The TLC match is a variation of a ladder match, which is modified to co-emphasize two other weapons: tables and chairs. The goal is to acquire the item (usually championship belts) which starts the match suspended above the ring. A TLC match can be seen as a more complicated ladder match, where tables and chairs, along with ladders, can also be used as legal foreign objects.
Another TLC match that could also exist as a variation of a hardcore match, where tables, ladders, and chairs can also be used as legal foreign objects, but the only way to win this variation of the TLC match is by pinfall or submission. TLC matches are often notable for the high physical demands placed on the participating wrestlers and how much object carnage they produce- one particular spectacle that developed from these matches, particularly when more than 2 wrestlers were involved was the war-zone like scene where barely mobile wrestlers, ladders, chairs, pieces of destroyed tables and other debris would be strewn everywhere in and around the ring.
The match originates around the tag teams of The Dudley Boyz, The Hardy Boyz, and Edge and Christian. The particular weapons of tables, ladders and chairs were seen as unique to each team's style. The Hardys were seen as high-flying daredevils with a penchant for using ladders, the Dudley Boyz would often use tables as weapons, and Edge and Christian became notable for using steel chairs in tandem against opponents.
World Wrestling Federation created and adapted the matches to make it known today as a TLC match. The idea of the TLC match in WWF had its origins in a tag team ladder match for the managerial services of Terri Runnels between Edge and Christian and The Hardy Boyz (Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy), at No Mercy 1999, with the audience giving all four wrestlers a standing ovation at the end of the match. The move catapulted both tag teams to the top of the tag team world. The following months had The Hardy Boyz face The Dudley Boyz, (Bubba Ray Dudley and D-Von Dudley) at the Royal Rumble 2000, in a violent and chaotic tag-team Tables match, where ladders and chairs were used as much as tables- had similar success.
The three teams would be known for their three respective foreign objects, as well as the hardcore wrestling styles associated therein: the Dudley Boyz often Powerbombed or Death Dropped their opponents through tables during or after matches; the Hardy Boyz, in singles matches, challenged main-event singles wrestlers (such as The Undertaker) in ladder matches, considered at that time to be the "signature match" of the team (as they were both high-flyers, they specialized with high spots, and doing them off the top of ladders amplified their effectiveness), while Edge and Christian developed the "con-chair-to", which involved the two hitting an opponent's head simultaneously, on opposite sides, with chairs. Eventually, the three teams were brought together in a triangle ladder match at WrestleMania 2000, in what was the forerunner of the TLC in terms of the spots involved (tables were involved in some of the major spots, even though it was technically a ladder match).
The first official TLC match was contested between these three teams using the weapons that they had made famous at SummerSlam 2000. These matches frequently involved members of these three teams, and are largely remembered for the dangerous stunts, object destruction, chaotic pace, injuries and length. The second TLC match happened at WrestleMania X-Seven the following year, which also sprung the infamous Swanton bomb off a 16-ft ladder by Jeff Hardy on Rhyno and Spike Dudley, Lita hitting Spike Dudley with a brutal chair shot to the head, Christian and D-Von Dudley hanging 20 feet in the air from where the belts were, Bubba Ray Dudley and Matt Hardy jumping off a toppling ladder and crashing through 4 stacked tables on ringside after the ladder was toppled over by Rhyno, and perhaps most famously of all- Edge spearing a hanging Jeff Hardy by jumping off a 20-ft ladder. These matches involved the three aforementioned teams, with each having Edge and Christian winning. TLC III on the May 24, 2001 episode of SmackDown! saw the tag team of Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit defend their tag team championship against the usual other three tag teams. After TLC I and II, both of which turned out to be highly frenetic, chaotic and destructive matches- TLC III and every subsequent TLC match were toned down to reduce the high risks and dangers they posed.
In the fourth TLC match on the October 7, 2002 episode of Raw, four tag teams had drawn, as a result of "Raw roulette" (where the match type of every match of the card was determined by spinning a wheel), a TLC match. The match saw defending champions Kane and The Hurricane putting their World Tag Team titles up against the teams of Christian and Chris Jericho, Bubba Ray Dudley and Spike Dudley, and Jeff Hardy and Rob Van Dam. Being the veterans that they were to the match itself, general manager Eric Bischoff allowed Hardy, Christian and Dudley to choose their own partners, as their former partners Matt Hardy, Edge, and D-Von Dudley were unavailable as SmackDown! wrestlers.
