Damien Barling: TLC Was “Too Sweet”

This card took a dramatic shift on Friday when it was announced Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt were out and Kurt Angle and AJ Styles were in. Kurt Angle joins Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins in the now odd 3-on-5 match up while AJ Styles will take on The Demon Fin Balor.

ASUKA VS EMMA (ASUKA’S DEBUT)
Lights go out and Oskua comes out to a huge reaction. She absolutely dominated Emma, as she should. Asuka should bulldoze the entire women’s division until Wrestlemania where she meets the champion, who by the way, should be built as unbeatable starting now. I’d be perfectly ok if it was Alexa Bliss.

MICKIE JAMES VS ALEXA BLISS (RAW WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP)
I was never into the Mickie James return to the ring. I’m not sure why. It just feels like she doesn’t have a strong personality. Didn’t she come in as a heel? She just smiled and played to the crowd. Then, at some point, I think, she become a babyface. Right? I mean, she smiles and plays to the crowd. She gets a luke warm reaction at best because the crowd doesn’t know what to think of her.

This match was extremely competitive and told a great story of Alexa working over Mickie’s shoulder. Alexa won after throwing Mickie shoulder first into the ring post. This really felt like Mickie James is either retiring or stepping away for awhile. The announce team told the story of her potentially being a 7-time champion and she cut an emotional post match promo (that the crowd hardly reacted too) stating she hopes this wasn’t her last chance.

There are few better characters in the entire company than Alexa Bliss.

AJ STYLES VS THE DEMON FIN BALOR
The crowd is absolutely jacked for this match. Loud chants of “This is Awesome” before the match starts. Chants of “Too sweet” followed. The pace of this match was phenomenal. It was every bit as good as you imagined. If WWE doesn’t take NJPW seriously yet, they better. Its very clear fans knew the history of these two and the story of the former Bullet Club leaders. The simple fact Corey Graves mentioned New Japan by name leads me to believe they still don’t consider them competition.

This match never slowed down and Fin Balor won with coup de gras. The two shook hands before doing the “Too Sweet” hand sign to a MASSIVE crowd reaction.

DEAN AMBROSE, SETH ROLLINS, KURT ANGLE VS KANE, THE MIZ, BRAUN STROWMAN, CESARO, SHEAMUS IN A 5-ON-3 TLC MTACH
Kurt Angle wrestling his first match in 11 years. He walked out with The Shield, through the crowd, dressed in all black with the body armor vest. Kane and Kurt Angle are in the ring together. In 2017. They first wrestled each other in 2000.

I just realized something. This is a TLC match but they’re not reaching for anything? So what the hell are the ladders for? Is this the first TLC match where there was, literally, no reason to climb a ladder? Maybe its the first time I’ve noticed. Chris Verlod said that was the case with Reigns and Sheamus last year (I don’t even remember this match).

The crowd is again white hot for this match. Seth and Ambrose did a dual announce table spot where they jumped off ladders and crashed through Strowman and Kane.

Kurt Angle got some alone time in the ring. He German duplexed everyone and the crowd chanted “you still got it”. Fans went nuts for all of Angles signature spots before Braun Strowman put an end to all the fun.
This was a fight that saw Angle be taken to the back and Kane attack Braun Strowman and chock lam him through a table. He then pulled on a chair that sent about a dozen chairs crashing down on top of Strowman.

Dean Ambrose has been getting his but kicked by tables.

STROWMAN IS BACK!! He’s beating everybody up. Wait….

EVERYONE IS BEATING UP STROWMAN. Braun was put in a garbage truck and then… trapped in it? Or something. The crowd chanted “That is murder”.

Kurt Angle is back. With his music. Clutching his ribs. Crowd chanting “you suck”. Angle slam on Cesaro. Angle slam on Sheamus.

The Shield and Angle hit there finishers on The MIz before pinning him with the triple power bomb. Absolutely fantastic fight.

The two matches that went through last second changes were far and away the highlights.

This match was about 1000x more entertaining then Sunday Night Football.

More from Damien Barling
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