When it comes to dangerous matches, one that stands out in World Wrestling Entertainment is a Tables, Ladders and Chairs match – otherwise known to wrestling fans as a “TLC” match.
Since “TLC” matches started in WWE in 2000 at SummerSlam, it’s always been a match that has been known for its high spots, and fans seem to eat up the fact there’s always a chance of danger when these matches take place.
When “TLC” matches started, it was always a match that involved multiple competitors, normally tag teams. It wasn’t until 2006 when finally a “TLC” match involved just two wrestlers. That night it was Ric Flair vs Edge doing battle on WWE Raw for the WWE Title in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Because of the extreme danger of “TLC” matches, the WWE rightfully does not schedule them very often, making them a special event for fans. There’s a very real chance for injuries in these matches, and often it’s a match that has to be well planned out between those involved.
It’s not much of a surprise that to date there’s only been 16 official “TLC” matches, and that includes the comical WeeLC Match, which took place at the “Extreme Rules” PPV back in May of 2014.
Since it started 14 years ago, Edge, who retired from the WWE following WrestleMania XXVII due to injury, has led the way with seven appearances in “TLC” matches. Of those seven matches, he went on to win five of them.
With the next “TLC” PPV around the corner, today we take a look at the countdown of the top 15 “TLC” matches of all-time, counting down to the best of the bunch in these brutal affairs involving tables, ladders and chairs.
15 The Miz vs Jerry Lawler, WWE Title Match – WWE Raw 11/29/10
This was the shortest of all ‘TLC’ matches, going just 11:52, and it was the surprise of no one that Miz won the bout to keep his WWE Title at the time. It was also a match that had the least build and fanfare, as it actually was a match that came about when Lawler challenged Miz early in the show, and at the time the anonymous RAW general manager made the match a “TLC” match for later in the show.
The tide of the match went back and forth despite everyone knowing there was no way Miz was going to drop the belt to Lawler. The broadcast partner of Lawler, Michael Cole, got involved when it seemed like Lawler was going to win.
Cole helped Miz, and in the end the WWE Champ was able to climb the ladder and snag his belt, remaining the champion and beating Lawler in a ‘TLC’ match that not many people remember.
14 Kane (without The Hurricane) vs The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & Spike) vs Christian & Chris Jericho, and Jeff Hardy & Rob Van Dam, Tag Team Title Match – WWE RAW 10/07/02
Don’t recall this “TLC” match? Don’t worry, again, you are not alone. This was known as the ‘forgotten’ TLC match, a bout that went 25:08 on RAW for the World Tag Team Titles. Kane had to go it alone without his little buddy The Hurricane. The pair held the tag straps for about a month during the fall of 2002.
Kane had to fight off three other tag teams on his own in this battle, with the highlight of the match being the end, when Kane chokeslammed Chris Jericho off a ladder, and grabbed both titles to take home the victory.
At the time, the bout received high marks on RAW, going down as one of their top RAW matches in many polls, but now it’s just a sidebar, a match that not many recall.
13 CM Punk vs Ryback, WWE Title Match – WWE RAW 1/07/13
During his historic title run, one of CM Punk’s biggest contenders was Ryback, who came on the scene and made a big impact. The two had a long running feud, and the end of that feud came at the start of 2013, when the two faced off in a TLC match on Monday Night RAW.
Ryback did his best to win the strap from Punk, but it was not to be, as when he climbed the ladder to try and win the belt, the lights went out. When the lights came back on, it was the threesome of The Shield laying a beat down on Ryback.
With Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, and Dean Ambrose beating on Ryback, it allowed enough time for Punk to recover, and make his way up the ladder to his title belt, and again escape defeat.
12 Edge vs Ric Flair, WWE Title Match – WWE RAW 1/16/2006
Edge had just won the WWE Title from John Cena after cashing in his “Money in the Bank” briefcase, and now was faced with taking on Hall of Famer Ric Flair in a TLC match to main event RAW. The match started slow, but Edge, who knew his way around the ring with 10 ladder matches already at this point in his career, started to make this match a memorable one.
