TLC in Review: Bliss, Banks & Asuka paint the town red

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Roll up one and all to October’s RAW PPV, TLC! We have an amazing card of 3 women’s matches tonight and although none of them had anything to do with tables, ladders or chairs, we’re still got a debut and a title defense to look forward to, so onwards to the review!

First up on the Kick-Off show, we’ve got Kayla Braxton with Emma ahead of her match against the undefeated Asuka. Emma is still angry about all the attention going to Asuka and her debut, so tonight she’s ready to get the spotlight on her first PPV singles match and have #EmmaBeatsAsuka trending on Twitter.

We also have an exclusive interview with tonight’s challenger for the RAW Women’s Championship, Mickie James. She’s sitting in the social media lounge with Charly Caruso to answer questions from the WWE Universe. She says that age isn’t a factor, she’s not as old as some of the male competitors and she’s confident to bring her Championship back to her son.

To round up our action on the TLC Kick-Off show, we’re set for in-ring action between Alicia Fox and Sasha Banks!

Foxy makes her way down to the ring first and seems to have traded her traditional furry scarf for furry folding fans… making her look more like a peacock rather than a fox, but hey I appreciate the effort. This match has a nice spot to get the crowd warmed up and the two get straight into it with the aggression. Alicia is back to her crazy and rough-housing offence and seems to have most of the control in the match. That’s until Banks works her way out of a hold and this causes Foxy to try and fake calling a truce, Banks realises this and dropkicks her out of the ring.

When we come back from the break, both of the girls seem to be even until Alicia shoves Sasha from the top turnbuckle, causing her to fall to the outside. Alicia even tosses her out and skips around the ring to get the crowd to call the count out. Sasha manages to get back in the ring by 9, but she’s still easy pickings. Alicia hits two Northern Lights suplexes, but it’s still not enough to put The Boss down. After an attempt at a roll up, Sasha manages to kick Alicia out the ring and this buys her enough time to get some momentum going. Alicia tries to go for her Scissors Kick, but Sasha ducks it. She still receives a slap from Alicia, who tries to go for another tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, but Sasha counters it and manages to hit the Backstabber into the Banks Statement! Alicia taps and The Boss picks up another well-fought victory!

Following the match, Kayla catches up with Sasha Banks who praises her opponent for tonight but once again she’s been able to prove she’s the ‘Legit Boss’. She also mentions how her new attire is themed after one of her hero’s Owen Hart.

Now onto the main Tables, Ladders & Chairs show! What a better way to start than with the long-awaited debut of Asuka!

The lights dim, her classic trademark mask appears on the screen and the live crowd is on fire for this one! Asuka is finally on the main roster! However, Emma is out to prove a point too and this isn’t as much of a squash as we may have predicted. Emma tries to go toe-to-toe with Asuka’s chain submissions, but Asuka seems to one-up her. It’s only after Emma manages to counter an ankle lock that’s she’s able to flip Asuka out the ring and slow down Asuka’s scarily fast offence.

Emma gets a couple near falls following a curb stomp, a stiff hair pull, and an Emmamite Sandwich, but Asuka manages to power out of them all. After out-striking Emma, Asuka buys herself a little time with a swift Shining Wizard. Her stomps are wicked as she stamps on Emma’s fingers and face, even hitting a missile dropkick, but Emma won’t stay down. Emma does the beautiful ankle lock into the German Suplex, but Emma manages to escape to the outside. Now trying to stay one step ahead, Emma throws Asuka onto the mat and flings her back into the ring. But one more step ahead is Asuka, who greets Emma with a boot and locks her into the dreaded Asuka Lock. There’s no escape as Emma taps out and becomes Asuka’s first main roster victim!

Backstage, Emma isn’t happy! She calls for a rematch with Asuka tomorrow on RAW!

And time for our ‘main event’ of sorts with the RAW Women’s Championship on the line, Mickie James looks to try and make history against Alexa Bliss. Before the match starts, we’re treated to a neat promo video highlighting their feud with Alexa defeating all the other women at No Mercy and targeting Mickie’s age.

Charly Caruso speaks to Alexa Bliss, who praises Mickie for her accomplishments and taking on Hall of Famers, but warns that Mickie’s days won’t be over… they’ll just be ‘old’.

As Mickie makes her way to the ring, the commentary team discuss how she’s on the verge of tying Trish Stratus’ record amount of title reigns. They receive traditional ring announcements and it looks like those ‘Biscuit Butt’ chants haven’t died just yet.

