Who should walk out of the WWE TLC pay-per-view victorious?
On Sunday night, the WWE TLC pay-per-view will take place from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX. This is SmackDown’s third exclusive show since the brand split began in July.
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TLC will be headlined by four title matches, three of which are gimmick bouts. One of, if not all of tables, ladders and chairs should come into use. These objects could decide new champions as the Blue Brand looks to finish out 2016 strong.
AJ Styles vs. Dean Ambrose in a TLC match will headline the show. They are contesting for the WWE World Championship, which originally traded hands back at the Backlash PPV. Who will end the evening by standing tall with the gold?
All this, and other matches, should make for an intriguing night of wrestling. Who will walk out victorious, though?
No Disqualification Match Carmella vs. Nikki Bella
Carmella and Nikki Bella have feuded for the majority of the brand split. This includes Bella winning a match earlier this fall and seemingly ending their program in the process. However, things have picked back up over the past few weeks, and now they’re going to be heading into WWE TLC with seemingly one last match—No Disqualification.
Given that Nikki went over in the first match, one would think that Carmella would win the second round. A third one could then be set up for some time between this Sunday and the Royal Rumble pay-per-view. However, this No DQ bout seems like something that would end the tension between the two sides.
The Princess of Staten Island could move into the SmackDown Women’s Championship picture with a win. However, as seen later in the show, this may not make much sense with how the title match may go. The Fearless One remains a big part of WWE in the media and will probably get a push out of this win. This will put her in the title hunt for the Royal Rumble event in January.
Baron Corbin and Kalisto have been involved on WWE TV for the past 4-5 months. Things got stalled in between, though, since the Lucha Dragon suffered an injury. WWE had made it look like Corbin caused him to be out a few months ago, but this hardly got addressed over the past few weeks.
Instead, heading into WWE TLC, Corbin and Kalisto have simply been interfering in each other’s matches. The Lone Wolf first had his knee injured by the former United States Champion, and then sought his revenge. Chairs were eventually brought into the equation, setting up a match with this object as the focal point.
However, can anyone actually remember a memorable chairs match?
The 2015 version of this bout saw Alberto Del Rio and Jack Swagger battle in one that actually wasn’t bad. Could it be called “memorable”, though? Not quite, because there’s nothing to take away from it that will make fans want to go back and watch.
In 2014, at arguably the worst WWE TLC pay-per-view, Ryback and Kane had a painfully bad chairs match, so bad that Corbin and Kalisto should have no issue topping that.
Based on what we saw on SmackDown, with just one chair shot to the back, the former NXT Tag Team Champion will go down in an instant. He’s much smaller than his counterpart, so if things continue like this on Sunday, then the winner of this should be easy to predict from a booking perspective.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match Heath Slater and Rhyno vs. Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton
While these teams haven’t met before WWE TLC, this is arguably the most intriguing match of the evening.
Despite not being included in the tag team turmoil, Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton undercut American Alpha, who had just won it to seemingly advance to WWE TLC. This led to a match between the two sides on SmackDown, with the new Wyatt Family winning. They will face Heath Slater and Rhyno for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship.
The Wyatt and Orton dynamic has been pretty crisp. They have worked together well for the past five weeks or so, including the Viper doing whatever he can to keep the group’s leader out of harm’s way. This has made Luke Harper suspicious, seemingly not believing the intentions of his “ally”. So, to stay in Wyatt’s good graces, he saved him from taking a spear from Jason Jordan on the Blue Brand’s most recent episode.
Something is going to happen between these three at TLC, whether it’s for the best or worst. It may involve Harper helping Orton and Wyatt win, or him continuing to be reluctant in believing what’s going on. Either way, this should result in the new Wyatt Family winning the tag titles.
As for Slater and Rhyno, they have had a solid three-month reign. They beat the Usos multiple times and fended off the revived Spirit Squad. However, this is one reign that’s ready to come to an end. There are few heel tag teams for Beauty and the Man Beast to target if they walk out winners here. All that’s really left are the Vaudevillains and the Ascension, and neither are getting a title shot anytime soon. Giving the titles to a heel team in Orton and Wyatt would set up fresh programs with the other face duos, including American Alpha, who could eventually go over by beating Orton and Wyatt.
