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So… That Happened: TLC 3

The era of the DVD is all but dead, especially for WWE fans. Want to relive any moment? It’s pretty much guaranteed to be on the WWE Network. Unfortunately when you’re living without an internet connection for a week, like I had to recently, you’re left with very few options left for entertainment. Thus, one morning I pulled out WWE’s “The Ladder Match” compilation released in 2007 and hosted by Todd Grisham. One match in particular caught my interest and I found myself thinking “that happened”? Trigger warning: this match contains Benoit and lots of it.

Think of an example of when a casual or former wrestling fan struck up a conversation with you about moments of the past. It’s easy to determine the viewing history of “former” fans; 90% of them seem to have been swept up in the WWF at the height of it’s dominance and then fallen off approaching the end of the Attitude Era. Thus, recounted moments are usually those on the extreme side; Mankind’s fall from the cell, Austin’s crimson-mask face turn and any number of Shane’s various antics. One thing that always seems to come up is the legendary TLC 2 from WrestleMania X-7 [WATCH: WrestleMania X-7, on the WWE Network].

Following the success of a match that more often than not makes it into lists of the best bouts of all time, two months later the WWE attempted to strike gold for a third time with TLC 3. The first wrinkle to this match, however, was that it would introduce another duo to the the WWE’s trio of tag team greats; the Dudleyz, the Hardy Boyz and Edge & Christian. This team, somewhat strangely in retrospect, is Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit. The pair had previously had a strange formation with Benoit losing a match against Angle at Judgement Day due to interference from Edge and Christian [WATCH: Judgement Day 2001, on the WWE Network]. This saw the Rabid Wolverine team up with Jericho in a Tag Team Turmoil match later that evening for revenge and, by coincidence, #1 Contendership. The next night they captured the WWF Tag Team Championship [WATCH: Monday Night Raw – May 21st 2001, on the WWE Network].

The second thing of particular interest is that TLC 3 was to take place on free TV on the May 24th 2001 episode of SmackDown of all things, just days later. The idea of such a match happening on broadcast television now is fairly laughable; sure, we get the occasional Steel Cage match (especially more likely since the draft extension) but it’s not like they’re busting out the Hell in a Cell for random TV tapings. Whilst Raw’s most recent TLC bout was January 2013, this remains the only time SmackDown has been graced with the gimmick.

The match doesn’t fool around and a series of ladder spots open the competition [WATCH: SmackDown – May 24th 2001, on the WWE Network]. The two Canadians are presented with a subtle layer of sympathy, facing off against three teams who have TLC experience (and a promo to open the episode from Vince who believes they have “run out of miracles”). Before too long, Benoit dives through a table on the outside and is stretchered out of the arena. After a few spots, including a savage suplex off the ladder from Bubba to Jeff, Benoit makes his way back to the ring clutching his ribs and intent on climbing towards the gold.

You may have noticed that one of the three namesake toys of the TLC match has been absent to this point but a two-on-one assault from Edge & Christian fixes that as they bring chairs into the fold to deliver a con-chair-to to Benoit’s ribs. From here, the latter delivers a brutal headshot to Jericho whom Tazz mentions in passing is recovering from a concussion. Grim. Kayfabe or not, whatever the case these things are much harder to see in hindsight. This probably won’t be the last time we revisit unprotected chair shots though, unfortunately.

Further spots in TLC 3 include the out of nowhere use of a TV monitor followed by Jeff impressively leapfrogging from one ladder, over another and down into the announce table, D’von sells a Twist of Fate like he just got electrocuted and finally Benoit ascends a ladder to retain the Tag Team Championship to a glowing babyface pop, despite not really being a part of the competition. This may have been for the best however, as it was revealed weeks later than Chris had sustained a neck injury during the match.

