WWE went rolling right on through the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts last night (Sun., Dec. 13, 2015) with TLC, a pay-per-view (PPV) that had three weeks of garbage television building up to it that couldn't have possibly been more satisfactory by the time it was over.
Let's not waste time with pleasantries and get right to reactions to the show (click here for the live blog with full match coverage).
I read your eyes, your mind was made up
I might as well have been leading the charge on the "to hell with all this, this story sucks and so do these characters" bandwagon over the past couple weeks re: this Sheamus vs. Roman Reigns story. They've told bad jokes, created stakes and then ignored them, and told more bad jokes.
They also ignored a full year of booking before all this.
Sheamus retains thanks to the League of Nations
Sheamus is still your WWE world heavyweight champion after defeating Roman Reigns at TLC with some help from his buddies in the League of Nations.
The end result was a crowd in Boston that could not have cared less about anything these two did in this match. They responded to the early portions of it with chants for John Cena, CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Seth Rollins, and NXT. In the ring, Sheamus and Reigns were absolutely destroying their bodies trying to get the match over and bring them back, but the most they could do is draw a pop for the big spots before a quick return to apathy mixed with resentment.
At some point, their hard work paid off. They had dealt enough destruction to turn the crowd by the end and not only that, they were straight up cheering for Reigns to win the title. They wanted it.
Don't get me wrong, WWE deserved a crowd like this for booking these characters into the ground with the "5:15" and the "tater tots" and all that other nonsense. They did a horrible job making us care before the match.
But once Sheamus and Reigns got in that ring, they turned all that around by the time they were done. They gave up their bodies to tell a great story, especially great because it went against the aforementioned nonsense. Because when it got down to it, they weren't about telling jokes; they were two supremely pissed off grown ass men throwing hands over a title they both so badly wish to possess.
Reigns took a ton of punishment. And considering everything he's gone through, that he's tried so hard, both in this match and in his career, to reach his goals, and he was so damn close, and had given so much, we wanted it for him. To hell with all the backstage talk about him being the chosen one, they did enough to make you get lost in the story of the match itself, this match, if just this one, and it felt like he earned it. He earned that title, damn it, and I wanted nothing more than to see him go up that ladder and take it.
Because he deserved it.
But, because Sheamus had The League of Nations and, for whatever reason, Reigns' didn't have The Family, he fell short once again. He gave everything, and it was taken from him once again, just like it's always been taken from him. Before, he kept that goofy smile and those goofy jokes.
You took me for a fool
After yet another loss, with Alberto Del Rio and Rusev rushing out to ensure Sheamus kept the WWE world heavyweight title, and receiving zero assistance from The Usos and Dean Ambrose, something clicked. While Sheamus was being hoisted up on his teammates shoulders, celebrating a victory he didn't deserve, not really, not like Reigns did at least, it happened.
You could see the moment Reigns realized it -- he was never going to win. No matter what he did, no matter how hard he tried, no matter how many walls he ran through, he wasn't going to win because they simply weren't going to let him.
GIF: THE SPEAR OF DEATH
When Roman Reigns decided to go after Triple H, he wouldn't stop until he had hit THE SPEAR OF DEATH to close the evening with an exclamation point.
So he decided to kill everyone.
He took advantage of the aforementioned celebration and speared all three of the bastards who screwed him out of the title. Then he grabbed a chair and took out months and months of frustration on every single son of a bitch who wronged him along the way.
They screwed over the last guy, for the last time.
Then Triple H came out and tried to put a stop to it. "What the f*ck are you thinking?" he asked, like he didn't already know the answer, like he wasn't largely responsible for this, like he didn't deserve it too. And Reigns, for a moment, looked like he was going to stop.
"This time, you pay for this," Reigns told him after a Superman punch and before a chair shot, the first of many. Stephanie McMahon, screaming on the outside, was made to watch this and oh yes, Stephanie, you will watch this.
Michael Cole and JBL were screaming about him torpedoing his career and, you know what? To hell with it. Like a great man once said, "FIRE ME! FIRE ME, I'M ALREADY FIRED!" He could die the slowest, most agonizing death imaginable, by one thousand cuts, and never have anything to show for it, or he could earn himself some damn respect already and put the boots to these oppressive overlords.
Did he ever.
And my god, it was glorious. Just a perfect sustained beating of a real bastard who couldn't have deserved it more. Even the Spanish announce table was defiant, refusing to break for Triple H so Reigns could deliver a brutal elbow to send them both crashing through it. He'll take that extra pain to dish out that punishment.
Then, just when you thought it was over and Triple H was being carried out, Reigns built up a head of steam and hit the SPEAR OF DEATH to put an exclamation point on a glorious evening.
You waged a war of nerves, but you can't crush the Empire.
All the best to all the rest
Charlotte vs. Paige: You know, I liked this for what it was, Charlotte taking it the full nine yards and becoming a really lame version of her father. She can rip his gimmick and we can hate her for it and that works good enough for me. A few troublesome spots here, but the work was fine and it should only get better when she's in there with people she's more comfortable with, which should be next.
Kevin Owens vs. Dean Ambrose: A fun match with a legitimately surprising finish. Owens, who absolutely owns, was given time to get heat in a solid little promo before the match, a nice set up to his eating a pin on a reversal of the Pop up Powerbomb we were sure was the finish. This was also treated like a big win for Ambrose, and if they're going to pull the trigger on really turning the character around and booking him to be a strong babyface going forward, this was a great start.
Wyatt Family vs. Team ECW Originals: I actually thought they did this just right. Some old timers came back, they built a small program, took a few bumps for the heels badly in need of rebuilding, and put them over strong (sorry, Erick Rowan). Couldn't have asked for much more, really.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger: There were a few big problems with this match, like Swagger working the Ankle Lock for far too long just for Del Rio to completely no sell it as soon as he broke the hold. He did so, by the way, simply by crawling to the ropes and hanging out until Jack just let go, for some reason. It was also dumb because an Ankle Lock with a chair is even less effective than an Ankle Lock without one, but whatever. Despite those issues, this was actually a decent match, where Del Rio seemed to care just enough to really lay into Swagger. It worked for being a Chairs match, which needs to go away and never come back.
Ryback vs. Rusev: A surprisingly good match, these two just went all hoss with it and did their thing until ti was time for Lana to get heat and help Rusev win. Her kissing Rusev while he was still killing Ryback with The Accolade was a really nice touch. More of that, please.
New Day vs. Lucha Dragons vs. The Usos: Ladder matches -- and, really, any TLC type gimmick match -- in 2015 are tough to pull off for wrestlers today thanks to the sins of those who came before them. Yet, here's Kalisto deciding he was going to make himself famous and hitting Salida Del Sol off a ladder onto another ladder. There were multiple fun spots like that and the crowd was insane for it. Plus, Xavier Woods was out there throwing trombones at people to bump them off ladders. This was way too much fun.
Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch: Yet another fun match, with booking that made sense for the stories both are in the middle of telling. Nothing too special but it was the pre-show, after all. You can see the greatness that exists here, they just need to tap into it. That will come later (hopefully). All that said, Team BAD as the female version of The New Day sounds fun in theory but is absolutely awful in practice.
This was an absurdly fun show, from start to finish.
That's it from me, Cagesiders. Now it's your turn to sound off in the comments section below with all your thoughts on last night's show. How did you like it, if you liked it at all?
Photos via WWE.com