I can’t remember a pay-per-view in recent memory with so many twists and turns before the show, especially a usually B-Level event like TLC.

But viral infections are no joke and can take down even the most mighty of WWE Superstars.

Roman Reigns somehow turned into Kurt Angle on the TLC poster and Finn Balor is now facing The Phenomenal One instead of Sister Abigail.

Sometimes it goes to show you should never underestimate the importance of WWE and the dangers of contagious diseases.

Sasha Banks vs Alicia Fox (Kickoff Show)

Thanks to WWEStats on Twitter for this info and it’s pretty impressive. Sasha Banks and Alicia Fox have competed 1-on-1 six times on WWE/NXT TV. In those meetings, Banks is 5-1 against Alicia Fox.

These two had a nice back and forth until Sasha Banks played an injury and dropkicked Foxy out of the ring and she rolled out holding her lip like a baby. Foxy really does own that crazy character and you gotta love that kind of commitment.

Once they got back in the ring, Banks was clotheslined over the top rope to the floor. Foxy strutted outside and Banks turned it around on her until Fox his a spinning backbreaker on Banks. The referee started to count and Banks was driven into the ring apron. Fox tossed her back inside for a two-count.

Alicia Fox dumped Banks outside and told the referee to count while she danced around. Banks made it back in just before the referee counted to ten. But the finish would eventually come when Sasha Banks hit the backstabber and transitioned it into a Bank Statement and Foxy had no choice but to tap out.

Winner: Sasha Banks via submission

Asuka vs Emma

It was time for Asuka’s WWE debut and for us to pray Vince McMahon wasn’t going to topple The Empress of Tomorrow’s record while The Game is in Chili wrestling as a replacement on the Blue Team’s South American tour.

The place popped so hard when they killed the lights and her entrance was extremely epic, but that should be expected with someone like Asuka who lights up the room on her own. But the work WWE put into her entrance was very colorful.

Asuka took Emma to the mat early on for a submission but Emma was able to get out of it. Emma started to slap Asuka but that just made Asuka smile. Emma took a hip attack from Asuka and then she was taken down for an ankle lock submission.

Emma rolled out of the submission and send Asuka outside. Asuka started to get into the ring and Emma dropkicked her outside to follow and carry on with some more damage. With Emma on the offensive, she sent Asuka’s face into the mat and pinned for a two-count.

Emma continued the assault and hung Asuka up in a tree of woe to kick away at Asuka and then she slid outside to pull at Asuka’s watermelon-colored hair to stretch her out. Emma hit a splash and attempted two pinfalls.

But Asuka soon fought back and that meant Emma got kicked in the face really hard. Asuka hit a missile dropkick and geared up for the end with some more kicks to the head. Then Emma kicked Asuka in the face for a two count of her own.

Emma rubbed Asuka’s face into the mat, but that didn’t turn out too well. Asuka went for another ankle lock but Emma got to her feet but Asuka still had her trapped and hit a belly to back suplex. Emma rolled outside and tossed Asuka to the floor on the outside.

But once they got to the ring, Asuka caught Emma with a kick to the head and caught her with the Asukalock. It didn’t take much time for Emma to tap out.

Winner: Asuka via submission

Ladies and Gentlemen: Elias

The man formally called The Drifter came out and asked how many people in the building feel alive. He said they’re all dead inside but he can fill them with life. They also booed heavy about him telling them to put away their cell phone.

Then Elias started to play a little song and someone hit him with lettuce. Then more produce came out and suddenly Jason Jordan was standing behind him with a shopping cart full of groceries just throwing them at Elias. He stopped playing and then JJ left.

“That’s a shame,” Michael Cole said as Elias just stopped playing and left. I wonder if we were supposed to even hear Cole say that because it was said right before they cut to a promo. There were no words exchanged or anything. It was very… odd.

The Brian Kendrick and Jack Gallagher vs Cedric Alexander and Rich Swann

This was a face-paced match with plenty of high spots early on and the crowd was very into it. Rich Swann hit an amazing flipping dive onto the heel team and handed on his feet like a cat.

It was nice to get a chance to see these Cruiserweights really work on a big stage. The heels used lots of underhanded tactics and Gallagher has really changed up his move set well since turning heel. The heels focused on Swann for a while tagging in and out. Kendrick hit a nice butterfly suplex for a two count.

