Wednesday 12 December 2012

TLC 2012 preview

For the record I don't think there's any way Ryback would have left TLC as WWE champion had the original advertised main event taken place. Punk versus Rock is the match that will headline Royal Rumble. If WWE decision makers wanted to have 'The Great One' battle 'Big Hungry' then they could have put the belt on him at either Hell in a Cell or Survivor Series. They wouldn't have left it until December to swap the gold.
The new main event is thankfully a lot less predictable. Will WWE have Ryback suffer a third straight supershow job or will new act The Shield suffer defeat in their debut outing? Whatever happens a heavily pushed act is going to have to take a loss.
What makes this match interesting is that it will be fought under Tables, Ladders and Chairs rules despite there being nothing to hang above the ring. Nothing logical anyway. Perhaps WWE will have a really big chair or a solid gold table dangling from the rafters. Unless that happens we're stuck with the peculiar formula of having a TLC decided by pinfall or submission.
I think The Shield will win this. While that will be another loss for 'The Human Wrecking Ball' he doesn't necessarily have to be the one losing for his team. Rollins or Ambrose can pin Bryan to protect Ryback as much as possible. The hungry one can be rebuilt with a strong showing, or perhaps even a victory, at the Royal Rumble.

There are seventeen bodies buried in that rubble
The rest of the card seems pretty average by current standards. That's fitting considering current standards are best described as pretty average.
WWE's two mid-card championships will be defended in matches that should help to provide some solid wrestling action. Wade Barrett will challenge Intercontinental champion Kofi Kingston and R-Truth will get a second pay-per-view crack at Antonio Cesaro's United States gold.
The IC title match could be won by either man. 'The Wildcat' retaining seems a little likelier as he's lost a fair number of non-title outings since winning the belt for the fourth time. If Barrett's to get a second reign it could just as easily happen on television or at the Rumble. The feud feels like it still has mileage left in so a Barrett victory can be held off for a bit longer.
The US title seems safe with Cesaro. WWE seem to be giving him a long reign to help distinguish him from the pack and restore something resembling prestige to the title. What would be the point in R-Truth winning? We've already seen WWE have no intention of pushing him of making the title mean anything. Things are best left as they are here. 'The Swiss Superman' is my pick to win.

WWE’s most entertaining tag team, the Rhodes Scholars, will put their number one contendership on the line in a tables match. A mildly interesting note here is that this will be Sandow’s first gimmick pay-per-view match. That’s a sign that WWE view him as an asset. They should. He’s great.

I’d rather see the Scholars challenge for the tag team titles than Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara but there are long standing rumours that the masked men will be facing one another at WrestleMania. If that’s to happen WWE are going to need to get the ball rolling on the descent of the partnership fairly soon. It would be more impactful if that started happening in a championship match than a number one contenders match. Reluctantly I’ll pick Mysterio and Mr Cara to win.

Sheamus and Big Show will once again do battle for the World Heavyweight championship. After a clean win for Show at HIAC and a dodgy finish, including a post-match chair-fuelled beating, at Survivor Series the two are finally getting to face off in a gimmick match. Big Show's so limited that I'm surprised it's taken this long to come about.
The two will battle in a chairs match because of the aforementioned chair assault. An interesting note is that Big Show captured the WHC from Mark Henry in a chair collision at last year's TLC... then lost the belt to Daniel Bryan in a surprise Money in the Bank cash-in bonus. Expect the announcers to mention that. A lot.
How often in WWE does someone lose a title to someone they're feuding with and then regain it a few weeks or months later? It's rare. I don't remember it happening since Christian and Randy Orton's excellent 2011 series. As Sheamus lost the title to 'The Giant' two months ago the odds seem against him becoming a two time champion at TLC. Nevertheless I'm going to predict 'Great White' will overcome 'The World's Largest Athlete' and leave as the new champ because, realistically, who else is there for Show to face?
What will be interesting is whether or not Dolph Ziggler cashes in his Money in the Bank briefcase. He's due to defend it in a ladder match with John Cena but if the Sheamus v Big Show match were to go on first 'The Show Off' could cash-in and become champion (or lose, I suppose) before his scheduled clash for the case. Looking at WWE's long term booking it's very possible they'll want the secondary world title around Cena's waist heading into WrestleMania XXIX for a match with Undertaker, Brock Lesnar or The Rock. This would be an enjoyable, fairly surprising way of bringing that about. It would play up Ziggler's misfortune with short world title reigns too, turning it into a plot point to be picked up later.
Cena v Ziggler is a tough match to predict. I think it will be one of 'The CeNation Leader's' most enjoyable outings in a while and it will largely be thanks to some big, impressive bumps from 'The Sole Survivor'. If Ziggler heads in as World champ I think Cena will beat him to set up a title feud for WrestleMania. If it's for the briefcase I think AJ will scamper down to ringside, get involved in an altercation with Dolph, Vickie Guerrero or both and take a bump of some sort, distracting the valiant, lantern-jawed Super Cena and allowing Ziggler to steal a win.
As I think it's slightly more likely this match will be for the case than for the title I'm going to predict a Ziggler win. I want to see him continue his run as 'Mr Money in the Bank'. There's some genuine mystery as to when he'll cash-in.
There are likely to be more matches added to the card. Alberto Del Rio is currently without an opponent. He’ll probably be used. The Divas will likely get some air time to furnish us with a disappointing match too. They’ve got a number one contenders battle royal on the YouTube pre-show. A title match on the PPV would make sense.
TLC has the potential to be a memorable event thanks to the debut of The Shield and the possibility of a Ziggler cash-in. It will also be interesting to see what CM Punk gets up to. He will be on commentary for the main event match and it's said he wanted to wrestle but is being held him off the card as a precaution. They don't want to jeopardise their Rumble main event. I think it's the right decision. Punk could interfere in a match though, or provide commentary. It's a show that really needs an appearance from him considering his next big programme.
Predictions summary:
The Shield to defeat Ryback and Team Hell No
Sheamus to defeat Big Show for the World Heavyweight championship
Dolph Ziggler to defeat John Cena
Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara to defeat The Rhodes Scholars
Kofi Kingston to defeat Wade Barrett
Antonio Cesaro to defeat R-Truth

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