. I love NXT, and will go out of my way to watch it almost regardless of what else is happening in my life. What does that have to do with this match? Well, since leaving NXT, I had forgotten how good the Lucha Dragons (and specifically Kalisto) could be. Sin Cara has improved dramatically in his own right, but Kalisto was a star in this match. His Salida Del Sol from the top of the ladder crashing through another ladder was a sight to be seen. Incredible. And, is there a tag team more entertaining right now than the New Day? Their shenanigans kept me entertained throughout, and Xavier Woods trombone spot while someone gets crushed in the corner is laugh out loud funny. In short? More of this on Monday Night’s, please!
Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens – To the surprise of absolutely no one, this match lands on the HIT list. To be honest, it was a pretty average match, topped off by a surprise finish, which is what lands it in the HIT category. It would be a crime not to mention how good Kevin Owens is, as a heel, though. He has the little things about being a bad guy absolutely nailed. Never too busy to jaw-jack with the fans, or throw in a cheap shot on his opponent. Watching Kevin Owens evolve on the main roster has been a real treat.
The ECW Originals vs. The Wyatt Family – This was a paint-by-numbers current-day WWE affair. No surprises, but lots of broken tables. On the plus side, The Wyatt Family won in fairly dominate fashion, which hasn’t happened in ages. On the negative side, the cheese grater to Rowan’s clothed body part and falsey flaming table only exposed how the “rules” within WWE prevent spots like this in a “no rules” environment. Still, it was fun to see the ECW guys ride again, and in an overall fun match to watch.
Roman Reigns vs. Sheamus – This match is the product of two stories. On one hand, you had two guys absolutely busting their asses, giving their all in a dangerous match on a card that was already filled with dangerous spots. On the other hand, you had a jaded Boston crowd trying to hijack the match, and make it about them. On the match side, this thing was a total hit. Sheamus and Reigns destroyed each other in this match, in what might be remembered as one of the most violent TLC matched in modern-day WWE history. On top of that, the post-match angle with Triple H and Roman Reigns was the star-making segment that Roman has been missing this whole time. his intensity was off the charts, his facial expressions were spot on, and it was the first time that I can remember in a long, long time that everything that Roman Reigns was doing felt totally natural. I’ll touch on the what I think of the crowd in a moment.
WWE Tables, Ladders and Chairs 2015 MISSES:
Rusev vs. Ryback – They were put in a no-win situation, having to follow the car-crash that was the WWE Tag Team Championship ladder match, and they didn’t win. A slow plodding big-man match that didn’t fit the hot start the WWE was provided by the opening match. It’s difficult to be invested in Rusev at the moment, as well, as he’s gone from a womanizing douche to a bleeding heart every time Lana is in danger. I’m not saying being a womanizing douche is better, but I am saying that the departure in character is difficult to explain away in one promo on Monday Night RAW, and you’re left feeling like this was an unnatural progression against what you’ve learned about the character over the past 3 years.
Jack Swagger vs. Alberto Del Rio – I’m a HUGE Jack Swagger fan, and I’m really glad he was given another opportunity on Pay Per View. The trouble is, the Alberto Del Rio character just feels lost. Part of what made Del Rio so successful during his first run was he was cocky, arrogant, and incredibly charismatic. Now he’s just angry. Always. And I’m not really sure why. And why, all of the sudden, is he friends with Sheamus? Am I the only one that remembers their nearly year-long feud over the World Heavyweight Championship? What happened to uniting against America then? Sheamus was still Irish then, too. Perhaps I’m nit-picking, but these small transgressions add up to a much larger problem. It goes to my opening point; it is difficult to invest 3 hours of my life on Monday nights when you feel like your intelligence is being insulted on such a fundamental level.
Paige vs. Charlotte – Whoa, what a confusing mess this is. Is Paige a babyface? If so, she’s the worst babyface in the history of professional wrestling. She’s a total bitch. And Charlotte? Well, she can’t be the babyface either. She’s cheating to win, and being arrogant and aloof about it. Defacto, that makes Paige the babyface. That makes sense, in that she was trying to rally the crowd behind herself during the match. But everything else about her character screams unlikable bitch. I’m not supposed to like Paige by the way she acts, and you’re teaching me lot to like Charlotte by revealing a character flaw in her moral code by being influenced by her father’s “dirty ways”….so if I’m not supposed to like either of these people, and this match is a personal matter between the two of them over who is responsible for the “Divas Revolution”, why should I care who wins the match? I’m not supposed to like either of them, or support how they’re acting/feeling. The match was just fine. The storytelling was a total mess.
The Boston Crowd – Okay, Boston. You weren’t all bad. And usually you’re one of the better crowds in professional wrestling. But, during last night’s main event, you should be ashamed of yourself. Perhaps Roman Reigns and Sheamus haven’t been booked strongly, but you’ve got two guys giving you everything of themselves in a match in the main event of a show you purchased a ticket to see, and you’re going to chant for John Cena, Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, or whatever else came to your mind? That’s not insulting to the WWE storytellers. That’s insulting to the guys that are busting their asses in one of professional wrestling’s most dangerous matches simply for your own entertainment. There was nothing about that match that was bad, at all. If that match happened between Daniel Bryan and CM Punk exactly as it happened between Sheamus and Roman Reigns, you’d all be clamoring about how you saw the “match of the year” or whatever rhetoric you’d want us to believe. Roman Reigns punches Triple H in the mouth? OH YEAH! WE LOVE ROMAN REIGNS!! WOOOO! ….common….