Welcome to The Wrestling Kennection's LIVE TLC 2017 PPV Coverage!!!
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Women's Kickoff Match "The Boss" Sasha Banks vs. Alicia Fox
RESULT: Sasha Banks wins via submission; Banks countered the Axe Kick into the Banks Statement for the tap out.
THOUGHTS: Same result, different day. Sasha picks up yet another win over Alicia "crazy cat lady without a cat" Fox and more or less affirms herself as the next RAW women to take on Asuka, if commentary's words are anything to go by.
WK KING OF PPV: Ken - 1 pt Julie - 1pt Nick - 0 pts Greg - 0 pts Prakhar - 1 pt Kristoff - 1 pt Evan - 2 pts (LOCK)
Women's Singles Match "Empress of Tomorrow" Asuka vs. Emma
RESULT: Asuka wins via submission; Asuka connected with a roundhouse kick, followed by the Asuka Lock for the tap out.
THOUGHTS: A solid RAW debut for Asuka. While I'm sure some will complain it was far too even-keeled and Emma got too much in, the commentary did at least point out that Emma previously faced Asuka in NXT and thus was more familiar with the "Empress of Tomorrow" than most of the main roster would be.
Anyway, Asuka get her debut win as expected, and Sasha looks to be first in line to take her on.
WK KING OF PPV: Ken - 3 pts (LOCK) Julie - 3 pts (LOCK) Nick - 1 pt Greg - 0 pts Prakhar - 2 pts Kristoff - 1 pt Evan - 2 pts
Cruiserweight Tag Team Match Rich Swann & Cedric Alexander vs. The Brian Kendrick & "Gentleman" Jack Gallagher
RESULT: Alexander & Swann win via pinfall; Alexander pinned Kendrick following the Lumbar Check.
THOUGHTS: Another solidly done match here, this time with the Cruiserweights in action. Kendrick and Gallagher played up a decent heat on Swann until Alexander got the hot tag and ran wild on both men, including surviving the Captain's Hook thanks to Swann's Phoenix Splash (don't see that all too often) and cinching a win after a nasty-looking Lumbar Check (although two knees to the spine are nasty any way you look at it).
WK KING OF PPV: Ken - 4 pts Julie - 3 pts Nick - 1 pt Greg - 0 pts Prakhar - 3 pts Kristoff - 2 pts Evan - 2 pts
WWE RAW Women's Championship "The Goddess" Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Mickie James
RESULT: Alexa Bliss wins via pinfall; Bliss pulled Mickie into the turnbuckle, followed by a DDT for the three count.
THOUGHTS: A slightly-above average outing here for the RAW Women's Title, with Mickie showing the same fire she had been building up for the last couple weeks versus Alexa. There were a couple nice near falls, but they never really made it feel like that Mickie could truly come away with the championship in this go-around, which took away from what was a pretty good, intense encounter.
Mickie's post-match promo tells me she's not quite done in the title picture, and I wouldn't mind seeing her and Alexa face off again, perhaps with Asuka or Sasha in the mix.
WK KING OF PPV: Ken - 5 pts Julie - 4 pts Nick - 2 pts Greg - 0 pts Prakhar - 4 pts Kristoff - 3 pts Evan - 3 pts
WWE Cruiserweight Championship Kalisto (c) vs. Enzo Amore
RESULT: NEWWWWW Champion Enzo Amore wins via pinfall; Enzo pinned Kalisto after a poke to the eyes and the Jawdon-Zo.
THOUGHTS: Kind of surprised about the placement of this match; given the magnanimity of Balor vs. Styles and Kurt Angle's return, I figured this match would've served as the "rest stop" match between those two big-time situations, but I guess WWE trusts the Minneapolis crowd to stay hot through both main events tonight.
That being said, this was Enzo's best single outing to date, not that that says much, mind you, but he certainly looked more comfortable in his role as a sneaky, cowardly and cocky heel. He showed that sneaky side here, capitalizing on a split-second opportunity to poke Kalisto in the eye hole and capitalize with the Jawdon-Zo to capture his second Cruiserweight title.
One can imagine that Kalisto's rematch will come sooner than later, and may very well prove to be the key transition towards an all-Cruiserweight Surivor Series elimination match next month.
WK KING OF PPV: Ken - 6 pts Julie - 5 pts Nick - 3 pts Greg - 1 pt Prakhar - 4 pts Kristoff - 4 pts Evan - 4 pts
RAW VS. SMACKDOWN LIVE "The Demon" Finn Balor vs. "The Phenomenal" AJ Styles
RESULT: "The Demon" Finn Balor wins via pinfall; Balor countered the springboard 450 into a dropkick and the Coup de Grace for the win.
THOUGHTS: Amazing first-time encounter between Balor and Styles. Everything between the two former Bullet Club leaders was crisp, clean and fluid. Great transitions, great intensity, breathtaking counters and exciting near falls, not to mention that these two fantastic performers had the crowd in the palm of their hand even before the starting bell.
As much as I would've like to see Styles cinch a win and affirm himself as the next (and hopefully last) challenger for Mahal's WWE Title, this is a big win for Balor and should go a long way towards establishing himself as Lesnar's next title challenger (barring another visit from "Sister A-Bray-gail"), as well as serve as a quality prelude to "RAW vs. Smackdown" at Survivor Series in November.
WK KING OF PPV: Ken - 6 pts Julie - 6 pts Nick - 3 pts Greg - 1 pt Prakhar - 4 pts Kristoff - 4 pts Evan - 4 pts
3-on-5 Handicap Tables, ladders & Chairs Match Kurt Angle, Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose vs. Braun Strowman, The Miz, Kane & The Bar
RESULT: Kurt Angle & The Shield win via pinfall; Angle pinned Miz after an "Olympic Shield-Bomb."
THOUGHTS: A lot of mixed feelings on this main event; on the one hand, I'm happy they kept Kurt limited here to using weapons and going through his nostalgic bits like the triple Germans and Angle Slams, having him sit out partway through the match and coming back triumphantly to his music, cleaning house on Sheamus and Cesaro and ending up with the winning pinfall on Miz. Good for Kurt.
On the flip side, though, this was FAR too drawn out after we hit the second leg of the match, especially with the beatdown of Ambrose and Rollins that went for way too long. Also, while I had an inkling something might go down between Strowman and Kane, two individuals not known for "playing well with others", that part felt kind of flat too, and the whole bit with Strowman being 'trashed' by Miz (who you could tell thought it was stupid to do) and the others was really unnecessary.
Overall, it was a crazy chaotic ride and hit all the classic TLC high spots, but the final leg of the match could've used some serious trimming down, as it caused the match as a whole to end up slogging its way to the finish.
The PPV ended up a decent, middle-of-the-road show with a solid debut from Asuka, good matches from the Cruiserweight and Women's Division, a great outing from Style and Balor, and a risky, but ultimately triumphant return for Kurt Angle. Considering the outside circumstances with the viral infection, WWE managed to switch gears without losing too much of a step.