With two title changes and the downfall of Baron Corbin the WWE said goodbye to 2018 with Tables, Ladders and Chairs, their last pay-per-view of the year.
Tying with Styles and Bryan for the best match of the evening and certainly one of the best matches of the year, Asuka, Charlotte and the red hot Becky Lynch battling for the Smackdown Women’s Championship in a tables, ladders and chairs match but it was the WWE Raw Women’s Champion Rhonda Rousey who had the biggest impact.
The match began with Lynch and Charlotte throwing verbal insults at each other as Asuka looked on. She eventually shut them both up with some well-placed kicks.
Asuka deals damage with a kendo stick. Photo: WWE.
Asuka got caught in the ropes so Lynch laid in the kicks and stomps. In a botched move, Charlotte stomped on a table and for some crazy reason Lynch fly up in the air and landed on the floor as if the table propelled her that way but it barely lifted off the canvass.
Charlotte clobbered Asuka into the table over and over again as Lynch hoisted a ladder into the ring. We can clearly hear Lynch giving Asuka match instructions as she is slammed off the second rope onto a ladder.
Charlotte is powerbombed through a table by Asuka but nothing slows down the Queen. She whacks Asuka with a steel chair across the back and her moonsault from the top rope to the floor takes out both Lynch and Asuka. Charlotte clears off the announce table, picks up Asuka but whatever she has planned is interrupted by Lynch and a trusty steel chair.
Lynch sets up a monster ladder, puts Asuka and Charlotte on the announce table. She leaps off the table landing right on Charlotte with a senton as Asuka cleverly rolls out of the way just in time. The official checks on Charlotte who appears to be in bad shape.
Lynch and Asuka both climb the ladder in the middle of the ring. Charlotte baffles viewers by returning to the match with a kendo stick as she completely snaps beating both women off the ladder. Charlotte seems to be holding her ribs and is in a great deal of pain.
“It is my title!” screams Charlotte smashing Asuka with the kendo stick. Lynch surprises Charlotte with a Bexsploder into the ringside barrier. Charlotte though gets up minutes later charging Asuka right through a ringside barrier.
Charlotte and Lynch square off in the middle of the ring slugging it out. Lynch rams Charlotte face-first into the ladder. The fight goes to the floor where Charlotte slams Lynch into an announce table.
Lynch is ready to make her leap. Photo: WWE.
“The man always bows down to a queen!” announces Charlotte before she somersaults off the top rope putting lynch through the table.
Charlotte climbs the ladder and has her hands on the title but Asuka arrives and the two end up in a slugfest. Lynch brings a ladder into the ring. Charlotte knocks Asuka off the ladder, leaps to the other one so she can take on Lynch.
At 21 minutes into the match, Rhonda Rousey in her street clothes comes to the ring. She smiles before she pushes over the ladder that has both Lynch and Charlotte on it. The crowd boos as Rousey leaves Asuka to climb the ladder, pull down and win the Smackdown Women’s Championship.
Another winner was Dean Ambrose who defeated former Shield brother Seth Rollins for the WWE Intercontinental title in what was an unexpectedly lethargic match that had fans in attendance starting a “This match is boring!” chant midway through. The match’s reliance on another “injury” to Seth Rollins’ knee, an angle which has been recycled to the point of absurdity now, didn’t help matters much.
At the end of the 23 minute borefest, Ambrose put up his hand to fist bump Rollins as the Shield used to do. Rollins wasn’t falling for it though belting Ambrose with a discus punch.
“It didn’t have to be with this way, Ambrose! This is for all of us and Roman Reigns,” says Rollins looking to finish off Ambrose. Instead, Ambrose thwarted a super kick and drove Rollins into the mat with Dirty Deeds to win the match and the belt.
Hey look, Rollins’ knee is injured again. Photo: WWE.
With all eyes on Vince McMahon’s scheduled return to the ratings-challenged Raw tomorrow night as some kind of “shake-up”, the Baron Corbin storyline apparently concluded at TLC however there is a chance that McMahon could have the final say in the matter.
As you may have guessed, Heath Slater is the assigned referee for the match between Baron Corbin and Braun Strowman. If Braun Strowman wins he receives a Universal Championship match at the Royal Rumble and Corbin is stripped of his temporary general manger position on Raw. If Corbin wins, he becomes the general manager of Raw, scrub the interim bit.
Baron Corbin comes down to the ring in a casual manner. He is all smiles.
Corbin tells anyone who disagrees with his performance on Raw to get stuffed. The bell rings. Slater starts a ten count. At the seven count Strowman’s music hits and the Monster Among Men makes his way to the ring. One of his arms is in a sling though.
The crowd starts chanting…Get these hands! Get these hands!
