WWE Tables, Ladders, Chairs and Stairs 2014
December 14, 2014
Quicken Loans Arena
Cleveland, Ohio

WWE Tables, Ladders, Chairs and Stairs certainly wasn’t a highly anticipated PPV. We had trouble filling this reviewer roster and the buzz amongst our fanbase, Twitter followers and forum was minimal. I can’t blame anyone,because the build bordered between dull and outwardly bad. On the bright side, gimmick matches can cover up a lot of flaws and TLC(S) certainly wasn’t short on them: a Tables match, a Chairs match, the requisite TLC, A STAIRS MATCH, plus a ladder match between Luke Harper and Dolph Ziggler that was sure to be at least okay.

Turns out, Harper vs. Ziggler was more than okay, it was the blow-away match of the night on one of the worst WWE PPVs in recent memory. A show so boring Jerry Lawler and JBL were at a loss for words. Yes, John Bradshaw Layfield struggled to come up with things to say during this bore fest. The gimmicks hurt most of the matches, save for Harper/Ziggler, and multiple cop-out finishes combined with an already cautious crowd created one of the hardest three-hour watches all year. Worse yet, three of the gimmick matches (Chairs, Stairs and TLC) had little to no differences in actual stipulations. The Chairs match saw the guys use  a lot of chairs, the Stairs match saw guys use a lot of stairs, the TLC match had no differentiation except they used all three of the weapons throughout the match. The problem? There was no reason for it. If you don’t NEED the ladder to climb and grab anything, why use a ladder? Why was a ladder a more apt weapon during the main event than it was for the Chairs match?

I could spend paragraphs describing the issues with this PPV but isn’t that what the review is for? Full credit to Rovert for the short circuiting headline.

Pre-show
The New Day def. Gold and Stardust

Joe Lanza: This was an uninspired piece of shit with no heat whatsoever. So what do veteran workers Goldust & Cody Rhodes do to turn things around? Multiple reverse chinlocks, brother. That’ll get ‘em invested. Look, I get that it’s a pre-show match, but this was absolute garbage. To top it off, Big E forgot that Kofi was the legal man on the finish. Brass rings were not grabbed. *

Taylor Mitchell: The commentating team spent a good portion of this match talking about the Great Gazoo. Even to the point that Michael Cole, on air, looked up the Great Gazoo on his phone to show JBL who the Flintstones character was. This commentary team is flat out disrespectful. This is not the first time they have pulled this crap. There are guys on the undercard that can’t get over and the commentary team helps create an atmosphere of “these guys don’t matter.” ugh. Also, Stardust pulled out a Billy Goat’s Curse on Kofi, obviously to stick it to that Colt Cabana guy, right? At least, that’s what the dumb side of the internet fans will say. Oh… the match? Well, if the commentary team doesn’t care why should we? NR

Bryan Rose: These announcers are the sheer worst. I’d rather hear Alex Riley’s bad heel shtick than these idiots going on about the Great Gazoo for what felt like forever. So embarrassing. Didn’t help that this match was way longer than it needed to be. Someone needs to speak up at this point. Grow a pair. These people are making sure you never get over. The match itself was just there, pretty solid, already forgot most of it. **1/2

Rich Kraetsch: I was eating Chinese food and didn’t watch this. The chinese food (Golden Wok II) was ****¾.

WWE Intercontinental Championship – Ladder Match
Dolph Ziggler def. Luke Harper (c)

Joe Lanza: Great match, great finish, the right finish. Huge hometown pop for Dolph for the entrance and the win. This had some brutal bumps, and some creative spots. When have you ever seen finger or ankle attacks in a ladder match? Harper had a bloody arm, Dolph had bloody FINGERS, and Dolph’s head was busted open. A rare ladder match that felt like a fight, instead of a series of well set up spots. Dolph is the only guy on the roster who climbs the ladder like he’s actually trying to get to the top, even when it isn’t the finish, which had me buying one of the false finishes towards the end. Dolph has been on fire lately, but based on history I’m not holding my breath for a substantial push, which is something he deserves. Great match. ****1/4

