Over the past several years, the WWE has been utilizing gimmick pay-per-views that take on the name of a popular match type. While most of them are nothing to write home about and could easily be replaced with something more generic, TLC is one event that has been consistently solid.
WWE has obviously shifted toward gimmick pay-per-views as a way to draw in fans based on the name alone. The company probably figures that a casual fan wouldn't think twice about a pay-per-view called Vengeance or Backlash, but an event named after a certain type of match is more likely to hook someone since they know what to expect.
Largely, gimmick pay-per-views have ruined booking throughout the rest of the year, however. October's Hell in a Cell is the perfect example of that as it severely limits what the WWE can do throughout the rest of the year. The Hell in a Cell match should be able to be used at any time and it should be used solely to end or further an important feud.
Instead, the calendar dictates when a Hell in a Cell match must happen. While The Undertaker and Triple H did settle the score in a Hell in a Cell match at WrestleMania, that was a special exception to the rule. CM Punk and Ryback faced off in a Hell in a Cell match at the event a couple months ago and now we may not see another one for an entire year.
I would rather see every gimmick pay-per-view eliminated by the WWE in favor of some more flexible events, but that probably won't be happening any time soon.
One of the few gimmick pay-per-views that I do find tolerable, however, is TLC. That event is set to take place in a couple weeks, and it has proven to be a solid show the past couple years.
TLC does limit the amount of Tables, Ladders and Chairs matches we see throughout the year, but it presents many options. Hell in a Cell fell flat this year because there was only one Hell in a Cell match. Most fans have come to expect at least two such matches on the card, but the WWE scaled back, so hopefully that leads to the elimination of the event down the line.
There may only be one TLC match at the TLC pay-per-view, but we can also see individual Tables matches, Ladder matches and Chairs matches, so the WWE isn't necessarily handcuffed with regard to what it can do. Also, we often see these types of matches at other points during the year, meaning TLC doesn't hold the WWE back from doing what it wants down the line.
Although there are differing interpretations as to what is a gimmick pay-per-view and what isn't, I believe there are four. They are TLC, Hell in a Cell, Elimination Chamber and Money in the Bank. Some would argue that Extreme Rules is, but it's too unspecific to qualify, and Royal Rumble could be included as well, but it's much more of a tradition than a gimmick.
I've already discussed my hatred for Hell in a Cell, but it applies to Elimination Chamber as well. While the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view is usually quite good, it has taken a special match type and stifled it. I loved when an Elimination Chamber match could be utilized at any point without warning, but there hasn't been a single one at an event other than Elimination Chamber since its advent.
Money in the Bank has proven to be a strong pay-per-view as well, but it's essentially the same thing as TLC, except a guaranteed title shot is on the line rather than the title itself. I still want the Money in the Bank match to exist, but I would put it back on the WrestleMania card. It would get more deserving superstars involved in the event and it would provide an even bigger rub to the winner.
Also, the WWE has jumped the shark a bit with Money in the Bank by having separate matches for the WWE Championship and the World Heavyweight Championship. Having one Money in the Bank match that allows the winner to compete for either title is far superior because it opens up more possibilities and keeps the fans on their toes.
TLC isn't a necessary pay-per-view, either, but it is far from being as egregious as the others. Rather than promising just one match type for the entire event, there are four different options, so things seem fresh. Also, the hardcore aspect of TLC is something that a lot of fans enjoy since they don't see much of it throughout the rest of the year.
The sooner the concept of gimmick pay-per-views comes to an end in WWE, the better, but TLC is one gimmick that I can tolerate.