WWE TLC 2018 Report: Asuka wins TLC match, Dean Ambrose takes IC title

John Pollock's coverage of the WWE's TLC event from San Jose featuring a TLC match involving Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair and Asuka, Ronda Rousey vs. Nia Jax, Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles and more.

The WWE’s final pay-per-view event of the year is TLC and it takes place from the SAP Center in San Jose tonight.

We will have coverage throughout the night along with our WWE TLC POST Show as I will be joined by Wai Ting. If you are a Double Double, Iced Capp or Espresso member at Patreon.com/POSTwrestling, you can watch our POST Show LIVE immediately after TLC. The free podcast version will be posted later tonight.

Feedback can be posted on the POST Wrestling Forum and in the comment section below.

The kickoff show started with Jonathan Coachman with Booker T., Sam Roberts and David Otunga on the panel.

Baron Corbin was with Jojo and Heath Slater in his office and had Jojo preparing her announcement that Corbin would win by forfeit. Corbin was informed there were reports that Braun Strowman would show up tonight.

Buddy Murphy vs. Cedric Alexander for the Cruiserweight title

Alexander sprung off the middle rope into the ring and was met with a knee to the face by Murphy. They went through a commercial but kept them on the screen with picture-in-picture.

Alexander landed a running dropkick to the floor and springboard clothesline into the ring. After blocking Murphy’s Law, Alexander hit a Michinoku Driver for a two-count.

Murphy stopped Alexander with a cheeky Nando’s kick and a sit-out powerbomb where the audience reacted loudly to the near fall.

Alexander hit a Death Valley Driver onto the edge of the apron and Lumbar Check inside, but Murphy got his foot onto the bottom rope.

Murphy ran Alexander into the turnbuckle, connected with a knee strike and hit Murphy’s Law to win.

WINNER: Buddy Murphy at 10:25 to retain the Cruiserweight title

This was very strong for a kickoff match, they worked hard to get the crowd invested in the near falls.

Becky Lynch was interviewed backstage and said she would rip the heads off Asuka and Charlotte Flair. She asked the last time a women’s title match and SmackDown match headlined a dual brand event and she is changing the industry.

Elias was inside the ring, he started to perform “Do you know the way to San Jose?” and Lashley interrupted.

Elias vs. Bobby Lashley in a Ladder match

There was a ladder surrounding the ring with the guitar hung above the ring.

Elias got the ladder set up but stopped climbing when Lio Rush got involved and was sent to the floor.

Lashley tossed Elias onto a ladder in the corner with a belly-to-belly. Lashley climbed the ladder and was taken off and powerbombed onto a ladder. Elias climbed the ladder and knocked Rush down. Elias grabbed the guitar and won the match.

WINNER: Elias at 6:15

On Raw, they explained the person that grabbed the guitar could use it as a weapon, but it ended up being the end of the match.

Lashley and Rush attacked Elias, Rush hit a frog splash and Lashley smashed the guitar onto his back, so nothing was settled. There wasn’t anything that stood out in the match.

R-Truth and Carmella vs. Jinder Mahal and Alicia Fox in the final of the Mixed Match Challenge

Truth and Carmella’s entrance has been updated with Carmella rapping, too.

The MMC commentary team of Michael Cole, Renee Young, and Vic Joseph are calling the match.

Truth and Carmella hit them with hip tosses and had a dance break, The Singhs came into the ring to dance and were tossed out by Truth.

Carmella has a new move called the Mella Go-Round.

Truth took Fox’s captain’s hat and put it on. Carmella superkicked Fox and Mahal broke the cover.

Fox couldn’t roll up Carmella, she applied the Code of Silence and Fox tapped.

WINNER: R-Truth and Carmella at 5:40

This was about what you would expect from these four and at least it was short.

They were interviewed after the match by Kayla Braxton inside the ring. Carmella is informed they had to submit the destination they want to travel to, R-Truth submitted their location and she learns they are going to WWE headquarters in Stamford.

Sheamus and Cesaro vs. The Usos vs. Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods for the SmackDown tag titles

Byron Saxton is sick, and David Otunga is filling in on the SmackDown side with Tom Phillips and Corey Graves.

