WWE TLC is live tonight from Brooklyn, New York at the Barclays Center at 7pm C/8pm E on Pay Per View. The card for this month’s WWE PPV event has endured some massive changes with WWE Champion CM Punk being yanked from the card due to an emergency knee surgery. WWE may be looking ahead to January’s Royal Rumble PPV with a long-awaited title match between CM Punk and action movie star the Rock, but there is plenty to follow on TLC. Let’s breakdown the card for WWE Tables, Ladders, and Chairs 2012.
YouTube Pre-show Match: “Santa’s Helper” #1 Contender’s Diva Battle Royal
Alicia Fox vs. Rosa Mendes vs. Layla vs. Kaitlyn vs. Tamina Snuka vs. Aksana vs. Natalya
For some yet-to-be-disclosed reason, AJ Lee (who is easily the most popular diva in WWE at the moment) will not be participating in this costumed lady brawl to earn a shot at current Diva Champ Eve. It seems counter productive to cut AJ out of this match, but considering her soap opera role as the obsessive gal who pines for John Cena it makes sense. This match’s placement on the pre-show shows how the ladies matches are once again left out of the big mix of the WWE. Prediction: Let’s just say…ummmm…Natalya.
WWE Intercontinental Championship
Kofi Kingston vs. Wade Barrett
The matches these two have had on TV in the last few months have been decent, showing signs of both young wrestlers trying to show they deserve the right to wear the same white leather and gold Intercontinental title worn by Hall of Famers like Shawn Michaels. The bouts have been underrated, as they showed Kofi trying to break out of his happy-go-lucky good guy act into something slightly meaner. Meanwhile Barrett has been up and down with various alterations to his ‘fight club’ character, and shows some inconsistency. Prediction: This match could be second or third on the bill, with Kofi retaining the title in a competitive yet brief contest. Nothing to shout home about, but a solid performance nonetheless.
WWE United States Championship
Antonio Cesaro vs. R-Truth
Cesaro is the definition of a guy who is becoming a great WWE performer with his character developing and his proven ability to deliver action in the ring. His program with veteran R-Truth which included a U.S. title match at the Survivor Series, has been lukewarm. It’s odd occasion where you have two guys who are over and can bring it, but for whatever reason it’s just not clicking over. This was very evident when this Examiner watched both men collide live at the Survivor Series in Indianapolis, the crowd just did not get into in a impactful way. Both men need to put the pedal to the metal and deliver something memorable in the mid-card of TLC. Prediction: Cesaro is on the ropes, but uses some heelish tactics only to get ‘got’ by Truth in what could be a huge upset, Truth wins the U.S. Championship to shake things up.
Ladder Match for Dolph Ziggler’s Money in the Bank briefcase
Dolph Ziggler vs. John Cena
The logic that WWE applied to the booking of this match was mind boggling with WWE boss Vince McMahon egging on RAW Managing Supervisor and Ziggler buddy Vickie Guerrero into making this match a Ladder Match for Dolph’s MITB title shot briefcase. The big story which is still running is the Shield, being a rogue vigilante group who disrupt any WWE match-up they feel is ‘unjust’ to any of the competitors. With this logic it seems like a run-in by Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns is likely. You add the obsessive AJ Lee trying to canoodle up to John Cena before the match, and the plot thickens. This match will not have a clean ending, it’s just matter of how dirty it will get with outside elements beyond the two men in the actual match.
The match itself could steal the show as this something Ziggler has prided himself on as of late. John Cena is always expected to provide something special as the most beloved superstar in Pro Wrestling. Though it seems like Ziggler has everything to lose, he still has everything to gain which he established in a solid promo that opened up this week’s RAW. If Ziggler can beat the Superman of WWE, then he will gain a ton of momentum going into the ‘road to Wrestlemania’. Prediction: Dolph Ziggler escapes just barely with the MITB, as John Cena moves on to a new goal.
World Heavyweight Championship Steel Chair Match
Sheamus vs. The Big Show
This story between Sheamus and the Big Show should be played out, as they roll into their third match in their feud. It seems like any main event story on Smackdown in last year feels like it’s just a notch above the Intercontinental title, even after the Celtic Warrior smashed Show with a steel chair 30 plus times at Survivor Series did not shout out ‘main event’. The elements did not create the chemistry, but the order handed down by Smackdown General Manager Booker T that prohibited the two men from making physical contact before their match at TLC made things interesting and allowed supporting players like weasely manager Riccardo Rodriguez who go used as battering ram for Big Show’s privates on a recent episode of SD. This match should end the war between the two but their is a big ‘x’ factor Prediction: Dolph Ziggler will cash in his Money in the Bank on Sheamus after he stumbles to his feet after a brutal Chairs Match.
#1 Contender’s Match for the WWE Tag Team Championships
Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara vs. Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes
This seems a great match to open the TLC PPV from the home of the Brooklyn Nets. Sandow and Rhodes have been on fire with a salacious promo with Miz and big win to earn this opportunity on RAW. Rogue Scholars has the momentum, but does WWE feel more confident going with the ‘Mega-Powers’ of Lucha Libre that are Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio?
Cara and Mysterio have showed they have natural teamwork with their similar high-flying athletics and Mexican heritage. Cara has benefitted tremendously from being paired with the veteran Mysterio whose ‘bump card’ seems to be filling up after numerous knee injuries throughout his career. So the pairing can really hide each other’s weakness while accentuating their strengths. Both teams have some momentum but… Prediction: Rogue Scholars will best Mysterio and Sin Cara with their mind games.
Ryback, Kane and Daniel Bryan vs. The Shield
Though some fans wanted to see Ryback get another feeding of the WWE Champion CM Punk in the bone-breaking environment of Tables, Ladders, and Chairs, WWE made good with the 6-Man TLC war that will likely close out the PPV event tonight. The story here is the Shield in their first televised WWE match they will put to the ultimate test: they will headline a Pay Per View just out of WWE’s homebase of New York in a very violent match. Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns have become central characters on WWE TV in the last month disrupting matches left and right, laying out everyone from Ryback, Team Hell No, and this past Friday they put Randy Orton on the shelf with an injury. They have the buzz right now yet they face a last minute trio that can truly bring the pain.
WWE will present the Slammy’s tomorrow on RAW and the Breakout Star of 2012 has to be Ryback. The man rocketed through the roster with an undefeated streak that ended only when a crooked referee cost him the WWE Championship at Hell in a Cell. He will be the star of this match as the fans chant “FEED ME MORE” but don’t expect 5,000 calorie-a-day-consuming wrecking machine to be a valiant hero and more of a barbarian.
Daniel Bryan and Kane have become more unified recently, so this Examiner sees them doing some table-cracking team work. The lack of the opposing teams having to climb a ladder to win the match, could make for unfiltered mayhem in this match . It will be one “oh my god” moment after another in this match with the Shield earning their main roster stripes in a big way. Prediction: Ambrose and company will push their way to the top here as they divide Daniel Bryan from the team and they will conqueror.