The SmarK Rant for WWE TLC(&S) 2014


The SmarK Rant for WWE Tables Ladders Chairs and Stairs 2014

And the Slammy for stupidest PPV name of the year goes to…this show!

Live from Cleveland, OH

Your hosts are Michael Cole, JBL & Jerry Lawler

Intercontinental title: Luke Harper v. Dolph Ziggler

Dolph is introduced from Cleveland tonight instead of his usual Hollywood Florida, which doesn’t necessarily mean good things for him. I am curious if they can book a DQ finish in a ladder match given Harper’s record leading up to this. Harper tosses Dolph into some ladders at ringside and makes the first climb, but Dolph saves. Back to the floor and Harper puts him down with a Bossman slam out there, but he is again unable to climb. Here’s what I don’t get: What was the storyline advantage to splitting up the Wyatt Family if they’re all basically doing the same thing, but apart? No one got repackaged in any significant way and Harper could have just as easily won the title in his previous position. Harper beats on Ziggler with a ladder in the corner, and dropkicks him to the floor to block a comeback attempt, then throws a ladder at his face on the floor. Well, Dolph’s deal is selling, that’s for sure. Harper tries a suicide dive, but accidentally launches himself into a ladder in a nasty spot, and that probably hurt. Back in, Dolph climbs but gets shoved off, and Harper tries a powerbomb onto the ladder before Dolph escapes. He tries the fameasser, but Harper gets that powerbomb on the ladder to block. A goofy catapult spot on the ropes results in Dolph getting busted open hardway, so we stop the match for medical attention while Harper climbs. Dolph slugs him off and they take an awkward bump, but Dolph reverses a powerbomb to come back. Harper puts a ladder on his head for some reason and gets superkicked and then knocked off the apron, landing on a conveniently placed ladder at ringside. Dolph makes another climb and gets knocked off. They’re really having trouble telling any kind of story here, although the crowd chants “This is awesome.” I can’t really agree with that assessment. They fight up the ladder again and Dolph superkicks him off and wins the title back at 16:40. This didn’t really play very well to Harper’s strengths as a brawler and had way too much downtime with ladders getting set up and such. ***

WWE tag titles: The Miz & Damien Mizdow v. The Usos

Mizdow carrying around a replica Slammy is another funny touch. Miz and Jey trade rollups and the crowd already wants Mizdow. Jimmy comes in and slugs away on Miz, and we get a delayed suplex spot so that Mizdow can do his headstand in the corner. The Mizzes hit the floor and Jey dives on them, but Miz gets a DDT for two in the ring. Miz teases a tag to Mizdow and then goes to a chinlock while the announcers have a typically inane conversation, basically equating John Cena’s acting career with the Rock’s. Uh, OK then. Jimmy comes in with the butt splash on Miz in the corner, but Miz boots him down for two. Miz tries a figure-four and Jimmy rolls through into a half-crab, but Miz makes the ropes. Jimmy superkicks him and tries for the splash, but the champs decide to walk and Miz hits an Uso with the Slammy for the DQ at 7:30 for good measure. Jesus, they managed to pack TWO shitty finishes into the same match? This was kind of a mess with no heat segment and Miz just basically working the whole match. *1/2 I also love that they were selling this show on being “WWE’s version of a demolition derby” and the second match ends with some guy getting DQ’d for using a lame weapon.

Stairs match: Big Show v. Erick Rowan

Cole notes that in fact many are calling him “The Big Traitor”. Who exactly is calling him that? So I guess that stairs are legal here? They fight to the floor and Show tosses Rowan around, but takes stairs to the head. So then Rowan stops to pile up some stairs into a wall for some reason, but can’t use it. They continue their thrilling battle on the floor with Rowan bumping all over, and back in for more abuse from Big Show. The crowd is really bored but at least they don’t turn on the match completely yet. Rowan comes back with a slam on the stairs, but misses his attempt to crush Show’s skull between two sets of stairs. Yeah, having his head get spattered would have made for a hell of a finish, sure, but the cleanup would have taken forever. So they go to the floor and now we get the payoff for that wall of stairs, as Show spears Rowan through it in a spot that I must apologize if my description sounded in any way interesting or cool. Not my intention to mislead there. Back in, Show chokeslams him on the stairs and knocks him out at 11:12 to really heat up that babyface push. Yes, it’s a match filled with about 20 sets of steel stairs as weapons, and the finish was Show punching him in the head. -* Rowan was basically squashed here.

Tables match: John Cena v. Seth Rollins

Weird to have this placed way down the card, as I thought it would main event. Seth chokes him down in the corner, but Cena comes out with a clothesline and tries for a table. Sadly, Noble and Mercury prevent that from happening, but Cena fights them off on a second attempt, only to have them run in and break up a powerbomb. Rollins sets up a table as Cole notes “It would be sort of ironic if Seth went through a table that he set up.” Yes. Yes it would, Captain Obvious. Cena comes back with the usual as the male half of the crowd is just chanting for Rollins outright now. J&J comes in for the beatdown, but Cena fights off all three guys and they head up to the entrance where Cena suplexes Rollins on a railing, but the 3-on-1 battle commences at ringside again. Cena of course fights off the forces of evil, but Rollins sends him into the railing and sets up more tables at ringside. Back in, Rollins gets his sliced bread move, but Cena dumps him to the floor. So Rollins uses his briefcase for a beatdown, because SOMEONE might as well get some use out of it, but Cena comes back and the ref is bumped. Cena with the FU through the table, but there’s no ref to see it and J&J come back in for another beatdown and clear out the broken table. So Cena fights back AGAIN and puts the stooges through a different table, and then both go through a table on the floor at the same time at 18:25 while the ref revives. Are you FUCKING KIDDING ME? Who is booking this shit tonight? So the match MUST CONTINUE. And then Cena immediately FU’s Rollins onto the announce table, which fails to break. And now, hey, another run-in, with Big Show coming out to beat on Cena. However, Roman Reigns returns to wake up the crowd and spears Show through a table, allowing Cena to finish Rollins at 23:32. Match was OK, but it was just horribly overbooked with no real chance for Rollins to shine. **1/2

