WWE: Tables, Ladders and Chairs A Retro Review – TLC 2012

With this year’s event just around the corner, Matthew Roberts takes another trip in the TWM Time Machine and sets his sights on TLC 2012. 

Putting aside, once again, the idea that “It’s December, we have to have TLC style matches just because” the line up for TLC 2012 did at least have some promise on paper, even though then World Champion CM Punk was out with injury.  Alongside Dolph Ziggler defending his Money in the Bank briefcase against John Cena the main selling point of this show was the in-ring debut of a little know trio called The Shield.  Of course at the time many would have told you that this was going to be yet another new act that the WWE were going to ruin.  I guess we’ll have to wait to see how it all turned out…

It would have seemed inconceivable that eight years after this show’s opening match that Rey Mysterio would still be wrestling a full (well, as full as you can at the moment) schedule and that one of his opponents would be a big backstage player in the latest promotion to go up against Vince.  And to think there was a time when people might have thought that Damien Sandow was a “can’t miss” guy over his partner here Cody Rhodes.  That’s another story for another time.  With Mysterio teaming with Sin Cara this was a decent opener all told.  It was fast paced, set up the idea of the show being chock full of “TLC” stuff without giving too much away.  It would be pushing it to say it’s a forgotten classic, but for what it is it’s very enjoyable.

The same can’t be said for the next two men up.  Of course Antonio Cesaro and R-Truth are still around eight years later and in pretty much the same promotional position they were back then.  Their six minute match for Cesaro’s United States Championship is a whole bunch of nothing, following on from an underwhelming match the previous month at Survivor Series.  As a filler on a three hour Raw this would have been a bust, as a PPV match it’s all rather pointless. 

Still, I’d rather sit through that than the episode of Miz TV that followed.  Miz does his usual shtick, 3MB decide to wander out (the black haired guy with a bandana and no facial hair sure does seem familiar…) and target the Spanish Announce Team for not other reason that for Roberto Rodriguez to try (and fail) to talk some sense into 3MB so that Alberto Del Rio can even up the odds and a challenge for a match later that night is thrown out and accepted.  This could all have happened on the pre-show (if at all) and we could have had a decent match instead, but that’s the WWE for you. 

Kofi Kingston and Wade Barrett clash over the former’s Intercontinental Championship next in what isn’t actually a bad match at all.  Barrett’s pre match interview references the many times they have met in the build up so this is presumably a hot mid-card feud.  They work well together though and the age old story of big guy trying to batter the smaller guy who fights back with his superior agility and speed is told well.  It’s somewhat overshadowed by the CM Punk promo that follows, from a box in the arena.  Whilst never quite subscribing to Punk’s “Best in the World” gimmick myself, there is no question that when he was hot on the mic he was absolutely on fire. 

And so onto the in-ring debut of The Shield.  Nope, no idea whatever happened to Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins… Joking aside if there’s one new act the WWE have gone about promoting the right way in the past decade it was The Shield.  From the moment of their first run-in they were promoted as stars, treated as stars, (generally) protected as stars and, wouldn’t you know it, got over as stars as a result. Their match here with Team Hell No and Ryback was one of the best and hottest matches of 2012 in the WWE.  Those who would mock Ryback and being useless and never over might get a surprise with this one, even though in the end it is all about The Shield. 

Eve Torres and Naomi’s WWE Diva’s Championship match can’t follow that.  Probably by design.  Naomi, who had won a “Santa’s Little Helper” Battle Royale on the pre-show to get this shot, spent three minutes running through her repertoire before missing a cross body enabling Torres to get the win.  Not offensive at all, but all rather pointless. 

Sheamus then challenges World Heavyweight Champion The Big Show in a Chairs match which seems to have been set up purely for Show to introduce the “World’s Largest Steel Chair” ever at the end to take the win.  The effort is there though and at least it’s a match that plays to the strengths of the two as opponents. 

After The Brooklyn Brawler (well we are in Brooklyn) joins Miz and Del Rio as their mystery partner for their match with 3MB which is another 3 minute waste of time it’s time for the main event as Dolph Ziggler defends his Money in the Bank contract against John Cena in a ladder match. Despite what you might be tempted to think, it’s actually a very good match.  Ziggler is allowed to look good (and as if he belongs at the top of the card), at least until the Vickie Guerrero and AJ Lee stuff kicks in a the end.  Because of course Cena has to have an “out” for the loss.  To be fair though, it was all logical in the on-going storyline so that’s something. 

There’s a little bit too much filler on the show for this to be a classic show and the most upsetting thing about that is that with a little bit of thought the WWE could have used the time dedicated to anything to do with 3MB to do a hundred things that would undoubtedly have been a better use of the time.  Even allowing for the fact that CM Punk’s injury may have necessitated changes, the ones they made were lousy. 

But with a good Ladder match main event and an absolutely stunning Six Man on the card there was certainly a lot to enjoy.  Not all the undercard clicked, but the opener, the World Heavyweight and Intercontinental title matches all provided solid back up.  Overall, well worth a watch.  

Photos courtesy of WWE.com

You can find me on Twitter @IWFICON

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