WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders, and Chairs 2017
October 22, 2017
Target Center
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Watch: WWE Network

Meet our reviewers

Kelly Harrass: What a nonsense show this could have been and still is going to be, but in a completely different way. Those are the facts of life that Kelly deals with as a WWE reviewer. Find Kelly on Twitter at @comicgeekelly.

Suit Williams: Three days ago, I was ready to review a Sunday edition of Raw. Now I’m here to review Kurt Angle’s return and Finn Balor vs AJ Styles! You can catch me on the odd review here and there on Voices of Wrestling. I review Progress Wrestling on PWPonderings, and I talk WWE on the Smark Sports podcast. You can follow me on Twitter @SuitWilliams.

Warren Taylor: I’m back and leery about reviewing a WWE show this month. When I’m not making questionable decisions, I do utility work for VOW, mainly group reviews and content centered around the EVOLVE promotion. You can find more of my writing on Cats Illustrated, the Rivals.com University of Kentucky affiliate. Follow me on Twitter @WarrenETaylor.

Sasha Banks def. Alicia Fox

Kelly Harrass: Didn’t watch most of this one because WWE and you people already get three hours of my time. What I did see, I enjoyed quite a bit. These two put in way more effort than a pre-show match deserves. NR

Suit Williams: I love Alicia Fox and her random three-week pushes. She’s perfect for WWE in that she’s good for a laugh, and her matches aren’t noticeably bad. Fox hit two northern lights suplexes, which prompted Booker T to compare her to 80’s jobber The Missing Link. Cole called this match “physical”, as opposed to all the metaphysical matches on the card tonight. Banks got the win with the Banks Statement in a better-than-usual kickoff match. **3/4

Warren Taylor: Alicia Fox got a gift during the pre-show match; she went toe-to-toe with Sasha Banks, looking like a competent veteran. I take that back, just got two gifts, the other was too show off a little personality. Dumping the Boss over the tope rope like a naughty cat and saying “Get outta here,” made me chuckle. Counting with the referee and mockingly stating, “He’s doing his job,” was comedic gold. Banks getting the submission win makes sense, but giving Fox a more noticeable role on television makes even more–at least in my opinion. **1/2

Asuka def. Emma

Kelly Harrass: Out of context, this was a fine match. In the context of this being the main roster debut for the most dominant wrestler in the entire company, this was completely botched. I try not to fantasy book in these reviews, but this should have been at most a minute long of Asuka stiffing the hell out of Emma. Hell, just recreate the Goldberg/Lesnar match from a year or so ago. Instead they had Emma control a good chunk of the match and had Asuka working holds. I don’t know why I expected this company to correctly handle this slam dunk of a debut, but sometimes I like to believe. Oh well, Asuka just likes to have fun now. -Insert the longest sigh humanly possible- I guess I should just be happy that Asuka didn’t lose. **¼

Suit Williams: Color me shocked, but this was not the right match to have tonight. I’m not opposed to Emma getting something in on Asuka. They had a barnburner at NXT Takeover: London at the end of 2015. But that was the third match of a 3-match feud. This needed to be impactful, and more importantly, it needed to be MEMORABLE. Instead, it was another women’s match. I can’t even say this was any better than the pre-show match. Instead of Asuka looking awesome, she went 50/50 with Emma, an absolute nobody in the landscape of WWE. Chalk that up to another missed MOMENT from this company. Asuka won with the chickenwing. **1/2

Warren Taylor: The Empress we all know and love from NXT doesn’t care about fun or entertainment. Hell, she didn’t smack her ass after a successful running hip attack either. She was an enigmatic killer and deserves such treatment as such on the main roster, but again the WWE isn’t for fans like me. Within the context of Vinceland, this was a beautiful babyface debut. Asuka showed a lot of grit overcoming a game Emma, she showed she can fly, strike, and take it to the ground, AKA the total package in the ring. The torque on Emma’s knee during the final ankle lock sequence was fabulously grotesque, as was the Asuka Lock that finished the bout. With all that said, I’d still rather have seen Asuka kill the evil Aussie. **3/4

Cedric Alexander and Rich Swann def. Gentleman Jack Gallagher and The Brian Kendrick

Kelly Harrass: Somehow this pre-show match made it onto the main card and it was pretty good. The high point of the match had to be the evil faces that Jack Gallagher makes now that he’s a heel. If I’m being honest, I forgot these guys work for this company, so it was good to see them on this show. The action was fast and exciting, which is exactly how it should be for a Cruiserweight match, not the headlockfest that we normally get. This was nothing that you need to see, but was a good way to fill some time. ***

