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WWE TLC (Tables, Ladders & Chairs) takes place at the American Airlines Centre in Dallas, Texas (an arena that I was at earlier this year for WrestleMania) this Sunday evening.
It should be a solid show because most of the matches are based on feuds that have been going on for many months now, and five of the six matches have stipulations, so it feels like a lot of the rivalries are going to end at this show with most performers moving onto new storylines heading into 2017.
I didn’t write previews or random thoughts on Survivor Series or Takeover: Toronto as I was away for my birthday (I turned 30, don’t you know). I have since watched both shows and have very favourable opinions on them both. I would give Takeover: Toronto a 9, Survivor Series a 7.5.
Here is the league table as we head into the final two pay per views of 2016:
1 RIF – 182.5pts
2 Michael – 166.6pts
3 Dan – 160.5pts
4 Joe – 132pts
WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship
Rhyno & Heath Slater © vs. The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt & Randy Orton)
RIF: The Wyatt Family
Joe: The Wyatt Family
Michael: The Wyatt Family
Dan: The Wyatt Family
How many title shots of any kind has Bray actually had? It’s got to be under 10, right? So this is actually kind of a big deal for Wyatt. I think Wyatt and Orton will the titles because there’s something cool about them teaming up whereas Slater and Rhyno aren’t important players on Smackdown. They’ve had a good run, a surprisingly good run, but Slater has had his moment, which ended with him becoming a tag champion and winning a contract on Smackdown, so the time is right to make the title switch.
Whenever I watch Wyatt & Orton I wonder when Orton is going to drop Bray with an RKO. Imagine the pop when that actually happens. I think it will happen in February or March, just in time for WrestleMania season. Plenty of time to go, though.
Kalisto vs. Baron Corbin
RIF: Baron Corbin
Joe: Baron Corbin
Michael: Baron Corbin
Dan: Baron Corbin
I’d be surprised if Kalisto walked away as the winner. Management think highly of Corbin because he’s a bigger guy with main event potential, that’s despite of lack of charisma and a limited in-ring arsenal. There’s rumours circulating that he’ll be facing off against John Cena at the Royal Rumble. I can’t say for certain but, in the meantime, have him stack up some wins and give him an impressing showing at the Royal Rumble, whether that will be in a match with Cena or the Royal Rumble match itself.
Nikki Bella vs. Carmella
Joe: Nikki Bella
Dan: Nikki Bella
This has been a very enjoyable feud. Carmella’s surprise attack on Nikki Bella and subsequent beatdowns at every opportunity are like catnip to me as a wrestling fan: take a generic babyface character similar to everything we’ve seen a thousand times before them and get them instant nuclear heat by taking out a fan favourite. It’s simple, it’s super effective, and it allows even a raw rookie like Carmella to bask in the glow at least temporarily.
They have made the feud feel personal by having Carmella suggest that Nikki is only considered a top woman in WWE because her boyfriend is John Cena. While I think there are some fans that think that is true, Nikki has improved in all areas and did come back from a broken neck, so I do have a lot of respect for Nikki as well.
The no disqualification stipulation is obviously the most important part of this match, and it’s no surprise that such an angle favours the heel in a major way. As long as WWE remembers that Nikki was taken out at Survivor Series, the payoff should be here with Natalya helping Carmella win. It wouldn’t shock me if Nikki does go over, but I think it’s a better story for Carmella to get what would be the biggest win of her career.
WWE Intercontinental Championship
The Miz © vs. Dolph Ziggler
RIF: The Miz
Joe: The Miz
Michael: Dolph Ziggler
Dan: Dolph Ziggler
This has been one of the best feuds of the year and I think both guys deserve the praise. The promos were awesome, the matches were some of the best of either man’s career and I’m glad that it’s coming to an end with this Ladder Match.
I’m finding this hard to predict, I’m not even 100% certain about my pick. Ziggler obviously never got the opportunity to show he could take the title to new heights as this generation’s working champion, whereas Miz is phenomenal in his role and I don’t think needs the title to continue to ascend to the next level. That gives enough reason to pick Ziggler to win the title. However, I think there’s something about having the title that makes Miz just that much more of a big deal, and I think there’s big possibilities and potential for him as champion heading into WrestleMania.
WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship
Becky Lynch © vs. Alexa Bliss
RIF: Becky Lynch
Joe: Alexa Bliss
Michael: Becky Lynch
Dan: Becky Lynch
I haven’t been shy in singing the praises of Alexa Bliss. she has grown on me leaps and bounds lately. She’s comfortable on the mic and her actions and body language are fantastic for the character she’s trying to portray. I’ve got to give praise to Lynch. She shows that passion and fire you’d expect from a babyface, and she portrays it perfectly. She’s looks comfortable in her role as Women’s champion. I’m cool with either woman winning because it would give Bliss a lot of momentum to hold a title this early in her main roster career. I just think it’s more important for Lynch to help establish that Smackdown Women’s Title as an important commodity, not play hot potato with it like they’re doing on Raw. In order to do that, she should hold onto the title at least a few more months. There’s plenty of time to put the title on Bliss.
WWE World Championship
Dean Ambrose vs. AJ Styles ©
RIF: AJ Styles
Joe: AJ Styles
Michael: AJ Styles
Dan: AJ Styles
I need to be honest and admit that the build up for this match has been poor. You would have thought that they would spend the month making both guys look strong with wins in matches. Instead, Styles put over James Ellsworth three times in comedy matches. This is the WWE champion, by the way. Ambrose has been missing in action.
I get the hunch that Ellsworth will have a factor in the finish because he’s been involved in the story so much. Since a TLC match allows for interference, I think they’ll do a finish where Ellsworth accidentally costs Ambrose the win by accidentally knocking him off a ladder and sending him through a table. I’d prefer a dominant win by Styles, but I think they’re going to factor Ellsworth into it too much. It gets the same result. I just wish Styles was booked as more of a serious wrestler.
I just don’t see why they would put Ambrose over when Styles clearly has a lot more to do as champion. If they end the show with The Undertaker showing up to confront Styles to set up a Royal Rumble match then that’s perfectly fine with me too. It would certainly add some intrigue and star power to Smackdown as well as the Rumble PPV itself.
Feel free to post your predictions in the comment section below, and I’ll be back again with my random thoughts on the show on Monday.