If you’re thinking that TLC has come around really quickly then you’re not alone; it literally feels like Survivor Series was last week but, one again, the WWE sure left it to the last minute to put together a meaningful card. As a result, a lot of the matches here have stipulations that don’t really fit the level the feuds are at but, the WWE has a schedule, dammit, and they have to stick to it!
Anyway, since Survivor Series, Brock Lesnar has, unsurprisingly, decided to take the rest of 2019 off so Raw’s focus has shifted instead to Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens; Rollins has taken on a whining, self-righteous heel persona and allied himself with the Authors of Pain while Owens has became a man-of-the-people-style babyface. I still find Owens as a face really weird, like it’s all a ruse or something, and could easily see him and Rollins as a heel tag team or as part of a heel stable. Regardless, no actual match ahs been announced between these two yet, kind of making you wonder what the point of it all was, but I fully expect something to happen at the show.
Similarly, over on Friday Night SmackDown, Daniel Bryan’s issues with the Fiend, Bray Wyatt, led to him being pulled under the ring, presumably having his hair or beard torn out, and then disappearing from television. The focus then shifted, oddly, to the Miz challenging Bray so we have two guys (Owens and Miz) who are far better as heels now portrayed as faces. Also, I find it weird that no one directly challenges Wyatt for the Universal Championship; instead, he targets someone and then they just…get a title shot. Oddly, Miz is set to face regular old Bray Wyatt, rather than the Fiend, which is something new, I guess.
Still, in the end, the WWE managed to throw together a card, for better or worse, so let’s get down to some predictions…
Did you know that the Viking Raiders are the Raw Tag Team Champions? Because I honestly completely forgot, and it seems like the WWE did as well as, rather than giving them a feud or some kind of reason to be on the TLC card, they’re randomly throwing the big guys out there to issue an open challenge.
Surely the only team that should be answering this challenge is the “best tag team in the world”, the O.C, but I could also see the Street Profits answering the call. Yet, since I am fully expecting the Viking Raiders to win, I’m gonna stick with the O.C. and hope that it leads to an actual program for the champs at some point.
My prediction: The Viking Raiders to win and retain the Raw Tag Team Championships.
Remember when the resident cuckold storyline on Raw revolved around trying to figure out who the father of Maria Kanellis’ baby was? How the hell did we end up here, with this God-awful storyline? I cannot stress enough how much I hate that the WWE constantly throws this roadblocks and obstacles between Rusev and his real-life wife Lana; I don’t think I’ve ever seen a real-life couple have to endure so many cheating and split-up angles before and it’s absolutely disgusting, especially as Lana and Rusev are a natural pairing and Rusev is often at his best with Lana as his mouthpiece.
I am also annoyed that former Impact World Champion Bobby Lashley has been reduced to this dreg of a storyline; these guys should honestly be battling over a World Championship, not squabbling over Lana and having divorce angles on Raw.
As much as Rusev has been mishandled, I have to say that Lashley has been botched since day one I don’t really see how anyone wins as a result of this feud; if Rusev walks away, he’s hardly going to be pushed towards Brock Lesnar (…although that would be fantastic) and if Lashley wins, so what? What’s he going to do, align himself with Rollins and the AOP? The best we can hope for is that Rusev wins and this all gets swept under the rug.
My prediction: Rusev to win.
So, after months of locking himself in a dark room and begging people to challenge him, Aleister Black has decided against having competitive matches against guys like Cesaro and, instead, to focus of decimating Raw’s cruiserweight competitors and, during that angle, the Raw writers apparently remembered that they were pushing Buddy Murphy a while ago and decided to slap him in here (….maybe they’ll remember Cedric Alexander next month?)
Again, this is weird to me because, if you’re Aleister Black and you’re itching for a fight, why not go out and get into a fight! Attack people, interfere in matches, target someone…anything! Ideally, you would target, oh I don’t know, the United States Champion? Maybe? No? Okay then.
Anyway, hopefully this gets Aleister back on track towards…something; he really could spice up the United States Championship division and could have some classic, hard-hitting battles with Drew McIntyre (if the WWE ever bothered to do anything with him) rather than wasting time kicking cruiserweight’s heads off.
