Preview and Predictions: WWE TLC (10/22/2017)
With the roster decimated by illness, WWE brass has decided to dust off a hardy old fan favorite and American Hero….STAIRS!
Always a team player, Stairs have come out of retirement to make its triumphant return to WWE TLC this Sunday!
Well not really, though at this point adding Erick Rowan vs. Big Show II to this unpredictable card wouldn’t necessarily be a stretch. With all the upheaval, WWE actually has a unique opportunity to switch gears on the fly and perhaps build intrigue in what was likely to be a pretty flat PPV (outside of the Shield reunion) leading to a inter-promotion PPV in November’s Survivor Series. Let’s hope there are more surprises in store tonight other than Coffee Table replacing Table (out w/ Viral Terminitus).
Kurt Angle & Raw Tag Team Champions Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins vs. Intercontinental Champion The Miz, Cesaro, Sheamus, Braun Strowman & Kane (5-on-3 Handicap Tables, Ladders and Chairs Match)
When the WWE teased us with the prospects of a Shield reunion, most fans naturally assumed they’d be facing off with another storied, powerhouse team. I mean why bring back the Hounds of Justice unless there was a need to overcome some grand injustice perpetrated on the WWE Universe at the hands of some nefarious monster team? Or…this. Hmmmm.
As the dwindling Miztourage (now sans Bo Dallas; Can we trace this viral outbreak back to him? Why hasn’t Bo been able to Bo-lieve he doesn’t have mumps? Whey isn’t the rest of the Miztourage sick? Are they not as close as we’ve been led to believe? So many questions and no answers!) intensified their attacks on newly BFF-ed Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose it was only a matter of time before Roman Reigns got involved with his former mates. And since Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel weren’t seen as worthy teammates for the Miz, the former tag champions The Bar were added into the fray. And then Braun Strowman was added. And then since we needed some more clarity to this cluster of a match, they added in Kane. And now Reigns is out and we have Kurt Angle. Huh?
If you can put aside the fact that this match has no purpose or consequence, this has the potential to be a lot of fun. Hopefully we’ll actually get to see Kurt Angle back in a WWE ring (and they don’t pull some stupid pre-match Jason Jordan beatdown) and hey I’ve never seen a future mayor hit anyone with a steel chair before (OK, maybe once, but he was a deputy mayor). My hope is that WWE uses this opportunity to do something outside the box. At the very least it should accelerate any Kurt Angle storyline (someone on the roster should have a problem with the fact that the GM of the company is taking sides and fighting against his employees) and perhaps we’ll even get a Triple H or Jason Jordan appearance.
Also of note: For a PPV named TLC, this is the only TLC match advertised for tonight.
Prediction: Angbrollins overcomes the odds and pulls this one out. They stay together through early winter, when we get the inevitable Ambrose heel turn and Reigns leaves the story to fight Brock Lesnar. The team of Kane, The Bar, Braun Strowman, and The Miz never speak of this again, outside of a brief reunion at Miz’s son’s high school graduation party.
Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss vs. Mickie James
This has been a pretty straightforward story. Alexa Bliss is young, Mickie James is old. Bliss is insecure and jealous of the elder James and has taken to ridiculing her for being past her prime. James is out to prove she’s got one more run left in the tank. It hasn’t set the world on fire, but it’s been a pretty easy to follow story with clear right and wrong.
Prediction: Although this program seemed like kind of a time waster until Asuka came onto the scene and established her dominance, I’m going to go out on a limb and say James stuns the wrestling world and picks up her 7th women’s title on Sunday before losing it to Asuka by year’s end. Alexa, I fear may be a bit directionless for a while, especially with Nia Jax out indefinitely. Perhaps she comes back for Asuka come ‘Mania.
“The Demon” Finn Bálor vs. AJ Styles
In what has been the most impressive bit of chicanery Bray Wyatt has perpetrated to date (even more so than turning the lights on and off and paying the projector guy to display worms on the ring) the Eater of Worlds has now transformed himself into the Phenomenal One, AJ Styles. Why hasn’t he done this sooner? This match should be a heck of encounter, even if it is devoid of storyline or consequence. Hopefully, WWE doesn’t squander the chance to introduce Gallows and Anderson and at least acknowledge the history the four men have together. Hopefully the crowd is in to this match, as it has the chance to be quite special.
