Toyota Center – Houston, Texas – December 19, 2010
Michael Cole, Jerry “The King” Lawler, and Matt Striker are on commentary.
MATCH #1: Triple threat Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship – Dolph Ziggler vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Jack Swagger
Ziggler has been the Champion since 8.6.10, and this is his ninth defense. Everyone goes after everyone and Ziggler is the first one tossed to the floor. While he’s out there Ziggler grabs a ladder and brings it into the ring to climb when Swagger and Kingston roll to the floor, but he gets pushed down by both challengers. Swagger gets his injured wrist looked at by a trainer while Ziggler throws Kingston into a ladder set up in the corner. When Swagger gets back in the ring he catapults Ziggler’s face into the same ladder in the corner. Kingston gets back in and takes Swagger out. The action is fast and furious here, with everyone using the ladder to their advantage. With all three men on the floor writhing in pain, Vickie Guerrero gets in the ring and climbs up the ladder. Kingston gets in the ring and climbs up the other side, then climbs down to threaten to push the ladder over. Ziggler and Swagger save her and she runs back to the floor screaming. Everyone tumbles to the floor again, and when they get back in the ring Swagger has Kingston in the Ankle Lock. Kingston tries climbing the ladder anyway, and then Ziggler climbs up Kingston’s back and almost grabs the belt. Swagger gets knocked down so it’s Ziggler and Kingston fighting on top of the ladder. Ziggler ducks a big right hand and locks on the Sleeper. Kingston breaks out of it and knocks Ziggler off the ladder but Swagger climbs up and they knock the title down. Ziggler retrieves it and is awarded the win at 8:56. That was quite short but they packed a ton of action into it and the crowd was hot. The finish seemed to deflate them a bit, but rules are rules and that’s a fine win to give a heel Intercontinental Champion.
MATCH #2: Divas Tag Team Table Match – Natalya & Beth Phoenix vs. Lay-Cool
This is the first-ever Divas Tag Team Table Match, and only one Diva has to go through a table to end the match. Michelle McCool and Layla look a little bit frightened of participating in this match. Natalya is the current Divas Champion. She and Phoenix dominate early on, and go for the special table they have prepared for their opponents. Lay-Cool avoids the table for now, and they go to work on wearing down their much stronger opponents. McCool simply tosses Phoenix through the ropes and it causes a nasty bump on her head and neck. Yikes. The momentum shifts back and forth and the crowd is reacting really well for a Divas match. Lay-Cool disposes of Phoenix and tries a double superplex on Natalya, but the Divas Champion pushes them both back but the table doesn’t break! Natalya then hits a Superfly Splash to put them both through a table and get the win at 9:23. That was one of the best Divas matches probably in company history, with really good action, great heat, and a great finish.
MATCH #3: WWE Tag Team Championship Match – Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov vs. Heath Slater & Justin Gabriel
Marella and Kozlov have been the Champions since 12.6.10, and this is their first defense and the Nexus’s official rematch. This is the only match on the card to not have a TLC stipulation attached to it. Slater and Gabriel are accompanied by fellow Nexus members Michael McGillicutty and Husky Harris. Marella and Gabriel start the match with some mat wrestling. The Nexus is able to take the advantage and they isolate on Marella, a former two-time Intercontinental Champion. Kozlov is able to tag in and he immediately asserts his power advantage. Harris interferes from ringside to give the challengers the advantage again. Marella makes the hot tag and the crowd is on fire with him. He goes for the Cobra and McGillicutty gets in the ring to interfere and the referee sees him and calls for the bell at 6:28. Wade Barrett comes out and uses a chair to beat down the Tag Team Champions. That wasn’t much of a match and the finish was more suited to Raw.
MATCH #4: Number One Contender’s Ladder Match – John Morrison vs. Sheamus
Morrison pinned Sheamus at Survivor Series and Sheamus beat Morrison in the finals of the King of the Ring tournament, so this is a rubber match. Sheamus immediately starts asserting his power advantage and throws Morrison around. They take it to the floor and Sheamus sets a ladder between the apron and the announce table. Morrison avoids it and drives Sheamus into the barricade. Back in the ring Morrison uses a ladder to his advantage and makes the first couple of attempts at reaching the contract. Sheamus fights back and goes to work on Morrison’s knee, which is good strategy against a high flyer and really against anyone in a ladder match. Morrison tries to fight up but King Sheamus just has too much power for him. Sheamus hits the Irish Curse and Morrison rolls to the floor. Both men bring ladders in the ring and Morrison throws his at Sheamus first. Momentum shifts a few more times and Sheamus finds himself at the top of the ladder but he can’t grab the contract. Morrison hops up the ladder too and knocks Sheamus down, and then Sheamus tries to bring Morrison down with a powerbomb but Morrison instead ranas Sheamus to the floor. Whew. Morrison gets his hands on the contract but can’t pull it down and Sheamus pushes the ladder over. They fight back to the top of the ladder and both men fall over right through the ladder that was set up between the apron and the announce table earlier! That was a nasty bump. Back in the ring Morrison once again tries to get the contract but he can’t unhook it. Sheamus gets back in the ring and tries to push him over but Morrison bounces back off the top rope with a kick to the face and pulls the contract down at 19:07! What a great match, with some awesome creative spots, a good story, and amazing crowd heat. Morrison’s selling was outstanding as well. This is probably the best singles match either guy has ever had in WWE.
