It took a year, but the WWE finally got what it wanted: Roman Reigns standing tall after a PPV, basking in the cheers of the crowd.
The main event between Reigns and Sheamus certainly didn't seem to go perfectly. The crowd was against the match, and we heard chants for Daniel Bryan, NXT and even John Cena. The match itself wasn't bad, but the crowd didn't get behind it. The ending featured enough outside interference from Rusev and Alberto Del Rio (though no Barrett for some reason) for Sheamus to get up the ladder and grab the belt. The crowd roared its disapproval, and it seemed like it would be another disappointing ending for WWE. Then, everything changed.
Reigns, boiling over with rage as the commentary crew went over about how he was ripped off once again (and this time they were actually right), went out and grabbed a chair. He then laid waste to anyone who came into the ring. Del Rio and Rusev were the first, and then he methodically destroyed Sheamus. Finally, after officials couldn't get him to stop, Triple H entered the ring, trying to talk Reigns down. That didn't work either. Reigns destroyed H with a chair, threw him around the outside, sent him through a table (after slamming him onto the table and having the table not break) and finally ended with a mammoth spear that started at the top of the ramp and ended at ringside.
Reigns had completely become unhinged and became the wrecking ball of destruction that people had been wanting to see. As the show went off the air, the Boston crowd chanted, "Thank you, Roman" as he surveyed his path of destruction.
This is what first attracted people to Roman Reigns. People forget, or refuse to acknowledge, the fact that Roman Reigns was incredibly over during the summer of 2014, just after leaving The Shield. Up to that point, Reigns had been more or less a silent assassin, running through people, but not saying much. Throughout his singles feuds, like with Randy Orton, he let his actions do the talking. And the crowd responded. When he returned from his injury at the end of 2014, his demeanor had changed. He talked more, he tried to be cool and witty, and for the most part, it just didn't work. Despite the bloodlines, Roman Reigns isn't The Rock. However, he doesn't need to be The Rock to get over. He can be the wrecking ball people want to see. And that showed on Sunday night.
The key now is to capitalize from TLC. On Monday night, we can't see the "cool" Roman Reigns cracking jokes about how Triple H looked at the end of the night. If he's going to be the wrecking ball, that's what he needs to be. While I won't say he needs to go completely silent, he definitely needs to show a demeanor change, and cutting down on the long promos would help in that.
They're in a slight bind, because if they want to put the title on him at the Rumble, as many expect, then they have to make sure he doesn't go too far in the feud with Triple H quite at this point. However, he just completely destroyed him. So the next few weeks will be fascinating. If done correctly however, it's very possible that the fans will be cheering for Roman Reigns winning the title next month.
The rest of TLC:
-The big news coming out of TLC besides Reigns snapping was that we have a new Intercontinental champion. In a fairly big surprise, Dean Ambrose won the title, pinning Kevin Owens cleanly. It's hard to say if this is a good move or a bad one right now. It seems somewhat random and almost premature. The feud, if you want to call it that, had barely started, and maybe that played into this. It seems like a fair bet that they will continue feuding, so it's possible that WWE felt this was the best way to extend the feud. It's also possible that they want to move Kevin Owens away from the IC title, and on to something bigger. The IC title picture is completely up in the air right now, so it definitely adds intrigue to the maincard. And the pop that Ambrose received for finally winning singles gold for the first time in 18 months was nice to see. We'll see where they go from here.
-Charlotte seemed to complete her heel turn at TLC. She liberally cheated during her match with Paige, and ended up winning by using an exposed turnbuckle. She heeled it up for most of the match, and the only thing that was even mildly preventing it from being a complete heel turn was that it was against Paige. That seemed to make the crowd a bit confused as to how they should react. Becky Lynch questioned her motives after the match, and Charlotte was able to talk her down. I don't hate the idea of having Charlotte be a heel, and it lays out a pretty simple path for her toward Wrestlemania. She faces Becky at Royal Rumble (and maybe Fastlane) and in the meantime, Sasha Banks starts getting a face push. The two then collide at Wrestlemania.
-The tag title ladder match certainly did steal the show. All three teams didn't hold back in hitting spot after spot. The spot of the night probably went to Kalisto hitting a Salida del Sol from the top of one ladder through another ladder that was bridged across the ring. This was just as entertaining as you could hope, and Xavier Woods being on commentary made it even better. I'd love to see more between these teams, specifically between the New Day and the Lucha Dragons.
-The Wyatt Family made pretty easy work of the ECW originals. This was a fun match that featured exactly what you'd want: nice weapon play from the ECW crew and the Wyatts to look strong in the process. Bubba Ray even teased lighting a table on fire, but then was sent through that table to end the match. There's a question about whether the table was supposed to light up and just didn't. I assume that Dreamer will go away now, and Rhyno will probably move back to NXT. The question now is what to do with the Dudleys.
-Alberto Del Rio beat Jack Swagger in a chairs match. This was an instance where the stipulation seemed to hamper these two creatively. Both of them can go, and have had decent matches in the past. The insistence on using chairs seemed to hurt more than help. They didn't really seem to know what to do with them, and started using the chairs in ways that took away from the match instead of helping it. Zeb Colter not showing up might have been the biggest upset of the night, and we'll have to see if they end up doing anything with Zeb.
-Rusev forced Ryback to pass out in the Accolade. This match was pretty forgettable, though it had the right result. They need to re-establish Rusev as a threat, and this is the first step.
-The preshow match saw Sasha Banks defeat Becky Lynch. There was nothing overly fancy about this match, just a solid preshow match. Sasha ended up winning thanks to the outside interference from Team BAD.
Thoughts? Questions? Leave them in the comment section, email me or find me on Twitter: @TheAOster. You can also find my podcast, Jobbing Out, at https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/jobbing-out/id998790026?mt=2