Our next review sees us dipping into the ever-growing pile of DVDs sent to me by the good people at Fremantle Media and Fletch Publicity. This time around we’re heading back to last December for a show that featured an injured WWE Champion and a main event that once again featured John Cena. The DVD in question is TLC 2012.
The show began with Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara taking on Cody Rhodes and Damian Sandow, Team Rhodes Scholars, in a tables match, with the winners getting a shot at the Tag Team titles.
This, I liked. It was a great way to open the show. The masked men used their speed and agility to good effect early on, but it wasn’t long before Rhodes and Sandow began to dominate the proceedings, with Mysterio spending a great deal of time getting rammed into the ringside barricade while Cara was getting hammered.
Eventually the luchas came back into the match, and once again the tempo got taken up a notch or three. Mysterio was taken out of the match when he was clobbered in the head with a table. Cara then made a brief comeback, but when he tried to launch himself off the top rope Rhodes pushed him backwards, sending him crashing through a couple of tables they’d set up earlier on, securing the win and the title shot for the brainy duo.
The first title match of the evening saw Antonio Cesaro defending the United States title against R-Truth.
As our esteemed announcers spoke of the champion’s anti-American leanings, ironic given his current status. these two put on a very good encounter. Both protagonists put in solid performances, with Cesaro in particular looking quite impressive as he controlled the majority of the action, with Truth making brief comebacks every so often.
But despite having the fans and Little Jimmy behind him, and despite his performance, Truth couldn’t get the job done. After Cesaro countered his suplex-into-a chin breaker move he pushed his challenger towards the referee. Truth managed to stop himself from barging into the official, but it left him open to a forearm uppercut from behind. Cesaro then took his man down with the neutralizer for the title retaining pin.
After an episode of Miz TV designed to set up a match later in the show it was back to title action as Wade Barrett challenged Kofi Kingston for the Intercontinental title.
This was even better than the last title match, and it certainly seemed a lot more competitive. For me the two distinct styles made this match what it was.
Once again Kingston impressed with his fast-paced offence, and in many ways it just seemed the perfect antidote to Barrett’s no-nonsense brawling style. My fellow Brit did a great job when he had the upper hand, but after countless false finishes Kingston was finally able to put his man away after his trusty trouble in paradise kick.
After a word from injured WWE Champion C.M. Punk it was on to the six man TLC match, with Tag Team Champions Kane and Daniel Bryan of Team Hell No teaming with Ryback against Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose in the Shield’s first televised match.
This was one big fight, and a very compelling one at that. For nearly thirty minutes these six men beat the proverbial out of each other, and looking back on it now it set the stall for nearly a year of domination for the Shield.
The formula was simple. The bad guys would take out two of their opponents so they could centre their attack on one man, and when one of the others came back into action they would quickly take him out.
All six men, especially Reigns, Rollins and Ambrose, put in exceptional performances. It may not have been a technical classic but it was a perfect piece of storytelling.
The big bump of the night came courtesy of Rollins. As Reigns and Ambrose placed Repack on a table Rollins climbed up one of the many ladders. He then sent his buddies back to the ring so they could take care of the others. The only problem was that Ryback recovered, and a few minutes later he pulled Rollins off the ladder and sent him crashing through a stack of tables.
A few moments later it was all over. With Kane buried under a pile of furniture and Ryback struggling to make it back to the ring Reigns and Ambrose put Bryan through a table with a double powerbomb. A three count later and the Shield had their first ever victory.
More title action followed as Eve Torres defended the Divas title against Naomi, winner of the pre-show Santa’s Helpers battle royal.
This was definitely the filler material for the evening, and definitely the weakest match on the card. Naomi pulled off a few good moves, with some of them lacking flow and looking rather forced. Apart from that nothing much happened as Eve took the win after she took her challenger down with a neckbreaker.
Then it was on to the Smackdown main event as Sheamus challenged the Big Show for the World title once again, this time in a chairs match.
