Tables, Ladders, and Chairs: What's the Greatest TLC Match of All Time?

Kevin StonebargerCorrespondent IIMarch 13, 2011

Tables, Ladders, and Chairs: What's the Greatest TLC Match of All Time?

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    Tables, Ladders, and Chairs—three words that have become one of the most popular concepts in all of professional wrestling. Making its debut in SummerSlam 2000, the Tables, Ladders, and Chairs Match has become one of the most exciting matches in the WWE and wrestling. Whenever this match is announced, you know something crazy is going to happen! You know that people are going to hurt, they are going to get destroyed and you are going to get some of the biggest spots and moves ever done in this business.

    There have only been 11 Tables, Ladders, and Chairs Matches in the history of the WWE and with very good reason. They have shortened careers, created injuries and have been host to some of the craziest spots in the history of this sport.

    Not one of them has disappointed us in the slightest. I will undertake a huge mission, as I will attempt rank every one of them from worst to best. Without a doubt, there will be controversy and debate about the ranking, but I will do my best.

    Now, without any further ado, let's get right down to...TABLES...LADDERS...AND CHAIRS!!!

11. the Miz vs Jerry Lawler, Raw 2010

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    Last place has to go to Miz vs. Lawler for the WWE Championship, no doubt. Although, that's not saying it was bad, because it was very enjoyable for me, but it didn't have any "Oh My God" moments that made this match famous. Still, it was pretty good, even for a last place finish. It was Jerry's first shot at the WWE Championship, and he made the most of it. The two bashed each other in the back with steel chairs, Miz got back-dropped onto a propped ladder and both Riley and Miz got put through tables.

    And for a moment, Jerry looked liked he was going to win, until stupid Michael Cole got involved and stopped Jerry. Lawler responded with a right punch and started to beat down, while Miz snuck through the back door and up the ladder, and Lawler noticed and followed him up there. The two traded blows until Miz hit Lawler with the belt, knocking him down and proceeding to take down the belt, retaining the title. This was a good match, but compared to the others, it has to take last place among them.

10. D-Generation X vs JeriShow, TLC 2009

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    The 10th place spot goes to the match between DX, Jericho and Big Show at the inaugural TLC event. It was perhaps the height of the tag team division in recent years, as for the first time in 7 years, the Tag Team Titles were defended in TLC, and it was main-eventing a PPV—truly showing how great the division was at this point.

    The match itself was pretty good, but it was pretty different from other TLC matches. While we were expecting high octane spots, we got some great storytelling spots, nice spots, and some bad blood between four men. For the first time in TLC, the battle took its way onto the stage, where chairs were used to beat the crap out of each other. There was DX double-suplexing a ladder onto Jericho, Show choke-slamming Triple H from a ladder, and Jericho falling off of Show's shoulders to the outside of the ring, landing headfirst onto a table, which was sick.

    It was really good, but it felt more like a ladder match than a TLC. Weapons weren't used for the first six minutes of the match, and tables weren't brought into play until the very end. It was very good, better than Miz vs. Lawler, but not good enough to surpass other TLC matches.

9. Edge vs Undertaker, One Night Stand 2008

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    Coming in at ninth place is Edge vs. Undertaker, and I think this is where some debate and controversy will start to take place. This was one amazing TLC match that took place at One Night Stand in 2008, due to the abusive power of Vickie Guerrero of stripping the title from Taker and keeping it from him. There was also the stipulation that if The Deadman loses, he will be banished from the WWE—it was do or die for Undertaker.

    In this match, we saw both men get thrown off of ladders onto propped ladders in corners headfirst (which was just nasty), Undertaker get his leg con-chair-toed in a ladder, Edge splashing Taker through a table, and Edge getting choke-slammed on a ladder to the outside.

    But it really picked up when Hawkins and Ryder interfered on Edge's behalf, but they were both choke-slammed through tables on the outside, and then Taker sent Edge through two tables with a Last Ride from the ladder. Chavo and Bam Neely then got involved but were dealt with by chair shots. Undertaker then climbed the ladder, but Edge pushed the ladder, sending The Deadman through four tables. And that was enough to give Edge the shocking win and World Title.

    Now this was a fine match, and where the really good TLC matches come in. The only reason for its low ranking is because of how good other TLC matches are. Trust me, if they weren't so many amazing TLC matches, this would be higher.

8. Edge vs Ric Flair, Raw 2006

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    Next up is Edge vs. Ric Flair at eighth place, and before you go and flame me for putting it in front of Edge/Taker, I want you to know that I placed it higher partly because of the emotion going into the match. Unlike Miz/Lawler, you actually thought Flair could pull it off. With the WWE Title on the line, in his home of Charlotte, North Carolina, the emotion was off the charts as you genuinely believed Flair could win his 17th World Title.