Jey Uso went for a tope and was cut off by a Cesaro uppercut from the floor.

The Bar got the advantage on Woods for several minutes, until Woods tagged Kingston. Cesaro lifted Kingston for a vertical and was hit with a crossbody from the top by Jimmy. The Usos proceeded with superkicks to everyone and drew applause from the audience.

Cesaro applied the sharpshooter after the Giant Swing to Kingston, Woods broke the submission with a DDT off the rope.

Kingston dove off the top with a trust fall. Woods stepped off the rope into a Brogue kick and Sheamus pinned Woods.

WINNERS: Sheamus and Cesaro at 12:21 to retain the SmackDown tag titles

This didn’t approach some of the past matches involving The Usos and New Day. It was a well-worked match with each person getting their designated involvement in the match. It didn’t get to the next level that all three teams are capable of.

Braun Strowman vs. Baron Corbin in a TLC match

They explained if Strowman wins, he receives a Universal title match at the Royal Rumble, and Corbin will be removed from power on Raw. If Corbin wins, he become the permanent General Manager.

Corbin went to speak and drew lots of heat. He gloated about becoming the permanent General Manager and had referee Heath Slater ring the bell and start counting Strowman out. Strowman entered as they got to the count of eight. His right arm was in a sling. He received a huge response.

Strowman said there are no disqualifications in a TLC match and if anyone wanted to help him, they are allowed. Apollo Crews, Bobby Roode, Chad Gable, and Finn Balor appeared with chairs. Slater removes his referee’s shirt and strikes Corbin down. They took turns attacking Corbin with chair shots. Corbin tries to leave, and Kurt Angle’s music hits and he attacks Corbin with a chair, too.

Roode and Gable hit their neck breaker and splash combo, Crews hits a frog splash, an Angle slam by Kurt, a coup de grace by Balor and Strowman stands on him as Slater counts three.

WINNER: Braun Strowman at 7:27

Jojo announced that Corbin is no longer the acting General Manager, and everyone cheered. This wasn’t a match, but it worked for the audience and was a fell good moment for the babyfaces.

The only notable name not involved in gaining revenge was Rhyno.

Natalya vs. Ruby Riott in a Tables match

The Riott Squad brought out the table with Jim Neidhart’s image plastered onto it.

Natalya teased a German suplex to Riott off the apron and stopped. Riott got out of the way and Natalya knocked Liv Morgan off the apron and went through a table on the floor.

Natalya yells, “you want to mess with my family, bitch?”

Natalya took Sarah Logan and slammed her through a second table, so Morgan and Logan have been taken out.

Riott told Natalya that her father is ashamed of her and sent Natalya into the steps. Riott set up the Jim Neidhart table in the ring.

Natalya applied the sharpshooter, Riott crawled to the table and tipped it back onto Natalya and broke the hold. Natalya came back and hit an electric chair, and then she brought out her own table with Riott’s image plastered on. She also revealed her father’s ring jacket and put it on while pointing up.

Riott was knocked off the top and placed onto the table, she stopped Natalya again and fought on the turnbuckle with Natalya blocking a huracanrana and sent Riott through the table with a powerbomb.

WINNER: Natalya at 12:43

This was laid out very well and was well done as a table match. There was an easy story to tell of Natalya eliminating each member one-by-one and then getting the feel-good win at the end.

Drew McIntyre vs. Finn Balor

Balor is now being referred to as, “the rebel on Raw”.

This was a great crowd with the San Jose fans chanting for Balor as McIntyre beat him down. McIntyre launched Balor with a belly-to-belly suplex but started favoring his knee after hitting the suplex. Balor came back landing a tope con giro

Balor countered the inverted Alabama Slam with a victory roll for two. McIntyre hit an Air Raid Crash off the second turnbuckle for a two-count. McIntyre did the “too sweet” sign to mock Balor.

With the referee’s back turned, Dolph Ziggler appeared and superkicked McIntyre. He grabbed a chair and McIntyre kicked the chair into him and recovered in record time from the superkick.

