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The 10 best TLC Matches in WWE history
When a Tables Match, a Ladders Match or a Chairs Match just won’t cut it, the next best option is to combine all three elements and engage in a TLC Match. For more than a decade, the Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match has presented itself as one of the most dangerous — and exciting — contests in WWE.
Originally designed for tag team competition, the TLC Match has since evolved with World Titles at stake and variations to include Triple Threat and Fatal 4-Way contests. Here are the 10 best.
Edge vs. Kane vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. Rey Mysterio – WWE TLC 2010
Edge’s final TLC Match saw him once again as an innovator of the contest. In addition to competing in both the first-ever TLC Match and its first singles variation, he ushered in a new era at WWE TLC 2010 by meeting Rey Mysterio, Alberto Del Rio and World Heavyweight Champion Kane in the first-ever Fatal 4-Way Tables, Ladders and Chairs Match.
The in-ring style, size and experience of the competitors varied greatly, creating a wild and fast-paced free-for-all that highlighted each Superstar’s sheer ingenuity and resilience. Although it was every man for himself, Edge, Del Rio and Mysterio knew that for a new champion to be crowned, the sheer power of The Big Red Monster had to be suppressed. There were moments throughout the contest that seemed as though no one could outmatch the champion. However, Edge — ever the opportunist — capitalized on the bedlam inside the squared circle. After Mysterio knocked Del Rio off the ladder and through a table, Kane Tombstoned The Ultimate Underdog, but left himself open for Edge to Spear the champion off the ring apron and through a table. The Rated-R Superstar then ascended the ladder to claim his 10th World Championship.
El Torito vs. Hornswoggle – Extreme Rules, May 4, 2014
Few anticipated the first-ever WeeLC Match between El Torito and Hornswoggle to be the barnburner it turned out to be. Thrill rides don’t often come in the guise of goofball bouts outfitted with mini ladders and a little person commentator named “Micro” Cole.
The combatants made the most of their Extreme Rules Kickoff platform, though, and went at it full-bore, flinging their bodies off ladders and through tables with blatant disregard. Torito and Hornswoggle’s big people counterparts — Los Matadores and 3MB, respectively — did the same, ricocheting across the ring like errant pinballs. Everyone here did everything right, bringing big thrills and big laughs to a match that delivered far more than its punny title promised.
Edge vs. Ric Flair – Raw, Jan. 16, 2006
The TLC Match hadn't been seen in more than three years when it made its return to WWE on the Jan. 16, 2006, edition of Raw. Times had certainly changed in its absence. Edge was now WWE Champion, and tag teams didn’t factor into this TLC Match. Instead, the legendary 16-time World Champion and then–Intercontinental Champion Ric Flair challenged The Rated-R Superstar for the WWE Title in the first-ever singles TLC Match.
Fittingly, the bout occurred in Raleigh, N.C., in the very same arena as the first TLC Match at SummerSlam 2000. It’s understandable why members of the WWE Universe may have felt some trepidation about the chaotic match featuring far fewer competitors than ever before. However, those fears were quickly dispelled as two of the ring’s greatest warriors put their bodies on the line for the ultimate prize in sports-entertainment. After an unbelievably brutal contest, Edge — with some outside assistance from Lita — managed to fight back and secure the victory, denying Flair's attempt to capture his 17th World Title.
Team Hell No & Ryback vs. The Shield – WWE TLC 2012
No one knew what to expect from The Shield at WWE TLC 2012. Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns had never officially competed in a WWE ring before their Tables, Ladders and Chairs Match against Team Hell No & Ryback. However, in the inaugural Six-Man Tag Team TLC Match, The Shield made it clear that they were not rookie pushovers. The Hounds of Justice showed their smarts, isolating Ryback and putting him through a table with their signature Triple Powerbomb.
