WWE TLC Review: Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt, Dolph Ziggler, Luke Harper steal the show

wweNo Brock Lesnar, no Randy Orton, no Sting, no Triple H, John Cena on at 9 p.m. Eastern. WWE’s TLC pay-per-view was dominated by the next generation of WWE Superstars.

The future is bright.

The bookends to the show – the Dolph Ziggler-Luke Harper opener and the Dean Ambrose-Bray Wyatt main event – were on the short list of best WWE matches of 2014. Those two matches, plus the return of projected WrestleMania 31 main-eventer Roman Reigns with a well-timed intervention in the John Cena-Seth Rollins match, were the highlights of the night, which did its job building on a successful Survivor Series.

Move of the Night: Dean Ambrose’s flight into WWE history The Ambrose-Wyatt match was full of highspots, none higher than his third elbow drop off a ladder onto a prone Wyatt on a table. The third had Wyatt on the Spanish announce table, and Ambrose atop a 15-foot-tall ladder. The table didn’t give the way you might expect it to, and Ambrose actually rebounded a bit after making initial contact. A #holyshit moment if there ever was one.

Star of the Night: Roman Reigns A controversial pick here, sure, but the pop for Reigns at a key stage of the Cena-Rollins match, as Big Show was interfering to give Rollins the shot at the win, was spine-tingling. All it took was his music hitting, but then when he hit the Superman punch and then speared Show through a table set up in the corner, yeah, there it was. Reigns is back, the WM31 main event is practically set, the world is once again spinning on its axis.

Best Opener in a Long, Long Time: Ziggs wins the IC title You want to start a big show off with a hot match, but maybe not this hot. Ziggler and Harper put on a match that was thisclose to being Match of the Night. We all knew Ziggler could put on a performance like that, but Harper was a pleasant surprise.

Match of the Night: Wyatt gets the win over Ambrose, as if that matters Truly one that it didn’t matter who got the fall. Ambrose walks away another step higher up the ladder, and Wyatt gets another huge PPV win in 2014. Great booking in that respect, not even counting for how enjoyable the match itself was. Wyatt, ostensibly the heel, wrestled as the face most of the night, taking an extended beating well before hitting his Sister Abigail finisher. Great in-ring work by both guys, and the match psychology was among the best that I’ve seen in a long, long time.

– Review by Chris Graham


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