The final PPV of the year in WWE took place from the Tropicana Field, with the holiday season fast approaching. None of the superstars involved in the PPV were in a festive mood though, as there was absolute carnage throughout the evening.
All the title matches delivered in their own way, with the main event being one of the most innovative pieces of wrestling (sports entertainment?). 2020 has been a tough year for WWE, who have relied on their fans to add the real feel to their shows. The absence has hurt, but the company once again managed to pull a rabbit out of the hat and deliver something, which wouldn’t be possible in the presence of fans.
Pre-Show | 8-Man Tag Team Match: Big E, Otis, Chad Gable, Daniel Bryan vs. King Corbin, Sami Zayn, Cesaro, Shinsuke Nakamura
The who’s who of Smackdown’s mid-card joined forces in the eight-man tag match to open the show. Intercontinental Champion Sami Zayn kept a low-profile, letting the other heels do the damage. Daniel Bryan was the victim of several isolated attacks before Otis came in for a hot tag.
The finish saw each superstar deliver their signature move in a sequence of events before Sami Zayn’s Helluva Kick attempt was countered by Big E for the win.
Result: Big E, Otis, Chad Gable, Daniel Bryan def. King Corbin, Sami Zayn, Cesaro, Shinsuke Nakamura
Analysis: There isn’t much expectation from a last-minute thrown together preshow encounter, but this one was far better than some of the other matches we have seen in this slot.
The only takeaway from this match is Big E pinning Zayn, which effectively pushes him to the No.1 contender spot for the IC title, the only singles title he has held on the main roster, albeit, years ago.
TLC Match for WWE Championship | Drew McIntyre(c) vs. AJ Styles
AJ Styles delivered a low dropkick to start the match in an intense fashion, but McIntyre’s sheer strength proved too hot to handle. After brutalizing Styles, Drew seemed to be on his way to victory, before Styles attacked him with a chair, injuring the champion’s knee in the process.
With the knee weakened, Styles gained momentum and attacked Drew in every way possible, applying a calf-crusher using a ladder and a chair. McIntyre delivered a belly-to-belly and took the upper hand. McIntyre was about to scale the ladder, before The Miz ran in and cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase, putting McIntyre through a table.
Miz was about to win the match when Omos, Styles’ bodyguard, played interference and sent Miz through a table
Styles and McIntyre tussled on top of a ladder, with Miz joining with his own ladder. McIntyre pushed both of them before Styles leaped and took out the champion. McIntyre recovered, hit a Claymore on Miz, scaled the ladder, and retained his title.
Result: Drew McIntyre retains WWE Championship
Analysis: This was a quality match to kick off the show, but the booking of the MiTB briefcase left a lot to be desired. This is the third time in four years, that WWE has screwed the holder. Miz never really looked a threat with his comedy gimmick, but it was WWE’s fault to put the briefcase on two comedy gimmicks in 2020 (Otis and Miz).
As for Drew, he marches on and finishes 2020 on a high, similar to how he started – a win at Royal Rumble. Will Styles continue his challenge, as he never lost? Or will a new rival step up?
SmackDown Women’s Championship | Sasha Banks(c) vs. Carmella
Sasha Banks kicked off the match with several strikes to the back of the challenger, a payback for the champagne bottles which Carmella broke on the boss’ back. Carmella dished out a few submission maneuvers, but Banks rallied on with a Meteora and the three amigos.
Banks delivered a frog splash for the near-fall, and Carmella delivered a facebuster for the same outcome.
Carmella’s superkick resulted in another near-fall before Banks survived the Code of Silence finisher. She went for the Banks Statement herself, but Carmella’s sommelier, Reginald, made the save. Banks delivered a Meteora to Reginald, survived a pair for superkicks, and locked in the Banks Statement for the win.
Result: Sasha Banks retains SmackDown Women’s Title
Analysis: This was a great showing once again by Sasha Banks, and Carmella proved that she belongs in the big leagues with the likes of Banks, Bayley, etc. Banks winning on a PPV, along with retaining her title seems like a dream come true for every fan, who had to endure pathetic booking by WWE when it came to Banks for several years.
RAW Tag Team Championships | The New Day(c) vs. The Hurt Business
Cedric Alexander used his pace to gain the upper hand in the initial part of the match, but the champions weathered the storm. Benjamin somehow got a tag in and delivered suplexes to rally the tide in their favor.
