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 411mania » Wrestling » Columns

Marsico Reviews: WWE TLC 2013
Posted by Nick Marsico on 12.19.2013

Hey, I figure I won't be able to put up a regular weekly column for a while so why not go for show reviews? RAW won't be every week -- for example there won't be a normal review of the 12/16 episode -- but I'll do reviews when time permits and I intend to do every PPV going forward. Only time will tell. Time for the final WWE PPV of 2013!

WWE TLC: Sunday December 15, 2013
LIVE from the Toyota Center in Houston, TX
Commentary by JBL, Michael Cole & Jerry Lawler

3-on-1 Handicap Match: CM Punk v. The Shield

- Starting off with this match makes me think this won't be the last time we see Punk tonight.
- It seems that Michael Cole has a problem with Ernest Miller.
- HOLY COW I love Reigns' jumping clothesline.
- Just before Reigns missed the spear my son and I shouted "Oh!" after his primal yell.
- I bought Punk winning with that high kick to Rollins.
- Reigns spears Ambrose after Punk side steps!
- I really do wonder what happens to Rollins when Reigns finally splits from The Shield.

Strong match from all, which is of course par for the... course for these four gentlemen. Perfect way to start the show, giving the fans a hot match with the babyface winning. It also was a great continuation of Reigns' split from The Shield. I am so excited to see how that all plays out, even if he's the least talented member of the group. So was Batista and his split from Evolution was spectacular and made him a STAR. Reigns ain't quite ready for that, but he'll be a good face for a while on the undercard until he's ready to move up. CM Punk def. The Shield via pinfall on Ambrose (Reigns' inadvertant spear).

Divas Championship: Champion AJ Lee v. Natalya

- Some nice chain wrestling to start.
- Good golly AJ has to have broken ribs from being thrown into the barricade.
- Sweet spin kick from AJ! I hope they get some time to build this into a proper match.
- AJ reverses a scoop slam into a guillotine choke!
- Looks like she was going for the MICHINOKU DRIVER!
- Sharpshooter! Nice reversal by AJ!
- Black Widow! Natalya gets out! Sharpshooter!
- AJ grabs the hair and wins with the small package!
- Good stuff but I wish it got more time. Maybe at the Rumble.

Please tell me that if they don't put the belt on Natalya that they are at least going to go with a face AJ going up against Tamina as a heel. She can dispose of Tamina in February just in time for Kharma to return for WrestleMania! A man can dream. AJ Lee def. Natalya via pinfall (small package).

A video package tells us that the current big (kinda) gold belt has the same lineage as the NWA Title, which makes no sense even in WWE's convoluted history. Both Dusty and Flair held the Big Gold belt so why even show them with the NWA belt?

Intercontinental Championship: Champion Big E Langston v. Damien Sandow

- Both guys look to hit their finish right away to no avail.
- I love how they are building up the IC Title to be so incredibly important on commentary.
- It's the gateway to the WWE Title! Everyone who has held the title has gone on to win the WWE Championship! Well, maybe not everyone, but the belt is super important!
- I'm paraphrasing, but Cole freaking said that silly shit. Does he think?
- Nice low clothesline from Sandow after a kick to the back of the knee. I dig that setup. Simple but effective.
- Why is King still flabbergasted by the alleged Latin name of Sandow's elbow drop?
- Nice sequence with Big E countering the You're Welcome with an attempt at the Big Ending only to be rolled up.
- Big Ending still ends it moments later.
- Essentially a RAW match but a pretty good one.

Where do we go from here? Sandow's not winning the Rumble and unless they're going to push this feud on further, both guys need to move forward. Perhaps this issue merges with the Kofi/Miz deal-a-ma-jig and leads to a Fatal Four-Way at the Rumble. Big E Langston def. Damien Sandow via pinfall (Big Ending).

Elimination Match, WWE Tag Team Championship: Champions Cody Rhodes & Goldust v. The Real Americans, Ryback & Curtis Axel and Rey Mysterio & Big Show