Balor hit a running dropkick to the chair into McIntyre and hit coup de grace for the win.

WINNER: Finn Balor at 12:10

It was a surprise given McIntyre had just lost on television and this seemed designed to be a good win for McIntyre.

There was a Kay Jewelers’ spot with a couple that got engaged three years ago at a WWE event and the husband bought another ring for his wife. This was advertising at its finest.

Rey Mysterio vs. Randy Orton in a Chairs match

They traded chair shots at the beginning and led to Mysterio sliding on top of a chair off the apron and landing on Orton. Mysterio missed a seated senton and landed on the top of the chair. Orton cleared the announcer’s table and placed a chair on top and dropped Mysterio face first onto the chair.

Inside the ring, Mysterio caught Orton with a tilt-a-whirl head scissors sending Orton into a chair set up in the corner. Mysterio needed two attempts to hit the 619. Orton knocked Mysterio down on the top turnbuckle and sent him into a chair set up in the same corner.

Orton set up five chairs and went for an RKO, but was blocked. Orton was seated on one of the chairs and Mysterio hit a victory roll off the chair and caught Orton for the win.

WINNER: Rey Mysterio at 11:41

This was another good match on the show and a lot of creative use of the chairs.

Finn Balor was interviewed by Charly and said he was happy with the win but was upset Dolph Ziggler got involved. Ziggler walked in and led to Ziggler tossing Balor into the equipment boxes.

Ronda Rousey vs. Nia Jax for the Raw women’s title

Nia Jax caught a kick and attempted a punch, Rousey countered with a flying armbar but Jax slammed her way out. Jax sent Rousey’s shoulder into the post and moments later, Rousey attempted a guillotine before transitioning to her back with a rear-naked choke and back to the armbar, the transitions looked great. Jax swung her into the barricade to escape the submission.

Jax ran shoulder first into the post and fell to the floor. Rousey climbed to the top and hit a high cross to the floor. Rousey hit the step-up knee and forearm to drop Jax.  Jax rolled through on another high cross and lifted Rousey and hit a Samoan drop. Jax went for a Samoan drop off the turnbuckle, Rousey countered and hit a sunset flip powerbomb off the turnbuckle for a near fall.

Tamina got involved and allowed Jax to strike from behind. Jax called for the punch #FACEBREAKER, as Cole calls it. Rousey blocked the punch and used head scissors to take Jax down and fight for the position, eyed Tamina and applied the arm breaker for the tap.

WINNER: Ronda Rousey at 10:49

This was fast-paced and featured lots of submission sequences from Rousey, and the most grappling-based match she has had. It was a definitive loss for Jax, complete with the tap and seemed to take Jax back a few notches after getting a lot of heat following the Becky Lynch injury.

Nia Jax was walking backstage and walked past Charly, then ran into Becky Lynch, who decked Jax after asking, “remember when you broke my face?” and told Jax to keep her name out of her mouth.

Kayla Braxton asked if AJ Styles is mentally prepared to win back the title, he said both versions of Daniel Bryan are beatable. He has a Phenomenal Forearm with his name on it and tonight Bryan will play his games.

Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles for the WWE title

Styles went for a flying forearm smash to the floor and was caught with a kick to the body in mid-air. Bryan began his attack on the ribs of Styles. Bryan consistently getting the best of Styles and one step ahead of him.

Styles is aggressive with his comeback and rammed Bryan into the post leading to Bryan begging off. Bryan applies a cravat and drives his knee into the head.

Styles went for the Phenomenal Forearm, he was stopped, and Styles hit a dragon screw leg whip. Styles attacked the left leg by wrapping it around the post.

Styles attempted a Styles Clash but settled for the leg and applied a half-crab to the injured leg, Bryan countered into the LeBell Lock (they name they are calling it again). Styles got out and landed a Pele kick with both down.

Styles hit the springboard 450 splash but injured his ribs in the process and Bryan kicked out. Styles applied the calf crusher and Bryan’s selling was tremendous as he fought to the rope and then to the floor holding his leg.