On the January 16, 2006 episode of Raw, WWE held its fifth TLC match, the first in over three years. Edge, who was in his fourth TLC match successfully defended his WWE Championship against Ric Flair, who was in his first ever Ladder match of any kind. It was the first TLC match to be held in singles competition and the first to have the WWE Championship on the line. TLC VI at Unforgiven 2006 saw John Cena winning the WWE Championship from Edge. TLC VII was held at One Night Stand 2008 saw Edge winning the vacant World Heavyweight Championship, defeating The Undertaker and (kayfabe) banishing him from WWE. TLC VIII at SummerSlam 2009 saw CM Punk winning the World Heavyweight Championship from TLC veteran Jeff Hardy. This marked the first time Jeff Hardy had participated in a singles TLC match.
In December 2009, WWE introduced TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs as a new pay-per-view event, which included a tables match, a ladder match, a match in which chairs were legal as weapons and, as the main event, a TLC match. TLC IX in the 2009 event pitted Chris Jericho and The Big Show against D-Generation X (Triple H and Shawn Michaels) for the Unified WWE Tag Team Championship. This was the first TLC match to not include any member from the three original teams.
A year later, at TLC 2010, the TLC match, for the first time, was a fatal four-way. The match pitted Edge, Kane, Rey Mysterio and Alberto Del Rio against each other for the World Heavyweight Championship. In the end, Edge won the title. This was also Edge's seventh and last TLC match because of his retirement in early April the following year.
The next year at TLC 2011, CM Punk defended his WWE Championship in a first-ever triple threat TLC match against Alberto Del Rio and The Miz. Punk retained the championship, and this marked the second time that all three competitors had competed in a TLC match.
At TLC 2012, The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns) fought Ryback and Team Hell No (Kane and Daniel Bryan). This was the first TLC match to contain teams of three and was the first TLC match for everyone involved except Kane. It was the first TLC match decided by pinfall or submission and the first in which all the weapons would have to be retrieved from under the ring.
At TLC 2013, WWE Champion Randy Orton defeated World Heavyweight Champion John Cena in a TLC match for both the WWE and World Heavyweight titles. Orton won to become the first WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
At Extreme Rules (2014), a "WeeLC match" was contested between El Torito and Hornswoggle, the first TLC match to involve midget wrestlers and the second to be decided by pinfall or submission. The tables, ladders and chairs that the midget wrestlers used in this match were far smaller than the normal sized tables, ladders and chairs.
TLC 2017 marked the 20th TLC Match. Originally scheduled to feature the reunited Shield (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns) against the team of The Miz, Braun Strowman, Kane and Cesaro and Sheamus, Reigns was removed from the match due to a legitimate illness. Kurt Angle replaced Reigns, making the match Angle's first in WWE since 2006. This was the first handicap TLC Match and the fourth decided by pinfall or submission.
On the December 10, 2018 episode of Raw Seth Rollins defended the Intercontinental Championship in a TLC match against Baron Corbin. A few days later, TLC 2018 marked the first women's TLC Match, as Becky Lynch lost the WWE SmackDown Women's Championship to Asuka in a match also involving Charlotte Flair. Also, Braun Strowman defeated Baron Corbin in a TLC Match, thereby earning a WWE Universal Championship match at the Royal Rumble and stripping Corbin of all authoritative power.