Taylor Mitchell:This crowd was completely silent for the pre-show match and WOKE UP for the hometown hero, Ziggler’s entrance. It had a Money in the Bank 2011 feel to it. Ziggler was wearing a Kent State, his alma mater, hoodie and a Cleveland Browns logo on his tights. This match had some unique twists on some of the typical ladder match spots. Both men were bleeding and Ziggler had some pretty ugly welts on his body. Ziggler wrestled in a way that he was almost begging for another concussion. You’ve got to give him credit for constantly killing himself, but he needs to tone it down if he wants the company to rely on him long term. This was one of the better ladder matches in an era that is overcrowded with ladder matches. ***1/4

Bryan Rose: This was a pretty alright match. The story of it was Ziggler kept climbing, Harper kept putting him down. This happened a lot. Lots of brutal and stiff stuff, including Harper powerbombing Ziggler into one of the ladders. I did like the finish where Ziggler superkicked Harper off an opposite ladder then climbed his to win the title. There have been better ladder matches, but this was decent. Too bad now that he’s champion again he’s going to be doing more jobs. ***1/2

Rich Kraetsch: Brutal is the only way to describe this match and I mean that in a good way. More times than not a Ladder match in WWE is all about high spots, rarely if ever does a ladder match feel like a grueling battle. Not this one, this was absolutely brutal with both guys bleeding hardway. Stiff falls onto ladders, ladders being in the wrong spot and guys landing awkwardly. They teased a bunch of endings mostly with Ziggler coming close. In some ways, the teases were even better than the actual finish which was still solid. I enjoyed the hell out of this even though it absolutely wasn’t what I was expecting from these two. ***½

WWE Tag Team Championships
The Miz and Damien Mizdow © def. The Usos

Joe Lanza: Crowd was digging this, with both teams super over, but before things could get cooking we got a lame DQ finish with Mizdow getting themselves disqualified. This was like a nothing TV match, and the lame finish would turn out to be a warning sign of things to come. *1/2

Taylor Mitchell:This match felt like it belong on a Chikara show for the Campeonatas de Parejas. Total comedy match, but slightly entertaining. Mizdow and Jey Uso were never legal men in the match which made this a glorified singles match. It was different then most WWE tag team title matches we have seen lately on PPV. That is both good and bad. It was unique, but the work rate wasn’t as good as the forgettable Dust Bros/Uso’s and Uso’s/Wyatt’s matches. The WWE tag team division is in a weird place right now. **1/2

Bryan Rose: If they can’t have a good finish on a PPV, then i’m not going into detail about this match. It was fine. Horrible finish. These finishes might fly on Raw but on PPV it’s fucking stupid. **¾

Rich Kraetsch: It was every Uso’s match you’ve ever seen and Miz/Mizdow did nothing that really stood out. The ending was a total cop-out and I honestly have no problem with it as a TV finish but it’s real lame on a PPV. Meh, move on.

Steel Stairs Match
Erick Rowan vs. Big Show

Joe Lanza: What am I supposed to say? It was really boring. They tried I guess, but this stunk. Plod around, occasionally whack each other with the “200 pound” steel steps. Yawn. Normally I throw a single star at something like this because it wasn’t sloppy or badly performed, but I’m feeling cranky.  DUD

Taylor Mitchell: In a match with a silly stipulation these two made the best of it. Erick Rowan is improving with great strides as he sold really well for Big Show’s lame offense. The stairs spots could’ve benefited from some Jim Ross commentary. “It looks like a car wreck on highway 31!” sounds a lot better than Michael Cole’s choice of “It looks like stairs bowling!” and Lawler’s follow up line “Strike!”. Basically, this match was better than I expected, but I was expecting less than a star rating. Due to effort and Rowan’s selling, I’ll give it uno snowflake. *

Bryan Rose: There was a lot of steel steps spots. The crowd didn’t care. They were dead silent for EVERYTHING except a small “Big Show sucks” and “NXT” chant. Big Show pinned Erik Rowan clean as a sheet. We are in the year 2015 almost and the 40 something Big Show is still being protected as a giant monster who switches between heel and face every few months that no one cares about. This was awful and a waste of my time. I hate this company. -1/2*