Following TLC 3, the winning duo strangely used their victory to secure world title shots from then-champion Stone Cold with Benoit challenging twice in the very next week. This alone is evidence that, at the time, the WWF knew that the unexpected would keep people tuning in. In retrospect, it seems incredibly scattershot. All in all, TLC 2 remains a good mile out from it’s successor but the third match of the series is still pretty fun, even with some very odd albeit interesting alterations to the formula. Hell, those interesting alterations are what these articles are all about. Jericho and Benoit teamed together in the fatal four-way TLC 3 on SmackDown. Weird, innit?

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Podcast Episode 268: Roman Reigns vs Braun Strowman

This week on RAW…

Kevin Owens and Paul Heyman delivered masterful promos. Braun Strowman and Big Show did lots of things. Roman Reigns cheated, then got his ass kicked. Enzo annoyed us. DDP was announced as the next Hall of Fame entry in what’s turning out to be a pretty decent class.

…and more!

Featuring: Psyniac (@rawispsyniac), Joshua Schlag (@thesteelcage / @schlizzag), ‘The Beast from the Middle East’ Darrell Johnson (@zazzumplop), and ‘The Mayor of Reseda’ Derek (@cap_kaveman).

Music by The Black Furies, courtesy of Music Alley.

Like what you hear? Support us on Patreon: [Click here].

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Podcast Episode 267: The List of Kevin Owens

You can actually pinpoint the second when his heart rips in half.

You can actually pinpoint the second when his heart rips in half.

Man alive. What a RAW. Chris Jericho was on another level, and it would’ve been a great segment without Kevin Owens doing what he did. But he did, and it became an instant classic. They made us laugh… They made us cry…

…and then Bayley made us cry again, but not in the same way. Well done, for once, RAW team. Hell of a show.

This comes 24 hours after a solid Elimination Chamber, too, where Bray Wyatt finally captured WWE gold!

Featuring: Joshua Schlag (@thesteelcage / @schlizzag), ‘The Beast from the Middle East’ Darrell Johnson (@zazzumplop), and ‘The Mayor of Reseda’ Derek (@cap_kaveman).

Music by The Black Furies, courtesy of Music Alley.

Like what you hear? Support us on Patreon: [Click here].

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Podcast Episode 266: Samoa Joe vs Roman Reigns

Samoa Joe debuted on RAW last week and made quite the splash as he literally took out Seth Rollins. His brutality continued this week as he faced Seth’s buddy Roman, but let’s be clear – this story is about Roman Reigns and his feud with Braun Strowman. What’s in Joe’s future, then, as his match with Rollins seems likely to be canceled?

Also: we had TWO championship matches on RAW. However, they both occurred with little to no fanfare, so you could guess what happened… And don’t even get me started on Goldberg’s (likely successful) pursuit of the Universal Championship…

At least we have SmackDown, though, right? Though The Dirty Sheets will cover SmackDown in depth, we’ll at least touch on this weekend’s Elimination Chamber as a few of us will be on hand (right here!) in Phoenix, Arizona.

Featuring: Joshua Schlag (@thesteelcage / @schlizzag), ‘The Beast from the Middle East’ Darrell Johnson (@zazzumplop), and ‘The Mayor of Reseda’ Derek (@cap_kaveman).

Music by The Black Furies, courtesy of Music Alley.

Like what you hear? Support us on Patreon: [Click here].

SUBSCRIBE in iTunes: [Click here] or Google Play: [Click here].

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The Most Open Royal Rumble Ever

A look at who could possibly win the most wide open Royal Rumble ever, where even the betting favorite has changed six times in four months

It’s fairly standard protocol for the WWE to tell you that their annual Royal Rumble event is “anyone’s for the taking” and that everyone has an equal one in thirty shot, however, that is never ever the reality, with the Rumble usually being between two or three guys at best, and often it’s simply a predictable one horse race.This year appears to be a massive exception to the norm, with the number of potential winners now exceeding double figures and with no clear betting favorite. In addition to that, the betting favorite has changed six times since SummerSlam.Let’s have a look at the changes in favoritism.