Kendrick was sent up and over the rope to the floor and Cedric Alexander got the hot tag. He hit a handspring off the ropes into a roundhouse kick on Gallagher and hit him with a high flying springboard clothesline.

Kendrick pulled Alexander out of the ring and took out Swann in the process. Kendrick locked in the Captain’s Hook on Alexander and Swann hit him with a Pheonix Splash to break it up.

Kendrick took a Lumbar Check from Cedric Alexander and that closed it for the babyfaces.

Winners: Cedric Alexander and Rich Swann

Alexa Bliss vs Mickie James (Raw Women’s Championship)

Bliss and James traded roll-up pins and then James got Bliss in the ropes and smacked her butt. “Biscuit butt” chants broke out just like they wanted.

But that seemed to upset Alexa. She kept tossing James down but Mickie kept kipping back up. Finally, James knocked Bliss down instead and caught her with a kick to the head for a two count.

Bliss tried to keep Mickie down but she fought back again and again. Bliss covered for the pin and kept trying to keep her down but James kept kicking out.

Alexa Bliss kept stalking Mickie around the ring and taunting her, but Mickie kept taking the punishment. Then the started trading slaps and it devolved into a brawl. Mickie James hit a kick to the head and they both fell to the mat.

They started trading shots from their knees and continued when they got to their feet. Mickie unloaded several forearm shots and a few more kicks. Mickie tried for a roll-up pin but Bliss kicked out.

Then Bliss hit a sunset bomb pin for another two count. Mickie got Bliss down and climbed to the top rope but Bliss would get up and knock her down. Mickie sold her injured shoulder while Alexa went on top for a Twisted Bliss but James moved.

Mickie climbed to the top and didn’t really get all of a top rope dropkick but Bliss still sold it.

“We want tables!” the crowd started to chant while Bliss suckered James in by feigning an injury and sent Mickie into the middle turnbuckle. Then she hit a Blissful DDT for the win.

Winner: Alexa Bliss vs pinfall

After the match, Mickie James said she’s disappointed but still proud. She said she wanted to prove she deserved the match but it won’t be her last championship match or the last time she’ll be Women’s Champion.

Kurt Angle was in his dressing room when he looked up to see Ambrose and Rollins. Seth said they respected why Kurt did what he did. Then he said they came there to give them this… and he held up a Shield vest for him to wear.

Ladies and gentlemen: Elias… again

Huge “no” chants broke out before he could say anything and he said nothing is going to stop him from giving the performance people need. Then he promised to sing a song that is going to change lives.

He didn’t get very far into the song before the boos really threw him off. “Now I’m gonna have to start over,” he said. Elias said he was having trouble hearing himself and people booed even louder.

Then Jason Jordan showed up again with a shopping cart full of produce and started throwing it at Elias until The Drifter left.

Kalisto vs Enzo Amore (Cruiserweight Championship)

Enzo Amore’s voice was gone during the intro but they still let him cut his whole promo. I wondered how long it would be until he got heat with his own voice too.

Kalisto worked around Enzo during the beginning of this match. Anything that was being done in the ring was mostly Kalisto’s skill if not all of it. There was a strange spot where Enzo was outside the ring and then Kalisto taunted him so Enzo ran through the ring and tossed himself outside on the other side. Kalisto hit a suicide dive on Enzo after that.

When they got in the ring, Enzo pulled a heel move and gained an advantage. He started hitting some strikes. Enzo measured Kalisto and ran to punt him in the chest. Enzo got on the top rope and kicked Kalisto, but instead of going for a move he just stepped down.

Enzo hit a flying DDT on Kalisto but the Cruiserweight Champion kicked out at two. Kalisto avoided Enzo’s finisher and Enzo started to crawl away to escape Kalisto. Enzo distracted the referee by pulling up the ring apron and then he hit Kalisto with maybe a foreign object.

He his a Jord-Enzo and got the pin

Winner AND NEW Cruiserweight Champion: Enzo Amore

AJ Styles vs Finn Balor

The commentary team kept referring to The Bullet Club as “the Notorious Club” which was funny.

These two masters traded takedowns and holds in the early portion of this match and came to a stalemate of sorts. Finn hit a couple stiff kicks and AJ returned with picture-perfect dropkicks.

Balor trapped AJ in a surfboard submission and the crowd cheered to see the move executed so well. Balor transitioned one submission into another until AJ grabbed the bottom rope.