It’s an interesting dynamic with Mickie’s experience going against Alexa’s straight up cattiness and conniving antics. Mickie seems to be one step ahead, outdoing Alexa’s initial locks and holds. Mickie tries to go for her classic Mickiecanrana from the corner, but Alexa throws her over the rope and starts to isolate Mickie’s left arm after she whips it off the rope.

Now Alexa can put the work in, grounding Mickie with holds and constantly targeting her arm. Mickie is able to do her Mickiecanrana, but the damage is clearly done to her arm. The two then have a slap-a-thon until they just start going at it! The tussle ends with Mickie hitting her Mick Kick and Alexa hitting a forearm, leaving them both knocked out. They slowly get back to their feet, but Mickie gets the better of the situation with her signature forearms and bicycle kick for the 2 count. Mickie tries to go for her Mickie-T, but Alexa reverses it to try and go for the DDT. Mickie tries a roll up, but Alexa breaks out at 2. Alexa then tries a sunset flip, but Mickie works her way out of the count.

Mickie climbs to the top rope, but once again Alexa goes for her arm and Mickie lands on it. Alexa them climbs up to go for her Twisted Bliss… but no one’s home! Mickie rolls out the way and then goes to the top rope herself and nails Alexa with a dropkick, but Alexa kicks out! The crowd starts chanting ‘We Want Tables’… I mean, makes sense since none of the matches on the card thus far have had anything to do with the title of the PPV, but I digress.

Alexa looks like she’s had enough and starts pleading with Mickie because she’s had enough, but Mickie isn’t finished yet. She tries to pull Alexa out of the corner, but Alexa reverse the momentum and sends Mickie left arm first into the second turnbuckle. Alexa brings her victim into the centre of the ring and grounds her with a DDT. 1.. 2… 3! Alexa retains her title, but you can see on her face that she struggled with that victory.

Post-match, Charly Caruso interviews Mickie in the ring following her defeat. Mickie says that while she’s disappointed, she’s crowd of her performance and wants to prove that she’s more than worthy. She thanks the WWE Universe for their support and warns that she’s not done yet!

On RAW Talk, Alexa Bliss now has her sights set on Survivor Series… but who know if she’ll align with Mickie James over the next couple of weeks?

Thoughts: I’d call the women’s action from this year’s TLC to be a very solid affair. The whole PPV felt so mix-matched and understacked initially, but seeing the women being given more slots and generally holding it all down well only bodes well for the the future. I know we’re all over whenever someone mentions ‘Women’s Evolution’ on TV, but we really have come a long way and all 6 women involved on the PPV did a solid job.

While we would have loved for Alicia to win the kick-off match, we all kind of knew she wasn’t. This wasn’t a memorable match or one that we’ll be talking about for years, but seeing Alicia get more time and channeling her unique character is what this match helped to deliver. We’ve not really seen her mixing it up with the women lately and she’s only really dipped back into her psycho gimmick. Seeing her tantrums and looking more aggressive is what we need, especially if the whole division is going to take a step up.

We all called the result of Asuka’s debut before Emma was even announced as the contender, but interestingly this match did a lot for her too. From the segment on the Kick-Off to her ‘All about me!’ taunts, this helped to develop Emma’s egotistical character. Not only did it help character-wise, but in-ring-wise, we know what these two are capable of already. They both didn’t disappoint – Emma is so solid that she compliments Asuka’s stiff style really well. I’m excited to have Asuka on the main roster, but let’s hope that they don’t ruin her like a certain Miss Bayley

Finally, our Championship match – if you didn’t know that I was a Mickie fan from my RAW Reduxes, then you should know now! I’ve really enjoyed this feud and they really surprised me here. Having Mickie outdo Alexa’s spots to show her experience advantage was so creative, then having Alexa work on Mickie’s arm did a great job in getting the crowd supporting her. I really really hope that this isn’t the end of this feud or at least Mickie’s push, because she has done an amazing job. Let’s remember that Mickie was barely getting reactions over the last few months, but now she’s at the forefront and the crowd have fallen in love with her again.

Moving forward, we’ve got Asuka on the roster and Alexa still looking for a challenger. I don’t think Asuka will be getting the title just yet, but I’m sure as hell excited for how the division will develop as we head towards Survivor Series. New life has been injected into Emma, Alicia and Mickie, we’ve got solid characters like Bayley, Sasha and Alexa and we have our wild cards Asuka and Nia Jax waiting in the wings. The RAW women’s division is hitting a good step right now, let’s just hope we don’t fall off!

What was your favourite match of the 3? Did you agree with all of the results? Are you happy that Asuka is finally on RAW? Send in those comments below!