I missed last year's event but was intrigued by it's concepts, especially the novelty of seeing a "chair" match. this year's event is rapidly approaching so before it passes me by, wanted to catch up with the inaugral one, no better way to watch indepth than to review, so here we go
1) Christian v. Shelton Benjamin (Ladder Match)- 5
2) John Morrison v. Drew McIntyre- 5
3) Michelle McCool v. Mickie James - 5
4) John Cena v. Sheamus (Tables Match)- 4
5) Undertaker v. Batista (Chair Match...haha)- 3
6) Randy Orton v. Kofi Kingston -6
7) Chris Jericho & Big Show v. Degeneration X (TLC Match)- 4
First off, I must comment on the set they built for this. It has a giant towering video screen but hanging from it, from wires are actual tables, ladders and chairs (all unfolded) looks like Home Depot took a designing lesson from the Cracker Barrel. Unreal.
so the opener i've heard conflicting opinions on, i can only say after watching it I was sort of indifferent to it. I'm a big Christian fan, have been for years, and I thought he put forth a good performance. Some stuff really didn't work, such as the doctor trying to close Christian's cut, you're in a ladder match for god's sake, where paralysis is a very real concern and a guy is worried about a small cut? The hanging from the belt spots were dumb, but i dug Shelton's clothesline with the ladder and Christian took several big bumps, incl. the one that cut him open. Thought he did a good job of selling damage as it went on, he looked completely famished by the time it was over.
this match overachieved, I didn't have high hopes, especially after Morrison started the match blowing a hurricanrana and generally bouncing around like Tigger (excuse the reference, i have a 2 year old daughter) but Drew reeled it in. He was in full Finlay mode, not doing much but doing it all very brutally. Boots, forearms, some real nasty grinding holds on the ground that reminded me of Doc in All Japan. They did some stuff outside that was pretty exciting as well, would like to see more out of him of this caliber. The tilt a whirl DDT spot was leagues better than any the Rock pulled off during his run, and that's honest.
So far, nothing's been supreme but everything's been really good. Mickie was a fun watch, lots of her offense looks real smooth, a frankensteiner that looked better than Christian or Morrisons, a nasty bump into the guard rail and a Siver-like back kick to Layla's plump midsection. Michelle was more suited for good heel screaming, this was during the popular "Piggie" James storyline, and Michelle was using it for all it's worth. Loved the end too, just a straight kick to the face, that would beat a lot of people, wonder how many Mean Mark has taken during alcohol binges from McCool.
Not the usual Cena masterpiece, but this was one of Sheamus 1st outings in the big picture. Cena was doing a real good job showing the pain on his back while being subtle, but not being able to do certain things, like a superplex or even having a hard time lifting a table. The first 10 minutes were pretty action packed, with thrills and spills aplenty as Cena just ran roughshod over Cena all over the arena. Sheamus in control was a bit more uninteresting, the table teases were as good as you can do, especially for a 20 minute match. The ending, was one of those dumb moments that don't really make sense but i guess in the context of having un upset it was fine.
Taker and Big Dave have had some historic wars in the past, this felt more akin to someone putting the car on cruise control and just chatting about your girlfriend's weird sexual habits or how much Serj Tanakian's new solo album is the worst thing your ears have ever heard. Batista especially, damn man, you should know better, just being out of position for stuff a lot. The opening 10 minutes with it's constant confusion and tired brawling spots was bordering on a 2 for me, but they did both do some cool punches and Taker started taking bumps on chairs with his head so it wasn't all a loss but look up any Raaaaaaaandy videos online instead of watching this.
So far my fave match of the night, not without a few missteps, Kofi's Paradise kick was flubbed and so was Orton's KO soccer punt, but Orton's selling is on another stratosphere, like the writing of Larry Hama in the 80's, and fuck, the 90's too. Even when he's taking lifeless bumps his eyes are dazed and he's still selling. Turn this on for the dropkick he uses to counter a plancha from Kofi outside, so many people have tried and died on that one. Both guys just killed themselves on the other's big moves and that's what it's bloody all about.
Pretty embarrassing to call this a TLC match, one table was broken (by two guys in a lazy spot) and one almost (by a crazy spot from Jericho that looked completely ridiculous) A meandering brawl that that meandered way too much and even AS Byatt would call "sprawling." Show was just the drizzling, chocolate shits all over this one, at one point, he literally took a shove from Michaels and was missing for 3 minutes, to show up with all this energy. Trips and Shawn both took one painful, visually dull bump each and Shawn and Jericho had some brisk exchanges near the beginning but besides the fun babyface finish this was pretty lousy. I've now seen most of DX's 2009 tag run and can safely say those were paychecks collected but not earned.