Corbin argues Strowman is not cleared to wrestle. Strowman reminds Corbin that in a no-disqualification match, anyone can participate. There are no rules.
Has Strowman ended Corbin’s reign? Photo: WWE.
Apollo Cruise arrives with a steel chair. Bobby Roode and Chad Gable show up. They have chairs too. Moments later, so does Finn Balor. The disgruntled Raw superstars surround the ring and Corbin. Corbin demands Slater bar them from ringside. Slater declines by taking off his referee shirt and attacking Corbin.
Everyone beats on Corbin with steel chairs until he is driven from the ring. Corbin waves the match off and leaves.
Kurt Angle’s music plays. He stops Corbin from fleeing the scene. He grabs a chair too and begins waffling Corbin. Back inside the ring, everyone hits Corbin with their finisher. Slater puts the referee shirt back on. Strowman puts one foot on Corbin pinning him.
It is announced that because he lost the match Baron Corbin is no longer the general manager of Raw. The crowd cheers in response
Buddy Murphy (c) vs. Cedric Alexander – WWE Cruiserweight Championship match
There are “205!” chants early on as Alexander and Murphy chain wrestle to a standstill. A kick to the jaw knocks the stuffing out of Alexander for some time. Murphy stands on the second rope and lifts Alexander into clutch hold. Murphy rolls out of the ring when he takes a flat liner. A dive outside the ring and a flying clothesline gains Alexander a two count. On the second rope, Alexander is super kicked and powerbombed by Murphy. Murphy gets a two count only.
<br murphy escapes losing the title after a lumbar check by draping his leg over ropes. commenters rip on alexander for not hooking that leg. in rather quick fashion, two running knees and murphy’s law pins alexander.
Winner: …and still WWE Cruiserweight Champion at 10:28, Buddy Murphy.
Match Rating: 7 / 10
Elias vs. Bobby Lashley – Ladder match
Elias’ song is interrupted by Bobby Lashley’s entrance music. Whoever climbs the ladder and retrieves a guitar hanging above the ring wins. Elias drop kicks a ladder into Lashley’s face and stomps on him. Elias takes the time to slide two ladders into the ring. Lio Rush stops Elias from climbing a ladder. Lio escapes before Elias can get his hands on him. Lashley clubs Elias from behind. Elias is whipped into a ladder and Stinger Splashed by Lashley. When Elias falls to the mat, the ladder falls on him. Lashley slams a ladder onto a prone Elias.
Lashley belly-to-belly suplexes Elias into a ladder propped up in a corner. Lashley traps Elias in a corner with a ladder kicking it into his face. Elias gives Lashley a powerbomb onto a ladder. Lio Rush climbs up the ladder to block Elias from winning the match. Elias shoves him off pulling down the guitar.
Rush stops Elias from bashing Lashley with the guitar by jumping on his back. Lashley slams Elias. Rush hits Rush Hour on Elias. Lashley breaks the guitar over Elias’ back.
Winner: Elias at 6:25.
Match Rating: 7 / 10
Fabulous Truth (R-Truth and Carmella) vs. Mahalicia (Jinder Mahal and Alicia Fox) – Mixed Match Challenge finals
R-Truth resigned with the WWE in 2008 and since then he hasn’t written a new song. What’s up with that, R-Truth? The Singh Brothers preform a dance break before an unappreciative R-Truth tosses them out of the ring. How rude. We have the women attacking the men again, which is against the rules, when Fox kicks R-Truth in the stomach. Fox submits to the Code of Silence in a very awkward finish to the match. R-Truth and Carmella have won a vacation as well. R-Truth has booked it for… the WWE Headquarters in Connecticut? What? Good job there, R-Truth.
Winners: Fabulous Truth (R-Truth and Carmella) at 5:46.
Match Rating: 3 / 10
The Bar (Cesaro and Sheamus) (c) vs. The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston, and/or Xavier Woods) vs. The Usos (Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso) – Triple threat tag team match for the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship
What in the world has happened to Sanity? Not surprising that more call-ups from NXT are not being used to their full potential on the main roster. Such nonsense. Not as good as the matches these teams have had in the past. The New Day has their Christmas gear on, all looking like gigantic candy canes in the ring. When Cesaro and The Usos come in to save Sheamus all hell breaks loose until the official regains control. The Usos start getting frustrated on the outside as nobody is tagging them in. Sheamus wakes them up by knocking them both off the apron. Jimmy Uso finally tags himself into the match. Cesaro lifts Kofi for a slam and Jimmy lands a splash on Kofi at the same time. Cesaro stalls Woods from getting back into the ring. As he turns around, Sheamus clocks him with the Brogue Kick.
Winners: …and still WWE SmackDown Tag Team Champions…The Bar at 12:22.
Match Rating: 7.5 / 10
Braun Strowman vs. Baron Corbin – Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match
Winner: Braun Strowman at 7:27.