    It was the blow-off to their personal feud, and it was awesome. Edge took the early advantage, slamming a chair onto Flair while he was stuck between a ladder. The fight went to the outside, and Edge went for a con-chair-to, but Flair showed why he was the dirtiest player in the game and grabbed the jewels of the rated-R superstar and threw him into the barricade. But Flair was hit in the head with a chair, and it was busted open. Edge then splashed Flair through a table from a 15-foot ladder from the ring to the outside.

    But Flair came back with a low blow and proceeded to effectively beat-down Edge using ladders and chairs. Flair then went to the top of the ladder, but Edge met him and hit him with a suplex from 15 feet high. Edge then went for the belt, but Flair pushed the ladder, sending Edge crashing through the table on the outside! Flair went for the belt, and the place was unglued as he was about to pull it off, but then Lita interfered. After she was dealt with, Edge and Flair met at the top of the ladder, and after exchanging blows, Edge knocked The Nature Boy off the ladder, allowing him to unhook the belt and retain his title.

    While this match did not have most of the big spots TLC is used to, the emotion and brutality was off the charts, and honestly, with the setting, type of match and hype throughout the episode, no one knew who was going to win. An amazing match that gets this spot from me.

7. CM Punk vs Jeff Hardy, Summerslam 2009

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    And now, at lucky number seven, comes CM Punk vs Jeff Hardy for the World Heavyweight Title. The feud leading to this was absolutely awesome! Punk cashed in on Hardy after he went through a hellacious ladder match, and stole the world title. This began a slow heel turn for Punk, as the two's lifestyles clashed, being brought to the forefront of this feud. Eventually, it was made the two would meet in the mach Jeff helped make famous, Tables, Ladders, and Chairs, at the place where it began, SummerSlam.

    Perhaps the most personal TLC match ever, these guys weren't out to do crazy spots. They were out to beat each other. Both made several attempts to grab the belt, only to be foiled every time. Some highlights include Punk reversing Poetry in Motion and sending Hardy back-first into a set up chair, (sick!), Hardy missing a splash through a table, Hardy reversing a GTS from the ladder into a sunset power-bomb, Punk super-plexing Hardy on a steel ladder (SICK!), and Hardy dumping Punk through a table on the outside.

    The biggest moment of the match came when Hardy went ape-shit on Punk with a steel chair, and set him up on the announcer's table. He then took a 20-foot ladder, climbed it and Swanton Bombed him right through the table. But it did more damage to himself, as Hardy was checked upon by officials. Punk painfully got back into the ring to get the belt, but Hardy refused to lose his title without a fight, and Punk's expression when he got back in the ring was priceless. The two fought on the ladder, until Punk finally knocked Jeff off to regain the gold.

    This was completely personal, with so much bad blood, only making the match better! The Swanton spot was sick, no matter how many times it was done before, and the two did not try to reinvent the wheel. No, this was about destroying each other for the world title, and it was good enough to get the seventh place spot.

6. Kane vs Edge vs Rey Mysterio vs Alberto Del Rio, TLC 2010

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    The most recent TLC match gives out a strong showing, as it comes in at sixth on this list. The match was originally intended to be Kane vs Edge for the world title. Edge had played mind games with Kane by abducting his father, Paul Bearer, and torturing the man and using dummies to fool Kane, eventually tricking Kane himself to dump Bearer off a balcony. Mysterio and Del Rio had their own rivalry going on, stemming from their heritage and social classes. And while they were scheduled to be in a Chairs Match, they both wanted in on the World Title at TLC, so Teddy made it a Fatal 4-Way TLC Match, reminiscent of No Mercy 2006.

    It was without a doubt a smart decision. The match remined us all of the good ol' TLC days back in the Attitude Era. Starting with respective rivals going off one another, Mysterio went for the gold, only for Del Rio to knock the ladder down, sending Rey flying onto Kane and Edge outside. There was a rebound, as Mysterio delivered a seated senton to Del Rio with a ladder. Kane then went dominant, destroying people with ladders before Edge stopped him. Rey and Edge teamed up on Kane, and Edge delivered a splash on Kane from a ladder in the ring to the outside through a table. After Del Rio and Rey fought each other, Edge came back with spears on both but was crotched on the rope from a ladder by Kane.

    The action spilled to the stage where Rey delivered a seated senton on Kane from a table prop on the stage. Action went back to the ring, where Del Rio gets a 619, and Rey and Edge plant each other with face-busters from a 20-foot ladder. Everyone down, Ricardo tries to go for the title, but Kane intercepts him and gets choke-slammed for his efforts. Del Rio follows, and so does Edge through a table. Rey stops with a 619, but Del Rio comes back and attacks him. Del Rio goes for gold, but Rey pushes the ladder, sending him through a table. Rey then gets tombstoned by Kane, which is followed by Kane getting speared from the apron through a table, which allows Edge to pick up his 10th World Title.

