WWE TLC REVIEW 22/10/2017: Kurt Angle Returns to the Ring!

The art of professional wrestling is one of the most socially active mediums of entertainment across the world. Millions watch men and women grapple for championships, financial success, accolades, celebrity status, and supposed immortality within the squared circle. The Hype Train provides a glancing review of WWE’s flagship show, Monday Night RAW, and its latest pay-per-view offering TLC (Tables, Ladders, and Chairs), which was headlined by Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and the returning Kurt Angle against The Miz, Braun Strowman, Kane, Sheamus, and Cesaro, in a 5-on-3 handicap TLC match. All aboard.

WWE TLC 2017: Predictions and Thoughts

The road to WWE's TLC pay-per-view has been nothing but chaotic. With Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt deemed to ill to compete with viral infections, the main event match with the reuniting Shield was halted before it even began, whilst the god-awful Bray Wyatt feud with Finn Balor gets a much needed absence from the card.

Up steps Kurt Angle, teaming with the RAW Tag Team Champions, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose, against five villains in The Miz, Braun Strowman, Kane, Cesaro, and Sheamus, in a handicap TLC match. AJ Styles has also stepped up and will now challenge Finn Balor.

The late omissions of Reigns and Wyatt could very well be a blessing in disguise, with the TLC card looking a lot healthier with Angle and Styles on the event. We're talking about two of the worlds best professional wrestlers being added to the card, and in Angle's case, probably the best ever in-ring performer the profession has ever seen.

There are still some underwhelming matches to be had on the card, as well as the debut of Asuka, which even though being promoted vigorously on RAW in recent weeks, has been somewhat lost in the shuffle of excitement, mainly due to Angle's sudden return to the ring.

TLC was always planned as a one-match card, a showpiece attraction event about the reemergence of The Shield, and Angle's involvement could still hold true to what WWE wanted to do, create something special for the fans.

In regards to the AJ Styles and Finn Balor match, there is no way in hell they are going to give us 'that match' at this point in their WWE careers. We are going to be heavily surprised if there isn't a sense of unfinished business between the pair, and the easiest way to do that is by having somebody, or a group of people, spoil the party. Enter Jinder Mahal.

WWE TLC Review: 22/10/2017

With TLC, we'll be doing a quick one or two paragraph summation of what we thought about each match, with relevance to the match itself and the the storyline that was being told.


TLC opened with the theme song of Emma, with it mad clear early on that we will be viewing Asuka's debut, and certain mauling of Emma, first on the show. As you could expect the crowd popped hard for the Japanese wrestler. The commentary team stacked odds in Asuka's favour, running down her undefeated streak in NXT, and 523 day title reign as NXT Women's Champion.

Asuka and her colourful ring attire began the match by stalking Emma, before a taunt from Emma ended up in the first takedown of the match by Asuka, wrapping Emma on the canvas before the break.

The minutes the match was a back and forth of each woman knocking each other down, before Emma took advantage of the match when she kicked Asuka to the outside. Emma then tied Asuka up in one of the turnbuckles

Michael Cole couldn't help but say what he always says with a debut. He kept saying that WWE is a whole new level and there might be some 'adjustment time' for new competitors.

After Emma attempted a few pin-fall attempts, Asuka made a comeback, no selling punches and kicks from Emma, getting into the face of her opponent, before striking Emma with a series of vicious kicks, before a missile drop-kick turned the match in the favour of Asuka.

After both going outside, Emma rolled Asuka into the ring, went for some offence before Asuka levelled Emma with a huge spinning kick before putting Emma in the 'Asuka Lock' and submitting her opponent.

An expected and rightful outcome, that only ran for about ten minutes, was the right move to open the show.


Before the next match, The Miz rallied the troops backstage, with Braun Strowman stealing the show when saying that there is no tomorrow for for Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and Kurt Angle.

Elias was then in the ring with his guitar and said that all the crowd were dead inside because of a lack of crowd response when asking how many people feel alive. Jason Jordan then interrupted the song by Elias, throwing fruit and vegetables at Elias, and thankfully there would be no match (for now) between the pair.

The 2015 Live commentary team then entered the fold with Nigel McGuinness and Vic Joseph at ringside to showcase the Cruiserweight division The heel team entered first, with Jack Gallagher entering with an updated theme song that fits his character a lot more.

A detailed video package highlighted the feud before Kendrick and Swann started the match be exchanging punches, before Swann started chopping Kendrick. Gallagher was then tagged and immediately put Swann in a submission hold, which lasted just for seconds, before Swann pulled rank with a huge drop-kick.

