Last night, at TLC, WWE presented one of the most enjoyable pay-per-views of 2011.
The event was not what it was originally anticipated to be—a low buy-rate from officials backstage. Those that were smart enough to purchase the show despite the lack of hype, bared witness to the crowning of two new champions, as well as tremendous action throughout the entire three-hour broadcast.
For those of you that may follow me on Twitter, you'll know that I have an obsessive knack for fun facts regarding various past WWE events. Here, I'll attempt to entertain you with knowledge, as I present my observed monumental record-breaking, history-making moments from the show.
Since separating himself from the Edgeheads two and a half year ago, Zack Ryder has been looking to breakout as a singles star after being given numerous shots at the ECW and United States Championships in recent years, but always came up short. This past summer, Ryder finally made a name for himself with his viral YouTube show, effectively beginning his hunt for Dolph Ziggler's star spangled prize.
In what was his third shot at the belt, Zack Ryder surprisingly beat Dolph Ziggler last night at TLC to capture the United States Championship, which would be his first taste of singles gold in his WWE career.
Woo woo woo, you know it!
Leading into TLC, Cody Rhodes was engaged in a heated rivalry with SmackDown commentator Booker T, which eventually saw Booker gunning for Rhodes's Intercontinental Championship. Although the former five-time WCW Champion was attacked from behind on two occasions last night, he still managed to fight through the pain in an attempt to get his hands on Rhodes and his respective title.
However, following two perfectly delivered Beautiful Disaster kicks from Cody Rhodes, Booker was down for the count, meaning the second-generation star was still our reigning Intercontinental Champion. Much like last year where Ziggler successful defended his prestigious belt as well, this would make June's Capitol Punishment event the only pay-per-view this year that featured an Intercontinental Championship title change.
Last April, Triple H fell victim to arch-rival Sheamus in a brutal Street Fight at the Extreme Rules pay-per-view that saw the Celtic Warrior deliver five Bicycle Kicks to the head of HHH, sidelining the Game from action indefinitely.
Nearly a year and a half later, Triple H finds himself having competed in only three other matches since that fateful night, not counting last night's personal bout against Kevin Nash at TLC that also took place the 1st Mariner Arena in Baltimore, Maryland. Coincidentally, the last time Triple H climbed a ladder was his TLC tag team match with Shawn Michaels against Jeri-Show.
Moreover, Sheamus was added to last night's card at basically the last minute, being placed in a match against former World Champion Jack Swagger. It's quite amazing to see how far these two have come since April 2010, both in character and in-ring ability.
Since his shocking heel turn at the 2011 WWE Draft, Mark Henry has been labeled as an unstoppable monster on Friday nights, destroying anyone and anything that reckons to get in his path. After he captured his first World Heavyweight Championship this past September, it seemed nearly impossible that anyone would ever defeat the Mark Henry.
However, if anyone can do it (literally) single-handily, it was Henry's arch-rival Big Show who decimated the World's Strongest Man with just one hand following a brutal Chairs match to put him out for the pin-fall. By my count, this would be the fourth televised pin-fall loss Henry has taken this year, with the previous three being at the hands of Christan (5/13), Zack Ryder (12/5/11), and John Cena (12/13/11).
Not counting his submission loss in January and his expunged loss to Daniel Bryan a few weeks back, I'd say Mark Henry has no doubt had the best win-loss record in 2011.
Soon after WWE TLC concluded, Big Show's shocking title win merely became a footnote of what turned out to be an extremely exciting pay-per-view. Looking back on it now, I've realized that Big Show's victory was much more significant than anyone may have anticipate, despite how much you may despite him.
Behind Kane and CM Punk, Big Show is now the third Superstar in WWE history to capture all of the company's major World Championships, including the WWE Championship, the ECW Championship, and now the World Heavyweight Championship. Additionally, Show is now the first man to capture the aforementioned championships in addition to the WCW Heavyweight Championship in WWE history.
Regardless of how much you may not want to admit it, the World's Largest Athlete is indeed one of the most historic Superstars to ever grace a WWE ring.
