WWE TLC 2019 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights
WWE ended its 2019 pay-per-view schedule Sunday with the annual exercise in chaos and carnage that is TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs, headlined by Roman Reigns vs. King Corbin in a namesake bout.
Joining The Big Dog and the King of the Ring titleholder on the card were a Universal Championship match between Bray Wyatt and The Miz, a TLC bout pitting Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch against women's tag team champion The Kabuki Warriors, and Aleister Black's return to PPV action as he battled Buddy Murphy.
Find out who built momentum for themselves and wrapped up the year on a positive note with this recap of the December 15 extravaganza.
Kickoff Show: Humberto Carrillo vs. Andrade
The evening's in-ring content kicked off with a rematch from WWE Raw as Humberto Carrillo battled Andrade, who was accompanied to the squared circle by Zelina Vega.
An aggressive Andrade attacked from the opening bell, looking to establish dominance over his younger opponent. He did just that until Carrillo sparked a comeback and sent El Idolo to the floor with an arm drag.
Andrade recovered and sent the babyface crashing from the top rope to the arena floor ahead of a break.
The former NXT champion worked over Carrillo, grounding him and keeping him from using his speed and agility to his advantage. Carrillo fired off another attempt at a comeback but Andrade countered, sending his opponent crashing into the corner.
Carillo finally did fight his way back into the match, stunning Andrade with a dive to the floor and rocking him with a forearm while perched atop the ropes. El Idolo answered, delivering a double stomp to the floor. Back in, he turned Carrillo inside out with a clothesline.
No matter what the heel did, though, he was unable to put his opponent away. At one point, Andrade charged and nearly collided with Vega as he did Monday, but he avoided it. He did not evade a top-rope reverse rana or a moonsault, though, both of which fueled Carrillo to victory.
Carillo defeated Andrade
A frustrated Andrade left Vega behind after the match, further hinting at dysfunction between them. That was the real purpose behind this match, no matter how much the commentary team put over how important a win it was for Carrillo.
With Andrade and Vega so open on social media about their relationships with other Superstars, it makes sense that management would want to separate them. Unfortunately, the consequences of that breakup would be significant for El Idolo, whose career benefited exponentially from the partnership dating all the way back to NXT.
Without Vega, his track record speaks for itself.
Ladder Match for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships: New Day vs. The Revival
The SmackDown tag team titles were up for grabs in the night's first gimmick bout, a ladder match pitting The New Day’s Kofi Kingston and Big E against The Revival’s Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder.
The first big spot of the match saw Kingston deliver a springboard crossbody from the middle rope onto his opponents and a ladder, leaving the challengers writhing in pain.
Every time The Revival attempted to gain an upper hand, New Day cut them off, until Wilder and Dawson brought Big E down off a ladder awkwardly, leaving the big man writhing in pain. The heels worked over Big E until Kingston reappeared and sent the ladder seesawing into the faces of Wilder and Dawson.
Kingston wiped out Dawson and dropped Wilder with Trouble in Paradise, reminding fans of the creativity he brings to these gimmick bouts and why they helped make him a WWE champion.
His momentum was short-lived as The Revival recovered and brought Kingston off the ladder with a Shatter Machine. Big E re-entered the match and delivered a spear through the ropes that sent Wilder crashing to the floor.
The powerful half of the champions then spent several moments setting up a ladder contraption in the ring. He dropped Dawson face-first on a ladder bridging the corner and another. Dawson fought back, though, and delivered a suplex to Big E on the ladder. Wilder followed up with a splash that drove him through the ladder.
The Revival looked poised to retrieve the titles when Kingston springboarded onto one of the ladders and slugged away at the opposition.
Big E fought back into the match and delivered a Big Ending off the ladder to Wilder as the crowd came alive. Kingston used the tag titles to blast Dawson and retrieved them to secure the win.
The New Day defeated The Revival
If you had New Day and The Revival stealing the show, you've probably watched wrestling before.
They have wicked in-ring chemistry and were able to showcase it here in a physically intense ladder match that should bring their program to a conclusion.
Big E, in particular, starred. He took some hellish bumps for a competitor of his size. The suplex onto the ladder was cringeworthy in the best way, and his ability to return to the action late put over his toughness. Kingston was also excellent.
The question now is how management find ways to keep Dawson and Wilder involved without shoving them back into a title picture they really should exit for a bit. Maybe the confrontation with Booker T during the Kickoff Show, which featured the heels challenging him to reunite Harlem Heat and fight them was done to build to a match?
The Royal Rumble will take place in Booker and Stevie Ray's hometown of Houston, after all.