The match broke down quickly with Alexander cleaning house with the heel town team the outside, with Alexander diving over the top rope landing on both Kendrick and Gallagher.

The face team dominated in the ring until Kendrick put the 'Captain's Hook' onto Alexander. Swann got involved with a phoenix splash from the top rope, before being cleared out of the ring by Gallagher. Alexander then tossed Gallagher from the ring and then his a 'Lumbar Check' onto Kendrick for the three count.

They boasted about Swann and Alexander's friendship, before cutting away to a pizza advert. A nice little match with some 2015 Live guys, but that was the limit of the match, and people's care for this match. Very little.


WWE did a really good job at promoting the Women's Championship match in a promo package that was all about Alexa Bliss defending her title against an 'older lady', making out James to be a pensioner, when in reality James is anything but. Alexa then spoke to backstage correspondent backstage, saying that she 'likes her butt' and that Mickie wears 'Mom Jeans'.

Mickie entered first, then out came the champions, Alexa. The match started like every other Women's singles match, with traded offence before the heel in the match, Bliss, took control. They sold the angle that James wasn't good enough to hang with Bliss, working on the left arm of James, before repeated pin-fall attempts.

Alexa continued to work on the left arm of Mickie James for several minutes, with more pin-fall attempts. The 'injured arm' angle ran wild with James's comeback, which was short lived when Bliss hit James with a sunset bomb onto James.

James went to the top rope after planting James. The challenger went to the top rope, but James was chopped from the top-rope. Alexa then went for the 'Twisted Bliss' from the top, but James rolled out of the way. James then went to the top and hit the weakest drop-kick from the top rope you're likely to see in 2017, with Alexa kicking out of an eventual pin-fall.

Mickie was then screaming at Bliss to come out from the corner, with Bliss producing a fake cry in the corner. When Mickie grabbed Alexa it was by the hair, which was then followed by Bliss grabbing the 'injured' arm and dragging in into the turnbuckle. Alexa then hit a DDT for the pin-fall.

In the ring, Mickie then said that she was proud of her performance and will be going for the title again in the future. Mickie thanked the fans before leaving.

In terms of the match, it was what it was. It wasn't a classic, it was just kind of there to have the show tick over. Once again another predictable winner with Bliss retaining. Three matches in, three 'ok' matches so far.


A backstage segment happened with Kurt Angle, who was approached by Ambrose and Rollins. The Tag Champs offered Kurt a tactical vest and said that he was going to be 'all in' at TLC, which means we're going to see Kurt wrestle in a tactical vest, which is probably for the best, offering Angle some form of protection in the ring.

Elias was back in the ring, for a second attempt at his concert, and the heat was even larger this time. Jason Jordan came out again to throw vegetables at Elias. It was exactly the same as the first segment, only this time Elias ran away from Jordan.

A promo package featuring Enzo Amore and his rise to the Cruiserweight Championship aired. They included Enzo running down the entire roster, and in particular Mustafa Ali, which would later bite Enzo back with Ali costing the title. This was all about Amore, and little about Kalisto, who is new to the division.

Enzo was first out, and started to cut a promo having lost his voice. Enzo said that he was going to become a two-time champ and really cut down on the promo-time (thankfully). Kalisto then came out with his old theme music before the WWE spent an age introducing all of the international commentary teams.

Very quickly into the match Enzo had grounded Kalisto and the opening five minutes of the match was all about Enzo sizing up Kalisto with kicks to the mid-section. Enzo then went to the top rope, mocking Kalisto with the fingers in the air, before jumping down in typical heel fashion. The Champion seized momentum due to that, but momentum swung back to Amore's favour straight away before a huge-right hand to Kalisto went for a two-count.

Kalisto then had the advantage and saw Amore trying to roll out of the ring. Kalisto tried pulling Amore into the ring but was holding into the apron. When dragged in the ref pulled the apron back out, which allowed Amore to cut corners, putting a thumb in the eye of the champ, before hitting his finisher.

Amore covered Kalisto for the victory, cheating to make it happen once again. No run-ins, just a dirty finish. Amore then thanked himself in the ring before leaving.

As it is with Enzo, the match itself was lacking quality, and the finish was widely expected.


Just before the penultimate match at TLC, they aired a RAW promo that was about Jinder Mahal's challenge to Brock Lesner at Survivor Series. Does this stop the idea that Mahal or Lesner might appear to confront both of their future challengers for the title? It is convenient that this match is taking place and the stars have seemingly aligned.

