WWE Tables, Ladders & Chairs (And Stairs)
From Cleveland, Ohio
December 14, 2014 (Twitter @johnreport)
I didn't watch the Kickoff Show. I'm just focusing on the three hour PPV.
The video package put over the idea that this is WWE's version of the demolition derby, so they included clips of a demolition derby mixed in with tables, ladders, chairs and even stairs too.
The Ladder Match is up first. I thought it would be the tag title match first, but I don't mind this choice at all. Dolph Ziggler's a Cleveland native and he was wearing a Kent State Wrestling jacket, which is where he wrestled in college. He was also wearing black boots instead of white ones like usual.
The regular announce team of Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield and Jerry Lawler were at ringside. The Spanish announcers along with their frequently broken table were at ringside too.
Ziggler was announced from Cleveland, Ohio for the match instead of Hollywood, Florida where he's usually announced. He is from Cleveland, so it's not a lie. They don't even announce a city for Harper. The crowd was very supportive of Ziggler, which is no surprise. There were ladders all around the ringside area.
Intercontinental Title Ladder Match: Luke Harper vs. Dolph Ziggler
Harper went after Ziggler aggressively and sent him flying over the barricade into the timekeeper. Ziggler prevented Harper from climbing up, so Harper nailed him with a boot to the face. Fans were chanting "Let's Go Ziggler" as Harper set up the ladder from the ring to the announce table like a bridge. Outside the ring, Harper hit a spinning slam on the floor. In the ring, Harper shoved Ziggler into the ladder and then shoved the ladder over so it hit Ziggler in the head. Ziggler was able to come back by shoving the ladder into Harper. Harper sent Ziggler to the floor again, which led to Harper throwing a ladder onto Ziggler outside the ring. Ziggler was holding a ladder outside the ring, Harper did a dive between the top/middle rope and landed hard on the floor looking like he hurt his arm. Wow what a crazy bump! Ziggler climbed up a ladder, but Harper stopped him and shoved the ladder over, so Ziggler went crashing into the top rope. Ziggler hit a dropkick that knocked Harper down, right onto a ladder that was down in the ring. Harper caught Ziggler in mid air, spun him around and gave him a Powerbomb onto a ladder that was bridged across the middle ropes. That looked brutal. A closeup of Ziggler's body showed the scars and welts that were forming because of this match.
Harper did a slingshot into the bottom rope with the help of a ladder that was on top of Ziggler. Harper climbed up to get the title, but Ziggler chased after him and knocked him down with a barrage of punches. Ziggler's bleeding around the nose area. Ziggler came back with a facebuster that sent Harper's head into a ladder that was laying in the ring. Ziggler set up the ladder for a climb as the crowd went crazy for him. Harper tried to yank him down, but Ziggler ended up turning it into a DDT. Harper put a ladder on his shoulders, which was a bad strategy because Ziggler hit a superkick to knock him down. A ladder shot by Ziggler sent Harper off the apron and he landed on the ladder that was bridged from the apron to the announce table. Nice bump. Ziggler climbed up, but Harper shoved Ziggler off and Ziggler had a horrible fall near the ropes.
There was a ladder set up in the middle ring. Ziggler used another ladder from the turnbuckle to drive it into the back of Harper, which led to Ziggler climbing up. Harper recovered and climbed up another ladder beside Harper. Ziggler nailed Harper with a superkick to knock him down. Ziggler climbed up the ladder and he pulled down the Intercontinental Title, so Ziggler is the IC Champ again. Huge ovation for Ziggler's win. The match went 17 minutes.
Winner by climbing the ladder and the new Intercontinental Champion: Dolph Ziggler
Post match, Ziggler did a big celebration around ringside with the IC Title. The announcers talked about how this might have been the best match of Ziggler's career with JBL saying that maybe Ziggler just showed that he has become "that guy" now.
Analysis: **** That was an outstanding match that I'm giving four stars out of five. It was one of the most physical Ladder Matches ever because they kept doing spots where the ladder was a weapon. Other ladder matches don't use ladders as weapons to that degree, but they did it here and it helped the match feel more special. Harper was great as the power guy that put Ziggler in different predicaments all match long while Ziggler was incredible doing his comebacks time after time. Ziggler really did stand out as the star of the match and was impressive the entire time while the crowd really supported him. I'm hoping that this really propels him to another level as well as the IC Title. He deserved it. I really liked the commentary during the match because they put over the importance of the IC Title and what it once meant as well as what it could be again. Harper's reign only lasted about a month. I thought he would retain, but I liked the way Ziggler was booked here. It was right to put the title back on him.
