Not to be confused with a mid-90s RnB act, or the act of providing tender loving care, TLC was the WWE's annual event centered around a variety of matches making use of Tables, Ladders, and Chairs.
The TLC match has a strong history in the WWE canon, with classics from The Hardys, The Dudleys, and Edge & Christian from the Attitude Era, John Cena vs Edge from 2006, as well as many others synonymous with this particular gimmick, long before it became a yearly feature in the WWE calendar. The 2016 edition was a Smackdown Live!-only event, emanating from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. Headlined by then-WWE Champion AJ Styles and Dean Ambrose, this was a cracking card which very much holds up on second watch.
From top to bottom, this was a really fun card with lots of excellent matches. The opening bout that saw Bray Wyatt & Randy Orton take on Heath Slater and Rhyno for the tag team championships was a good, fast-paced match with some excellent exchanges and a nifty finish. Orton and Wyatt have surprisingly good chemistry and while their run as tag champions would be short-lived I really enjoyed this.
Elsewhere on the card The Miz had a really enjoyable ladder match with Dolph Ziggler in one of the last encounters before Ziggler turned heel. There were also two decent women's matches on this card as Nikki Bella and Carmella had a heated brawl, and Alexa Bliss took the upset win against Becky Lynch in a tables match. The match may not have been the best the two have had, but I was delighted with the result given Bliss's improvement over the past year or so. Well deserved.
However for me, the two best matches on this show were the Baron Corbin vs Kalisto chairs match, and the main event. Corbin and Kalisto was unexpectedly brutal, and I enjoyed that the two guys made the most of the stipulation creating some innovative spots, which really elevated both men at least in the short term. Corbin especially looked great here and this match definitely put a spotlight on him, an opportunity he has grabbed with both hands since December.
The main event was an absolute masterclass between two guys intent on stealing the show. I like Ambrose, but at times I feel that he is unconvincing in the ring, but in with the right opponent, he can be sensational. However, I think most wrestlers would look sensational in a match with AJ Styles who has had probably the best year of his career in 2016, as easily the best wrestler on the planet. The 450 splash spot with the table was especially impressive, and the two told a great story in a brutal match. I wasn't so keen on the ending with James Ellsworth, but it made sense in the context of the larger story, and did little to dampen a fantastic effort by Ambrose and Styles.
Overall, this was a great show all the way through featuring a couple of match of the year contenders, as well a solid under-card in support. A fine way to cap off 2016 for the blue brand.
EXTRAS: A few matches, including the 10-man tag from the pre-show which was actually quite entertaining, as well as some bouts form the build up including Kalisto vs The Miz, Becky Lynch vs Natalya and Bray Wyatt/Randy Orton vs American Alpha which was a sign of things to come, and as strong as the tag match from TLC itself. A decent selection.