Suit Williams: I watch the 90-minute cut of Raw on Hulu every week and I don’t watch 205 Live, so I haven’t seen these guys wrestle in months. Coincidentally, an issue in the house prevented me from seeing this match too. I’m sure it was a fine match with a dead crowd, as 205 division matches tend to be. Hopefully, Gallagher didn’t blow his knee out in his dress shoes. N/R

Warren Taylor: WWE will be amazed at happens when they give the Cruiserweights time to perform. Cedric Alexander and Rich Swann are a fun, high-flying duo and their early offense confirmed that. Brian Kendrick and Jack Gallagher are a similar due, albeit in a sneaky scoundrel kind of way. The two teams’ respective styles and dynamics blended well together to create an excellent tag match in the classic style. It won’t win any match of the night or year honors, but it is a stepping in the right direction for the troubled 205 Live. ***

WWE Raw Women’s Championship: Alexa Bliss © def. Mickie James

Kelly Harrass: Haha, suck it, Mickie’s son! I enjoyed a good percentage of the match, but I found myself getting bored as it neared its end. Bliss put in some tremendous heel work early on, just being a complete jerk to Mickie. The match lost its way for me the same time that the fans lost interest and that kind of bums me out. I don’t want to be in agreement with those “we want tables” chanting fools. Mickie still has it, Bliss is still awesome, but something didn’t work near the end. **¾

Suit Williams: I seem to be in the minority in that I have really enjoyed this feud. The main gripe people have had is that Mickie James is being called an old lady. What are we complaining about here? The person calling Mickie old is the little twerp heel Alexa Bliss. The heel should be dumb and wrong. I prefer when the heel is wrong than the countless times in this company when the heel is completely in the right.

This was a pretty good match that lost steam toward the end. Mickie showed a lot of fire, especially when they traded shots like it was the G1 final. But instead of heating up into a hot finish, it never got back to that level of intensity. Alexa retained after shoving Mickie into the turnbuckle and hitting a DDT. Mickie cut a good promo after the match, promising that this wouldn’t be her last time in a title match. I hope not, because this feud has shown that Mickie can still be a very valuable asset to the women’s division. **3/4

Warren Taylor: I think the best portion of this match was when James and Bliss channeled Shibata/Ishii and slapped the holy hell out of each other. They even fought on their knees. If they’d kept that kind of energy up for three to four more minutes and put it to bed, this would have been a solid title match. Instead, they ran out of gas at the end and lulled the crowd into a “We Want Tables” chant. That minor gripe aside, Mickie James did well as a veteran chasing another moment in the sun. I especially enjoyed how chipper she was after her loss; it made sense for a character who has been to the mountaintop and down six times. Bliss is slowly morphing into an effective heel worker. Her con job at the end was superb. **3/4

WWE Cruiserweight Championship: Enzo Amore def. Kalisto (c)

Kelly Harrass: My Network feed froze on Enzo’s face for a while I think I know what hell is like. That’s a little harsh though because Enzo was actually pretty good here. They may have finally found the perfect role for him. Enzo can talk and can take a good beating, so it’s obvious that he should be a heel that you want to see get destroyed. He’s not going to do anything for the work rate of the Cruiserweight division, but the character work is solid enough. Kalisto has a really hard time connecting with the audience so this match didn’t have much heat behind it. As much as I hated it when Enzo won the belt from Neville, I think it is better off with him than with Kalisto. This was fine for what it was, but what it was wasn’t going to be very good. **

Suit Williams: Fun fact: Kalisto is a two-time United States Champion. Enzo lost his voice, but still had to cut two promos tonight. This was pretty tedious, as people don’t seem care about Kalisto very much. Zo hit the DDG off the top, but it only got 2. A thumb to the eye, followed by an Eat Defeat gets Enzo the title again. It makes sense that Enzo got the belt back here, as he’s miraculously getting people to watch 205 Live. He’s a heel that people want to see get beaten, which you can prove with numbers, unlike a certain WWE Champion. **

Finn Bálor def. AJ Styles

Kelly Harrass: A match like this really shows that next every match needs a build. Not every match needs to have a good guy and a bad guy. Sometimes we just want to see two guys have a match to see who the better wrestler is. That’s exactly what we got here and the results were pretty good. This wasn’t the blow away amazing match that we were all hoping for, but I think the crowd reaction was more important than the work itself. The fans were INTO THIS MATCH. The energy surrounding this match was awesome. Hopefully this sends some sort of message to the powers that be that we just want good matches. Also, the Bullet Club is very over, but the higher ups already know that. AJ and Finn put on a good show, but it felt like they weren’t going all out and we’re saving their best for a future match, which is probably for the best. While not being a MOTYC, this would have fit in as a semi-main on a G1 show. ***3/4