Prior to the tag title match, there was a clip of Miz talking to Naomi, who is the wife of Jimmy Uso. All four guys in this match had Slammys with them.
Tag Team Titles: The Miz & Damien Mizdow vs. The Usos
Miz started for his team along with Jey while Mizdow mimicked everything on the apron. He was great selling an armbar by just sticking his arm in the air. Jimmy tagged in, so Miz escaped to the floor and then stomped on Jimmy back in the ring. Fans were chanting for Mizdow. Jimmy unloaded with some punches on Miz. The Usos did a delayed suplex on Miz, so Mizdow did a headstand against the turnbuckle. Then Miz got set to the floor, so Mizdow went to the floor too. Jimmy hit a dive over the top. Miz ended up taking a beating at the hands of Jimmy, so they did a spot where Miz was trapped against the corner for the running butt splash spot. Mizdow rolled to the floor to avoid it. Jimmy hit a corkscrew attack to take down Miz for two, but Mizdow made the save. Miz hit the Skull Crushing Finale on Jey. Jimmy did a nice submission hold where he wrapped up the Miz's arm and then gave him a single leg crag. Miz got to the ropes. Jimmy hit a superkick to knock Miz down. He went for a top rope splash, but Miz left along with Mizdow. Jimmy went for a dive over the top rope. Miz shoved Mizdow in front so Jimmy hit Mizdow. Then Miz hit Jimmy in the head with a Slammy. The ref disqualified Miz & Mizdow after eight minutes.
Winners by disqualification: The Miz & Damien Mizdow
Post match, Miz shoved Mizdow into Jey and then Miz hit Jey with a Slammy Award too. The heels left still the champions.
Analysis: ** That was a weak finish. Miz worked pretty much the whole time and then did a cheap finish to retain the titles. Since Miz & Mizdow are a comedy team they aren't going to be booked as strong tag team champs. That finish was done to put some heat on Miz as a cheap heel while adding sympathy to The Uso's pursuit of the tag titles. The fans are still behind Mizdow, so it's still working. I don't see Miz/Mizdow as long term tag champs, but it's fine for now.
Seth Rollins was interviewed by Byron Saxton while Joey Mercury & Jamie Noble were standing by. Rollins said that Triple H and Stephanie McMahon should be there making decisions. Rollins complained about how Sting was the man responsible for Hunter & Steph not being there. Rollins said that Cena's going to pay starting tonight. Rollins said the beauty is he doesn't have to make Cena pin or submit - he just has to put him through a table. Rollins said that the future has arrived and that everything that Cena has worked for - like the title match against Brock Lesnar - will be gone. Rollins said he won't stop until Cena brings The Authority back.
Analysis: Good promo by Rollins. He's better in the ring than he is doing promos, but he's improved a lot doing promos. He looks more convincing every time he gets a chance to talk.
The Steel Stairs match is up next. They had a graphic saying that they weighed 275 pounds, which is ridiculous. Stairs surrounded the ringside area.
Stairs Match: Big Show vs. Erick Rowan
Rowan hit a corner splash followed by a spin kick. No DQ or countout in this match, you had to pin or submit in the ring and could use the steel stairs. If there's no DQ then couldn't you really use any weapon? Yes you can, but that's using logic and this is WWE where logic doesn't apply. Show whipped Rowan into the steps outside the ring. Back in the ring, Rowan kicked the stairs into Show. Rowan stacked up a bunch of the stairs outside the ring. Show whipped Rowan into the ring post and then rolled him into the ring. Show whipped Rowan over the barricade by where the timekeeper sits. Show placed stairs onto the announce table and then he just whipped Rowan into the steps. Show hit Rowan in the ribs with steps. In the ring, Show wedged stairs between the top/middle ropes and then threw Rowan into them two times. Show nailed Rowan with a clothesline.