Match Rating: 1 / 10
Natalya vs. Ruby Riott – Tables Match
The Riott Squad carry out a table with Jim Neidhart’s image on it. WWE announcers, stop calling The Riott Squad “punk rock”. They are as punk rock as Bob Ross was. Natalya bounces Ruby’s head off a table. Natalya charges, Liv Morgan steps in the way and she goes through a table instead of Ruby. Natalya gives Logan a baseball slide as she tries to slide a table into the ring.
“You want to mess with my family, bitch!” shouts Natalya as she slams Ruby off the ring and the ringside barrier.
Logan charges and misses. Natalya slams her through a table.
“And stay out of it!” shouts Natalya.
“He is ashamed of you!” yells Ruby as she rubs Natalya’s face into the Neidhart table.
Ruby leans the Neidhart table in a corner. Natalya slaps the Sharp Shooter on Ruby who clumsily tips the Neidhart table over hitting Natalya in the back of the head. That was really weird. It probably looked better on paper.
Natalya pulls out a table from under the ring. That table has Ruby Riott’s image on it. She also puts on her father’s jacket which was also hidden under the ring. Natalya powerbombs Ruby through the table.
Winner: Natalya at 13:20.
Match Rating: 7.5 / 10
Finn Bálor vs. Drew McIntyre
It is a shame that Balor doesn’t use the Demon gimmick any more for his pay-per-view matches. It really set him apart from the rest of the locker room. McIntyre mocks the Too Sweet hand gesture by stomping on Balor’s hand. McIntyre throws Balor around the ring chopping his chest so hard it turns red, blistered and bruised.
“You could have just walked away,” laughs McIntyre before Balor trips him up on the top rope. McIntyre throws Balor across the ring but he is favouring his knee. The crowd starts chanting for Balor as he focuses his attacks on McIntyre’s knee.
“You are pathetic! You are nothing to me! You and Ziggler are nothing to me!” shouts McIntyre at Finn.
Balor kicks out of a slam from the second rope. An angry McIntyre throws Balor out of the ring. Balor traps McIntyre in the ring apron for some kicks. McIntyre smashes Balor’s head off the ring apron before giving him the Glasgow Kiss. Ziggler jumps out of the audience super kicking McIntyre in the face. McIntyre knocks a steel chair into Ziggler’s face taking him out. McIntyre brings the chair into the ring even though the referee admonishes him. Balor shotgun drop kicks the chair into McIntyre, executing the Coup de Grace for the pin.
Winner: Finn Balor at 12:08.
Match Rating: 7.5 / 10
Rey Mysterio vs. Randy Orton – Chairs Match
Within 10 seconds Randy and Rey are utilizing the chairs. Rey whacks Randy in the stomach and back numerous times. Rey leaps off chair, Randy dodges and Rey gets hung up in the ropes. Randy hits Rey with a chair across the back. In an awesome Mysterio moment, Rey does his running splash under the bottom rope using a steel chair as a surf board. Randy tears down the announce table laying a steel chair on it. Randy slams Rey face-first onto the chair, table. Randy places a chair between the top and middle ropes in one of the corners. Mysterio flips Randy into that chair reversing a lawn dart move.
Rey dives off the ropes catching a chair thrown by Orton in the chest and face. Orton lodges another chair in the ropes. Rey tattoos Orton in the back with a steel chair. Orton gets a 6:19 but seconds later slams Rey’s face into the steel chair? I guess Orton is 6:19 proof?
Orton lines up four chairs in a row for a running RKO. Rey slips out of it flipping Orton off the chairs for a pin.
Winner: Rey Mysterio at 11:49.
Match Rating: 8 / 10
Balor has words with Ziggler backstage concerning the interference earlier. Ziggler slaps Balor in the face, hurling him into some equipment cases.
Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Nia Jax – WWE Raw Women’s Championship Match
It is so astonishing that Rousey hasn’t improved the ratings of Monday Night Raw which have sunk to record lows. Totally shocking that. Tamina remains at ringside as Ronda Rousey comes out. Nia Jax keeps babbling on about her fist. Someone has a sign…Go home, Ronda. I couldn’t agree more.
Jax starts off shoving Rousey. Rousey uses her quickness to punch Jax here and there. Jax threatens Rousey with her fist. Rousey puts on the arm bar. Jax powerbombs her way out for a two count. Jax avalanches and splashes Rousey for a two count. Rousey is tossed into the steel post. Jax runs across the apron splashing Rousey’s arm into the steel post. Rousey locks on the armbar but Jax pulls her to the floor slamming her into the ringside barrier.
