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TLC 2017


Minneapolis, Minnesota

Target Center

Attendance: 13,381

Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Booker T, Vic Joseph (Only Cruiserweight matches), Nigel McGuinness (Only Cruiserweight matches)

Ring Announcer: Mike Rome

At the beginning of the kickoff show, it was announced that Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt are unable to compete due to a viral infection. Kurt Angle will be taking Reigns place in the handicap TLC match. Also, it's announced that AJ Styles will replace Wyatt to face "The Demon" Finn Balor. Styles was flown in from a South African tour. Lots of media outlets are covering Kurt Angle's return.

Kickoff Show Match

Alicia Fox vs. Sasha Banks

This was a match that Sasha demanded happen since Alicia attacked her backstage. There's a big reaction from the crowd for Sasha. They brawl to begin and Alicia retreats to the outside. The match has a slow start. Alicia's offense is bad. Sasha regains control as we go to a commercial. Back from commercial, Sasha apparently had Alicia in the Bank Statement during the commercial but not Alicia is in control. Alicia hits a nice back breaker on the outside. Back in the ring, Alicia does lots of rest holds that the crowd doesn't care about. Alicia throws Sasha out of the ring recklessly. I'm surprised Sasha didn't hurt her back. Sasha beats the count back in. Once Sasha is back in the ring, Alicia hits a pair of Northern lights suplexes for a near fall on both. Back to the rest holds. Alicia throws a tantrum when she can't put Sasha away. Alicia misses a scissors kick and that allows Sasha to lock in the Bank Statement!! Alicia has no choice but to tap!!! The crowd was very pro Sasha and just didn't seem to care about Alicia.

W: Sasha Banks via submission @ 10:13 (**)

Emma vs. Asuka

This is Asuka's debut on the main roster. She reigned undefeated in NXT as the NXT Women's champion. Emma won a match on Raw to earn this great honor. This is also Emma's first pay-per-view singles match. It's all Asuka in the beginning and the crowd is definitely behind her. Emma slaps Asuka and Asuka just smiles haha. Emma takes control and tries to wear down Asuka with some submission holds of her own. Emma works over Asuka in the corner to some boos from the crowd. Some good heel work here by Emma. Emma slaps Asuka again and Asuka gets fired up. Asuka begins to pick Emma apart. Emma briefly regains control but it doesn't last long. Asuka locks in an ankle lock and converts it into a nice German suplex. The action goes to the outside for a minute. Back in the ring, Asuka traps Emma in the Asuka lock and she is forced to tap out!! For this being Asuka's main roster debut, I would of liked to see her be more dominant. I feel like Emma got too much offense in. Michael Cole was pointing out how Asuka was laughing and having fun where as Corey Graves was trying to talk up her being serious, dominant, and undefeated. I feel like these do gave off different interpretations of who Asuka is going forward. That's not a good thing in my opinion.

W: Asuka via submission @ 9:26 (**1/2)

Backstage, The Miz tries to get his team pumped up for the main event. Braun Strowman and Kane don't appear to be on the same page.

Elias is in the ring now for his performance. The crowd boos before he can say or do anything. Elias runs down the crowd. Someone from just outside the screen is throwing celery and lettuce at Elias. It turns out that it's Jason Jordan throwing the produce. End of segment. Alright then...

The Brian Kendrick & Gentlemen Jack Gallagher vs. Cedric Alexander & Rich Swann

The match starts with Kendrick and Swann. Kendrick takes control and then tags Gallagher who tries a submission but has no luck. Alexander just comes in without a tag. I guess he's the legal man now? Alexander goes on offense and takes out both Gallagher and Kendrick with a flip over the ropes. Alexander's offense is fun to watch. Good tag wrestling by Alexander and Swann as they take turns working on Kendrick. Swann goes to the top but is distracted by Gallagher allowing Kendrick to take advantage and then tag Gallagher. Side note: I don't know how Gallagher wrestles in dress clothes. Anyways, Kendrick is back in and continues the work on Swann. After repeated tags by Gallagher and Kendrick, they have a miscue and Swann slides under Gallagher's legs to get a hot tag to Alexander. Kendrick pulls Alexander out of the ring when he goes to make a cover. Swann attempts to help but Kendrick hits a Northern lights suplex on Swann on the outside! Kendrick hits a super kick and locks in the Captain's hook on Alexander. Swann recovers and goes to the top rope and hits a Phoenix splash on a defenseless Kendrick to break up the submission. Swann takes out Gallagher and that allows Alexander to hit the lumbar check on Kendrick for the win!! This was good tag match with a quick pace to it. They took what time they were given and made the most of it.

