The 2018 pay-per-view schedule in the WWE finished with a bang thanks to WWE TLC 2018, a night that will be remembered as the turning point for one of the greatest women’s competitors in the world.
WWE TLC 2018 was a loaded card with an abundance of matches, but for the most part, the card accomplished everything it needed to do in a night filled with standout moments, matches, and solid booking decisions.
The main card kicked off with the finals of the Mixed Match Challenge featuring R-Truth and Carmella battling Jinder Mahal and Alicia Fox. This match wouldn’t get much focus in the grand scheme of things, but it was a fun match that ended with The Fabulous Truth getting the win and, in turn, an all-expenses-paid vacation and the number 30 entry position into next month’s Royal Rumble matches.
The SmackDown Tag Team Championship was at stake next when The Bar defended against The New Day and The Usos in what stood as the match of the night for a while. This was a very good match with a ton of action from all parties involved, but in the end, Sheamus and Cesaro proved why they are The Bar and they managed to retain their titles.
Baron Corbin’s attempt at becoming permanent Raw GM followed in his TLC match with the injured Braun Strowman. The Monster Among Men did answer the challenge, technically, but he didn’t have to lift a finger. Several other disgruntled members of the roster on Monday nights helped out and Strowman got the satisfying win to remove Corbin from power and earn the right to challenge Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship at the Royal Rumble.
The tables match featuring Natalya and Ruby Riott was up next and this match went down as the most feel-good, satisfying result of the night. Nattie got sweet revenge over Ruby and the rest of The Riott Squad by putting Ruby through a table to get the win and successfully honor her late father, Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart. This was a very good match.
Drew McIntyre vs. Finn Balor followed and despite not many being excited about this match, it was a pretty good one from start to finish. It helped out McIntyre’s character, but thanks to Dolph Ziggler’s late interference, Balor was able to get the upset win and pick up a much-needed momentum-building win.
The chairs match between Randy Orton and Rey Mysterio was up next and even though it won’t be remembered by most from this show, it was yet another good match. It seemed like Orton was going to get the win, but Mysterio’s creative finish and roll up led him to what many would consider an upset win over The Viper.
The Raw Women’s Championship took center stage next when Ronda Rousey defended against Nia Jax in a Money In The Bank rematch, but this match would shatter the work these two did at Money In The Bank. This was a very good, borderline great, match that could be argued as Rousey’s most technically-sound match so far. Jax had a tremendous performance as well, but The Baddest Woman On The Planet got the submission victory to retain her title.
The New Daniel Bryan defended his WWE Championship against AJ Styles after that and what a match this would be. In a technical masterpiece, these two in-ring magicians pulled out all the stops to leave with the title. However, Bryan’s late counter into a roll up was all the edge he needed and he retained the title. This was a great match with a very well-booked finish.
Raw’s top match of the night followed when Seth Rollins defended the Intercontinental Championship against Dean Ambrose in a match that was extremely personal. Things didn’t click as well as they could, however, but it was still a pretty good match with some stellar storytelling. Rollins’ emotions wound up costing him in the end when Ambrose was able to counter an attempted stomp into a dirty deeds to get the win and the Intercontinental Championship.
The main event of the night closed out the show when Becky Lynch defended the SmackDown Women’s Championship against Charlotte Flair and Asuka in a Triple Threat Match contested under Tables, Ladders, and Chairs rules. There was a lot of hype surrounding this match heading in, but to say these women exceeded expectations would be a massive understatement. This was an absolutely phenomenal match that could be argued as the match of the year.
Seeing how physical and spot-heavy this match would get was something to behold and all three women left everything they had, plus a little bit extra, in this war. Just when it looked like it would come down to Lynch and Charlotte, Rousey came out and tipped over the ladder with both women crashing to the floor. This opened the door for Asuka to climb the ladder and win the SmackDown Women’s Championship for the first time in her career.
From top to bottom, this was a great pay-per-view that featured three or four super high-quality matches. Rousey vs. Jax, The Bar vs. The New Day vs. The Usos, Bryan vs. Styles, and Lynch vs. Charlotte vs. Asuka were all very good to great matches with the final battle going down as arguably the match of the year. But outside of those matches, everything on this card was at least enjoyable or pretty good.
Things should really start to heat up on both brands, but the future of the Rousey/Lynch/Flair dynamic is as enticing as it gets. Raw should start to improve as well with a new GM pending and an appearance from Vince McMahon looming as well. There are plenty of things to be excited about over on SmackDown as well.
TLC left the 2018 pay-per-view schedule in the WWE on top with one of the best pay-per-views of the year.