Ah what the hell, let's live blog a PPV. Refresh your page for ongoing coverage and follow me on Twitter for my stream of consciousness.
And we're kicking things off with Dolph Ziggler vs. Zack Ryder with the United States Championship on the line! I'm sure many folks want to see Ryder pick up the win tonight, but I really think he has the momentum to keep this going to WrestleMania. I could use the extra three months to promote the #3 most downloaded story on WWE '12, Zack Ryder vs. The USA!
Also, I love, love, LOVE what this is all doing for the United States Title. Ziggler's the longest-reigning champion in WWE, Ryder is a red hot challenger and he doesn't just want to beat up Dolph Ziggler, he wants to win the US Title. When's the last time they really pushed a secondary title as a prize that someone really, really wanted?
Crowd is electric for this one too, the perfect choice for the opener. Ryder's no slouch in the ring either, I think people forgot how good he was in ECW, but Dolph Ziggler is killing it right now. The guy is an artist and the ring canvas is his... well, canvas. Showing shades of Scott Steiner now, he's putting his toes under Ryder's back and is doing sit-ups! Ultra Dick Move!
Ziggler's showboating didn't save him from the Broski Boot though! Vickie saved the US Title by putting Ziggler's foot on the ropes, but there's the ref with THE EJECTION! I love me a manager ejection.
Fantastic back and forth action now, BEAUTIFUL dropkick from Ziggler, a true HOLY SHIT! moment with Ryder hitting a Super Hurricanrana - RYDERCANRANA! - ROUGH RYDER NOW! ONE... TWO... THREE! NEW CHAMPION! I was still hoping for a WrestleMania win, but a HELL of a match and if anyone in WWE deserves this moment right now, it's Zack Ryder. He earned it. His dad going nuts at ringside was really sweet.
Impromptu Tag Team Title match now with Air Boom defending against Primo & Epico. Man, I really haven't been watching Smackdown... I honestly didn't know Primo still worked for WWE, nor did I know Epico existed.
And even though I have no idea what the background is to this match, it's going rather well. Team-O is pretty good and WWE needs more "real" teams anyway, so I'm cool with it. And as of 8:29 pm, Primo has a PPV payday and John Cena doesn't. Let that sink in for a minute.
Fun back and forth action all over the place, Bourne hits a dive to the outside, Kofi connects with Trouble in Paradise and Air Boom successfully defends. A rock solid match and hopefully it's leading to more good news for the tag division.
Backstage, casual racism with Teddy Long & Hornswoggle. You know that part in Cee-Lo Green's "Fuck You" when he cries "WHYYYYYYYY?!" over and over again? This segment was like that. Also, it was like the part where he says "fuck you."
Randy Orton vs. Wade Barrett up next in a Tables Match, but on this PPV, you can just call it a T-Match. Let's go Barrett!!!
Sorry, stepped away for a minute to make horrible jokes on Twitter. Returning to the live blog now to Barrett beating the hell out of Orton. Sadly, Wasteland off the apron through a table outside did not connect, but maybe he can try it again off the top of the TitanTron. Instead, Barrett's going for a move off the top, but Orton hits the RKO through the table for the win. Son of a bitch! C'mon Wade, you don't tug on Superman's cape, you don't kick to Hester and you certainly don't dive off the top rope at Randy stupid Orton. As always, Orton gets lucky and no one cares... the Barrett Barrage will recover!
Backstage, a five minute segment with Teddy Long (cleaning up tables takes awhile) just to set up Sheamus vs. Jack Swagger. Sigh, it's like asking Santa for an iPad and getting an eyeTAB.
Speaking of things that weren't on my Christmas list, Kelly Kelly vs. Beth Phoenix for the Divas Championship now. Surely there are other women for title matches, right? If not, HIRE SOME.
Nice little exchange with Beth missing a leg drop off the top, Kelly almost landing on her head when Beth blocks the Rocker Dropper (I'm old school), and Kelly reversing the Glam Slam into the victory roll. That ain't stopping the Glamazon this time though, Beth kicks out and reverses a hurricanrana into the Alley-Oop (old school x2!) for the win. Blah match, but a good ending. Get Beth some real competition now.
It's on, it's off, it's on, it's off, it's on! Booker T vs. Cody Rhodes is happening... just kidding, it's off. Cody attacks Booker before the match and Booker is so hurt, he walks to the back on his own. LAME!
Just shit or get off the pot with this feud already. Better yet, bring Goldust back to save Booker and let the Rhodes Bros. go at it at WrestleMania.
And it's time for what is bound to be a match so ugly, you're going to need to ice your knees when it's over, Triple H vs. Kevin Nash in a "Sledgehammer Ladder Match." I prefer "Sledgeladder Match," but if we want to be precise, it's a Stairway to Hell match. Speaking of Stairway to Hell, Justin Credible was kind of a Kliq member too, right? Maybe he'll do a run-in here? Would it be anymore out of place than this match even happening in the year 2011?
So far, the match is exactly what you'd expect: an ad for Nuprin (little, yellow, different) with the most melodramatic commentary in WWE history. "THEY WERE BEST FRIENDS, KING! IT'S SO SAD!" But, Triple H busting out a figure four ladder lock and the old HHH Irish-whip-into-the-corner-flippity-doo were both really cool.
JR coined the phrase "bowling shoe ugly" for this one and what makes it even worse is the fact that it's just not that exciting. I expected these guys to at least punch the shit out of each other since they're best buddies and all, but so far, it's all been very delicate.
