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The Best And Worst Of WWE TLC 2013

By / 12.16.13

Triple H Stephanie McMahon WWE TLC 2013

Worst: We’re Just Gonna Keep Saying Shit Until You Believe Us

Originally, Chris Jericho had unified the WWF/E and WCW World Heavyweight Championships back in 2001, Triple H became the first “new” World Heavyweight Champion in 2002, and we were unifying those. It was fine, because they were the two most important titles in modern WWE over the past 10 years. That wasn’t good enough for somebody, though, so the story because “we’re unifying the WWE Championship with the WORLD Heavyweight Championship, the one that goes back to 1905,” which is its own pile of misinformation. Then Michael Cole clarified that the World Championship they mean isn’t the WCW one, because WCW didn’t exist before 1995 or whatever.

Triple H and Stephanie open the pay-per-view explaining that Lou Thesz and Buddy Rogers split the championships apart, and that for the first time in “50 years” WWE will have a unified, undisputed champion. So, uh, Chris Jericho doesn’t exist in this dojo. Also, the opening video package highlighting the belts themselves includes a clip of Booker T in WCW holding up the big gold belt, which brings us right back around to the beginning and everybody being wrong.

So let’s just change it on every show and make that the joke. On Raw, have Triple H congratulate Orton for “finally bringing the AWA and Ring of Honor World Heavyweight Championships into the WWE” and see how many people jump on Twitter to explain it. WHEN CM PUNK SIGNED HIS WWE CHAMPIONSHIP ON THE ROH TITLE IT LEFT AN IMPRINT AND THEREFORE something something Stan Hansen.

CM Punk The Shield TLC 2013

Best: CM Punk Beats The Shield By Himself And … Wait, I Liked It?

CM Punk is built like a blogger and has the natural athletic prowess of a moose, so in theory he’s got to win his matches by being smarter and more determined than his opponents. WWE rarely goes that route and instead just has him trading finishers with dudes, but I think Punk works best when he’s allowed to be smart instead of being a catty asshole to everybody and having that translate as “smart” to stupid people.

One of the reasons I’ve enjoyed The Shield so much over the last year is that they’re a machine. They’re a group of guys who realized that they were better as a team than on their own, focused up and covered their weaknesses en route to 12 months of dominance, winning the United States Championship, winning the tag team championships and beating/beating up everybody from John Cena to the Undertaker. Individually, they’re three NXT developmental chodes. None of them were great when they got brought up the main roster, but they became great by becoming SOMETHING.

So if you’re gonna run a 3-on-1 match where one super-smart guy has to take on a team of 3 that John Cena, Ryback and Sheamus couldn’t beat on an even playing field, what do you do?

I’ve been against the brewing animosity in The Shield since the first moment they started teasing it, but last night made a lot of sense to me, and helped me be okay with it. CM Punk bragged about knowing The Shield’s weakness and how to exploit it, and guess what? He did. He realized that Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins are basically off their rockers. They’re crazy and can’t succeed without a gameplan. This is why they’re always bailing on fights they could in theory easily win. They have to figure it all out. Roman Reigns is the smart, cool-headed one who serves as their exclamation point. He’s the one that wins most of their matches. The guy who topples giants and plows through four guys to give them a Survivor Series win. Punk’s idea was to incapacitate Roman and leave Ambrose and Rollins to their own devices, which would make them basically cast “berserk” on themselves and run at him for easy kicking.

It worked beautifully. The best part is that it wasn’t a matter of Punk “outsmarting” them … he simply had an intelligent blueprint for success and had it validated by incredible luck. Roman goes over the table and hurts his eye. That causes him to sit out for most of the match and be ineffective when he finally gets back in. He knows he’s supposed to run at people and kill them, but he can’t really see, and all he can hear is the crowd roaring and guys getting kneed in the face. He’s got to be an exclamation point, but he can’t find the end of the sentence. Rollins is pinballing around like a psychopath and Ambrose just gets madder and madder and crazier and wilder until he’s walking into moves and eating spears. Punk just put one and two and three together and everything fell into place for him.

What I’m getting at is that even though the 1 should probably never beat the 3 in a 3-on-1, I understood and enjoyed how they did it, and it was the polar opposite of John Cena burning through them elimination style with his jumpy shoulderblocks. Great stuff to start off the show.

Renee Young Tamina Snuka

Worst: Keep Your Eyeballs To Yourself, Tamina

I know Renee has to be afraid of Tamina, but why should she be? Renee’s got a lot of friends, and Tamina’s basically the least threatening lady on the roster. What’s she gonna do, pick you up and have trouble figuring out how to throw you down? OH NO YOU’RE GONNA LAND ON YOUR FEET AND THEN LIE DOWN ON ME. You can take her, Renee.

If we’re fantasy booking, all of Tamina’s dirty looks should end with her pulling Renee aside and being all, “so hey, I know this is weird and all, but do you wanna get coffee sometime? You’re adorable.” Spoiler alert: Yes, Tamina desperately needs a character beyond “knows Jimmy Snuka, owns leather pants,” but yeah, most of my Renee fantasy booking ends with people taking her out for coffee and complimenting her.

AJ Lee Natalya WWE TLC 2013

Best: AJ Lee Done Right

AJ Lee vs. Natalya was another match that surprised me, because it played out in the way that made the most sense without veering too far away from comfortable WWE tropeland.

I assumed that with Total Divas having its season finale last night and BEADLEGATE causing AJ Lee to become known as “Wrestler’s Girlfriend” to a nation of barely-interested third-parties, Natalya had it. They’ve been doing that weird thing they do with challengers where every match is 40 seconds long and ends clean with little-to-no effort to “build.” Instead of that, we got one of the most logical AJ Lee matches I’ve ever seen.

As we’ve talked about before, AJ’s got zero credible offense. She’s got about 60 pounds of weight behind everything she’s doing, and when she bumps she doesn’t make noise. That’s how avian bird syndromey she is. It’s like wrestling a ghost. So when she’s dominating and throwing clubbing forearms and shit, it’s hard to buy. Natalya’s kinda beefy and strong, but she’s usually just doing bad headlocks and spinning before throwing clotheslines. Not spinning INTO clotheslines. Spinning in place, then clotheslining. Like a Boom Drop with her arms. I hate it.

Here, AJ’s offense is all based on opportunity, and Natalya’s offense is all about throwing AJ into things with AUTHORITY. I liked Natalya a lot just throwing vicious snap suplexes and launching AJ into the barricade like a jerk. The finish was the ever-present OH NO DIVAS ROLL-UP SPECIAL, but it worked for me, because frankly the only way AJ SHOULD be able to beat Natalya in a straight-up fight is with out-of-nowhere science. Well done.

Screen Shot 2013-12-16 at 11.40.26 AM

Worst: Damien Sandow’s Shirts Keep Getting Worse

I + this shirt = me not buying this shirt

Are Sandow’s shirts purposely bad? Is that part of his gimmick? The fact that he claims to be a scholar but is kind of an idiot, so he thinks wearing something you’d see in a Walmart clothing section with a big Tweety Bird affixed to it constitutes “being a smart-ass?” Can we give him something classy for once or is he gonna be this half-assed Stone Cold Damien Sandow forever?

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