With this year’s event less than a week away, Matthew Roberts takes another trip in the TWM Time Machine and goes back to 2010 for Tables Ladders and Chairs.
As ever with the Retro Reviews it can be instructive to see, nine years later, how much (or how little) the landscape changes in professional wrestling. Sheamus, John Morrison, and CM Punk have all “returned” to the WWE in recent weeks to great fanfares and all play a part (to some degree) in TLC 2010. Cody Rhodes, who appears on this show in a totally pointless throwaway segment, has something altogether different on his mind as we draw closer to 2020. And I doubt Alberto Del Rio will be remembering December 2019 with any fondness after his recent MMA massacre…
The show itself doesn’t promise an awful lot on paper and whilst as a whole, it lacks perhaps the killer match that would have made it ultimately a more memorable show overall it would also be fair to say that the show itself punches above its weight and ultimately is an entertaining three hours.
Despite two world title matches on the show (both gimmicked), it was the Wade Barrett and John Cena chairs match that headlines. It’s so important that the WWE wisely remove Matt Striker from the commentary desk for it by bringing out “Charles Montgomery” Punk. Of course, this is firmly in the Nexus era, even if this is, in reality, the end of it. It’s not helped by the fact that one month earlier John Cena was “fired” after not fairly refereeing the Survivor Series main event between Barrett and Randy Orton, nor the fact that Nexus had hardly any wins of note in this phase of proceedings. Highlighted by the fact that Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater couldn’t even defeat that legendary tag team duo of Kozlov and Santino Marella by pinfall in a match earlier in the evening.
A show long storyline where Barrett’s Nexus buddies are taken out leaving him with no back up does effectively show us that there will be no further distractions during the main event, but even at the time it kind of cemented the fact that there was no way Barrett could conceivably win this. As chair matches go this is about as good as you can get. It at least means Cena doesn’t have to attempt to, you know, “wrestle” very much which would have been a bad idea going up against Barrett. Barrett does at least get the chance throughout the bout to go toe to toe with Cena but there was no disguising it at the time and there is even less disguising it now; the WWE never wanted Barrett to be on Cena’s level and they were never going to allow him to be here. Which is fine; the company babyface ultimately prevails when it matters throughout history (unless your name is Roman Reigns). But a decent match can’t erase the memories of what the Nexus COULD have been.
The two World Title matches are interesting in their own way. The WWE Championship Match under Tables rules between Randy Orton and The Miz is a match which could conceivably be resurrected at anytime in the next five years (though hopefully, for me, it won’t be) but in 2010 it featured a champion who simply wasn’t over as a Champion (The Miz) and a challenger whose contempt for “lesser mortals” could at times be very transparently obvious too (Orton). At a time when Miz needed all the help he could get he got none, from either Orton or the bookers. Throw in one non-finish and then an awful actual finish and it’s one that did nothing for anybody. The four way TLC match for the World Heavyweight Championship between Rey Mysterio, Edge, Alberto Del Rio and Kane is much better. It’s almost a forgotten match of this type and if it starts off a little slow paced and suffers from the usual problems of the stunts taking so much time to be obviously set up then in the final stretches it’s hot hot hot and well worth a viewing.
The two other title matches on the undercard are a mixed bag. The Triple Threat Ladder match for the Intercontinental Title Match between Dolph Ziggler, Kofi Kingston and Jack Swagger looks like it might be about to take off just before it ends within eight minutes or so. It’s simply not enough time for a gimmick match of this nature to take hold. I had very low expectations indeed for the Tag Team title match already mentioned between Slater & Gabriel and Kozlov and Marella and even they were too high. It’s awful, and has a finish that beggars belief.
The final two undercard matches also offer up mixed fortunes. The Ladder match between Sheamus and John Morrison for the Number 1 Contendership to the WWE Championship was FAR better than I expected and/or remembered. Back in 2010 “no selling” wasn’t quite at the epidemic proportions it is at today, though both men here try their best to match what’s coming in future years. What is in their favour is that Morrison at least tries to sell his leg issues and there is a good grasp of psychology throughout that deviates from the “throw every bump in” nature of ladder matches. I can’t say the prospect of LayCool taking on Beth Phoenix and Natalya in a Tables Match had me excited (three of the most overrated women in the WWE plus Layla) but if it’s awful in the opening stretches, the effort is there at least and the final few minutes are good fun.
The only real other thing of note (beyond a gloriously camp Kane backstage promo) is “Dashing” Cody Rhodes coming out and boring everyone silly with a promo that is obviously only being said so that someone, in this case The Big Show, can come out to batter him.
I’d wager few remember TLC 2010 when they’re looking back over history. If they do it’s probably more because it signifies an unhappy end to the Nexus storyline. Whilst it’s not one of the best WWE shows ever it’s certainly far from the worst and it as a whole it’s an entertaining three hours or so.
You can find me on Twitter @IWFICON. Thanks for reading!