AJ hit a chop and rolled out of the ring. When Finn went running to jump onto Styles, he ran into the ring and took him down with a double ax-handle.

Styles his a modified Phenomenal Forearm but Balor kicked out at two. Then Styles nailed a nice backbreaker. AJ unloaded some kicks and got another two count.

Balor started up a comeback and shot AJ from turnbuckle to turnbuckle finally hitting Styles with a kick that sent him outside. Then Balor hit a flipping suicide dive. When they returned to the ring, Balor hit a sling blade, but Styles countered Balor’s next move into an ushigoroshi.

Styles hit a sit-down facebuster for a two count and then Finn caught him with a kick while they were getting up. Finn stomped at Styles and the ref had to separate him. Finn hit another dropkick to the corner but Styles quickly countered Finn’s next move into a Calf Crusher. Balor countered out of the Calf Crusher by just driving Styles’ head into the mat.

Styles was lifted to the apron and then he went for the Phenomenal Forearm but Balor countered by pushing him back and to the floor. Balor hit a kick from the apron and jumped down to prepare for his next attack. Finn hit a shotgun dropkick to Styles which shot him to the barricade in very hard fashion.

AJ droved Finn over the announce table at ringside and the two toppled over the table. They both made it to the ring at the same time and hit a double crossbody and a double clothesline to leave each other laying on the mat for a minute.

They started to trade forearm shots and then Finn caught an overhead kick on Styles.

AJ blocked whatever Balor was going for twice and finally, he just drove Styles into the mat. Balor hit a 1916 for a two count.

Balor hit a shotgun dropkick to the corner and climbed the rope. AJ hit a Pele Kick on Balor when he was on the top rope giving AJ time to jump up and join him in just enough time for a hurricanrana.  Styles missed a 450 Splash and then Balor hit another shotgun dropkick.

Balor climbed to the top rope and hit a Coup De Gras. 1-2-3 and Finn Balor defeated AJ Styles.

Winner: Finn Balor (The Demon) via pinfall

After the match was over Styles and Balor shared an epic “too sweet” in the middle of the ring.

The Elias and Jason Jordan deal finally resulted in an impromptu match.

Jason Jordan vs Elias

Elias took most of the match punishing Jason Jordan but JJ’s wrestling ability kept him afloat. Elias really is doing so much better on the main roster than anyone else would have ever dreamed for The Drifter.

JJ started driving Elias into the turnbuckles and hit a belly-to-belly throw. Elias was sat on the top rope and Jordan climbed up to join him. Elias blocked a superplex and JJ jumped down, but then JJ ran right into a knee to the jaw. Elias tossed Jordan into the turnbuckle and JJ sold his injured knee.

But Jason reversed out of a suplex and got the pin. Booker T was complaining about a fast count.

Winner: Jason Jordan

After a couple replays the announce team agreed Elias actually had his shoulder up while the referee counted to three.

Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and Kurt Angle vs The Miz, The Bar, Braun Strowman, and Kane (TLC Match)

Kurt Angle coming to the ring with Ambrose and Rollins was a nice touch but it kinda robbed fans of hearing his entrance. Angle was sporting his Shield vest so that was a nice touch too.

There were lots of chair shots from all three Shield members to take Braun out and then they focused on Kane while the whole place went crazy with “yes” chants.

They knocked The Bar and Miz off the apron and took them down with some ladder shots. Kurt Angle started driving a ladder down onto Strowman.

The Shield kept working as a well-oiled machine and then they started to clear a table. The Bar got involved and Cesaro took a chair to Ambrose. Sheamus was driven into the steps and Ambrose turned it around on Cesaro. Kane hit some uppercuts on all three babyfaces.

Angle was playing it as safe as he could but there wasn’t much he could do when Strowman got ahold of him. Braun went to powerbomb Angle through a table but Rollins saved him with a chair shot to The Monster Among Men. Then sent Braun into a couple more posts and that evened things up a little bit. The put Kane and Strowman on each announce table and set up ladders in front of each table. Dean and Seth climbed up and hit the big men on the heel team with random dives through the table. Dean hit an elbow and Seth landed a splash.

Rollins was holding his knee and Michael Cole called attention to it.

Kurt Angle took a chair to The Miz and rolled him in the ring. Then The Bar took Angle down with a chair shot to the stomach and then they traded shots on the WWE Hall Of Famer.