|1||Edge and Christian (c) defeated The Hardy Boyz (Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy) and The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray Dudley and D-Von Dudley)||Triple threat tag team TLC match for the WWF Tag Team Championship||SummerSlam||August 27, 2000||Raleigh, North Carolina||14:51|
|2||Edge and Christian defeated The Hardy Boyz (Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy) and The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray Dudley and D-Von Dudley) (c)||Triple threat tag team TLC match for the WWF Tag Team Championship||WrestleMania X-Seven||April 1, 2001||Houston, Texas||15:53|
|3||Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit (c) defeated Edge and Christian, The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray Dudley and D-Von Dudley) and The Hardy Boyz (Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy)||Fatal 4-way tag team TLC match for the WWF Tag Team Championship||WWF SmackDown||May 24, 2001||Anaheim, California||21:00|
|4||Kane (c) defeated The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray Dudley and Spike Dudley), Christian and Chris Jericho, and Jeff Hardy and Rob Van Dam||Fatal 4-way tag team TLC match for the World Tag Team Championship||WWE Raw Roulette||October 7, 2002||Las Vegas, Nevada||25:08|
|5||Edge (c) defeated Ric Flair||Singles TLC match for the WWE Championship||Raw||January 16, 2006||Raleigh, North Carolina||16:40|
|6||John Cena defeated Edge (c)||Singles TLC match for the WWE Championship||Unforgiven||September 17, 2006||Toronto, Ontario, Canada||25:28|
|7||Edge defeated The Undertaker||Singles TLC match for the vacant World Heavyweight Championship; since Undertaker lost, he was forced to leave WWE||One Night Stand||June 1, 2008||San Diego, California||23:50|
|8||CM Punk defeated Jeff Hardy (c)||Singles TLC match for the World Heavyweight Championship||SummerSlam||August 23, 2009||Los Angeles, California||21:34|
|9||D-Generation X (Triple H and Shawn Michaels) defeated Jeri-Show (Chris Jericho and Big Show) (c)||Tag team TLC match for the Unified WWE Tag Team Championship||TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs||December 13, 2009||San Antonio, Texas||22:32|
|10||The Miz (c) defeated Jerry Lawler||Singles TLC match for the WWE Championship||Raw||November 29, 2010||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||11:52|
|11||Edge defeated Kane (c), Alberto Del Rio and Rey Mysterio||Fatal 4-way TLC match for the World Heavyweight Championship||TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs||December 19, 2010||Houston, Texas||22:47|
|12||CM Punk (c) defeated The Miz and Alberto Del Rio||Triple threat TLC match for the WWE Championship||TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs||December 18, 2011||Baltimore, Maryland||18:25|
|13||The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns) defeated Team Hell No (Kane and Daniel Bryan) and Ryback||Six-man tag team TLC match||TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs||December 16, 2012||Brooklyn, New York||22:46|
|14||CM Punk (c) defeated Ryback||Singles TLC match for the WWE Championship||Raw||January 7, 2013||Tampa, Florida||18:52|
|15||Randy Orton (c - WWE) defeated John Cena (c - World)||Champion vs. Champion TLC match to unify the World Heavyweight Championship & WWE Championship||TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs||December 15, 2013||Houston, Texas||24:36|
|16||El Torito defeated Hornswoggle||WeeLC match||Extreme Rules||May 4, 2014||East Rutherford, New Jersey||10:53|
|17||Bray Wyatt defeated Dean Ambrose||Singles TLC match||TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs||December 14, 2014||Cleveland, Ohio||26:58|
|18||Sheamus (c) defeated Roman Reigns||Singles TLC match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship||TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs||December 13, 2015||Boston, Massachusetts||23:58|
|19||AJ Styles (c) defeated Dean Ambrose||Singles TLC match for the WWE World Championship||TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs||December 4, 2016||Dallas, Texas||30:50|
|20||The Shield (Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins) and Kurt Angle defeated The Miz, Braun Strowman, Kane and Cesaro and Sheamus||5-on-3 Handicap TLC match||TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs||October 22, 2017||Minneapolis, Minnesota||35:25|
|21||Seth Rollins (c) defeated Baron Corbin||Singles TLC match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship||Raw||December 10, 2018||San Diego, California||24:30|
|22||Braun Strowman defeated Baron Corbin||Singles TLC match; Since Strowman won, he earned a Universal Championship match at the Royal Rumble and Corbin was stripped of all authoritative power; had Corbin won, he would've become the permanent general manager of the Raw brand||TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs||December 16, 2018||San Jose, California||16:00|
|23||Asuka defeated Becky Lynch (c) and Charlotte Flair||Triple threat TLC match for the WWE SmackDown Women's Championship||21:45|
|24||King Corbin defeated Roman Reigns||Singles TLC match||TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs||December 15, 2019||Minneapolis, Minnesota||22:20|
|25||The Kabuki Warriors (c) defeated Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair||Tag team TLC match for the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship||26:00|
|Baron Corbin/King Corbin||1||3|
|Rob Van Dam||0||1|
|Alberto Del Rio||0||2|
|Bubba Ray Dudley||0||4|
In other promotions, the TLC match has quite the following, appealing to a niche market within professional wrestling. Predating the TLC matches, two "Tables and Ladders matches" took place. These were traditional matches won by pinfall or submission, not by climbing the ladder for the belts. However, the term "TLC" itself was trademarked by WWE, thus other promotions give different names to these types of matches despite having an identical setup. In more hardcore-style promotions, the chairs were often replaced, or were used alongside, chains. One example of a variation of the TLC match is the Tables, Ladders, Chairs, and Canes match. This match is a TLC match with the addition of Singapore Canes. The first and only TLC match was at Guilty as Charged on January 7, 2001 at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York, New York, involving Steve Corino, Justin Credible, and The Sandman.
