By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Sasha Banks def. Becky Lynch (Kickoff Match)
I couldn't believe they waited until only a few hours before the show to announce this match for the Kickoff show. I highly doubt it would have affected how many people watched the pay-per-view and/or bought the WWE Network, but it was easily one of the best Kickoff matches in some time. I was glad they were given the time they deserved as opposed to their initial outing on Raw from a few weeks back. Banks was obviously beloved in Boston, but the singing routine was cringe-worthy. I guess it helped them elicit heat, but I'd rather not see them become a female version of The New Day (although they come across that way on social media). They wrestled a very good match that had the right outcome with the hometown girl winning. At the same time, though, it makes little sense to include Lynch in the Divas Championship picture soon (as was teased later in the show) and not include Banks despite her victory.
WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day def. The Usos and The Lucha Dragons in a Triple Threat Ladder Match
New Day are so over right now it's not even funny. Having them open the event was wise as the crowd was hot for them before the show even began. From where I was sitting, the merchandise stands sold out of their stuff almost immediately. And I'd remiss if I didn't mention that this was one of the greatest matches I've ever witnessed live. I mean, pardon my French, but holy shit! Everyone worked hard and had an amazing performance. All six Superstars shined at one point or another and there never seemed to be a dull moment. Needless to say, the Salida Del Sol off the top of the ladder was absolutely insane. I'd be shocked if no one walked away from this thing hurt. I wouldn't have minded if either of the babyface tandems won, but New Day are still hot as hell (and you can't teach that) that they should keep the twin titles for a while longer.
Rusev def. Ryback
I don't think there is much question that this was the worst match of the night and that shouldn't come as a surprise considering how terrible the build (or lack thereof) was going into the event. We (the crowd) sat on our hands the entire time, but if nothing else, it didn't overstay its welcome and Rusev went over as he should have. I'm a Ryback fan, but Rusev needs more momentum right now given his current spot in the League of Nations.
United States Champion Alberto Del Rio def. Jack Swagger in a Chairs Match
Along from Ryback vs. Rusev, I couldn't have cared less about this bout going in, so I was pleasantly surprised to see it exceed my expectations. Del Rio and Swagger have always worked well together, but the story they've been telling as of late has been fallen flat with most viewers. Regardless, they incorporated a few cool spots into the matchup that made it one of if not the best Chairs match in the history of TLC (though I realize that's not saying much). Fans had zero incentive to think Swagger would win, so they did a nice job of making it seem like he had a chance down the stretch.
The Wyatt Family def. The ECW Originals in an Elimination Tables Match
The Wyatt Family needed a strong showing to bounce back from their recent pay-per-view losses and this was just that. Rowan is the weakest link of the group, so I was fine with him eating a 3D through a table from the Dudleyz. The rest of the match and extreme spots kept the crowd engaged and it was refreshing to see three of the four members of The Wyatt Family survive. RJ Marceau pointed this out to me, but did it look like to anyone else that Bubba Ray was supposed to light the table before it broke? Or did the spot go as planned?
Dean Ambrose def. Kevin Owens to Win the Intercontinental Championship
For a match with very little build and no video package to back it up, this was one of the better bouts of the night. Then again, Owens and Ambrose can always be counted on for a quality performance and because they're both over, the crowd was happy with whoever won. That said, Ambrose winning was a sweet swerve. It came completely out of nowhere, but it sets up Owens for bigger and better things and Ambrose can have a fun run with the secondary title through WrestleMania.
Divas Champion Charlotte def. Paige
While there was nothing technically wrong with the match, it left me more confused than I was before about who I was supposed to cheer for. Paige, the same one who insulted dead Reid Flair one month ago, scored a much louder reaction than Charlotte, which speaks volumes. Ric Flair, as entertaining as he is, didn't help at ringside by taking the focus off his daughter. He should be the manager, not the main attraction. The matches have been solid, but the character development with the women continues to be odd.
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus def. Roman Reigns in a TLC Match
I've seen several polarizing opinions about this match, but to me, it was a pretty lousy main event. Now, I appreciate their effort because it was definitely there, but the crowd turned against both guys and as a result, it didn't matter who won. I don't even think it's a stretch to call it one of the worst TLC matches of all-time. Please, name me one that was worse (other than maybe Miz vs. Jerry Lawler from 2010, which also wasn't half-bad). There were a few decent spots, and the crowd came alive for Reigns toward the end, but Boston was deflated when Sheamus won. However, having Reigns annihilate the League of Nations and The Authority afterward was brilliant and sent the crowd home happy. Reigns vs. HHH is the real attraction in this mess of a feud with Sheamus, and I can't wait to see it go down at WrestleMania.
My thoughts on the show will be different than the average viewer watching from home because I was in attendance for, but I thoroughly enjoyed TLC. Rusev vs. Ryback was a waste of time and the main event was far from what it should have been, but the close of the show was an awesome ending. Ambrose winning the Intercontinental title was a highlight and the Ladder match stole the show. Everything else was solid relatively speaking and it was a lot better than I figured it was going to be since the last few weeks of WWE TV have been horrid. Would it be a stretch to call this the best PPV since SummerSlam? You can decide that for yourself, but it was surely a positive way of closing out the year for the most part.