Monday, December 21, 2020

WWE TLC 2020

By Steve Ward

WWE’s new home for the Thunderdome, Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay, Florida, was the site for this evening’s final Quarantine Era pay per view of 2020 - Tables, Ladders, and Chairs. One would have to wonder if WWE would step their game up amidst a continued decline in their RAW and Smackdown viewership, losses in the ratings by NXT for several Wednesdays to AEW Dynamite, and after AEW also unleashed a bombshell earlier this month in the signing of the legendary Sting. Nonetheless, this evening’s card featured six matches with five titles contested and featured two Tables, Ladders, and Chairs matches.

WWE Championship TLC Match  
AJ Styles w/ Omos vs. Drew McIntyre (c)  
Winner: Drew McIntyre
The main card wasted no time getting off the ground this evening as “The Phenomenal” AJ Styles found himself in the middle of the title picture as he scored a shot at champion, Drew McIntyre. McIntyre has been riding a monumental wave of momentum for the duration of the year including a win in the Royal Rumble and two world title reigns. Halfway through the bout, McIntyre launched Styles out of the ring and through a table on the arena floor. As McIntyre ascended the ladder, an opening was created for The Miz as he made his way to the ring with John Morrison and cracked Drew in the back with a chair. The Miz proceeded to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase turning the bout into a triple threat match and then scaled the ladder, however, he was stopped by Omos who carried Miz to the edge of the ring and dropped him through a table set up on the floor. Morrison tried to avenge The Miz by striking Omos with a chair, however, the chair shattered leaving only it’s legs in Morrison’s hands. Omos proceeded to chase Morrison out of the arena leaving McIntyre, Styles, and now The Miz to vie for the title. In the closing moments, McIntyre shoved the The Miz and Styles off of the ladder as they battled each other to retrieve the title. Styles was propelled out of the ring and The Miz was soon eliminated from the picture as the recipient of a Claymore Kick. An easy opening manifested that allowed McIntyre to scale the ladder to retrieve and retain his title.

Smackdown Women’s Championship
Carmella w/ Reginald vs. Sasha Banks (c)
Winner: Sasha Banks via submission

Following a hiatus from television, Smackdown color commentator Corey Graves’ real life mistress Carmella made her return and found herself quickly in line for a title shot that culminated this evening. Sadly the time off didn’t improve Carmella’s wrestling skills much but luckily the WWE Universe wasn’t subjected to an excessively long match as Banks halted her title hopes with the Bank Statement to retain her title.

RAW Tag Team Championship
The Hurt Business (Shelton Benjamin & Cedric Alexander) w/ MVP vs. The New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods)
Winners: The Hurt Business via pinfall

MVP’s Hurt Business sought to add more gold to their ranks this evening as Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander challenged for the RAW Tag Team Championship. Following a frenetically paced match, Shelton Benjamin had Kofi squared up when Alexander blind-tagged his way into the match much to the displeasure of The Gold Standard. Alexander proceeded to execute the Lumbar Check on Kingston to earn the pinfall and crown new tag team champions. Another note of significance was this marked Benjamin’s first tag team title reign in 17 years since he last held the tag team gold with Charlie Haas as one half of The World’s Greatest Tag Team.

WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship
Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax vs. Asuka & Charlotte Flair
Winners: Asuka & Charlotte Flair via pinfall

Asuka was originally scheduled to tag with Lana until she was brutalized at the hands of the tag team champs on Monday Night RAW leaving the Empress of Tomorrow in search of a new partner. The virtual WWE Universe was stunned as Asuka’s mystery partner was revealed to be “The Queen” Charlotte Flair. A  much leaner Flair showed no signs of any ring rust as her full arsenal was on display - most notably a beautifully executed moonsault she delivered from the top turnbuckle to the arena floor. In the closing moments, Flair hit the Natural Selection on Baszler allowing her to capture the pinfall victory and crown new tag team champions.

Universal Championship TLC Match
Roman Reigns (c) w/ Paul Heyman vs. Kevin Owens
Winner: Roman Reigns

Following an extended period of title picture irrelevancy, Kevin Owens was put in a prime spot this evening as he challenged Roman Reigns in a sadistic TLC match for the Universal Championship. KO was able to get the jump on Reigns early as he emerged out of nowhere while Roman watched his title hoisted to the rafters. Owens was then able to dispose of Jey Uso who came to his cousin’s aid allowing him to maintain some early momentum. Owens momentum was short-lived as Uso returned again later in the match to distract KO’s attention away from Reigns. This advantage was seized by Reigns as me maintained control until the closing moments of the match. Roman attempted to spear KO on the arena floor, however, Owens moved at that last moment as Reigns launched himself through the ringside barrier. Owens again seemed in a prime position to become the new champion as he scaled the ladder in the ring only to be met again by Jey Uso. After Owens disposed of Uso yet again, Roman recovered and made his way up the ladder where he unceremoniously delivered a low blow to KO which created the opportunity for him to cinch in a guillotine choke. Reigns did not release the hold until Owens body went limp and fell to the canvas. Reigns then slowly removed the title from it’s hook above the ring to complete his retention. 

Firefly Inferno Match
“The Fiend” Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton
Winner: Randy Orton

This match marked the rekindling (pun intended) of the previous rivalry between these two combatants that stemmed back to Bray’s time at the head of the Wyatt Family. One may ask, what’s a Firefly Inferno Match? It’s simply an Inferno Match involving Bray Wyatt so the winner would be declared when one man sets any part of the other’s body on fire. In the closing moments of this match, which received a very negative response from the virtual crowd, The Fiend attacked Orton with the Mandible Claw. Orton was able to push Wyatt into the flames at ringside while his fingers were still shoved down his throat and then rolled him into the ring where he delivered an RKO. Orton then decided to douse The Fiend in gasoline and  dropped a lit match leaving Wyatt engulfed in flames to close the show (note it was rather evident that they swapped The Fiend out for a dummy).

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