Aleister Black vs. Buddy Murphy
Two of the most underutilized, yet most consistently great in-ring performers of the last year squared off in the night's second bout as former NXT champion Aleister Black battled former cruiserweight champion Buddy Murphy.
The Australian played mind games with Black during the entrances, sitting down across from him as if to show no fear of his opponent.
The Dutch Destroyer responded by downing his opponent early and applying an armbar. He maintained control of the bout until Murphy tripped him up on the apron, sending him face-first into the ring post and dropping him across the steel ring steps.
Murphy worked over his opponent while commentators Samoa Joe and Jerry Lawler discussed the possibility that Black's jaw and nose had been broken by one of The Best Kept Secret's knee strikes.
At ringside, Murphy sent Black into the announce table. He recovered and the fight spilled back into the ring.
Black survived an exchange of strikes and blasted Murphy with a big kick, followed by a springboard moonsault for two. A jumping knee by the Dutchman downed the heel for another near-fall as Murphy again proved his toughness.
Murphy recovered and delivered a powerbomb out of the corner for his own two-count. The heel followed up, uncorking a brainbuster that earned him another two-count, this one leaving him in disbelief.
The two again exchanged strikes, reversals and counters until Black suddenly obliterated his opponent with Black Mass for the hard-fought victory.
Black defeated Murphy
How many times do Black and Murphy have to tear the house down on a PPV or in a live event to get a sustained push?
This was a brilliant match, a hell of a showing between two top-10 talents who showcased their skills and underrated toughness. Black, in particular, delivered the quality of performance he did with his nose shattered across his face.
There is no telling what the future holds for either man, or if Black will miss time with what appeared to be a broken nose, but there is no denying he and Murphy are talents who should be starring on Raw every week in much more significant angles, stories and matches than they currently are.
This would be tough for any match on the card to eclipse.
Raw Tag Team Championship Match: The Viking Raiders vs. The OC
Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows of The O.C. predictably answered The Viking Raiders' open challenge for a shot at the Raw Tag Team Championships, reminding everyone of their status as The Best Tag Team in the World.
Unfortunately for The Good Brothers, they quickly found themselves on the receiving end of the dominant titleholders.
A bit of referee manipulation and a cheap shot to Erik allowed the heels to steal control of the match. They beat down the smaller of the champions, grinding him into the mat in an attempt to negate his ferocity.
A hot tag to Ivar sparked the babyface comeback and led to Anderson and Gallows bumping around the squared circle for the bearded badass. He shook off a near-fall from the heels and delivered a handspring elbow that wiped them both out.
The fight spilled to the floor, where Anderson sent Erik into the stands as the referee made the count. Unfortunately, neither team was able to answer the 10-count and the official called for the bell.
The battle continued afterward, complete with The O.C. grabbing the KFC sponsor table and setting it up. The Viking Raiders fought them off and delivered a powerbomb to Anderson, driving him through the table. They stood tall as their music played, with the war between the two teams clearly still unsettled.
This felt like the Cliff Notes version of a match between two teams that could have been so much better with an actual story and conclusive finish.
We have seen these two fight to the same outcome as WWE Creative attempted to spare them losses. If management knew there was no chance of delivering a satisfying finish, why even book it for Sunday's PPV?
The tag team division has been a series of matches with no rhyme nor reason for so long that non-finishes only further drag it into mediocrity, even if the efforts of the men involved are commendable.
Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match: Roman Reigns vs. King Corbin
King Corbin surrounded himself with a wall of security as Roman Reigns made his way to the ring for their Tables, Ladders & Chairs match, only to watch as The Big Dog systematically picked each one off.
The Big Dog then caught a rushing Corbin with a big right hand and proceeded to pummel him around the arena and back to ringside.
Back in the squared circle, The Lone Wolf finally turned the tide in his favor with Deep Six. He dropped Reigns again with a big clothesline for a near-fall. The King of the Ring winner continued his onslaught, fighting his opponent at ringside and blasting him with a ladder to the ribs. He followed up with a series of chair shots to the back, continuing to target the core of the former WWE and universal champion.
Reigns attempted a comeback, but Corbin delivered a chokeslam backbreaker to halt his momentum. The fans remained behind The Big Dog, though, and cheered him back into the match. He retrieved a table from ringside and set it up inside the squared circle while Corbin rolled to the sanctuary of the floor.
As Reigns attempted to bring him back into the ring, the King of the Ring blasted him with a can of dog food and chokeslammed him through the table for a near-fall.
