Thanks to a handful of excellent matches and some solid overall storytelling, TLC was one of WWE's best pay-per-views of 2012.Even great events are bound to have some issues, though, and TLC was no different as there were a few head-scratching decisions.
I'm generally pretty tough on WWE and other promotions when it comes to booking, and while the choices that were made at TLC were sensible, for the most part, I still took issue with a couple things. Things were obviously leaning in favor of the heels quite heavily, so it seemed as though decisions were made purely to tip the scales in the other direction in some cases.
I understand the desire to play it safe with Royal Rumble and the road to WrestleMania approaching, but it just seemed like the creative team missed a couple opportunities to do something special. It was far from the worst job that the writers have done all year, but here are the three strangest happenings from WWE TLC.
Big Show vs. Sheamus
It has been discussed many times over the past few months, but I honestly believed that Dolph Ziggler would cash in his Money in the Bank contract at TLC. Everything was set up perfectly, as Sheamus could have defeated Big Show for the World Heavyweight Championship in a chairs match, which would have resulted in either Big Show or The Shield taking out Sheamus afterward.
That would have enabled Ziggler to cash in and become the new world champion. Then, rather than facing John Cena with the Money in the Bank contract on the line, it would have been a ladder match for the World Heavyweight Championship. Ziggler's win over Cena would have been even more impactful and the fans would have gotten to see two world title matches in one, despite CM Punk being unable to defend his WWE Championship.
All the pieces were unquestionably in place, but the WWE didn't take advantage. Perhaps there are bigger plans in place for Ziggler's cash-in, and if that is the case, then I can understand the decision. Big Show ultimately won the match and retained, which was the second-best option, but it was done in an odd fashion.
Big Show dominated the match and it looked like everything was building toward Sheamus making his comeback and winning, but that never came to fruition. Instead, Big Show pulled out a giant chair and beat Sheamus by hitting him with it. I didn't like the ending at all, and if Big Show was going to win the match, then it should have been a closer affair than it turned out to be.
Kofi Kingston vs. Wade Barrett
I was never crazy about the fact that Wade Barrett was being put in a feud for Kofi Kingston's Intercontinental Championship, but I came to grips with it since I figured that Barrett would win the title at TLC. Quite the opposite happened, though, as Kofi defeated Barrett and retained the strap in a bout that made very little sense to me.
Barrett doesn't need the IC title, and neither does Kingston, so a Barrett victory was the logical route to take. Kofi is already a four-time Intercontinental Champion and he isn't going anywhere in the immediate future. He is firmly locked-in as a mid-card face, and that is going to be true whether he holds the title or not.
Barrett, on the other hand, is in a state of flux. He is main-event material, but with Big Show hanging onto the world title, there is no room for him at the top of the card right now. Because of that, an Intercontinental Championship win would have been good for him. He could have run through the mid-card with something on the line, and when the time finally came for him to move up in the pecking order, he could have dropped the belt to someone else.
After losing at TLC, however, it's tough to see where he goes from here. I suppose he could continue feuding with Kofi, but then why have him lose in the first place? Barrett has been mishandled terribly since his return from injury and the poor booking has reached a fever pitch as he is mired in a losing streak. Barrett is one of the top talents on the entire roster and it's time that he is treated as such.
Alberto Del Rio's Random Face Turn
What was the strangest booking decision at TLC?
Over the past week, there has been some talk about Alberto Del Rio potentially turning face, but I brushed it aside initially. Del Rio obviously needs a change in order to freshen up his character, but his attitude screams heel, so I figured the whispers were nothing but wishful thinking. Based on The Mexican Aristocrat's actions at TLC, however, it appears as though a face turn may very well be on the horizon after all.
During a Miz TV segment, 3MB began bullying the Spanish announcing team, and Ricardo Rodriguez took exception with it. Because of that, 3MB focused its attention on Ricardo until Del Rio made the save. That set up a six-man tag match later in the night, as Del Rio, Miz and The Brooklyn Brawler ultimately defeated 3MB.
It's possible that Del Rio simply acted as a face for one night in order to get on the card, but it also might have been a trial run to see how the crowd received him. He got some pretty loud cheers when he saved Ricardo, so I can see this being the start of something bigger. I don't have an issue with Del Rio turning face, as it could revitalize him, but the manner in which it happened was a bit strange.
Anything 3MB is involved in is essentially a throwaway segment, so having them be the reason for Del Rio changing his ways would be quite odd. If the writers wanted to turn Del Rio face, then a double turn could have easily been executed while he was feuding with Randy Orton, and it would have benefited both men. It's tough to say for sure what the future plans are for Del Rio, but the WWE certainly didn't start his potential face turn in fantastic fashion.