These guys had already put on two great pay-per-view matches, and they easily picked up where they’d left off a few weeks before.
As with their other encounters it was nothing more than a very entertaining big fight. There was no fancy Dan stuff here, they just tried to beat the proverbial out of each other, and this time around they had a little help in the form of a few steel chairs. It really was a compelling match and the perfect ending to one of the best rivalries of 2012.
At one point it looked like the Irishman really had a chance of getting the title back when he went for his brogue kick. But when the big man moved out of the way and Sheamus got hung up on the top rope Show connected with his knockout punch. But as with their previous matches Sheamus managed to kick out.
Unlike the last matches Show had a back-up plan, and a few moments later he introduced a massive chair into the equation. One swing from this and Sheamus went down like a sack of spuds. There would be no kick out this time around as Show took the title-retaining win.
More filler material followed in the form of the six man tag match that had been set up on Miz TV, with 3MB’s Drew McIntyre, Jinder Mahal and Heath Slater taking on Alberto Del Rio, the Miz and Brooklyn Brawler. Yep, you read that right. The Brooklyn Brawler.
There’s really not much to write home about here. Del Rio pulled off a few moves before the Brawler took the punching bag treatment for a few moments. The hometown hero then got the hot tag to the Miz as all hell broke loose and the bodies began to fly.
Miz then took Mahal down with the skull crushing finale before tagging the Brawler back in so he could get the submission with a Boston, or should that be Brooklyn, crab.
The main event saw John Cena challenging Dolph Ziggler for his Money in the Bank contract in a ladder match.
Now this may not have been the best ladder match I’ve ever seen, but it certainly ticked all the boxes. Although as tables and chairs were also involved it was more or less a TLC match.
For me this was the match that Ziggler showed that he could really hang with the big boys, and as far as reputation and standing goes there’s no bigger than John Cena. These two worked extremely well together in a match filled with great back and forth action and a dramatic twist at the end.
With everything that was on the line it was kind of obvious that the other weapons were going to come into play, and these items added to the overall drama. Without them you wouldn’t have had the moment where Cena climbed the ladder while Ziggler was applying a sleeper hold, only for Cena to pass out sending both men crashing through a table.
But despite all of the twists and turns of this one they save the best for last. Raw General Manager Vickie Guerrero came down to the ring with a chair in hand, and it looked like she was going to clobber a downed Cena until Cena’s lady friend A.J. Lee stormed the ring. She then took Vickie out with a series of Cena-like moves before skipping around the ring as he set up the ladder.
But as Cena was ascending to the top of the mountain A.J. shocked everyone and pushed the ladder over. Cena crashed and burned on the top rope, and as Ziggler got back into the ring A.J. stared at him for a few seconds before giving him that certain smile and skipping off into the sunset. The show-off then took advantage of the situation and climbed the ladder to reclaim his briefcase, keeping his World title shot intact.
Just one extra on this release, Matt Striker conducting an interview with the aforementioned Mr. Ziggler.
In conclusion – if you take out the two slightly disappointing filler material-like matches then TLC is a pretty decent show. There’s some good moments on the undercard, with the Shield’s in-ring debut setting out what they’ve gone on to achieve this year. The two main marquee matches also delivered, with the Sheamus/Show brawl the perfect addition to their rivalry.
As for my match of the night no-prize I’m going for the six-man TLC brawl between the Shield and the Team Hell No/Ryback combo.
So with all of that out of the way there’s just one more thing to do, and that’s to give this DVD release the thumbs up.
With thanks to Fremantle Media and Fetch Publicity for supplying a copy of this release. WWE TLC 2012 is available to buy online at www.wwedvd.co.uk
By day I’m an unemployed retail worker, and at weekends I volunteer at a local museum, but by night I’m the author of The Two Sheds Review, Britain’s longest running professional wrestling and mixed martial arts blog. Visit my site at www.twoshedsreview.vze.com. It’s been online in one form or another since June 2000!