Rowan made a comeback by giving Show a body slam onto stairs that were in the ring. With Show still on top of the stairs, Rowan grabbed other stairs and tried to drive them onto Show. Rowan jumped off the middle ropes, but Show was able to roll out of the way although the side of the stairs did hit him. Rowan ended up bumping to the floor, so Show went after him with a spear into those Stairs that were stacked up in the aisle by the ring. In the ring, Show picked the stairs up so Rowan gave them a big boot to knock down Show. Show came back with a Chokeslam onto the stairs in the ring. With Rowan staggering around the ring, Show nailed him with a KO Punch to the side of the head. Show put the stairs on top of Rowan and pinned him after 12 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Big Show
Analysis: *3/4 It was a very slow and plodding match with some creative spots. Give them credit for making it look very physical. The problem with steel stairs is they just don't look as impressive as other weapons in wrestling. When they did that spot where Show gave Rowan a spear into the stairs it didn't even sound that great. Show's win was decisive, which was necessary because he just turned heel and in order for him to be taken serious as a heel he needs clean wins like this. Rowan did okay. I don't know how far he can go without showing more personality or doing more things to stand out. Plus, the babyface side of the roster is loaded right now.
There was a commercial for the next season of Total Divas that starts on January 4. It's a reminder that Eva Marie still works for WWE even though we don't know what she actually does.
The Tables Match between John Cena and Seth Rollins is up at the start of hour two, which is a bit of a surprise to me just because Cena is involved. There's a video package to set this one up going back to Night of Champions when Rollins cost Cena the WWE Title against Brock Lesnar three months ago.
Paul Heyman, the advocate for Brock Lesnar, made his way down to the ringside area. He was there to watch the match.
Seth Rollins entered with the Money in the Bank briefcase in his hand and J&J Security at his side. John Cena entered to a good reaction from the fans.
Tables Match: Seth Rollins vs. John Cena
To win the match you have to put your opponent through a table. Cena was aggressive early, but J&J distracted so Rollins hit a neckbreaker to capitalize. Cena crushed Rollins with a clothesline. Cena grabbed a table from under the ring, but J&J yanked it outside the ring and then put it back underneath. Rollins capitalized with a forearm shot to the face. Rollins went for a table, so Cena punched him outside the ring. Cena used the table to drive J&J into the barricade at ringside. Rollins capitalized by attacking Cena and then set up the table on the top rope. Cena tried to drive Rollins through the table, but J&J knocked the table to the floor and then they kicked Cena, so the announcers complained about how Cena can compete against this. Rollins capitalized with a DDT. Rollins set up a table against the turnbuckle. Cena came back with two shoulder tackles and then a spinning suplex followed by the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Cena went for the Attitude Adjustment, but J&J went into the ring to attack Cena. They stomped on Cena along with Rollins joining them. They were going for a triple powerbomb, but Cena fought out of it. Cena punched Noble, who went up the aisle. Cena grabbed a steel barricade and attacked Rollins, Noble & Mercury with it. Cena gave Noble a suplex onto the steel barricade. Mercury and Rollins double teamed Cena as they went back to the ringside area. Cena avoided a table attack. Cena gave Mercury an Attitude Adjustment over the barricade by the timekeeper to take him out.
Rollins tossed Cena into the barricade at ringside. The story at this point is that Seth's buddies got taken out, so he had to get it done on his own. Rollins set up two tables outside the ring side by side. When they were on the apron, Rollins tried to suplex Cena out, but Cena ended up suplexing him back into the ring. They did an exchange in the ring that ended with Rollins hitting a flipping neckbreaker. Cena made a comeback by giving Rollins a back body drop over the top rope to the floor. Cena brought a table into the ring. Rollins attacked Cena in the ribs with the briefcase and then back in the ring, Rollins hit Cena in the back a few times with the briefcase. Rollins set up a table in the middle of the ring. He said "my time is now" and then mocked Cena, but that was a bad move because Cena kicked him in the face. Cena set up Rollins for the Attitude Adjustment, but they hit the ref and he bumped to the floor. Rollins avoided the table by leaping over it and nailed a kick on Cena. Cena avoided a table attack and then jumped off the ropes with an Attitude Adjustment through the table. The ref was still down, so he didn't see it. Apparently he is also deaf.
