This past Sunday in Dallas, Texas (yes, WWE love them some Lone Star State) SmackDown Live would present its final brand exclusive Pay-Per-View event of the year: Tables, Ladders, and Chairs.
With the WWE World Championship literally hanging in the balance, defending Champion A.J. Styles looked to finally ride his life of Dean Ambrose and his pug-like sidekick James Ellsworth; but did Styles succeed?
Progression was once again on the Table as Becky Lynch defended the SmackDown Women's Championship against the up-and-coming Alexa Bliss. Meanwhile, Nikki Bella sought revenge on Carmella.
So, what went down and what have we taken away from the event in Dallas?
15. WWE Have Mastered The Video Package
Prior to the Tables, Ladder, and Chairs Pay-Per-View event, a well-placed and highly-produced video package, set to hype the evening was aired. As WWE continue to produce such packages, we learn time and time again that they have become masters of this process. At TLC, the was proven once again.
14. Randy Orton Doesn't Belong
There is no way other way to slice this: Randy Orton doesn't belong in The Wyatt Family. There is something about this entire angle that feels forced and inauthentic. The entire "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" approach if bland and places Orton in a vulnerable role: a follower? Not since Evolution has Orton assumed such a role.
13. SmackDown's Tag Team Division Is Disorganized
So, when something doesn't seem right what do you do about that? Slap the SmackDown Tag Team Championship on it of course. Yes, Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton defeated Beauty and the Man Beast to capture the Blue Brand's straps. All this proves is that the SmackDown Tag Team Division is a mixed bag of confusion.
12. Carmella is Underrated
"The Princess of Staten Island" is often left out of the discussion when we discuss the current women of WWE and where they stand. While not quite on a Sasha Banks type level, Carmella can certainly hold her own. And as the Women's Division (on both brands) continue to move forward, Carmella will be one to watch.
11. The Miz and Dolph Ziggler Are "Feud of the Year" Worthy
The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler has provided a little bit of everything over recent months. The Intercontinental Championship. Personal animosity. Career threatening implications. And one last bout; a strong showing in a Ladder match. On top of all that, the lingering presence of a Daniel Bryan has added more intrigue to the rivalry.
10. Baron Corbin and Kalisto Were Filler
It's nice to know that the women are no longer known as the fillers of WWE programming. Hence, we have this Chairs match between Baron Corbin and Kalisto. We get it! David vs. Goliath once again. Sure, there were a few cool spots in the match but it basically served as Pay-Per-View filler and nothing more.
9. Natalya is No Longer Needed
Remember how Natalya received a huge pop at Survivor Series? That's because the event took place in Canada. These are cheap pops. Tonight in Texas, the presence of Natalya was lackluster at best. Did she attack Nikki Bella back in Toronto? Who cares. Natalya was once full of promise but WWE ruined yet another member of The Hart Family.
8. Becky Lynch Was Booked Poorly
If Charlotte (the Raw Women's Champion) was the captain of Team Red at Survivor Series then why wasn't Becky Lynch (the SmackDown Women's Champion) named the captain of Team Blue? Why is Lynch made to look like an underdog when she is supposed to be the top Women of the SmackDown Live roster? Poor booking indeed.
7. Alexa Bliss is the Future
One thing is certain about Alexa Bliss: this girl has all the tools necessary to be the next big Women's Superstar. Bliss looks and sounds great and with her unique athleticism can truly prove a force within the WWE. Bliss would claim the SmackDown Women's Championship for her own on Sunday and now the future is full of possibility.
6. Women of SmackDown Are Different
Over on Monday Night Raw, the main focus of the Women's Division has been Sasha Banks and Charlotte. Not to say that has been a bad thing. In fact, Banks and Charlotte have changed the perception. Of course, over on SmackDown Live, things not only look but feel different; which is also a good thing. Let's see what comes next.
5. Cross Promotion?
If we are made to believe that Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live are in direct competition then why are we witnessing cross promotions between brands? Why would Monday Night Raw have the TLC logo on their LED screen? Why is Mauro Ranallo (who calls 205 Live) even on SmackDown if he calls the work of a a Raw Division?
4. David Otunga is the Absolute Worst
Why? Why? Why? David Otunga is by far the worst announcer in WWE history. And yes, that includes Mike Adamle. Give us seven Michael Coles calling the wrong maneuvers over one David Otunga any day of the week. Who is actually listening to this vomit-inducing commentary and thinking: "oh, David sure is good at his job." Why? Why? Why?
3. Dean Ambrose is Stale
Dean Ambrose was cool for a moment but suddenly "The Lunatic Fringe" has become stagnant. Perhaps a heel turn is in order? Or perhaps WWE needs to up the lunacy and present Ambrose as less of a goofball and more of a certified psychopath? Either way, some changes are in order for Ambrose in the near future.
2. A.J. Styles is the Superstar of the Year
What a "rookie" year it has been for "The Phenomenal One" A.J. Styles. Throughout this calendar year, Styles has proven that he should have been in and at the top of WWE all along. It may have taken some time but Styles is now truly where he belongs. The years of hard work and travel has certainly paid off for Styles.
1. James Ellsworth Has Too Much Influence in the Title Picture
As expected James Ellsworth appeared at the TLC Pay-Per-View. Initially, Ellsworth looked to have been out to aid Dean Ambrose to victory. However, with Ambrose in position to grab the WWE World Championship, Ellsworth would push Ambrose from the ladder, crashing through the tables below. This would of course lead to A.J. Styles retaining the championship as the Phenomenal Reign continues.