Styles landed a Phenomenal Forearm off the barricade, Bryan got out of the way out of one in the ring, Styles avoided the Busaiku knee, applied an inside cradle, which Bryan reversed and got the pin.

WINNER: Daniel Bryan at 23:55

Excellent match and Bryan worked a tremendous match as a heel doing so many little things throughout. This turn has rejuvenated his character in a huge way.

It was a clean win by Bryan, which I wasn’t expecting and didn’t leave Styles with an obvious direction coming out of the show.

Ronda Rousey and Natalya were backstage, but Charly only wanted to interview Rousey, which was subtle. Charly asked about Charlotte Flair now that Nia Jax is out of the way, Ronda said payback is a bitch and she’s the baddest one on the planet.

Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose for the Intercontinental title

Graves tries to ask Renee if it will be difficult around the holidays, Cole tells him to shut up, and Renee adds she has tried to speak with him and he won’t give her the time of day. The arguing between Graves and Young never ended with Young justifying Ambrose’s actions. Young is starting to play heel and backing up all of Ambrose’s actions against Cole and Graves.

Ambrose is controlling the match from the start and starts mocking Rollins. Ambrose attacked the knee with a dragon screw leg whip and applied a Texas cloverleaf and Rollins fights to the rope. Rollins makes a comeback with his bad knee, including two suicide dives.

The big negative has been the crowd being tired.

On Rollins’ bad knee, he lifts Ambrose and carries across the ring for a buckle bomb.

Rollins scaled to the top for the superplex, slipped on the ropes that Cole blamed on the knee and Ambrose blocked him.

Young starts defending Ambrose’s mindset and Cole interrupts to state he is speaking to himself, which Young clarified was his way of focusing. The audience is now starting to turn on the match and getting bored.

Rollins hits the superplex and Falcon Arrow combination, they grabbed his knee after hitting them. Rollins goes for a superkick and Ambrose puts out his fist and Rollins stops and stares at his own fist. Rollins hit a discus forearm and then drove Ambrose into the barricade with a powerbomb.

Rollins called him a “piece of shit” and slapped him. Rollins went for the stomp but was hit with a kick to the body and Dirty Deeds as Ambrose rolled on top and pinned him.

WINNER: Dean Ambrose at 22:54 to win the Intercontinental title

There was a lot I didn’t enjoy about this match from the non-grudge feel the first half of the match had, Rollins selling his knee and then doing all his spectacular offence that took me out of it and then audience hurt this one big time.

Given the expectations of the match, this has to be viewed as a big disappointment.

BECKY LYNCH VS CHARLOTTE FLAIR VS ASUKA IN A TLC MATCH FOR THE SMACKDOWN WOMEN’S TITLE

Asuka tossed Becky off the turnbuckle back first onto a ladder. Asuka followed by putting Charlotte through a table with a powerbomb.

Asuka and Becky were down on the floor, Charlotte hit a moonsault to both. Charlotte cleared the German announcer’s table with Asuka and Charlotte placed onto the desk by Becky. Becky came off the ladder with a leg drop and crushed Charlotte upon landing, Charlotte screamed out in pain.

Charlotte returned to the match minutes later using a kendo stick on both women. Asuka got control of the kendo stick and started attacking everyone until Charlotte attempted to spear her through the barricade but they didn’t go through it.

Charlotte lit up Becky with chops and then delivered a somersault off the turnbuckle to the floor and put Becky through a table. Charlotte climbed up the ladder when Asuka returned and they fought. Becky set up a ladder next to them and stated fighting Charlotte as Ronda Rousey entered the ring.

Rousey tipped the ladder with Charlotte and Becky falling to the floor. The audience booed Rousey as she exited.

Asuka is left alone, climbs the ladder and takes the title.

WINNER: Asuka at 22:31 to win the SmackDown women’s title

This has lots of dangerous elements and I’m sure all three are going to feel this match tomorrow.

It was a big turnaround for the crowd after they were out of the previous match. I liked the finishing sequence with Rousey’s involvement and sets up lots of directions for the next four months leading into WrestleMania.

About John Pollock 836 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.