- The Real Americans have a fantastic entrance.
- Please don't tell me the Show pairing with Mysterio is going to lead to a feud.
- I have said a number of times that Ryback and Axel being a team is their only shot to become relevant again.
- Please tell me the Goldust pairing with Cody is going to lead to a feud.
- Hey, it's elimination! Sweet!
- Axel has a great dropkick. And axes on his trunks.
- JBL on getting hit by Big Show's corner chop: It's like getting hit with an oven. Because fuck cliches.
- The Meathook clothesline is so unimpressive. Almost as bad as his splash.
- Why are Cole and King acting like the majority of the crowd didn't chant WE THE PEOPLE with Cesaro?
- I bet they're Holocaust deniers too.
- Springboard back elbow from Goldust!
- Big Swing into the catapult into a powerslam. Tag team action!
- Code Red and second rope huracanrana from Goldust! He can't make the tag!
- Powerslam! Tag to Big Show! Real Americans both get I knocked out!
- We are down to two!
- Who taught Goldust to go lucha?
- Remember Black Reign and his rat?
- Roman Reigns needs to make that the name of his finish.
- Show swats Cody out of the air! It's getting too fast to call!
- Rey catches Cody going for a springboard missile dropkick with a powerbomb! Wooo!
- Reversal! Reversal! Reversal! Cody hits CrossRhodes to win!
- Fantastic match.

Wow! Damn right! I'm actually feeling optimistic about the tag team division right now. These are four strong teams and there are a number of other good legitimate tag teams that weren't even involved. So much fun to watch this one and I'm excited to find out whether or not they can keep up the momentum into, and through, the WrestleMania season. That will be the true test to find out whether or not they're serious about tag team wrestling. I sure hope it sticks around. Cody & Goldust retain via Cody pinfall on Rey (CrossRhodes).

Tons of Funk Brodus Clay v. R-Truth & Xavier Woods

- Kane holding the Brodus Clay Brawlin' Buddy right before this match was cute.
- Speaking of Kane, what's worse? Starting a feud over spilled coffee or turning heel because you're a comedy act and some new guy does your act better?
- Wait, this isn't a tag match? It took until Tensai walked out for me to realize that.
- And the match ends 10 seconds later.
- For the record I still believe the coffee spill was a legitimate reason for a feud. For that matter, so was the Japanese shampoo commercial.

Let's get into this for a moment. Wrestling, as we all know, is very (VERY) serious business. Chris Jericho, in need of a pick-me-up during a live TV show, was getting himself a toasty cup of coffee. Kane, known best for being burned and horrifically scarred (until 2003 when it was revealed that it was all in his mind due to lack of forethought and makeup), was getting himself what I can only assume was a cup of ice to chew on. Anyway, Jericho wasn't fully alert and stumbled, bumping into Kane and spilling coffee onto the fire-fearing (yet fire loving) Big Red Machine. All kidding aside (since that wasn't very funny), the oft-maligned storyline catalyst really makes perfect sense. It may have been lazy storytelling because one can assume they didn't put much thought into exactly why having hot coffee spilled on him would upset Kane so much, but his backstory essentially makes Kane tailor made for a simple mistake such as spilled coffee to send him into a rage that would be abnormal for most other people. The heat being thrust upon him made him flash back to that fateful night that killed his mother and scarred him emotionally. Kane went out of control and Chris Jericho defended himself. That began the personal conflict between the two men. It was not about spilled coffee but the pain that the heat represented followed up with the physical confrontations that led to them having a rivalry that ended with Kane being buried underneath a bunch of glued-together 55 gallon drums. What I'm saying is, lighten up on that storyline. I personally believe it to be a work of artistic genius and those of you who make fun of it clearly are just too low brow to understand.

I'm wasting time here. Don't know why. When I started writing that at 3 in the morning with my baby in my arm it felt like I was really going somewhere. Oh, and the Japanese shampoo commercial makes sense too. To spare you from my rambling, here's the short version: The Japanese have tons of money and pay really well for sponsorships. Booker T was the first non-Asian to audition for the part and was shoo-in (shoe-in?) to get it, but Edge heard about it and The Rock paid for him to fly out there. His flowing locks made Mr. Fuji's shampoo shilling nephew faint, he got the part and Booker had to figure out a way to get back to the US, since he spent the last of his WCW money on the flight out to Japan.

I went off track again. Edge cost Booker a shitload of money so Booker wanted to fight him. Just so happened tht the next PPV was WrestleMania, so they fought each other there. It was still a better storyline than Booker participated in for the following year's WrestleMania.

And a better love story than Twilight.

We'll leave it there. Brodus Clay def. Xavier Woods via pinfall (Big Splash).

No Disqualification: The Miz v. Kofi Kingston

- Tight Zubaz for Kofi!
- Crowd wants tables. It is TLC after all.
- Ouch! Nice forearm to block the suicide dive!
- I love that they are talking about Kofi's hurt leg but refuse to acknowledge that Miz uses the Figure Four to finish matches.
- Crowd gives this a boring chant but it ain't bad. It's essentially just an average mid-show RAW match.
- Kofi wins with Trouble in Paradise.

