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TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs 2018 was a professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event and WWE Network event, produced by WWE for the Raw and SmackDown brand. It took place on December 16, 2018 at the SAP Center in San Jose, California. It was the tenth event under the TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs chronology.

Background

TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs featured professional wrestling matches involving different wrestlers from pre-existing scripted feuds, plots, and storylines that play out on WWE's primary television programs, Raw and SmackDown. Wrestlers portrayed heroes or villains as they follow a series of events that build tension and culminate in a wrestling match or series of matches.

On September 4, 2018, in a press release for season 2 of Mixed Match Challenge, it was announced that the finals of the tournament would occur at TLC. On November 12, it was announced that the winning team would receive the number 30 spot for both the men's and women's Royal Rumble matches at the Royal Rumble.

On the October 22 episode of Raw, after Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose captured the Raw Tag Team Championship from Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre, Ambrose suddenly attacked Rollins, turning heel. Two weeks later on Raw, Ambrose proceeded to attack Rollins again, after the latter lost the titles in a handicap match against AOP (Akam and Rezar). The following week, Ambrose set his signature Shield gear ablaze, after explaining his attack on Rollins, stating that he was a "burden" to both of his former Shield teammates and they made him weak. After Rollins defeated SmackDown's United States Champion Shinsuke Nakamura at Survivor Series, it was announced that Rollins would defend the Intercontinental Championship against Ambrose at TLC.

On the Raw prior to Survivor Series, Braun Strowman demanded to have another Universal Championship match against Brock Lesnar as well as a match against Acting Raw General Manager Baron Corbin, who had cost Strowman his Universal title match at Crown Jewel, and get to choose the stipulation for both. Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon agreed under the condition that Strowman lead Raw to another victory over SmackDown at Survivor Series, and that he would not touch Corbin until after the event. At Survivor Series, Stephanie declared that if Raw defeated SmackDown in all six interpromotional matches on the main card, she would consider making Corbin the permanent Raw General Manager. Strowman also kept to his word, leading Raw's men's team to victory over SmackDown's and he did not lay a hand on Corbin, while Raw also won the other five matches. The following night on Raw, Strowman was granted a match with Corbin at TLC and chose a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match. Stephanie added the stipulation that if Strowman won, he would get his Universal Championship match at the Royal Rumble and Corbin would be removed from his authoritative position, but if Corbin won, Corbin would become the permanent Raw General Manager. A six-man tag team elimination match then occurred pitting Strowman, Elias, and Finn Bálor against Corbin, Bobby Lashley, and Drew McIntyre. The match came down to Strowman and Corbin, but ended after Corbin, Lashley, and McIntyre crushed Strowman's elbow with the steel steps. It was later reported that Strowman would require surgery on his elbow, leaving uncertainty if Strowman would recover in time for their TLC match.

At Evolution, Nia Jax won a 20-woman battle royal to earn an opportunity at the Raw Women's Championship. Then at Survivor Series, she won the women's elimination match for Team Raw as the lone survivor, while Raw Women's Champion Ronda Rousey defeated SmackDown's Charlotte Flair via disqualification, though suffered a post-match beat down from Flair. The following night on Raw, Jax's championship match against Rousey was confirmed for TLC. Furious from the night before, Rousey issued an open challenge that was accepted by Mickie James. Rousey retained, and after the match, Jax, along with Tamina, came out and taunted Rousey.

On the November 13 episode of SmackDown, Daniel Bryan defeated AJ Styles to win the WWE Championship after hitting Styles with a low blow while the referee was down and continued to attack Styles after the match, thus turning heel. Bryan in turn replaced Styles as Universal Champion Brock Lesnar's opponent at Survivor Series, where Bryan came up short. On the following SmackDown, Bryan explained his actions, stating that he was following his dreams and that the fans were not with him during his recovery to return to the ring. He then christened himself as the "new" Daniel Bryan, and a rematch between Styles and Bryan for the title was scheduled for TLC.

