It’s been a while since I last posted a prediction column here on Nerdles. I wish I could tell you it’s because I’ve been having too much fun with WWE ‘13, but it’s not. Let’s just say that having two jobs doesn’t allow me to write as much as I used to. That doesn’t mean that I don’t get my wrestling fix anymore, though. That being said, your favorite wrestling nerd is still ready to dish out some pre-PPV analysis, and to make up for not having done a Survivor Series column, I’m bringing in my broski Romeo to do the TLC column.
How’s law school treating you, champ?
R: Let’s just say I’m glad for the break. That, and it’s left me too tired to actually write this column with you, so what say we just get down to it?
S: Agreed. Last year’s TLC was very kind for members of the Internet Wrestling Community (IWC), as Zack Ryder opened up the show by winning the United States Championship from Dolph Ziggler, Daniel Bryan successfully cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase on the Big Show, and CM Punk had his first successful title defense. This year’s PPV features more faces that the IWC will definitely look forward to seeing on the card, most notably Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns — the rogue trio collectively known as The Shield.
R: I don’t really think the IWC is that excited to see Roman Reigns, but you’re right nevertheless. These guys are the onscreen embodiment of the vocal minority of wrestling fans everywhere, and have you noticed that they’re vilifying you by making them the villains? Every time they run down to “make something right” (in their own words), that’s you forcing your opinion on what the WWE should be doing. Just in case you haven’t already noticed.
S: And this is what makes their presence — and their rivalry with Ryback and Team Hell No — particularly interesting. For one, Daniel Bryan has been an internet darling for quite a while, and majority of the fans who pull for him despite his role as a villain for much of 2012 are members of the IWC.
While I (and I’m sure a good number of you) are aware that this 6-man TLC match only serves as a stopgap for CM Punk’s injury and inability to defend the WWE Championship, I’m actually not complaining about the decision not to strip Punk of the championship. I’m also not really complaining about the title being in a vacuum of sorts at the moment, because I feel that Punk’s story as champion coming to an abrupt end because of his legit injury just wouldn’t feel right.
R: I won’t say much about it now; just know that if the injury turns out taking longer than expected, you’re gonna have to see a new champion soon, and for the better. Not because Punk is a bad champion (just one with an unstellar reign) but because a title change due to injury would benefit all involved. We get a change of scenery, storylines move forward, while Punk should ideally have a claim to the championship once he gets healthy.
Man, this discussion is actually worth a separate column, but I promised you a prediction column, and this tag team shall give you one! On to the predictions!
Santa’s Little Helpers Battle Royal for the #1 contendership to the Divas Championship: Layla vs Kaitlyn vs Alicia Fox vs Natalya vs Tamina Snuka vs Aksana vs Rosa Mendes vs Cameron vs Naomi
S: When the pre-show concept was introduced, I always thought of them as glorified dark matches. And then, for a while, Creative started putting decent matches on the pre-show, making them something I enjoyed waking up 30 minutes earlier for. But with this, it looks like WWE just dropped the ball on it. That, and they never really resolved the Kaitlyn and Eve storyline. That being said, I’m thinking Kaitlyn takes this and faces Eve later on in the night, hopefully to win the title.
R: I always hope Natalya wins these things, but when has Natalya ever been given a fair shake lately? This year? At all, since the Divas of Doom happened? We might as well get Kaitlyn, who does need that big-stage experience – even if it’s only a little – to expose and improve her game more. She’s underrated, people.
Prediction: Kaitlyn wins.
United States Championship: Antonio Cesaro (c) vs. R-Truth
S: There’s something refreshing about seeing the US Title being defended regularly in PPVs again, and that’s something that makes me a happy wrestling fan heading into this pay-per-view. Antonio Cesaro’s most impressive victory to date happened a few weeks back on Raw after he defeated Kofi Kingston, R-Truth and Wade Barrett in a Fatal-4-Way match to retain his US Championship. But a string of non-title singles victories by R-Truth gives him a bit of a reason to keep challenging Cesaro. At this point, though, Cesaro needs the victory more. It’d be great if he moves on to an opponent on a higher level than Truth going forward, and hopefully, with a more compelling storyline that allows his character to grow.
R: This one is easy. R-Truth is just filler for Cesaro, a household name he can decisively beat in order to say that he’s been mowing through notable names. Is this the best match-up for him? No. There are people out there who are better fits to elevate the US title with (i.e. Tyson Kidd & Justin Gabriel, to name a couple). He’ll probably have an okay match with R-Truth, but as long as people know it’s filler, it’s not gonna change much from the inevitable Cesaro victory.
Prediction: Antonio Cesaro retains.
Tag Team Tables Match for the #1 contendership to the Tag Team Championship: Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara vs. Team Rhodes Scholars
S: Just a quick recap for those that missed it: Cody Rhodes made his return to Raw last Monday with a mustache to team with Damien Sandow and defeated The Usos, The Prime Time Players and Primo & Epico in a Fatal-4-Way Tag Match to face Mysterio & Sin Cara at TLC. I don’t know about you but I found it off that for reasons unknown to us all, Mysterio & Sin Cara got a bye and a fast forward to the PPV match.
Nevertheless, I’d like to think that this is Team Rhodes Scholars’s match to win. Team Hell No might be putting them over for the titles very soon, and if that’s the case, then this match will serve as the catalyst for things to come.
R: I’m thinking that Rhodes Scholars take this one and go to the title match to win it. Not much reason to derail Cody Rhodes just as he’s getting back, and the Luchadors will always be over enough to be a constant in the tag title picture. Besides, in a division like this, it’s pretty easy to get one team where you need them to be. It’s not like we’re talking about a World title here. Not very productive to give it all to Mysterio and Sin Cara.
Prediction: Team Rhodes Scholars wins.
