Sunday night’s Tables, Ladders and Chairs pay-per-view was one of the most exciting shows of the year, and the winning stars have begun building momentum heading into January’s all-important Royal Rumble.
Monday’s Raw after TLC may not be the official start of the road to WrestleMania XXX, but with the Royal Rumble ultimately deciding who main events the biggest show of the year, the build to the PPV is incredibly important.
Here are the stars that were the biggest winners Sunday and built the most momentum.
There is no questioning CM Punk’s ability in the ring and on the microphone. As tough as the former WWE champion is, the fact that he was able to steal a victory in a three-on-one handicap match against The Shield makes him look incredibly strong heading into the next month of programming.
The trio of Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns teased tension coming into this match, and that storyline was continued as Reigns spent most of the match recovering from an injury to his eye before accidentally spearing Ambrose.
That spear gave Punk the chance to throw Reigns out of the ring and collect the clean win.
While some fans will complain that this somehow makes The Shield look bad, this is natural storyline progression. The implosion of the heel stable is imminent, and the loss to Punk was just the latest step in the breakup.
Punk lost to The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar over the last year and must be built up strong heading into the Royal Rumble. It is unclear if Punk will be victorious in the 30-man match to earn a title shot, but he must be booked strongly to give the WWE Universe the feeling that he could win.
That process started with a big victory at TLC.
The Wyatt Family
Daniel Bryan is the hottest commodity in the wrestling business today, and the trio of Luke Harper, Erick Rowan and Bray Wyatt—also known as the Wyatt Family—beat the former champion in a three-on-one handicap match.
Despite the numbers advantage, Bryan was still expected to win the bout by many fans. In an age of John Cena-like faces that don’t take losses, it was a pleasant change of pace to see the top star suffer the defeat, making the fresh talent look strong.
With the Rumble approaching fast, Bryan helped make all three members of the Wyatt Family look like legitimate threats to contend for a win in the Battle Royal, especially if the trio gets in the ring at the same time.
The match at TLC was one of the best of the night and featured each star getting the chance to shine. Bryan proved once again that he is the best all-around worker in the business, and Harper and Rowan showed great skill as well.
The biggest winner of the night was Bray, though.
Not only was his creepy spider walk one of the highlights, but his in-ring skills looked to be far better during the match, and the story he was telling in the ring made this one of the most intriguing battles of the event.
Add in Bray hitting the Sister Abigail on Bryan and pinning him clean, and the Wyatt Family looks incredibly strong moving forward.
Cody Rhodes and Goldust
The WWE’s choice to make the four-corner Tag Team Championship match an elimination bout was a great way to make defending champions Goldust and Cody Rhodes look incredibly strong after booking the duo so poorly heading into this match.
This bout also gave the Real Americans and the team of Big Show and Rey Mysterio a chance to shine as well—in comparison, Rybaxel looked awful—but the main focus was the continued build to the eventual breakup of the brothers.
As much as the Rhodes brothers will be booked strong, starting with their win at TLC, the likelihood that the tandem will eventually break up and fight each other at WrestleMania grows with every successful title defense.
The brothers are incredibly popular with the fans. Another win at Sunday’s show only adds more fuel to that fire, and the hope is that WWE sees the chance to make a bona fide star out of Cody by turning Goldust heel in the Rumble match and pitting the two against each other in April.
The win at TLC set the stage for the eventual match between the Rhodes brothers.
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