Match Ratings: WWE TLC 2018, Podcast Notes From Sean Ross Sapp Of


  • Baron Corbin has Heath Slater and JoJo in the back, and has JoJo practicing how to announce him as permanent General Manager. Okay. 
NJPW Castle Attack Night Two Results (2/28): Four Title Matches

WWE Cruiserweight Championship
Buddy Murphy (c) defeated Cedric Alexander

  • I'm not with the doom and gloom "oh no 205 Live is on the pre-show" talk. They have 50,000 people watching on Youtube and 30,000 on Facebook watching two guys who anchor a show on the Network that WWE wants to sell.
  • Buddy Murphy's shorts are like if early 2000s X Division gear didn't suck.
  • Murphy does well to control Alexander early on, but gets caught with a superkick when jumping off the second rope and Alexander is on fire. 
  • There's a lot of stiff strikes and smooth counters. One of which is a nice Cheeky Nandos Kick.
  • They end up on the apron and Alexander gets a Death Valley Driver, then a Lumbar Check, but Murphy gets his foot on the ropes!
  • Murphy's Law gets the win. Good match and the right placement in my estimation. The crowd was into it.


Guitar Ladder Match
Elias defeated Bobby Lashley (w/ Lio Rush)

  • Lashley's nickname should be The Almighty Ass. The only way this match should end is with Elias breaking a guitar over Bobby Lashley's ass.
  • Lashley gets control early, but Elias stomps a ladder onto him.
  • Lio distracts Elias, and Lashley goes to work. The ol' squisher on a ladder, then the ladder falls on Elias (which he sells great). Then Lashley suplexes Elias, then the ladder onto Elias.
  • Elias gets belly-to-belly suplexed onto the ladder, and he returns the favor with a powerbomb onto a ladder. 
  • So.....that was the rule? You grab the guitar? Well at least it's consistent, but I thought it was that you got to use the guitar. Elias wins.
  • Elias gets beaten down and Lio Rush hits a Frog Splash. Then Bobby Lashley busts a guitar over Elias' back. Yeehaw 50/50.
  • A harmless ladder match that was well executed. 

Mixed Match Challenge Finals
Winners Get #30 Royal Rumble Spots
Carmella & R-Truth defeated Alicia Fox & Jinder Mahal (w/ Singh Bros.)

  • Hopefully a James Ellsworth doesn't come along and nerf the Carmella/Truth act like Slater/Rhyno was on Smackdown. They're really over. 
  • Former WWE Champion & former WWE Divas Champion vs. Former NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion & former Smackdown Women's Champion.
  • A double hiptoss to Jinder sends him outside.
  • There's a Dance Break and the Singh Bros. try to get involved, but R-Truth throws them out of the ring.
  • That Fox neckbreaker just doesn't ever look like it connects. Carmella gets a Mella Go Round. An Alicia Northern Lights Suplex has them both worn down.
  • R-Truth gets the hot tag and runs through Jinder, but Fox tags in and demands her hat. R-Truth takes it and Alicia is livid. 
  • Carmella gets a superkick, but Jinder stops the pin. It doesn't much matter, because the Code of Silence taps Alicia out. 
  • Another harmless one. I am totally here for a month of vacation vignettes with Carmella and R-Truth.
  • R-Truth submitted the vacation destination as WWE HQ in Stamford, CT.


Smackdown Tag Team Championships
The Bar (c) defeated New Day (w/ Big E) and The Usos

  • New Day has great Christmas gear.
  • Tom Phillips showing some personality by being a dick to Otunga on commentary. I dig it.
  • Cesaro stops an Uso Crazy with a nice European Uppercut. The Bar control for quite a while, preventing tags out to both teams until Xavier gets a great flying knee on Sheamus. 
  • Jimmy Uso actually tags himself in, and he and Cesaro do a Rockerplex to Kofi. 
  • Uso is posted pretty soon after a good burst of offense from his team.
  • Kofi hits a great Mushroom Stomp on Sheamus that leads to a Xavier ropewalk elbow. 
  • I would imagine New Day and Usos get split in the next draft/Shakeup. It's No DQ, right? Why isn't Big E just running in? Either way, Kofi scores a Trust Fall. 
  • Sheamus Brogue Kicks Xavier for the win. 
  • This match could headline a Raw or Smackdown. A strong tag team division can be a great attraction.

