(Here’s the link for the match on the WWE Network: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31288929/?contentId=31288929&contextType=wwe-show&contextId=tables_ladders_chairs)
We’ve already encountered The Shield once at this list at #92 (click here for my review). This entry is actually their first ever match on the WWE’s main roster. Before that, they wrestled on NXT. At TLC 2012, they rocked the wrestling world. They delivered one of the matches of the year against the team of Daniel Bryan, Ryback and Kane. I don’t think anyone expected this TLC match to be anything special, but it easily stole the show. Even with the green Ryback and the aging Kane, it was a manic, barnstorming and chaotic brawl that encapsulated everything great about the TLC concept.
The Shield well and truly arrived that night. They had dispensed justice on Ryback a few times by putting him through a table on two separate occasions. I’d never seen their work on NXT (and still haven’t), and the only member who I’d heard anything about was Seth Rollins. He worked in Ring of Honor under the name Tyler Black. He is an awesome talent, but as for Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns, I had little idea of what to expect from them. As for their opposing team, Bryan was another awesome talent. Kane and been reinvigorated by teaming with Bryan, but still was only an average talent. Ryback was as green as grass, but if he stuck to his powerhouse routine, he could still generate a decent match. However, the tables, ladders and chairs hid any weaknesses from either team. And each man poured every ounce of effort into one of the all-time great TLC matches.
The match has it all; high-risk stunts, liberal use of chairs, ladders flung about the ring (and at people), and a few tables being broken here and there. To the surprise of many, The Shield dominated the match. But they never dominated it to a point of boredom. The babyfaces of Bryan, Kane and Ryback all had their moment to shine. Ryback, early on in the bout, displayed his brute strength by throwing Ambrose and Rollins around the ring. Double suplexing the two onto a ladder was Ryback’s career highlight at that point. Kane had a similar display of power, taking out all members of The Shield at one point. Bryan had his five minute frenzy, kicking the life out of Ambrose and Rollins and flying around the ring. But Bryan probably suffered the most at the hands of The Shield.
Right from the bell ring, the match is utter chaos. The action and excitement only increase, never falling, until the final bell. All of the wrestlers involved deserved a standing ovation during and after the match. Ryback and Kane were able to hide their weaknesses among the weapons. Roman Reigns was simply a powerhouse. Rollins, Ambrose and Bryan gave the match a frenetic pacing. It’s clear that all the members of The Shield wanted to make a massive in-ring debut. That they did. Bryan, Kane and Ryback were the best opposition for The Shield to face at that moment in time, equally determined to steal the show. What the six delivered wholly deserves to be on this list! It reminded me of the great TLC matches of the early 2000s involving the Dudleys, the Hardys, and Edge and Christian.
VERDICT: 9/10. A brutal and chaotic brawl that is among the best TLC matches in the history of the WWE. Reminiscent of the first TLC matches in the early 2000s, it delivered on every front possible.
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Click here for my review of #47 Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H (Unsanctioned Streetfight, WWE Summerslam 2002)