WWE TLC 2018: Results and Match Ratings
Yeah – I know. I’m a day late and a dollar short, but give me a break. It’s the holidays. Christmas party after Christmas party, and the next thing I know, I’ve missed WWE TLC 2018. Sue me. But, because I have a streak of reviewing pay-per-views that goes back nearly two years, I’m not going to slip up now. Also, I skipped the pre-show. Did anything happen on the pre-show? I could just look it up, but I have shit to do. Okay…TLC was live from San Jose and man…this may be the best intro I’ve ever written.
WWE TLC 2018 Main Show
Mixed Match Challenge Finals: Carmella & R-Truth def. Alicia Fox and Jinder Mahal – Kinda like the added stipulation that the winners get the #30 spot in their respective Royal Rumbles. Makes this feel like more than just a Facebook Watch gimmick. I thought this was a fun match. People hate on it, but the ‘dance break’ bit with the Singh Brothers was just delightful. Carmella makes Fox tap out with the Code of Silence and win the 2nd Mixed Match Challenge with an ALL EXPENSES PAID vacation on the line. R-Truth and Carmella are now the 30th entrants in to their Royal Rumbles. R-Truth picks WWE HQ in Stamford, CT for their vacation and Carmella is none too enthused. Pure sports entertainment here. Rating: 5/10.
Smackdown Tag Team Championship: The Bar def. The Usos and The New Day – Man, I think I could watch any combination of these three teams go at it for the rest of time. Usos-New Day is one of the greatest tag team rivalries of all time, and The Bar has had a hell of a tag team run too over the last couple of years. This match was about what you’d expect – fast-paced, cleanly executed action. Tons of energy, and the strategy aspect of the match (with The Bar isolating the New Day and limiting the Usos’ opportunity) was good quality wrasslin’, folks. Rating: 7/10.
TLC Match: Braun Strowman def. Baron Corbin – Corbin expected a forfeit due to injury, but Strowman shows up and reminds him that there is no disqualification in a TLC match. So, if anyone wants to help him, it’s perfectly legal. Awesome way to start this match with all the dudes Corbin has wronged showing up to take turns hitting him with a chair. When Heath Slater took the ref shirt off and decked Corbin, that place went nuts. Corbin tries to sneak out when Kurt Angle’s music hits. Everyone takes turn hitting their finishers and Slater dons the ref shirt again to count the three. Not a lot of wrestling here, but the crowd was into this. They kept it all short and sweet, exactly as they should have. I thought it was fun. Rating: 5/10.
Tables Match: Natalya def. Ruby Riott – Say what you will about the Jim Neidhart stuff, but at least we have a women’s storyline beyond just finding a feud for each champion. This was a pretty good, pretty physical bout. Holy shit – Liv Morgan took a sick fall off the apron through a table. Sarah Logan takes a body slam through a table. Nattie out here putting everyone through a table. “You wanna mess with my family, bitch?!?!” was a nice touch from Natalya. Natalya gets the win when she puts Riott through a table with a Ruby Riott Fathead on it. Rating: 6/10.
Finn Balor def. Drew McIntyre – Gotta say…I was kind of surprised by this one. I thought all the dirt sheets said McIntyre was being groomed for a Universal Championship run? Looks like they’re going to roll with McIntyre-Ziggler for a bit instead. I’m not complaining – I mean, let’s be real, marks – it’s not like a guy can’t be repaired in a single show. McIntyre’s going to be fine, and Balor was in need of a signature win. Good match, Ziggler interferes and hits McIntyre with a super kick on the outside, Balor hits his finish inside, the fans go home happy. Not too shabby at all. Rating: 6/10.
Chairs Match: Rey Mysterio def. Randy Orton – My God, why is Randy Orton on the ‘2008 Flashback Tour’ this year? First it was Jeff Hardy, now Rey Mysterio. Does he just not want to work new guys? I don’t know. Not a bad match, though – Mysterio goes for a seated senton on the outside of the ring, but when Orton moves, he just crashes, taint to steel, on the chair on the outside. Brutal landing. Mysterio gets the win with a surprise victory roll. Rating: 5/10.