He pounded Flair, as the “Nature Boy” took some heavy shots in the match, including shots with a steel chair while being pinned inbetween a ladder. Flair made a solid comeback, and at points looked as if he could possibly add Heavyweight Title number 17 to his resume.
With Lita’s help though, Edge was able to regain control after knocking Flair off the ladder, and then climbed up himself and took home the win, keeping the title for the “Rated-R Superstar.”
11 CM Punk vs The Miz vs Alberto Del Rio, WWE Title Match – TLC 12/18/11
Just a month before this bout, Punk had regained the WWE Title, beating Del Rio for the belt during Survivor Series at Madison Square Garden. This was the first PPV match following that win, and they decided to throw Miz in the rematch with Del Rio, and for the most part, it was a predictable match with most of the normal high spots you would expect in a TLC affair.
Miz and Del Rio spent a lot of the match trying to take out Punk. The champ at one-point had to escape being handcuffed to a ladder and later to a turnbuckle, but was able to break away both times. The other memorable spot came when Del Rio’s ringside pal Ricardo Rodriguez was pushed off the ladder onto a table as he tried to help Del Rio.
The end came when Punk was able to hit the ‘go-to-sleep’ on Miz with Del Rio on the mat, and he then climbed the ladder and grabbed the belt for the win.
10 D-Generation X vs Jeri-Show (Chris Jericho and The Big Show), Undisputed Tag Team Titles – TLC 12/13/2009
Tag-team TLC matches can be a bit tricky with four-people, but these four made this match work, and it actually was entertaining for the 22 plus minutes the four were involved. Jericho always works hard, as does Michaels, and Big Show did his best to keep up, while Triple H was able to hit his major spots during the match.
The high points included a fight at the top of the ramp where Jericho and Michaels battled with chairs, and also a double suplex with a ladder by DX on top of Jericho. Big Show trying to climb the ladder is always entertaining, and him being pulled off is always fun to watch.
The fan favorites, DX, won this match in a rather unique way, as with a broken ladder and both Jericho and Show outside after taking a beating, Triple H held half of the ladder up and Michaels was able to climb up and grab the two belts, securing the win and taking home the tag titles.
9 The Shield vs Team Hell No – TLC 12/16/12
This was a match that really should have never taken place, as the main WWE feud at the time was CM Punk vs Ryback. Punk had to take time off to have his knee worked on, and needing a TLC match for the PPV, they put The Shield at the top vs the team of Daniel Bryan, Kane, and Ryback.
The Shield was hot, coming on the scene just a month before, but quickly made a name for themselves, beating on ‘Team Hell No’ which was Bryan and Kane. Ryback joined the crew, after the Shield had taken him out more than once and he was seeking revenge.
The match was really a showcase for The Shield, who were the new main event stars in the company. Ryback was taken out early, going through the Spanish announcer table, and then Kane was buried in rubble later on in the match, leaving Bryan in a 3-on-1 situation against the new stars of the WWE.
Ryback was able to make a comeback, hitting his ‘shell shocked’ finishing move on Dean Ambrose, but eventually it was just too much, as The Shield took over, and the threesome hit a power bomb on Bryan to take home the win.
8 Randy Orton vs John Cena, Unified WWE/World Heavyweight Championship – TLC 12/15/13
It was a ‘Champion vs Champion’ match that was historic, as it ended the two-belt system in the WWE which had been around for some time. Instead of a WWE Champion and a World Heavyweight Champion, the company decided it was time to go back to one, and this main event at TLC in 2013 was set to decide it.
The problem with this match, was that it was a matchup WWE fans have seen over and over. WWE fans were frankly sick of it. While fans had to see this in order to see who walked away with the ultimate prize, not many were all that stoked to again see this match that has been fought so many times on PPV and television in the past.