    Just crazy, and one of my personal favorite TLC matches. Nothing new, but it was unpredictable and nonstop action, reminiscent of the original TLC matches. Certainly delivered on all aspects.

5. Edge vs John Cena, Unforgiven 2006

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    The memorable TLC between Cena and Edge in Toronto comes in at fifth place. A rivalry that had taken place throughout 2006, Edge stole the WWE Championship from John Cena and made sure that all his chances at it were smote with despicable tactics, and he made it personal by slapping Cena's father. Cena, however, attacked Edge at every turn and anywhere, infuriating Edge to the point where he wanted Cena off Raw. Cena said he would go to Smackdown if he was given one last chance at a title, and if he lost, he would leave. Edge agreed if he chose the setting and match, and it would be his specialty, TLC, in his hometown of Toronto, Canada.

    With all the odds agaisnt him in a must-win situation, Cena fought Edge in one the best TLC matches ever. The highlights from Edge included giving a reverse DDT onto two steel chairs, power-slamming Cena through a table, delivering a sick chair shot right to the skull, spearing Cena from ladder to ladder and running up a ladder to jump onto Cena on the outside. Cena's highlights saw him deliver a Five Knuckle Shuffle from the top of a ladder, applying a STFU to Edge between a ladder, FUing that ladder onto Edge, a Throwback onto a steel chair, power-bombing him into a standing ladder, and taking out Edge with his own steel chair shot.

    Eventually Lita got herself involved, and both men were sent off ladders through tables on the outside at separate times due to that. When Lita was taken out of the question, both men climbed to the top of the ladder, and at the top, both men fought until Cena, in one of the greatest TLC moments ever, FUed Edge off a 20-foot ladder through two tables, allowing him to regain the WWE Championship.

    This matchup is quite possibly the greatest one-on-one TLC match ever. It was very inventive, the emotion and animosity was so intense and had one of the most epic finishes of all time! Great TLC match, and a very memorable match overall.

4. Kane vs Bubba Ray and Spike vs Jericho and Christian vs Jeff and RVD,Raw 2002

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    Fittingly, fourth place goes to TLC IV, the Fatal 4-Way TLC match for the Tag Team Titles. On an episode of Raw Roulette in 2002, it was decided that the then Tag Champions Kane and Hurricane would defend their titles in TLC. Eric Bischoff allowed three of the masters of TLC, Jeff, Christian and Bubba Ray, to be in the match and choose their partners, as their original ones were not on Raw. RVD, Jericho, and Spike were their choices, respectively. Hurricane was taken out before the match by Triple H and Ric Flair, and so Kane had to go it alone.

    This had to be the most fast-paced, intense TLC match ever. Action non-stop, highlights crazy, and spots were both seen, unseen and memorable. Jeff, from the top of a ladder with a leg-drop on Kane through a table, RVD delivering his most memorable Van Terminator on Kane, Bubba going Terry Funk with a ladder, Christian getting thrown onto a ladder from the turnbuckle and Jericho getting sent to the floor from a ladder courtesy of Spike are just some of the highlights.

    As it came winding down, every man was taken out of the equation in some of the most sickest ways possible—the sickest in my opinion being when Jeff was back-dropped by Bubba Ray to the outside through a table! But in the end, Kane was able to stick it out, climbed the ladder and retain the Tag Team titles all by himself.

    Now this was one great TLC match! It would be the last TLC match for over three years, until it was revived in 2006, and man did it go out with a bang! It clearly beat out the rest, but unfortunately, it could not outdo the original TLC trilogy...

3. Edge and Christian vs Dudley Boyz vs Hardy Boyz, Summerslam 2000

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    Ah, what would this list be without the match that started it all. Riding in at third would be the original TLC match between Edge and Christian, The Dudleys, and The Hardys. The three teams were in the middle of their legendary and amazing three-way war over the tag titles and just revolutionized the Ladder Match at WrestleMania. Edge and Christian had created the con-chair-to, the double chair shot, The Dudleys were putting people through tables left and right, and The Hardys were comfortable and high-risk when it came to ladders. Seeing their expertise with these three weapons of mass destruction, Commissioner Mick Foley had the teams face off at SummerSlam in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match...Oh my!

    What can I say about this match that hasn't already been said? The match was a chaotic spot-fest that created history from opening to end. From Edge with a double Russian Leg Sweep from a ladder on D-Von and Matt, to a Bubba Bomb on Christian from the top of a ladder, to Jeff getting thrown into a ladder, which with a seesaw effect struck Matt as well, to Christian getting 3Ded through a table, to several sick chair shots, to Matt throwing Christian into a ladder with Edge in it and Jeff crashing and burning through two tables, this match had it all.

