WWE’s annual showcase of furniture destruction, Tables Ladders & Chairs, is now in the books. It was one of the more entertaining pay-per-views of the year, largely thanks to a stellar in-ring debut by The Shield and some intriguing twists. If you missed the show, you can check out WrestleNewz’s full play-by-play TLC rundown. Below is our take on the highlights, lowlights and otherwise noteworthy moments of TLC:
Best match: There won’t be much disagreement over this one: The Shield stole the show with their impressive debut against Ryback and Team Hell No in the six-man TLC match. Although it was full of heavy hitting and highspots, the match also featured some clever innovations and compelling storytelling. The Brooklyn crowd broke into a “This is awesome” chant, and they weren’t kidding.
Worst match: No surprise here: Eve versus Naomi. As Divas matches go, it wasn’t all that bad, and it was mercifully short. But it was still clunky and unnecessary, since there are plenty of guys on the roster who could have filled that time slot with a more entertaining match.
Breakout star of the night: Dean Ambrose demonstrated why so many people have been eagerly anticipating his debut on the big stage. He stayed true to his more hardcore roots, taking a chokeslam on a steel chair and delivering a chair-assisted bodyslam (shades of ultraviolent icon Necro Butcher).
Chant of the night: “Cody’s Moustache! (Clap-clap-clapclapclap).” That furry facial ferret is more over than half the wrestlers on the WWE roster. Even the commentators seemed obsessed with it.
Biggest bump from a ladder: Seth Rollins took a nasty backward fall through a stack of tables after being yanked off a ladder by Ryback. The move was dangerous enough, being from a height of roughly 15 feet above the hard arena floor, but Rollins didn’t land squarely on the tables, clipping the back of his head against the hard edge of one table on his way down. Almost as painful-looking was the double-suplex Ryback delivered to Rollins and Ambrose onto a ladder in the ring. Both men landed hard back-first on the ladder, and look of agony on Ambrose’s face probably was probably more than mere theatrics.
Biggest table bump: Aside from Rollins’ nasty plummet through a pile of tables, Sin Cara took a dangerous backwards fall through tables after being shoved off the top rope during a sprinboard attempt. It was an innovative and risky move, and a great finish to an enjoyable tables match. He almost overshot his target, though, which would have been disastrous.
Best promo of the night: “Of all the loathsome ignoramuses spread across this country, I ask you this: is there any form of life lower than the Brooklyn hipster? You are all, quite literally, the unwashed masses.” — Damien Sandow
Best chance for a pee break: Eve vs. Naomi, natch.
Best tweet of the night: The always-funny @WWECreative_ish, during the show-stealing six-man TLC match, tweeted: “This is a hell of a warmup for the 3MB match #FurniturePPV”
Surprise of the night: Although many will insist that AJ turning on John Cena was the biggest shocker, most of us knew it was coming sooner or later. Alberto del Rio’s face turn, on the other hand, was much more sudden and less predictable (same with the Miz’s change of heart). But the biggest surprise of the night had to be John Cena pulling off a half-decent hurricarana on Ziggler.
Biggest WTF moment: JBL’s comment that “Daniel Bryan looks like he took a shotgun full of hair and shot himself in the face with it.” Aside from being a ridiculous and nonsensical analogy, a gun reference was a poor choice given the recent tragedy in Connecticut, and following WWE’s classy 26-bell salute in honor of its victims.
Biggest “holy sh**” moment: Seth Rollins’ dangerous drop through a pile of tables looked very unpleasant, and it wouldn’t be surprising if he suffered a concussion from clonking his head on the way down.
Best new piece of merch: CM Punk’s new “Knees 2 Faces” t-shirt. Many have speculated that this might be an early strike in a war of words with The Rock. Joey Styles tweeted: “@CMPunk’s new t-shirt says #Knees2Faces. Does @TheRock smell what Punk is cookin’ up for him?”
Unusual offense of the night: The Big Show retained his championship by clobbering Sheamus with what might be the world’s largest steel chair.
Most predictable moment: Cesaro retaining the United States Championship. R-Truth just wasn’t a credible opponent. Here’s hoping Cesaro continues to climb toward even better things. Also predictable: the Spanish announce table got smashed to smithereens, which was bound to happen at one point.
Feel-good moment: The Brooklyn Brawler joined The Miz and Del Rio for their six-man tag match against 3mb. A nice bit of nostalgia that generated a big pop from Brawler’s hometown crowd. And, after all these years, we finally found out what the Brawler’s finisher is: the Boston Crab.
Corniest Jerry Lawler one-liner: “Brooklyn Brawler’s been around so long, his favorite rock group is Mount Rushmore.”
Biggest Pop of the Night: Daniel Bryan. The crowd exploded when he was announced, compared to relatively tepid receptions for partners Kane and Ryback. Good old New York City crowds. Ziggler naturally got an enormous pop too when he claimed his beloved briefcase.
Biggest logic fail: The commentators pretended to be shocked and surprised when the Brooklyn Brawler showed up, but then launched into a string of Brawler factoids that were obviously compiled in advance.
Most likely opening segment for Monday’s Raw: A longwinded confrontation between John Cena and the traitor jezebel AJ Lee. Raw will probably be on the air for at least 25 minutes before we see any actual wrestling. If we’re lucky, The Shield will put an end to all the soap opera jibber-jabber.