Rousey easily slips out of a poor Cobra Clutch by Jax. Jax hits the steel post with her shoulder. Rousey splashes Jax from the top rope. Rene screws up the “size of the dog” metaphor very badly. Jax catches Rhonda’s flying body splash from the top rope and Samoan Drops her for a two count. Jax scales the ropes with Rousey on her back. Rousey slips out powerbombing Jax to the canvass.
Tamina causes a distraction as Rousey goes to lock in the arm bar. Jax clotheslines Rousey from behind. Rousey blocks Jax’s punch and rolls her into the armbar finisher. Jax submits.
Becky Lynch meets Nia Jax backstage.
“Remember when you broke my face?” says Lynch before punching her into a pile of palettes or something.
“Keep my name out of your mouth!” snarls Lynch walking away.
Winner: …and still WWE Raw Women’s Champion…Rhonda Rousey at 10:50.
Match Rating: 7.5 / 10
Daniel Bryan (c) vs. AJ Styles – WWE Championship Match
To start the match, Bryan rolls out of the ring so he can warm up with some sprints on the floor. Styles catches Bryan in a corner laying in chops and kicks. A drop kick and a clothesline flips Bryan over the ropes to the floor. Styles gets caught with a kick in the chest as he leaps over the ropes to the floor. Styles’ ribs are hurt so Bryan kicks them and stretches them out.
Bryan puts Styles in the Tree of Woe, slips under the bottom rope and cranks on Styles neck. A barrage of kicks puts Styles on the floor. Styles bashes Bryan with haymaker after haymaker to the face. The official has to pull Styles off of Bryan. Bryan rolls out of the ring when Styles calls for the Clash. Styles slams Bryan off the ring post twice. In the ring, Bryan begs off.
After throwing AJ across the ring with a suplex, Bryan unleashes his kicks for a two count. AJ puts a hurting on Bryan with a Dragon Screw Leg Whip. AJ wraps Bryan’s leg around one of the ring posts and hits it with a shot block.
The match breaks down into a slugfest. As Bryan runs across the ring Style drop kicks him. A springboard 450 splash gets Styles a two count. Styles gets up holding his ribs. A Calf Crusher has Bryan desperately reaching for the ropes. Bryan finally rolls to the ropes and to the floor. Styles follows Bryan out. He brains Bryan with a Phenomenal Forearm off the ringside barrier. Styles’ inside cradle is reversed by Bryan into a pinfall victory.
Winner: …and still WWE Champion …Daniel Bryan at 24:37.
Match Rating: 9 / 10
Seth Rollins (c) vs. Dean Ambrose – WWE Intercontinental Championship
“You get a good look at this. You see what is going to happen,” said Ambrose in the ring as he waited for Seth Rollins.
A very slow, methodical match. Ambrose claps mockingly as Rollins acknowledges the crowd. Rollins shoves Ambrose before they lock up. Rollins rocks Ambrose with haymakers in a corner. A flying clothesline from Rollins has Ambrose reeling in a corner. Ambrose slams Rollins face-first on the announce table twice.
Rollins rams Ambrose’s face into a turnbuckle to cause some separation. Ambrose attacks Rollins surgically repaired knee as his knee yet again becomes an angle of another match. Enough of that already, bookers. Rollins falls out of the ring limping. Rollins is met with a punch to the face as he attempts a suicide dive. A Blockbuster hurts Ambrose and Rollins’ knee and so do two suicide dives to the outside.
Rollins goes for a sunset flip, lands on his knee and hurts it once again. A slugfest begins with Ambrose begging Rollins to hit him again and again. Rollins is crotched on the top rope and clotheslined to the canvass by Ambrose.
“Who is laughing now?” Ambrose asks Rollins.
Out of nowhere, the crowd starts chanting…This is boring! This is boring!
Rollins Superplexes Ambrose from the top rope. He transitions it into a Falcon Arrow for another two count.
“This is the fight you wanted you son of a bitch!” spits Rollins.
Ambrose stops Rollins offering a Shield fist bump. Rollins ignores it labeling Ambrose with a discus punch. The fight goes to the floor with Rollins slamming and buckle bombing Ambrose into the ringside barricade.
“It didn’t have to be with this way, Ambrose! This is for all of us and Roman Reigns,” says Rollins to Ambrose.
Ambrose counters Rollins’ kick with Dirty Deeds to win the Intercontinental Championship.
Winner: …and new WWE Intercontinental Champion…Dean Ambrose at 23:21.
Match Rating: 6.5 / 10
Becky Lynch (c) vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka – Triple Threat Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match for the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship
Winner: …and new Smackdown Women’s Champion…Asuka at 22:37.
Match Rating: 9 / 10
Overall Event Rating: 8 / 10
One of the founding managing editors of SLAM! Wrestling, John Powell is a veteran entertainment journalist currently covering Big Brother., Survivor for Corus and the video game industry for Culture of Gaming.