At Survivor Series, SmackDown Women's Champion Becky Lynch was originally scheduled to face Raw Women's Champion Ronda Rousey, but due to a legit broken nose and concussion sustained just days prior to the event, Lynch was replaced by SmackDown's Charlotte Flair, who brutally attacked Rousey and lost via disqualification. On the following SmackDown, Flair explained that she attacked Rousey for Lynch and for the women of SmackDown. The following week, Lynch returned. Flair took back her statement, stating that she did the attack all for herself. SmackDown General Manager Paige then scheduled Lynch to defend the title against Flair at TLC in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match. The remaining eight women of the SmackDown roster took exception, feeling they deserved a chance too and could have beat up Rousey as Flair did. Paige then scheduled an eight-woman battle royal with the winner being added to the title match. Asuka won, making it a triple threat TLC match.

At Survivor Series, Drew McIntyre and Finn Bálor came to odds when tagging in to the men's elimination match, resulting in a confrontation between the two. Bálor also made an enemy of Acting Raw General Manager Baron Corbin, who scheduled Bálor to face McIntyre at TLC.

For several weeks, Elias and Bobby Lashley interrupted each other's promos, often ending in a brawl between the two, also involving Lashley's "manager Lio Rush. On November 30, a match between Elias and Lashley was scheduled for TLC.

On the SmackDown 1000 episode on October 16, The Bar (Cesaro and Sheamus) defeated The New Day (represented by Big E and Xavier Woods) to win the SmackDown Tag Team Championship, with help from their new ally Big Show. On the November 6 episode of SmackDown, The Usos (Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso) defeated The New Day (represented by Big E and Kofi Kingston) to become the captains of Team SmackDown at Survivor Series. On the November 27 episode of SmackDown, The Usos defeated The Bar. On November 30, a triple threat tag team match between the three teams was scheduled for TLC.

On the December 3 episode of Raw, The Riott Squad (Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan) came out and distracted Ronda Rousey and Natalya, after which Nia Jax and Tamina attacked Rousey and Natalya. The Riott Squad then set up a table and powerbombed Natalya off the ring apron through the table. On December 6, a tables match between Natalya and Riott was scheduled for TLC.

At Super Show-Down, Buddy Murphy defeated Cedric Alexander to win the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. On December 10, a rematch between the two for the title was scheduled for TLC.

Following Rey Mysterio's full-time return to the WWE, Randy Orton began attacking him after matches. A chairs match between the two was scheduled for TLC.

Event

Pre-show

During the pre-show, two matches were contested. In the first match, Buddy Murphy defended the WWE Cruiserweight Championship against Cedric Alexander. In the end, Murphy performing Murphy's Law on Alexander to retain the title.

In the second match of the kickoff show, Elias faced Bobby Lashley in a ladder match with a guitar hanging above the ring. In the climax, Elias won the match by ascending the ladder and retrieving the guitar. After the match, Lashley then attacked Elias.

Preliminary matches

The actual pay-per-view opened with the finals of the second Mixed Match Challenge which saw Fabulous Truth (R-Truth and Carmella) face Mahalicia (Jinder Mahal and Alicia Fox). In the end, Carmella applied the Code of Silence on Fox forcing her to submit to win the match. With the win, Fabulous Truth won an all-expense paid vacation to a destination of their choice (Truth would reveal that the destination would be Stamford, Connecticut), as well as R-Truth and Carmella receiving the number 30 spot in the men's and women's Royal Rumble matches, respectively.

Next, The Bar (Cesaro and Sheamus) defended the SmackDown Tag Team Championship against The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods, with Big E) and The Usos (Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso) in a triple threat tag team match. The end came when Sheamus performed a Brogue Kick on Woods to retain the title.

After that was the Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match pitting Braun Strowman against Baron Corbin. Heath Slater was appointed as referee by Corbin. Corbin made his entrance, ready to win by forfeit if Strowman did not answer the referee's ten-count. Mid-way through the referee's ten-count, Strowman, made his entrance, with his arm in a sling. Strowman stated that because it was a TLC match, that also meant that it was no disqualification, and if anyone wanted to assist him, they could. Apollo Crews, Bobby Roode, Chad Gable, and Finn Bálor then appeared, each wielding chairs. Slater removed his ref shirt and attacked Corbin. Crews, Roode, Gable and Balor then proceeded to attack Corbin. As Corbin tried to leave the arena, he was intercepted by former Raw General Manager Kurt Angle, who attacked Corbin with a chair. In the climax, Crews, Roode, Gable, Balor and Angle performed their respective finishers on Corbin in the ring. Strowman then pinned Corbin for the win, thus earning a Universal Championship match against Brock Lesnar at the Royal Rumble and stripping Corbin of his authoritative power.