This was followed by AJ Styles, making a one-night only appearance at TLC. AJ's electric response was warranted, which was then followed by Finn Balor coming out as 'The Demon', dressed in his face paint, crawling to the ring. We are just glad that we are not seeing Sister Abigail, or Bray Wyatt right now, given that the feud involving Balor has literally been unwatchable.

After squaring up in the ring, the two were working each other out, building up the idea that this is a dream encounter between two of the top guys in the company. The two took a few minutes to get into the action, before Balor took control of the match.

Balor's pace and speed in the match was evident as he cleared AJ from the ring. Balor then dived from the outside onto AJ before the matched turned, with AJ snapping Balor'a neck. AJ Styles then set up for the Styles Clash, Finn tried to reverse it, but then Styles connected with the Clash, but only to a two-count.

The commentary team said that AJ was hurt, and that he had travelled from South America, building up that was was fatigued. The Demon closed in on AJ, but reversed into the 'Calf Crusher', locked into the middle of the ring. Balor countered by slamming AJ's head into the canvas several times.

The crowd were chanting 'This is Awesome', which was followed by AJ setting up for the Phenomenal Foreman, but when jumping Balor pushed AJ off the top rope, before running across the apron, and kicking seven bells out of AJ and onto the canvas. Balor followed this up with a huge drop-kick on the outside.

Balor then broke a count-out with AJ still on the outside, with AJ seizing the advantage, by picking Balor up and driving him over the announce table. At the same time the pair rolled into the ring to beat the count.

Both men then took each other out in the ring, before a series of kicks and punches between the pair, before Balor hit AJ with an overhead kick. Finn then took control and hit AJ with the '1916' driver, but only to a two-count.

Balor then hit another huge drop-kick onto AJ, knocking Styles into the turnbuckle. Balor then rushed to the top rope and hit the stomp from the top for the win for Balor.

The two former members of the Bullet Club then threw up the 'Too Sweet' to a thunderous reaction. Balor then celebrated his victory before fading out to a commercial for Ride Along.

The match was very good, the finish was very good, and it lived up to the billing of a dream match. Fortunately Mahal didn't interfere to ruin this very good contest between two of WWE's best. After some matches, AJ and Balor delivered a masterclass.


After attempting to perform a concert for the WWE audience twice, with Jason Jordan getting involved, Elias attempted a third time, though Jordan interrupted again, and this time for a match between the two.

Jordan, whose ring attire made him look like a human watermelon, quickly took control of the match against Elias, using superior strength to hit Elias with a series of slams and holds.

Elias and Jordan then proceeded to grind the match to a near-halt with a series of submission moves before Jordan pinned Elias with a cradle, but Elias got his shoulder up, though the referee didn't see the kick-out.

There really wasn't much to say about this match, it was basic and forgettable.


The promo package preceding the main event building up Kurt Angle's return was superb, building up Kurt's legacy upon his return. A backstage segment then aired with The Miz and his team. Miz promised to 'drive the garbage to the dump', which might mean a dumpster or trash-truck might be involved.

Team Miz came out first, with the Intercontinental Champion coming out first. Sheamus and Cesaro then followed, with Kane out fourth, and Strowman out last. Srowman's arrival was met with the biggest cheer of the night.

The Shield's entrance then played, with Angle coming out through the entrance with Ambrose and Rollins. Angle was decked out in the full Shield entrance, with people singing 'You Suck' with the Shield's theme song.

The bell then rang and Angle started hitting anybody and everybody with chairs to a massive pop. The Shield then took Team Miz out with chairs, taking their time to dissect Kane in the ring. A huge 'Yes' chant roared in approval for Angle and The Shield.

Carnage ensued with The Shield using a ladder to take out Miz, Sheamus, and Cesaro, before Angle went to work on Strowman with a ladder. The faces were on top for five minutes, with the match breaking down by the announce tables. Kane was close to going through, before Strowman was rammed into the huge LED ring posts.

Ambrose and Rollins were doing the majority of the work, with Angle there as support. Ladders were set up with Kane on one announce desk, and Strowman on the other. Ambrose and Rollins were on ladders and both jumped onto the monsters and through the tables.

Angle was left standing, with Rollins clutching his knee, with years of knee problems. Angle then went to work on The Miz with chairs before Sheamus and Cesaro took control of Angle, with a trio in the ring picking apart Angle. The RAW GM then took control of the match by hitting a series of Suplex's onto The Bar, before Kane and Angle went toe-to-toe. Angle put Kane in the Ankle Lock before Strowman nipped at Angle's heels.

Strowman then hit Angle with the running power-slam through a table on the outside, with Angle out of the game right now. The medical team checked on Angle with Ambrose and Rollins and getting involved for the first time in a while. The Tag Champs were quickly brutalised by chairs by all five of the heels.

