WWE TLC 2013 logoWWE TLC 2013

WWE TLC 2013 Results: Grades, Highlights and Analysis

Jonathan SnowdenCombat Sports Senior WriterDecember 15, 2013

WWE TLC 2013 Results: Grades, Highlights and Analysis

1 of 10

    via WWE.com

    John Cena and Randy Orton weren't strangers to competition before their Tables, Ladders and Chairs match in Houston, Texas. Fourteen times they've laced their boots or high top sneaks. Fourteen times Cena has put on his now iconic jorts and, never one to miss a marketing opportunity, his gaudy t-shirt dujour. Fourteen times Orton has sauntered to the ring with a languor that makes you wonder whether he's even really awake, whether he cares at all.  

    Fourteen times they've met on WWE television, either cable or pay-per-view. But none of them were quite like this one. This time they were fighting for more than the championship of the world, a title Orton won after climbing a ladder to retrieve two shiny gold title belts.

    They alone weren't what drove Vince and Stephanie McMahon down the aisle to shake his hand. After all, in today's WWE, anyone can be a world champion. They are littered up and down the card, from the top stars to the opening match job guys. Everyone has been champion at some point—even the perennial loser Dolph Ziggler.

    When I was a kid, you could count the living NWA or WWF champions on two hands. Now it takes that many to count the former champions on the current roster. So not even WWE can sell fans on the idea that the belt means anything at all.

    It's the man who makes the championship in today's wrestling. If the champion is a top star, the belt matters. If he's not, it doesn't. It's that simple. And it's that simple stature Cena and Orton were competing for at TLC.

    Not to be champion—to be the man. Who will be the face of WWE, and thus the face of an entire sport? That's something worth fighting for. For Orton, it was something worth winning. This is now part of his legacy. He wasn't just a champion. He was a top guy.

    That's a distinction worth noting.

    Orton and Cena, of course, weren't the only wrestlers on the card. Bleacher Report has results, instant analysis and letter grades for every match on the card. Disagree with our take? Let's hear yours in the comments.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Fandango (Kickoff Match)

2 of 10

    Result

    Fandango pinned Ziggler with a top rope legdrop after Summer Rae interfered.

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "That is beneath Fandango." —Fandango on line dancing. That doesn't please the crowd in Houston.

    WWE cut to "commercial" after just a minute or two. On a free stream. Boo! Boo!

    Ziggler with the Fame-Asser. Billy Gunn—may he live forever through his signature move!

     

    Grade

    C-

     

    Analysis

    When they cut to a commercial break, during a free internet stream no less, it was pretty obvious that this throw away match was halfway in the garbage already. 

CM Punk vs. the Shield (3-on-1 Handicap Match)

3 of 10

    image via WWE.com
    image via WWE.comimage via WWE.com

    Result

     CM Punk pinned Dean Ambrose after Roman Reigns accidentally speared his partner.

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "Each and every one of us is a part of history as we will witness one of the most important matches in the history of WWE and professional wrestling. The WWE champion versus the world champion." —Stephanie McMahon, setting the stakes for tonight.

    "Tonight, two great champions will walk to that ring. And only one man will walk out and into the history books as the champion of champions." —Triple H.

    "Punk knows he's going down. He said so." —JBL. Way to keep my interest John! 

    The mood completely shifted and a buzz went through the crowd when Roman Reigns came in. That man is going to be a major star.

    Reigns delivered a massive clothesline to Punk. That might be the hardest clothesline Punk has ever taken from a Samoan named Joe. (H/T Bix)

    Reigns missed a spear and flew over the announce table. Crazy spot.

    Headbutts from Punk send Ambrose sprawling.

     

    Grade

    B

     

    Analysis

    From a technical perspective, this match was perfectly fine. The guys are all really good performers and they went through the motions. But, after being built as an unstoppable machine for much of the year, it just didn't feel right to see the Shield beaten by a single man. Sorry WWE—I'm not buying.

Divas Champion AJ Lee vs. Natalya

4 of 10

    via WWE.com

    Result

    AJ Lee pulled Natalya's hair to reverse the Sharp Shooter and score a pinfall.

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "Nobody has my number, My number is one. As in, I'm the only one who matters in this division." —AJ Lee.

    "So many jokes just running around in our division right now. But it's just so sad. After tonight, I'm going to be the only one laughing." —AJ Lee. She's really good on the stick. 

    Great sitting dropkick from Natalya.

    Natalya picked AJ up and runs her into the corner—hard. 

    AJ reversed the Sharp Shooter.

     

    Grade

    A-

     

    Analysis

    Forget everything you think you know about the Divas' division. AJ Lee and Natalya just went out and had a crisp, solid, smartly worked technical match. It wasn't Flair-Steamboat by any means. But it was every bit as good as anything we'd seen to this point on the pay-per-view. That's how the Divas will earn respect—by getting it done in the ring.

Intercontinental Champion Big E Langston vs. Damien Sandow

5 of 10

    via WWE.com

    Result

    "Big E" Langston pinned Sandow with the Big Ending.

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "Big E" ran into Sandow in the corner Vader style. That's a lot of man crashing into you.

    "Aristotle was quite the street fighter." —JBL dropping knowledge.

    Langston wrecked Sandow with an Electric Chair.

    "John, there's an explosiveness to Langston." —Michael Cole. Even WWE announcers can't avoid racial coding.

     

    Grade

    B-

     

    Analysis

    Wow. In a sea of cookie-cutter wrestlers working the WWE house style, Langston stands out with his time-tested big man approach. I wouldn't want to wrestle him, because man does he ever hit hard. But safe on the couch? I'm ready for more.