Team Hell No and The Human Wrecking Ball nonetheless put up a valiant effort in the brutal contest. Kane chokeslammed Ambrose through a steel chair and Ryback yanked Rollins off a ladder and sent him crashing through a stack of tables. Daniel Bryan heroically tried fighting off Reigns and Ambrose. In the end, however, the unparalleled teamwork of The Shield prevailed. Reigns Speared Kane through the guardrail at ringside, then powerbombed Bryan through a table to give The Hounds of Justice their first win in impressive fashion.
John Cena vs. Edge – Unforgiven 2006
The bitterest rivalry of 2006 began when Edge cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase and defeated John Cena at New Year’s Revolution only moments after the Cenation leader’s grueling WWE Title defense inside the Elimination Chamber. The two Superstars battled throughout the year until their animosity toward each other was settled finally at Unforgiven. In his backyard of Toronto, Edge chose the TLC Match to defend the WWE Title, and for good reason: Not only was he one of the match’s innovators, but he also had more experience competing in the TLC Match than any other WWE Superstar. In fact, before Sept. 17, 2006, he had never suffered defeat in a TLC Match.
Never one to back down from a challenge, Cena faced his arch-nemesis fully aware the odds were stacked against him. Despite his lack of experience in such a contest, the Cenation leader’s resilience highlighted an evening that saw the two Superstars toss each other off seemingly endless ladders and through tables. As the combatants climbed a ladder and battled toward the WWE Title suspended high above the ring, Cena managed to hoist Edge on his shoulders and deliver an Attitude Adjustment off the ladder and through two stacked tables before grabbing his third WWE Title in victory.
Edge & Christian vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. The Hardyz – SummerSlam 2000
The inaugural Tables, Ladders and Chairs Match was initially reserved strictly for tag team competition. As the first bout of its kind, the concept was more than well-suited to the three duos battling it out at The Biggest Party of the Summer. At this point in time, The Hardy Boyz, The Dudley Boyz and Edge & Christian were the three premier tag teams in sports-entertainment. The high-flying abilities of Matt & Jeff Hardy made ladders their forte, D-Von & Bubba Ray Dudley's use of tables was their trademark, and Edge & Christian weren't shy about offering their opponents a solid Con-Chair-To.
And with that, the TLC Match was born, the World Tag Team Championship was at stake and the three fearless duos changed sports-entertainment forever. Never before — even in the Dudleys’ former extreme stomping ground — had such a chaotic contest taken place. Ladders tipped over, sending already-chair-battered bodies crashing inside and outside the squared circle. When all was said and done, the WWE Universe’s collective breath was gone, and champions Edge & Christian retained the titles. Though The Rock faced Triple H and Kurt Angle for the WWE Championship later that August evening, the history-rattling TLC Match stole the show.
DX vs. Jeri-Show – WWE TLC 2009
Though the TLC Match was originally designed with tag team competition in mind, by 2009, there had not been a tag match of its kind for nearly seven years. The match had become devoted to WWE and World Heavyweight Title defenses. That changed at the inaugural WWE TLC pay-per-view, when the evening’s only Tables, Ladders and Chairs Match featured then-champions Chris Jericho & Big Show defending against D-Generation X.
Despite all four participants’ decorated careers in all types of extraordinary matches, this was the first TLC Match for all involved except Jericho. Big Show’s participation added a daunting challenge for Triple H and Shawn Michaels, who found themselves chokeslammed through tables and tossed into one another on top of a ladder. Clearly, The World’s Largest Athlete understood the risk of allowing either DX member to climb a ladder, so he began to destroy every one he could find.
With HBK and The Game reeling, Big Show ingeniously hoisted Jericho on his shoulders so that he could reach the titles hanging above. The move also gave DX enough time to recover, though, and HBK hit Big Show with Sweet Chin Music, sending Jericho tumbling onto a table outside the ring. Michaels and The Cerebral Assassin then removed Big Show with half of a broken ladder, allowing Triple H to hold the ladder’s half as Michaels climbed up to secure WWE Tag Team Titles.
