The WWE knows how to create great gimmick matches. Gone are the days of the Texas Bull Rope, Scaffold and Flag Pole matches.
In the modern era we are treated to great stipulation and gimmick matches, such as the Royal Rumble, Hell in a Cell, and this weekends Tables, Ladders & Chairs.
The #TLC match is a relic of the Attitude era, when ECW helped reshape the industry, and chairs to the head and back were as common as a right hand or kick to the gut. Even in the PG era, the WWE knows that fans enjoy watching an occasional TLC match, which adds drama and an air of violence that is otherwise not there.
Styles could stub his toe in the middle of the night and make it look exciting. Who knows how great the Phenomenal One will be in a TLC match. We'll find out this Sunday. He has big shoes to fill. Let's take a look at some of the greatest TLC matches in WWE history.
Edge & Christian vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. The Hardy Boyz, SummerSlam 2000
Most people would agree that this TLC is the greatest in WWE history. You had three great tag teams in their primes looking to steal the show. Table spots, chairs shots, and ladders helped make this inaugural TLC match one to remember. Edge & Christian won the match, but this was really the Jeff Hardy show, where he proved he was the unofficial king of the ladder match.
Edge & Christian vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. The Hardy Boyz, Wrestlemania, 2001
Forget Kevin Owens. Welcome to the Jeff Hardy Show. He has so many great moments in this match. There's the stunning Swanton Bomb off of the ladder onto the Dudleys and through several tables. Then there was the power bomb he took onto Edge and through a table. And the spot with Edge hitting his spear on Hardy as he was dangling in the air in an attempt to grab the championship belts. Lots of guys can have good TLC matches, but these six, Jeff Hardy in particular, seemed born for the TLC match.
Jeff Hardy vs. CM Punk, Summerslam, 2009
What happens when you are really good at something? People ask you to keep doing it. That was the case Jeff Hardy, who was wrestling in TLC matches long after The Hardy Boyz broke up. Everyone had great matches with Punk and the two stole the show at SummerSlam 2009. Hardy leaped from the top rope onto a table after CM Punk moved. He took a sidewalk slam onto a steel chair. CM Punk also suplexed him onto a ladder. Hardy delivered an amazing swanton bomb off the top of ladder onto Punk on the announcer's table. Punk won the match, but Hardy once again showed that he is a legend of the TLC match.
Daniel Bryan, Kane and Ryback vs. The Shield, TLC, 2012
Think of a time when Roman Reigns got cheered by more than just a few swooning female fans. Sound impossible? Well, it happened. In 2012, Reigns was a part of The Shield, along with Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins. At the time, they were the hottest team in wrestling. Fresh, young and ambitious, they officially arrived at the TLC PPV in 2012. There were many highlights here, but the crowd popped big when The Shield put Ryback through the announcer's table. Unlike some of the early TLC matches, there weren't a ton of huge falls and dives off of high places, but the ring psychology was off the chart and it is easy to see why The Shield was too good to keep together. All three would eventually become world champions.
John Cena vs. Randy Orton, TLC, 2013
The Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage of their generation. Cena and Orton were made to wrestle each other. Although 2013 wasn't their best match, it was a memorable one because it was champion vs. champion with the two respective brand titles hanging above the ring. Both of these guys were in phenomenal shape and worthy of being WWE champion. Like the match at Unforgiven, Cena delivered an amazing Attitude Adjustment to Orton onto the ringside announcers table. This match deserves points for its creativity. Cena, tied to the bottom turnbuckle with handcuffs, unscrewed the turnbuckle and raced to the top of the ladder to pull Orton down. But Orton would not stay down. He climbed up and pulled the ringside cable, which was still attached to Cena off the ladder and onto the mat. Orton won the match in another classic between these two.