    The most memorable moment from the match came when Bubba Ray climbed up a 20-foot ladder, and Edge and Christian pushed it down, sending Bubba Ray through four tables on the outside. Just sick! In the end, despite the overwhelming odds, Edge and Christian managed to repeat WrestleMania 2000 and retain their Tag Titles.

    This match completely kicked butt! This truly raised the bar from WrestleMania 2000, and we saw several things never seen before in this match. These three teams brought TLC to the forefront of our minds, and we should be grateful that this match happened and we got all the greatness from the matches afterwards.

2. Edge and Christian vs Dudley Boyz vs Hardy Boyz, Wrestlemania X-Seven

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    Perhaps the most controversial ranking yet, second place, ironically, goes to the famous TLC II match between Edge and Christian, The Dudleys and The Hardys at the greatest WrestleMania ever, Wrestlemania X-Seven. Going into the rematch from SummerSlam, the bar had been raised so high by these three teams since No Mercy 1999, that no one thought it could be raised again, but these three teams were determined to do it on The Grandest Stage of Them All, all with the tag team titles on the line.

    The praises of this match have been held so high that it's just unreal. From Edge clotheslining Matt off a ladder from a chair, the leg-drop/splash combo on Christian courtesy of The Hardys from ladders, Bubba power-bombing poor Jeff on Edge through a table, to all six men getting knocked off ladders, even to interference from Lita, Spike, and Rhyno, this TLC Match truly had it all.

    The match had three of the greatest bumps and spots known to wrestling fans. Jeff Hardy's infamous Swanton from a 20-foot ladder on Spike and Rhyno through tables, Edge spearing a dangling Jeff Hardy from a 20-foot ladder, and Matt and Bubba Ray getting pushed off a 20-foot ladder through four tables. After so much carnage and destruction, Edge and Christian did the unthinkable and came out on top in the three-way war for the third straight time, winning the Tag Team titles with a little assistance from Rhyno.

    Without a doubt one of the greatest matches in wrestling history. Its insane high-risks, memorable spots, impact on wrestling, and high praise from critics and fans alike rightfully earn it's high spot, But while it may not be the most popular decision, TLC II is not the greatest TLC match of all time in my mind. Only one match was able to beat it out for that honor.

1. Edge and Christian vs Dudleyz vs Hardyz vs Benoit and Jericho, Smackdown 2001

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    The greatest TLC match of all time has to be TLC III, the Forgotten TLC. In this exciting conclusion to the TLC trilogy, McMahon was unhappy that Benoit and Jericho won the Tag Titles from Stone Cold and HHH on the past Raw, so as a way to punish the two and to get the titles off of them for his pleasure, he placed them in a TLC match against who else but the creators and masters themselves, Edge and Christian, the Dudley Boyz, and the Hardy Boyz. What followed was the greatest showing of Tables, Ladders, and Chairs ever seen.

    For me, this match was so awesome, words cannot do it justice. It had a perfect blend of nostalgic TLC spots, thrown in with very inventive spots and some of the most extraordinary things ever seen in a match like this. If you are a fan of chair shots to the head, then you have to watch this match because you will get several of the sickest chair shots ever seen in this match. The stuff in this match is just sick and really deviates from what is usually seen in the past two TLC matches and tries new and innovative stuff that really blew my mind.

    My favorite moments have to be when Christian got perhaps the ultimate 3D from a ladder through a table and when Jeff leapfrogged over a 20-foot ladder and delivered a leg-drop on Bubba Ray through the announce table. And to add, Benoit broke his ribs when he went through a table, but he fought through and got back into the match, only to get a con-chair-to to those very same ribs. Just sick! The carnage was so devastating that eventually everyone was down and out, but Benoit was able to tough it out and get the gold to beat the odds and retain the title.

    Once again, the bar had been raised much to our surprise. TLC III is a personal favorite, and it's a shame it doesn't get recognition, as it is referred to as the Forgotten TLC. But this is the greatest TLC match for me, and I highly recommend you watch if you are a fan of TLC, because if you are, you haven't seen anything yet.


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    And thus that concludes my ranking of every TLC match to have ever taken place in the WWE so far. Some rankings are very agreeable, while others are very debatable. I have no doubt some of my spots on this list are very controversial in your eyes, but in the end, this is to show the greatness of TLC. Without it, who knows where we would have been through all these years in wrestling.

    We have six men to thank for TLC, Edge and Christian, the Dudley Boyz and the Hardy Boyz, and we must give applause for all those who have participated in such a dangerous match to entertain us all. For all fans of TLC, I am glad and very proud to have done this and am proud to have finish this monumental task.

    Now, I leave you all—feel free to leave comments and debate about the list. But in the end, let us enjoy Tables, Ladders, and Chairs...Oh my!!