Throwback Thursday: All-Time Top 5 WWE TLC Matches Ahead Of ‘WWE Tables, Ladders, And Chairs 2016’

When AJ Styles defends the WWE World Championship against Dean Ambrose in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs Match at WWE TLC 2016 on Sunday night’s PPV, it will be the 19th official TLC Match in WWE history. While all seven TLC Matches featuring Edge are probably worth watching, there have been a few over the years — such as El Torito vs. Hornswoggle in a “WeeLC Match” — that are only good for a laugh. As the only PPV for the SmackDown Live roster between Survivor Series and Royal Rumble, all eyes will be on The Phenomenal One and The Lunatic Fringe, as the “Road to WrestleMania” is just around the corner.

Many would argue that the best TLC Match of all time was the match at WrestleMania 2000 featuring Edge and Christian taking the WWF Tag Team Championship from The Dudley Boyz in a match that also included The Hardy Boyz. That match was technically billed as a “Triangle Ladder Match,” so it isn’t officially considered a TLC Match. The rematch at SummerSlam 2000 was the first time a match was officially labeled a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs Match, with the third match between these three teams being dubbed “TLC II” at WrestleMania X-Seven.

WWE TLC: Daniel Bryan, Kane, Ryback, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns
Team Hell No & Ryback vs. The Shield [Image by WWE]

Since that time, everyone from John Cena and The Undertaker to Jerry Lawler and Spike Dudley has been involved in TLC Matches, with varying results. The technicalities of the matches have differed a little, including Fatal Four-Way Matches and Six-Man Tag Team Matches, as well as a few non-title matches that ended with standard pinfall or submission finishes. But of all the Tables, Ladders, and Chairs Matches that WWE has put on over the years, what follows is a list of the Top 5 (along with video highlights, when available).

5) CM Punk vs. Jeff Hardy — WWE SummerSlam 2009

Going into this match, World Heavyweight Champion Jeff Hardy had competed in four TLC Matches — and this would be his last. For challenger CM Punk, this would be the first of three. As big a part as he was in the creation and popularity of TLC Matches, the more-popular Hardy brother never won one. CM Punk, on the other hand, never lost. As seen in the video below, Jeff climbs a giant ladder and hits a Swanton Bomb on Punk through a table at ringside. Hardy’s final WWE match would be five days later in a Steel Cage rematch against Punk, which he also lost.

4) John Cena vs. Edge — WWE Unforgiven 2006

John Cena was challenging Edge in his trademark match, in his hometown, for the WWE Championship. Even 10 years ago, John Cena was loved by some and hated by others, but in Toronto, the vast majority of the WWE Universe cheered for the Rated-R Superstar and booed the leader of the Cenation. But even the fans in attendance couldn’t deny how impressive the finish was when Cena tossed Edge through two tables with an Attitude Adjustment from the top of a ladder.

3) The Shield vs. Team Hell No & Ryback — WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs 2012

Unless he makes the biggest un-retirement since Shawn Michaels, this will be the only TLC Match of Daniel Bryan’s career. Unfortunately for Bryan, Kane, and Ryback, this was when The Shield was fresh and completely unstoppable. In fact, this was their first official match as The Shield on WWE programming. This match serves as a reminder to the WWE Universe that if Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and Roman Reigns are ever on the same page again, no one else is safe.

2) John Cena vs. Randy Orton — WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs 2013

One year after the debut of The Shield, WWE TLC marked another big event: the merger of the WWE Championship and the World Heavyweight Championship into what is now the WWE World Championship, currently held by AJ Styles. As he defends that title against Dean Ambrose at WWE TLC 2016, it will be three years after John Cena and Randy Orton created the championship he now holds. Both Orton and Cena are known for coming through in big-time matches, and they both delivered in this epic title unification match.

1) Edge & Christian vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. The Hardy Boyz — SummerSlam 2000

It could certainly be argued that every match officially booked as a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs Match has really been trying to recapture the magic of the Triangle Ladder Match from WrestleMania 2000 between The Dudley Boyz, The Hardy Boyz, and Edge and Christian. But even with that match taken out of consideration, it could certainly be argued that the first TLC Match at SummerSlam 2000 — or TLC II at WrestleMania X-Seven — was the best TLC Match of all time. The first official TLC Match, however, still goes down as the greatest.

Honorable Mentions

Of course, any member of the WWE Universe could come up with a Top 5 list that would include five completely different matches. There are a lot of matches worth noting. Although it certainly wasn’t a wrestling classic, the aforementioned “WeeLC Match” between El Torito and Hornswoggle is good for a few laughs, especially if you like puns. When CM Punk defended the WWE Championship against Ryback on Monday Night Raw, in the midst of his historic reign, the addition of Paul Heyman and The Shield made it possibly the best non-PPV TLC Match in WWE history. Unless, of course, you prefer the Fatal Four-Way Tag Team TLC Match from 2002 in which Kane single-handedly defeated The Dudley Boyz, Christian, and Chris Jericho, and Jeff Hardy and Rob Van Dam while defending the World Tag Team Championship. Edge vs. The Undertaker at One Night Stand 2008 and D-Generation X vs. Jeri-Show at TLC 2009 were classics as well.


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Dean Ambrose and AJ Styles will have their chance to add their name to the list of greatest TLC matches on Sunday, December 4, at WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs 2016.

Updated WWE TLC 2016 Card

  • AJ Styles (c) vs. Dean Ambrose — WWE World Championship TLC Match
  • Becky Lynch (c) vs. Alexa Bliss — SmackDown Women’s Championship Tables Match
  • Heath Slater and Rhyno (c) vs. The Wyatt Family — SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match
  • The Miz (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler — WWE Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match
  • Nikki Bella vs. Carmella — No Disqualification Match
  • Baron Corbin vs. Kalisto — Chairs Match

WWE Tables, Ladders, and Chairs 2016 will be the next PPV featuring stars from SmackDown Live. TLC 2016 will air live on Sunday, December 4 from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. As more information is confirmed, it will be updated at WWE’s official TLC preview page.

Sheamus vs. Roman Reigns -- WWE TLC 2015
TLC Match: Roman Reigns vs. Sheamus [Image by WWE]

Where To Watch WWE

WWE SmackDown Live airs Tuesdays on the USA Network at 8/7c. Replays of WWE SmackDown aren’t made available on the WWE Network until several weeks after the original air date. However, a replay of SmackDown Live is available to stream on-demand Wednesdays via Hulu. The SmackDown Pre-Show airs live, 30 minutes prior to the show, on the WWE Network. WWE Talking Smack begins at 10:45/9:45c on the WWE Network.

WWE Tables, Ladders, and Chairs 2016 will air live on the WWE Network on Sunday, December 4, at 8/7c, with the WWE TLC Kickoff Show scheduled for 7/6c.

[Featured Image by WWE]