Rarely has a WWE PPV’s hype turned on a dime like
Tables, Ladders and Chairs has this week.
TLC was careening down a path to being known as an
uninspired one-trick pony, with the reunion of The Shield as the only major
selling point (with Asuka’s main roster debut as a secondary draw). Beyond
that, it wasn’t looking like anything memorable.
But a rash of meningitis through the locker room
threw the card into disarray, leading to the return of Kurt Angle and a
first-ever one-on-one match between Finn Balor and AJ Styles. That has turned
TLC into a can’t-miss PPV on Sunday night.
While this is the ninth installment of this PPV, those
with a decent sense of history know that TLC matches go back several years
further than the PPV does. The first several tables, ladders & chairs
matches defined several wrestlers’ careers and raised the bar in terms of
performance, risk-taking and overall workmanship.
The TLC match itself has become one of WWE’s
signature gimmick matches, right up there with Royal Rumble, Survivor Series,
Hell in a Cell, Elimination Chamber and Money in the Bank. However, unlike many
of these other specialty matches, TLC matches are not limited to PPV, even with
a specific event named after and dedicated to the gimmick.
So as TLC 2017 rapidly approaches, let’s look back
at the previous events and earlier TLC matches and break them down. Some of the
stats might surprise even longtime WWE fans.
Scott is a former journalist and longtime wrestling fan who was smart enough to abandon WCW during the Monday Night Wars the same time as the Radicalz. He fortunately became a fan in time for WrestleMania III and came back as a fan after a long high school hiatus before WM XIV. Monday nights in the Carlson household are reserved for viewing Raw -- for better or worse.