ELLSWORTH TURNS ON AMBROSE, AJ RETAINS TITLE!
By Tarron Coalson
WWE brings us TLC tonight from Dallas, Texas featuring every SMACKDOWN title up for grabs tonight and right off the bat, it’s the match for the SMACKDOWN Tag Team Championship.
The champs, Heath Slater and Rhyno face their toughest task to date, going up against The Wyatt Family in the form of Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton with Luke Harper with them at ringside.
Wyatt and Orton focus on controlling the action when Heath Slater is in the ring but Slater finally makes the hot tag to Rhyno who clears the ring and goes outside and prepares to GORE Randy Orton, but Luke Harper shoves Orton out of the way and takes the GORE for Orton.
As Rhyno goes back into the ring, Wyatt begins his upside down crab walk, but Orton rolls in and catches Rhyno with an RKO and makes the pin. With that, the Wyatt Family become the new SMACKDOWN Tag Team Champs. Not a great match, but the crowd was happy. GRADE B-
Backstage interview with Dean Ambrose is next and they’re asking about the condition of James Ellsworth, who Ambrose says is at home resting. He continues to plug the upcoming title match between him and AJ Styles. Then, they flip to Styles and he’s talking about how he’s going to beat up Ambrose. Standard fare…
Nikki Bella is up next in her No Disqualification match going up against her nemesis, Carmella. During the match, Nikki injured a leg and Carmella immediately focuses all of her attack on the leg. Carmella hangs her upside down in the corner and grabs a Kendo Stick and attacks the leg with the Kendo Stick.
Nikki mounts a furious comeback but that’s stopped with Carmella attacks the leg again. Nikki Bella makes another comeback and attacks and then unloads a fire extinguisher on Carmella and then hits the Rack Attack 2.0 and gets the pin on Carmella. Again, it’s an OK match but a far cry from Charlotte and Sasha Banks. GRADE- C-
Afterwards, Carmella grabs the mic to inform Nikki that while she thinks she may have evened the score from SURVIVOR SERIES, that it wasn’t her that attacked Nikki. But she says that she knows who did and says it’s Nikki’s buddy from TOTAL DIVAS, Natalya.
The next match is what SMACKDOWN as been billing as “The Last Meeting” as The Intercontinental Championship is up for grabs as The Miz with Marise goes up against former champ, Dolph Ziglar, supposedly for the last time, in a ladder match. The only question I have is with the matches these two guys have had, why this match isn’t higher in the card.
Backstage interview with Daniel Bryan follows in which Bryan says that he hopes Ziglar wins and that he thinks Ziglar would be a better representative for SMACKDOWN but admitted that Miz has a certain “star quality”. Miz comes out and says he just wishes it was Bryan in the ring and not Ziglar. You still have to think if the doctor’s cleared it, a Daniel Bryan/Miz match is somewhere in the future.
It’s a slow paced match with the ladders playing a part back and forth. Finally, the Miz traps Ziglar’s leg and injures it and continues to pummel Dolph’s leg. At one point, the Miz hooked Dolph’s leg thru the ladder and got Ziglar in the Figure Four leglock.
Finally, Miz climbs the ladder and Dolph knock the ladder down with the Miz hanging on to the handle holding the belt and Dolph hits Miz with the ladder and crashes to the apron, hurting his leg.
Finally, the set two ladders side by side and are fighting each other up the ladder. Ziglar knocks Miz off but Miz climbs back up and as Ziglar is straddling both ladders, the Miz delivers two low blow kicks to the groin, sending Ziglar crashing down and leaving the Miz to grab the belt and retain the Intercontinental Title and claim victory in this final chapter.
Afterwards, the Miz grabs the mic and dedicates his win to the SMACKDOWN General Manager, Daniel Bryan, thanking him for the motivation.
