News TLC recap & reactions: Stop this now

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WWE, stop this. Stop with this whole Baron Corbin thing. I’m done trying to act like there’s a way where this crap can work. Every week I try to give them some leniency with the story in the reviews, but I’m just sick of trying to look for silver linings.

When this Roman Reigns/Corbin match was happening, I was already trying to figure out what I’d say about the match. The analogy I had in my head originally was that this match was like when you’re at a restaurant and the servers keep asking how you’re doing after you get your food.

Just let me eat, man! Let me pay for the food, eat, and leave. But that analogy assumed that Reigns would eventually overcome the slow match with all the interference and finally eat his meal, you know what I mean? Because there’s no chance in hell that Corbin would actually -

...Corbin actually effing won. With the most interference of all time. I hate it so much and I’m sick of watching this crap.

The funniest part was that the fans are smart, right? They were CHANTING for the Usos because surely there has to be some reason for a prolonged sequence of interference and physical abuse. And if the Usos had suddenly shown up to help Reigns win, we’d be back to the overeager restaurant server analogy: Too much attention and not enough enjoying my damn meal. But at least it would have been the right decision.

Instead, they did all this dumb stuff to try to make this feud feel important. Corbin’s gang beat Reigns up 12-to-1 or whatever for a prolonged period of time, and that wasn’t even the end of it! They brawled backstage near the end of the show and ended the PPV by having it spill out into the arena so Reigns could hit a spear. Who cares about letting the Kabuki Warriors/Charlotte & Lynch match breathe when we can cram Baron Corbin down people’s throats a little more?

I’m going to put Corbin last on reviews from now on. This is the last time I’m even talking about this dude until they change his stupid character. Expect a one-sentence review of Corbin stuff moving forward and that’s it.


The Kabuki Warriors are legit

If we can move away from the albatross of WWE for a second, let’s talk about something fun: the Kabuki Warriors. Ever since they turned to the dark side, they’ve had a lot going for them. Askua introduced the Green Mist and the two have really dialed up everything they’re doing - from the ring gear to their violent tendencies. It’s nice to see that effort rewarded with some huge wins.

Now with that said, I didn’t enjoy this match as much as many around here seemed to. I hate that I feel that way because I admire all these folks and the effort they put into this match was incredible. They took a ton of punishment in this TLC match, all four of them, and had some really good moments throughout.

But with that said, this was a slower-paced match on a show with a lot of slow-paced matches. It also suffered from being on a show that was just a chore to watch. But more than anything, there were just a lot of moments that looked awkward to me. Becky Lynch had some really awkward-looking chair shots to Kairi Sane at one point. I also recall a Charlotte powerbomb to Sane near the end of the match where the setup just looked odd.

Let’s be honest - my suspension of disbelief broke a looong time before this match. It is what it is.

So let’s focus on the positives. Asuka and Sane are a monster tag team. They’re heels that are actually fun to root against, too! And after beating Charlotte and Lynch in three straight contests, they’re in a really good spot moving into the Royal Rumble. That should be fun.


A Dragon Awakens

When the Fiend gets his hands on someone, they change for the worse. And to be honest, it’s like they revert to their former selves. Finn Balor reverted to the arrogant, merciless kingpin we knew from his run in Japan. Seth Rollins lost the progress he’d made trying to be a better person and fell back into his old habits.

Daniel Bryan, however? The man who spent the most time being tortured by the Fiend? His change looks even more dramatic.

The Miz vs. Bray Wyatt match was a fun look into the...human?...side of Wyatt. He entered the arena to his Firefly Fun House music and cheerily waved to the crowd. He also looked much different in the ring once the match started, appearing much less monstrous at the start of the match.

The story they were going for was how Wyatt’s disposition would flicker in and out during the match. He would be “human,” for lack of a better descriptor, one monent, and suddenly Fiendish the next. I think for the most part WWE’s film crew did a bad job to frame this, but the one moment where they showed it well. Miz pulled a Pentagon Jr. and was getting ready to snap Wyatt’s arm, and Wyatt looked extremely happy with that outcome. In fact, he urged Miz to do it, and then leapt out of the to ram his shoulder into the barricade to snap the shoulder back in place.

In the end, Wyatt won like you’d expect. The interesting bits come afterwards. Wyatt looked remorseful for a moment before the Fiend appeared on the tron. Wyatt screamed “he’s here!” in delight...and Bryan appeared in his signature maroon to beat the tar out of Wyatt.

Now...when Wyatt screamed “he’s here,” did he mean Bryan or the Fiend? Did the Fiend intentionally let Bryan free? How far back is Bryan going, here, with that new look? Oh, and the big one - is he good or evil?

...See what happens when you don’t insult my desire to invest in your show? I start filling in the blanks for you.


The Rest

Bobby Lashley def. Rusev -
...Oh so none of the babyfaces in questionable feuds are going to win, huh? Cool cool cool cool cool…

(Lana interfered to help Lashley win, of course.)

Aleister Black def. Buddy Murphy - This match didn’t get much of a reaction from the crowd to start, which I think is probably due to it having a weird build. But with that said, this match was really fun when it got going.

I loved the finish, too. They traded some vicious strikes, had a moment where they were staring at each other, exhausted in either corner, and then traded more vicious strikes until Black caught Murphy with a Black Mass that got huuuuge reaction from the crowd. That move is so damn awesome and I’m glad the crowd give it the proper reverence.

Viking Raiders def. The OC - Stella had an awesome tweet to describe this one if you aren’t following Cageside Seats on Twitter:

Chekhov’s Chicken. #WWETLC

— Cageside Seats (@cagesideseats) December 16, 2019
IF YOU’RE GONNA SHOW US A TABLE FULL OF KFC IN ACT ONE AND NOT PAY IT OFF BY PUTTING KARL ANDERSON THROUGH IT IN ACT THREE WHAT ARE WE EVEN DOING HERE?!

Basic storytelling, WWE! The simplest storytelling!!!

New Day def. The Revival - Ow! Ow. Owwwwwwww. This match looked like it hurt a whole bunch to participate in.

I believe it was Scott Dawson who jumped off the top turnbuckle to dropkick a ladder early in this one. His dropkick caused Big E to fall from the rungs and smash his shin into the edge of the ladder. He bashed the mat with his fist and I think I would have tapped out right there, personally.

And then they kept going, because they all rock. Big E’s Big Ending off the ladder was dope, as was the crowd rallying behind Kofi Kingston as he sealed the win.

Humberto Carrillo def. Andrade - The Andrade/Zelina Vega dissension feels rushed to me. Wasn’t he winning every match ever until this Carrillo feud? And now suddenly, Andrade’s waving Vega off like he’s done.

I think he could kill it alone, of course, it just seems rushed to me.


For every good moment on this show, there was something so catastrophically dumb that just ruined all good will. And I hate saying that, because the wrestlers took the TLC stipulations all they way. The effort was top notch all throughout the night.

It’s just the booking, man. Baron effing Corbin will haunt my dreams at this point.

Grade: D+

Your turn.

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