Cena thought he won the match, but J&J came back. Mercury got rid of the broken table. Noble wore down Cena, who was still hurting. The heels set up another table in the ring. Cena avoided a triple powerbomb by knocking Rollins outside of the ring. Cena put J&J on his shoulders and gave them a double AA through the table. That was an awesome spot. The crowd loved it. Rollins went after Cena as they fought by the two tables at ringside. They grabbed eachother by the head and then both guys went through the two tables. Ref Mike Chioda woke up to ring the bell because he saw them go through the table.
The replay showed that they went through the tables at the same time. Two other refs came out to discuss who went out first. If other officials can come out for that, where were they when Rollins initially went through a table? Ref Chad Patton raised Cena's arm while John Cone raised Rollins' arm. Ref Chioda told ring announcer Lilian Garcia that they would restart the match.
Rollins sent Cena outside the ring again. Rollins hit a dive to take him out. Rollins cleared off the announce table, so Cena gave him a quick AA onto the table. The table didn't break, so the match continues. They can do it so the table doesn't break as easily. It was likely reinforced more than usual for this match. There were dueling "Let's Go Cena/Cena Sucks" chants from the fans. Big Show slowly walked down to the ring. Show punched Cena in the ribs repeatedly. Roman Reigns' music started up. The crowd went wild.
Reigns entered by walking down the stairs near the fans like usual. He unloaded on Show with a some punches, then he hit a Superman Punch and he drove Show through the table that was stacked against the turnbuckle. Reigns also hit a Superman Punch on Rollins, so Cena caught Rollins and then gave Rollins an Attitude Adjustment through another table that was against the turnbuckle. The whole thing went 22 minutes.
Winner: John Cena
Analysis: **3/4 It was a long match that was full of tricks, which was expected. I figured it would be Randy Orton that would be the guy to show up to help decide the winner, but Reigns is a good choice since he's back in action now. Cena's performance was pretty good. He kept on fighting back like he usually does. Rollins was brilliant as usual by setting up a lot of the big spots and showing off his athleticism. In the end, Cena got the win like most of us saw coming. It felt a little long. They're probably going to shorten some of other matches because of how long this one was. I'm also surprised that this didn't go on last because it had that main event, feel good type of ending that we are so used to seeing at the end of PPVs. If these two guys had a regular 22 minute match without any interference or gimmicks used it would be one of the best matches of the year because we've seen Cena do it before and Rollins is as good as anybody in the WWE ring. However, all the extra stuff hurt the quality of the match.
Post match, the announcers put over Cena winning again and getting the WWE Title shot against Brock Lesnar at the Royal Rumble.
There was a commercial for the Royal Rumble on January 25. It is six weeks away.
The announcers mentioned that Lesnar vs. Cena is official for the Royal Rumble. A graphic showed it as well.
Highlights were shown from the Kickoff Show with The New Day defeating Goldust and Stardust.
The PPV panel talked about things so far with Renee Young at the table with Booker T and Alex Riley. They were shocked by the return of Roman Reigns. Renee mentioned we have a new IC Champion in Dolph Ziggler and the first ever steel stairs match.
Nikki Bella was with Brie as Byron Saxton interviewed them. Nikki said that AJ is jealous because she has a lot of things that AJ doesn't. Brie said that the sisters had problems, but blood is thicker than water and nothing is going to come between them.
Analysis: At least they tried to explain Brie's random heel turn. As I have said in the past, the best thing about it is we don't have to hear that awful "Brie Mode" song anymore.
Divas Title: Nikki Bella (w/Brie Bella) vs. AJ Lee
AJ had her Slammy Award with her. There was barely a reaction for them for their entrances. Nikki stalled at the start of the match by escaping to the floor, but AJ went after her. Nikki hit a sloppy looking spinebuster for two and a backbreaker for two. Suplex by Nikki. After Nikki wrapped AJ around the ring post, she got another two count. Knee to the back by Nikki for a submission. Nikki hit a bodyslam for two and another knee to the back submission. This is killing the crowd. They are not making any noise. AJ came back with a rollup for two and then they did a double clothesline spot so they were both down at the same time. Neckbreaker by AJ didn't look great. AJ hit a Tornado DDT off the turnbuckle that looked good for two. Nikki hit a kick to the head off the middle rope. AJ hit a modified bulldog for two. Shining Wizard by AJ, but Brie put Nikki's foot on the bottom rope. The ref sent Brie to the back. AJ was distracted by it, so Nikki sprayed something in AJ's face and then nailed her with a forearm shot. Rack Attack by Nikki was enough for the win after eight minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Nikki Bella
Post match, the ringside doctor checked on AJ's eyes. Cue the CM Punk jokes about WWE's doctors.
