The Golden Legacy: TLC & Raw Fallout Edition‏

Dec 15, 2015 - by Steve Gerweck

by Matt Storm

World Wrestling Entertainment has closed out its Pay-Per-View calendar following its Tables, Ladders, and Chairs event and immediately kicked into high gear its Road To Wrestlemania on last night’s edition of Monday Night Raw. Which champions came & went as footnotes and which remain on a path potentially paved in gold? Join me as I delve back into the hard numbers and just how well (or poorly) the company is presenting its champions and championships.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship

Reign #: 4
Date Won: 11/22/15
Event: Survivor Series 2015
Won From: Cashed in MITB Contract to defeat Roman Reigns
Date Lost: 12/14/15
Event: Monday Night Raw
Lost To: Roman Reigns
Days Held: 22
Successful Defenses: 8
Ranking: Tied with “Nature Boy” Buddy Rogers, Triple H’s first reign, and Rob Van Dam for the 135th longest reign in history

Notable recent title defenses:


-Monday Night Raw (11/30/15)
Retained via DQ Loss to Roman Reigns

-TLC 2015 (12/13/15)
d. Roman Reigns (TLC Match)

Live Events: As he did in late November, Sheamus would spend the duration of early December retaining his title via DQ losses to Reigns.


In the debut edition of Golden Legacy, I surmised that this fourth championship reign of The Celtic Warrior would be judged solely upon whether or not the general audience would become accepting of Roman Reigns as a top babyface the way the company had long envisioned him of being. And in the end, while he played a part of the process, ultimately it would be Triple H and Vince McMahon who would be the key components of two hardcore cities (Boston and Philly) loudly cheering The Roman Empire onto victory.

That being said, I do not mean to discredit the effort put forth by Sheamus. Despite being poorly presented prior to his title win, he went full tilt for the entire 22 days he sat on top of the mountain. Flanked by his newly formed League of Nations faction, he also managed to garner a respectable amount of heat along the way. And there is no denying that his TLC Match with Reigns was one of the more brutal affairs seen in the history of that match stipulation; he’ll be wearing those scars for quite some time. Not only that but last night’s title loss was no less dramatic or brutal with Reigns winding up busted open the hard way. All in all, Sheamus made the absolute most of what was always going to be a short-term situation, something that I greatly applaud.

Going forward one could expect him to stay somewhere near the top of the mix given how short handed WWE is on top heels due to either injury or poor long-term planning eroding the credibility of those still active. Fellow faction members Rusev and Alberto Del Rio are experiencing resurgences themselves which bodes well for their leader right now; in all likelihood they will remain hired guns of The Authority and a high profile return bout with Reigns is all but guaranteed. After all, they do need to throw further obstacles in the path of Reigns as they pave the way to the inevitable showdown between he and Triple H. Sheamus may be showered with chants of “You look stupid” but in my view, he was anything but this time around.

Intercontinental Championship:

Kevin Owens
Date Won: 9/20/15
Event: Night of Champions 2015
Won From: Ryback
Date Lost: 12/14/15
Event: TLC 2015
Lost To: Dean Ambrose
Days Held: 84
Successful Defenses: 23
Ranking: Tied with “The Texas Tornado” Kerry Von Erich for the 50th longest reign in history

Notable recent defenses:

TV&PPV: None

Live Events: On 12/5 and 12/6 Owens retained via DQ losses against Dean Ambrose


Overall, I found this to be a respectable reign for Owens with his first piece of championship glory. Save for one week where he was absent due to illness, the Canadian standout was a regular fixture on Raw & Smackdown in some capacity and never failed to garner attention for himself and the IC Title he proudly wore. There was the misstep of looking like a dope when he failed to even remotely attempt to assault The Lunatic Fringe for throwing soda & popcorn in his face but otherwise, he was simply a hardened warrior who went out there to simply win and provide for his family; this was not unlike his run on top in NXT.

Based on last night’s Raw, Owens looks to remain on the hunt to reclaim his title from newly crowned champion Ambrose (their TLC encounter was a very solid match in my view). We received a glimpse of the old Owens who didn’t just walk away from fights as he marched down to ringside and subsequently laid waste to both Ambrose and his opponent Dolph Ziggler. His change in mannerisms continued backstage with Eden, quietly but menacingly declare he would not rest, nor would Ambrose, until the IC Title was firmly back around his waist. That type of presentation is one I hope continues to grow and evolve as I fully believe Owens has main event level potential all the way to a World Title. There had been some chatter of a showdown with Brock Lesnar (something KO himself has stated he’d love to see happen) and if the cards were played correctly, there isn’t any reason why it could not happen eventually.

