The Tables, Ladders & Chairs match is one of WWE’s most famous – but Jim Cornette doesn’t think they have a place in wrestling!
Born in the summer of 2000 with the seminal first TLC encounter at SummerSlam, the Tables, Ladders, and Chairs stipulation has become one of WWE’s most revered stipulations, so much so that a titular pay-per-view was held annually between 2009 and 2020.
The match is a favourite among wrestling fans, partially due to the acclaimed matches featuring Edge and Christian, The Dudley Boyz, and The Hardy Boyz in the Attitude Era. Jim Cornette, however, isn’t quite a fan, as he detailed on the latest Jim Cornette Experience podcast:
“Then they get into the Ladder matches, and then the Tables, Ladders, and Chairs matches. I like Edge, I like Christian, you know, I have nothing against them. I think Edge would have gotten over as a main event star anyway without the ladders and chairs and tables. I think it would have been easier and quicker had they had anybody booking him to do that or booking anybody to do that in those days, instead of doing all these stunt shows which is what caused us to end up where we are.
They shouldn’t have been allowed to do these matches, the office should have cracked down, Vince [McMahon] should have cracked down, because I mean not only Ladder matches, and Tables, Ladders, [and] Chairs, and then three-team Ladder matches and the pressure to top themselves time and time again that they admitted to. They said, ‘Well, there’s pressure to top it since we got to top ourselves.’
Well, what that led to was not only Edge’s, which we’ll get to, premature retirement and bad neck and years of pain and misery. Jeff Hardy and Matt Hardy ain’t moving like they were when they were spry youngsters. Christian seems to have mostly been spared. I remember one of those ladders with Joey Mercury and Johnny Morrison, didn’t they cave Johnny Nitro’s [Jim means Joey Mercury’s] face in and knock his teeth out and whatever substance abuse problems was led to from these.”
Jim Cornette elaborated, explaining how the match’s correlation to reckless stunt shows that are featured not only in WWE, but also on “every outlaw indie show”:
“I’m not knocking Edge, and I love this show, the whole Ladder match, TLC match to show the guys that he was tough. They didn’t think Edge was tough until he took all those bumps and kept coming. Well, they should have, because he was one of the boys already, for f*ck sake, how childish can we be?
But I just don’t think that Edge and Christian, I’m happy for them because they were a tag team that achieved their real boyhood dreams, not the fake one that Vince gave [Shawn] Michaels, but the real legitimate boyhood dream they had. I just…the tables, ladders, and chairs ,they let the company go too far.
And as a result, now not only is it a staple of every outlaw indie show in the world where somebody’s willing to risk their life for no reward whatsoever, but it’s f*cked up the mainstream wrestling business as well. Because that’s all you see now. Stunts and stipulations and multiple man bullshit, so this is their cross to bear.”
In total, there have been 28 Tables, Ladders, and Chairs matches contested in WWE. They’re typically used for high-profile storylines and, therefore, contested for World Championships. On occasion, though, and particularly in the match’s early history, the likes of the Intercontinental Championship and Tag Team Championships were also defended.
WWE’s latest two TLC matches occurred at the 2020 pay-per-view of the same name. Drew McIntyre and Roman Reigns retained the WWE and Universal Championships over AJ Styles and The Miz, and Kevin Owens, respectively.
Other promotions have since utilised their own take on the TLC stipulation, including ECW and IMPACT Wrestling, the latter of whom uses the moniker of Full Metal Mayhem.