TLC Match
If Strowman Wins, He Gets A WWE Universal Title Shot At Royal Rumble And Baron Corbin Is Fired, If Corbin Wins, He's Permanent Raw GM
Braun Strowman defeated Baron Corbin
N/A (Angle Rating: 8.5/10)

  • Baron Corbin comes out and says he's here to accept his role, and makes Heath Slater count for the forfeit.
  • Strowman comes out and says this is a No DQ match, so if someone wants to help him, it'sa ll legal
  • Apollo, Gable, Balor, Roode!? Oh man, what a coup! Heath Slater takes off his ref shirt and punches Corbin to a giant pop. 
  • They all beat up Corbin, who decides to leave. Kurt Angle shows up to a huge ovation and beats Corbin with a chair.
  • The RoodeSault, an Apollo Crews Frog Splash, Angle Slam and Coup De Grace all hit. Slater puts his ref shirt back on and counts the three. 
  • That was late 80s/early 90s style pro wrestling payoff, and it was fun. It made sense, bought time and got great reactions


Tables Match
Natalya defeated Ruby Riott (w/ Riott Squad)

  • Liv Morgan takes the early bullet for Ruby and gets put through the table. This was a pretty smooth bump. Natalya body slams Sarah Logan through another to even the odds.
  • Riott sends Natalya into the stairs, and brings out the Anvil table. Natalya avoids getting put through it and applies a Sharpshooter.
  • There's a cool spot where Ruby tips the leaned table while put in the Sharpshooter, and makes it smack Natalya's head.
  • Natalya almost has the match won with an Electric Chair through a table, but the table gets tipped over. She reaches outside and has a table with Ruby Riott's picture on it, which gets a good reaction. 
  • Natalya pulls out Anvil's jacket and puts it on, then places Ruby on the table. She takes too long  and Ruby goes after her. It doesn't do much good, as Natalya super powerbombs Riott through the table.
  • Maybe the best women's tables match ever.

Finn Balor defeated Drew McIntyre

  • Drew McIntyre puts his paw on Balor's chest and paints it up before landing a ThrowPlex. The latter happens again, Drew dominates early.
  • Balor is able to come back with a tope con hilo and a Slingblade, but gets cut off with an awesome tilt-a-whirl backbreaker.
  • Drew McIntyre gets a Super White Noise, then slams Balor on the apron by his leg. This is a slower, methodical match, but they're hitting a lot of great spots. 
  • Ziggler shows up and superkicks Drew McIntyre, but Drew boots a chair into his face.
  • Drew drags the chair in the ring and has it kicked in his face by Balor. Coup de Grace gets the win.
  • Ah, goody. We get a third Drew/Ziggler match tomorrow then.
  • Don't know that there was a wrong call there. Finn Balor has been red hot with crowds lately.
  • I see a lot of speculation about Drew McIntyre and Smackdown, but they need Finn Balor more on that show. Short on top babyfaces.
  • Balor is asked about Ziggler's interference and Ziggler attacks him after an argument. 


Chairs Match
Rey Mysterio defeated Randy Orton

  • I don't care about this match, you don't care about this match, San Jose doesn't care about this match. Here's to hoping they make it good.
  • They trade chair shots, but the first great spot of the match is when Rey boogie boards a chair onto Orton on the outside. One of the coolest chair moves I've ever seen. 
  • Rey breaks his old ass apart with a senton onto a chair outside the ring when Orton moves. 
  • Rey headscissors Orton into a cornered chair, but Orton immediately rebounds with a powerslam. 
  • Orton throws a chair into Rey's face, but it's not enough to stop a 619. 
  • Rey is hung upside down and has his face slammed into a chair over and over again. 
  • Orton gets caught with a victory roll off a chair. This was pretty good stuff.


WWE Raw Women's Championship
Ronda Rousey defeated Nia Jax (w/ Tamina)

  • Ronda Rousey is Holly Holm-ing Nia Jax. Dancing circles around Jax.
  • Rousey grabs a flying armbar, but gets powerbombed and kicks out at one. Rousey is thrown into the post after.
  • Nia is going for a suplex, and it looks like it's going to be botched. Instead, Ronda Rousey is a goddamn wizard and manages a rear naked choke. She transitions into an armbar but is dragged outside and slung into the barricade. 
  • I can't count the number of things I've seen Ronda Rousey do in her first 9 months of wrestling that I've never seen in a pro wrestling match before.
  • Rousey reverses a powerbomb with a huracanrana and goes through her strike combo and lands them WELL. Rousey's flying knee project was a winner this time around. 
  • Rousey got a great cross body to the outside, but in the ring, Nia (kind of) rolls through one for a Samoan Drop.
  • Nia tries a Super Samoan Drop, but Rousey turns it into a Sunset Flip Powerbomb for a two count. This got an awesome reaction.
  • Rousey avoids a Facebreaker and applies an armbar for the win.
  • Amazing that Nia Jax's tailor made, perfect opponent with the best chemistry is someone who didn't wrestle a match before March.
  • Backstage, Becky Lynch runs into Nia and cracks her in the mouth.