My prediction: Aleister Black to win.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship Ladder Match: The New Day (c) vs. The Revival
And, just like that, the Revival have been plugged back into the championship scene, making you question why they had to drop the belts in the first place. Their booking is so disheartening and all over the place that they would probably be better served jumping back to NXT at this point as the WWE clearly have no idea what to do with them.
The WWE actually bothered to address that fact that Kofi Kingston hasn’t seemed too bothered about losing the WWE Championship this past week on SmackDown, which really helped fill that plot hole, but it was too little, too late for me; I honestly cannot believe that Kofi would be happy to be right back where he was before his big run and it seems like a perfect angle to turn him into a bitter, self-obsessed heel but I don’t think we’re ever going to see a turn like that for Kofi.
Anyway, being a ladder match should make for some impressive spots from Kofi and Xavier Woods but I don’t think we’re going to see the belts change hands any time soon as it makes more marketable sense to leave them with the New Day for now until another tag team come sup the ranks.
My prediction: The New Day to win and retain the SmackDown Tag Team Championships.
Yep, that’s right, we’re back to Reigns vs. Corbin only now, Corbin has a crown and slightly different flunkies! Also, we had the hilarious moment the other week where Reigns was handcuffed around the ring post and covered in dog food…
Now, I don’t really hate Corbin like a lot of people; I think he has a great look and some big moves and is a good heel, but he needs to go away for a bit; I think people are tiring of him being shoved down their throats and some time away would be a good thing. Have him lose here and then disappear for a few weeks (or, ideally, until Royal Rumble) and then have him repacked slightly as a an aggressive, paranoid, “fallen king” of sorts; he could redebut with a tag team as his cronies (some new guys from NXT) and get into some six-man feuds with the New Day or something.
But yeah, I think this will be a definitive win for Reigns that will ideally write Corbin of TV for a while and, potentially, give Reigns some momentum to challenge Bray Wyatt if my predictions for the Universal Championship pan out
My prediction: Roman Reigns to win.
A while ago, I talked about how the WWE’s Horsewomen were going to end up in a big four-way mess for all the main roster women’s belts and, once again, the WWE seems to be teasing towards this direction with this match.
Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair have entered into a shaky, mutual respect partnership in recent weeks that has, somehow, led to them getting a title shot against Asuka and Kairi Sane, who have done a relatively decent job staying strong throughout out.
Right now, this is the only women’s match announced for the card (though I expect Bayley will end up facing Dana Brooke or Lacey Evans, who has randomly turned face, it seems) but I think now is the time to get Becky Two belts back in action as the Kabuki’s aren’t really doing much with the belts and then we could get the Sasha Banks vs. Bayley vs. Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair match for all the gold that you just know the WWE is desperate to milk the shit out of.
My prediction: Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair to win and capture the Women’s Tag Team Championships.
So, yeah, there’s been some interesting long-term storyline developments revolving around Bray Wyatt in recent weeks and months; not only did he reference his past with Daniel Bryan but the Miz had directly referenced all of his issues with Bryan as well. It’s interesting to see Miz be this tweener/face as he openly admits to not liking Bryan but also feels compelled to do the right thing (or, at least, oppose Wyatt).
I’m not entirely sure what Miz did to earn a title shot though; as I said, Wyatt simply targets a victim and, by default, they get a title shot, which is pretty weak if you ask me as it would make more sense for faces/guys to want to end Wyatt’s reign of terror and seek him out rather than being targeted but I’m not really going to complain as Wyatt’s Fiend work is so entertaining.
Anyway, I think we’ll see Bryan return with a new look and converted to Wyatt’s cause to cost Miz the match; this will then lead to an extended version of the Bryan/Wyatt and Wyatt/Randy Orton storylines of the past where Bryan seems to be on Wyatt’s side simply to get closer and get another shot. Or it’ll switch the feud to heel Bryan against face Miz while Wyatt feuds with…oh, let’s say, Roman Reigns.
My prediction: Bray Wyatt to win and retain the Universal Championship thanks to Daniel Bryan.
What are your thoughts on this year’s TLC? Do you have your own predictions? Weigh in below and come back next week to see how my predictions turned out.