Mick Foley famously said; “Tables and Ladders and Chairs, Oh My!” Regardless of my attempt at a cheap pop the TLC match began in the WWE 20 years ago and has become a staple of WWE programming ever since, and it even has its own pay per view.
When you look back over the past 20 years of TLC matches you get a who’s who of professional wrestlers who have passed through the WWE. It is almost a rite of passage for every big-name superstar to have to go through the hell that is the TLC match. From Edge to Ric Flair, even Jerry Lawler!, it is very rare that a wrestler with the WWE doesn’t participate in a TLC match at least once in their career.
All the wrestlers who have been involved in TLC hope to bring some notable to moments to their time in the match. Below we will take a look at some of those notable moments that have taken place.
5: WeeLC Match – Extreme Rules 2014
The feud between Hornswoggle and El Torito was not going to win any Wrestling Observer awards. Both were stuck with the Three Man Band and Los Matadores in a pre-show/lower card feud that was essentially in place to give some entertainment to the fans. Now usually this would make anyone cringe but these men were able to pull off a decently funny angle. It wasn’t going to win any awards or push anyone into a higher spot on the card but it was a good watch and brought some levity to the shows.
One of the bright spots of this angle was the WeeLC match at Extreme Rules. In the grand scheme of TLC matches there is no way that this will crack the top ten, but it still a really entertaining match that was performed well by all the men involved.
The match started off with some great creativity in the little person ring announcer and ringside announce team. The commentary booth of Jerry Smaller, JBElf and Micro Cole was absolutely hilarious with all of their short jokes. It really added an extra bit of fun to the match that was a welcome addition.
The action in the ring during the match was much better than one would think as well. Both Hornswoggle and El Torito were veterans by this point in their careers and you could tell that they wanted to put on a show for the audience and viewers at home. I think they wanted to prove to the world that they could go inside the ring and they proved themselves right.
As expected most of the action in and out of the ring centred on comedy and all men involved were able to this off to near perfection. The tiny tables, ladders and chairs were awesome and having the Three Man Band take bumps for El Torito, while silly as all hell, was exactly what was needed for this match.
WeeLC will never go down as one of the greatest TLC matches of all time but it was still a great contest. When you think back of the most notable moments in the history of the TLC match, the WeeLC must be in that list.
4: Bumps, Bumps and more Bumps
This may be a bit of a cheat of notable moments in the history of the TLC match but when one is thinking back to all the matches that have taken place your mind will usually go to some of the amazing spots that we have seen. Almost every TLC match has at least one notable spot that made the fans jump from their seats and it is important to look back at those moments.
One that immediately springs to mind is from the titular pay per view from 2015. During the tag championship match, Kalisto performed an insane Salida Del Sol through one of the Usos through a ladder. The ladder instantly snapped in half and the crowd popped hard. When you see if from the top view perspective you can even see the participants in the match looking up in amazement at what we all had just witnessed.
There can’t be a mention of spots/bumps in a TLC match without mentioning RVD. The man is a human highlight reel in the ring and his presence in a TLC match only made us salivate thinking about what kind of insane thing we would see from the man. Most notably anytime RVD did his coast to coast, yes his move and not your Shane!
One can also not talk about spots that have put TLC on the map without discussing the greatest sport in the history of the match. Of course, I am talking about Edge spearing Jeff Hardy off a ladder while Hardy was suspended above the ring at Wrestlemania 17. The match itself was a fantastic encounter but was made all that more memorable by this spot. Never before in the WWE had we seen someone go flying through the air to bring someone down to the mat with them. It was a death-defying leap that pushed this match over the top as the best TLC match of all time.
3: The Shield Debuts – TLC 2012
At the Survivor Series in 2012 CM Punk, Ryback and Cena were engaged in a vicious triple threat match for Punks WWE championship. It looked like Ryback had the championship all but won before three men dressed in very “classy” looking turtle necks jumped over the barricade to help Punk retain the title. As we all know how this is the story of the debut of one of the best factions of the past 10 years, the Shield.
The Shield was comprised of Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose and those three men ran roughshod over the entire roster. They spent most of their time beating down the tag team champions, Daniel Bryan and Kane, and Ryback which led to the TLC match at the last pay per view of the year. It is also interesting to note before we move on that this, I believe, is the first instance of a TLC match ending by pinfall or submission.
The match itself is up there for the better TLC matches of all time. The pace was perfect and Bryan and Kane were great people to put in the ring against the up and comers. Not that the Shield were green in the ring by any stretch but it is important to have established talent in the ring when the newcomers go over to help solidify their position on the roster.
Of course, the Shield came away with the win in this match. It was their debut match and they needed to go over and it was the right call if they were going to be pushed as hard as they would be.
It is interesting to think that through all the history that those three men created over the years that it would have all got its start with a TLC match victory.
2: First Ever TLC – Summerslam 2000
The Dudley Boyz, Edge & Christian and The Hardy Boyz had been embroiled in a feud against each other for the better part of a year by the time Summerslam had rolled around. While they had a ladder match at Wrestlemania of that year they had never officially been in a TLC match but that was about to change at Summerslam.
Leading up to their encounter the Hardy Boyz had been known for using ladders, Edge & Christian were known for using chairs and of course, the Dudley Boys didn’t go anywhere without their trusted tables. So it made sense when WWE commissioner Foley declared that the first-ever Tables, Ladders and Chairs match would take place at the biggest party of the summer.
It was a historic match, being the first of its kind, and the action was frantic from start to finish. If you were an avid watcher of those three tag teams’ history you may notice that a lot of spots that had been used in previous matches made their appearance in this one as well. It didn’t take anything away from the match but it is an interesting note. Go back and watch them all and see how many you can spots you can see that was used at the first-ever TLC.
While this match may not be considered a top-five from just the sheer volume of TLC matches that have taken place it is still important. It was the first of its kind and spawned one of the best gimmick matches that WWE has to offer.
1: Best of the Bunch – Edge & Christian v The Dudley Boys v The Hardy Boyz (Wrestlemania 17)
I mean was there ever really any doubt that at some point during a TLC match conversation the best TLC match of all time will come up. Building off their Summerslam encounter only months before the three teams put together a near masterpiece in the ring. The action from start to finish was fast-paced and all six men put their bodies through a car wreck in order to give us the best match possible.
Of course, as we discussed above, one has to mention the Edge spear to Jeff Hardy. In a time where it was hard to top any spot in the company or come up with something fresh and new Hardy and Edge did just that. It was really great too because you could almost see it coming as Bubba came in the ring and pulled the ladder from underneath Hardy. Edge creeping up the ladder on the far side of the ring with malicious intent on his mind is a great back round sight as Hardy dangled precariously above the ring.
We must also bring up some other great spots that happened during the match and brought the house down.
Bubba and Matt Hardy going through four tables from ladders inside the ring, Jeff Hardy’s insane Swanton bomb off the top of a ridiculously high ladder and a plethora of moves off the top and side of the ladders were just some of the high spots that took place during this match. The TLC match at Wrestlemania was not just a one spot pony.
Another great part of this match was the run in’s by Spike, Lita and Rhyno. These three people were heavily involved with the three teams leading up to Wrestlemania. They continuously interfered in any tag team match they could often help their side to a victory. So it made sense to have all three do a run-in at some point during the TLC match. A special mention must also be given to the very stiff chair shot that Spike took from Lita as the match drew to a close.
It is no shock that the TLC match from Wrestlemania came up in a list of notable moments but there isn’t any choice in the matter. It is the best TLC match of all time and deserves to be talked about whenever the term TLC is mentioned.