The Shield’s return was made successful on this night with a little gold medal winning assistance.
TLC occurred at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minn. with one of the most surprisingly high quality shows in a long time.
The biggest story in recent weeks was the outbreak of viral Meningitis that was sidelining many top superstars, most notably Bray Wyatt and Roman Reigns. With these men featured in the two main events of the night, some last minute replacements had to be made.
The biggest of these was the return of former Olympic Gold Medalist and WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle in the Three on Five TLC Match at the end of the night. He joined the Raw Tag Team Champions and Shield members Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins to take on the team of The Miz, Kane, Cesaro, Sheamus and Braun Strowman.
From the very beginning they made up for the lack of tables, ladders and chairs throughout the show with the Shield and Kurt laying out their enemies with chair shots that led to Strowman and Kane being smashed through the announce table.
Kurt was taken away later in the match, supposedly injured after being driven through a table by The Monster Among Men. This led to a five man beat down on Dean and Seth. During this assault, however, dissension began to form in the enemy ranks between the big men, Strowman and Kane.
The Big Red Machine attacked Braun and choke-slammed him through the stage, burying him in chairs afterward to keep him out of the way. This did not last as he returned shortly after for revenge, prompting Miz’s team to beat him down and stuff him into a garbage truck that was brought to ring side.
Right as the Shield seems to be done, Kurt’s music hits and he marches back down to the ring, wiping out The Bar on the way there. meanwhile Seth and Dean proceed to incapacitate Kane. This left The A-Lister all alone to eat every members finishing move and the a trademark Shield Bomb that nabbed the victory for Angle and the Shield.
The other main event, originally The Demon Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt as Sister Abigail, was turned into an absolute dream match as The Eater of Worlds was replaced by SmackDown Live’s AJ Styles. Both men had similar careers in the Indies but had never faced off before.
This match lived up to the hype as both men were able to counter eachother beautifully from bell-to-bell. The match came to an end as Styles miss a springboard 450 Splash which set him up for a devastating Coup De Grace from the Demon. After the match both men showed respect with a “Too Sweet” gesture in the ring as an homage to their past in the Bullet Club.
The Raw Women’s Division was on full display throughout the night with three separate matches. The first of these was a quick match on the Kickoff show between Alicia Fox and Sasha Banks. Fox looked good for her first pay-per-view in a while but Banks was able to dispatch her with a Bank Statement submission.
The next women’s match featured the long-awaited main roster debut of the undefeated Asuka as she took on Emma. The cunning Australian beauty really took it to The Empress of Tomorrow, making the match look more competitive than anybody would’ve predicted.
Asuka showed why she was able to remain undefeated since day one. After one of her signature, sharp kicks landed perfectly, the former NXT Women’s Champ locked in her patented Asuka Lock submission to pick up another victory for the undefeated Empress.
The last women’s match was the Raw Women’s Championship match where Alexa Bliss defended against Mickie James. The veteran James showed why her age did not matter as she was able to bring the fight to Alexa the entire match, coming mere half-seconds from tying the record for Women’s Title reigns.
Little Miss Bliss, however, remained as resourceful as always. After whipping Mickie face first into the corner she was able to drop her with a DDT to retain the title once again. Once the match was done, James gave a heartfelt thank you to the fans and promised she would be back in the title picture soon.
The Cruiserweights got a decent spotlight as well with about half the roster represented in the show. It all started with a tag team match pitting Rich Swann and Cedric Alexander against the devious team of Jack Gallagher and Brian Kendrick.
The action remained extremely fast-paced and , while Kendrick and Jack were able to get in some offense, the momentum was mainly in the favor or Swann and Cedric. This match came to a close when Swann broke up Kendrick’s Captain’s Hook submission on Alexander with a Phoenix Splash which opened Brian up for a Lumbar Check from Cedric for the win.
This all led to Kalisto defending his newly won Cruiserweight title against former champion Enzo Amore. The Realest Champ in the room really showed that he is growing more capable in the ring, but his sneaky side reared its ugly head soon enough.
Enzo, in an effort to escape the luchador, dragged the ring skurt into the ring. As the ref went to fix it, Amore jabbed his thumb into Kalisto’s eye and nailed him with the JawdunZo to win and become a two-time champion.
Lastly, throughout the night Elias attempted to sing his song to the crowd. Each time, Jason Jordan interrupted him by throwing assorted produce at him like a disgruntled fan. This led to a random match between the two later in the night. As Elias was able to dominate a large portion of the match, JJ was able to roll up The Drifter to pick up the win.
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