When a Tables Match, a Ladders Match or a Chairs Match just won’t cut it, the next best option is to combine all three elements and engage in a TLC Match. For more than a decade, the Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match has presented itself as one of the most dangerous — and exciting — contests in WWE history.
#10 Edge vs. Kane vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. Rey Mysterio – WWE TLC 2010
Edge’s final TLC Match saw him once again as an innovator of the contest. In addition to competing in both the first-ever TLC Match and its first singles variation, he ushered in a new era at WWE TLC 2010 by meeting Rey Mysterio, Alberto Del Rio and World Heavyweight Champion Kane in the first-ever Fatal 4-Way Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match.
The in-ring style, size and experience of the competitors varied greatly, creating a wild and fast-paced free-for-all that highlighted each Superstar’s sheer ingenuity and resilience. Although it was every man for himself, Edge, Del Rio and Mysterio knew that for a new champion to be crowned, the sheer power of The Big Red Monster had to be suppressed. There were moments throughout the contest that seemed as though no one could outmatch the champion. However, Edge — ever the opportunist — capitalized on the bedlam inside the squared circle. After Mysterio knocked Del Rio off the ladder and through a table, Kane Tombstoned The Ultimate Underdog, but left himself open for Edge to spear the champion off the ring apron and through a table. The Rated-R Superstar then ascended the ladder to claim his 10th World Championship.
#9 Kane & The Hurricane vs. Christian & Chris Jericho vs. Jeff Hardy & Rob Van Dam – Raw, Oct. 7, 2002
On Oct. 7, 2002, former WCW President–turned Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff introduced the ground-breaking Raw Roulette. Kane & The Hurricane were set to defend their World Tag Team Titles against Christian & Chris Jericho, Rob Van Dam & Jeff Hardy and Spike & Bubba Ray Dudley. The Raw Roulette wheel selected a TLC Match, much to the delight of the WWE Universe.
Before the contest, The Hurricane was attacked, leaving The Big Red Monster to defend the titles on his own. In a TLC Match, simply taking out one-half of an opponent’s team doesn't offer much of an advantage when there are three other duos vying for the ultimate tag team prize. As expected, the heart-sinking drops from the wobbly ladders, broken tables and dented steel chairs were all present in one match for the first time on Raw. But Kane rose above the risks of the tag team TLC Match, overcoming the odds and retaining the titles by himself on behalf of his team.
#8 Edge vs. Ric Flair – Raw, Jan. 16, 2006
Following Kane’s victory on the Oct. 7, 2002, episode of Raw, the Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match disappeared for more than three years. Upon its heralded return to Raw Jan. 16, 2006, it seemed almost appropriate that one of the contest’s innovators — Edge — would be featured. Times had certainly changed between 2002 and 2006, though. Edge was now WWE Champion, and tag teams didn’t factor into this TLC Match. Instead, the legendary 16-time World Champion and then–Intercontinental Champion Ric Flair challenged The Rated-R Superstar for the WWE Title in the first-ever singles TLC Match.
Fittingly, the bout occurred from Raleigh, N.C., in the very same arena as the first TLC Match at SummerSlam 2000. It’s certainly understandable why members throughout the WWE Universe may have felt some trepidation about the chaotic match featuring far fewer competitors than ever before. However, those fears were quickly dispelled as two of the ring’s greatest warriors put their bodies on the line for the ultimate prize in sports-entertainment. After an unbelievably brutal contest, The Nature Boy nearly reached his 17th World Title, until Edge — with some outside assistance from Lita — managed to fight back and secure the victory.6, 2006
#7 CM Punk vs. The Miz vs. Alberto Del Rio – WWE TLC 2011
CM Punk’s first TLC Match since he defeated Jeff Hardy at SummerSlam in 2009 came in the midst of his second WWE Title Reign. The stakes for the Second City Saint were a bit different than two years earlier, as he faced The Miz and Alberto Del Rio in the first-ever Triple Threat TLC Match between singles competitors.
The experience factor of all three Superstars definitely heightened the risk of Punk losing the title. Del Rio had been a combatant in the first-ever Fatal 4-Way TLC Match only a year earlier, while The Miz successfully defended his WWE Championship against Jerry “The King” Lawler earlier that year. Further adding to the contest’s allure was the fact that all three competitors were Money in the Bank Ladder Match winners.