Analysis: * That was a really boring match that the crowd didn't care about and I agree with them. The finish surprised me because it really came out of nowhere. Obviously it's just a cheap win for a heel to retain the title, so in that sense I don't mind it. It just felt really flat. There are all kinds of rumors that AJ Lee might be out of WWE soon. If she is, I really wouldn't miss her much because she's become so boring and everything that made her cool (like being crazy) was taken away when she turned into a boring face. Nikki's next feud should be with Natalya or Naomi and I'd also like to see Paige get back into the picture too.
Roman Reigns was interviewed from Tom Phillips. He said he told everybody he'd be back and he was there to make an impact. He goofed on a line, but then started over. He looked into the camera to say that he's the first man to declare himself for the Royal Rumble. He said if you think what he did last year was impressive, wait until this year. Believe that.
Analysis: Average promo from Reigns. He still has to improve in that area, but I'd rather see him doing promos backstage than long winded promos in the ring. Also, they likely put the Cena match on earlier in part because they wanted to get this Reigns promo in the show.
Chairs Match: Kane vs. Ryback
Kane hit Ryback with a couple of chair shots to the stomach as well as the back. Ryback tossed Kane into a chair wedged against the turnbuckle and then hit a splash followed by a powerslam. Ryback hit three splashes in a row off the middle rope. Ryback attacked Kane with some chair shots. Ryback went up top for a splash, but Kane used a chair to counter and that gave Kane control of the match. Why is the really muscular power guy going to the top? Not necessary. Kane did a snake eyes move in the corner onto a chair. Kane hit a DDT onto steel chair for a two count to no reaction from the crowd. An uppercut shot by Kane stopped a Ryback comeback. Kane hit a corner attack, but then Ryback came back with a belly to belly suplex. Kane hit a boot to the face as well as chair shots to Ryback's back. Kane tossed several chairs in the ring. He set two up in the center, so Ryback gave him a spinebuster between two of the chairs. Ryback hit Kane in the back with about a half dozen chairshots. The crowd woke up to chant "Feed Me More" but Kane countered it by tossing a chair at Ryback's face. Chokeslam by Kane for two. Ryback countered a Tombstone with the Meat Hook Clothesline and then he hit Shellshock for the win after 10 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Ryback
Analysis: *1/2 This should have been a four minute win by Ryback. Instead it went ten minutes and it felt longer than that. The crowd was dead for this. Kane's the oldest guy on WWE's roster. He was a good performer for a long time, but he can barely get a reaction anymore. The good thing about the match is the right guy went over. At least they did something right. The fans like chanting "feed me more" in support of Ryback. What they don't want is for him to have long matches because he's very average in the ring. Maybe that's just what I don't want. Ryback bores me.
There was a commercial for WWE Week on USA Network with Raw on Monday, live Smackdown on Tuesday and Tribute to the Troops on Wednesday.
The US Champion Rusev and Lana made their entrance. Lana tried to do a promo about the price of oil, but Jack Swagger's music started up to cut her off.
United States Championship: Rusev (w/Lana) vs. Jack Swagger
Swagger slammed Rusev and that led to Rusev holding his left leg to sell ankle pain from TV last week. Swagger hit a big boot in the face. Rusev avoided the Swagger Bomb. When Rusev went for a kick, Swagger caught his foot and applied the Patriot Lock. Rusev fought of that and applied the Accolade submission hold, but Swagger got to the ropes. Rusev went to the middle of the ring. He applied the Accolade again. It looked like Swagger was passing out. The crowd was looking at something going on in the crowd, which I found out was some drunk guy getting tossed out. Swagger countered the Accolade into the Patriot Lock. Rusev kicked away to break free. Rusev was outside the ring, Swagger went after him and Rusev nailed him with a perfect looking superkick. Rusev hit another superkick when Swagger went into the ring. Rusev applied the Accolade submission again. Swagger tapped out after five minutes.
Winner by submission: Rusev
The Russian flag appeared above the ring as JBL said another person failed to get the job done for America. Actually he's somebody we've seen try many times before and fail.
