Intercontinental Champion Dolph Ziggler def. Kofi Kingston and Jack Swagger in a Triple Threat Ladder Match
Ziggler and Kingston had been feuding over the Intercontinental Championship since the summer, so it was already well established that they had great chemistry together. Plus, Swagger being thrown into the mix helped freshen things up a bit. This was a really fun match with some suspenseful "nearfalls" (a.k.a. someone nearly pulling down the title). I believe the finish was botched, as Ziggler was supposed to catch the belt before it hit the ground. Either way, I thought it was clever, though I could understand why others may have thought it was lame. This was the perfect matchup to open the event with.
Divas Champion Natalya and Beth Phoenix def. LayCool in a Tag Team Tables Match
I remember this being one of the best women's matches I had seen in WWE up to this point. Of course, the women are involved in all sort of gimmick matches these days, but I'm not sure if there had ever been a women's tag team Tables match prior to this pay-per-view. There was one really scary moment where Phoenix landed on the back of her neck at ringside, but she seemed to be fine and was back in the action a few minutes later. Other than that, this was a pretty good Tables match and I liked the ending with Natalya putting both members of LayCool through a table via a leap from the top rope. Unfortunately, Natalya went on to drop the Divas Championship to Eve Torres out of nowhere one month later on Raw.
WWE Tag Team Champions Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov def. The Nexus by Disqualification
Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel had just lost the tag titles to Marella and Kozlov a few weeks earlier on Raw, so this might have been a case of them invoking their automatic rematch clause (even though it wasn't advertised in advance). It was the only match on the show to not have a stipulation, and rightfully so. This served as a set-up for the night's main event between John Cena and Nexus leader Wade Barrett with The Nexus getting some last-minute heat by getting themselves intentionally disqualified and beating up the babyfaces. If that was going to be the outcome, there probably wasn't much of a reason for this to last as long as it did.
John Morrison def. Sheamus in a WWE Championship No. 1 Contender's Ladder Match
I appreciated how different this was from the Ladder match that opened the show. They told a strong story with Morrison battling back from everything Sheamus dished out. There were some crazy spots and it helped that there was something of importance on the line. Morrison just sort of existed on the roster for most of 2010, but this was a breakout performance from him, and the decisive victory over former WWE Champion Sheamus caused his stock to skyrocket (if only for a brief bit). In retrospect, I wish they would have saved Morrison vs. The Miz for the WWE Championship until the Royal Rumble and not done it on the first Raw of 2011.
WWE Champion The Miz def. Randy Orton in a Tables Match
Miz had just won the WWE title from Orton on Raw one month prior, so there was virtually no chance of him losing here (unless officials had already deemed his reign a flop). That said, I liked the suspense surrounding some of the close calls with Orton and Miz nearly going through the tables. You know, your average Tables match. It wasn't anything too out of the ordinary and it wasn't their strongest outing together, but it was decent. Miz cheating to retain the title and then doing it again after the matchup was restarted once the referee realized that Miz dragged Orton's body over the broken wood the first time was well done.
Edge def. Kane, Alberto Del Rio and Rey Mysterio in a Fatal 4-Way TLC Match to Win the World Heavyweight Championship
Edge and Kane were supposed to face off one-on-one in a TLC match while Mysterio and Del Rio clashed in a Chairs match, but it ended up turning into a Fatal 4-Way TLC match shortly before the pay-per-view. Needless to say, it was for the best. This is honestly one of my favorite TLC matches in the last decade as it was all action and featured a number of innovative spots. It was a total car crash, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Kane's five-month reign as World Heavyweight Champion had been relatively underwhelming, so Edge taking the title (his tenth, mind you) in the gimmick matchup he made famous was fitting and resulted in a cool moment.
Big Show Attacked Cody Rhodes
WWE would do (and still does) segments like this on pay-per-view where they send a heel out of the ring to trash the crowd for a few minutes only to get laid out by a babyface. Here, it was "Dashing" Cody Rhodes doing his usual shtick and getting interrupted by Santa Big Show, who was handing out copies of his recently-released movie Knucklehead (which actually wasn't terrible). This was going fine until Show stripped Rhodes to his trousers, where the joke was supposed to be that Rhodes labels his underwear with whatever the day is. It was a dumb joke that the commentators were painfully instructed to laugh at.
John Cena def. Wade Barrett in a Chairs Match
The Cena vs. Nexus feud had long overstayed its welcome by this point, so I'm not sure how many people were clamoring to see this match. After all, Barrett losing to Orton at Survivor Series four weeks earlier caused Cena to be "fired," and he never missed a week of television. Cena had since been reinstated, so the matchup meant nothing. To their credit, they tried to make the most of the silly stipulation, but this felt flat to me. Cena winning so easily didn't help matters, either. He proceeded to literally bury Barrett under a bunch of chairs on the stage, leading to CM Punk ranting about how Cena is a bully. That set the stage for their feud that would kick off on the next night's Raw.
This was one of my favorite pay-per-views of the year back in 2010 and that still stands today, even if everything on the card wasn't amazing. The main event was underwhelming, sure, but that TLC match was something special. Plus, Miz vs. Orton was enjoyable for what it was, I liked the Ladder matches, and the women's Tables matchup was a nice treat. WWE did an overall excellent job with this gimmick pay-per-view and I was happy that most of the matches were worthy of the stipulation they were given. It was the perfect feel-good show ahead of the holidays.