Check out the best and worst moments from WWE TLC 2016.
WWE TLC 2016 is in the books, and there were some big developments for the SmackDown brand coming out of the show. Throughout the night, the Blue Brand lived up to TLC traditions, putting on several destructive matches. And, as a result, we saw some unbelievable carnage and the crowning of some new champions.
For the starters, Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton opened the night by winning the WWE Tag Team Championships for Wyatt’s first taste of WWE gold. After that, it was full-speed ahead for the rest of the evening.
Nikki Bella and Carmella unleashed the kendo sticks in a No Disqualifications Match. Dolph Ziggler and the Miz put on a classic in their Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship. And Kalisto and Corbin took one another to the limit in a brutal chairs match.
On top of all that action, Dean Ambrose and AJ Styles capped the night off with a TLC match for the ages. With dangerous spot after dangerous spot, both men barely survived the violent, chaotic affair.
Bray Wyatt is one of the most prolific athletes in the WWE today, yet, since he began his four year stint with the company, he’s never held any title belts. Well, that all changed at TLC.
The match itself wasn’t anything exciting by any means. For the most part it was one-sided, and there weren’t many spots of note. However, it accomplished what needed to be done: putting the Tag Team Championships on Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt.
So, moving forward, hopefully the title win is the start of many more title victories for Bray and the Wyatt Family. And those wins don’t need to come over the long-term. Many fans of Wyatt have been clamoring for their brand-wide domination of the SmackDown championship scene, and the victory at TLC might have set those wheels in motion.
With that being said, we’ve seen the WWE pick up steam with Wyatt in the past, only to cool off just as quickly weeks later. They key to Bray Wyatt’s Tag Team Championship win is if the ball keeps rolling. Otherwise, the world look back on TLC as another one of the numerous moments where WWE underutilized the Wyatts yet again.
Worst Moment: Poor Storytelling After Good Matches
Sometimes No Disqualification stipulations never amount to their potential, but Carmella and Nikki took things to an extreme level.
The brutality escalated when Carmella brought the kendo stick into the picture. Teeing off several times on a prone Bella, Carmella landed several attacks that were hard to watch. And the madness continued when Nikki connected with an impressive spinning kick off the security barricade.
All the violence peaked when Nikki emptied a fire extinguisher on Carmella, setting up the Rack Attack 2.0. for the pinfall win. So, Nikki Bella picked up the victory in a well-fought battle, but that wasn’t the end of their segment.
As Nikki walked up the exit ramp, Carmella dropped the shocking bombshell that Natalya assaulted Nikki Bella at Survivor Series. Besides the reveal being completely expected, it was a clunky way to end the program between Nikki and Carmella. How did Carmella find out who perpetrated the attack? Why does she think it somehow gives her a mental edge over Nikki Bella?
Truth be told, who cares? The two ladies put on a solid bout, and the only blemish was the horrendously awkward conclusion that was wholly unnecessary.
The Intercontinental Championship and Ladder Matches have a storied history. The feud between Dolph Ziggler and the Miz also has a storied history. So, when you take two such established items, it’s near impossible to do anything fresh and new.
But Ziggler and Miz blew that expectation away with a classic conclusion to their nearly year-long feud.
The match featured some innovative spots, including the Miz’s figure four leglock through the ladder, his slingshot powerbomb onto the ladder, and Ziggler’s jumping elbow off the ladder. The climax came when the Miz hit the double low blow on Ziggler on the ladder—also clever—to retain the Intercontinental Championship.
And to the Miz’s credit, he capped everything off with a killer promo at the end of the match, adding fuel to the fire in his war of words with Daniel Bryan. The Miz looks to continue that feud as we move into 2017, but questions cloud Dolph Ziggler’s future.
After failing to capture the WWE World Championship this past summer, and, once again, the Intercontinental Championship at TLC, Dolph will likely return to mid-card purgatory to feud with someone the likes of Curt Hawkins over minimal stakes.
Unfortunately, that’s a bleak outlook for the Show Off, especially considering how impressive he was in the feud with the Miz. However, the SmackDown main event picture is crowded enough as is, and the world has had enough Ziggler/Miz matches for a while—no matter how entertaining they’ve been.
Still, no matter what happens, there will always be the Ladder Match at WWE TLC.
Truth be told, upon seeing the Chairs Match between Kalisto and Baron Corbin on the card, it seemed like this was going to fall in the “Worst Moments” category. For starters, the heat between Corbin and Kalisto wasn’t engaging, and Chairs Matches are underwhelming more often than not.
Yet, somehow, Corbin and Kalisto overcame the odds despite assumptions that their match would be a throwaway.
From Kalisto we saw an aggressive dimension from his character. As he came out for the match, he filled the ring with dozens of chairs. Then, throughout the bout, he put his body on the line in several death-defying spots. At one point it even looked like he was about to win after hitting a moonsault onto Corbin on the chairs.
Simultaneously, Corbin played the heelish Goliath role perfectly. Whenever he was on the offensive, Corbin tossed Kalisto around like a rag doll. And his use of chairs—including throwing one in Kalisto’s face—was masterful. After picking up the win, he beat on the announce tables, reiterating that he is a monster no one should mess with.
The Baron Corbin/Kalisto feud lasted for entirely too long, but at TLC their match salvaged an otherwise-bland program. Corbin won the war; however, Kalisto showed the world that he’s ready for bigger things in spite of his short stature.
Both men indeed made a statement at WWE TLC. For the first time in months, they once again warrant airtime on the talent-loaded SmackDown show.
Worst Moment: SmackDown Women’s Championship Match
The table is crucial in professional wrestling. Seeing someone go through one is always a joy to watch, and throughout the business’ history, wrestlers have destroyed thousands of the wooden structures.
Destroying tables is so ingrained in wrestling that fans are spoiled by witnessing the spectacle so often. So, when there’s a Table Match on the card, it ends up being the most frustrating match of the night.
The entire bout turns into a drawn out back-and-forth where each party teases a table spot until one side accomplishes said feat. The repetitiveness limits the match, and Becky Lynch versus Alexa Bliss at TLC suffered from the same issues.
On the whole, the match wasn’t terrible, but there are only so many ways a human can tease a table spot. Sure, there were some cool moments. The Dis-arm-her on through the table and the DDT on the flat table were great. But unless someone teetered on the brink of crashing through a table, every move felt meaningless.
In the end, Alexa Bliss won, which was a good decision. Because of that outcome, Becky and Alexa have another chance to demonstrate what they’re truly capable of in the ring.
Everyone figured Ambrose and Styles’ TLC match would be insane, but the two men took things to an entirely new level for the WWE World Championship. Unlike other hardcore matches that build up to one massive spot, Ambrose versus Styles featured a deluge of unforgettable moments.
It all started with Ambrose suplexing Styles onto a stack of chairs. Then it continued with Styles’ snap-suplex on Dean through the table in the corner. After that, Dean dropped the elbow on Styles off the ladder onto the announce table. And the list of awesome spots went on and on and on.
Perhaps the craziest spot was Styles’ springboard 450 to outside the ring, but it’s impossible to pick the absolute best moment.
With all that being said, however, the ending was controversial, to say the least. On one hand it stinks such an incredible match culminated with James Ellsworth’s interference. Once again, the WWE’s dusty finish epidemic took its toll on an unforgettable bout. But on the other hand, both men put on such a good show that it’s impossible to say which one deserved the clean victory.
So, in the end, WWE TLC 2016 closed with a head-scratcher, but the rest of the night was filled with epic moments that are now embedded in WWE history. Even though there were a few low notes throughout the evening, WWE TLC was a fantastic show on the whole.