Over eighteen years ago, six men made history by participating in the very first occurrence of what would become one of WWE’s most notorious match types.
These six men, three pairs of “brothers”, marched into battle armed with their respective weapons of choice. The Dudleys, Bubba Ray and D-Von, carried the wooden tables that they had become so well known for putting opponents through during their tenure in ECW. Matt and Jeff Hardy chose the ladders that Brother Nero had repeatedly tempted fate with. And finally, Edge and Christian came armed with steel chairs, eager to perform their signature “con-chair-toe” spot. Thus, the TLC match was born. Twenty one matches, and nearly two decades later, TLC has become it’s very own pay per view.
With this Sunday being TLC 2018, and also the last WWE show of the year, my very own “powers that be” tasked me with giving you fine readers my five favorite TLC spots of all time. So, with the brief yet pointless history lesson taken care of, let’s dive right into it.
1. The Deadman Cometh – WWE Summerslam 2009
Let me start by saying this earns the #5 spot by default based purely on the fact that this moment didn’t actually take place during the match. TLC VIII would see CM Punk challenging Jeff Hardy for his World Heavyweight Championship.
The bout is decent enough, complete with the usual spots you would expect from including Hardy in a TLC match. After the conclusion of the match, CM Punk stands over the fallen Hardy, proudly raising his third World Heavyweight Championship. Suddenly the arena lights flicker, capturing Punk’s attention for a quick moment. Just as the new champ decides to focus on his victory celebration, the arena goes pitch black. Seconds pass, and the lights return. Punk, obviously bewildered, looks frantically around the ring. His eyes eventually come to rest on the place where Jeff Hardy’s near lifeless body once laid, that space is now being occupied by the massive form of the Undertaker. An enormous pop, and old school beat down quickly follow, and the rest is Wrestlemania history. In my opinion, this is one of the most dramatic returns Taker has ever had. After a showing like this, there’s no doubt that the Deadman saw a chance for big things with the rivalry he was starting with Punk.
2. WWE-LC – WWE Extreme Rules 2014
I’m really blowing this list out of the water, right? Well, I’m probably one of the few people that will admit that I moderately enjoy this match. Sure, it’s preshow. Sure, there’s no end to the height impaired jokes. Sure, it’s probably considered offense to a lot of people, but does that make it a bad match? No! Hornswoggle and El Torito knock this one out of the park. Hell, the miniature announce table with little versions of JBL, Cole, and the King alone earns this one the #4 spot.
3. Kurt Angle Returns – WWE TLC 2017
You were expecting ladder and table spots, huh? Nope! Nostalgia is running wild with this list folks! TLC 2017, the night many of us were thankful for whatever random virus was running through the locker room at that time. With several members of the roster unable to be in attendance, impromptu changes were made to the night’s matches. Hands down, the biggest surprise was the inclusion of Raw GM Kurt Angle in the main event. Angle would join Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose to face the team of the Miz, Braun Strowman, Kane, Cesaro, and Sheamus in a handicap TLC match.
So, why does it get the number three spot? Simply because most of us thought we would never see the Olympic gold medalist compete in a WWE ring again, not to mention his return match being one as brutal as a TLC match.
4. The Destruction of Matt Hardy – WWE SummerSlam 2000
Okay, I’ve had my fun. Time to give you fine readers some of what you were expecting. I covered the background to the first TLC match probably too extensively at the start of this article, so let’s jump right to the spot. Alone in the ring, Matt Hardy climbs a ladder in an attempt to capture Tag Team gold. Just as his fingers touch one of the Championship belts, D-Von Dudley suddenly appears at the bottom of the opposite side of the ladder and begins to lift it. Unable to thwart his opponent’s maniacal strategy, Matt Hardy falls from the ladder, out of the ring, through four tables at ringside. At the time, this was one of the most brutal things WWE had ever presented to their fans, and that’s why it’s taking number two on this list.
5. The Flairs meet TLC – WWE Monday Night Raw, 01.16.2006
Got to finish strong! While researching this list, I decided to rewatch this match first. As soon as this spot happened, I knew it had to be number one. Intercontinental Champion Ric Flair faces off against Edge in a TLC match for Edge’s WWE Championship. This one hits all those historical markers. Champion vs. Champion, Flair’s first TLC, taking place in Flair’s home state, and young Charlotte Flair present in the first row. Mid match, Edge positions Flair on a table placed no more than four feet from where Charlotte is seated. He then climbs a ladder and precedes to splash down onto Ric Flair. Now, I’ll admit, this is a pretty common spot in TLC matches. However, this lands the number one because the story Charlotte’s reaction tells. Can any of us say we’d be able to watch Edge put one of our parents through a table? Real emotion always wins over kayfabe.