The Bar wedged a ladder pinning Angle against a turnbuckle and kicked the ladder at the same time. Then they set Angle up for a Shield Powerbomb but Rollins and Ambrose jumped in to break it up.

Meanwhile, in the ring, Kurt Angle landed a trilogy of suplexes onto The Miz and gave Sheamus a suplex for his troubles. Kane entered the ring but didn’t take a suplex, instead he had a Chokeslam turned into an Angle Lock. Braun Strowman broke it up and sent Angle into the barricade.

Braun sat up a table and got a ladder in position. Strowman picked up Angle and hit Angle with a Running Powerslam through the table at ringside. Angle immediately had a swarm of medical staff surrounding him.

Dean and Seth attacked Braun and The Bar jumped in with chairs to stop them. This match was a cluster.

Rollins took a side slam from Kane while Kurt Angle was being helped to the back by WWE staff. Angle fell to his knees as the heels picked apart Seth and Dean in the ring.

The Miz wedged a chair in the corner and everyone sent Rollins’ head through the chair. Then they did the same with Dean. The Miz and The Bar kept taking their time while they punished Dean and Seth with a chair they were trading around.

Rollins moved out of the way of Strowman and then Kane accidentally hit Braun Strowman with a chair. Strowman turned and pushed The Big Red Machine and The Bar and The Miz had to break up the in-fighting.

Rollins and Ambrose jumped on their backs but it didn’t work for long. Braun brought in a table and a Triple Powerbomb broke the table’s legs but not the wood. So they propped the table in the corner and Strowman just tossed Dean through it.

The Miz started to motion toward the back and yelled: “bring it in!” Then a garbage truck came backing in. The heels tossed Ambrose and Rollins into the back of the truck but they fought back. Rollins and Ambrose climbed to the top of the garbage truck and hit stereo dives on everyone else.

The Miz ran to the ring and 2/3 of The Shield caught up with him. Seth and Dean beat him with chairs and brought him to the entrance where they borrowed one of the many tables witting around the entrance.

Kane jumped in and was about to be double suplexed but Braun Strowman came in to stop it. Suddenly Kane turned on Strowman and chokeslammed him through the side of the entrance ramp. Then Kane tugged on one of the strings of chairs hanging from the ceiling and they all came raining down on Strowman to leave him knocked out.

Ambrose and Rollins jumped Kane and The Miz joined the fight. Kane hit Rollins and Ambrose with a double chokeslam through separate tables only Dean’s table didn’t break — it just flipped, but Rollins’ broke clean.

This was all falling apart and wasn’t anywhere close to the ring at this point. Angle and Strowman were both out. Dean cut his elbow during that last spot. Suddenly Braun Strowman emerged from his pile of chairs as Kane looked at him puzzled.

Braun took out The Miz and Cesaro on his way over to get Kane. Then Strowman beat Kane down. He lifted Kane up to toss him in the garbage truck but The Bar pulled Kane down. Then they all beat on Strowman and tossed him in the garbage truck.

Then The Miz told them to pull the level and I guess Strowman was murdered by being crushed inside that truck.

“That was murder” chants broke out. Then they made it back to the ring where it looked like the rest of the heels was going to clean up Rollins. Suddenly Kurt Angle’s music hit. He gave The Bar Angle Slams when they met him on the ramp (Cesaro took his through a table).

Kane got Angle in a tombstone but it was brooken up bu Rollins and Ambrose with some chair shots. Then they took Kane out with a double spear through the barricade.

The Miz snuck up behind Kurt Angle and hit a Skull Crushing Finale for a two count. The Miz tried another Skull Crushing Finale but Angle turned it into an Angle Lock.

Miz kicked Angel outside the ring, but soon all three Shield members came into the ring. Rollins hit the knee, Ambrose hit Dirty Deeds, and Angle hit an Angle Slam. Then they got The Miz up and hit a Shield Bomb (with Angle doing his best Roman Reigns impression). 1–3 and that was all she wrote… let’s just hope Braun Strowman isn’t dead.

Winners: The Shield (Kurt Angle, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose)

 

 

 

 

 

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Aaron Varble hasn’t just been writing for more than a decade in various formats including sketch comedy, stand up, television, radio, and other various projects; nor is he just another professional wrestling fan with a master’s degree in journalism and Tourette’s syndrome. He’s always looking to explore the why not with the why and the how come along with the how. Follow on Twitter @TheVarble