Judge Paul Pritchard pummeled his latest opponent with an inflatable chair.
Careers could be changed forever.
The final pay-per-view of 2010, WWE: Tables, Ladders, & Chairs 2010 sees the superstars of Smackdown and Raw go head-to-head in a series of grueling encounters.
• Triple Threat Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship: Dolph Ziggler vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Jack Swagger
"It's better to be lucky than good."
Here is the definition of a great opening match: Ziggler, Kofi, and Swagger put on a show that gets the crowd pumping, without running the risk of overshadowing the "big" matches set to follow. In truth, this is Kofi's match. Far more athletic than either of his opponents, he's barely out of the ring and pulls off some truly audacious moves. While Swagger's involvement is minimal, Ziggler plays the heel well, aided no end by the ever-present Vickie Guerrero—who very nearly makes a play for the belt herself.
• Divas Tag Team Tables Match: Natalya and Phoenix vs. Laycool
In sharp contrast to the opening match, this is merely passable entertainment. The first ever Divas tables match fails to build on the excitement of the opening event, and, in all honesty, drags. Still, there's a nice bit of improv when an attempt to put Laycool through the table doesn't quite go to plan.
• WWE Tag Team Championship: Santino Marella & Vladimir Kuzlov vs. Heath Slater & Justin Gabriel
"For one night only, TLC stands for: Totally, Lethal, Cobra!"
With members of The Nexus circling the ring, it doesn't take a genius to realize Slater and Gabriel will use every dirty trick in the book to capture the WWE Tag Team title. Unlike the other matches on the bill, there is nary a table, ladder, or chair in sight, making the match's inclusion slightly suspect. Despite this, we still get a solid, if unspectacular, show. The matchup ends abruptly when the Nexus inevitably cross the line, leading to a violent beatdown for the defending champs.
• No. 1 Contender's Ladder Match: John Morrison vs. Sheamus
"Is that all you got?"
With a contract for the No. 1 contenders slot hanging above the ring, the ongoing rivalry between Morrison and Sheamus is taken up a notch with this ladder match. The differing style of the two combatants makes this rivalry so enduring, and here they produce one of their finest matchups. Morrison's acrobatics are, as ever, a joy to watch, but, much to my surprise I found myself really enjoying Sheamus' performance. Coldly efficient, Sheamus systematically takes his opponent apart; that is until the inevitable swing in momentum. Here we have two of the best wrestlers in the WWE today, both at the top of their game, in a match that raises the bar sufficiently for what is to follow.
• Tables Match for the WWE Championship: The Miz vs. Randy Orton
"Does it count if the table goes through The Miz?"
Predictably this match opens with Orton going to town on The Miz. Having taken the title from fan favorite Orton only a month earlier—cashing in his "Money in the Bank" contract to defeat a severely weakened Orton—The Miz makes for an entertaining heel, whose technical ability should not be discounted, even though it is often overshadowed by his ability to work a crowd. With his lackey, Riley, lurking in the periphery, there's always the opportunity for The Miz to pull a fast one. Here he outdoes himself by duping the referee with a real cheap shot. There's even a fun twist at the end of the match that ensures this feud is sure to run a while longer.
• Fatal 4-Way Tables, Ladders, & Chairs Match for the World Heavyweight Championship: Kane vs. Edge vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Alberto Del Rio
"That's a debilitating blow right there!"
A real clash of styles here, as four of the big guns of the WWE slug it out to capture the WWE Heavyweight Championship belt, which is suspended above the ring. This is the second of three matches that, in all honesty, could quite easily have headlined this pay-per-view (the others being Morrison vs. Sheamus and Cena vs. Barrett). Allegiances are forged and broken up just as quickly, as each of the four men put their bodies on the line to land the championship. There are some spectacular falls: Del Rio takes one hell of a hit when he's thrown from the top of a ladder, and through a table outside the ring. We also get to see each of these superstars delivering their signature moves, with Mysterio delivering a succession of 619s, and Kane dishing out choke slams like they're going out of fashion. Due to its length, the match inevitably suffers the odd drop in momentum, but overall, this is an epic showdown that highlights all that is great about the WWE.
• Chairs Match: John Cena vs. Wade Barrett
"That's the damnedest attitude adjustment I've ever seen!"
The final matchup of the night sees John Cena face off against Wade Barrett. There's no title on the line here, just two guys kicking lumps out of each other as their ongoing storyline comes to a head. With Cena having dismantled the Nexus prior to the main event, Barrett no longer has his cronies to rely on. The match walks the fine line of being both brutal and family friendly, with comedic moments (see a semi-conscious Barrett being wheeled down the ramp into an upturned set of steel steps) being closely followed by something a little more hardcore (see Barrett ram a chair into Cena's throat in retaliation for the stairs stunt). The match ends with a barrage of violence, as Cena slams Barrett through a stack of chairs, much to the approval of the pumped-up crowd, before dropping a couple of dozen more chairs on his lifeless body.
WWE: Tables, Ladders, & Chairs 2010 sees the WWE end the year in style. Though a couple of matchups fail to really take off, the card as a whole is excellent.
In terms of presentation, the DVD contains solid audio and video. The sole extra, an interview with John Cena following his match, is disappointing, but that's hardly surprising going on WWE's track record for these pay-per-view DVD releases.
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