The TLC, or Tables, Ladders and Chairs, match is among the more beloved gimmick matches in WWE history. The melee of astonishing stunts and unforgettable moments the match has produced since it’s introduction made it so. In fact, the TLC match is one of four which now has a specific pay-per-view to call home. With TLC just beyond the horizon, let’s take a look back at what’s made the match type such a hit and discuss what needs to be done to get it back to those lofty heights.
The TLC match was first introduced in 2000 when Edge and Christian, The Hardy Boyz and The Dudley Boyz squared off over the WWE Tag Team Championships. That match is often overlooked, however, because of the encore that trio of duos put on less than a year later at WrestleMania X7.
The next TLC match came not even two months later on an edition of SmackDown, pitting those three teams against the tandem of Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit. Your author, an avid Jerichoholic and a fan of the TLC match from first introduction to it months earlier, can recall begging for an extension on his bed time to enjoy that match and, well, my 9-year-old self was not disappointed.
The next TLC match was a pleasant surprise announced the night of in the inaugural Raw Roulette. It pitted the unlikely tandem of Kane and Hurricane Helms, the cleverly named HurriKane, against Christian and Chris Jericho, Jeff Hardy and Rob Van Dam and Bubba Ray and Spike Dudley. You’ll note that at least one man in each of those teams had previous TLC experience.
After that match, however, TLC matches began to deviate from the form that had made it such a success. Of the 13 TLC matches that have followed, two have been tag team matches and just one has been for tag team gold. Even that match comes with a caveat as it pitted Triple H and Shawn Michaels, former partners turned longtime main eventers, against Chris Jericho and The Big Show. A main-event caliber match to be sure, but hardly one between two all-time great tag teams.
Yes, Triple H and Shawn Michaels were the key cogs behind a hell of a faction in D-Generation X, but a great tag team they were not.
In singles format, there’s been some great TLC matches. John Cena vs. Edge and CM Punk vs. Jeff Hardy come to mind instantly. However, to make the TLC match a one-on-one affair, which the WWE’s done for the majority of such matches since 2003 and will continue this year with Roman Reigns vs. Sheamus, detracts from the essence of the TLC match. The absolute mayhem and disregard for human safety in the original few TLC matches are what made it such a draw to begin with.
Now, the WWE does have an excuse as to why it’s shunned the tag team TLC match for the past decade. The tag team division’s been treading water for the majority of that time. But with the emergence of The New Day and the return of The Dudley Boyz, the company should look to cash in and get back to what produced several in-ring classics sooner than later.
That doesn’t necessarily mean at this year’s event. There’s already a TLC match on the card and two can be overkill. Not to mention that The Dudleyz look poised for a tag team tables match with The Wyatt Family and a tag team TLC can’t go off without those two involved. Instead, WrestleMania 32 sounds like a marvelous place for a reintroduction to the match.
For the first time in a long time the WWE’s got the horses in the tag team division to make it go. The New Day, in the same mold as Edge and Christian, are a rare combination of immensely entertaining and easy to hate. With Kofi Kingston a ladder match connoisseur and Big E around to toss foes into stiff surfaces they’re an easy choice to join our TLC fray.
And, of course, there’s no chance that The Dudleyz are forced to watch from the sideline in a match they helped revolutionize. They put the “T” in TLC. The all-time great table-breakers would serve one purpose in this contest — break tables. And a cameo from Spike Dudley in which he Dudley Dogs Xavier Woods through a table would make for a nice WrestleMania moment.
Two members of The Dudley’s current foes, The Wyatt Family, would also make for a nice addition. Luke Harper and Erick Rowan would make for a nice addition to the tag team division in general and their brute strength could come in quite nicely in a TLC match. Harper, in particular, has proven to be quite agile for a big man and could surprise in this sort of match.
Lastly, this match will no doubt need a true high-flying tag team. Rumors of a Hardy Boyz return popped up a few months ago and they’d be an obvious choice to round out the match. Based on what we’ve got in the present, however, we’ll exclude them for now. The Usos are a fan favorite and they can fly, but the Lucha Dragons look to be on the cusp of stardom, something a WrestleMania title victory could give them, and have an even greater knack for the spectacular.
So there you have it, folks. The TLC match returns to the grandest stage of them all and with it comes the biggest Tag Team Championship match in some time. It may not be the all-time classic fans got at WrestleMania X7, but it’s still got plenty of potential to tear the house down. And it reads as follows:
WWE Tag Team Championship TLC Match
The New Day (c) vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. Luke Harper and Erick Rowan vs. The Lucha Dragons