The final WWE pay-per-view of the year is upon us, with TLC tomorrow night. For as much negativity as WWE has garnered on this site recently due to a nearsighted decision to put a certain important belt on a certain superstar who wasn't yet ready for it, the card for this show actually looks pretty solid. So much so that I actually do plan on purchasing this one. Yes, I know I could stream it somewhere, but I really am that impressed by the card that I feel it deserves my $40.
Is it a little stipulation heavy? Sure, but come on, the name of the show is Tables, Ladders, and Chairs. It's not like they didn't advertise well ahead of time that stips were a big part of this show. On top of that, too often stipulation matches don't make any sense. These at least make some sense, in that it's the entire theme of the show. So, with that in mind, here are my predictions for this Sunday's card, as it currently stands.
Kane vs. Edge vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Alberto Del Rio - TLC Match for World Heavyweight Championship
This should be the main event of the evening. I don't quite understand why Mysterio and Del Rio were thrown in here, as Edge and Kane were having a great feud on their own, but I'm not going to complain because I do feel like Del Rio will have something good to add to the match. These four men have been involved in a pair of very entertaining, and respectably constructed feuds over recent months. Part of me says this will be the blowoff, while another part of me knows that WrestleMania isn't that far off, and it wouldn't be difficult (or detrimental for the product) to extend their feuds until then.
I never expect Mysterio to win title matches, so let's count him out now. While I am very confident in saying that Del Rio is a future champion, it's simply too soon to put the belt on him tomorrow night. I'd ultimately like to see Kane retain the title and continue his run, but the problem is, given the current angle between he and Edge, having Kane win after everything Edge did to him and Paul Bearer almost seems face-ish. With all that said, obviously, my pick is Edge.
John Cena vs. Wade Barrett - Chairs Match
What the hell is a "chairs match"? Okay, that criticism aside, this is another match that is part of a lengthy and well built feud. It's a shame that WWE chose the time they did to make The Miz WWE Champion, because if you ignore that one particular detail, WWE is doing a lot of things right. Getting back on topic, I'm taking Cena to win, because, well...he's John Cena. And, for once, it makes sense for him to go over. I'm also going to go out on a limb and make a bold prediction. It will be at this show that Nexus disbands, as they walk out on Wade Barrett.
Winner: John Cena
Dolph Ziggler vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Jack Swagger - Ladder Match for Intercontinental Championship
Something that doesn't get talked about much is that, on "SmackDown!", there's a lot less hotshotting of belts. Yes, it still happens, but to a much lesser extent. Now, part of that is simply because of the lack of pay-per-view matches. If the champion isn't defending his title at the big monthly show every time, it stands to reason that he would have a longer run. But those same champions who aren't defending their titles on pay-per-view are still being featured weekly on "SmackDown!" The end result is that feuds can be made stronger, and the belt ultimately has more meaning because title defenses don't occur ultra commonly.
I honestly care more about this match than the WWE Championship match. Why? Because Dolph is having a long run with the title, and I know there's a decent chance that whoever wins the title will be champion for a good amount of time. That being said, I think that Kofi goes over and gets the title back. As a final thought, does anyone else think it's strange that Jack Swagger was the World Heavyweight Champion during the Spring, but now has become devoted to winning the Intercontinental Championship? I guess he decided to lower the bar for himself.
Winner: Kofi Kingston
Natalya and Beth Phoenix vs. LayCool - Tables Match
The idea of a divas table match intrigues me. However, I'm less thrilled by the angle leading up to this match. I'm still not impressed by Layla as a worker. I stopped buying into the LayCool gimmick the instant Layla started making fat jokes at a girl who she weighs as much as (which ultimately means I never bought into it). The "co-champions" idea had promise, but was so poorly executed. They're trying too damn hard, and I just do not care. Let Natalya and Beth Phoenix win to finally end this asinine "LayCool" angle.
Winners: Natalya and Beth Phoenix
John Morrison vs. Sheamus - Ladder Match (Winner receives a WWE Championship Match)
This should be a good one. It was at TLC last year that Sheamus became a main eventer. It didn't make him fully legit yet, but it was the first step, and it was a big step. My hope is that this year's TLC installment will be when John Morrison finally breaks on through and becomes a star. He has the look, he has the athleticism, he has the charisma...simply put, I believe he has "it". What he does not have is a legitimate finishing move, but if that's the only thing holding him back, that is a quick fix.
On top of all the praise that was just heaped on Morrison is the fact that there is a feud waiting to happen with The Miz. Yes, they've had matches here and there, but I'm talking about an extended feud. It's possible that doing that would help solidify both of them as main eventers. Or, at the very least, would lead to John Morrison taking the WWE Championship from The Miz. Now who wouldn't enjoy that?
Look for Triple H to possibly make his return, costing Sheamus the match and giving the win to Morrison.
Winner: John Morrison
The Miz vs. Randy Orton - Tables Match for WWE Championship
I specifically put this match last for fear of losing readers the second they saw my pick for it. You may have noticed that in all the other matches, I picked the face to win. This match is the lone exception to that pattern. Because The Miz is a new champion, and because table matches present the very easy option of booking a cheap finish, I expect The Miz to pull out what will come across as a fluky victory. And Michael Cole will be happy. And I will be irritated, but console myself that this is the sole lowlight in what is an otherwise solid card.
Winner: The Miz
Enjoy TLC, O-sters! I'll post a review of the show afterwards, complete with results and opinions.