Brock Lesnar and Seth Rollins: Lesnar and Seth Rollins were originally was installed as joint 4/1 favorites. As it became clear that both were penciled in for matches against Shane McMahon and Triple H, their odds plummeted.

For those not clued up about what these odds mean, they mean a $100 bet on either would return $500 ($400 profit and the $100 stake returned).

Finn Balor: Finn spent a large amount of time as the favorite, with rumors indicating that he would be fit to return by the Royal Rumble. Having vacated the Universal Title after SummerSlam, Finn Balor seemed like the logical favorite.

Goldberg: After his win over Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series, Goldberg extended his deal with WWE and announced his entry into the Royal Rumble. The bookmakers reacted and instantly installed Goldberg as the favorite. He has since drifted out to 14/1.

Chris Jericho: Jericho spent a short time as the favorite after Roadblock, with the belief obviously being that Owens and Jericho would square off at WrestleMania, with the WWE Universal Title on the line.

Although the pair will certainly face at WrestleMania, it looks unlikely to be for the Universal Title, after Jericho captured the US Title. It’s highly unlikely that WWE would book the match as Champion vs Champion and bookmakers agree, with Jericho now out to 12/1.

The Undertaker: This is an extremely interesting one and demonstrates the current power of internet rumors. Many assumed that The Undertaker would simply win the Rumble and face John Cena.

However, Undertaker’s odds ironically drifted out after him announcing his involvement in the Rumble on RAW, as Dave Meltzer reported that Vince McMahon had canceled the Cena vs Undertaker match and that Undertaker had been moved onto Raw.

This has not been confirmed by WWE whatsoever, however, this story was picked up by every major internet wrestling site, resulting in Undertaker no longer being the favorite.

Braun Strowman: For weeks on my podcast, I have ridiculed any possibility of the WWE actually booking Roman Reigns vs Strowman for the WWE Universal Title at WrestleMania, despite it looking like the direction that the company’s taking on TV.

I can not fathom that WWE would be so blind as to book a match in a such a high profile spot, that will be undoubtedly booed by 70,000 people. However, as it stands, Strowman is currently the favorite to win the Rumble at 2/1.

He is also the odds-on favorite to eliminate the most men (odds-on means you have to bet more than your actual possible profit. He is currently 4/5, so you would have to bet $100 to win $180, so only an $80 profit from your $100 bet).

My thoughts

As I mentioned earlier, the Royal Rumble is wide open. I initially favored a Raw participant to win the Rumble, believing that Smackdown Live would use the Elimination Chamber (the next Smackdown PPV), to crown their No.1 contender.

I believed that the company would have Brock Lesnar win the Royal Rumble and Goldberg win the WWE Universal Title at WWE Fastlane on Sunday 5th March. It would be a great way to rebuild Brock after his 86 second loss and It would be a chance to get the Title onto Goldberg, which is something I believe the fans would like to see.

It would also raise the stakes for the final match between Goldberg vs Lesnar, making Lesnar’s two losses irrelevant, as he would win the final and most significant match of their trilogy.

The only problem with doing this is that the Universal Title would belong to a part-timer for several months, possibly up to SummerSlam in August.

However, my theory was thrown out the window last Tuesday when Shane McMahon announced that the Smackdown Elimination Chamber match would simply be a WWE Title defense by the Champion (AJ or Cena).

This now means that neither Raw or Smackdown have a clear way of crowning their own No.1 Contender, should the winner come from the opposing brand.

This opens the door wide open to both brands housing the Rumble winner, and a whole host of options, where even a debutante like Samoa Joe is being talked about as a contender.

Be it by accident or by design, the WWE have done a great job in making this year’s Royal Rumble genuinely unpredictable and must-see. Stay tuned to my podcast, The Dirty Sheets, as we will continue to speculate who will win the 2017 Royal Rumble.

This article was originally published at Sportskeeda.

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