Originally published at WWE TLC 2020 REPORT: Reigns vs. Owens, McIntyre vs. Styles
Welcome to POST Wrestling’s coverage of WWE TLC from the ThunderDome at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.
John Pollock & Wai Ting will have a WWE TLC POST SHOW immediately following the event and will be streaming LIVE for Double Double, Iced Capp & Espresso members of the POST Wrestling Café.
*Firefly Inferno Match: Randy Orton over The Fiend Bray Wyatt via murder
*Universal Championship, TLC Match: Roman Reigns (champion) over Kevin Owens in 24:44 to retain the title
*WWE Women’s Tag Championship: Asuka & Charlotte Flair over Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler (champions) in 10:01 to win the titles
*RAW Tag Team Championship: Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin over New Day (champions) in 9:53 to win the titles
*SmackDown Women’s Championship: Sasha Banks (champion) over Carmella in 12:42
*WWE Championship, TLC Match: Drew McIntyre (champion) over AJ Styles in 27:00 to retain the championship
*TLC Kickoff: Daniel Bryan, Big E., Chad Gable & Otis over Sami Zayn, King Corbin, Shinsuke Nakamura & Cesaro in 8:45
The TLC kickoff show was hosted by Charly Caruso with panelists Booker T., Peter Rosenberg, and Jeff Jarrett.
The panel interviewed MVP about the RAW tag title match later tonight with Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin challenging for the titles. He said the New Day conduct themselves “like clowns” but are decorated and called them one of the best teams in history. Booker asked if MVP has had “the talk” with Cedric Alexander and he burst out laughing after asking the question.
The Miz and John Morrison appeared at the desk. It was a segment for Miz to tease a cash-in coming at any time. He said when he does cash-in, he guarantees he will win the title.
R-Truth did his monthly kickoff appearance at the desk and tried to speak Japanese.
SAMI ZAYN, KING CORBIN, SHINSUKE NAKAMURA & CESARO VS DANIEL BRYAN, BIG E., CHAD GABLE & OTIS
The heel side took turns with Daniel Bryan as they attacked his back and constantly made tags. Bryan stopped Corbin’s attack with a headbutt off the turnbuckle and connected with a missile dropkick. Otis received the tag.
Otis hit Nakamura with the caterpillar, Gable wanted the tag and he made it. Nakamura stopped their double-team attempt and nearly pinned Gable until Otis saved. Gable hit Cesaro with the Chaos Project when Zayn demanded the tag.
Zayn took the prone Gable, who rolled away and tagged Big E. Zayn’s Helluva kick was intercepted by a uranage and follow-up Big Ending to pin the Intercontinental champion.
WINNER: Big E. (pinned Sami Zayn), Daniel Bryan, Chad Gable & Otis in 8:45
There was a lot of talent condensed into this kickoff match. It was a decent house show style match with a progression of the story with Big E. scoring the fall on the belt holder that should lead to a title match.
The kickoff ended with “The Firefly Carol” hosted by Bray Wyatt going over Randy Orton’s past with the history of their feud in 2017. For whatever you want to say about the feud, the production of this video was strong. It ended with clips of The Fiend scaring Orton spliced with “Silent Night”.
That concludes the kickoff portion.
DREW McINTYRE VS AJ STYLES IN A TLC MATCH FOR THE UNIVERSAL TITLE
As far as TLC matches go, this was far from the stunt fest variety designed to be a methodical match with believable scenarios for McIntyre to lose the title.
McIntyre began the match dominating Styles with no ill-effects from the beatdown he received on RAW. Styles attacked with a chair to the previously injured left knee and became Styles’ target throughout the match.
They worked a very strong match and clicked well with minimal reliance on the weapons. Styles used the ladder and chair to wrap the injured leg through with the calf crusher but it wasn’t gratuitous weapon use.
One of the major spots was a press slam where Styles was sent through a table on the floor.
Then, The Miz ran down and cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase making it a three-way match. He started climbing and was stopped by Omos, who dropped him through a table on the floor and stalked John Morrison to the backstage area.
McIntyre, Miz, and Styles fought on the ladders ending when McIntyre was knocked down but returned to tip the two over and climbed to secure the title.
WINNER: Drew McIntyre at 27 minutes to retain the WWE Championship
Paul Heyman was interviewed by Kayla Braxton. He likes NASCAR because he enjoys car crashes but doesn’t need NASCAR tonight because people get hurt in this profession in a TLC match. He said Owens would get hurt and Reigns would retain the title and said, “that’s not a prediction, that’s a spoiler”.
SASHA BANKS VS CARMELLA FOR THE SMACKDOWN WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
The sommelier is now identified as Reginald instead of Tommy.
Reginald caught Carmella on the floor and led to Banks being sent into the steps as Carmella got the advantage.
Banks was dropped on the edge of the apron and sold her neck. Banks recovered and hit three amigos inside the ring and followed with the frog splash for a two-count.
Carmella countered out of a tilt-a-whirl for a big X-Factor and Banks kicked out. After hitting a superkick with Banks draped on the apron, Banks grabbed the bottom rope to stop the cover.
Carmella kicked out of a jackknife cover and applied the Code of Silence, she tried to counter with the Bank Statement and Carmella tried for a Koji Clutch with the arms hyperextended that Banks broke free from.
Banks got the Bank Statement and Reginald pulled Carmella out of the ring. Banks hit him with a Meteora that allowed Carmella to hit a superkick and got a big near fall.
Carmella went for another X-Factor, which was countered to the Bank Statement and Carmella tapped.
WINNER: Sasha Banks at 12:42 to retain the SmackDown women’s championship
They worked very hard on the submissions throughout the match and going strong with Carmella as a viable challenger with believable near falls. I liked the match, and this was certainly one of Carmella’s best.
