A look at four superstars who exceeded expectations going into WWE TLC 2016 and were real winners.
WWE TLC 2016 was a treat for the eyes. Tables were broken, ladders were bent and chair shots echoed throughout the arena. We witnessed the birth of an era of darkness over SmackDown Live. The Wyatt Family’s win and subsequent crowning as the tag champions would be the defining moment of WWE TLC.
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However, there were plenty of other spots that left the fans cheering. The chairs match would often become the ugly half-brother of the TLC match. However, that wouldn’t be the case this time. Baron Corbin and Kalisto outclassed every other chairs match before them. A strong outing from both performers suggested to the creative team to place them on a higher order on the roster.
Elsewhere, quite predictably, James Ellsworth turned heel on Dean Ambrose. His actions would still need explanation. However, AJ Styles would still retain his WWE title after yet another phenomenal match. The TLC match between Styles and Ambrose would exceed the expectations and deliver a brutal and barbaric beating. Once all the ladders and tables were broken, who were the real winners coming out of the show?
After nearly three years on the main roster, Bray Wyatt would finally have his hands on his first title. Wyatt, alongside Randy Orton, defeated the SmackDown Live tag team champions Heath Slater and Rhyno. While the match was completely forgettable, the after effects of the match linger around even now.
Luke Harper took a Gore to save Orton and in turn helped his stable to win the titles. Wyatt would distract Rhyno with his spider walk and that was all that Orton needed. The viper slithered into the ring and hit Rhyno with an RKO for the winning pin. Wyatt watched proudly as his entire stable came together to celebrate their title win.
This is a huge step in the right direction for Bray Wyatt. A lot of people would have expected Wyatt to win at least one singles title by now. Regardless, Wyatt can now comfortably place himself on the top of the SmackDown tag division alongside Orton and Harper. WWE finally pulled the trigger on him and for once, Wyatt stood true to his promises. Expect the reign of darkness to spread all over the SmackDown roster soon.
The Miz’s best year on the WWE continues to produce stellar matches one after the other. Even though fans have witnessed the Miz and Ziggler locking horns quite frequently over the last 3 months, this match was still good. Miz and Ziggler would work a match at a slower pace than usual. However, that did not take anything away from the brutality of the bout.
The fact that Miz would manage to outshine Ziggler in the final chapter of their rivalry clearly makes him the winner. He would not only retain the IC title once more but also do it in a clean and decisive fashion. He can now look forward to a new challenger as the Hollywood A-lister is done with Ziggler.
With Maryse by his side, Miz has rejuvenated his career and character. It goes without saying he is one of the best natural heels on the roster at the moment. Now that his ring work has improved dramatically, WWE could very well have him move on to the main event scene once he drops the IC title eventually. The Hollywood A-lister deserves that for his efforts.
The chairs match would often be a huge letdown. The history of the bout is filled with sluggish matches. Usually, the matches would be painfully slow and uneventful. A lot of people expected the same when Corbin and Kalisto stepped into the ring. But boy did they prove the world wrong?
For almost the entire duration of the match, the two would take shots and innovative ways to use a chair. The duo complemented each other really well. Moreover, the David Vs Goliath dynamic was played beautifully here. Corbin looked like a real monster. Kalisto, on the other hand, came out looking like a legitimate threat to anyone that steps in the ring with him.
It is not often that WWE produces matches with two real winners. However, that would be the case here as both Corbin and Kalisto came out with more momentum. Getting the win makes Corbin a bigger winner. That deep-six on the floor was a sight for the eyes. Regardless, the match wouldn’t have been that good if it wasn’t for Kalisto. Kudos to the performers for literally crafting a gem from what could have been a throwaway mid-card fight.
The WWE fan base is running out of words to describe AJ Styles. ‘Phenomenal’ doesn’t do justice to him anymore. It is as if Styles cannot produce a bad match in the WWE. The phenomenal one continues to produce 5-star bout after 5-star bout with anyone that steps up to him. At this rate, I would expect a similar quality bout when he defends his title against James Ellsworth.
Styles would absolutely push Dean Ambrose to his very limits and even more at WWE TLC 2016. However, despite taking a brutal beating from the challenger, Styles came on top thanks to Ellsworth. He can now look forward to defending the WWE title against the chinless wonder come SmackDown Live. The TLC match for the title, except for the James Ellsworth part was everything the PPV stood for.
The match brutal, barbaric and unpredictable. The champion and the challenger made the best use of the stipulation. However, AJ Styles once again showed the world why he is the best in the world at what he does. Styles’ phenomenal run continues as he looks well on a pace to carry his WWE title to 2017. Styles could also be well on his way to being MVP of the year for the WWE.