|1||The Eliminators (Perry Saturn and John Kronus) (c) defeated Sabu and Rob Van Dam||Tag team Tables & Ladders match for the ECW World Tag Team Championship||CyberSlam||February 22, 1997||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||20:40|
|2||Sabu defeated The Sandman||Tables & Ladders match||November to Remember||November 30, 1997||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||20:55|
|3||The Sandman defeated Steve Corino (c) and Justin Credible||Three-way Tables, Ladders, Chairs, & Canes match for the ECW World Heavyweight Championship||Guilty as Charged||January 7, 2001||New York, New York||13:20|
|Rob Van Dam||0||1|
TNA Wrestling used a variation of the TLC match called Full Metal Mayhem as a bout between Jeff Hardy and Abyss at Against All Odds 2005. The added stipulation to the match was that "anything metal is legal", which also included Abyss's trademark chain and bag of tacks.
Abyss defeated Jeff Hardy by climbing the ladder to retrieve a contract for a shot at the NWA World Heavyweight Championship on a future episode of TNA Impact!. Abyss was never granted such title shot, and the story was retconned to state he lost his title shot to A.J. Styles at Lockdown, even though the shot Styles won was used at Hard Justice and not on Impact!, though Abyss would later get title shots at Slammiversary and No Surrender that year.
TNA used the "Full Metal Mayhem" match again at Sacrifice 2006 on May 14, 2006 when Abyss went one on one with Christian Cage for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. Cage defeated Abyss to retain the championship.
It made its third appearance at Victory Road in 2008, in a 6-man tag team match featuring Christian Cage, A.J. Styles and Rhino against Kurt Angle and Team 3D, where Angle pinned Styles to win the match for his team.
TNA held the fourth "Full Metal Mayhem" match at Bound for Glory 2009, in which four tag teams (The British Invasion, Team 3D, Scott Steiner and Booker T and Beer Money, Inc.) competed for both the TNA World Tag Team Championship and the IWGP Tag Team Championship. The British Invasion grabbed the TNA World Tag Team Championships whilst Team 3D got the IWGP Tag Team Championships.
On December 5, 2010, at Final Resolution, The Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin) defeated Generation Me (Max and Jeremy Buck) to successfully retain the TNA World Tag Team Championship in the fifth "Full Metal Mayhem" match.
The seventh edition of the Full Metal Mayhem match occurred on the April 11, 2013 edition of Impact Wrestling. It is the first such match not aired on pay-per-view and also the first Full Metal Mayhem match to decide the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. Jeff Hardy was challenging for Bully Ray's championship in a rematch from Lockdown (2013). Ray was victorious after sending Hardy through a table from atop the ladder and claiming the belt.
The November 7, 2013 edition of Full Metal Mayhem match was decided by "The Wheel of Dixie", a roulette that determined the match type for all participants in the qualifying tournament for TNA World Heavyweight Title. On November 7, 2013, Jeff Hardy pinned Chris Sabin to win the first round bout.
|1||Abyss defeated Jeff Hardy||Full Metal Mayhem match for a shot at the NWA World Heavyweight Championship on a future episode of TNA Impact!.||Against All Odds||February 13, 2005||Orlando, Florida||15:21|
|2||Christian Cage (c) defeated Abyss||Full Metal Mayhem match for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.||Sacrifice||May 14, 2006||Orlando, Florida||26:01|
|3||Team 3D (Brother Ray & Brother Devon) and Kurt Angle defeated Christian Cage, Rhino and A.J. Styles||Six-man tag team Full Metal Mayhem match.||Victory Road||July 13, 2008||Houston, Texas||15:55|
|4||The British Invasion (Brutus Magnus & Doug Williams; IWGP) and Team 3D (Brother Ray & Brother Devon) defeated The Main Event Mafia (Booker T & Scott Steiner; TNA World) and Beer Money, Inc. (James Storm & Bobby Roode)||Four team Full Metal Mayhem match for the TNA World Tag Team Championship and the IWGP World Tag Team Championship.||Bound for Glory||October 18, 2009||Irvine, California||17:13|
