This Week in WWE – TLC 2016

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New champions were crowned last night at TLC 2016 while an unlikely person disrupted the WWE World Championship match! Check out our thoughts inside!

SmackDown Tag Team Championship: Heath Slater & Rhyno (c) vs. Randy Orton & Bray Wyatt

The SmackDown Tag Team titles were on the line on Sunday at TLC as The New Wyatt Family faced off against Beauty and the Man-Beast (Oh, how I hate that name). This was a match that had an obvious ending, so obvious that they made it go on first to get it out of the way. I still have yet to figure out why Slater and Rhyno have held these titles for any length of time. I thought maybe they would start to be legitimately recognized as a good team, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Rhyno has lost a lot of his menacing nature while Slater isn’t and better off than he was before the storyline.

As expected, The Wyatt Family won the tag titles after an RKO on Rhyno while Bray distracted him with the spider walk. It’s a great thing for the titles to be on a team that can be a dominant force. I’d like to know if they’re going to utilize the Freebird rule and allow Harper to defend the titles as well or if this will strictly be Bray and Randy.

The one interesting thing to come out of this match is that Randy once again teased some type of animosity with Luke Harper before putting his title on Harper’s shoulder. It should be intriguing to see where The Wyatt Family goes from here and if there will be some type of issue between Luke and Randy. 

No DQ Match: Carmella vs. Nikki Bella

If there’s one thing SmackDown certainly has going for it, it’s the Women’s Division. The SmackDown women have been great since day one and don’t get enough credit while consistently being overshadowed by the big Sasha Banks/Charlotte feud on Raw. Nikki Bella and Carmella proved that at TLC in their No Disqualification Match to end their feud. These two have been at each other’s throats for a few months and it’s nice to put this one to an end with no rules.

I didn’t know what to expect from these ladies. Neither of them have really used weapons or anything very extensively, so I wasn’t sure if they’d be able to pull it off. I thought they did a decent job with the fairly limited time that the match was given. Carmella did a good job at the start of the match by attacking Nikki’s leg and really tapping into that heel mentality. She then brought out a Kendo Stick and got Nikki a few times with it before applying The Code of Silence. Nikki used the Kendo Stick to get out of it and then Nikki used it on Carmella. The end of the match came after Nikki emptied a fire extinguisher and executed the Rack Attack 2.0 for the pinfall.

I thought these two could have done more with no rules, but they weren’t given a ton of time to do it. Nikki finally got her revenge and the feud really helped both women. Carmella is in a much better position now than I ever thought she would be so soon. That should put this feud to rest. Carmella did drop a predictable piece of information after the match, though. She told Nikki that she wasn’t the one who attacked her at Survivor Series and that it was Natalya. Looks like Nikki has her next feud, I’m not sure what might be next for Carmella.

WWE Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match – The Miz (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler

In one of the longer running feuds on SmackDown Live, The Miz and Dolph Ziggler clashed one last time to determine who was truly better. These two have done a great job in making the Intercontinental Championship mean just as much as the World Championship and they should take great pride in that. These two guys put everything out on the line during this feud and it’s my unpopular opinion that it’s been one of the highlights of the year in WWE.

The Miz won that lengthy match after giving Ziggler a couple low blows and knocking Ziggler off the ladder. In true heel fashion, The Miz then grabbed the title and ended the feud. This whole match went back and forth and at times, it looked like Dolph might pull it out, but Miz certainly deserves that title. No matter what anyone says, Miz has been one of the better heel champions in WWE. This isn’t 2007 Miz, this is 2016 Miz. He’s a different person now. He’s one of the veterans and he is a lot better in the ring now than he ever has been.

It remains to be seen what these two will move on to next, my hope is that Baron Corbin is the next guy to challenge Miz, but I don’t know how much that will work given how both men are heels. Ziggler might have some difficulty doing anything of note, it always seems like he’s used to have great matches and then tossed to the side. Hopefully that doesn’t happen, but I imagine it will.