Suit Williams: I was all ready to drop a deuce on Finn Balor vs. SIster Abigail. It was gonna be epic. It was gonna be my breakout moment on this website. Then Wyatt had to get the fucking mumps. WHO GETS THE FUCKING MUMPS? Even when he’s not on the show, Bray Wyatt fucking ruins everything. (Get well soon, by the way.) As for this match, it was really good. Would I have liked for there to be some build to it? Sure, but it’s not like the lack of build hurt it at all. Is it weird that AJ lost here after challenging the WWE Champion? Yeah, but this wasn’t supposed to be the match, so they could explain it away as AJ not being fully prepared. Finn got the win with a Coup De Grace, and the two men shared a Too Sweet after the match. FUCK YOU YOUNG BUCKS ***1/2

Warren Taylor: The WWE main event style, a big move leading to another and another until only one fighter is left standing is tedious at its worst and beautiful to behold at its best. In the hands of craftsmen like AJ Styles and Finn Balor, the latter is achieved over the former. On two days notice, two of the best in the world put a tremendous display of brinkmanship to see who was the better man. As the match wore on the stakes got higher, and the hits came harder until only a perfect stomp to the heart stopped AJ Styles for the count. The fans in attendance dug this and so did I. ****

Jason Jordan def. Elias

Kelly Harrass: Who cares?

Suit Williams: I was talking to people about Asuka and Alexa Bliss during this match. Booker burying Jason Jordan confuses me. Jordan struggling to beat the guitar guy confuses me. Jordan throwing lettuce at Elias all night confused me. I have no clue what they are doing with Jason Jordan, but none of it is doing him any favors. Jordan won with a roll-up, except Elias’s shoulders may have been up. I’m sure we’ll get an exciting continuation of this feud in the third hour of tomorrow’s Raw. *1/2

Warren Taylor: I was writing my blurb on Styles vs. Balor so this became background noise. From what I saw it was decent and okay filler. **

5-On-3 Handicap TLC Match: Dean Ambrose, Kurt Angle, and Seth Rollins vs. Cesaro, Kane, The Miz, Sheamus, and Braun Strowman

Kelly Harrass: I don’t even know what to say about this one. It was either complete garbage or a masterpiece parody of WWE tropes. There was the double nostalgia pop for both Angle’s return and the Shield reunion. There was the injury and return from injury spot. You had tons of unneeded plunder, odds for the face team to overcome, Kane being a featured part of the match, the USA chant, dissension in the ranks of the hastily thrown together heel team, and Braun Strowman being murdered in a garbage truck. I’m sure I’m missing some things because this match was nearly 40 minutes long and it was full of all sorts of nonsense. At the end of the day, what did this match achieve? Was it all done to set up a feud between Braun and Kane? God help me, I think it might have been. I can’t remember the last time I saw a match that was so all over the place and generally aimless. For a company that loves telling stories, the story they told with this one was wildly unclear. The Shield guys took a beating and fought their way back to victory is the simple story, but then you add in the stuff with Kane and Braun and the garbage truck murder and it all starts to get muddy. Look, this review is as aimless as the match was, shouts out to Darin Corbin. Holy shit, this match is what happens when you put wrestling words in a Mad Libs! Vince McMahon kept listing off spots that he wanted to see to the writers or agents and they just put together the match in the exact order that he listed stuff off. This match was the purest distillation of what the inside of Vince’s head looks like. It was thrown together and didn’t make sense, but goddamn pal did it have some moments. This isn’t a wrestling match, it’s an artifact. It is a perfect representation of what Vince McMahon is as a booker at this stage in his life. This is sports entertainment. ***

Suit Williams: Um. I’m trying to put words together to explain what I just saw, but I don’t know if anything can? Everything we thought would happen, happened. The babyfaces OVERCAME THE ODDS©, Kane and Strowman turned on each other, and Angle got the nostalgia pop. But how we got to these spots were absolutely surreal. Strowman got put through a stage, got “Wade Barrett-ed” with chairs, and GOT PUT IN THE BACK OF GARBAGE TRUCK AND CRUSHED TO DEATH. Kurt got carried out, only to make the strong babyface comeback like they do in every big main event. The Shield triple-powerbombed the Miz and won. I wasn’t around for that Uncensored triple cage match, but I can imagine that fans were left with the same amount of confusion and disbelief that I have now. This match will live in infamy, along with the Uncensored match, along with the Ready To Rumble triple cage, along with the Gobbledy Gooker. I can’t call this match good, but it is absolutely must-see. This was professional wrestling at its absolute dumbest.  N/R

Warren Taylor: Other reviewers and Wrestling Twitter personalities of greater snark than I can bury this main event. All I will say is that the Demon Kane’s domination, Braun leaving the match in a trash truck, and Kurt Angle making the save after a de facto stretcher job is not my cup of tea. DUD