It’s that time of year again! The time where Christmas lights are strung up on each house to see, stockings are hung by the chimney with care, and the WWE celebrates their final PPV of the year with TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs.
This year, the match card leaves a little more to be desired as only two titles are up for grabs despite multiple title-holders competing, and only seven matches have been announced for the event as of Sunday afternoon.
With the road to Wrestlemania right around the corner, Sunday’s TLC event may give fans some insight as to what WWE is planning for the next few months. Below are picks and predictions fans may see when they tune in to the pay-per-view.
The Viking Raiders’ Open Challenge for the Raw Tag Team Championships
The Viking Raiders come into TLC with plenty of momentum, but no obvious challengers for their titles, leaving them to issue an open challenge to all of the tag teams in the Raw locker room. While The O.C. are the obvious choice to show up for the title bout, there is a chance that fans see the Authors of Pain (AOP) answer the challenge.
Seth Rollins’ recent alignment with the AOP in their repeated beatdowns of Kevin Owens likely means WWE has big plans for the AOP. If they respond to the Viking Raiders’ challenge, new champions could be crowned. However, the involvement of the AOP and Seth Rollins could also result in Kevin Owens also getting involved, leading to a no contest.
Final Prediction: The AOP answer the challenge and become new champions.
The New Day vs. The Revival – Ladder Match for the Smackdown Tag Team Championships
The Revival and The New Day will do battle for the Smackdown tag team titles for what feels like the 100thtime in the last couple months. This time however, it will be in a ladder match, which will allow these bitter rivals to bring a different gameplan to the table.
It seems the WWE is making up for Kofi Kingston losing the WWE World Championship to Brock Lesnar in seconds on the debut episode of Smackdown on Fox, by giving the New Day this latest reign with the tag titles. Don’t expect the Revival to be the team to take the titles from them, especially given the New Day won the titles from them in the first place.
Final Prediction: The New Day retains the Smackdown tag titles.
Rusev vs. Bobby Lashley – Tables Match
This match will likely be the send-off to quite possibly the most bizarre storyline in recent memory. After weeks of Lana verbally bashing Rusev, followed by physical altercations between Rusev and Lashley, the payoff to this odd love-triangle is a tables match in which the two men will settle their differences.
This storyline has plenty of John Cena-Dolph Ziggler-AJ Lee vibes to it, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see a similar story arc played out at Sunday’s PPV. It’s very likely Lana plays a direct role in the outcome of this match, sending one of the two men crashing through a table. Since it wouldn’t make a lot of sense realigning Rusev and Lana after their recent split, expect Lashley to come out of this bout victorious.
Final Prediction: Bobby Lashley wins via help from Lana.
Aleister Black vs. Buddy Murphy
In a match that could steal the entire show despite lacking a match stipulation, the Aleister Black vs. Buddy Murphy features a battle between two of WWE’s most promising new superstars that will highlight the future of the business.
Black’s unique blend of technical ability coupled with his kickboxing background, and Murphy’s high-flying arsenal of moves will likely come together for an impressive visual fans likely will miss in other matches. Seeing how Murphy has already taken a few high profile losses to Roman Reigns and Eric Rowan, Aleister Black coming out on top in this match seems to be the trending outcome.
Final Prediction: Aleister Black wins in a hard fought contest.
The Kabuki Warriors vs. Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair – TLC Match for the Women’s Tag Team Championships
In the first match of the night featuring a world champion that doesn’t involve their title, The Man Becky Lynch will team up with her friend-turned-rival-turned-ally Charlotte Flair, to take on the longest-reigning women tag champs, The Kabuki Warriors.
What the WWE is planning for with The Man and her Raw Women’s Championship will likely influence the outcome of this match. If the plan is to have Lynch and Flair fight (again) at Wrestlemania, they could win the tag titles tonight in order to keep them from facing each other before then, and give them a new angle in the process.
However, seeing how the Kabuki Warriors have been booked as of late, they could emerge victorious and move on to a different tag team to feud with through Wrestlemania, leaving Lynch and Flair to do battle once more at the Royal Rumble before moving on to different rivalries for the Show of Shows, such as maybe, Ronda Rousey or Shayna Baszler?
Final Prediction: The Kabuki Warriors retain their titles.
The Fiend Bray Wyatt vs. The Miz
In the second match of the night that features a world champ not defending their title, the Universal Champion, Bray Wyatt will face The Miz in a match that seemed to be thrown together at the last minute. The Fiend has spent the better portion of the last few months feuding with Daniel Bryan, leading to him dragging Bryan to the underside of the ring on Smackdown a couple weeks ago. Since then, Bryan hasn’t been seen, and The Miz has stepped into Wyatt’s crosshairs.
Fans will likely see The Fiend toss The Miz around in this bout, as it is likely only a placeholder for a future match between Wyatt and Bryan. However, there is a chance we see Bryan return during the match tonight, either aligning himself with The Fiend in an embrace of his insane side or, in a move that fans wouldn’t have seen coming months ago, aligning himself with the Miz in an attempt to help his former rival take down the forces that are The Fiend. With plenty of creative options for WWE to take, this match leaves plenty to fans’ imagination.
Final Prediction: Daniel Bryan returns and assists the Fiend in destroying The Miz.
Roman Reigns vs. King Corbin – TLC Match
Since Roman Reigns returned to WWE programming early this year after overcoming Leukemia, he has been kept out of the Universal title picture, likely in an attempt to keep him in the back of fans’ minds. That should all come to an end on Sunday night.
There have been rumors that WWE is looking at The Fiend Bray Wyatt vs. Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship at Wrestlemania. If that is the case, Reigns should overcome King Corbin in a weapon filled slugfest that allows him to move onto bigger and better things, such as winning the Royal Rumble. A loss to Corbin won’t halt his momentum either, as he is currently one of the more over heels on the entire WWE roster, and knows how to generate heat no matter the storyline he is involved in.
That being said, the one odd thing about this match is TLC matches are typically reserved for title bouts, as the goal of a TLC match is to climb the ladder and retrieve the title. Without a title being involved in this match, maybe WWE announces an award for winning the match at the start of the show, such as the 30thspot in the Royal Rumble match. Either way, a Reigns win makes the most sense.
Final Prediction: Roman Reigns gets his comeuppance over King Corbin.
WWE TLC kicks off at 7pm EST on the WWE Network.