Rich Kraetsch: We were all wondering what the hell a stairs match would be and we’ve found out: two prodding huge men bumping into one another and occasionally throwing 60 lb stairs that are advertised as being over 250 pounds and of course, stair bowling. Oh and stairs matches suck, a lot. This was a train wreck and 15 minutes of my life I’m never getting back. -*

Tables Match
John Cena def. Seth Rollins

Joe Lanza: A mostly mediocre, mid level caliber RAW main event that turned into what should have been a hot angle/match/brawl, with Noble, Matthews, Big Show, & 19 referees getting involved, and the return of Roman Reigns to save the day. The problem is that they do these wild, crazy angle brawl things on nearly every PPV & RAW, so they aren’t special anymore and never come off as hot or as impactful as they should. I don’t even know how to rate stuff like this. At some point it ceases being a match. Something something “We tell stories”. Yeah, but the stories are all tired and overdone.  **

Taylor Mitchell:The fact that this crowd popped so big for Ziggler proves to me that this isn’t a bad crowd, it is a bad product. The fans were dead for the majority of this match with the exception of a few “Let’s Go Cena! Cena Sucks” chants in which the crowd was trying to manufacture heat. The commentary team is at an all-time low tonight and that is saying a lot when the two front runners for “Worst Commentator” are sitting at the table here, but they seemed like they were falling asleep. If they are disinterested then how do they expect us to care? The finish to this match is completely idiotic. Both men go through a table at the same time leading to three referees conferring over the result. Yet, two of these referees had to have seen earlier in the match that Cena put Rollins through a table when referee Chioda was knocked down. Why weren’t they pointing this out to Chioda? So, the match gets re-started. Makes no sense. Then Big Show comes out, is thwarted by returning Roman Reigns, and Cena wins. The WWE made the right decision to not have this match go on last. ¼*

Bryan Rose: This was the most overbooked match I have ever seen. I’m so drained from watching this match I don’t even know. First off Seth’s goons were interfering every time Cena did a spot. So he, being a demigod, destroyed them repeatedly. Seth ends up going through the table. BUT WAIT. There was a ref bump, because of course. The doctor, I should note, looked up and saw Seth through the table, but did not say anything to the fallen referee. Then they both go through a table at the same time. A very long discussion between various referees, who I guess were temporarily blinded when Cena initially put Rollins through the table, occurs. The match is restarted and Seth goes through the table for the third time after a Big Show run in fails thanks to the returning Roman Reigns. Why this needed to be overbooked to the max  I’ll never know, but I hated this match with a passion. This is why people don’t get over or don’t care. -**

Rich Kraetsch: This should have been good but it just wasn’t. The match was boring, went nowhere, the stipulation hurt it drastically and was overbooked to get there. I definitely think this would have fared much better as  TLC but what can you do? There’s not much more I can say about this match. I hated how overbooked it was with Big Show running in, J&J Security interfering throughout and the return of Roman Reigns. This would’ve been a great showcase for Seth Rollins but he looked like nothing more than an accessory to stories involving Cena and Reigns. Either way, take out the angles and this match was still no good — tables matches generally aren’t.

WWE Divas Championship
Nikki Bella © def. AJ Lee

Joe Lanza: It was fine. Another RAW match. **

Taylor Mitchell:Nikki Bella is continuing to improve in the ring, but this match was “meh”. The WWE needs to make Sara Del Rey the agent of all WWE Divas PPV matches. She should stay in NXT to help the rookie Divas, but she could also help the Divas on the main roster that never had the privilege of her training. *1/2

Bryan Rose: It was a match with a distraction finish ending. See: every WWE match ever. **

Rich Kraetsch: This PPV is something else and not in a good way. WWE babyfaces are complete morons and even when a heel manager is being sent to the back they can help but be distracted. In this case, Nikki shot hairspray into AJ and got the pinfall. This match itself wasn’t terrible by any means but it certainly didn’t turn this PPV around. **

