WWE TLC 2012: Whose Stock Is Rising and Falling After TLC?
WWE's TLC pay-per-view is in the books, and coming out of Sunday's show, several Superstars have seen their proverbial "stock" rise and fall.
Which Superstars' performances and victories resulted in them riding a wave of momentum? Who comes out of the event in a worse-off way than they were previously?
Find out inside.
Rising: Alberto Del Rio
If someone had told me a year ago that, by the end of 2012, both The Miz and Alberto Del Rio would be babyfaces, I would have told them they were out of their mind, to put it mildly. But at Sunday night's show, Del Rio completed an improbable face turn by rescuing his personal ring announcer, Ricardo Rodriguez, from the hands of the bullying 3MB.
Despite a throwaway six-man tag match that saw Del Rio team with The Miz and the Brooklyn Brawler to defeat the 3MB, the former WWE Champion appeared to have won over the Brooklyn fans, and one can only imagine what creative has in store for him now and what direction his character takes from here.
One thing is for certain: A simple change can freshen up a character greatly, and there was no other star in WWE is need of such a change than Alberto Del Rio.
Falling: Rey Mysterio
Do you remember when Rey Mysterio won his two World Heavyweight Championships? How about that WWE title reign? Are you even aware that he is one of the most popular, enduring and decorated Superstars in WWE history?
If you just started watching WWE television, you probably are not.
The tag team consisting of Mysterio and Sin Cara has been very entertaining, but it has meant a tremendous fall for Rey in the ranks of WWE Superstars. That continued at TLC, when he entered the arena to very little fanfare and did not have the opportunity to do much to win that audience over.
Mysterio and Sin Cara were essentially crash test dummies for Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes to beat around, and while it worked in helping to get Rhodes Scholars further over with the WWE fans, it only helped to further devalue Mysterio.
At this point in his career, Rey does not need to be beating all of the young talent in the company. But for someone who continuously puts his body on the line for a company devoid of legitimate stars, one would believe he has earned a slightly better spot on the card.
Rising: The Shield
In one night, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins,and Roman Reigns erased any doubts or hesitations left in Vince McMahon's mind about their sudden and impactful push on his shows.
Their performance in Sunday's six-man tag team TLC match not only resulted in an immediate "Match of the Year" contender, it was the type of performance that could very well define those three men for years to come.
Throwing caution to the wind, they took incredible bumps, never looked out of place and told stories within the context of the match that the fans could immediately get behind. It enhanced the match and helped it exceed even the loftiest of expectations.
While the future is unknown for the three Florida Championship Wrestling alumni, it sure is far brighter than it was Sunday morning.
Many were surprised when Naomi, one of Brodus Clay's dancers, won the "Santa's Little Helper battle royal" to become No. 1 contender to Eve's Divas Championship on the TLC pre-show. After all, she had done no wrestling on television since the end of NXT Season 3, and most of the audience could not be bothered to even watch that show at that point.
Suffice to say, she proved to the world that she may be the best pure athlete on the entire Divas roster Sunday night.
Naomi was very impressive in the three minutes she and Eve had on the pay-per-view. They told a solid story, with Naomi out-wrestling and frustrating Eve at times, until her flashy, athletic, high-risk offense proved to be her undoing. After the challenger missed a high cross-body block attempt, Eve capitalized and delivered her finisher to retain the Divas title.
Naomi may not have left Brooklyn with the championship, but she did leave Vince McMahon and the creative team with a lasting impression.
Do not be surprised if you see the "Funkadactyl" in the ring more often after Sunday's performance.
One has to wonder where R-Truth goes after a second consecutive pay-per-view loss to Antonio Cesaro at TLC.
With Alberto Del Rio and The Miz officially babyfaces at this point, and a number of talented young heels making their way up the proverbial ladder, there does not appear to be much room for upward career growth for Truth.
The fact that his match with Cesaro was highly unimpressive does not necessarily help his chances at advancing past his current level either.
R-Truth can ask "what's up" all he wants, but the answer most definitely is not his stock within World Wrestling Entertainment.
Rising: Dolph Ziggler
The moment that it was announced that Dolph Ziggler's Money in the Bank briefcase was going to be on the line in his ladder match against John Cena, everyone and their mother would have sworn that Cena was going to win the match. After all, it seemed like a tremendous opportunity for the WWE's resident golden boy to secure yet another title shot.
When AJ Lee tipped over the ladder with Cena on it, however, fans rejoiced in knowing that the company had not given up on perhaps the most physically and athletically-gifted Superstar they have had in quite some time.
Dolph Ziggler, as well as fans of the self-proclaimed "show off," have many reasons to be excited coming out of TLC. For one, it now appears guaranteed that he will enjoy a World Heavyweight Championship reign sometime in the very near future. Secondly, he could see his star continue to rise, as the story between he, Vickie Guerrero, Cena and AJ appears to be far from over.
Most importantly, Dolph took his first shot in the main event of a pay-per-view and made it count, having a tremendous match with Cena and proving that he belongs in that spot on the card.
Falling: Antonio Cesaro
There is absolutely no denying the ability of current United States Champion Antonio Cesaro between the ropes. Fans of his from his days in Ring of Honor and Chikara know just how talented a worker he is.
Unfortunately, Sunday night at TLC was just another case of him failing to live up to his potential.
His match with R-Truth for the US title was bland and boring. There is no better way to put it. Some will argue that Truth may not be the best guy to try and get a great match out of these days, but at some point, the excuses for Cesaro have to stop, and some blame has to be put on his shoulders.
Has Antonio's booking been great? Absolutely not. He still has a bland character, and for that, the blame should be put on a creative team that has done nothing to help said character evolve. But at some point, the performer has to overcome lazy or shoddy booking and make an impact for himself or herself.
Cesaro has not done that and, because of that failure to do so, has not connected with the audience. He has also failed to have that one match that makes him stand out; that gives the company an excuse to continue pushing him.
Unless that lightbulb goes off for the highly-talented in-ring worker and he does something to get the audience to react to him on a consistent basis (that does not involve insulting Americans in different languages), WWE may want to re-evaluate whether or not he is the guy they want to push as one of their top villians.
About a week ago, I very seriously doubted that Ryback could be protected sufficiently during a pay-per-view bout that The Shield obviously needed to win. I questioned why the WWE would want to take their hottest babyface and have him lose for a third consecutive time in a major PPV event.
All of my fears and doubts were erased Sunday, when Ryback was booked as the absolute beast he should be, destroying the opposition on a number of occasions. He was a legitimate star, hitting the right spots at the right times and somehow managing to turn the "smart" audience's "Goldberg" chants into "Feed Me More" chants, a feat that can be incredibly difficult to accomplish.
When it came time to protect Ryback, he was put through a table while The Shield got heat on Daniel Bryan and Kane. Then, he exploded back into the match, throwing Seth Rollins from the top of a 20-foot ladder through a stack of tables in the spot of the night.
While fans may have struggled to take Ryback seriously on the level of John Cena and CM Punk at both Hell in a Cell and Survivor Series, the former Skip Sheffield proved himself as the next big thing in the business with his performance at TLC.
Like him or not, Ryback is here to stay following another dominant, fan-pleasing performance Sunday night.