By Frank Lucci
I could start this prediction article with yet another tirade about how poorly the WWE has booked their programs and how the lazy writing from the creative team has made what should be an exciting Pay-Per-View into another mediocre event. Instead, I’ve decided to list three positives to keep in mind while watching TLC.
- They have gotten rid of the incredibly stupid stairs add on from last year.
- The Big Show is not set to appear.
- NXT is holding another Takeover event later in the week.
With this in mind, here are Spaceman Frank’s TLC 2015 predictions.
Alberto Del Rio (c) vs. Jack Swagger – Chairs Match for the United States Championship
With a stairs match no longer able to provide people with a bathroom break, the WWE has reverted to having the Chairs match as the least hyped match on the PPV.
Alberto Del Rio has done nothing since returning to the WWE, despite beating John Cena clean for the championship, being managed by Zeb Coulter, joining the already ill-fated League of Nations stable and then (thankfully) ditching Coulter. With Swagger having the same amount of momentum as his opponent (aka zero) and an awkward stipulation to work in, this match is sure to disappoint. I see no reason for Del Rio to lose the belt here or anytime before Cena returns.
The ECW Originals (Bubba Ray Dudley, D-Von Dudley, Tommy Dreamer and Rhyno) vs. The Wyatt Family(Bray Wyatt, Braun Strowman, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan) – Elimination Tag Team Tables Match
It is a sad state of affairs when it is disappointing that Spike Dudley is not booked into a feud. ECW reunions are played out beyond belief, but yet again we got to see the four or so semi-functional originals trotted out for a nostalgia pop. The Dudleys have fallen off the map hard since their return over the summer and the Wyatt Family has not fared much better.
That being said, much of the talent in this match should make this an entertaining affair as long as creative does not overbook things. I also like that we finally get all the members of the Wyatt Family involved in a PPV match and Rhyno has shown in NXT that he can still go.
My biggest issue is with Dreamer’s involvement with the match. Dreamer is a veteran performer and is still a decent hand in the ring, but the man has a lengthy history of concussions. Why the WWE would book him into a match that involves massive dudes throwing each other into tables yet Daniel Bryan cannot be booked in any capacity in the WWE despite being medically cleared by independent neurologists is beyond me. With so little star power on Raw and Smackdown these days, Bryan would be a welcome addition to the show as a wrestler, authority figure or even a manager.
Back to the actual match now. With both the Wyatt Family and the Dudley’s hurting for a win this match will be hard to call. I believe the Wyatt Family will pull out a win by taking advantage of the part timers on the ECW team along with the fact that they are massive fucking dudes.
Charlotte (c) (with Ric Flair) vs. Paige – Divas Chapionship Match
It’s mind boggling how badly the WWE has botched this feud. Since creative can’t decide what to do with Charlotte, I would not be surprised to see her turn heel on both Paige and her dad, then immediately turn face and join The New Day for five minutes before forming a new faction with Bo Dallas and Barry Horowitz called “The Charleston Chews.”
Anyway, Charlotte seems to be set to give in to her inner Flair and cheat her way to victory. This would be much more impactful if Becky Lynch was her opponent for the title instead of Paige, who seemed to appear out of nowhere to challenge Charlotte. A placeholder feud between two talented women, Charlotte will retain and most people will remember the likely heel turn more than the in ring action.
The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston and/or Xavier Woods) (c) vs. The Usos (Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso) vs. The Lucha Dragons (Kalisto and Sin Cara) – Tag Team Triple Threat Ladder Match for the WWE Tag Team Championships
Perhaps the best reason to watch TLC, this match seeks to emulate classic ladder matches between several teams and should give these hungry high flyers ample opportunity to steal the show. Granted, the booking leading into the match has been bland besides The New Day’s usual shenanigans, but considering the talent and exciting stipulation here fans can expect some fireworks. The New Day will retain and hopefully get even more chances to get ridiculous on Raw.
Kevin Owens (C) vs. Dean Ambrose – Intercontinental Championship Match
Another potential show stealing match pitches two savvy grapplers against each other for the IC belt. While the pair’s Survivor Series match disappointed, this can be chalked up to the tournament forcing Ambrose to save his energy for his later match. Owens and Ambrose have had a chance to develop chemistry since their previous encounter. If given the right amount of time, these two can definitely give fans something to cheer about and remind people why we enjoy wrestling in the first place. Owens retains and keeps the feud alive for another PPV.
Sheamus (c) vs. Roman Reigns (TLC match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship)
WWE almost had me getting behind Sheamus as champion. His Sheamus 5:15 gimmick and his braggart style was fairly entertaining and showed why he was more deserving of the title than Reigns. In addition, him forming the League of Nations using several underutilized wrestlers almost had me thinking the internet wrestling community might back him. Then on the go-home Raw before TLC, the WWE booked Sheamus to look pathetic and revealed they have little faith in the man.
The only person looking worse than Sheamus is Reigns, who delivered yet another terrible promo that revolved around casual racism and testicle jokes. And yet WWE still wants us to view Reigns as a sympathetic character despite the fact that:
- Reigns has challenged for WWE World Heavyweight Championship on PPV five times (including TLC) in 2015 (and had two additional championship matches at PPV’s if you include Money in the Bank cash ins).
- He also headlined Fastlane in February and won the Royal Rumble.
- He partners with Dean Ambrose, who goes from nearly winning the belt to being kicked back down to sidekick status yet again.
Out of 13 total PPV’s in 2015, Reigns has been in the main event seven times. It is time to end the experiment and for WWE to realize that Reigns simply is not main event material at this time. During this time of record low ratings the WWE cannot hope that the mixed reaction Reigns gets will somehow morph into a John Cena style pop (as there is no time to wait for Reigns to figure it all out while ratings tank).
With Cena, at least respect is there. As far as Reigns is concerned, he is headlining the majority of the year’s PPV’s and cannot gain any traction with fans. It was very telling that Reigns got jeers instead of cheers when shown crying after Survivor Series. Even worse is that WWE has sacrificed Sheamus (who could have used his upcoming role in TMNT 2 to gain a new level of popularity and mainstream recognition while being champ) to try to get us to feel bad for a bland guy who gets yet another chance at the gold.
Sadly enough, I see Reigns winning to end the Sheamus experiment and Brock Lesnar finally coming back at the Royal Rumble to set up a WrestleMania rematch between the two.