Ziggler vs. Harper- IC Title Ladder Match

 

This was everything I expected, and more. These two told a great story and took some crazy bumps. Ziggler delivered as he does in all big matches, by bumping and selling all around the ring like a champ. Harper wouldn’t be outdone though, as he innovated (including a slingshot between the ropes with the ladder) and smashed through my second favorite match of the night. This reminded me of an “old school” ladder match. Ziggler winning was kind of puzzling though. I’m glad he’s now a 4 time IC champ, but he was poised to be a main eventer…and Harper just won the belt a month ago.

 

Usos vs. Miz/Mizdow- Tag Titles

 

The Usos are very good workers, but are a little stale at the moment. This kind of falls in the category that most of the recent WWE tag matches go under: fine for what it was, a solid match, but nothing special. The work was good, but I’m not overly invested in anyone here (except Mizdow). Sandow has taken this comedy stunt-double gimmick and turned it into gold. His random bumps and headstand suplex sell were better than the match itself. The crowd seemed to think so too. Usos win, but Miz/Mizdow retain on a lame DQ finish.

 

Big Show vs. Rowan- Stairs Match

 

For those of you wondering what the heck a “stairs match” is, you aren’t alone. Apparently it’s a standard match where stairs are legal. Ummm, ok. Anyway, this had all the makings to be a colossal disaster, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought. They created some new spots and tried their best to keep it interesting. Rowan didn’t seem half as over as he had been on TV. What hurt this match was that a lot of the bumps landed very weak, and the spots were telegraphed. This wasn’t horrible, but didn’t stand out either. It was just kinda there. Big Show wins, which doesn’t help Rowan get over at all. Another weird booking decision. Must be the theme of the night.

 

Cena vs. Rollins- Tables Match

 

This was one of the three matches on this show I couldn’t WAIT to see…and boy was I disappointed. This was one of the biggest letdowns of the year for me personally. These two have great chemistry and always have excellent matches on TV. What could have gone down as the greatest tables match of all time, wound up as a cluster of interference. I know that Rollins is a heel, but J&J Security’s involvement was FAR too overdone here and took away from the match. Big Show coming out made little sense, and this match seemed to stall out every time it started to get going. They did double-table finish that led to a restart of the match. Roman Reigns returned to thwart off Big Show, and Cena wins with the AA. This doesn’t hurt Rollins at all, but the match was a bummer overall.

 

Ryback vs. Kane- Chairs Match

 

The Ryback run continues! I’ve really liked his work since his return, and it’s very evident he’s worked hard to smoothen his transitions and add to his offense while he was injured. I was actually pretty impressed with this, enough to make it my number 3 match of the night. Ryback made good use of the chairs with spine busters and second-rope splashes, and Kane hit his usual flurry. Ryback gets the win in a solid outing that surprised me.

 

AJ vs. Nikki Bella- Divas Title

 

This was short, but a very solid match. Both divas pulled out a few new moves, including a shining wizard from AJ and a tequila sunrise from Nikki! AJ sold very well and made a nice comeback. In the end, Nikki wins after spraying AJ with hairspray and hitting the “Rack Attack”. I really hope this wasn’t AJ’s final match, as she’s one of the best divas of all time.

 

Rusev vs. Swagger- US Title

 

Yes, you read that right. No, this isn’t déjà vu. After three months of feuding, the WWE powers-that-be have decided to pick right up on the feud again. Never mind the fact that Rusev beat him every single time they’ve faced off. Never mind the fact that it wouldn’t really Swagger if he were the one to tame the undefeated Rusev. Nevertheless, the match was as pointless as the booking, as this was also kind of “just there”. Swagger inexplicably taps, yet again, to the “Accolade“.

 

Wyatt vs. Ambrose- TLC Match

 

Now THIS is how you work an intense feud! Put two of the best brawlers and craziest characters in your company in a compelling situation, and then in an intense hardcore match. Both men delivered here as expected, and kudos to WWE for giving them the main event. Ambrose got off to a hot start, and then Wyatt controlled the beat down. Both men used several ladders and kendo sticks early. Ambrose just seemed totally in his element. At one point, he pulled out an LCD monitor from under the ring, and just enjoyed seeing his reflection on the Titan Tron. He dove off of two ladders onto Wyatt through tables, and then a 15 foot ladder, crashing through the announce table. Wyatt also had standout moments, nearly impaling Ambrose on an irish whip into a vertical kendo stick. Most people hated the ending, when the LCD screen blew up in Ambrose’ face as he tried to hit Wyatt with it. I didn’t mind it so much. It was a little hokey and silly, but it gave Wyatt a big win, while giving Ambrose a reason to lose without pinning him cleanly. Wyatt gets the win, but this will be going to another match, hopefully at the Royal Rumble.

 

Overall, this was a solid show. There are two must-see matches in my opinion (Ladder match and TLC match), and several others worth seeing (Divas title and Chairs match). Nothing horrible on this PPV and the action seemed to fly by fast. Until the next opening bell, valued readers! And Happy Holidays to you all…

 

-Jason Burke

-WWE Correspondent

About The Author

Dan is host of Shooting from the Hip which you can hear every Sunday at 8pm EST, 7pm CST right here on PWpop.com.