Sometimes the gimmicks get in the way of the wrestlers and I think that was the case here. It was probably the worst of their matches. Not that it was bad, just not as good as the other matches between them. GRADE B-
Baron Corbin verses Kalisto in the ultimate David verses Goliath match is next, but hey, David had a slingshot, right?
Corbin in my mind, a huge favorite in this TLC match.
To start with, it was a definite game of cat and mouse with Kalisto taking shots and Kalisto coming back on Corbin’s mistakes. It features Kalisto’s high flying abilities and Corbin’s power moves. Corbin hit a spinning Deep Six slam on the floor to Kalisto and Kalisto hitting a Hurricarana to Corbin on the floor. Kalisto put Corbin thru six chairs and mounted the top rope to fly one more time. But, this time, it was Corbin who slammed a chair into Kalisto face as he jumps and them Corbin delivered an End Of Days to Kalisto into a pile of chairs. Corbin gets the pin and then beats Kalisto up some more and threatens the announcers. It was better than I thought these two could do with this match up. GRADE B-
A backstage interview was next with Natalya who said Becky Lynch was a great champion and that Carmella was a liar about her accusations that she attacked Nikki Bella.
The SMACKDOWN Women’s Championship is up next as the champ Becky Lynch faces the Number One contender, Alexa Bliss in a Tables match.
Ok, it’s not a great match and they do some interesting stuff but nothing I would call outstanding or even very good. The end comes as there’s a table set up outside the ring and both ladies are fighting on the apron. Bliss falls off but grabs Lynch and power bombs her thru the table to get the victory and become the new SMACKDOWN Women’s Champion. Afterwards, they try to interview Becky Lynch at ringside but she’s not happy about it saying she’s disappointed in herself and walks off. GRADE C-.
Finally, it’s the TLC match for the WWE World’s Heavyweight Title as the champ, AJ Styles defends against the former champ, Dean Ambrose. Ambrose starts out by crashing AJ’s skull with a ladder and continuing to pummel AJ. Ambrose takes the fight to the crowd as he continues to bash Styles through their tour of the crowd, even putting a trash can over AJ.
Finally, getting back into the ring area, AJ mounts a comeback and then Ambrose fights back and it settles into a back and forth affair.
Styles pounds Ambrose with a series of chair shots and then attempts a suplex but Ambrose reverses it and flips AJ inside out thru the chairs, ripping AJ’s tights in the glutemus mamimus region. A true Pro, AJ continues in the match and puts Ambrose thru a table in the corner.
Ambrose fights back and places a ladder on an announce table and puts AJ on another table and mounts the ladder and drives and elbow thru Styles and the announce table. Ambrose throws a ladder in the ring and starts his climb to the title. AJ climbs to the ring and hits a massive Phenomenal Forearm, knocking Ambrose off the ladder.
AJ shows why he’s Phenomenal as hits jumps off the apron with a back flip and hits Ambrose with a DDT on the floor and follows that up by putting Ambrose on a table on the floor and climbing in ring and hitting a springboard 450 thru the table.
As AJ start up the ladder, James Ellsworth comes out to ringside. AJ comes down the ladder and attacks Ellsworth and prepares to give him another Styles Clash on the floor but Ambrose makes the save and DDT’s Styles on the steps.
Ambrose starts up the ladder and AJ follows him but Ambrose knocks him off and out of the ring. It looks like Ambrose has a clear climb to the title but as he gets near the top, James Ellsworth pushes the ladder over and drives Ambrose thru a couple of tables and them motions for AJ Styles to come on in. As AJ struggled to climb the ladder, he reaches the belt and wins the TLC match with Ellsworth cheering the whole way. The crowd is stunned. It’s a pretty good match. A solid B+ and we’ll see where they go with Ellsworth.
Styles/Ambrose was the match of the night. Corbin/Kalisto was stronger than I thought but overall, this was SMACKDOWN’s weakest Pay Per View to date. Overall, I give it a C+ pulled out a half grade by the main event.
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