Fatal Four Way Tag Match

6 of 10

    via WWE.com

    Result

    Goldust rolled up Ryback to eliminate his team; Big Show knocked out Cesaro to eliminate the Real Americans; Cody Rhodes pinned Rey Misterio with the Cross Rhodes to retain the tag titles.

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "I've actually got to ugly myself down." —JBL comparing himself to Brad Pitt.

    Big Show slaps the crap out of Curtis Axel's chest. 

    Cesaro hit Goldust with his delayed gutwrech suplex. Impressive every time.

    Goldust added a springboard back-elbow and a top-rope hurricanrana to his repertoire. Best luchadore in the business right now?

    Cesaro's wacky spinning bump off a Big Show shoulder block was fun.

    Show lifted Goldust onto the ring apron by the top of his head.

     

    Grade

    A

     

    Analysis

    As expected, the match of the night by far. I'm not sure why they eliminated both heel teams first though. It took the edge off the match to have four good guys left in the end. It was still a lot of fun. Definitely worth an A. But it wasn't the match of the year style extravaganza A+ match it might have been with different booking choices.

Brodus Clay vs. R-Truth

7 of 10

    via WWE.com

    Result

    R-Truth rolled up a dominant Clay who was distracted by the Funkadactyls walking out on him.

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "What's up? What's up? What's up?" —JBL, chanting along with R-Truth. He has to be playing up his lack of rhythm doesn't he? 

    Brodus Clay potatoes the heck out of R-Truth with a right hand while holding his other hand behind his head. Brutal.

    "What goes up must come down." —Jerry Lawler after Clay tossed Truth halfway across the ring.

     "I'm better than you." —Brodus Clay to Tensai. His whole crew ended up walking out on Brodus.

    Grade

     B-

     

    Analysis

    We didn't have any popcorn in the house, but I went to go get some chips. That's what this match was for right? A palate cleanser if I've ever seen one. And,yet, in the ring Clay showed some real potential as a heel. He'll need new ring gear and a complete makeover to pull it off. But it may be time to see what he's got in a new gimmick.

The Miz vs. Kofi Kingston

8 of 10

    via WWE.com

    Result

    Kingston pinned Miz with Trouble in Paradise after Miz crashed headfirst into the exposed turnbuckle.

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    The two crack heads in a suicide dive attempt, legitimately knocking both loopy.

    Kingston kicks the ring post after Miz ducked. That looked like it would hurt.

    "Boring. Boring. Boring!" —the crowd is not into this at all.

    "We want tables. We want tables." —Houston, Texas. Did I mention the crowd wasn't digging this?

     

    Grade

    C

     

    Analysis

    Kingston slapped the ever-loving crap out of Miz on the kickoff show to set this match up. The angle was a lot hotter than the match. I'm going to start a petition to stop calling the phenomenon of the crowd just wanting you to go away "X-Pac Heat." That's "Miz Heat" from now on. He's earned it.

Daniel Bryan vs. the Wyatt Family (3-on-1 Handicap Match)

9 of 10

    via WWE.com

    Result

    Wyatt pinned Bryan with Sister Abigail.

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    Bryan goes right after Eric Rowan with a vengeance.

    Yes! Bryan grabs Luke Harper by the nose. Ouch.

    "This is about to get good." —JBL, as Bray Wyatt gets out of his rocking chair to join the match.

    "We could have been friends Bryan. I could have helped you" —Wyatt. 

    "That was creepy." —the crowd after Wyatt crawled across the ring upside down.

    Bryan ducked a clothesline from Wyatt, then ran across the ring and hit Harper with a dive that sent him over the announce table.

     

    Grade

    B+

     

    Analysis

    Full disclosure: I love the Wyatts. I love the gimmick. I love the eerie entrance. I love Bray's powerful promos. I'm in. I'm from the real LA—lower Alabama. This stuff is in my blood.

    So take my grade with a grain of salt. I'm a mark. I never want to be anything else.

John Cena vs, Randy Orton (TLC Match for the Unified World Championship)

10 of 10

    via WWE.com

    Result

    Randy Orton climbed the ladder to become the first ever unified champion and the face of the company.

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "There's a big fight feel here in Houston." —Michael Cole. And the crowd feels it too. It's electric.

    Orton mocked Cena with the "You can't see me" hand gesture. What a jerk!

    "Let's go Cena!"

    "Cena Sucks!" —crowd with dueling chants. It's like a piano bar, but somehow lamer.

    Cena with a Five Knuckle Shuffle from the ladder.

    "This will define his legacy." —JBL on Cena. They are really playing up the supposed honor of being the "first" unified champion.

    Cena dropped Orton with an AA right through the Spanish Announce Table. That table is jinxed!

    "John Cena literally knocked out of the air by Orton." —Michael Cole, using literally properly for literally the first time ever.

    Cena, handcuffed to the bottom rope, which he's broken free, hanging on for dear life as Orton tried to yank him to his doom. Nifty visual.

     

    Grade

    B+

     

    Analysis

    There's a certain level of carnage we've come to expect from a Table, Ladders and Chairs match. It's supposed to be a sick spectacle, a carnival of violence, a den of depravity. 

    This one, despite the stakes, never reached that level. This was a match about story telling and how hard two men would fight to become champion. On that level it was a whopping success.

    It leaves us, the WWE Universe, with two men as the company's standard-bearers. Orton rules the roost in storyline. Cena is the man in real life. How they play with that dichotomy will be very interesting on the road to WrestleMania.

     

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