WWE Championship
Daniel Bryan (c) defeated AJ Styles

  • This is probably going to have a slower pace considering the rest of the card.
  • Styles misses a dropkick and Bryan goes to work. 
  • Styles tries to get an offensive going but Bryan cuts him off at every turn.  
  • Bryan gets caught with a nasty clothesline, but turns the moonsault reverse DDT into a cravat with knees. He moves to a nice swinging neckbreaker suplex. 
  • Styles catches a Bryan kick and puts the pain on DB's leg, turning the tables on Bryan. A half crab is applied for a long, long time. Styles even loses his footing at one point.
  • The Lebell Lock is applied, but a series of pins are attempted, then a kick trade.
  • Styles dropkicks to avoid a running knee, and gets two on a springboard 450. Bryan is locked in a Calf Crusher, but rolls through just as Styles was adjusting the move. 
  • Styles gets a Phenomenal Forearm off the barricade outside, but almost runs into the ref inside the ring and gets PAUL SMACKAGE'D for the win. 


WWE Intercontinental Championship
Dean Ambrose (c) defeated Seth Rollins

  • Corey Graves and Renee Young going off on one another is FANTASTIC.
  • Rollins gets a springboard clothesline, but that's about it early on as Dean Ambrose is dominant. Rollins can't get any momentum.
  • Ambrose's reinvention continues, as he's expanded his arsenal with a spinning neckbreaker. 
  • WWE took one of the hottest possible angles in recent memory and "ALL YOU PEOPLE'D" it to the point where "alllllll those people" didn't give a shit for the payoff.
  • Rollins leg is worked over one match after a leg was worked over, and he does suicide dives with it. Eh?
  • WWE plays off of the Rollins ACL injury from 2015 on a sunset flip powerbomb, but it gets two. 
  • Ambrose crotches Rollins and clotheslines him on his head.
  • Rollins comes back with a Ripcord knee, but Ambrose's knees are up on the Frog Splash attempt. 
  • "This is boring" chants. Wow. 
  • Ambrose avoids a superkick by putting his fist out for a Shield bump. Rollins looks at his fist like it's fucking 1985.
  • Ambrose catches Rollins with Dirty Deeds and wins. This wasn't great, was placed poorly, was built poorly.

TLC Match
WWE Smackdown Women's Championship 

Asuka defeated Becky Lynch (c) and Charlotte Flair to become WWE Smackdown Women's Champion

  • Becky Lynch is just super over, but she also gets a ladder kicked into her face by Charlotte.
  • Asuka is really laying in the strikes, and lays in a nice Codebreaker on a spear attempt from Charlotte. 
  • Asuka snapmares Becky off the buckles onto a ladder. Then she powerbombs Charlotte through a leaning table.
  • Charlotte Flair does the moonsault to the outside on both women -- ideally the best situation that move can be done in. Charlotte throws Becky into the guard rail and Asuka over the table. 
  • Becky places both women on the announcer's table and does a leg drop off a ladder. Asuka moves and Becky BOUNCES off of Charlotte. Flair is being checked on. That was nasty and Charlotte is screaming in pain.
  • Charlotte is back and takes out both women with a kendo stick. She gets Exploder suplexed into the guard rail by Becky, then it's Asuka's turn with the cane, and she puts a beating down.
  • Out of nowhere, Charlotte puts Asuka halfway through the guard rail with a spear!
  • Charlotte and Becky Lynch duke it out in the ring before it spills outside. Charlotte does a somersault senton on Becky through a table after slapping her in the face. Insane!
  • All three women are on the ladders fighting it out! Ronda Rousey shows up and pushes Becky and Charlotte off the ladders. Asuka wins!!!

Rating guide

10- Perfect, 9- MOTY Territory, 8- Excellent, 7- Great, 6- Good, 5- Average to above average, 4- Slightly below average, 3 or below: Poor

Each match starts at a 5 and slides up and down based on entertainment, execution, time, environment, reaction and stakes. The ratings are in no way an indication of a "star rating," which is a completely different system. A standard, non-offensive "TV match" lands at a 5.The gap between 5.75-6 is generally the largest, with anything reaching 6 being recommended viewing.

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