Analysis: *1/2 A dominant win by Rusev like usual. I don't mind the match going only five minutes. That felt right for them. The crowd wasn't into the match that much, but it was better than some other matches on this show and they made their time count.
There was a video package to promote Lesnar vs. Cena at the Royal Rumble in January. This match was known to take place back in September, but now it's finally official.
The video package aired for the Dean Ambrose/Bray Wyatt match.
Dean Ambrose entered first to a really good ovation. That intro for Bray Wyatt is still very cool with the arena being lit up by cell phone lights. The bell didn't officially ring, but we'll just assume it started with first contact.
TLC Match: Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt
The match ends with a pinfall or submission in the ring. Ambrose tossed a ladder into Wyatt right away and then hit him with a dive. They went brawling into the crowd, over by the Kickoff Show set. Wyatt threw Ambrose into a wall. Ambrose came back by hitting a dive off the PPV panel table to take him out. Back at ringside, Ambrose nailed Wyatt with chair shots to the back. Ambrose set up a table outside the ring, then went into the ring with kendo sticks and faced off with Wyatt. Ambrose attacked Wyatt with kendo stick shots and hit a legsweep using the stick across the throat. Ambrose jumped off the middle rope with a chair and attacked Wyatt with it. Ambrose went to the top, but that didn't work after a Wyatt punch sent Ambrose through the table outside the ring. Wyatt was finally control in the ring by attacking with a kendo stick. Wyatt put the kendo stick against the turnbuckle and then whipped Ambrose into the edge of it. Good visual bump. Wyatt hit a splash onto Ambrose while his back was on a ladder. Wyatt put the kendo stick in Ambrose's mouth and then nailed Ambrose in the head with the stick. Wyatt whipped Ambrose into a ladder that was in the corner of the ring. A corner splash by Wyatt missed, so he went crashing into the ladder in the corner.
Ambrose came back with a corner splash as well as a bulldog out of the corner. Double axehandle by Ambrose for two. Running dropkick by Ambrose on Wyatt, who was tied up in the ropes, and then a legdrop off the turnbuckle by Ambrose for two. Wyatt crushed Ambrose with a hard clothesline to give him the momentum back. They went outside the ring where Ambrose nailed Wyatt with a hard clothesline. They fought up the aisle where Ambrose put Wyatt on a table, then he went up a ladder a few steps and drove an elbow into Wyatt's chest. It wasn't that high up, but still a good spot. There was another table, so Ambrose placed Wyatt onto it. There was a bigger ladder that Ambrose went up, then climbed a bit higher and drove an elbow through Wyatt again. That table spot was more impressive than the first. It took a while for them both to get back into the ring, but when they did Wyatt nailed him with a Sister Abigail neckbreaker for a two count. Great nearfall. Ambrose reversed a Sister Abigail into a rollup for two. Imagine a TLC match ending in a rollup? No. Ambrose sent Wyatt into a ladder and then hit Dirty Deeds for two. Each man has kicked out of a finishing move.
Ambrose went under the ring and found a TV monitor. He looked into it to see that he was on the TV and he started laughing as if he just realized he was on TV. Ambrose walked up the aisle to one of the biggest ladders and he brought it to the ringside area. It was probably a 15 foot ladder or so. Ambrose cleared off the Spanish announce table, which is what you'd expect on this show. Wyatt jabbed Ambrose in the ribs with a chair and then smacked him in the back with it. Ambrose took the edge of the chair, put it into Wyatt's throat and then rammed it into the stairs, which is what Wyatt did to Ambrose. Ambrose put Wyatt on the table. That led to Ambrose climbing up the ladder, near the top of it and jumped off with another elbow drop through Wyatt and the table. Huge spot that looked impressive. It was probably 12-15 feet high.