The egos of all three Superstars quickly put a halt to any of them joining forces for very long, even though both Del Rio and The Miz knew they had to keep Punk away from the ladder. To succeed, Del Rio had his personal ring announcer, Ricardo Rodriguez, handcuff Punk to a ladder. Punk eventually broke free, only to be handcuffed again by The Miz, this time to the turnbuckle. Yet as The Awesome One and The Mexican Aristocrat climbed toward the WWE Title, The Straight Edge Superstar kept a cool head and resourceful mindset — he unscrewed the turnbuckle to set himself free, then managed to knock both opponents off the ladder and secure the championship.
#6 John Cena vs. Edge – Unforgiven 2006
The bitterest rivalry of 2006 began when Edge cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase and defeated John Cena at New Year’s Revolution, only moments after the Cenation leader’s grueling and successful WWE Title defense inside the Elimination Chamber. The two Superstars battled throughout the year until finally, their animosity toward each other would be settled at Unforgiven. In his backyard of Toronto, Edge chose the TLC Match to defend the WWE Title, and for good reason — not only was he one of the match’s innovators, but he also had more experience competing in it than any other WWE Superstar. In fact, before Sept. 17, 2006, he had never lost in a TLC Match.
Never one to back down from a challenge, Cena faced his arch nemesis fully aware the odds were stacked heavily against him. Despite his lack of experience in such a contest, the Cenation leader’s resilience was a highlight of an evening that saw the two Superstars toss each other off seemingly endless ladders and through tables. As the combatants climbed a ladder and battled toward the WWE Title suspended high above the ring, Cena managed to hoist Edge on his shoulders, and then delivered an Attitude Adjustment off the ladder and through two stacked tables before grabbing his third WWE Title in victory.
#5 Edge & Christian vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. The Hardyz – SummerSlam 2000
The inaugural Tables, Ladders and Chairs Match was initially reserved strictly for tag team competition. As the first bout of its kind, the concept was more suited to the three duos battling it out at The Biggest Party of the Summer. At this point in time, The Hardy Boyz, The Dudley Boyz and Edge & Christian were the three premier tag teams in sports-entertainment. The high-flying abilities of Matt & Jeff Hardy made ladders their forte, D-Von & Bubba Ray Dudley's use of tables was their trademark, and Edge & Christian weren't shy about offering their opponents a solid con-chair-to.
And with that, TLC was born, the World Tag Team Championships were at stake and the three fearless duos changed sports-entertainment forever. Never before — even in the Dudleys’ former extreme stomping ground — had such a chaotic contest taken place. Ladders tipped over, sending already-chair-battered bodies crashing through inside and outside the squared circle. When all was said and done, the WWE Universe’s collective breath was gone, and champions Edge & Christian retained the titles. Though The Rock faced Triple H and Kurt Angle for the WWE Championship later that August evening, the history-rattling TLC Match stole the show.
#4 CM Punk vs. Jeff Hardy – SummerSlam 2009
Jeff Hardy’s decade-long career had reached its highest point in 2009, as he captured both the WWE and the World Heavyweight Titles. It was also the year he faced one of his greatest rivals in CM Punk. The two competitors battled over the World Heavyweight Title all summer — a battle that started at Extreme Rules, when The Second City Saint successfully cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase moments after Hardy won the championship from Edge. Though Hardy had since regained the title, Punk remained hot on his trail, prompting their final confrontation at SummerSlam.
For Hardy — another innovator of the contest — it was his first one-on-one TLC Match, and he faced an agile opponent dead-set on proving he was more than a Money in the Bank opportunist. The match was particularly fierce — not because one Superstar dominated the other with sheer power, but because both competitors demonstrated new levels of reckless abandon throughout the contest. Even as both Superstars crashed through table after table, they showed the resilience worthy only of champions, refusing to allow the broken shards of wood to keep them down.
After a high-risk Swanton Bomb off the top of a ladder sent him straight through an announce table, WWE medical officials carried Hardy away on a stretcher. The Straight Edge Superstar seized the opportunity to climb the ladder, only to be thwarted by his returning opponent. The intensity of the contest proved to be too much for The Charismatic Enigma, however, and Punk fought him off to secure the World Heavyweight Title.