W: Cedric Alexander & Rich Swann via pin @ 7:55 (***)

WWE Raw Women's Championship Match

Mickie James vs. Alexa Bliss (champ)

The crowd seems split for this one. Mickie starts the match by schooling Alexa and taking her down to frustrate her. Mickie smacks her butt in an attempt to get under her skin and play some mind games. Commentary talks up Mickie's experience and how that gives her an advantage. All Mickie in the early going. Alexa cuts her off and racks Mickie's left arm across the top rope to kill her momentum and take over control of the match. Bliss does some good work on the arm including using a hammer lock and gains a couple near falls throughout the process. Mickie attempts to fight back a few times but Alexa takes her right back down and gets a few more near falls. Mickie gets a nice kick and elbow in to stop Alexa's momentum. Now they trade blows in the middle of the ring. Both women connect with kicks taking each other down. They battle back to their knees while still throwing punches at one another. Mickie sends Alexa face first into the mat to put a stop to all of that. As Mickie builds momentum, she tries her patent DDT but Alexa targets the injured arm. Near falls by both. Mickie hits flapjack and heads to the top rope where Alexa knocks her off and Mickie falls on the injured arm. Bliss misses Twisted Bliss as James rolls out of the way. James goes back to the top where she hits a drop kick for a near fall. The crowd is chanting for tables. Mickie gets a little frustrated when she can't put Alexa away. Alexa appears to be injured in the corner but she lures Mickie in and pulls Mickie into the turnbuckle face first. Alexa follows that up with her DDT and gets the win!! This was a solid match but after the first few minutes, it's as if the crowd didn't buy into Mickie winning.

W: Alexa Bliss via pin @ 11:24 (***)

Post match, Mickie James said she's not ashamed of the loss and she'll be back in the title picture and a future women's champion again some day.

Kurt Angle prepares for the TLC match when the Shield shows up to talk to him. The Shield says they're not there to talk strategy and hand Kurt a Shield vest.

Elias is out now to try his performance again and the crowd boos. He talks about being interrupted earlier. After he runs down Minneapolis, the crowd boos louder so he claims he's starting over. Jason Jordan is there now to throw more food at him.

WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match

Enzo Amore vs. Kalisto (champ)

Kalisto just beat Enzo for the title in a lumberjack a couple weeks prior. Enzo cuts his pre-match promo despite having lost his voice but claims that's all he's losing tonight. Kalisto goes right after him when the bell rings but Enzo bails. Enzo knocks him down and poses for the crowd. Enzo runs out of the ring and Kalisto chases him. Back in the ring, Kalisto gets the upper hand. Kalisto takes him out with a suicide dive to the outside. Kalisto was distracted by the ref's count long enough for Enzo to take his legs out from him while Kalisto was standing on the turnbuckle. This causes Kalisto to hit the turnbuckle jaw first. Enzo heads to the top rope and mocks Kalisto. Enzo takes him down with a kick turned into a stomp out of the corner. Enzo does a baseball pitch punch for a near fall. Enzo works Kalisto's neck with a head lock. This part of the match feels like it drags and the crowd is losing interest. I can't say I blame them. Kalisto rolls through sending Enzo into the turnbuckle. Kalisto hits an enziguri from the apron and gets near fall. He's building momentum. Enzo counters the Solida del Sol and jumps from the second rope to hit a nice DDT. Near fall. Kalisto fights off soul food and goes for Solida del Sol a second time. Enzo avoids it and grabs the ring skirt. Enzo appears to thumb Kalisto in the eye and follows that with soul food for the win! This wasn't any good in my eyes. They don't have good chemistry together. The crowd seemed to not care whether either man won.

W: Enzo Amore via pin @ 8:51 (*1/2)

Post match, Charly Caruso interviews Enzo in the ring. He says he owes all the thanks to himself! How you doin?!?!

