The final pay-per-view event of 2019 is nearly upon us: this Sunday, WWE presents TLC. This show has clearly been something of an afterthought for the company — as of this writing, no singles title is on the line at the event, and several big names are missing from the card. Regardless, the TLC gimmick itself ensures there will be some spectacular moments, and a few matches have the potential to steal the show.
The Viking Raiders (c) vs. TBD for the Raw Tag Team Championship (Open Challenge)
The Viking Raiders have pillaged Raw’s tag team division, and now there is apparently no one left to step up to the challenge. Who will answer the call of the Viking Raiders? Will they successfully wrest control of the Raw Tag Team Championship, or will they fall victim to the Viking Experience?
Patrick: Whoever answers this open challenge is gonna get their asses kicked. I get that they need to establish Viking Raiders as a legitimate team, but they probably should have thought about that before they put the titles on them. As it stands, I’m already bored of the Viking Raiders.
Winners: The Viking Raiders
Vishal: This is clearly intended to set up the Viking Raiders as a proper force alongside the rest of the teams, and it’d be really weird to have an open challenge like this end with the Viking Raiders losing the titles. I can’t think of a team that could answer the challenge and win satisfyingly.
Winners: The Viking Raiders
Jay: Nothing says, “I don’t know do whatever” than an “open challenge” for the title. That’s where we are with the Viking Raiders. They were the most over tag team in the company as the War Raiders. They were laughing stocks as the Viking Experience. And they’re perfectly mediocre as the Viking Raiders. Sigh, they deserve much better. I hope they win and that WWE keeps trying but whenever the booking team is bored, they tend to do hard resets. You know, to just “do whatever.” I expect The Viking Raiders to drop the straps.
Aleister Black vs. Buddy Murphy
Aleister Black has been begging somebody to knock on his door for months, and Buddy Murphy has stepped up to the plate. The Best Kept Secret feels like he has a lot to prove, and knocking Black down a peg is a great way to do it.
Patrick: This match could steal the entire show. Murphy is quietly one of WWE’s best in-ring wrestlers, and Aleister Black is absolutely no slouch. In a perfect world this would kick-start both men’s careers to a new level. It’s actually kind of hard to predict, too, as it depends on where they want to go with Buddy Murphy. But considering his matches with the likes of Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns a couple months ago, they seem to see something in him. I’ll go with Murphy for the upset.
Winner: Buddy Murphy
Vishal: This very much feels like an attempt to put Murphy over, but I have to go the opposite direction – I feel like Murphy will put up a very valiant effort before ultimately succumbing to Aleister Black. A big part of it is that Black also hasn’t had a major moment recently and they need to do something to remind everyone that he exists and is quite formidable beyond his creepy ramblings.
Winner: Aleister Black
Jay: Aleister Black was one of the most marketable, badass characters they’ve had in years to that edgelord you knew in high school who would leave vaguely threatening away messages on AIM. Let me ask you something, who said this – “I want SOMEONE to pick a FIGHT with ME.” Was it Aleister Black? Or was it ShadowsMercy847, your friend Roger who worked at Hot Topic? Aleister Black will win because Murphy still needs some seasoning in the character department.
Kabuki Warriors (c) vs. Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair for the Women’s Tag Team Championship (Tables, Ladders and Chairs Match)
Asuka and Kairi Sane have really changed their tune as of late. Eschewing the bright colors and silly theatrics in favor of brutality and green mist, the new-look Kabuki Warriors have been on a roll since winning the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship. As a result, they’ve grown so confident that they issued a challenge to Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair to challenge them for their tag team titles. Lynch and Flair accepted, but on one condition: Tables, Ladders and Chairs.
Patrick: Kabuki Warriors have been one of the best things going since their heel turn (and thank god they got some new entrance music!). This match should be crazy — it’s the first women’s TLC match, so you know all four women are going to go all out. I think Kabuki Warriors hang on to the titles here and Becky and Charlotte go back to worrying about singles matches after TLC.
Winners: Kabuki Warriors
Vishal: I can’t see Becky and Charlotte being tag team champions together, the fact that they couldn’t even team up until right before the PPV makes it clear that there’s no intent for this to be a long term teamup. The Kabuki Warriors are gonna be as nasty as possible and have a lot of fun doing it. This is another one of those situations where I can’t see a championship team losing to a last-minute team of competitors.
Winners: Kabuki Warriors
Jay: They’re doing a Mega Powers thing with Becky and Charlotte. Kabuki Warriors have built themselves into legit threats and this will be a great match. However, the momentum of Warriors will be stopped short because the picture of Charlotte and Becky standing side-by-side will be tempting for the WWE powers that be to resist. I mean, think of the chatter on Instagram and Twitter!
Winners: Becky and Charlotte
Rusev vs. Bobby Lashley (Tables Match)
It’s come to this. Bobby Lashley is with Rusev’s now ex-wife, Lana, after a highly public affair that embarrassed the Bulgarian Brute at first, but now he seems liberated. The only thing he wanted in the divorce proceedings was a match against Lashley to vent his frustrations, and this Sunday he gets it in a tables match.
Patrick: Say what you want about this storyline — anything you say, you’ll probably be right. But I’ll take goofy wrestling storylines over no storylines any day of the week. This has been quite the weird ride, but at least Rusev and Lashley actually have a reason to hate each other, which is more than can be said for most WWE storylines these days. I want to say Rusev gets his cathartic moment here, but WWE seems to love these jilted lover angles lately, and by all accounts Vince is high as hell on this one, so I don’t see it ending any time soon. Lashley gets the win.