The match had the same spot that the Punk-Miz-Del Rio match had, as Orton handcuffed Cena to the ropes late in the match. This time Cena actually broke the turnbuckle, and the two battled up on top of a ladder with the cuff still on Cena.
The two went into a tug-of-war, and eventually Orton was able to pull Cena off the ladder onto a table, and then climbed the ladder to undo the belts to take home the win.
7 Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit vs Edge and Christian vs The Dudley Boyz vs The Hardy Boyz, WWE Tag Team Championship – Smackdown 5/24/01
This was the only time we’ve seen eight men in a TLC match, and this one was a very good one. It was a match, that despite including Benoit, who the WWE seems to want to erase from their history, still remains one of the best in the history of SmackDown.
All eight men worked very hard in this 21 minute match, and there were plenty of high spots that normally only take place on a PPV. None of these eight were afraid to use the ladders as a weapon, which happened a number of times during the non-stop action.
Having eight men go at it meant a ton of fast-paced action, plenty of false finishes, and the usual great back and forth that always takes place when you have the Hardy’s and Edge and Christian in a match.
The end came when Matt Hardy found himself alone in the ring and was climbing the ladder to snag the belts, and was pushed off by Jericho.
Y2J then climbed the ladder, but took a vicious spear from the top turnbuckle by Edge. Benoit with both men down raced into the ring, and used the ladder to grab the belts, keeping the straps on himself and Jericho.
6 Edge vs Alberto Del Rio vs Kane vs Rey Mysterio, World Heavyweight Championship - TLC 12/19/10
It was the only fatal four-way TLC match for a singles title, and it was a solid one with Rey Mysterio making his only TLC appearance. The match was not actually the main event, as that honor went to John Cena and Wade Barrett in a chairs match.
This was the best match of the night, as for 22:47, the four men went back and forth, showing off with a number of great spots in the match. At one point on top of the stage, the four were not afraid to send each other into the metal floor to inflict punishment.
Kane took over the match for a portion, and then Mysterio recovered, only to have his signature move, the ‘619’ get blocked by Edge who used a chair to stop his momentum. Del Rio’s assistant Ricardo Rodriguez tried to get involved, but after climbing the ladder he was choke slammed by Kane to end the threat.
The champion Edge was able to retain when he speared Kane onto a table, and was able to climb back in the ring with all the competitors hurting, and was able to climb the ladder to get the win and keep the belt.
5 Edge vs The Undertaker, World Heavyweight Championship - One Night Stand 6/1/08
Edge and The Undertaker had a great back and forth feud for the World Heavyweight title back in 2008, and this match at ‘One Night Stand’ between the two was another great addition to that rivalry. The stipulation for this main event between the two was that Undertaker would be forced to ‘leave’ the WWE if he lost.
During the feud, Edge was involved with SmackDown GM Vickie Guerrero, even ‘marrying’ her at one point. With her help and assistance from the stable of ‘La Familia,’ it was going to be near impossible for Taker to win this and stay in the company.
The bout was well played out as Edge and Taker always seemed to have good chemistry. Taker was forced to deal with Edge, as well as Curt Hawkins and Zach Ryder, and Vicki’s pals Chavo Guerrero and Bam Neely. All four helpers eventually were taken out by Taker, but it took a toll on him at the same time.
The finale set up with Undertaker climbing the ladder to what looked like victory, but Edge recovered enough to push the ladder over and Taker fell through four tables. Edge then climbed the ladder to grab the belt for the win, sending Taker packing from WWE – for a few months anyway.
4 CM Punk vs Jeff Hardy, World Heavyweight Championship – SummerSlam 8/23/09
This was the last hurrah for Jeff Hardy, and he did the honors to arch-rival C.M. Punk, losing a match that was well done and hard fought by two of the best wrestlers in the company.
