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WWE Tables, Ladders, & Chairs 2016: Good and Bad Bookings

TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP: HEATH SLATER AND RHYNO (c) VS. THE WYATT FAMILY (BRAY WYATT & RANDY ORTON w/LUKE HARPER)

GOOD BOOKING: The Wyatt Family finally wins gold

The Wyatt Family winning gold finally validates The Wyatt Family as a threat. It doesn’t matter if it is only tag-team gold, the fact that the Wyatt Family now have a taste of gold makes their many promos and threats valid. The lasting scene of Wyatt and Orton placing the belts on Harper’s shoulders hints at the Wyatt’s defending the titles under the Freebird rule, which now opens up many options towards the title defenses and ultimately how they may lose the titles in the future and a possibly match against The New Day. It’s a good bet that Heath Slater and Rhyno won’t retain the titles and this will push The Wyatt Family into a feud with American Alpha, with whom they defeated to get the opportunity to face Slater and Rhyno.

GOOD BOOKING: The Wyatt Family’s cohesiveness

Randy Orton pulling Bray Wyatt from harm and Luke Harper pushing Orton out of the way and taking the Gore are small but important details towards their story. Orton continues to show his new-found loyalty to Bray Wyatt and his family. But Luke Harper actually sacrificing himself for Orton contributes a whole new layer to the story. This solidifies his trust in Orton. And this trust makes The Wyatt Family story more intriguing as this indicated that Randy Orton has finally been fully accepted into The Wyatt Family. The booking options are plentiful from here. Will Randy Orton turn? Where does Erick Rowan fit into this? Plentiful here.

NO DISQUALIFIACTION: NIKKI BELLA VS. CARMELLA

BAD BOOKING: Nikki Bella beats Carmella

Nikki Bella did not need the victory in this feud. At all. Carmella is the up-and-coming talent that needed the rub from someone like Nikki Bella. Winning a feud against the longest reigning Diva’s champion looks great on paper. The post-match promo from Carmella only served to send Nikki Bella into a feud with Natalya, which could’ve easily been done with Nikki Bella losing and Carmella taunting her with that revelation. Now Nikki Bella has unneeded momentum and a direction and Carmella is directionless and still stuck in first gear.

INTERCONTINENTAL LADDER MATCH: THE MIZ (c) VS. DOLPH ZIGGLER

GOOD BOOKING: The Miz retains the title

There was only going to be thing that really mattered for this match. The ending. And it was either going to be good or bad booking. Obviously if The Miz retaining was good booking, Ziggler regaining would’ve been bad booking. But why? Because the second time around, it wasn’t about Dolph Ziggler. It wasn’t even primarily about The Miz. It was about the Intercontinental title. So to have The Miz win the title just so he can retain against Sami Zayn and then lose it back to Ziggler in a matter of a month would have hurt the title’s prestige that both men had worked so hard to build in the last few months before Ziggler’s victory.

CHAIRS MATCH: BARON CORBIN VS. KALISTO

BAD BOOKING: Everything

I’m a huge fan of Kalisto and Baron Corbin. Kalisto is such a dynamic performer and Baron Corbin is the type no-nonsense personality that should be booked like a predatory machine; and the cerebral counterpart to Braun Strowman’s raw power. With that being said, where do we start? Because this was a rough one. The feud was never interesting to begin with. The typical David vs. Goliath story was barely passable when it was Kalisto vs. Rusev. Kalisto and Corbin have been so stifled by creative recently that neither really had anything major to gain from this. Especially in a chairs match. Ever since WWE banned outright chair shots to the head, the use of the chair hasn’t been as effective or interesting so to try and continue to dedicate a match to it is astounding. It’s also a testament to how silly the booking of this feud was since it implied that the only way Kalisto had a shot was with the use of weapons. Corbin ranting post-match about how what had happened to Kalisto is what will happen to the rest of the roster came off as an empty threat since he had trouble putting away the luchador. So far the Andre the Giant Battle Royal victory is continuing to be a hollow accolade.

WOMEN’S TITLE TABLES MATCH: BECKY LYNCH (c) VS. ALEXA BLISS

GOOD BOOKING: Alexa Bliss defeats Becky Lynch

Nothing against Becky Lynch, but it was time to lose the title. Lynch was the perfect choice to be the inaugural Women’s Smackdown champion and begin the new era for Smackdown. But it was Bliss’ time. She earned it. Charlotte may be the queen and Eva Marie may be the most hated person in WWE, but Alexa Bliss is the top female heel bar none. She has become a solid in-ring performer and an excellent personality. That’s not to say that Becky Lynch won’t regain the title again. The Smackdown women’s division is incredibly shallow so she will eventually get the title back. But you shouldn’t count on Lynch regaining the title in their rematch. Bliss will find a way to retain again. As a bonus, Lynch sold her frustration and disappointment post-match very well.

WWE WORLD TITLE TLC MATCH: AJ STYLES (c) VS. DEAN AMBROSE

GOOD BOOKING: James Ellsworth costs Dean Ambrose the title

This was the smartest booking that could happen with James Ellsworth and Dean Ambrose. WWE creative was smart to book a James Ellsworth turn before he wore out his welcome as a face. Turning Ambrose heel would have also been a nice touch as well, but the reaction to that would’ve been dependent on the crowd alignment towards Ellsworth costing Ambrose the title. And that is an unforeseeable event so this will do. Ellsworth’s reasoning will most likely be him having a promised match against AJ Styles for the title, not Dean Ambrose, and that he has already beaten Styles three times. In no way, shape, or form should Ellsworth align himself with Styles.

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