This Sunday night, Ryback will team up with Team Hell No to face The Shield in a six-man tag team Tables, Ladders and Chairs (TLC) match. It is the first bout of its kind to be decided through pinfall or submission rather than by retrieving the title hanging above the ring. The match is also the first TLC contest to feature two teams of three men.
With the rich history of TLC matches and a wealth of young talent ready to prove themselves, Sunday’s contest has a lot to live up to. As the WWE’s final pay-per-view of the year, the company will also want this main event to make an impact.
Unlike Hell in a Cell—whose legacy has been put to shame by modern incarnations of the match—the WWE has managed to keep the quality of TLC much higher. Even with a whole pay-per-view based around it in recent years, there have still only been a total of 12 TLC matches to date.
TLC remains something very special to the WWE Universe. Although no encounters will ever compare to the original TLC I and II—contested between Edge and Christian, The Hardy Boyz and the Dudley Boyz—the TLC anthology boasts a solid resume. Even into the modern PG-era of programming, TLC has maintained its quality.
In 2008, Edge forced the Undertaker temporarily out of the WWE at One Night Stand in a classic fray. In 2009, Degeneration X made history by defeating Jeri-Show for their one and only reign with the Unified WWE Tag Team titles. Just last year, The Miz, Alberto Del Rio and CM Punk put together the year’s most extreme matchup in a stellar performance.
Overall, expectations remain high for TLC encounters, and this Sunday sees the most men in a single TLC match in over a decade. Six men in such an environment is conducive to the chaotic and yet finely choreographed action that made TLC popular upon its debut.
The question is whether the young talent of The Shield—Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns—and Ryback can prove themselves worthy. Ryback is still earning his place as a main-event superstar in the eyes of fans.
The Shield contains three very talented young wrestlers, however, this is their first match as part of the WWE’s main roster. Debuting not only at a pay-per-view, but also in what will most likely be the night’s main event, leaves The Shield also needing to prove their worthiness.
In addition to the legacy of TLC matches, all of the participants—other than Kane and Daniel Bryan—have their own legacies to cement. Although no championships are on the line, there is a lot at stake and a lot of implications for the future stars of the WWE come Sunday in Brooklyn.