Friday, 10 February 2017

Blu-Ray Review: WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs 2016

The last Smackdown PPV of 2016 has finally arrived on DVD and Blu-Ray and we've got the lowdown. TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs is available now from Amazon, Ebay, Base and more, ranging between £13.99-£17.29 at time of writing. The event tends to be one of the most violent and exciting nights in the WWE calendar, as the WWE Superstars get to play with some dangerous toys. This year's event is no different, as AJ Styles defends the WWE Championship against Dean Ambrose in a TLC match, The Miz puts the Intercontinental Championship on the line in a Ladder match with Dolph Ziggler and Alexa Bliss challenges for Becky Lynch's Smackdown Women's Championship in a Tables match. Randy Orton, Bray Wyatt, Natalya, Zack Ryder, Nikki Bella and others also feature across the single disc release.

The Show

The event begins with short and energetic Smackdown Live Tag Team Championship match, with The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt & Randy Orton) challenging for Heath Slater & Rhyno's belts, it's a basic tag affair, that's help by a clear sense of direction. Carmella and Nikki Bella have a gritty scrap in a No Disqualification match, that is unfortunately held back by silly conclusion. 

The first use of the show's gimmick comes in a Ladder Match over the Intercontinental Championship, between Dolph Ziggler and The Miz, that grows into a wonderful battle at the top of the ladder. It's not on the same level of their No Mercy collision, but is still a compelling and dramatic watch. Personally, I think the two went a little bit longer than was necessary as the first ten minutes provide very little of note. 

Baron Corbin v Kalisto in a Chairs match is the sleeper contest, with the pair producing physical and intense spot-based contest that doesn't pull it's punches. A tables match for the Smackdown Women's Championship with Alexa Bliss and Becky Lynch sees the pair struggling to get to grips with the gimmick, often grappling with the weapons, rather than each other. The bout never really connects with the Dallas crowd, leaving a lot of the action feeling flat, which is a shame because both women have talent and worked hard throughout. 

The main event see's a World class performance from AJ Styles opposite Dean Ambrose in the Tables, Ladders and Chairs match for the WWE Championship, as the Face That Runs The Place kills it in the stunt show environment. Living up to the demolition derby moniker, Styles and Ambrose work their socks off in over half an hour of thrilling highspots, that keep the viewer on the edge of their seat throughout. Even the involvement of James Ellsworth doesn't stop this from being one of the best WWE main events of 2016 and well worth the price tag on it's own. 

Special Features & Blu-Ray Exclusives

A ten man tag team test with Apollo Crews [Uhaa Nation], American Alpha (Chad Gable & Jason Jordan), & The Hype Bros (Mojo Rawley & Zack Ryder) against The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor), Curt Hawkins & The Vaudevillains (Aiden English & Simon Gotch) from the Kick-Off show is a cute contest, that entertains for it's time on the screen. An Intercontinental Championship match between Kalisto and The Miz and Becky Lynch v Natalya (both from Smackdown Live #901are also included, but the strongest Blu-Ray exclusive is a tag match between American Alpha and Bray Wyatt & Randy Orton of the Wyatt Family (Smackdown Live #902), which is a real sleeper match that is arguably stronger than the Smackdown Tag Team title match on the main show.


The Smackdown brand put on another PPV event that is well worth checking out, with two great matches included. The Intercontinental and WWE Championship match are two very different, but wonderful matches, featuring strong performances from AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose, The Miz and Dolph Ziggler, four men who have owned the blue brand since the split. It's a shame that the Alexa Bliss and Becky Lynch are unable to make the most of their high position on the card, but the Chairs match with Baron Corbin and Kalisto manages to make up for it. The added content on the disc provide some watchable action, but nothing worth going out of your way to check out. 

Review - James Marston 

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