WWE RECAP & REVIEW: A Bridesmaid’s TLC
Before writing today’s review of last night’s TLC PPV, I wanted to take a pulse of everyone else watching. Not saying that I speak for all smart marks, but I wanted to see if this time I was being too smart for my own good. I hear it all time that I’m too negative, so I wanted to see if my “negative” thoughts on the ending of last night’s show were just mine. For the most part, the feedback that I saw on both Twitter and Reddit, were very positive for the show as a whole. This was in line with what I thought. The triangle ladder match that opened the show, was a very hot opener. Kalisto has the potential to be the future Rey Mysterio and the Salida del Sol off of the top of the ladder onto another ladder was the spot of the night. The Ryback/Rusev match had two guys working very hard, just like the match between Alberto Del Rio and Jack Swagger did. In fact, this was the best that I thought Del Rio has looked since he’s been back. Both Paige and Charlotte looked good in a match which featured two women that no one wanted to see win. The Wyatts against Team ECW was a complete train wreck, in every good sense of that work. A ton of tumble, a ton of great spots and a really enjoyable tables match from everyone involved. The Kevin Owens and Dean Ambrose match was a bit of a let down and felt really quick, but I think it’s because it was surrounded by all of the wreckage of the previous matches. Both Owens and Ambrose are very good pure wrestlers and while this match was fine to me, it left me wanting more. And that’s gets me to the main event.
The champion that nobody wanted against the challenger that everyone has repeatedly rejected. Since not winning the WWE Championship at WrestleMania, WWE has been on a mission to get Roman Reigns over with a fan base that has relatively unanimously shunned him. He was an ass kicker in his feud with Bray Wyatt, he took an ass beating from Brock Lesnar and worked his ass off this entire year. He wrestled seemingly more than anybody on the roster (now that Seth Rollins is out) and really seemed to be making strides winning over the doubters. Well, until the Suffering Succotash Roman Reigns returned, in tater tot form. The ass-kicking machine from the Shield was John Cena lite. And considering that half the crowd loves John Cena and the other half repeatedly tells you he sucks, that’s not a good thing. Perhaps the worst chant that WWE could have hoped for is exactly what the crowd was chanting for in the opening minutes of last night’s main event. “Let’s Go Cena/Cena Sucks”. They were chanting for and against their Superman, that wasn’t there. Perhaps it was the apparent distaste for Reigns or the ignorance against the champion Sheamus, but it didn’t stop there. There were chants for “NXT”, “CM Punk” and “ We Want Rollins”. There weren’t pleas for Roman Reigns to FINALLY win (uh, despite the fact that he hasn’t lost a match clean in 2015) the big one.
In fairness to the match, it was pretty awesome. Sheamus and Roman Reigns beat the absolute hell out of each other. The spots were well executed and the match was really fun. At the moment where I thought Reigns was going to win, I was happy. The guy really deserved it and I was ready for the assumed rematch with Lesnar at the Royal Rumble next month. Instead, Sheamus’ buddies Rusev and Del Rio came out (where was the fourth member of their group, King Barrett you ask? Catering? On his throne? No idea and no explanation given). This makes sense, the heels protecting their champion and leader. So naturally, when Sheamus was about to win I expected Reigns’ crew to come out. You know his cousins, the Usos and his best friend, Dean Ambrose that has been fighting with him each and every week. Except, that never happened. Sheamus won and the heels celebrated. The announcers were pushing Roman Reigns, the company’s next superstar and current badass, as the company’s “bridesmaid!” Why the hell are you calling Roman Reigns a female’s companion at a wedding? He came up short, so instead of selling being screwed over by the evil heels, you are calling him a bridesmaid?
The rest of the event is where the Internet and I disagree. Roman Reigns preceded to kick the living hell out of Sheamus, Del Rio and Rusev causing Triple H to come out and demand that Reigns stop. This leads to Reigns destroy Triple H with a punch, chairs, powerbomb, elbow drop and an awesome spear. It was so dramatic that Stephanie McMahon was saying “he’s not blinking!”, just before Hunter was getting ready to stand up. The attack was fine for what it was, but I just couldn’t get behind the idea that Triple H was dead after going through a table. Triple H is a 14 time world champion and someone that wrestles every year. Just an hour ago, we saw the Dudleys and Wyatts kill each other. Just ten minutes earlier, Reigns and Sheamus went through ladders and tables together. Triple H goes through one Spanish announce table and he’s all of a sudden paralyzed? This isn’t Vince McMahon, a 70-year-old man. This is The Game, Triple H, the 46-year-old semi-active wrestler. The beat down itself was intense and is obviously setting up for Reigns against Triple H (yawn) either at the Royal Rumble or at WrestleMania. But I couldn’t help but ask myself, where were Del Rio, Rusev, and Sheamus during the beat down of the boss? They were out there moments earlier helping Sheamus, but now the COO is getting destroyed and they disappeared?
If nothing else, the beat down of Triple H worked with the crowd in Boston. The audience went from ambivalent toward Reigns, to ending the show by chanting “Thank You Roman”. It was exactly what WWE was hoping for in trying to get Reigns over. Now will they screw that up tonight by having Reigns say tater tot 500 times? It’s quite possible. But, the less smiling and more ass kicking that Reigns does, it’s clear the more successful he will be. He doesn’t need to tell jokes to get over or kiss babies and smile. He just needs to be the dominant force that was able to get over naturally last year. Just like he was last night. Don’t start Raw with a 20-minute promo from Reigns, featuring a fake apology and utter nonsense. Start with Reigns coming out, demanding a title shot, and saying he’s going to run through the roster until he gets what he wants. Don’t have Triple H back on television this week; don’t have Triple H be in the middle of the ring in London, pretending the beat down did nothing. Sell this as a big deal.
It’s been made abundantly clear that WWE is not going away from mega babyface Roman Reigns any time soon. Clearly (for the majority of their fans) what they pulled last night, worked for them even if it didn’t work for me. I understand that I’m overly critical, but I have tried to get behind Reigns. I enjoyed his match last night and the beat down was fine for what it was. I just didn’t believe Triple H’s life was ever really in danger. This wasn’t the Nexus destroying everyone and everything. This was Reigns fighting against someone that takes bumps every couple of weeks. The announcers did a good job of selling that beating though and Reigns looked like Steve Austin lite, which is much better than Cena lite. I was ready to come and bash Sheamus in here, but despite the crowd’s indifference toward him, he still works as hard as anyone. I’m cool with him fighting Lesnar at the Rumble and losing in a good match. But don’t get any Mania ideas WWE. I don’t like Sheamus that much (unless it’s losing to Daniel Bryan in less than 18 seconds.)
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