While the final WWE pay-per-view of 2012 didn't have any of the shocking moments fans always hope for at marquee events, it was a solid show that set the table for next year. There are several big moments throughout the night that helped set up future storylines.
In reality, that's all the WWE Universe can hope for from a second-tier PPV like TLC. It doesn't carry nearly as much weight as the Royal Rumble or WrestleMania, which means it's more about setting up future angles. TLC did exactly that.
Let's take a look at the three most important moments of the night. They will all have an impact on the superstars involved as the calendar turns to 2013.
Will Del Rio succeed as a face?
3. Alberto Del Rio Face Turn
After Ricardo Rodriguez came out to confront 3MB, who were harassing the Spanish announce team, Del Rio ran out to make the save. It was the beginning of a gimmick change for the Mexican superstar, and it comes at a perfect time.
Del Rio's character had become boring and redundant in recent months. The lack of crowd enthusiasm during his promos and matches illustrated that. The longer he stuck with the aristocrat approach, the less fans cared.
By turning face, it opens up plenty of new opportunities and feuds that weren't possible during his extended run as a heel. Having him work with The Miz, who recently turned as well, was a good start to his new character's development.
2. Dolph Ziggler Beats John Cena
Sunday night was a turning point for Ziggler. Either he was going to retain the briefcase and receive the push he's deserved for months, or the WWE was going to pull the plug on his push and send him back to the mid-card scene.
Ziggler picked up the victory, with help from AJ, and should build off that momentum heading into next year. He has all the tools to become one of the company's biggest stars, from terrific in-ring ability to solid work on the mic, and it's starting to show.
It would have been nice to see him beat Cena without the benefit of help, but that's a major step for any superstar. The WWE protects Cena at every turn, so it wasn't a surprise to see AJ's involvement. Regardless, it's still a major win for Ziggler.
1. The Shield Lives Up To Hype
Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns took the WWE by storm at Survivor Series. It wasn't until TLC that fans found out they have long-term staying power. The Shield isn't going away anytime soon after an impressive performance against Ryback and Team Hell No.
Ambrose and Rollins have a large following among the Internet Wrestling Community, but TLC was their first chance to show the mainstream audience how they handle themselves in the ring. It's fair to say they exceeded expectations.
Reigns was less heralded, but came across as a formidable superstar. Ambrose stood out the most, but the group as a whole did enough to keep the storyline in place, and all three should be in line for successful run as singles stars whenever they do break up.