MATCH #5: Tables Match for the WWE Championship – The Miz vs. Randy Orton
Miz has been Champion since 11.22.10 and this is his second defense as well as Orton’s rematch. He’s accompanied by his apprentice Alex Riley. The pop Orton gets is deafening. Orton is the aggressor early on, keeping Miz on the mat. They go to the floor and Orton stays in control. Miz comes back by dropping Orton’s face on the steel steps, and then he sets up a table. He sets Orton on the table and goes to the top rope but Orton rolls off before Miz can jump. Back in the ring Miz sets up a table but Orton cuts him off with an Angle Slam. Orton sets up a table and hits a superplex, but Riley moves the table, saving the Miz’s title reign yet again. The challenger hits the Orton DDT and then takes Riley out with a clothesline on the floor. Orton hits the Orton Backbreaker and sets up for the RKO but Riley interferes again and the referee gets bumped. Riley gets in the ring and runs right into an RKO. Orton then powerbombs Riley through the table, and Miz sneaks back in and hits Orton with the Skull Crushing Finale. Miz then pulls Orton onto the broken table and wakes the referee up, who calls the match in favor of the WWE Champion at 12:59. The referee spots the replay on the Titan Tron and he restarts the match! Orton is energized by the restart, and he takes it right to the Champion. He throws Miz back in the ring and as soon as Orton gets on the apron Miz pushes Riley, who knocks Orton off the apron and through a table and Miz wins for real at 0:41 (13:40 total match time). These two don’t have great chemistry together and the finish seemed like an overly complicated way to not help The Miz at all.
MATCH #6: Fatal Four Way Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match for the World Heavyweight Championship – Kane vs. Edge vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Alberto Del Rio
Kane has been the Champion since 7.18.10, and this is his sixth defense. Mysterio is a former two-time World Heavyweight Champion. Edge is a nine-time World Champion at this point, and has by far the most previous TLC experience. They immediately pair off exactly how you would expect them too, with Edge and Kane going straight to the floor. Mysterio and Del Rio creatively involve the ladder early on, and then they trade places with Edge and Kane. Eventually they trade dance partners as well, as Kane goes after Mysterio and Del Rio takes on Edge. Then Edge, Mysterio, and Del Rio work together to take Kane out, and then Mysterio and Edge double-team Del Rio. Edge sets Kane up on a table outside the ring and climbs up a ladder in the ring and puts Kane through said table with a splash. Finishers start popping up pretty early, and all four men make their way up by the entrance. Mysterio uses the props as a launching pad to take Kane out. Everyone except Kane fights back to the ring and up on a ladder. Edge and Mysterio knock Del Rio off and then pull each other down face-first into the mat and all four men are down again. Ricardo Rodriguez tries to climb the ladder and retrieve the belt, but he gets stopped by Kane and hit with a Chokeslam. Del Rio and Edge suffer the same fate, Edge through a table. Mysterio halts Kane’s momentum and takes him out with a steel chair. Del Rio takes Mysterio out and climbs up for the belt but Mysterio pushes the ladder over and Del Rio crashes hard through a table. Mysterio climbs but Kane pulls him down and hits a Tombstone Piledriver. Kane climbs up but Edge stops him with a chair. Edge Spears Kane off the apron and through a table, and then climbs the ladder and grabs the belt to become a 10-time World Champion at 22:42. With four guys in the match there was certainly no shortage of spots and they worked in some great ones. It’s hard to get fired up about Edge getting a World Title for the tenth time, but at least the match was fun.
MATCH #7: Chairs Match – John Cena vs. Wade Barrett
CM Punk comes out to replace Matt Striker on commentary, which is a huge trade up. Houston loves John Cena, wow. Cena tries to keep Barrett from getting a chair but it doesn’t take long for him to fail at that. Barrett takes the advantage and controls the first several minutes of the match. They fight up on the entrance ramp and Barrett is in complete control. Barrett goes for a piledriver but Cena backdrops him to finally get a reprieve. Cena goes backstage and gets a nice leather office type chair. He puts Barrett in the chair and slides him down the ramp right into the steel steps! That’s a cool spot but Barrett pretty much recovers from it instantly and goes back to work. Barrett wraps a chair around Cena’s neck and hurls him into the ring post. Back in the ring Cena tries to fire up but Barrett cuts him off again. Finally Cena avoids a chair-assisted elbow drop off the second rope and he gains control of the chair. Cena then goes up top and hits a chair-assisted Cena Slice. He sets up six chairs and delivers a brutal Attitude Adjustment to get the pin at 19:09. That was solid stuff but it never quite got the epic feel that the end of this months-long feud could have gotten. It’s the problem with a lot of Cena matches nowadays, where the result is so obvious that people just wait for his comebacks and don’t really get sucked into the match.