Punk, at the time, was one of the best and most hated heels in the WWE, using the past issues that Hardy had with substances to further the fans hatred of the ‘straight edge superstar.’ The match had a number of memorable moments, like when Punk moved away from a leap by Hardy on a table.
Another came when Punk was flipped off a ladder by Hardy, while another great spot occurred when Punk attempted a ‘go to sleep’ before Hardy countered it and flipped Punk over the top rope onto a table.
Punk won the match and the title at the 21:34 mark, when Hardy tried a Swanton bomb, but missed and went through a table. The medical team came out and took him away, allowing Punk to go up the ladder and take the belt.
While it was the end of one feud, another started right away, when after the match the lights went out, and The Undertaker came out – setting up a stretch of matches between Taker and Punk.
3 Edge and Christian vs The Dudley Boyz vs The Hardy Boyz, WWE Tag Team Titles – SummerSlam 8/27/00
It was the first ever ‘official’ TLC match, and while it wasn’t all that long (14:53) and many didn’t know what to expect, the six men did what they could to make the first ever TLC match a memorable encounter. As part of SummerSlam 2000, the six-men went out and put on a show that set the standard for all other TLC matches to come.
The high point of the near 15 minute match came when Edge and Christian knocked Bubba Ray Dudley off a ladder and onto four double-stacked tables, a feat that had never been seen in WWE before.
Matt Hardy, at one-point, seemed to have the match won, but D-Von Dudley pushed the ladder, and Matt Hardy went through two tables at ringside.
The finale of the first TLC match came when Jeff Hardy and D-Von were at the top of the ladders battling, and Edge and Christian pushed the ladder aside, leaving Jeff Hardy hanging.
Christian hit Hardy with a ladder, ending the threat, before Edge and Christian climbed up the ladders and snatched the belts for the win.
2 John Cena vs Edge, WWE Championship – Unforgiven 9/17/06
This was a highly emotional match, and for Edge and Cena, it was maybe the best match the two had in their long feud. For nearly 26 minutes, the two battled using all three objects as weapons throughout the match.
Cena at one point was sandwiched in a ladder and was being battered severely by Edge. The challenger though came back, and put Edge into a STFU, to which Edge tapped out, but the match could not be won that way, and only could be won by climbing the ladder to get the belt.
It appeared that Cena had the match won as he did enough damage to Edge to climb the ladder, but Lita, Edge’s girlfriend and second in the corner, came in and pushed Cena off the ladder, and onto a table. Cena was able to take care of Lita, giving her a FU and ending her interference.
The crowd was clearly in favor of their hometown hero Edge, but it was not to be, as the two went to the top of the ladder, setting up a great scene with the two going at it. The end came when Cena gave Edge a FU through two tables and grabbed the belt for the win.
1 Edge and Christian vs The Dudley Boyz vs The Hardy Boyz, WWE Tag Team Championships – WrestleMania X-Seven 4/1/01
While sitting inthe middle of one of the best WrestleMania cards in history, this TLC match remains one of the best and most talked about in history. It was a classic, with three of the all-time best tag teams going at it for 15 minutes in an intense battle that pulled out all the stops.
Billed as “TLC II,” this match was even better than the first round that took place at SummerSlam eight months before. There also was interference from Spike Dudley (for the Dudleys), Rhyno (for Edge and Christian) and Lita (for the Hardy’s).
Highlights included Jeff Hardy doing a swanton bomb from a huge ladder on top of Spike Dudley and Rhyno, then going for the belts.
The threat was stopped when Bubba Ray pulled the ladder away, leaving Hardy hanging. With Hardy dangling, Edge leaped off a ladder and speared Hardy, a clip that is shown on WWE TV to this day.
Edge and Christian won the match when Bubba Ray and Matt Hardy were battling on the ladder, and Rhyno pushed the pair off and onto four stacked ladders. The interference allowed Christian, with more help from Rhyno, to get up to the top of the ladder and grab the belts, snatching the win in the best TLC match of all-time.