Raw Women’s Championship: Ronda Rousey def. Nia Jax – Good match. Served its purpose – Rousey wins with an armbar after kissing the #FaceBreaker. Solid show so far, but I can’t help but feel like I’m still sitting here waiting for something to truly click and be above average. Rating: 6/10.
WWE Championship: Daniel Bryan def. A.J. Styles – Two of the all time great wrestlers in history going at it, and this match is exactly what you’d expect from these two. A nicely paced match featuring a wealth of strikes, submissions, counters, near-falls – the whole shebang. Bryan gets the win in one of the greatest title bouts in a long time. “The New” Daniel Bryan is good, good shit. Rating: 8/10.
Intercontinental Championship: Dean Ambrose def. Seth Rollins – Man, they’re really going to close this pay-per-view strong aren’t they? Nice bout between these two – as much as they wrestled in 2014, it’s hard to put ’em back together and make it feel fresh, but that’s exactly what they’ve done. Rollins has Ambrose on his knees before saying, “this is for Roman Reigns,” and slapping him in the face. Ambrose is bent over, but Rollins is taking way too long to execute the curb stomp. He runs towards Ambrose who pops up, kicks Rollins, and hits a Dirty Deeds. We have a new champion, and Ambrose was right – Rollins slipped up. Excellent storytelling contest here between these two. Rating: 7/10.
Smackdown Women’s Championship TLC Match: Asuka def. Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair – Wow. The hottest act in wrestling right now getting the main event slot – kudos to WWE for that. Also, hit up SoBros Shop for our ‘Support Women’s Wrestling’ shirt. Good stuff from the get-go. Asuka flings Lynch off the top rope onto the ladder – yep, we’re gonna take those bumps early, folks. LFG. Asuka powerbombs Flair into a table propped up in the corner, and maybe like the last six inches of it broke. Brutal impact. Flair’s throwing top rope moonsaults to the outside. Lynch is hitting everyone in sight with chairs. This is the quintessential human demolition derby that the WWE markets TLC as every year.
Sick spot as Lynch climbs a ladder and goes for a leg drop through the announce table. Asuka moves, and Lynch lands smack dab on top of Flair. The table barely breaks as Flair yells, “aw fuck.” Yeah – it’s a miracle she doesn’t have broken ribs after that. Asuka climbs the ladder, but Lynch starts climbing the other side. Flair comes in and hits ’em both with a damn kendo stick. This is good stuff.
Asuka ends up with the kendo stick and throws a barrage of shots at Lynch – she’s celebrating in the corner when BOOM – Flair hits a spear into the barricade, but that thing barely budges. You could hear the breath leaving Asuka’s lungs. Flair and Lynch end up in the ring, then they’re outside. This is nuts. Flair hits a swanton bomb from the top rope to the outside through Lynch, through a table. This has turned into some Hardy Boyz shit, y’all.
Flair and Lynch are both climbing the ladder when Ronda Rousey comes out and pushes the ladder over. Guess we got our ‘Mania main event, ladies and gentlemen. Asuka climbs the ladder and gets the belt in a big time swerve – awesome move and well-deserved. Hell of a match – I dare say that was an instant classic. Rating: 9/10.
Overall: 6.5/10. TLC was a solid show. Can’t say that for all of the WWE pay-per-views these days, but this one didn’t really have a bad match on the card, and nothing was really cringe-worthy bad. A pleasant way to spend a Sunday evening, or in my case, early Monday morning/lunch break. The last three matches of this show are all worth dedicating time to sit down and watch, though. Excellent stuff, and that’s going to wrap us up for 2018 – next up: the motherfuckin’ Royal Rumble!
Stoney Keeley is the Editor in Chief of The SoBros Network. He is a strong supporter of Team GSD and #BeBetter. “Big Natural” covers the Tennessee Titans, Alabama Crimson Tide football, the WWE, and a whole wealth of nonsense. Follow on Twitter @StoneyKeeley