AJ Styles vs. "The Demon" Finn Balor

Balor's entrance is awesome. The crowd is behind both men. Cole references both guys working in Japan and leading the same faction (Bullet Club). "This is awesome" chants before the bell even rings. Now "Too Sweet" chants as well! They spend the beginning of the match just feeling each other out. The crowd is cheering for both men back and forth. They trade take downs and have a stalemate. "Too Sweet" chants again. Styles takes Balor down with a drop kick and Balor catches Styles with an enziguri. Balor gets Styles in a surfboard submission. Styles makes it to the rope to force a break. Styles hits a jaw breaker. Balor counters a sunset flip by rolling through and delivering a kick to the head. Styles stops Balor's momentum with an elbow to the face. Styles is in control now. The crowd is split chanting both guys names. Styles gets a couple near falls after hitting a springboard forearm. Both men trade blows. Styles hits a pele kick for a near fall. Balor battles back and they trade chops in the corner. Balor whips Styles from corner to corner and follows each one up with a chop. Styles goes up to the top but Balor kicks him off the top down to the floor and follows it with a suicide dive out after him. Back in the ring, Balor hits a sling blade. Styles catches Balor in a fireman's carry and drops Balor so his neck lands on Styles' knee. Styles clash is reversed! Styles hit a sit out face buster and gets a near fall. Balor begins stomping Styles in the corner and then hits a drop kick. Styles counters Balor and locks him in the calf crusher. Balor rolls through successfully but Styles holds on and keeps it locked in! Balor resorts to grabbing Styles head and ramming it into the mat repeatedly. That forces Styles to break the hold. "This is awesome" chants. Styles goes for a Phenomenal forearm but Balor pushes him off the top rope causing Styles to fall to the floor. Balor runs the apron and takes him out with a kick. John Woo kick by Balor sends Styles into the barricade. Balor rolls back into the ring to break the count. Balor goes after Styles but Styles tackles him across the announcers table. They beat the count back in. Both men go for a cross body and collide! Back up, they both go for a running clothesline and take each other out again. Both men down! Back up, they trade blows. Styles hits a couple strikes but Balor hits a pele of his own. Each man reverses the others suplex and Balor drives his elbow across the face/neck of Styles. 1916 by Balor but only a 2 count!! Another John Woo kick drives Styles into the corner. Balor goes to the top but Styles hits a pele!! Balor is stuck sitting on the top turnbuckle. Springboard hurricanrana by Styles! Styles goes for a 450 but misses! Balor hits a lariat and John Woo kick again! Up to the top, Balor connects with Coup de Grace and it's over!!! This was a great match! I believe it surpassed any match Balor and Wyatt would of had. Both men were great and the crowd was awesome throughout the whole match! Easily the best thing on the card so far.

W: "The Demon" Finn Balor via pin @ 18:16 (****)

After the match, Balor helps Styles to his feet as the crowd chants "Too Sweet". They embrace and give each other the too sweet hand gesture.

Elias is now in the ring to try his performance again. He's going to play a song for Jason Jordan. This leads to...

Elias vs. Jason Jordan

They lock up and Jordan drives Elias back into the corner and we get a clean break. Tie up again and Jordan takes him down. Then does it again. They shove each other and Jordan takes him down again. Elias retreats and takes a breather. Back in the ring, Jordan goes for another take down but Elias thumbs him in the eye. Commentary talks about Jordan being able to watch his "dad" tonight in the main event. Jordan hits a nice power slam followed by a drop kick for a near fall. Jordan goes for a bear hug but Elias escapes and hits a knee to Jordan's back knocking him into the corner. Elias beats him down. Near fall for Elias. The crowd doesn't seem to care at all about this. Elias continues to wear down Jordan. Jordan escapes an abdominal stretch on the mat but Elias locks it back in standing. Jordan tries a standing switch but it sends Elias out of the ring. Back in the ring, Jordan is in control and hits belly to belly throw and a suplex for a near fall. He puts Elias on the top turnbuckle and goes for a superplex but Elias kicks him off. Jordan runs up the rope ala Kurt Angle. and Elias kicks him off again. Elias scoops him up and tosses him in the corner. Elias tries to suplex Jordan from the apron back into the ring but Jordan reverses and gets a small package for the win! These guys were in a tough spot with a match that was put together last minute.

W: Jason Jordan via pin @ 8:46 (**)

5-on-3 Handicap TLC Match

The Miz (WWE Intercontinental champ), The Bar, Kane, & Braun Strowman vs. The Shield (WWE Raw Tag Team champs) & Kurt Angle