Divas title: Nikki Bella v. AJ Lee

AJ fights off both Bellas, but walks into a spinebuster. The pre-match interview with the Bellas reveals that the reasoning behind their reconciliation is a Russo favorite: Blood is thicker than water. That one’s right up there with “You didn’t read the fine print” and “I don’t owe you people an explanation.” Nikki wraps AJ around the post and goes to a surfboard, and a slam gets two. Chinlock time! AJ comes back with a rollup for two and they clothesline each other and AJ makes the comeback. Neckbreaker gets two. Tornado DDT gets two. Nikki comes back with an enzuigiri for two, but AJ gets a bulldog for two. Shining Wizard gets two, but Nikki maces AJ and finishes with the Rack Attack at 7:35. This was seriously a finish they paid someone to come up with? We’ve already had a parade of bad finishes tonight. *1/2

Chairs match: Kane v. Ryback

Oh god, I totally forgot this turd was still upcoming. Usually painful diarrhea gives you cramps as a warning first. Ryback whips him into a chair in the corner and pounds away on the mat, then follows with a splash from the middle rope, not once, not twice, but THRICE. He pounds away with a chair as I have no idea why they even dislike each other, much less why they need to hit each other with chairs to settle it. And they don’t even do a video package to remind us. And isn’t Kane supposed to be selling merchandise in the stands or something? Kane drops Ryback on a chair in the corner and they fight over a suplex, which leads to Kane getting a DDT on the chair for two. And now the crowd has no problem turning on the match, loudly so. Kane boots Ryback down for two and then beats him down with the chair as this feels like the third hour of RAW, but on PPV. Kane tosses a bunch of chairs in, but Ryback uses one of them to hit Kane a bunch of times. How ironic. Kane blocks the clothesline by hitting him with a chair, and the chokeslam gets two. That was ridiculous because they had to shoot the camera angle tight to Ryback’s face the whole time so as not to give away Kane standing there with a chair! Ryback escapes the tombstone and thankfully finishes this crap with the Shellshock at 10:00. WHO BOOKED RYBACK TO GO TEN MINUTES!? -**

US title: Rusev v. Jack Swagger

Swagger attacks and goes after the leg right away, but misses the pump splash. Rusev’s superkick is reversed into the anklelock and Rusev reverses that into the Accolade, but Swagger makes the ropes. A second try works, however, and Swagger powers out while the crowd gets distracted by a fight or something. Swagger reverses to the anklelock, but walks into a superkick and gets Accoladed at 4:47. What the fuck was the point of THAT? So they cycled Swagger into a second time and then squashed him again? *1/2

Royal Rumble: It’s the EPIC FINAL BATTLE between Brock and Cena! Who can even write copy like that with a straight face?

TLC match: Dean Ambrose v. Bray Wyatt

So I guess this is the main event? From what I can piece together in the video package, the issue is that Dean is mad because Wyatt holographically projected himself into a match, and Ambrose broke Wyatt’s favorite rocking chair in retaliation. So, you know, TLC follows. They immediately brawl on the floor and into the crowd, and Dean gains control with some chairshots at ringside. Into the ring as Ambrose grabs a kendo stick and beats on Bray with that, then follows with a flying chair off the middle rope. He goes up, but gets knocked through a table on the floor. Back in Wyatt runs Dean into a kendo stick and tries to impale him via eyeball, but luckily that misses. Boy would THAT have been embarrassing! Bray with a senton on the ladder for two. Bray runs him into ladders in the corner a couple of times, but Ambrose goes up with the flying elbow press for two. Dean with a legdrop onto the chair for two. Wyatt catches him with a lariat and they head to the floor again, where Ambrose drops an elbow off a ladder and puts Wyatt through a table. And then he goes up a bigger ladder and puts him through another table. But they head back in and Wyatt suddenly catches him with Sister Abigail for two. Really? He just got put through two tables in succession and he just pops up like a horror movie villain? Ambrose comes back with Dirty Deeds for two. So he grabs a TV from under the ring, which somehow inspires him to grab an even bigger ladder and put Wyatt through the Spanish announce table. However, he grabs the TV for the big finish, only to miscalculate the length of the power cord and have it explode in his face. Sister Abigail finishes at 26:30. Remind me not to buy a TV from the manufacturer of that one. So they do a 27 minute match as the main event of the show, and the finish is the babyface slipping on a banana peel like a moron and getting pinned? This right here was an abject lesson in how to get absolutely no one over. ***1/2 for the stunt show stuff, but really it was all meaningless anyway. Why even have ladders if you win by pinfall?

The Pulse

I think we can comfortably call this one the worst PPV of the year for WWE and a total embarrassment given that everyone was supposedly so motivated to show up the NXT guys. It wasn’t even bad enough to offend, it was just boring and burned me out on all the dumb weapons shots three matches in. Big thumbs down.