In hindsight, there was really no winning with the main event of TLC last night (Sun., Oct. 22, 2017) in Minneapolis. WWE made too many mistakes building up to the originally scheduled match, let alone having to account for a late change when its biggest star fell ill.
That left us with The Shield (but not really) teaming with Kurt Angle for his first match back in a WWE ring (that shouldn't have been) with no promotion, no build, and a handicap that no longer made sense. Attempting to work a 5-on-3 match like this couldn't work because they no longer had the same story to service.
What they went with instead was Angle taking a big bump to get him out early on before a late comeback led to his team winning but only because the heel team turned on its strongest member, Braun Strowman, and may or may not have murdered him in a garbage truck.
Because the story could not really be about The Shield's triumphant return, and also could not really be about Angle's big return to action, and also really couldn't even be about the failure of the heels, that left Strowman as the main story. The problem, of course, is that story is Kane turning on Strowman and the obvious build to a future babyface Strowman vs. heel Kane match.
That's after Strowman comes back after surviving the garbage truck compactor, something that led to the live crowd chanting "this is murder" for a short time.
Either way, it was a real shame that the big angle in this match, which was supposed to be a celebration of the grand return of one of the greatest teams in history, turned into a vehicle to get us to a Kane match.
It wasn't even a fun match. It was disjointed and ran far too long. This should have felt like a triumph of some sort. It felt like a slog, the final sequence a welcome relief from all that came before it.
Really, looking back, there was no saving this because The Shield never should have reunited to take on a group of heels like this. It was always a thrown together mess and that's the match we ended up with.
All the best to all the rest
Jason Jordan def. Elias: This show featured a guy trying to sing and another guy throwing vegetables at him until they had a match, which the vegetable thrower won in controversial fashion. Yeah.
Enzo Amore def. Kalisto: There was very little done here that was worthwhile. Enzo is a 1997 WCW main event wrestler in a division full of 1997 WCW cruiserweights, and it's really something to behold watching him try to hang around with them. They can't carry him to good matches.
Finn Balor def. AJ Styles: This was quite simply a very good wrestling match between two very good pro wrestlers, really a showcase for what they have with Balor, a potential unrealized because of the stories they've written for him. There's still an issue with how they book "The Demon" but that hardly mattered here. The "too sweet" at the end was a fitting capper, and a glimpse at even more potential.
Alexa Bliss def. Mickie James: This was a good match for what it was, and showed Bliss is getting better and better each time out. Her retaining the title was always the right move and James gave her as much as possible before they move on to the next program.
Cruiserweight tag team: I loved the way they laid this out so that the heels would only work a slow, hold based style while the babyfaces would fly all around. That's a simple way to get guys over in a match without anyone even realizing that's what is happening. It was well worked and fun, one of the better matches on the show.
Asuka def. Emma: No surprise here in that Asuka made a successful main roster debut and her streak continued but they didn't have anything close to the match they had in NXT. Still, it was always clear there is great potential in Asuka and it's going to be difficult to screw up the story they have in place for her.
Sasha Banks def. Alicia Fox: Every time they use Foxy, it feels like they should use her even more and then she gets beat by someone they actually like to use and the cycle repeats itself. I don't know.
It didn't look like a strong show going in, and by the end that was proven correct.