By Chris Aiken | @lariatrope
Airdate: December 11, 2013
WWE Main Event from Portland was part of the go-home week of programming leading into TLC. Numerous ladders lined the entrance ramp and stood at ringside along with chairs and tables. Likewise, the WWE title and the world title, which will apparently be unified, hung high above over the ring all in a attempt to build towards what WWE would like you to believe is one of the biggest matches in history. Besides the go-home segments and overall hype for TLC, this episode also featured solid wrestling albeit the matches were secondary to the pushing the pay-per-view.
Curtis Axel (with Ryback) beat Dolph Ziggler via pinfall. They locked up and did some simple chain wrestling before running the ropes with both taking a turn at doing a leapfrog. Then, Axel delivered a dropkick and did some taunting. On the next running of the ropes exchange, they each blocked a hiptoss before Ziggler gave Axel a hiptoss and Ziggler got the advantage. Ziggler dropped ten consecutive elbows. Moments later, Ziggler used a flying clothesline. Axel blocked an attempt at the zig zag only to get caught with a dropkick. Ziggler went for the Stinger splash but Axel moved so Ziggler hit the turnbuckles and spilled out to the floor similar to the Ray Stevens up-and-over bump.
After a commercial break, Axel had Ziggler grounded with a crossface. Ziggler attempted a comeback and Axel cut him off with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Axel talked trash then dropped an elbow smash off the second rope. The announcers (Josh Matthews and Miz) talked a lot about TLC and also discussed the Slammys while seemingly ignoring the match. Axel played a confident cocky heel character that taunted Ziggler during the time he was getting heat on Dolph. Eventually, Ziggler made a comeback and gave Axel a reverse body slam so Axel landed face first. Ziggler punched him repeatedly in the corner. About this point in the match, the announcers started calling the action and lightened up some on the TLC hype.
Axel started to get heat again on Ziggler when Dolph applied a sleeper. Azel was able to break the hold only to take a famouser from Ziggler. Axel cut off Ziggler after he climbed up the turnbuckles and Axel gave Ziggler a fisherman’s buster suplex (Perfectplex) off the top rope. Shortly thereafter, Ziggler used a swinging DDT and Ryback jumped on the apron. The distraction allowed Axel to use the hangman’s facebuster for the pin. So, the great momentum being built throughout the match ends with a distraction finish. That is typical WWE booking but whatever happened to heels winning by cheating in a manner besides the often used distraction? On commentary, Miz called the win a “cheap victory” for Axel. The finish was indeed cheap.
Natalya beat Alicia Fox via submission. While the announcer plugged the TLC unification match, they also managed to mention Nattie is challenging AJ Lee for the divas title at the PPV. They also talked about Natalya being on some sort of reality show you may all be familiar with. The match itself was far from a Dory Funk Jr. vs. Jack Brisco classic, but it was decent enough for what it was and the announcers actually called some of the action in between plugging the PPV. Nattie smiled a lot and used a lot of reversals at the outset. The crowd seemed fairly indifferent until Natalya did a nip up and walked into a big boot from Alicia. The crowd began to get behind Natalya as Alicia applied a head scissors. Fox used a northern lights suplex and applied another headscissors. Nattie got a nearfall with a tilt-a-whirl into a crossbody. Natalya made a comeback but missed a charge in the corner. Alicia did a sunset flip but Natalya rolled through and applied the sharpshooter for the pin.
R-Truth & Xavier Woods beat Brodus Clay & Tensai (with Cameron & Naomi). Clay acted like a heel throughout the match. Xavier started the match on fire against Tensai until getting cut off. Clay got heat on him until Woods made the hot tag. R-Truth tagged in and hit a missile dropkick off the top rope. Before a commercial, Truth did a plancha but Tons of Funk caught him and Woods did a flip dive over the ropes on to the floor to knock down all three.
After the break, Clay got heat on Truth and knocked Woods off the apron at one point. Tensai tagged in and got some heat as well but did not work as a heel like Clay had beforehand. Clay applied a nerve hold that would make the Great Kabuki proud. Truth made a comeback and got a hot tag. Woods used his “honor roll” move and escaped a powerbomb. Clay caught Woods with a T-bone suplex but not before Woods tagged Truth. After the suplex, Truth used a rollup for the pin. Afterwards, Clay attacked Truth and gave him a body slam. Tensai got in Clay’s face and they had a shoving match before Clay left the ring looking like a complete heel.