In early 2005, none other than Chris Jericho would innovate the inaugural Money in the Bank Ladder Match at WrestleMania 21. Who knew that six years later it would help elevate the likes of Edge, CM Punk, The Miz and Alberto Del to main event status?
Since capturing the opportunistic briefcase at July's Money in the Bank event, Daniel Bryan originally vowed to wait to cash-in until the main event of WrestleMania 28. Of course, much like any other hypocritical Superstar who preceded him, Bryan prematurely cashed in his title shot successfully against a weakened Big Show immediately after Show's bout with Henry to win his first World Heavyweight Championship in WWE.
Although I was prancing around like a child on Christmas morning following last night's show, I couldn't help but think that Bryan soon won't be having his cake and eating it, too.
With all that being said, there was a period of only a few minutes where Big Show was officially World Heavyweight Champion, before being brutalized by Mark Henry and allowing Daniel Bryan to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase.
Although it has yet to be confirmed, I personally believe that Show's brief reign as World Champion beat out Jeff Hardy from Extreme Rules in 2009 as the shortest reign ever as World Heavyweight Champion. Again, I may be wrong, but I wouldn't be surprised if Show could use this fact as a motivation for a heel turn in the foreseeable future.
Going into WWE TLC last night, it was recognized that all competitors in the WWE Championship match including CM Punk, Alberto Del Rio and The Miz had all previously competed in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs Match. With Punk and Miz being the only two to have actually won one in the past, it was questionable as to whether Del Rio's inexperience could cost him the title.
Nonetheless, the three egomaniacs provided an amazing TLC match regardless, consisting of numerous quality spots that kept the audience on their feet the entire time. In the end, it was the Straightedge Savior who escaped the mischievous handcuffs from the second rope to climb the ladder and retrieve his WWE Championship belt that was dangling high above the ring.
With that being said, this victory would mark CM Punk's second victory in a main event TLC Match, with the first being his bout against Jeff Hardy at SummerSlam in 2009. Additionally, this would also mark Punk's first in-ring appearance at a December pay-per-view in nearly three years.
Originally, there were only a mere six matches advertised for last night's TLC pay-per-view, which is why many viewers questioned it was worth watching before purchasing. However, by the end of the evening, we were instead treated to a total of 10 matches with the inclusion of the three impromptu title bouts and the random Sheamus vs. Jack Swagger match.
Ironically enough, this would be the first time 10 matches were presented on a pay-per-view (not counting dark matches that is) since WrestleMania 26, which transpired over a year and a half ago. It's not that I don't agree with WWE adding additional contests on a weak card, it's just the fact that promoting them in advance could have made the event much more intriguing going into it.
If I was asked what the highlight of the night for the TLC pay-per-view was for me, I'd honestly have to say it was someone we didn't end up seeing at all: John Cena.
Shortly after last month's Survivor Series event, it was heavily speculated as to how Cena would be utilized at TLC given how he wasn't featured in any immediate feud. As time progressed, it was later revealed that Creative team had no intention of featuring him on the show at all, despite his new-found rivalry with the returning Kane on Raw.
I'm shocked even typing that, since John Cena headlined 11 of the 13 WWE pay-per-view main events this year, was not even mentioned at all last night whatsoever. In a recent report, it was rumored that it was time other younger talent be the focal point of the show, which resulted in a huge success.
TLC would mark the first pay-per-view since Cyber Sunday in 2008, an event Cena wasn't present at due to injury. Don't expect to see Cena left off many shows going forward, but I commend him for giving up a huge pay-day in light of other talent.
In conclusion, I thank you for reading through my latest piece, and please make sure to double check for any corrections as I may very well be inaccurate on some of this statistics. I'm also contemplating composing one of this "fun fact" pieces following every pay-per-view, so please drop your thoughts below as to whether these should continue based upon how much you enjoyed reading it.
Visit my website at Next Era Wrestling as well as my WrestleRant and Spoilers podcasts for more of my thoughts and writings, along with WWE/TNA news, rumors, reviews and more. Follow me on Twitter @SAVE_US_GSM.