Prediction: With Balor rumored to be the next opponent for Brock Lesnar’s Universal Title, it would seem he’s the smart choice to build his resume before then (and a win over AJ Styles gives him a lot more credibility than a win over Bray Wyatt would have done). Also, Balor shouldn’t lose when he’s in body-paint/octopus hat mode (err “the demon”). Styles can handle a loss, especially in a non-Smackdown bout.
WWE Cruiserweight Champion Kalisto vs. Enzo Amore
The push to save 205 Live is umm alive. Occupying more main event segments on Raw than anyone would have imagined, Enzo Amore has attempted to single-handedly keep the cruiserweight division relevant. With the recent departure of Neville, Kalisto was brought back to get WWE writers out of the corner they painted themselves in, after declaring that no crusierweights could challenge Enzo for the title. As talented as Kalisto is in the ring, he doesn’t have a whole lot to say and I’m not sure he moves the needle much ratings-wise. His time at the top may well be short lived.
Prediction: Enzo needs the belt to give this division purpose, so he regains the belt here. Now hopefully, they can build up a few possible challengers that the crowd can actually get behind. Also, by this time next year, I’m predicting 205 Live won’t be a thing anymore.
Asuka vs. Emma
The WWE in their grand benevolence has deemed Emma worthy of doing something yet again, and have given her the honor of being the answer to a future Asuka-related trivia question. While the Aussie hasn’t had much in the way of storyline development, she has the opportunity to raise her stock with a solid performance against the Empress of Tomorrow (maybe she can get in a 20-woman tag on the Wrestlemania pre-show!) With a muddled and lackluster card tonight, these two will likely get some decent time to show what they are capable of. Hopefully they can replicate their magic from the winter of 2015-16.
Prediction: Well of course Asuka wins. What, did you think this was the start of a big Emma push or something?
Cedric Alexander & Rich Swann vs. Gentleman Jack Gallagher & The Brian Kendrick
Hey, will you look at that. This match is a thing now apparently, and it’s not even on the pre-show (somewhere Ryback is jealous). So we have four very talented workers who to a good segment of the audience are relative nobodies. Wherever they get placed on the card, they will automatically become the ‘death slot’. Their only hope is that there a few good matches before them and the crowd is exceptionally alive on Sunday. Maybe one of these guys does something to make a name for themselves and gets themselves in the running for Enzo’s newly acquired title.
Prediction: Going off my earlier prediction that Enzo wins back his belt, I suppose it makes more sense for a face to be built up to challenge the Trashtalker Sykwalker. Therefore, Alexander & Swann emerge victorious.
Sasha Banks vs. Alicia Fox (Kickoff Match)
Crazy Alicia Fox is back (and now with her first ever, ridiculous T Shirt). Ok, why not, right? The more interesting characters, the better I suppose. The women’s division on both brands are in a bit of a holding pattern, as we await Asuka and possibly Ronda Rousey and her friends. This all seems like major time filler until the new year. Hey, by the way, where’s Bayley? Do the crowds like her again? Is she still friends with Sasha Banks? Does anyone care anymore?
If Sasha wins she gets her own “literal interpretation of her last name in cartoon form” themed T Shirt from WWE Shop!
Prediction: Banks needs to stay legit (she is a boss after all) if she’s going to windup in any sort of Four Horsewomen feud or challenge Asuka down the road. Banks might not be crazy as a fox, but she makes a statement nonetheless and deposits another win into her career savings account. Also, if John Cena can have the AA, Sasha should get the F.D.I.C.
This seems like one of those PPV’s where the expectations are so low that it turns out to be a lot of fun. However, in completely overthinking things, I’m predicting that people are expecting it be better than expected, and therefore this will actually be a disappointing PPV. Who knows? Hopefully we get to see Angle wrestle again and Braun should destroy people using some combination of tables, ladders, and/or chairs. Also, we get Finn/AJ and the debut of Asuka. So it should be fun.
The Real DC (yes that IS his real name) is a blogger/humorist, & subpar identity concealer. Check out his blog at www.therealdc.com and on twitter @TheNotFakeDC.