Welcome to PWInsider.com's ongoing coverage of WWE TLC from Houston, Texas.
The pre-game show opened up with the Expert Panel of Mick Foley, The Miz, Booker T and Josh Matthews discussing the unification bout between Randy Orton and John Cena.
Renee Young talked from their social media lounge. The panel discussed the Fandango vs. Dolph Ziggler bout before previewing the Daniel Bryan-Wyatt Family handicap match.
The Shield did a backstage promo promising to take out CM Punk.
As the panel discussed the PPV, Kofi Kingston confronted Miz and said he was tired of Miz talking trash about him. Earlier on, Miz said that he kept beating Kingston because he had no killer instinct. Kingston slapping Miz and they went after each other as Booker and Foley held them apart.
Fandango vs. Dolph Ziggler
They started off hot with Ziggler taking a nice backdrop over the top to the floor. When we returned from a commercial for the PPV, Ziggler was in a chinlock but fought his way out. They went back and forth until Ziggler went for a superplex. Summer Rae got on the apron and distracted Ziggler, who was shoved down. Fandango nailed the top rope legdrop and scored the pin.
Your winner, Fandango!
Way too short to be anything of note. Sort of sad to hear the crowd chanting, "We want Ziggler" and then he loses in 5 minutes.
The pre-game show ended with Triple H, Stephanie and YES, Vince McMahon arriving at the show.
The TLC PPV opened up with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon coming out to welcome everyone to the PPV. Stephanie McMahon said tonight was one of the most important nights in WWE and professional wrestling history. Yes, she said the words pro wrestling! Triple H explained that in 1963, Lou Thesz vs. Buddy Rogers ended with two championships as both claimed victory - one as the World champion and the other as what is now known as the WWE title. Well, that was true....from a certain point of view, sort of like Obi-Wan Kenobi's version of what happened to Luke Skywalker's father....meaning, it's not really factually true. Thesz won. WWWF ignored it and named Rogers champ, but they are also claimimg the World title goes back to Gotch as well, instead of 2002. HHH ran down a lot of the greats that held the two titles and Stephanie said tonight, they would learn whether John Cena or Randy Orton would be the unified champion.
CM Punk vs. The Shield - Handicap Match
Dean Ambrose and Punk started out. They went back and forth with some wrestling with Punk getting the better of the exchanges. Frustrated, Rollins tagged out to Seth Rollins, so Punk went to the floor.
Rollins tried to follow him out but Punk rolled back in the ring and was nailed with a kick. Punk nailed a series of shoulderblocks in the corner. Punk nailed a hangman's neckbreaker on Rollins and scored a two count, then locked in a front facelock. Rollins fought his way towards The Shield's corner.
They noted a lot of legends are Tweeting about the unification match, including Terry Funk. I just wanted a reason to mention the Funker. Sorry!
Punk is finally brought into The Shield's corner and worked over. Roman Reigns beat him down with right hands and began double teaming him with Rollins. The crowd chanted for Punk. The Shield began picking Punk apart.
Punk fired back with a series of right hands to Reigns but was cut off with a clothesline. Punk was tossed to the floor. Reigns followed and went for the spear but Punk avoided it and Reigns went flying over the top of the announcer's table in spectacular fashion. He was almost counted out but rolled back in at eight.
Punk attacked Reigns, who was selling that his eye was hurt, and went right after it. JBL claimed that Reigns hit his face on a chair and said he couldn't see and hurt his eye. Reigns was able to toss Punk to the outside and tagged out. His eye did look a little swollen.
Rollins tossed Punk into the ring and worked him over. Punk went for the GTS but Rollins slippped out. Reigns stayed on the floor holding his eye, getting looked at by the doctor.
Punk slipped out of a move from Rollins and kicked Ambrose off the apron, then nailed Rollins with a roundhouse kick for a two count. Punk and Rollins went back and forth. Punk grabbed the Anaconda Vise but Ambrose attacked him. Ambrose tagged in and worked over Punk in a corner.
Ambrose set Punk atop the turnbuckles and went for a superplex but Punk fought his way out with headbutts. Ambrose crashed into the ring and Punk went for the flying elbowsmash. Rollins tried to stop him but was too late. Punk knocked him off the apron and covered Ambrose for another two count.
Punk called for the GTS on Ambrose but dropped him when he saw Rollins coming. He nailed Rollins and went back to Ambrose but saw Reigns coming with a spear and ducked out of the way. Reigns speared Ambrose and Punk covered him.
Your winner, CM Punk!
Punk ran up to the entrance way to celebrate.
You could see Reigns absolutely has a swelled up eye.
A much better match than you would expect the handicap match stipulation to give you. It was probably the best handicap match in the history of the company, both from the story they told and the use of the talent involved. This will obviously play into the teased Reigns turn as well. Good opener.
WWE Divas champion AJ Lee cut a promo backstage. She said that the entire WWE Universe and the Divas division are a joke except for her. She's the only Diva that matters and she's the champion. She promised that tonight, she would remind everyone of why that is. Good promo.
WWE Divas champion AJ Lee (with Tamina) vs. Natalya
AJ Lee and Natalya went back and forth early with some really good wrestling. They went to the floor, where Natalya rammed Lee into the guard rail throat first. She tossed Lee into the ring but was distracted by Tamina. That allowed AJ to nail a sliding kick.
AJ locked on a sleeper. Natalya fought her way out with elbows but was nailed with a DDT as she rebounded off the ropes. Natalya came back, drilling Lee into the buckles but was kicked by Lee. Lee brought her into the corner and nailed a series of kicks.
Lee missed a charge into the corner and was grabbed for a slam. AJ locked in a forward choke. Natalya rolled out of a sunet flip and dropkicked Lee in the corner.
Lee went for a kick but it was blocked and she was nailed with a series of clotheslines and a suplex. Natalya nailed another one and hit a sitdown slam. She set up for the Sharpshooter and turned Lee over in the middle of the ring. Lee fought her way to the ropes but was pulled into the center. Lee pulled herself under Natalya's legs and rolled Natalya over.
Tamina got on the apron but was nailed by Natalya. AJ went for the Black Widow but Natalya broke it. She nailed another big clothesline and went for the Sharpshooter but Lee grabbed her and rolled her up, grabbing her into a forward roll, for the pin.
Your winner and still WWE Divas champion, AJ Lee!
Very good back and forth match.
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