x

Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 18 January 2019

Ronda Rousey costs Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair the SmackDown title and sets up an exciting 2019: WWE TLC talking points

A look at the main talking points from WWE's final network special of 2018, where the women were again the stars of the show

Ronda Rousey took centre stage at WWE TLC. Image courtesy of WWE
Ronda Rousey took centre stage at WWE TLC. Image courtesy of WWE

There was two major title changes and a lot of drama at WWE TLC, with Asuka and Dean Ambrose the big winners.

But it was Ronda Rousey who stole the show with her victory in her Raw Women's title match with Nia Jax and then her surprise involvement in the WWE SmackDown Women's main event.

Here are the main talking points.

Rousey sets up a thrilling 2019

Wow. What a main event TLC had as Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair and Asuka demonstrated just why they deserved the main event spot.

It was a hard hitting match full of drama and action as all three women had stages of being in charge, with Lynch and Flair both putting each other through a table, while Asuka ran wild with a kendo stick.

The talking point was Rousey arriving at the end to cost Lynch and Flair the title as she tipped the ladder they were both on over, allowing Asuka to become WWE SmackDown women's champion for the very first time.

It is not a heel turn as Rousey had been attacked by Lynch and Flair previously so it can be argued as a levelling of the scores when her actions are addressed on Raw on Monday.

It was nicely executed and sets up a world of intrigue with the prospect of both Lynch and Flair invading Raw between now and the Royal Rumble.

Asuka deserves a title run, and given how badly booked she had been since WrestleMania 34, how she does will be fascinating.

A great match, a surprising ending and an exciting 2019 in prospect.

___________

Read more

Stephanie McMahon on why WWE Evolution mattered and wanting to work with Serena Williams

Ronda Rousey and Becky Lynch win big on WWE’s historic night at Evolution

WATCH: WWE Superstars Alexa Bliss and Kane pay The National newspaper a visit

___________

Rousey underlines her status as a potential great

Before her involvement in the main event, Rousey had shown her burgeoning talent as she successfully defended the Raw Women's title.

Getting a good match out of Nia Jax is not an easy task.

Jax does what she can, but she is still clumsy and cumbersome in the ring at times and the likes of Sasha Banks, Alexa Bliss and Bayley all have tried and failed to entertain with Jax in the past.

Step forward Rousey, who less than a year in to life in WWE put in a great performance to pull an enjoyable match out of Jax.

She took Jax's best shots, formed an engaging match, and her underdog efforts got the crowd firmly behind her - not something every babyface champion can easily do in the modern era of more aware crowds.

Rousey has surpassed everyone's expectations in 2018 and with feuds with Flair and Lynch ahead in 2019 the best could still be ahead.

Bryan is a hit as champion

Hard to believe this was only Daniel Bryan's second ever WWE title defence on a network special, with injuries having ruined his career over the past four years.

Now back, and healthy, his surprise heel turn in November has unleashed a new persona and his character is a breath of fresh air.

The fact he won clean against AJ Styles as he reversed a roll up highlights that WWE have big plans for him and a run to WrestleMania 35, at least, with the belt appears in the offing.

Ambrose wins in underwhelming fashion

It was a shame that the Seth Rollins v Dean Ambrose grudge match only got really intense in the final moments.

For much of the encounter you had Ambrose in control in a slow-paced fashion and the crowd were not invested.

Given the nature of this feud perhaps the expectation had been of a truly violent encounter, and there is likely to be a rematch that might tick that box better.

Rollins was great value in finally snapping at his former Shield teammate, with his anger costing him the victory and his Intercontinental title as Ambrose capitalised with Dirty Deeds after Rollins took too long to go for his finisher.

Rollins is likely heading for bigger and better things, namely the 2019 Royal Rumble. Ambrose has a lot of work to do with his heel persona if he is to fully engage with the WWE Universe as his quirky character, talking to himself, and trying to play mind games did not work here.

WWE still has plans for Balor

Arguably the biggest surprise of the night was Balor getting the win over Drew McIntyre.

McIntyre has been treated as one of WWE's biggest stars in 2018 since moving up to the main roster from NXT and it will be a shock if he does not win one of the major titles in 2019.

Balor's success, admittedly with help from Dolph Ziggler, got the win. McIntyre can stand the loss as he has been booked so well previously, and will probably get the win back in retribution before 2018 is over.

Balor will likely be a major contender in the Rumble in January and giving him some heat going into that is no bad thing, and shows the WWE still has plans for him.

A likely run at the Intercontinental title at WrestleMania against Ambrose could be a good place for him on the card, and this could be the start of that.

Updated: December 17, 2018 08:27 AM

SHARE

SHARE

Editors Picks