After some serious last minute changes, WWE TLC arrived on our screens this past Sunday night in the most bizarre circumstances in recent memory. At the beginning of the week, the fanfare surrounding the card was probably the lowest for any WWE PPV in 2017, before the sudden removal of Bray Wyatt and Roman Reigns sent the hype-levels through the roof. Fans were now getting the return of Kurt Angle, and a dream match between AJ Styles and Finn Balor, as well as the much-anticipated debut of Asuka.
The show delivered on the night as well, with every announced match being at the very least, good. But what was the best match on the card? Let’s take a look through the night’s 7 main card matches and rank them from worst to best.
7: Jason Jordan Vs Elias
Jason Jordan and Elias continued their trend of appearing in randomly thrown together matches at TLC and the results were just as uninspiring as the booking leading into the match. The two had taken part in various segments throughout the night and were given a match in the much-coveted toilet break slot on the show. Both men are talented in the ring, the WWE just needs to hurry up and find a sense of direction for both of them.
The finish was lame and the fact that they’re trying to sell it as somewhat screwy indicates we will be getting more of these two sharing a ring in the next few weeks.
6: Enzo Amore Vs Kalisto
This was easily the best match Enzo Amore has had in quite some time and was a nice reminder of what Enzo has done for the division in the last month. When he was initially given the belt, I was raging, but his work since No Mercy has been excellent, not least of which on the mic. The two put on a fairly solid match that wasn’t booked to make Enzo look weak, for a change.
The finish was nicely executed as well, with Enzo poking Kalisto in the eye to pick up the cheap victory. Enzo has got some serious heat right now and to let that go by not giving him the title would have been stupid. I’m looking forward to seeing what else he can do in the build to Survivor Series.
5: Asuka Vs Emma
The much-hyped debut of Asuka opened the show at TLC and was a nice way to introduce her to the WWE universe. While some have argued that this match should have been a squash, I’m happy that Emma managed to get in some offence and to remind the WWE universe that she is capable of performing when she is not being treated as a joke.
Asuka’s style is really going to add a lot to the woman’s division on Raw, and last night proved that she is going to be just as enjoyable to watch in the WWE as she was down in NXT. Hopefully, Emma has impressed a few people with her performance and she will get the chance to show off the talent that we all know she has. Don’t hold your breath, though.
4: Mickie James Vs Alexa Bliss
The build-up to this match has been divisive, with many arguing that Mickie James has been bullied by the WWE. In my opinion, the build made perfect sense and managed to help Mickie gain plenty of good sympathy heading into the match. The 6-time woman’s champion showed that she still has it in the ring as well, giving Bliss one of her best matches in what has been a mixed title reign from an in-ring perspective.
Bliss’ character work is nothing short of exceptional, though, and watching her pre-match promo made me wonder why they had not brought up the fact that Mickie was a mother before. The tough mom gimmick would have really helped her in this feud and perhaps it is something they can focus on now. Good match all around.
3: Brian Kendrick and Jack Gallagher Vs Rich Swann and Cedric Alexander
How nice was it to see the Cruiserweights given a chance to show us what they could do on a PPV? All four superstars here grabbed the bull by the horns and delivered a great slice of tag-team action. Every one of them gave a great account of themselves here and got me thinking, perhaps a Survivor Series cruiserweight match might be a good idea.
I love everything about Jack Gallagher, his ring-presence, his wrestling style, his attire, he is just so different and WWE need to make more use of him. Hopefully, this kickstarts a trend and the Cruiserweight division can finally get going properly in the WWE.
2: Kurt Angle and The Shield Vs Kane, The Miz, Braun Strowman, Sheamus and Cesaro
Well, this was crazy. I’ve been reading mixed opinions on this match and while I can kind of understand that, for me, it was great. This match just screamed fun and considering all the adjustments it has encountered in the last few weeks, not least of which, the introduction of Kurt Angle, this could have been a lot worse.
Sure, it was seriously overbooked, but it never relented and was great fun from start to finish. It featured a nice amount of ‘OMG moments’ most of which involved Braun Strowman, and Kurt Angle’s return towards the end created a good nostalgia pop. The finish was a nice, fell good way to end a great night of wrestling as well.
1: Finn Balor Vs AJ Styles
Wow. The last-minute change from Bray Wyatt to AJ Styles seriously elevated this PPV, and these two, former Bullet Club leaders delivered a serious match of the year contender at TLC. The crowd were electric from the start with ‘this is awesome’ chants reigning down on the duo, and they lived up to that chant pretty quickly.
This was 18 minutes of pure wrestling joy, the type of which we are rarely treated to. Finn is so much better than his recent feud with Bray Wyatt and this match was the perfect example of that. Hopefully, we get to see these two men meet up again in the near future because the best thing about this match is I still feel they have more to give us, somehow.
The ending was a massive mark-out moment as well, with the duo giving each other the too sweet sign in the middle of the ring. Could a one-off Club reunion take place at Survivor Series? Let a boy dream.