Frustrated, Corbin cleared off two announce tables. He teased a powerbomb from one through the other but Reigns grabbed hold of him and dropped him through the other with a Samoan Drop.
The Big Dog then took off around the squared circle for a big spear to Corbin but ate a huge superkick from Dolph Ziggler.
The Showoff and Corbin retrieved handcuffs and a can of dog food from under the ring but ate a huge Drive-By from the babyface. Reigns unloaded on security with a kendo stick, "teeing off like the Minnesota Twins," according to commentator Michael Cole. The Revival cut him off, as the latest of the King's forces to make their presence felt.
Reigns fought them off, deposited them at ringside and took off through the air. He wiped them out and set Corbin up for the spear. Ziggler came from nowhere, though, and blasted The Big Dog with a chair.
The Showoff dropped Reigns with a Zig-Zag, continuing to enhance the odds against him. The Revival also dropped him with Shatter Machine, and Corbin followed with End of Days onto a steel chair to a chorus of boos.
Corbin defeated Reigns
There will be some who dismiss this match because of its overbooked nature, but this is exactly the type of thing that would have been right at home in the acclaimed Attitude Era.
A truly despised heel pulls out all stops, relies on interference from his lackeys and scores the win in the most underhanded manner imaginable. The result? The thunderous chorus of boos that accompany his win.
Corbin is the best, most genuine heel in WWE right now. He is a guy fans love to hate and will eventually pay to see get his ass kicked by Reigns. It makes for a hotter match, enhances The Big Dog as a babyface and allows The Lone Wolf to continue his underrated run as a top heel.
Reigns was excellent, as usual, giving a ton more to Corbin than most in his position would. His status as the most unselfish main event star in recent years remains intact.
What many thought would be the start of his major run to WrestleMania 36 was instead utilized to help further build Corbin into a heel the company can build stories around far beyond his dance with The Big Dog.
Universal Championship Match: The Miz vs. Bray Wyatt
Bray Wyatt made his first appearance in an arena under his normal moniker in months, leaving The Fiend behind as he faced The Miz in a match that carried more emotion after the enigmatic villain haunted his challenger's family Friday on SmackDown.
Miz attacked from the opening bell, shrugging off Wyatt's attempt to calm him down and laying into him with rights, lefts, knees and big boots in the corner. Wyatt ate several more kicks and seemed almost hesitant to fight the A-Lister under his fun, friendly persona.
Wyatt showed flashes of his alter ego, but Miz fought through it and delivered the Skull-Crushing Finale. From there, he pulled, tweaked, punished and manipulated the joints of the champion. Wyatt rolled outside the ring and purposely rammed his own shoulder into the guardrail as chants of "let him in" spilled from the stands.
Miz beat his opponent around the ringside area, but Wyatt dropped him with Sister Abigail.
A compassionate Wyatt asked Miz to stop before putting him out of his misery with another Sister Abigail for the win.
After the match, The Fiend appeared on the video screen and Wyatt said, "OK, I'll do it." From under the ring, he retrieved an oversized mallet last seen at Hell in a Cell. Before he could use it on Miz, the lights dimmed and Daniel Bryan appeared. He delivered the running knee to Wyatt to chants of "Yes!" from the crowd.
The former WWE champion revealed a new, less scruffy look as the crowd chanted his name. He unloaded on Wyatt, delivered a series of running knees and left the universal champion reeling.
The babyface relentlessly stomped on Wyatt and grabbed hold of the mallet. Before he could strike him, the lights again dimmed and the champion disappeared.
Bryan stared at the universal title to close out the segment.
Wyatt defeated The Miz
If you went into The Miz vs. Wyatt expecting it to be the setup for Bryan's return and the furthering of his rivalry with the universal champion, you will be satisfied with how this one played out.
The bout itself was nothing. It was character development more than a match trying to wow fans with work rate, and it succeeded. We now know Wyatt, in his unmasked form, is a compassionate competitor whose physical assaults against the opposition are almost unintentional.
It continued the wholly original storytelling going on with Wyatt and did nothing to hurt Miz's nonexistent main event credibility.
Bryan's return was handled perfectly. The crowd popped like crazy, the competitor looked like a new man and fully embraced the Yes Movement to entrench himself as one of the top babyfaces in the company.
The impending clash between him and The Fiend, which could happen as soon as Royal Rumble next month, is one that could be an early contender for Match of the Year 2020 if given the opportunity to reach its fullest potential.
Tables Match: Rusev vs. Bobby Lashley
The soap-opera storyline that has been Lana's affair with Bobby Lashley and Rusev's quest for vengeance culminated Sunday in a tables match.
