Classic Match: Kalisto vs. Baron Corbin (Chairs Match), TLC 2016

Albert Ching
source: WWE
WWE’s top underdog took on its ultimate bully at WWE TLC 2016.’s Classic Match series takes a closer look at significant and super cool matches from wrestling history.

In December 2018, Baron Corbin and Kalisto feel like pretty unlikely rivals. Despite both being on RAW, they’re currently in rather different orbits—Corbin went from RAW’s “Constable” to its current “General Manager-Elect,” and Kalisto is one-third of the Lucha House Party, currently vexing The Revival on a weekly basis.

But just two years ago, the two were intertwined in a months-long feud that culminated at TLC 2016, with a very memorable Chairs match
—a remarkably back-and-forth contest between one of WWE’s consummate bullies and one of its prototypical underdogs, with more than a foot of height difference separating them.

First, let’s define what a “Chairs match” is. Well, it’s exactly how it sounds—a match where steel folding chairs are legal, and (hopefully) incorporated into things in an entertaining fashion. TLC pay-per-views frequently include not just the classic Tables, Ladders, and Chairs (TLC) match, but also individual Tables matches, Chairs matches, and Ladder matches. Chairs matches are the least common of the three and don’t exactly have the most illustrious history—which is why what Baron Corbin and Kalisto did on December 4, 2016 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX was special.

The beef between Kalisto and Corbin started when Corbin was responsible for injuring his significantly smaller foe and keeping him out of action for three months. To make matters worse, Corbin attacked Kalisto a month before TLC at Survivor Series, costing him the Cruiserweight Championship due to very little motivation other than being mean. (Some things never change.)

So there were plenty of reasons for things to escalate to Chairs match status. During the match itself, Kalisto quickly took advantage, filling the ring up with chairs as soon as the match started. He was the immediate aggressor in the match, doing things like hitting a dropkick on Corbin while Corbin was seated on a chair and using a chair to launch himself out of the ring onto Corbin. (Is it me, or does “chair” not feel like a real word anymore?)

Unsurprisingly, things quickly turned the way you’d expect, with momentum shifting Corbin’s way and dominating the match, highlighted by Corbin tossing Kalisto onto a collection of chairs on the outside. As the pace slowed dramatically, Corbin took the time to set up chairs in a variety of nefarious ways—which backfired when Kalisto hit a drop toe-hold and sent Corbin face-first into a chair he himself had set up between two corner turnbuckles.

Things escalated in an explosive way when Kalisto hit, as Mauro Ranallo put it, a “seated senton” from the top rope onto Corbin and into two rows of three chairs facing each other, another Corbin-constructed contraption. That led to a two-count which had the crowd thinking that maybe, just maybe, Kalisto would pull off the upset in the luchador David versus “Lone Wolf” Goliath story.

source: WWE

The back-and-forth continued, with both Superstars hitting big moves. Corbin caught Kalisto on an attempted dive to the outside and hit his Deep Six; Kalisto hit a moonsault-with-double-knee-drop on Corbin (or more specifically, on a chair placed on top of Corbin). The latter move got a very, very close two-count—but that ended being as close as Kalisto got to a victory. Corbin hit him with a chair during an attempted top-rope move and then hit the End of Days on a pile of chairs for the win.

After TLC, things didn’t get much easier for Kalisto, who transitioned from being bullied by Corbin to being bullied by Braun Strowman—but luckily, he’s now found allies in Gran Metalik and Lince Dorado as the Lucha House Party. And Corbin has had his ups-and-downs as well since TLC 2016, but now with a neatly-shaved head and a vest, he seems very comfortable in his position as the egomaniacal authority figure on RAW. But he still gets in the ring when he needs to—like in his scheduled match against Braun Strowman (assuming Strowman doesn’t forfeit) at this year’s TLC, on December 16.

You can go back and revisit this match (and the entirety of TLC 2016) on the WWE Network.

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