From WWE’s first visit to Brooklyn, N.Y., in more than three decades to the first pay-per-view held in New York City’s most populous borough (most people think it’s Manhattan), WWE TLC 2012 will forever be remembered by the WWE Universe as a night of new beginnings.
Unfortunately for Team Hell No & Ryback, their inaugural trip to the new Barclays Center ended in frustration while their mysterious opponents, The Shield, achieved an important milestone.
The troublemaking threesome of Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns seized victory in their WWE debut bout by besting their rivals Sunday evening in the first-ever Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match in WWE history to be decided solely by pinfall or submission. Reigns clinched the win for his side by putting Daniel Bryan through a table with a powerbomb as Ryback and Kane lied helpless.
Though their participation was ordered by decree of WWE Chairman Mr. McMahon less than two weeks ago, the combatants in the Six-Man TLC Match certainly needed little motivation to get amped up for the contest. The Shield introduced themselves to the WWE Universe by targeting Ryback during his WWE Title opportunity against CM Punk at Survivor Series 2012. Explaining the tactics as a symbol of their efforts to shield WWE from what they perceived as “injustice,” Ambrose, Rollins & Reigns then expanded their efforts by attacking Team Hell No and other Superstars without warning.
The reigning WWE Tag Team Champions aligned with Ryback in hopes of taking The Shield upstarts down a notch at WWE TLC. Despite no disqualifications or count-outs in effect as well as an abundant supply of tables, ladders and chairs at their disposal, Team Hell No and the fledgling brute still had their hands full with the NXT invaders.
Both the titleholders and Ryback got the jump on their opponents as the three insurgents approached ringside through the capacity crowd at the Barclays Center. Their initial tactic of divide and conquer appeared to work in the early goings, as the six-sided battle briefly turned into three one-on-one brawls that favored the ring veterans.
Things then took a turn for the extreme as Kane, the only competitor in the match with prior experience in a TLC Match, introduced the first ladder into play. Reigns countered that by bringing the first chair into the melee and using it to neutralize the imposing presence of The Devil’s Favorite Demon.
That theme — constantly and consistently evening the odds — repeated itself through the rest of the match, as the members of The Shield employed a strategy of ganging up on individual opponents whenever possible. As Kane attacked Rollins by sandwiching him in a ladder, Ambrose appeared to level The Big Red Monster with a DDT onto a chair. When Ryback prepared to knock out Ambrose and Rollins by leaving them Shell Shocked, Reigns emerged to break up the attempt. Soon after, the intimidating Ryback found himself on the wrong end of a three-man powerbomb through the Spanish announce Table.
Then The Shield elevated a highly anticipated clash into a true slobberknocker. Ambrose and Rollins propped up a table over the corner of the ring, then promptly used it as a platform from which they hurled Bryan with a superplex. As Kane came to the aid of his partner, Reigns kept him at bay and eventually put the tag titleholder out of commission with a sternum crushing spear through the ringside barrier. And after Bryan’s final attempts to claim victory by making each of the NXT invaders tap out with the “No!” Lock, he fell prey to a timely boot blast by Rollins.
Ryback managed to make the save at that point, but he chose to follow his opponents’ path down the entrance ramp and toward the stage area. He even managed to finish off Rollins by pushing the former NXT competitor off a ladder into a pair of tables stacked high, but that small moral victory left him far from the bout’s final moments.
As Ryback regained his senses near the entrance ramp, Ambrose and Reigns doubled up on the outnumbered Bryan in the middle of the squared circle. The diabolical duo finally put Bryan through a table with a vicious powerbomb, leaving him lifeless on the ring apron. Reigns folded Bryan up for an easy pinfall.
With the win, each member of The Shield now joins a select group of Superstars who won their WWE debut match at a pay-per-view. That group also includes Kane, who defeated Mankind in his first WWE bout at Survivor Series 1997.
Unfortunately for The Big Red Monster, neither he nor his WWE TLC teammates could preclude Ambrose, Rollins & Reigns from accomplishing that feat. And it remains to be seen if anyone in WWE can stop The Shield from imposing their will on the WWE Universe in the weeks and months to come.
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