The Bulgarian Brute was ferocious to start, attacking Lashley and unleashing weeks of pent-up rage on The All Mighty. The heel survived the early onslaught, though, and downed Rusev before introducing a table to the squared circle.
Lashley worked the ribs of his opponent as analyst Samoa Joe discussed the wasted time that plagued the heel's attempt to win the match. The Superstars exchanged rights and lefts, each teasing a big table spot but neither doing enough to put the other way.
With Lashley reeling, Rusev delivered a shot with the steel steps. He introduced a guardrail but Lashley fought back and sent Rusev crashing into it with a nasty powerbomb.
Lashley unloaded on Rusev's back with a kendo stick while Lana laughed at her former husband.
With welts forming on his back, Rusev blocked a cane shot and caught Lashley with one of his own. Firing up, he wore The All Mighty out with the cane.
Lana jumped on the babyface's back and Lashley capitalized, badly botching a spear through one table before tossing him with an overhead suplex through another for the win.
Lashley defeated Rusev
The effort was there, and Rusev and Lashley delivered a physical match, but like the storyline itself, this was a mess of a match that was sometimes good, sometimes bad.
The intensity shown near the end of the bout, with the trading of cane shots, was great, but not so much the stuff that preceded it.
Lashley winning was the right move if the idea is for the feud to continue. If not, this whole ordeal proved another major booking misstep for Rusev, who looks like a punk for getting beaten and having his wife stolen from him.
Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match for the Women's Tag Team Championship
The united front of women's tag team champions The Kabuki Warriors forced friends-turned-enemies Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch to set aside their differences in pursuit of revenge, finality and gold.
The challengers took the fight to the champions, avenging weeks of torment and frustration at the hands of Asuka and Kairi Sane.
The Empress of Tomorrow cut off the babyfaces' onslaught but soon found herself sent face-first into the ring post. Sane's attempt to send chairs raining into the ring failed miserably, leading to Flair and Lynch chasing her under the ring.
It backfired as the heels teamed up to drop Lynch head-first on the steel chairs. From there, they placed The Queen in a desk chair and trapped her with a kendo stick. From there, they wore her out with kicks before dumping her over.
The champions tied Lynch to a ladder with a cargo rope, essentially eliminating her from the bout. The champions scaled the ladder, looking to retrieve their prize, but Flair re-emerged and unloaded with kendo-stick shots. Asuka and Sane recovered and beat The Queen down at ringside and sent her into the steps.
The Pirate Princess tried for the Insane Elbow but caught the knees of Lynch, who fought through the ropes. She joined Flair in a major ass-kicking of the heels in a spirited comeback.
Lynch threw caution to the wind, dropping a leg from the middle rope, onto Asuka and through a table at ringside. The babyfaces tried for a double suplex to Sane through a table, but the 2017 Mae Young Classic winner countered with a DDT. She followed up with an Insane Elbow to The Man that failed to break the table. Flair returned the favor, delivering a powerbomb to Sane through another table.
The heels again wrestled control of the match and set up an extra-tall ladder in the ring while Lynch and Flair laid in a heap at ringside. The babyfaces capitalized on a delay and fought back into the match, but it was for naught as Asuka powerbombed Flair through a table, leaving The Man to fend for herself.
Lynch climbed toward the titles, but Asuka used the rope that had been tied around the Raw women's champion to tip the ladder and eliminate her from the contest. The Empress of Tomorrow retrieved the titles, making it two years in a row that Asuka has stood tall with gold to end the show.
However, it wasn't quite the end as a massive brawl spilled into the arena and ended with Roman Reigns spearing King Corbin onto a mass of competitors.
The Kabuki Warriors defeated Lynch and Flair
This was so disjointed, messy, and ugly at times that it was impossible to grade it any higher than a C. There were more than a few spots that looked downright dangerous and others that highlighted performers not on the same page with each other.
With that said, the nature of the match brought a realness to it, an unpolished and car-crash element that made it the polar opposite of every other formulaic contest WWE would produce.
Asuka winning for her team, at the expense of Lynch, would seem to set up a match between the two at Royal Rumble in January for the Raw Women's Championship. A year ago at the same show, The Empress of Tomorrow defeated The Man to retain the blue brand's title. She clearly has Lynch's number, a story management can play up as it builds to the match.
Why the outcome of the match needed to be immediately overshadowed by the Reigns-Corbin brawl is a mystery only those in power understand. What better way to kill The Lone Wolf's heat than by having The Big Dog get his own back by night's end.