CM Punk vs. Jeff Hardy – SummerSlam 2009
Jeff Hardy’s decade-long career had reached its highest point in 2009, as he captured both the WWE and the World Heavyweight Titles. It was also the year he faced one of his greatest rivals, in CM Punk. The two competitors battled over the World Heavyweight Title all summer — a war that started at Extreme Rules, when The Second City Saint successfully cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase moments after Hardy won the championship from Edge. Though Hardy had since regained the title, Punk remained hot on his trail, prompting their final confrontation at SummerSlam.
For Hardy — another innovator of the contest — it was his first one-on-one TLC Match, and he faced an agile opponent dead-set on proving he was more than a Money in the Bank opportunist. The match was particularly fierce — not because one Superstar dominated the other with sheer power, but because both competitors demonstrated new levels of reckless abandon throughout the contest. Even as both Superstars crashed through table after table, they showed the resilience worthy only of champions.
After a high-risk Swanton Bomb off the top of a ladder sent Hardy straight through an announce table, WWE medical officials carried the hurt Superstar away on a stretcher. The Straight Edge Superstar seized the opportunity to climb the ladder, only to be thwarted by his returning opponent. The intensity of the fight proved to be too much for The Charismatic Enigma, however, and Punk fought him off to secure the World Heavyweight Title.
Edge vs. The Undertaker – One Night Stand 2008
The stakes were again enormous for eventual WWE Hall of Famer Edge as he headed into One Night Stand in June 2008. The vacant World Heavyweight Championship was on the line and the opponent in his sixth TLC Match was the legendary Undertaker, making his TLC Match debut. In addition, SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero added the stipulation that if The Phenom lost, he would be banished from WWE.
As expected, the contest was intense, and each Superstar used every available weapon to his advantage. One of the most jaw-dropping moments of the evening occurred when The Deadman chokeslammed Edge off the ring apron and through a ladder — a fitting highlight that showcased the inherent brutality of the match. Before long, La Familia — Curt Hawkins, Zack Ryder, Chavo Guerrero and Bam Neely — interfered in the match on Edge’s behalf, thus creating a five-on-one scenario for The Deadman.
The Phenom continued to fight, tossing Hawkins and Ryder through tables on the outside and giving Edge a Last Ride through stacked tables. It seemed as though The Undertaker would defy the odds and win the title, but he was simply outmanned. After fending off La Familia, Edge was able to recover and tip the ladder over with The Deadman on top, sending him crashing through tables situated on the outside. The eye-popping fall allowed The Ultimate Opportunist to ascend the ladder and win the World Heavyweight Title.
Edge & Christian vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. The Hardyz – WrestleMania X-Seven
In the weeks leading up to April 1, 2001, The Dudley Boyz were World Tag Team Champions, with archrivals The Hardy Boyz and Edge & Christian hot on their tail. After the trio’s high-risk battle at SummerSlam 2000, the only way the three teams could truly settle the score was to meet in a second TLC Match … this time on The Grandest Stage of Them All, which emanated from Houston’s Astrodome.
There could be no possible way for the three daring duos to top their innovative performances in the inaugural TLC Match, right? Not so fast — the second TLC Match is widely regarded by the WWE Universe as the best ever. The stakes were the same, but the stage was much bigger — which, of course, meant more tables and chairs, and much taller ladders.
The second TLC Match surpassed the original in terms of the sheer bedlam that ensued. Jeff Hardy created an unforgettable WrestleMania moment when he hit Rhyno and Spike Dudley — interfering on behalf of Edge & Christian and The Dudley Boyz, respectively — with a diving Swanton Bomb through two tables off a 16-foot-high ladder.
Amazingly, that incredible moment was overshadowed a short time later by Edge. As the battle raged above the squared circle, Jeff Hardy dangled from the hook securing the World Tag Team Titles. The Rated-R Superstar quickly ascended a ladder and Speared Hardy to the mat below. The unbelievable maneuver not only forever defined the TLC Match, but also ultimately helped Edge & Christian recapture the championships.