#3 Edge vs. The Undertaker – One Night Stand 2008
The stakes were again enormous for the future WWE Hall of Famer as he headed into One Night Stand June 1, 2008. The vacant World Heavyweight Championship was on the line and the opponent in his sixth TLC Match was the legendary Undertaker. Not only was this The Deadman’s first TLC Match, but it was also his first contest that involved tables, ladders or chairs in any capacity. In addition, SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero added the stipulation that if The Phenom lost, he would be banished from WWE.
As expected, the contest was intense, and each Superstar used every available weapon to his advantage. One of the most jaw-dropping moments of the evening occurred when The Deadman chokeslammed Edge off the ring apron and through a ladder — a fitting highlight that showcased the inherent brutality of the match. Before long, La Familia — Curt Hawkins, Zack Ryder, Chavo Guerrero and Bam Neely — interfered in the match on Edge’s behalf, thus creating a five-on-one scenario for The Deadman.
The Phenom continued to fight, tossing Hawkins and Ryder through tables on the outside and giving Edge a Last Ride through stacked tables. It seemed as though The Undertaker would defy the odds and win the title, but he was simply outmanned. After fending off La Familia, Edge was able to recover and tip the ladder over with The Deadman on top, sending him crashing through tables situated on the outside. The eye-popping fall allowed The Ultimate Opportunist to ascend the ladder and win the World Heavyweight Title.
#2 DX vs. Jeri-Show – WWE TLC 2009
Though the TLC Match was originally designed with tag team competition in mind, by 2009, there had not been a tag match of its kind for nearly seven years. The match had become devoted to WWE and World Heavyweight Title defenses. That changed at the inaugural WWE TLC pay-per-view, when the evening’s only Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match featured then-champions Chris Jericho & Big Show defending against D-Generation X.
Despite all four participants’ decorated careers in all types of stipulated contests, this was the first match of its kind for all involved except Jericho. Big Show’s participation in the battle added a daunting challenge for Triple H and Shawn Michaels, who found themselves chokeslammed through tables and tossed into one another on top of a ladder. Clearly, The World’s Largest Athlete understood the risk of allowing either DX member to climb a ladder, so he began to destroy every one he could find.
With HBK and The Game reeling, Big Show ingeniously hoisted Jericho on his shoulders so that he could reach the titles hanging above. The move also gave DX enough time to recover, though, and HBK hit Big Show with Sweet Chin Music, sending Jericho tumbling onto a table outside the ring. Michaels and The Cerebral Assassin then removed Big Show with half of a broken ladder, allowing Triple H to hold the ladder’s half as Michaels climbed up to secure WWE Tag Team Titles.
#1 Edge & Christian vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. The Hardyz – WrestleMania X-Seven
In the weeks leading up to April 1, 2001, The Dudley Boyz were World Tag Team Champions, with archrivals The Hardy Boyz and Edge & Christian hot on their tail. After the trio’s belief-defying battle at SummerSlam 2000, the only way the three teams could truly settle the score was to meet in a second TLC Match … this time on The Grandest Stage of Them All, which emanated from Houston’s Astrodome.
There could be no possible way for the three daring duos to top their innovative performances in the inaugural TLC Match, right? Not so fast — the second TLC Match is widely regarded by the WWE Universe as the best ever. The stakes were the same, but the stage was much bigger — which, of course, meant more tables and chairs, and much taller ladders.
The second TLC Match surpassed the original in terms of the sheer bedlam that ensued. Jeff Hardy created an unforgettable WrestleMania moment when he hit Rhyno and Spike Dudley — interfering on behalf of Edge & Christian and The Dudley Boyz, respectively — with a diving Swanton Bomb through two tables off a 16-foot-high ladder.
Amazingly, that incredible moment was overshadowed a short time later by Edge. As the battle raged above the squared circle, Jeff Hardy dangled from the hook securing the World Tag Team Titles. The Rated-R Superstar quickly ascended a ladder and proceeded to defy gravity as he speared Hardy to the mat below. The unbelievable maneuver not only forever defined the TLC Match, but also ultimately helped Edge & Christian re-capture the championships.