In the mean time, I am completely invested in a long-term Owens vs. Ambrose feud. The one element that would greatly boost its importance is increased promo time for both. They can captivate audiences every time they speak so that should be strengthened and made into a cornerstone of their conflict. The match quality will always be there but for either one to continue on their ascension, the extra flavors they bring to the table need to be dropped into the proven recipe of successful duel elevation of talent and championships. I look forward to seeing where this goes!

United States Championship

Alberto Del Rio
Date Won: 10/25/15
Event: Hell In a Cell 2015
Won From: John Cena
Days Held: 51
Successful Defenses: 12
Current Ranking: Tied with John “Bradshaw” Layfield for the 80th longest reign in history

Notable recent defenses:

-TLC 2015 (12/13/15)
d. Jack Swagger (Chairs Match)

Live Events:

On 12/12, Del Rio successfully retained over Swagger in Lewiston, ME.


While The League of Nations doesn’t quite draw comparison to the nWo, it’s safe to say many would point to it as an upgrade in associates for ADR. The company finally realized that the “MexAmerica” concept had no juice and pulled the plug on his partnership with Zeb Colter just prior to the TLC PPV.

Immediately, in my view, Del Rio’s presentation also saw an upgrade. He seemed more at ease both solo and running with the likes of Sheamus, Rusev, and King Barrett. It brought focus back onto the really solid in-ring outings he’s been having since his return in late October. Though nobody believed Swagger stood a chance of taking the US Title, they still went out and had a hard hitting physical match, Greatly helping was the fact Del Rio won in strong fashion and did so clean as a sheet; normally a heel cheating to hold onto a title isn’t necessarily a bad thing but when nearly every other heel is doing so, the concept is greatly watered down. In this instance, ADR came off the most credible he’s looked since taking the title from Cena. As is the case with someone like Kevin Owens, Del Rio will always bring his A game into each high profile match but the key to getting the most out of his reign lies with presentation. The Swagger program suffered from The Real American being largely absent from television and making it difficult for fans to fully invest in him as a serious challenger.

And nowhere greater is presentation key than the immediate future. While the next night on Raw ADR paired up with Rusev to defeat Swagger&Ryback, the return of John Cena looms over him and eventually the two will collide once more. Thus, I believe it is vital they continue to enhance Del Rio’s television profile and supply him with as many credible challengers and victories. That way if Cena does reclaim the US Title as many expect him to, in theory such a victory would go beyond the usual “Cena wins again” reaction that is likely to be garnered.

After that? Depending on how the latter scenario plays out, it is feasible Del Rio could see a return to the World Title scene. Roman Reigns is going to need as many strong heels as possible to build his title reign against and he could fit the bill if they want him to. There is plenty of room for potential growth and it will be an interesting case to follow and study. Alberto left behind a lucrative opportunity to be a huge mega babyface for AAA and Lucha Underground for a shot at WWE redemption. Will that be attained or will we be looking at his latest run and going “Well at least he’s getting paid a ton”?

WWE Tag Team Championships

New Day
Reign #: 2
Date Won: 8/23/15
Event: Summerslam 2015
Won From: Defeated The Prime Time Players, Lucha Dragons, and Los Matadores (Fatal Four Way)
Days Held: 114 days
Successful Defenses: 35
Current Ranking: 54th longest reign in history

Notable recent defenses:


-TLC 2015 (12/13/15)
d. The Usos and Lucha Dragons (Triple Threat Ladder Match)

Live Events:

On 12/4-12/6, they successfully defended against The Dudleys&Lucha Dragons in Triple Threat matches as well as on 12/12.


Horns up! As far as all current champions go, New Day are the complete package in this author’s opinion.

As in-ring talent, they blazed their own trail of Ladder Match history as they not only stole the show but retained their titles in an epic, thrilling opening contest. It didn’t hurt that The Usos and Lucha Dragons are also among the most talented members of both the tag team division and the roster in general. It went a long way in showing that if effort is put into showcasing champion and challenger in a way an audience anticipates it, the end result will more often than not lead to increased interest in both. That is the very lifeblood of a championship reign.

