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WWE TLC 2019: Results, Daniel Bryan return, match ratings and full recap

WWE ends 2019 with one strange pay-per-view.

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Asuka, Empress of TLC.

WWE

WWE TLC 2019 had a strong start, a solid end but a tragic middle. The final WWE pay-per-view of the decade goes down as one of the strangest in years. But hey, Asuka and Kairi Sane won a main event match at a major show. You gotta take the good with the bad.

Highlights of WWE TLC 2019 include Aleister Black's outstanding match against Buddy Murphy, The New Day versus The Revival in a ladder match and the main event that saw The Kabuki Warriors retain their gold. The lows, however, were very low. Bray Wyatt versus The Miz was fairly painful, and Baron Corbin's TLC match with Roman Reigns was dull. 

The show was devoid of any singles title bouts, and there were strange absences from AJ Styles, Seth Rollins and more. 

Below you'll find all the results, match ratings and details you need to know from WWE TLC.

Asuka and Kairi Sane retain Women's Tag Team Championships

The main event of the show saw The Kabuki Warriors take on Raw Women's Champion Becky Lynch and Charlotte in a mostly good TLC match. The Warriors retained their gold after Asuka climbed a ladder and retrieved the belts. 

These women were put in a tight spot. Asuka and Kairi aren't portrayed as big stars, and the crowd was deflated after three weak matches. It wasn't a great main event, and it suffered from some sloppy wrestling -- Charlotte's attempt at a spear on Kairi went wrong, and a bunch of the chair shots looked weak -- but it was solid.

There were some creative spots, including the Kabuki Warriors tying Lynch to a ladder. Later, Lynch would scale a ladder to get the belts but Asuka would use that same rope, tied around the ladder, to pull Becky away from victory from outside the ring. Curiously, there was little friction between Lynch and Charlotte despite the question of them being able to function as a tag team being the story going into the match.

This marks the second time Asuka has closed a TLC pay-per-view on top, after beating Lynch and Charlotte in a triple threat match last year. She's truly Mrs. TLC. 

Immediately after the match, Roman Reigns and a crew of good guys comes into the arena brawling Baron Corbin and his crew of bad guys. Reigns spears Corbin off a stage and onto assorted good and bad guys to end the show.

Rating: 3.5 stars. 

Bobby Lashley defeats Rusev

Three flat matches in a row. Bobby Lashley beat Rusev in a tables match after Lana jumped on Rusev's back, distracting Rusev and allowing Lashley to spear Rusev through a table. At least, it would have if the table broke. Botched spot, but Lashley recovered quickly and suplexed Rusev through another table to win.

Tables matches are hard at the best of times, because it's difficult to build suspense to a table breaking. A lot of the storytelling in this match also relied on the Rusev/Lana/Lashley story, which sucks.

Rating: 2 stars. Skippable. 

Bray Wyatt defeats The Miz

I don't even know what to say.

Bray Wyatt wrestled as himself and not as The Fiend. No mask, no lantern, just a happy guy. The crowd didn't really know how to react, and was mostly dead. The Miz took a lot of the match, with Wyatt mounting little offense. Miz would hit a move, and Wyatt would laugh or no sell it. 

Then, Wyatt landed a Sister Abigail outside the ring. Miz crawled back inside, where he was put down by another Sister Abigail for the three count. Why did Wyatt wrestle as himself and not The Fiend? Why was the title not on the line? Who knows. Dumb match.

Afterwards, The Fiend appears on the titantron and Wyatt gets the Firefly Funhouse mallet from under the ring. Before he can squash Miz with it, Daniel Bryan returns and lays out Wyatt. Daniel Bryan is shaven, and looks like 2010 Daniel Bryan. 

Rating: 1 star. Confusing, useless match. Seeing Daniel Bryan with a different look was cool. 

Baron Corbin defeats Roman Reigns in a TLC match

Baron Corbin pinned Roman Reigns with the help of Dolph Ziggler and The Revival after a long, long match.

Lot of big spots here. Corbin hits Reigns with a can of dog food and chokeslams him through a table. Later, Reigns crushes Corbin through an announcer's table with a Samoan Drop. Then Dolph Ziggler gets involved. Reigns fights back, killing Ziggler, Corbin and Corbin's bodyguards with a Kendo stick. He's ambushed by The Revival, tries to fight back but is eventually pinned after a Zig Zag, Shatter Machine and End of Days.

Why does Roman Reigns have no friends?

Plodding match. We knew this wouldn't end without a few broken tables and an appearance from Ziggler at least, so everything until the interference just felt like filler. 

Rating: 2 stars.

Viking Raiders draw with The OC

The Good Brothers Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows answer a very corn open challenge by the Viking Raiders. The OC are going by The Best Tag Team in the World thanks to the tournament they won at Crown Jewel, and say they're the only team who have beaten The Viking Raiders.

The match ended in a double count-out, so it looks like WWE is keen to get some more mileage out of this feud. The Viking Raiders beat down Gallows and Anderson afterwards, putting Anderson through a table. 

This match was on the cusp of getting really good, and then it ended with a flat finish. The crowd was upset. 

Rating: 3 stars. Good, was getting very good and then it ended abruptly. 

Aleister Black beats Buddy Murphy

Surprising approximately no one, these two had a fantastic match. It ended after a bloody Aleister Black caught Buddy Murphy with a surprise Black Mass.

Black got a busted nose early, giving the crisp, strike-heavy match an appreciated gritty feel. Black fought from underneath for much of the bout, with the story being that he's not able to breathe properly given his possibly broken nose. Murphy's offense was incredibly tight and often gnarly-looking. 

This match was designed to establish both as promising stars of tomorrow. I question how effective it will be: Black is the one getting a strong spotlight now, and it probably would have been more appropriate for him to wrestle and decisively beat a more established character. But the match itself was a winner.

Rating: 4 stars. 

The New Day retain SmackDown tag titles

Kofi Kingston and Big E beat Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson in a strong opening tag team title ladder match. 

Kingston was absolutely the star of this match. Not only did he snatch the championship belts to win the match for The New Day, his athleticism was the centerpiece of the bout's best moments. He jumped over ladders, onto ladders, onto ladders. He was great.

No strong story throughout the match, but a lot of escalating tit-for-tat big moves between teams. We got a Shatter Machine off a ladder, Big E giving a wicked spear through the middle rope and, later, The Revival crashing Big E through a ladder, breaking it like a table.

The crowd ended up super into the match, booing when The Revival looked poised to win and cheering big for The New Day as they retained the SmackDown Tag Team Championships.

Rating: 3.75 stars. Very strong, though lacking in psychology.

Kick-off show results

Humberto Carrillo pinned Andrade: Carrilo picked up the win with a beautiful top-rope moonsault.