Good video package before the match. As I mentioned, Angle is taking Roman Reigns' place. This is Angle's first WWE match in 11 years. Classic entrance for The Shield. "You Suck" chants for Kurt during the entrance just like the good old days. The Shield and Angle grab chairs and surround the ring. The shield and Angle use the chairs on everyone! Strowman and Kane get triple teamed with multiple chair shots. The crowd loves it! Ambrose and Rollins hit suicide dives to take out The Bar and Miz. The action goes outside. All Shield and Angle in the beginning. They use ladders to take out Team Miz. They all take out Kane again with a ladder and then take apart the announcers tables at ringside. The Bar tries to save Kane but gets taken out. Strowman recovers and briefly takes out the Shield. The Shield saves Angle from going through a table. The Shield and Angle put Strowman and Kane each on an announce table. Ambrose and Rollins climb ladders and Rollins splashes Strowman through a table while Ambrose drops a flying elbow on Kane through the other table. In the ring, Kurt works on Miz with a chair but The Bar comes back in and they triple team Kurt. They use a ladder on Angle in the corner and kick it into him. The Bar and Miz try a Shield bomb on Angle but Rollins and Ambrose stop it. Angle hits his triple Germans on Miz! A German for Sheamus and Cesaro. "You still got it" chants for Kurt. The crowd loves it! Kane sits up on the outside. Angle gets Kane in the ankle lock. Strowman back in to take Angle out. They fight outside and Strowman puts Angle through a table with a running power slam!! Trainers are here to check on Angle. The Shield takes out Strowman but the numbers game catches up to them. Angle is helped to the back as all five members of Team Miz beat down The Shield in the ring. Commentary focuses on Angle being helped out for a few minutes while The Shield continues to get beat down. The crowd boos and the match has significantly slowed down. The heels take turns beating them down with chairs. The crowd chants "We want Lesnar" for some reason. The Shield tries to rally and Kane accidentally hits Braun in the back with a chair. Braun thinks he did it on purpose and pushes Kane. The Miz and The Bar try to be peacekeepers. The Bar sets up a table and power bombs Ambrose on it but it doesn't break. So, Braun sets it up in the corner and just launches him through it. The Miz directs traffic for the others to bring The Shield towards the entrance way where a garbage truck is backing into the arena. They try to throw The Shield into the truck but The Shield takes them all out except Miz. The Shield chases Miz and beats him down. Strowman and Kane are up again and help Miz beat down the opposition. Kane attacks Braun!!! He choke slams him through the stage!! Braun starts to get up so Kane knocks all the chairs from the set down onto him! Kane double choke slams both members of The Shield onto a table but they don't break. The Bar drags The Shield to the garbage truck. Braun is getting up!! Kane is in disbelief! Miz backs off from Strowman but he starts destroying his own team! He tries to put Kane in the truck but all the members of Team Miz put Strowman in the garbage truck. They attempt to murder him by crushing him in the truck!! That's the second time Braun has been almost killed this year. (See my Great Balls of Fire 2017 review for the other time) The truck drives away so I guess it's 4-on-2 now. The heels drag Rollins back to the ring as Ambrose tries to crawl after them. Kane signals for a tombstone but Angle's music hits!! YOU SUCK!! YOU SUCK!! He takes out The Bar on the ramp with a pair on Angle slams (Cesaro through a table). Kane tries to tombstone Kurt but The Shield nails him with chairs. Both Shield members tackle Kane through the barricade leaving only Angle and Miz in the ring. Skull crushing finale by Miz gets a long 2 count!! "USA" chants now. Miz goes for another one but Angle gets him in the ankle lock. Miz escapes. Angle, Rollins, and Ambrose are all on opposite aprons looking at Miz and he realizes that he's screwed. Ripcord knee by Rollins, Dirty Deeds by Ambrose, and an Angle slam by Angle. Angle calls for a Shield bomb!! They hit in the middle of the ring and it's over!! This was a long match that didn't necessarily need to be. Everything in the middle kind of just dragged waiting for Kurt to come back.

W: The Shield & Kurt Angle via pin @ 35:30 (***1/4)

Overall Rating: 6/10

The event suffered some last minute changes that was out of their control. However, I feel Balor/Styles was much better than Balor/Wyatt would of been. While the crowd didn't get to see The Shield reunion they were hoping for, they did get to see Kurt Angle's return after 11 years away. Angle did about as well as you can hope for. I felt the length of the main event made it not as good as it could of been. The first ten minutes of it were good and so were the last five to seven minutes were good. The middle was just drawn out brawling while watching Team Miz implode. Asuka's debut was poorly done in my opinion. Emma looked like her equal when I believe Asuka should of dominated. The tag cruiserweight match was good for the time given but the cruiserweight championship match was bad. The women's title match was solid but I don't think the crowd bought into Mickie winning. The event will be remembered for Balor/Styles, Asuka's debut, and Angle's return under the unfortunate viral infection circumstances.

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