Charly interviewed New Day as they got set for their title defense. The Hurt Business is going against “Big Match” New Day.
NEW DAY VS CEDRIC ALEXANDER & SHELTON BENJAMIN FOR THE RAW TAG TITLES
Kingston and Woods each hit several big moves on Alexander within the first thirty seconds.
They noted Benjamin hasn’t been a tag champion in WWE since 2003.
It was a constant offense from New Day as they went for cover after cover on The Hurt Business. Benjamin caught Woods and rammed his head into the bottom turnbuckle to stop their offense.
Kingston received the tag. The Boom Drop was stopped in mid-air when Benjamin caught him. Kingston had a great sequence including a version of a Victory Roll to Benjamin as Alexander leaped off the top and missed.
Alexander landed a flying knee and brainbuster on Kingston that was broken up by Woods. Woods was hit with the Neuralizer and Pay Dirt.
Benjamin scaled to the top and suplexed Kingston off and was channeling 2002 Kurt Angle with his mannerisms. Alexander blind tagged himself in to hit the Lumbar Check and pinned Kingston.
WINNERS: Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin in 9:53 to win the RAW tag titles
Benjamin appeared frustrated at Alexander’s greed but ultimately, happy they won the titles. Bobby Lashley came out to celebrate.
It was another strong match between the two teams but it’s also a match that has been done so many times, and this outcome ensures more matches. Their chemistry is on point and Kingston especially shined in this one with his creativity.
They ran an ad for the Royal Rumble that takes place on Sunday, January 31st.
NIA JAX & SHAYNA BASZLER VS ASUKA & CHARLOTTE FLAIR FOR THE WOMEN’S TAG TITLES
Charlotte Flair was revealed as Asuka’s new partner for the match, which was reported earlier in the day by Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
It is Flair’s first appearance since the injury angle they shot on June 22nd. It was strange that they never brought up the injury angle and Jax being responsible in storyline for Flair’s disappearance.
While I wasn’t crazy about Flair coming back without any build-up as the surprise partner, this match was significantly better through her addition.
The heels attacked Asuka’s arm after she rammed her shoulder into the post.
Ric Flair was shown watching backstage. WWE has a strange definition of “essential personnel” at these events.
Flair got the hot tag and hit her moonsault to Baszler & Jax on the floor. Later, she applied Figure 8 to Baszler and was broken by Jax. Asuka took out Jax with a hip attack to the floor leading to Flair rolling out of the Kirifuda Clutch and hitting Natural Selection to win.
WINNERS: Charlotte Flair & Asuka in 10:01 to win the women’s tag titles
Flair looked great in this comeback and her first match in six months. Flair and Asuka could have some great matches together as a team before they have a match between each other. Baszler gelled with both, to no surprise while Jax was kept limited to breaking the covers, using her power, and was for the best.
Big E. and R-Truth are backstage and Sami Zayn accusesd them of leaking the audio of him after the Sami Awards. Truth said, “your lips don’t touch when you say the word ‘touch’ but they do when you say ‘separate”. Zayn told E he’s been treading water ever since he’s gone solo. Big E. said he’s going to see Zayn “really soon”.
ROMAN REIGNS VS KEVIN OWENS IN A TLC MATCH FOR THE UNIVERSAL CHAMPIONSHIP
This was a great storytelling match with Kevin Owens as Mick Foley, and Reigns was The Rock circa 1999.
It was Owens playing the underdog that would never give up, outnumbered with constant interference from Jey Uso and coming so close to grabbing the title but ultimately, falling to Reigns.
It was a more violent version than the first TLC match on the show with Owens needing to take a lot of punishment to convey his character’s motivation.
Owens jumped Reigns in the ring and started the match at a high tempo. Once Jey got involved, Owens took him out the first time attacking his ankle but allowed Reigns to hit a Drive-By and take over.
Owens was dropped on the ladder several times with his back that looked brutal. On the floor, Reigns choke slammed him through a table and then put him through another with a Samoan drop, but Owens kept fighting back.
The big opening occurred when Owens sidestepped a spear attempt on the floor and Reigns crashed through the barricade. Reigns returned and put through a table with a pop-up powerbomb. Owens climbed and Jey returned, yet again. Owens hit Jey with a stunner, climbed the ladder, and Reigns ascended to hit a low blow and applied the guillotine as Owens crashed to the floor allowing Reigns to grab the title.
WINNER: Roman Reigns in 24:44 to retain the Universal title
It was announced that Sami Zayn will defend the Intercontinental title against Big E. on Friday Night SmackDown this week. There is an NFL game on FOX on Christmas Day at 4:30 pm Eastern, so that should provide a massive lead-in for this week’s show.
RANDY ORTON VS THE FIEND BRAY WYATT IN A FIREFLY INFERNO MATCH
The announcers were re-positioned to a different area, so they weren’t visible on the screen.
Orton was completely covered with black pants and a hoodie while The Fiend was wearing his jacket and pants.
It started as a normal match without any flames surrounding the ring, or any fire whatsoever.
It took The Fiend three times before hitting Sister Abigail and that was followed by flames appearing behind the barricades.
The Fiend whipped Orton with a leather strap and then set the strap on fire but missed Orton with it.
Wyatt poured gasoline on the rocking chair and across the floor as Orton was seated in the chair. Wyatt lit a lighter and the flames went toward Orton, who dove off the chair. This is so silly.
Orton fought back with a chain and nearly set him on fire. Orton hit a draping DDT to the floor, he attempted the RKO but was caught in the mandible claw, Orton turned him toward the flames and set Wyatt on fire.
While on fire, Wyatt ran into the RKO and he was lifeless. So, Orton poured gasoline over Wyatt, he lit a match, and proceeded to murder the man.
The show has now ended.