WWE’s Network Special TLC is only a few days away. Featuring somewhat rushed, already built-in angles, this PPV that has the potential to be something special. It also has the chance to be an abomination to the senses.
Thanks to the numerous swerves readily available for the WWE to use (Undertaker cameo, John Cena return, Wyatt Family split, etc.), this show should garner enough interest to force a good portion of the WWE Universe to tune in.
All four SmackDown titles on the line Sunday, we make some predictions for TLC.
Tag Team Championship
Heath Slater and Rhyno (c) vs. Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton
This match remains a non-gimmick bout. While there is still plenty of time for the WWE to drop some random stipulation to the match, there might be a logical case to keep it straight-laced.
More importantly, there’s also the idea of who should — or needs — to come out of this the SmackDown Tag Team Champions. That is a tough nugget to crack, as no one is sure how embedded Orton actually is with The Wyatt Family and if the WWE is invested enough in this version of the faction to keep it moving.
Mind you, all of this is also happening as rumors swirl that Randy wants (re: deserves) time off to be with his newborn baby.
I’m a dad. Dad-logic, which is totally a real thing, says Slater and Rhyno retain — with tomfoolery playing a role in the match — so Orton can go be with his kid.
Winners: Slater and Rhyno
Kalisto vs. Baron Corbin (Chairs Match)
The feud that nobody wanted, which was all set up by Corbin’s need to wallop Kalisto during Survivor Series and Daniel Bryan “punishing” the big man by having him face a wrestler a foot shorter than him. Does any of that make sense? No? Good.
This should be about Corbin going over. Everything since this angle has begun has been about Corbin.
Corbin backstage yelling at Bryan, Corbin interrupting matches and Corbin eventually getting the win.
Poor Kalisto, too. A cruiserweight wrestler on a program without cruiserweights on it. The good news for him, especially if the WWE wants to go all shock and awe, is this would be the match to do it. Thanks to chairs being legal, he can lambaste Corbin with a billion chair-shots to earn the win.
Winner: Baron Corbin
Intercontinental Championship Ladder match
The Miz (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler
It is the feud that will never end. Not that having arguably the best feud of the year go a little long is a bad thing.
Even better, with the promo part out of the way, we get to witness two guys who have been performing at the apex of their in-ring careers do figurative battle in a ladder match — which always has the potential to become worthy of 5 stars.
When Ziggler lost the strap to The Miz, logic said it was done so it wouldn’t be a face vs. face match at Survivor Series. At the time, many were under the assumption the IC strap was moving to Raw, too. Now that we know that’s not the case, it’s hard to see the title changing hands again so quickly.
That’s really it.
Expect a good-to-great match, which should ultimately end this feud, and for The Miz to retain merely because of happenstance. That is, unless the WWE wants to reward The Miz with a main event push.
Winner: The Miz
Nikki Bella vs. Carmella (No-Disqualification Match)
Another feud that feels like it has been going on since Richard Nixon was in office.
Bella is the draw. Carmella can certainly use the rub of going over here, but she’s also not a reality TV star.
What will be interesting to take from this match, considering there’s another women’s bout that has the potential to be spectacular on the same card, is to see what lengths (if any) these two are willing to go to put on a stellar outing.
Winner: Nikki Bella
Women’s Championship Tables Match
Becky Lynch (c) vs. Alexa Bliss
People really like Becky, but if we’re to be honest about it, she’s somewhat underperformed since the brand split. Not all of it is her fault, as she had medical issues, but there really hasn’t been any “wow” moments from her. That’s less than ideal, especially considering how much Raw has been able to do with its ladies since the split.
We should also mention that, from a head-to-head standpoint, Bliss has outperformed Lynch in nearly every single facet. She’s been better on the mic, in the ring and building her character.
To be less polite about it: If Lynch wasn’t so directly tied to the NXT’s women’s revolution (which ended up on the main roster), and beloved for it, she would be met with the same indifference as Carmella. Lynch is not that impactful as a performer in the ring or on the mic.
Give Bliss the title because she’s the better overall performer.
Winner: Alexa Bliss
WWE Championship TLC Match
AJ Styles (c) vs. Dean Ambrose
This has “multiple run-ins” written all over it.
James Ellsworth will undoubtedly show his chinless face at some point, and there are wild rumors that The Undertaker might pop up to lead to a match with Styles at The Royal Rumble.
All of that is just gossip, though. What we do know for sure is that this is probably the last time these two do battle for awhile. After all, they’ve feuded quite awhile now.
Styles retaining makes all the sense in the world, even if only because he’s been made to look iffy by losing to Ellsworth so much.
Winner: AJ Styles