Intercontinental Championship: Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Wade Barrett
S: I wasn’t a fan of the Kofi IC title victory over the Miz because I thought that having Miz as a second-tier champion kept him relevant since it gave him something to do. Creative was able to make it work in Miz’s favor as his losing streak to Kofi eventually led to a face turn during the build-up to Survivor Series. In fact, over the last few weeks, Miz TV has been on both Raw and SmackDown and his performance on both shows has been consistently pleasant to watch.
But this is about Kofi and Wade Barrett, which is essentially a rehash of their rivalry from last year. If you remember how it all went down last year, Wade essentially had Kofi as a stepping stone for him to move on to better things. That didn’t turn out well last time because of the injury he suffered last February. This rivalry will most likely end the same way, with Wade Barrett coming out on top and Kofi Kingston challenging him in a rematch at the soonest possible time, losing, and moving on to a different feud.
R: I want Wade Barrett to win. If I were in charge of handling him creatively, I would have so many ideas on how to mold his bareknuckle fighter character. While I can’t exactly do this now, I want him to win. The first Wade Barrett Intercontinental Championship reign was a mess defined by a lackluster rivalry with Ezekiel Jackson, but this time they could easily do it so much better. We’ll only be running in place if Kofi continues to be the champion, so book it. We’ll need a Barrett win here.
Prediction: Wade Barrett wins the Intercontinental Championship.
Chairs Match for the World Heavyweight Championship: Big Show (c) vs. Sheamus
S: First off, I don’t get the idea behind a Chairs Match. I really think that WWE just stretched the concept of the TLC pay-per-view a little bit too far when they started doing the Chairs Match bit. Both the Ladder Match and the Tables Match make sense because victory can be achieved in a unique manner. But for a Chairs Match? You can hit your opponent 50 times with a chair and yet you can still lose that match. Why not just make it a no-disqualification match?
As for Big Show and Sheamus, the Celtic Warrior needs to win this match. Big Show has served his purpose and needs to move on. If Creative pulls the trigger on Sheamus’s 2nd World Title run, the time to do it will be now. There are more heels than faces that can salivate at the World Title, which makes perfect sense for a face like Sheamus to hold the strap. Besides, the only reason I (mentally) boo Big Show these days is because he’s become blander than ever, and not because he’s the bad guy.
R: John Cena vs. Wade Barrett from TLC 2010 was a very good Chairs match. They made something very decent and creative out of a very limited stipulation.
At this point, I don’t care much for the World Heavyweight Championship because 1) Christian’s not holding it, and 2) the players in that game are no longer appealing. There needs to be a major change in the SmackDown side of things, and soon. Sheamus won’t be enough to save it – and if there’s a reason why they switched the title over to a giant who never really needed it, then there might be a strong reason as to why he’ll be keeping it. Even though he shouldn’t, and probably wouldn’t, I’m still picking Big Show.
Predictions: Stan – Sheamus wins the World Heavyweight Championship. Romeo – Big Show retains.
Ladder Match for the Money in the Bank Contract: John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler
S: This is a match that should have taken place at Survivor Series. It could have been a singles match with no stipulations and it would’ve been fine. But, no, WWE had to give it away on free TV and have Dolph lose cleanly to John Cena. We all knew that their rivalry would have to have a blowoff match and after that match on Raw, I had a feeling that Dolph’s guaranteed title shot would be on the line at some point.
Well, this is the match that may just prove to be the single biggest turning point in Dolph Ziggler’s career. Among all the superstars who are part of this card, TLC 2012 will mean the most to Nicholas Ryan Nemeth. Ziggler needs to win this match to get that one last push of credibility that he lacks to prove that he belongs with the big boys. Ziggler must beat John Cena because having Cena win (1) will keep Dolph mired in the midcard, (2) will destroy the momentum he at least attempted to build in 2012, and most importantly (3) will take a crap on the credibility of the Money in the Bank Contract.
R: Took the words right out of my mouth. John Cena doesn’t need the briefcase. If anything, I’ll bet it was his idea behind the scenes for him to put Ziggler over. He doesn’t need it, not now, not ever, and especially not in the near future, while Punk is injured.
Prediction: Dolph Ziggler keeps the Money in the Bank Contract.
6-Man TLC Match: The Shield vs. Ryback and Team Hell No
S: I want this match to be the main event tonight just because I’m part of the IWC and I’m affirming Romeo’s earlier claim that The Shield is the IWC’s physical representation in the WWE canon.
Right off the bat, I will tell you that The Shield will win. They will win because they need some street cred. If the team of faces gives The Shield their comeuppance as early as now, then their buildup since Survivor Series will have gone to waste.
Since The Shield represents the IWC, Creative might as well just make them look strong through the next few months so that they can be serve as “pests” in a villainous sense, kind of like how our complaints on the internet are perenially pesky to them in the first place. Ryback and Team Hell No, while formidable, should just be the first of many victims on The Shield’s hit list as we in the WWE Universe all wait in joyful hope for the coming of a savior.
R: While it’s likely that the company will go another way and have the Shield lose here, I don’t think it’s gonna happen. This time, it’s not John Cena vs. the Nexus. So everything Stan has just said should stand, and if heat is the issue here, then I’m sure that Ryback will see to these three after the match is over. The Shield to win it.
Prediction: The Shield wins.
S: There you have it! I haven’t done this in quite a while and it just feels so good to be back! Thank you, broski, for indulging my request and doing this column with me on such short notice!
R: I gotta thank you, too. I need to get back in the game in some way, and this was the perfect way to do it. Glad to be on here, and I hope all of you enjoy the show.
S: I’m looking forward to seeing it tonight! So without furtherado, I’m signing off, and reminding you as always, to take care and spike your hair!
Image courtesy of WWE.