Of course, I say that and Kevin Nash then falls off the top of a ladder through a table. There's something you haven't seen in an ever. Triple H gets the sledge and goes mildly ballistic. Kevin Nash falls out of the Pedigree (literally), Triple H hits it successfully the second time, then tells Nash to suck it and hits him in the face with the sledge for the win. Five bucks says Triple H thinks the "4-Life?/SUCK IT!" moment was the "I'm sorry, I love you" of 2011. Oh, I kid The Game... but seriously, that match was the wrestling equivalent of standing in the shower and waiting for hot water to come on.
Sheamus vs. Jack Swagger is the "cool down" match for Kevin Nash vs. Triple H... unfortunately, the entire PPV has been a cool down match after the opener. For the life of me, I can't figure out why this match is on the show. Don't get me wrong, I love Sheamus and Swagger, and I know Sheamus is hot right now, but who wants to see this on PPV? This could be a really fun Smackdown match, even Hour 1 main event worthy, but on PPV? People are paying $50 to watch this. People in the crowd paid hundreds of bucks for a couple decent seats to watch a glorified squash. Why bother?
Finally, something good, Big Show vs. Mark Henry in a chairs match, where chairs aren't just legal, they're ALLOWED! Big Show throws dozens of chairs into the ring, ECW style, Mark Henry walks out of this chairs match because he's getting too old for this sit, but instead he gets some NASTY! shots across the back. But hey Big Show, if you're going to dish it out, you better be ready to take it because somebody's gonna git it. Mark Henry is DESTROYING Big Show's back with steel chairs, but Big Show punches him right through the chair, NEW CHAMPION?!
The fuck?! NO! NO! NO! NO! I love ya Big Show, but Mark Henry needed to stay unstoppable through WrestleMania! Oh good, Mark Henry's gonna Hall of Pain his ass! And holy shit, DANIEL BRYAN'S CASHING IN! ONE-TWO-THREE! NEW CHAMPION AGAIN?! But dude... your first defense is gonna be against the Big Show, good luck with that.
I'm kinda split on this. I'm getting a little tired of the MITB cliché cash-in, Daniel Bryan was the perfect guy to hold off until WrestleMania, and now he has to turn, right? Bryan said the only reason he tried to cash-in on Henry was because Henry did him wrong and he wanted revenge, but then he screwed The Big Show instead, that's not cool. On the other hand, DANIEL BRYAN IS WORLD CHAMPION, which makes all other arguments invalid. I'm nervous about it, but c'mon, Bryan's World Champ, I gotta just shut up and smile tonight.
Oh look, Cody Rhodes vs. Booker T is happening in a special "Tables, Ladders and Blue Balls" match. Fun match, probably would've been a lot more fun without all the silly stuff earlier, but I guess they're going to keep it going? Maybe not, after that NASTY!! knee to the face, I don't know if Booker will ever want to get back in the ring. Holy shit, forget Cross Rhodes, Cody, that's your new finisher. Cody vs. Bryan, WrestleMania main event, make that happen.
Main Event time! CM Punk vs. The Miz vs. Alberto Del Rio in a TLC match for the WWE Championship. Thankfully, the title is hanging above the ring, so it is not pinfall/submission like I thought Cole said on Monday.
Del Rio and Miz wisely teaming up, but of course that doesn't last long. NASTY back suplex on an open chair by Miz on Punk. And now we enter the part of the review where these matches become really hard to write about without being a play-by-play guy. Bodies fly everywhere, carnage ensues, guys on the ground for a long time, Punk gets handcuffed to a ladder. Wait, what?
Yep, Ricardo Rodriguez handcuffed CM Punk to a ladder, pretty slick little moment and Punk manages to free himself and save the WWE Title by breaking the ladder with his educated feet. LIKE A BOSS.
Del Rio is on the outside now after his ding-ding got dropped on the top rope, Ricardo Rodriguez trying to get the belt for Del Rio, and then Miz & Punk tip him off the ladder through a table outside the ring. Yeah, a "HOLY SHIT!" chant is permitted after that.
But Miz is a crafty bastard and handcuffs CM Punk to the middle rope! How does Punk respond? HE TAKES THE ROPE OFF! Say it with me now, "LIKE A BOSS!"
Three man scramble up two ladders, Punk almost gets it, Miz pulls him down, GTS for his troubles! PUNK RETAINS with handcuffs still on! What a fun main event.
Well... that was an interesting night. First off, when's the last time John Cena was healthy and didn't make a single appearance on a PPV? 2003? Crazy. Also, I'm a little surprised Kane didn't come out during or after the main event and kill everyone, but I guess he's got his sights specifically on Cena right now. I'm cool with that.
Now, as for the PPV, it was definitely worth watching. Ryder & Ziggler tore the house down in the opener, Daniel Bryan won his first World Title (even if I'm a little iffy on it... poor Mark Henry... poor Big Show), and the main event was a blast.
On the other hand, Triple H vs. Kevin Nash was like season two of Glee: an overhyped vanity project. Randy Orton had no business beating Wade Barrett, there was quite a bit of filler, some terrible backstage segments (even if they were just to clean up the ringside area), and even though Cody Rhodes is a Superstar, the evening-long "will they or won't they" bullshit was worse than nine seasons of wondering if Mulder and Scully were gonna do it.
Final score for TLC 2011: FanMail. A few hits, but it wasn't CrazySexyCool.