The Main Takeaway
Tyler Breeze distracts Dolph Ziggler into the ignominy of losing a match to The Miz, thus setting up a presumed rubber match between the two at TLC. Hopefully they’ll remember to give Tyler an entrance this time.
The Miz defeated Dolph Ziggler by pinfall (7:13)
Tyler Breeze and Summer Rae are already at ringside as the show opens to take in this clash of the titans from the comfort of their “VIP Lounge”. Dolph was tasked with confronting the pair upon his entrance to the ring, which consisted of him standing in front of them forever and unconvincingly selling his apparent rage. At one point, he actually held both fists by his sides and shook them in anger. Maybe hit the guy, or something? I know Dolph is dumb, but those VIP ropes do not in fact create an impenetrable velvet forcefield. At least knock over their drinks again. Really lame.
“The Zig Man”, as The Ryback likes to call him, does however throw his hoodie at the gorgeous ones after referee Mike Chioda rings the bell. Summer is not impressed. What a badass.
Perfectly acceptable TV match here, albeit with a weak finish. Miz used a referee-enforced rope break to cut off Dolph’s early shine, before throwing him shoulder-first into the ringpost to start the heat. Miz continued to work the shoulder after a commercial break, prompting one loud and eager Dolph fan in the crowd to try and get a “Let’s Go Ziggler” chant going. I reckon about five people joined in.
Ziggler’s comeback begins with a dropkick to counter a Miz flying nothing. This leads us quickly into a pretty decent near-falls exchange, ending with Dolph hitting a Fame Asser for two, after a second failed Skull Crushing Finale attempt from Miz.
Miz rolls out of the ring after this near-miss to collect himself. Dolph goes to fetch his opponent, but gets distracted by Tyler upon re-entry, allowing Miz to kick him and finally hit the Skull Crushing Finale for the win. Looks like we’re getting the Dolph/Tyler rubber match at TLC.
Sasha Banks w/Naomi and Tamina defeated Alicia Fox w/Brie Bella by submission (2:55)
Continuing the enthrallingly one-sided gang warfare between these two factions. Fox lost to Naomi thanks to a distraction finish a fortnight ago on this very show, while Sasha triumphed over Brie in similar circumstances on RAW. The story, in other words, is that Team BAD is using the numbers game to their advantage, in the absence of the Bellas’ “fearless” leader, Nikki.
Fox, for the record, works babyface again here, as did Brie on Monday night. Naomi distracted Lil’ Naitch early, allowing Tamina to superkick Alicia in the head from the outside – Foxy’s incredible sixhead providing her with a, quite frankly, unmissable target.
Briefest of brief comebacks from the honorary Bella, culminating in a sloppy tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Naomi tries the distraction again, but Sasha’s attempt at the always devastating schoolboy fails.
Alicia then voluntarily distracts herself, booting Tamina off the apron, before attempting a bodyslam and getting backcracked and Bank Statement-ed for the submission. Super-short, awkwardly worked match, that only existed to further drive home the aforementioned storyline. Such as it is.
Ryback defeated Bo Dallas by pinfall (4:11)
Bo gets fatter every time I see him now. Which is mercifully rarely. Tom Phillips makes reference to this in the most awkward way possible, segueing from talking about how poor Bo is at making friends in the WWE with the line: “He’s the type of guy who goes to the Hershey’s Chocolate Factory by himself.” What!?
Byron then goes on to speculate that Bo may have thought there was “inspiration in chocolate”, to which Tom replies “It shows!” I always regret the fleeting moments when I don’t tune these two geeks out.
Ryback misses a big (guy) splash early, allowing Bo to hit a DDT. Although Ryback’s kickout sends Bo flying right out of the ring, he still treats us to a victory lap anyway. So much jiggle.
“Flyback” (thanks, Byron) hits a missile dropkick, followed by a delayed vertical. He signals for the Meathook, but Bo rolls to the ropes to escape. Ryback rushes him and becomes the second of three babyfaces on this show to pay for it with an ensuing heat segment. Top work, road agents.
Bo’s heat is dull and uninspiring as always, which he tries to mask by screaming at the crowd and at his fallen foe. He yells at Ryback: “ARE YOU HUNGRY!?” Ryback promptly responds with a Shellshock for the pinfall victory.
– We get a recap of the main event storyline from RAW, climaxing with the newly-formed League of Nations standing tall at the show’s close.
Titus O’Neil defeated Stardust by pinfall (5:46)
Fortunately, Darren Young is not on commentary for this highly-anticipated rematch of last week’s countout win for The Big Deal. Tom, by the way, refers to this as the night’s “featured contest” on more than one occasion. Okay. I guess calling it the main event would be a bit Russian doll-y.
Shine for Titus to start with, consisting of a slam and – you guessed it – forehand chops in the corner aplenty!
Stardust then becomes heel #3 to take advantage of a rope break to kick off the heat segment of the match. He intersperses some hissing – and a cartwheel, at one point – to interrupt the tedium.
Titus blocks an attempted punch to spur his comeback, which he performs with Stardust’s silver paint all over one side of his bald dome, before hitting the Clash of the Titus for the win.
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A second “featured contest” in three weeks for Titus. Unfortunately for him, both took place on Main Event. And he’s not getting any better as a worker.
This was an unremarkable show really, capped by a decent Dolph/Miz opener that was unfortunately marred by yet another distraction finish. At least it served a purpose in storyline however, as we look set to get a third singles match between Ziggler and Breeze at the TLC PPV. The result of that match, if it goes down, will tell us a lot about Tyler’s future career trajectory.