Unlike most of their other gimmick matches, WWE has done a good job of not overexposing the Tables, Ladders and Chairs match. The first of its kind debuted in 2000 and since then, 23 TLC matches have taken place, with that number set to increase as we enter the upcoming Pay-Per-View on 15th December.
One name synonymous with TLC matches is Edge. He was in the first-ever TLC match in 2000 and went on to compete in numerous more throughout his career. It helped build him into the star he became.
Many of WWE’s best and most shocking moments have stemmed from the Tables, Ladders and Chairs match. It’s not the kind of match that you would like to build your career around because it’s extremely dangerous, but it is an excellent way to turn yourself into a main event player.
With that, I run down my top 5 TLC matches since its inception.
5. Unforgiven 2006: John Cena vs Edge
Before everybody hated John Cena for the sake of hating John Cena, there was a small section of the fans that would go out of their way to boo him. I would say, his feud with Edge was one of the best things he had done in his career.
It also kick-started his journey down the path that brings him to how several fans feel about him today.
Edge had a lot riding on this feud. He needed it to be a success because Vince had no desire or creative direction for Edge.
At the time, many viewed the Rated-R Superstar as a transitional champion, just holding the belt until creative found someone else they wanted to put it on.
Edge was able to hold his own against Cena, on the microphone as well as in the ring. When Vince saw how the fans were reacting to Edge, he had no choice but to keep him in the spotlight as their main guy.
One part that stands out for me is the Attitude Adjustment (or an FU as it was known then) on Edge through two tables off of a ladder. Probably one of my favourite endings to a match.
4. Summerslam 2009: CM Punk vs Jeff Hardy
This feud between CM Punk and Jeff Hardy had an extremely interesting dynamic to it.
The contrasting personas of each man, as well as their opposite lifestyle choices made this feud an interesting one. Fans were able to become invested in what was going on and it was very believable.
Punk lead the straight-edge life. No alcohol, not drugs or anything along those lines. Hardy’s lifestyle was the total opposite of that. There are some questions about the well-being of people in WWE’s eyes as Hardy was the babyface in this feud.
The two men made it work spectacularly. At that time Hardy was on his way out of the company and Punk’s booking as champion wasn’t exactly strong. I think this feud could have been so much more if that wasn’t the case
This Summerslam match did deliver in so many ways. The TLC match didn’t let anybody down and it was a good way to set up Hardy leaving the company.
3. One Night Stand 2008: Edge vs The Undertaker
Edge is back again in this next match I’ve picked for my top five. I was having a debate with myself over the position of this match and the CM Punk/Jeff Hardy match.
I always loved watching Edge and Undertaker work together in the ring. They always create magic and turn it into something special. Wrestling is all about telling a story and having chemistry with the person you’re in a story with. These two had natural chemistry and always managed to tell an incredible story.
This feud began at WrestleMania 24 and continued through the summer of ’08, and I believe that this was one of Taker’s best matches. On the night, it seemed Taker wasn’t having a good night, and it showed in the ring.
Having Edge in the match helped, with his experience in TLC matches playing a part in how this match went down. It also falls back to the natural chemistry both men had with each other.
In the end, made it a better match than it should have been.
2. WrestleMania X-Seven: Edge & Christian vs The Hardyz vs The Dudleys
WrestleMania X-Seven is up there as one of the greatest Manias of all time. It’s an event that any event organiser would hope for. It had a fantastic main event and an undercard that built up the audience throughout the show.
Even though Stone Cold and The Rock were main eventing and stood out as the talking point of the show, TLC 2 stole the night for me. I’m sure a lot of people will agree with me on that statement.
Gimmick matches don’t tend to stand the test of time because when you see one, a lot of the times you feel like you’ve seen everything they could have to offer. It can be hard to come up with new spots within the match to wow the crowd and backstage management. Everything clicked into place when these three teams got inside the ring.
What gave it a little something extra was that Lita, Rhyno and Spike were able to get involved in the match as well.
1. Summerslam 2000: Edge & Christian vs The Hardyz vs The Dudleys
I swear this isn’t a copy and paste job, and I promise that you’re not stuck in a constant loop like Groundhog Day.
These three teams did come in at Number Two as well. Taking the Number One spot in my eyes is the match where all the magic of a TLC match originated. The historic event of being the first-ever Tables Ladders and Chairs match to happen in the WWE.
The reason I picked this one ahead of WrestleMania X-Seven was because it was the first-ever.
When it comes to gimmick matches, I have already stated that it’s hard to create new spots in the match that will give off the wow or shock factor. Having the pressure of pulling off the first-ever of its kind match has equal if not more amounts of pressure to it.
These three teams were able to come together and bring their specialities to the match. Edge and Christian were the master of chairs, The Dudleys were well known for D-Von getting the table, and the Hardy brothers were the high flying team that created chaos with a ladder at their disposal.
What better way to bring the three teams together than in a match where all their strengths were utilised. It’s a brilliant showcase when you look at it on paper.
WWE have tried out plenty of gimmick matches before. Some have been major successes, like the Elimination Chamber.
A lot of the time, however, gimmick matches fall at the first hurdle in terms of content and could never recover or they have never attempted again due to severe failure.
At the end of the day, there would not be a TLC Pay-Per-View every year, or even the number of gimmick matches we have today if it wasn’t for these three teams and this match right here. The six men took their mutual understanding of the hardcore style and incorporated many different elements into it. That night they created magic and that is why I’ll always deem it the best TLC match to have ever taken place.
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