Ambrose rolled Wyatt into the ring and then started laughing at him. Ambrose grabbed the TV monitor, charged at Wyatt and it didn't come with him. He pulled it again, then the TV monitor exploded in Ambrose's face and it knocked him down. Ambrose was selling like it blinded him. The ref was checking on him. Wyatt capitalized by hitting Sister Abigail for the pinfall win after 27 minutes.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
Analysis: *** I give them a lot of credit for the effort they put in, but that was such a stupid finish. Ambrose has now lost main event matches because of a hologram at Hell in a Cell and now because of an explosion in the face. It would mean a lot more if somebody won in a decisive manner instead of some fluke finish that just looks spectacular. It's not like Wyatt caused Ambrose. It was just some random thing that happened. Wyatt getting the win is fine with me because WWE needs to book their heels stronger, but it was far from a dominant win for him. Ambrose was excellent as the babyface that was willing to put his body on the line to bring pain to Wyatt and he was impressive hitting those elbow drops off the ladder to put Wyatt through multiple tables. The fans really got behind him for the match, so he is definitely a main event level face now. It's just that the match was lacking that extra something to feel special. A TLC Match without something to climb up to retrieve is just some hardcore match. If Wyatt is going to face Undertaker at WrestleMania (if Undertaker decides to work the show) then he has to win big matches like this, so that's why he did. Ambrose was protected with the fluke finish.
Post match, referees and doctors checked on Ambrose after the match. Wyatt was yelling at Ambrose, who was selling as if he had trouble seeing. They showed replays of the big spots.
The show ended with Wyatt walking up the ramp victorious while doctors were still tending to Ambrose.
Five Stars of the Show
1. Dolph Ziggler
2. Luke Harper
3. Dean Ambrose
4. Bray Wyatt
5. (tie) Seth Rollins
5. (tie) John Cena
It gets a 5 out of 10.
Worst WWE PPV of the year? Yes, I think so. A 5/10 score is disappointing. Average for the year was 6.67, so it was below that for me. For comparison sake, I gave the NXT Takeover show from Thursday a 9/10 although I don't include the NXT shows with the PPVs because it's different at two hours.
All I'm really going to remember from this show was the great match by Ziggler and Harper while the rest was pretty forgettable. Ziggler was the star of the PPV once again by taking some very hard bumps on those ladders while dishing it out too. I still don't know how Harper walked away without breaking his arm.
The Chairs and Stairs matches were both very boring. I hope they never do a Stairs match again. They've done Chairs matches before, but it has never been that great.
I'm surprised that WWE didn't have Cena's match go on last. I know they put it on earlier because they wanted to promote the Royal Rumble match as well as get that Reigns interview in, but it would have been fine with me if Cena went on last. In the end, it didn't matter too much it's just that we're so used to seeing good guys celebrating at the end.
A big reason why fans loved NXT Takeover so much is because they had great wrestling matches that were competitive with smart finishes. Look at this show. They had weapons in every match, which killed the crowd for some of them because we saw people getting hit by objects all night long. On top of that, several of the finishes weren't clean or decisive. Cena's match was full of run-ins. Wyatt only won after a fluke that he didn't even cause.
WWE needs to do better match finishes on television and on PPVs as well. That's been a problem all year long.
Ranking the 2014 WWE Pay-Per-Views
Here's the order with the rankings on the 1-10 scale.
WrestleMania 30 - 8.5
SummerSlam - 8
Hell in a Cell - 7
Extreme Rules - 7
Elimination Chamber - 6.5
Payback - 6.5
Survivor Series - 6
Battleground - 6
Royal Rumble - 5.5
TLCS - 5
The year is done. This comes in as the worst PPV of the year. I don't think it was a really bad year for PPVs because my average score is 6.67, but I was hoping for something better. WrestleMania 30 was clearly the best PPV of the year for me, which I guess is a spoiler for the upcoming Johnny Awards column!
That's all for me. The Raw Deal will be posted on Tuesday morning. I'll start writing it live most weeks for TJRWrestling starting with the December 29 show since NFL Monday Night Football is over at that point.
The 6th annual WWE Johnny Awards will be posted on or around December 22. I may end up posting it on Saturday if it's done by then.
This Tuesday at 10pmET it's TJR Radio episode #54, which is our last show of the year. My co-hosts are The Ace and Justin Seagull. Joining us for the show this month is Jason Powell of Prowrestling.net (@prowrestlingnet). We're going to talk about his career covering wrestling, current happenings in WWE and reflect on WWE in 2014. He's a great guy that we look forward to talking to. If you can't listen live that TJR Radio link will work after it's over.
Check out my feature column archive that's exclusive to WhatCulture.
Have a great week.
John Canton - firstname.lastname@example.org
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