|5||The Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin) (c) defeated Generation Me (Max Buck & Jeremy Buck)||Tag team Full Metal Mayhem match for the TNA World Tag Team Championship.||Final Resolution||December 5, 2010||Orlando, Florida||16:27|
|6||Rob Van Dam defeated Jerry Lynn||Full Metal Mayhem match.||Bound for Glory||October 16, 2011||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||13:14|
|7||Bully Ray (c) defeated Jeff Hardy||Full Metal Mayhem match for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.||Impact Wrestling||April 11, 2013||Corpus Christi, Texas||17:10|
|8||Jeff Hardy defeated Chris Sabin||Full Metal Mayhem match as a part of the TNA World Heavyweight Championship Qualification Tournament.||Impact Wrestling||November 7, 2013||Cincinnati, Ohio||10:38|
|9||Joseph Park and Eric Young defeated Bad Influence (Christopher Daniels & Kazarian)||Full Metal Mayhem match||One Night Only: Hardcore Justice 3||January 10, 2014||Lowell, Massachusetts||13:37|
|10||The Wolves (Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards) (c) defeated Team 3D (Bully Ray & Devon) and The Hardys (Matt Hardy & Jeff Hardy)||Full Metal Mayhem match for the TNA World Tag Team Championship.||Impact Wrestling||October 8, 2014||Bethlehem, Pennsylvania||27:03|
|10||Dirty Heels (Bobby Roode & Austin Aries) defeated The Wolves (Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards)||Full Metal Mayhem match in match four of Best of Five Series.||Impact Wrestling||June 24, 2015||Orlando, Florida||20:06|
|11||Ethan Carter III (c) defeated Matt Hardy||Full Metal Mayhem match for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.||No Surrender||August 5, 2015||Orlando, Florida||21:02|
|12||Jeff Hardy defeated Matt Hardy||Full Metal Mayhem match||Slammiversary||June 12, 2016||Orlando, Florida||17:08|
|13||Eddie Edwards and Alisha Edwards defeated Davey Richards and Angelina Love||Mixed tag team Full Metal Mayhem match||Slammiversary XV||July 2, 2017||Orlando, Florida||08:30|
|14||The Latin American Xchange (Santana and Ortiz) defeated The Lucha Bros (Fénix and Pentagón Jr.) (c)||Full Metal Mayhem match for the TNA World Tag Team Championship.||Rebellion||April 28, 2019||Toronto, Ontario||20:30|
|15||Rosemary defeated Havok||Full Metal Mayhem match||Rebellion (2020)||April 28, 2020||Nashville, Tennessee||12:26|
|Brother Ray/Bully Ray||3||4|
|Rob Van Dam||1||1|
|Ethan Carter III||1||1|
|1||Octagóncito defeated Mini Abismo Negro (c), Mini Charly Manson, Mascarita Divina, Mini Psicosis, Mini Histeria, Mascarita Sagrada, La Parkita and Mini Chessman||Tag team Tables & Ladders match for the AAA World Mini-Estrellas Championship||Triplemanía XVIII||June 6, 2010||Mexico City, Mexico||09:05|
|2||Electroshock, Heavy Metal (with Charly Montana, Lokillo and Nanyzh Rock) and Joe Líder defeated La Maniarquía (Chessman, Silver Cain and Último Gladiador) (with Jennifer Blake and Maniaquito)||Tables & Ladders match||Triplemanía XIX||June 18, 2011||Mexico City, Mexico||15:42|
|3||Chessman and Averno defeated Los Perros del Mal (Daga and Joe Líder), and Australian Suicide and Argenis||Triple threat tag team Tables & Ladders match for the AAA World Tag Team Championship||Rey de Reyes (2016)||March 23, 2016||San Luis Potosí, Mexico||Unknown|
|4||Johnny Mundo (c) defeated Hijo del Fantasma and Texano Jr||Three-way Tables, Ladders and Chairs match for the AAA Mega Championship, AAA Latin American Championship and AAA World Cruiserweight Championship||Triplemanía XXV||August 26, 2017||Mexico City, Mexico||22:04|
|5||Nuevo Poder del Norte (Carta Brava Jr., Soul Rocker and Mocho Cota Jr.) vs. Los OGT (Chessman, Averno and Super Fly)||Tables & Ladders match for the AAA World Trios Championship||Rey de Reyes (2018)||March 4, 2018||Puebla, Mexico||TBA|
|6||Tessa Blanchard defeated Ayako Hamada, Chik Tormenta, Faby Apache, La Hiedra, Lady Shani and Taya||Seven-woman Tables & Ladders match for the vacant AAA Reina de Reinas Championship||Triplemanía XXVII||August 3, 2019||Mexico City, Mexico||10:32|