Prediction: Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton defeat Heath Slater and Rhyno to win the SmackDown Tag Team Championship.
Ladder Match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship The Miz (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler
This hasn’t been quite like the Raw Women’s Championship, but the Miz and Dolph Ziggler have traded the WWE Intercontinental Title multiple times. Wasn’t it just two months ago that Ziggler put his career on the line just to win this belt?
This ladder match at WWE TLC should end the lengthy feud between Miz and Ziggler, who have had long programs in the past. They squared off for the same title in 2014 and traded it like a hot potato. While this version of their rivalry has far exceeded that, it may be time to send both superstars in other directions heading into Royal Rumble and WrestleMania season.
Moving Miz and Ziggler away from each other would mean that the A-lister walks out of the show with the belt in hand. It would reboot his “never-ending” title reign, which would be for the best. He did some terrific work as champion throughout the fall. It had to stop, though, when The Showoff needed a win to solidify that he could, you know, actually get a successful pinfall. He went months without claiming victory and needed something to enhance his status as a second-tier babyface on SmackDown.
This ladder match should be a fun one, though, as most of these gimmick bouts seem to be. Miz and Ziggler have good chemistry in the ring too, which should make for a successful showing.
Prediction: The Miz defeats Dolph Ziggler to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship.
Tables Match for the SmackDown Women’s Championship Becky Lynch (c) vs. Alexa Bliss
Becky Lynch and Alexa Bliss have gone head-to-head for the SmackDown Women’s Championship for nearly three months. Their feud did get stalled in October, though, when Lynch went down with an undisclosed injury that caused her to miss the No Mercy pay-per-view. So, these two haven’t actually had the chance to fight on a live special for the belt.
Throughout this, Bliss has shined and risen to the top female heel of SmackDown. Her character work, including the facial expressions, have been phenomenal. Add the in-ring work, which has improved every month, and you have the best villain of the Blue Brand’s women. She is leaps and bounds above Natalya and Carmella, the latter of which has been pretty good herself.
The Irish Lass Kicker’s title reign has been good, but it has been missing something. She’s fiery with her promos, which is great. However, it feels like the Five Feet of Fierce has out-shined her throughout the feud. Add in the referee blunder in their Glasgow, Scotland title match, and it seems like all signs should point to Bliss walking out of WWE TLC with the belt.
Prediction: Alexa Bliss defeats Becky Lynch to win the SmackDown Women’s Championship.
TLC Match for the WWE World Championship AJ Styles (c) vs. Dean Ambrose
AJ Styles and Dean Ambrose will seemingly go to battle for one last time for the WWE World Championship. This could end the three-and-a-half month feud between the two sides, which has been entertaining, provided fun matches, and has seen the introduction (and signing) of James Ellsworth.
Styles is probably bound to retain the title here. His reign has seen him go down a few times to Ellsworth, and probably deserves to have at least one big show defense; the Royal Rumble PPV would fit that description.
However, the finish of this match at WWE TLC could be one that plays out for the rest of December.
Ellsworth is now a WWE Superstar. Given his use on the Blue Brand, it’s going to be in some significant spots, at least, for the time being. This has been as the wing man for Ambrose as he looks to get his second world championship win. How long can this Ambrose-Ellsworth partnership last for, though? Especially if WWE wants to make an extended storyline out of it. These two can only go so far together, and have already gone great lengths with the Chinless Wonder inadvertently costing his friend an opportunity on a handful of occasions.
Well, at WWE TLC, EllsBrose or AmbWorth will come to an end. This time, Ellsworth is going to intentionally cost the Lunatic Fringe the title match and hand Styles the victory. The eventual logic behind this could be that since the Phenomenal One has had such a tough time with the 31-year-old, he chose to recruit and bring him onto his side. A promise could also be made to Ellsworth that both of them would be called the WWE World Champion, which would satisfy the former indie wonder enough to relinquish his world title opportunity. How believable would yet another Styles vs. Ellsworth match be anyway?
This likely causes Styles and Ambrose to go one more round, potentially on an episode of SmackDown before the year ends. The belt would be retained and brought to the Royal Rumble.
Prediction: AJ Styles defeats Dean Ambrose to retain the WWE World Championship.