In the fourth match, Natalya faced Ruby Riott (accompanied by Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan) in a tables match. Mid-way through the match, As Natalya attempted to knock Riott off the apron and through a table, Morgan pushed Riott out of the way, thus crashing through the table herself. As Logan attempted to interfere, Natalya performed a body slam on her through a table. In the end, Natalya won the match by putting Riott through a table (with Riott's picture on it) with a powerbomb from the top rope.

Next, Finn Bálor faced Drew McIntyre. During the match, Dolph Ziggler emerged from the crowd and performed a superkick on McIntyre. Ziggler obtained a chair only for McIntyre to perform a Claymore kick on Ziggler. In the end, Bálor capitalised on the distraction and performed a Coup de Grace to McIntyre to win the match.

After that, Rey Mysterio faced Randy Orton in a chairs match. Mysterio performed a hurricanrana on Orton to win the match.

In the seventh match, Ronda Rousey defended the Raw Women's Championship against Nia Jax. In the end, after an evenly contested match, Rousey applied the armbar on Jax forcing her to submit to retain the title. In a backstage interview, Jax was then attacked backstage by Becky Lynch as revenge for breaking her face prior to Survivor Series. Rousey was later interviewed about renewing her rivalry with Charlotte Flair from Survivor Series and where Rousey stated that "payback is a bitch".

Next, Daniel Bryan defended the WWE Championship against AJ Styles. In the end, Bryan performed a roll-up on Styles to retain the title.

In the penultimate match, Seth Rollins defended the Intercontinental Championship against Dean Ambrose. In the climax, as Rollins attempted The Stomp, Ambrose kicked Rollins and performed Dirty Deeds to win his third Intercontinental Championship.

Main event

In the main event, Becky Lynch defended the SmackDown Women's Championship against Charlotte Flair and Asuka in the first-ever women's triple threat Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match, which was also the first time that the championship was featured in the main event match of a pay-per-view. Early in the match, Asuka performed a powerbomb on Flair through a table. Outside the ring, Lynch positioned both Flair and Asuka on an announcer's table, climbed a ladder, and performed a leg drop. Asuka barely escaped while Flair took the the bulk of the move. Later, Flair speared Asuka through the barricade into the timekeepers area. She then positioned Lynch on a table and and did a flip on top of her through the table. Back in the ring, Flair climbed the ladder to grab the title, but was stopped by Asuka, and the two traded blows atop the ladder. Lynch then set up another ladder. Asuka was knocked off and Flair and Lynch continued to trade blows. Ronda Rousey then appeared and knocked over the ladder that Flair and Lynch were on, sending them to the outside of the ring. Asuka seized the moment, climbed the ladder, and grabbed the title, thus winning her first SmackDown Women's Championship.

Match Preview

Buddy Murphy vs. Cedric AlexanderPreview
Elias vs. Bobby LashleyPreview
Mahalicia vs. Fabulous TruthPreview
Seth Rollins vs. Dean AmbrosePreview
Braun Strowman vs. Baron CorbinPreview
Ronda Rousey vs. Nia JaxPreview
Daniel Bryan (c) vs. AJ StylesPreview
Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair vs. AsukaPreview
Finn Bálor vs. Drew McIntyrePreview
The Bar vs. The New Day vs. The UsosPreview
Natalya vs. Ruby RiottPreview
Rey Mysterio vs. Randy OrtonPreview

Results

Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
(c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
  • A guitar will be suspended above the ring and the first to retrieve it wins the match.

Other on-screen talent

Commentators
Pre-show Panel
Interviewers
Ring announcer
Referees

See also

DVD release

  • Amazon [ TLC: Tables, Ladders, & Chairs 2018 on DVD]

External links

TLC: 2018 previews

Mahalicia vs. Fabulous TruthSeth Rollins v Dean AmbroseBraun Strowman vs. Baron CorbinRonda Rousey v Nia JaxDaniel Bryan v AJ StylesBecky Lynch v Charlotte Flair v AsukaFinn Bálor v Drew McIntyreElias v Bobby LashleyThe Bar v The New Day v The UsosNatalya v Ruby RiottBuddy Murphy v Cedric AlexanderRey Mysterio vs. Randy Orton

TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs
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2018 World Wrestling Entertainment pay-per-views

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