Chairs Match
Ryback def. Kane

Joe Lanza: It was sad watching these guys take some hard chair shots while Ryback was dishing out some nice power moves while the crowd gave them zero reaction until a tepid “Feed Me More” chant towards the end. Like some of the other matches on this show there was good effort, but this just wasn’t compelling because I can’t imagine anybody giving a single shit about Kane at this point in his career. Ryback won clean & decisively, which was a good finish. Amid some of the muck, a couple of these matches did feature the right finish. **1/4

 

Taylor Mitchell: Much like the stairs match earlier, these guys put effort in a match that has a silly stipulation. Ryback and Kane tried to make it work, but it was just boring and kept dragging on. *1/2

Bryan Rose: I forgot this match existed. I was so sad when I remembered it. This wasn’t bad per se, but it was just there. Kane probably did not have a fun night being spine-bustered into chairs. Some alright spots, but just another match. I was going to lose my mind in Kane won here. *3/4

Rich Kraetsch: If one chair shot is good, what about 300?! That was the theory with this match and the crowd reacted less with each subsequent chairshot. This was miles better than the Stairs match but there still wasn’t much there. On another card, in another spot, this may have been better received but this crowd and viewing audience is DYING for something to react to. This was chairshots, heavy breathing and finally a spinebuster. I’ll go easy on this one, it wasn’t the worst. **1/4

WWE United States Championship
Rusev © def. Jack Swagger

Joe Lanza: Due to a drunk fan getting kicked out of the arena, the crowd was distracted and not paying attention to the most crucial spot of the match, which was Swagger fighting out of the Accolade. This show just couldn’t win at this point. Another match that was nothing more than your standard RAW fare, with the most notable thing being Rusev’s tremendous selling of the injured ankle he came into the match with. It was short, but these two have had much, much better matches, even with a similar amount of time. **

Taylor Mitchell: There wasn’t a match on the card that I was anticipating more than this one. It was disappointing when compared to their Summerslam match, but the bits and pieces were good and showed these two match up well together. This could have saved this awful PPV, but they weren’t given enough time to do so. **

Bryan Rose: A pointless filler squash match. Reminded me of that one Smackdown PPV where Mordecai took on Scotty Too Hotty, but there was probably more heat there. 1/2*

Rich Kraetsch: This PPV can’t win for losing. During the most heated part of this match a drunk guy in a Santa costume was being thrown out by three security guards so the crowd, which was hot for the beginning of the match, went silent as they looked away from the ring. This was perfectly fine and actually fairly solid but lacked time, momentum, a story and a good crowd. Better luck next time. **1/4

Tables, Ladders and Chairs Match
Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt

Joe Lanza: This was a decent CZW style garbage match with some very impressive high risk table dives by Ambrose which was well on its way to being the second best match on this show, which would have at least ended things on a semi high note. Then a TV monitor blew up. Fucking GROAN. Another shitty finish, and a fitting end to a really shitty PPV. **

Taylor Mitchell: In 2014 the WWE has had a series of PPV’s that managed to deliver despite terrible builds. It finally caught up to them tonight. This is one of the worst WWE PPV’s I have ever seen. This match had a chance to end it on a positive note, yet was mostly filled with Ambrose jumping off of various sized ladders elbow dropping Wyatt through tables. The finish of the match was even worse. A monitor shorted out and sparks shot in Ambrose’s face leading to a Sister Abigail from Bray for the win. If I was stuck on an island with only this PPV to watch I would drowned myself. ¼*

Bryan Rose: I guess since there’s nothing to fight for, this is just a pinfalls match. Whatever. There are no words beyond that. This was a finish that killed off Dean Ambrose for good. Good job on getting another push killed, WWE. You’re the masters at it. **3/4

Rich Kraetsch: One of the more pointless TLC matches you have ever seen capped off one of the most pointless WWE PPVs you have ever seen. This was a pinfall TLC which make it completely worthless and less was not more here. Like the Chairs match, if you keep hitting one another with chairs every few seconds or do three elbow drops through a table, it starts meaning the less. This match wasn’t as bad as the crowds reaction to it but it wasn’t great either. It was a brawl filled with weapons, Ambrose giving his body throughout and powdering exploding out of TV monitor leading to the finish. This was a good effort but a terrible finish to end a terrible PPV. Go watch NXT Takeover. **