Ambrose and Rollins attempted to rally, which set up Kane accidentally hitting Strowman with a chair. The monsters squared off in the ring, with Strowman pushing Kane all the way across the ring. The Shield used this to take advantage in the match, but it lasted for seconds. Tables were set up in the ring with Strowman launching Ambrose through the table.

At this point The Shield were decimated, and Angle was nowhere to be seen. The Miz then did bring through the dump-truck through the arena, with the heels looking like they've got the match won.

Laid out in front of a garbage truck, Ambrose and Rollins were thrown into the truck, but made a comeback, diving from the top of the truck onto everyone except The Miz.

The Shield then took advantage and finally had The Miz to themselves before Kane made the save for Miz. Before Kane was about to be put through a table, Strowman made the save, before Kane turned on Strowman and put the Monster Among Men out of commission, choke-slamming Strowman through the stage set-up by the main announce desk. Kane then dropped a set-up of chairs onto Strowman, who was clawing at Kane's feet.

Somehow Strowman managed to stay alive and got back up, before the entire team turned on Strowman after a meltdown. Miz and co then threw Strowman into the dump-truck - it kind of looked like they murdered Strowman as the truck compacted. Miz then looked back at the truck, knowing that Strowman is going to release all hell.

Yes, the match is still going on at this point, with just the four heels left. Angle then made a big come back into the match, with Angle taking out The Bar, with Angle hitting an Angle Slam onto both men, with Cesaro going through a table. Angle then cleared house until Kane stopped Angle in his tracks.

A tombstone was going to be Angle's fate, before The Shield made the save. Ambrose and Rollins drove Kane through the time keepers area, leaving just Angle and The Miz in the ring. Miz then hit the Skull Crushing Finale onto the Angle, but only for a two count.

Angle made a comeback, locking the Ankle Lock onto Miz, but Miz managed to get Kurt out of the ring. Angle and The Shield then surrounded The Miz in the ring, with the IC Champ taking all three of the finishers. They set up for a triple power-bomb, with Angle covering The Miz for the victory.

To summarise this main event: Very good, but very long, but nevertheless, very, very entertaining.

TLC 2017: Overall Thoughts

WWE TLC 2017 on the most parts was a very enjoyable show to watch. The main event lived up to its billing as being a hard-hitting TLC match, with the match having lots of twists and turns (even though some were predictable). The booking for the match was in parts sloppy, and all over the place in parts, but it was also carnage to watch, and the live crowd popped hard for everything.

Kurt's return wasn't what many expected, with him returning in a TLC match dressed as a member of The Shield, but it highlights Kurt's diversity as a performer, and yes, when involved, his input into the match was a delight to watch.

The best match on the card was an excellent back and forth between Finn Balor and AJ Styles, which once again highlights that Balor is at his best when he isn't having to do cringe and awkward promos against Bray Wyatt on a weekly basis, which has gone some way to try and kill Finn's heat over the past three months.

The worst match of the night was a dead Cruiserweight match with Enzo Amore and Kalisto, whilst Asuka's debut feels somewhat downplayed, as if the company has missed a step on her. They've done this with Nakamura, Roode, and Joe, in recent months, failing to capitalise on a popular NXT star rising through the ranks. It will be some time before we see Asuka at her best as well, as they'll have her run through everyone before she does something meaningful and becomes Champion on one of the brands.

Everything else on the card was here or there, just kind of existing for the sake of having time pass on the PPV, with the real talking points of this PPV being AJ Styles and Kurt Angle's involvement for the better.

RAW TLC Results: 22/10/2017

Asuka def. Emma

Cedric Alexander and Rich Swann def. Brian Kendrick and Jack Gallagher.

RAW Women's Championship: Alexa Bliss (C) def. Mickie James

WWE Cruiserweight Championship; Enzo Amore def. Kalisto (C) via pinfall to become the new champion

Finn Balor def. AJ Styles

Jason Jordan def. Elias

Kurt Angle, Seth Rollins, and Dean Ambrose def. The Miz, Braun Strowman, Kane, Sheamus, and Cesaro, with Angle pinning The Miz

Stray Observations: TLC 2017

TLC was Emma's first singles match at a PPV, on the main roster at least.

Braun Strowman and Kane got a set of massive cheers when entering in a backstage segment with The Miz.

A Survivor Series promo aired with the branding of RAW vs. SmackDown Live. Thought that was a one-off last year?

Kane has been in 175 PPV matches, the most in history (apparently).

Kane must have taken 50 chair shots in the main event. At least.

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