Chairs Match: Kalisto vs. Baron Corbin

This was my least anticipated match. I haven’t been shy in saying that I’m not entertained by Kalisto. I have no idea what it is, but I have a hard time watching any of his matches. I will say that Kalisto had a really good outing against Corbin and proved that eh can hang with the bigger guys in the ring. Sometimes matches like these are difficult between opponents with huge size differences, but this one was pretty good. Kalisto used chairs to his advantage and actually had Corbin on his heels for portions of the match.

Kalisto did end up losing which I think was the ending that everyone was expecting. Corbin hit End of Days on a set up of chairs and got the 3-count. Corbin said, “that’s what will happen to anyone who gets in my way after the match.” As I said earlier, I believe Corbin should be in line for the Intercontinental Championship. He needs to start rising up the ranks at some point, why not now?

SmackDown Women’s Championship Tables Match – Becky Lynch (c) vs. Alexa Bliss

Becky Lynch hasn’t has a whole lot of time to establish herself as a champion. She missed a few weeks with an undisclosed injury/illness. When she came back, she managed to defend her title in controversy as Alexa had her foot on the rope before she tapped out. Ever since then, it has really seemed like Becky’s reign was living on bored time. The added stipulation of a Tables Match put that title into even more jeopardy.

I’ve quickly become an Alexa Bliss fan over the last few months. We didn’t see a whole lot of her NXT, but I knew a little bit of what she was capable of. She came up and quickly showed everyone that she was ready to be under the bright lights. There have been few people in the company who can speak with more conviction on the microphone than Alexa while already being a solid in-ring performer. Her gymnastics background has certainly helped her there. I can only think of two other women who have the whole package down like Alexa does and those women are Charlotte and Sasha Banks.

Alexa Bliss did defeat Becky Lynch at TLC by powerbombing her through a table off the apron at ringside. This is Alexa’s first reign as SmackDown Women’s Champion and her first title in WWE as she did not win the NXT Women’s Championship while she was in NXT. I’m really excited for Alexa’s reign, I think she can have some quality matches with people like Nikki Bella, Natalya, Carmella, and of course, Becky. I think the right woman won as much as I really like Becky Lynch.

Alexa appeared on Talking Smack afterwards a bit out of character and described how amazing it was to be a champion. It was the first time her parents had seen her live and in-person in WWE. She was out visibly emotional and it looked as if the moment was surreal to her. Seeing that emotion reminds me of just how much this means to each performer. The results are pre-determined, but the award is real. These championships mean the world to these wrestlers and it’s great to see someone who has worked her way up from the very bottom get one for the first time.

Congratulations, Alexa! You certainly deserve it.

World Championship TLC Match: AJ Styles (c) vs. Dean Ambrose

What a circus the World Championship picture has become over the past month of so. James Ellsworth has certainly made things difficult between Styles and Ambrose with Ambrose defending Ellsworth multiple times leading to Ellsworth being 3-0 against AJ. In that time, the animosity between AJ and Dean has reached an all-time high. 

I wasn’t so sure who would win this match going into it. A big clue for me was Ambrose saying earlier in the night that Ellsworth was at home nursing his injuries. That told me that we’d see Ellsworth at some point throughout the night. We sure did see him, when he cost Dean Ambrose the championship by knocking him off the ladder and through the table on the outside. AJ then climbed the ladder and retrieved the title to retain. 

What a crazy turn of events? I half-expected that to happen, but seeing it was something else. Ellsworth may very well be destroyed by Ambrose on SmackDown. I just feel like endings like this really overshadow what was a decent match to begin with. I really think this is one of those feuds where the wrestling has been secondary no matter how good it has been. 

Conclusion

This was a very good event to put some feuds to rest. We saw the end of Ziggler/Miz, Carmella/Nikki, Kalisto/Corbin, and hopefully Ambrose/Styles. I’m really looking forward to this week’s SmackDown Live!

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