I continue to be oddly intrigued by this... whatever it is. I'm using ellipses a lot in this review. Anyway, whatever the issue is between these two men, I'm interested to see how they progress. Kofi Kingston def. The Miz via pinfall (Trouble in Paradise).

3-on-1 Handicap Match: Daniel Bryan v. The Wyatt Family

- Bryan beating on both of these huge guys make him look like a giant badass.
- THE NUMBERS GAME catches up with him, of course.
- Bryan tries for the comeback with the corner backflip but runs into a Michinoku Driver.
- Not according to Cole, but who gives a shit?
- The Wyatts go on an extended offensive period and make it quite entertaining.
- Good lord that bridging walk is frightening.
- Here's the comeback! Bryan is killing them all!
- BIIIIIG backdrop superplex from Bryan to Harper!
- Rowan and Harper get dumped! Clothesline is ducked and Bryan sends Harper over the announce table with a suicide dive!
- Drop toehold on Rowan into the steps!
- It's down to Bryan and Wyatt! Forearm exchange!
- Bray kills him with a running forearm!
- YES Lock! No! Sister Abigail! That's it!
- Even in defeat Bryan looked like he was almost an unstoppable machine.

Freakin' great handicap match. WWE has found themselves really coming up with a great formula for handicap matches, which is why I really haven't had any issues with them booking these. Bryan loses but still looks like a man who can kick the shit out of dudes who look like they wouldn't struggle to eat him whole. No clue what they intend to do going forward, and I like that. The Wyatt Family def. Daniel Bryan via Bray Wyatt pinfall (Sister Abigail).

WWE World Heavyweight Championship, TLC Match: John Cena v. Randy Orton

- This actually feels more important than I expected.
- Jesus! Cena knocked the holy crap out of Orton with the first ladder shot of the evening.
- Cole says that Orton "Never has absence of malice", even though Orton going soft and losing the ability to be vicious and malicious was a central part of The Authority storyline for a good month.
- Chair shots abound but Cena can't get a powerbomb through a table.
- The crowd, which had been fairly split and maybe leaning toward Cena, are quite upset when he gets close to grabbing the gold.
- Cena hot dogs with the 5 Knuckle Shuffle and gets tossed through a chair in the corner like a dart for his foolishness.
- He does end up getting the fist drop from the ladder and then uses it to knock Randy through the failed powerbomb table from earlier.
- It looks like Cena is about to win but Orton is up quick!
- He tips the ladder! Cena lands on his feet...
- But he's met with an RKO!
- Cena lunges forward and drives Orton through a table in the corner in a great-looking spot. They're both down and out!
- Now it's Cena's turn to recover far too quickly and he uses the superhuman ability to bounce the steps off of Orton's head.
- Orton bounces back again and uses the microphone to pound on Cena!
- They're recovering like they just got hit with a finisher in the first PlayStation Smackdown game!
- Cena dodges the punt and gets the AA through the Spanish announce table!
- He makes the slow climb as he has to give Randy time to recover at Smackdown 3 speed rate.
- That allows Orton to pull the ladder out from under him Jeff Hardy style.
- Randy takes him down with a chair and then handcuffs Cena to the bottom rope!
- Cena is trapped! My son is about to lose his mind!
- He pulls the Royal Rumble 2007 card and unlatches the bottom rope!
- Cena uses the turnbuckle to knock Orton off the ladder! It's over!
- No! Orton is up! He grabs the ropes still attached to Cena!
- Leverage becomes Orton's best friend and Cena takes a nasty fall headfirst into a table in the corner.
- It was NOT supposed to happen that way but it looked far more brutal than a comical shattered table.
- That's enough to keep Cena down long enough for Orton to become Ultimate Champion of the (WWE) Universe.
- We can't have a match like this without an insane overstatement, and JBL provides it for us:

"They will talk about this night a hundred years from now."

- I would be surprised if they were talking about it 100 days from now.
- Awesome match, however. Really outstanding work by both men.

Orton's the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. That's a mouthful. I would have to watch some of the old matches again (I won't) but this may have been their best match against each other ever. Lots of fun, no laying around to add false drama in lieu of actually having a damn match, and they were able to have a brutal match without going balls out and risking major injury. That last fall was almost a BIG boo-boo, though. Randy Orton def. John Cena via grabbing the belts (pulled Cena off a ladder into a table).

Overall Thoughts on TLC 2013: I was very pleasantly surprised. Everything was at least decent and a lot of it was really, really good. I had a blast watching this show and it didn't feel anywhere close to being 3 hours long. There's nothing really worth going out of your way to track down and see, but as a whole this event is a nice little package.

- Nicholas A. Marsico


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