Both the teams continued to trade assaults, trying to keep the momentum on their sides. Benjamin and Alexander took out Xavier Woods and focused on Kingston. Benjamin was about to finish off the former WWE Champion, when Alexander tagged in, hit the Lumber Check, and won the titles for the faction.
Result: The Hurt Business become the New Raw Tag Team Champions
Analysis: This was yet another fantastic encounter in the series of matches between these two teams. Kingston and Woods have been part of several such matches in the last six years, but Benjamin and Alexander have benefited greatly from these showings. There are still some tensions with Alexander’s place in the faction, and it will be interesting to see how that plays out.
Women’s Tag Team Championships | Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler(c) vs. Charlotte Flair and Asuka
Charlotte Flair was revealed as the mystery partner for the RAW Women’s Champion, which didn’t really come as a huge surprise. Asuka and Bazler kicked things off, with Flair coming in and trying to apply the Figure Four. Jax and Flair traded shots before Flair tagged in Asuka.
Jax countered a sunset flip powerbomb attempt and gained the upper-hand, isolating Asuka from her partner. A hot tag brought in the Queen who delivered a big boot, a moonsault, and tried once again for the Figure Four.
Flair locked in the Figure Eight on Baszler but Jax interrupted. Flair then hit the Natural Selection to win the matchup.
Result: Asuka and Charlotte Flair become New Women’s Tag Team Champions
Analysis: Flair coming in after months and immediately winning a title shouldn’t really come as a surprise to anyone. Asuka gets to hold two titles, but a partnership with Flair is never going to work long-term. WWE is going for a longer-term direction with Asuka and Flair, but it comes at the cost of an entertaining partnership between Baszler and Jax.
TLC Match for WWE Universal Championship | Roman Reigns(c) vs. Kevin Owens
Owens blindsided Reigns and delivered cannonballs to get a head start in the match.
Jey Uso’s attempts to help his cousin in the initial part of the match resulted in Owens presenting him with several chair shots. This proved enough for Reigns to gain the upper-hand, as he delivered several chair and ladder shots of his own.
Both the stars traded chair shots before Uso ran in once again to save the match. Reigns hit a Superman Punch, but Owens came back and delivered a stunner to the champion, and a superkick to Uso.
Uso once again cut down Owens’ attempt to bring down the title and took a powerbomb through the announce table. Reigns delivered a powerbomb of his own and sent Owens crashing through several tables, but the challenger refused to stay down.
Owens delivered yet another powerbomb, but was cut out by Uso yet again! Reigns met Owens at top of the ladder, delivered a low-blow and locked him in the guillotine hold, and retained the title.
Result: Roman Reigns retains Universal Championship
Analysis: This was a supreme match between two of the best in WWE. Owens looked like a legit superstar in this match, consistently handling the handicap situation and giving big hope to the WWE Universe that he could somehow defeat the Tribal Chief. Uso continued to die for his cousin, but it felt a tad too much, with his interruptions following the same trope.
Firefly Inferno Match | Randy Orton vs. The Fiend Bray Wyatt
The rules were announced which made it similar to the Inferno Match from back in the day, with the objective being to set your opponent on fire.
Fiend seemed unfazed at Orton’s initial offensive attempts and delivered a Sister Abigail, which sent out the fires around the ring. Wyatt tried to set Orton on fire multiple times, but Orton somehow walked out of it and hit his opponent with an axe and steel steps.
Orton delivered a DDT and readied for the RKO, but Fiend locked in the Mandible Claw. Orton recovered and pushed Fiend into the fire. The Fiend, while still burning(!) walked back into the match, but Orton hit him with an RKO. Orton poured gasoline on the Fiend and set him on fire inside the ring to end the match.
Result: Randy Orton def. The Fiend
Analysis: This was sports entertainment of the highest quality. Randy Orton literally set a man on fire inside the ring. He murdered his opponent! There are absolutely no words to describe this match, except amazing.
There was a lot of confusion regarding this match, with no one sure who the face and heel were. Orton turned back the clock to 2017 when he burnt Wyatt’s house down, and this time he went one step further and burnt The Fiend down. What a wild way to finish off a wild year.