Just as important is the growing fact that Kofi Kingston, Big E, and Xavier Woods have grown into a trio that move the needle on all fronts. Whether they’re throwing their own anniversary jamboree, hosting Thanksgiving on Smackdown, or presenting classic theater of cats in trees, New Day can be called upon and relied on to create a memorable segment. One could argue that some of those skits are a little too long in running time but the flip side of that is I’d rather see them allowed to showcase their natural charisma than be faceless, voiceless champions just going through the motions. I promise that if their promo time were to be cut back, many would voice disapproval in a heartbeat.

In addition, they’ve also shown to be merchandise sellers; Who here would’ve ever imagined that they’d read articles detailing how a Unicorn horn sold out at an arena? None I say! True stars can take anything and get it popular enough that the audience wants a piece of it. Don’t believe me? Head on over to the WWE Network and revisit Mick Foley’s journey into incorporating a sock puppet into his character. .The same can be said for the purveyors of positivism . Woods alone has raised awareness of how cool it is to play a trombone while Big E’s dance moves are sure to leave an impression on anyone that bares witness to them.

Coming off Raw, it would appear their issues with The Usos and Dragons are far from finished and I see no problem with that at all. If done correctly, the feud could wind up being pointed at as the modern day Dudleys vs. Hardys vs.Edge&Christian, an amazing feat in this day and age for tag teams. I would love for their title reign to last until Wrestlemania for two reasons; One it would be a great chase for Jimmy & Jey (who I expect to eventually topple them) and two, what an amazing sight it’d be in Dallas to see nearly 100,000 people engage in a clapping extravaganza declaring what we all know deep down: New Day ROCKS.

Divas Championship:

Date Won: 9/20/15
Event: Night of Champions 2015
Won From: Nikki Bella
Days Held: 86
Successful Defenses: 13
Current Ranking: 44th reign longest in history

Notable recent defenses:


-TLC 2015 (12/13/15)
d. Paige

Live Events:

On the three day tour of 12/4-12/6, Charlotte also turned back the challenge of Paige.


Consistency. Boy is that ever the biggest issue hampering the women’s division right now. Who would’ve thought that in the post-Bella era, the exact same issue of “Who is the face, who is the heel?” would be even worse than it was during that time period? There really is no excuse for this to be the case and it proves the point of former creatve team member Kevin Eck that Vince McMahon and his team only look at their women as catty bitches that do nothing but complain and fight amongst themselves.

In just the short time span between the debut of this feature and this week’s, Charlotte went from someone who had her brother’s passing mentioned in disgusting fashion to suddenly acting more like her father and cheating her ass off to win matches. Paige went from the vile person invoking said passing to being proven correct about Charlotte but never changing her own behavior either.

The level of poor presentation was on full display when neither of them came off the least bit likable in the Miz-TV segment that preceded their TLC encounter; it carried over into the match itself where the live crowd treated both as heels and were quiet at key points during it. The effort was there, both worked hard but who wants to devote time and interest in people with no redeemable qualities at present time?

There is no doubt that since being officially linked to her famous father that Charlotte has more presence and comfort since her main roster debut. The key is whether or not creative will fully commit to the new wrinkle in her persona or will it be switched again minus an organic bridge to it? Currently she’s in the thick of an angle with Becky Lynch who is uncertain whether or not she approves of the new Charlotte. Not exactly the best of stories but it could lead to an awesome match down the line of which I do not argue against. For that to reach its full potential, Becky has to be shifted from unassuming goof to fully aware and thinking babyface who will stop at nothing to bring down her former BFF corrupted by championship glory. It can be done, but will it?

Also lurking in the title scene is Sasha Banks. During the Paige vs. Charlotte conflict, Banks has quietly racked up several key victories (including one over Lynch in a very good TLC KIckoff match) and an increased presence on TV. However she is being hampered by the same wishy-washy presentation as the others; clearly treated as face by audiences but still linked to Team B.A.D. This issue, unless altered, will always take away from the awesome matches we know these ladies capable of delivering and the crowds giving them the reactions they more than earned in NXT. I get the sense people are still hopeful that we see those classics revisited on a grander stage but their patience will only last so long. The ball is in your court, WWE.

Agree or disagree with anything I’ve written? Let your voice be heard. Hit me up on Twitter (@RandomStormGuy) for full discussions! Thanks for reading and I will see you all back here in 2016 following the Royal Rumble!

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