Winner: Bobby Lashley
Vishal: This storyline is absurd and I feel like everyone was tired of it the week it started. That being said, Vince has seemingly moved onto another cheating/cuckoldry plotline with Drake and Elias, so I feel like this is the right time to shut this one down and move on to the next. They’ll probably give Rusev a cathartic victory over Lashley but Lashley will get the last laugh because he’s still with Lana.
Jay: Rusev has to win. I mean think about it, he lost his wife to Lashley. That was already Lashley’s win. So this match is for Rusev to get his win back before they go their separate ways. Rusev is better as a face. Lana is better as a heel. Lashley needs a personality that Lana will provide. Winners all around here.
The New Day (c) vs. The Revival for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship
Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder won a tag team turmoil match to earn themselves another shot at the New Day’s tag team championship. Kofi Kingston and Big E are representing the Power of Positivity in their staggering 7th reign, but The Revival are determined to bring realism and respect back to the tag division. Will they be able to rid the division of pancakes and hip gyrations, or will the New Day pull off a victory once again?
Patrick: It’s kind of funny that in a week where four wrestlers got their releases from WWE, one of the most high profile teams to ask for their release is suddenly thrust into the tag team title scene. Either way, I’m glad they were, as Revival remains one of my favorite teams in the company and I long for the day they are taken seriously for any sustained period of time. Unfortunately, I don’t think that will begin on Sunday.
Winners: The New Day
Vishal: We just had this same conflict a few months ago, and I feel like the Revival winning the title again would just not work. I also haven’t seen anything that indicates any plans for a longer term Revival arc. Plus, I love the New Day and I just don’t want to see them lose.
Winners: The New Day
Jay: Whatever. Just whatever. This will be a great match no doubt considering the talent but damn it, I was in attendance for Mania this year. I matched Kofi win the title and the sheer elation of the crowd that night was something I will never forget. He went on to have a wonderful six month reign that featured multiple strong matches against the likes of Daniel Bryan, Samoa Joe, Dolph Ziggler, Sami Zayn, and Randy Orton. His final feud before losing the title was with Orton and was centered on Kofi finally overcoming any sort of doubt in his ability as a champion by besting the man who held him down and Kofi found himself positioned to soldier on as champion against higher profiler and graver threats. And then he lost in 5 seconds to Brock Lesnar. Can you blame me for being a little deflated knowing that this match even exists?
Winners: The Revival.
Roman Reigns vs. King Corbin (Tables, Ladders and Chairs Match)
King Corbin, alongside his cohorts Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode, has been making Roman Reigns’s life a living hell for weeks now. The juvenile attacks and jokes culminated last week on SmackDown when the King of the Ring handcuffed the Big Dog to the ring post and literally showered him with dog food. Will Roman get his revenge? Believe that.
Patrick: It says something that on a card with Rusev vs. Bobby Lashley, this may be the most ridiculous storyline at TLC. Corbin cackling while smearing dog food in Roman’s face was a real “why do I still watch this show?” moment, but the resulting TLC match should actually be pretty fun. Roman and Corbin can both go in the ring, and it’s hard to have a boring TLC match. As for the victor, I never, ever bet against the Big Dog.
Winner: Roman Reigns
Vishal: That dog food thing made me nauseous, and I totally agree with Patrick that it’s the most ridiculous storyline going on. I don’t understand why Corbin’s getting the push he is — he’s one of the worst parts of SmackDown whenever he does anything. Yet while I wish that they’d just have Roman put him down and end this storyline once and for all, I just can’t help but feel this dread that Corbin’s going to win and continue with all these awful, awful dog jokes.
Winner: King Corbin
Jay: This feud would have been “The WCCW Feud of the Year” in 1982. This feud would have lit up the Dallas Sportatorium. People would have reviled King Corbin’s arrogance. They would have thrown garbage at him and the dastardly Dolph Ziggler as they shellacked Roman Reigns in dog food. And they would have roared every time the Big Dog hit a spear. It would have been unbelievable but sadly, it isn’t f*cking 1982. Jokes aside, this will be a great match but the promos have been hokey. The matches have been booked with logic from the ’80s. And like every angle from back in the day, the face will win to send the crowd home happy.
Winner: Roman Reigns.
Bray Wyatt vs. The Miz
The Miz stuck his nose in Bray Wyatt’s business, sticking up and showing concern for career rival Daniel Bryan as he clashed against The Fiend. While The Fiend wanted to “play” with Daniel Bryan again at TLC, the vicious attack a couple weeks ago has made Bryan disappear from television. Now, the demented Wyatt has set his sights on The A-Lister.
Patrick: Interestingly, this looks like the first time we’ll see the “human” form of The Fiend wrestle, as WWE is seemingly billing this as the Firefly Funhouse host, Mr. Rogers-looking Wyatt rather than the monstrous Fiend. Either way, as much as I like The Miz, there is no way he beats Wyatt. This is just a way to extend the Daniel Bryan program — a smart way, but at the end of the day that’s all it is.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
Vishal: Bray hasn’t lost since the Fiend persona first appeared, and he’s not going to lose here. This is clearly something intended to delay the far more climactic Daniel Bryan showdown. I feel like they’re going to try to use the Miz to put up a far more valiant effort against Wyatt than we’ve seen from anyone else up to this point, so that the stakes for Bryan’s rematch are more believable, but they obviously won’t have Bray lose here.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
Jay: Bray. This isn’t worth talking about it. This was thrown together because they needed a match for Bray and Miz is there to highlight the threat he poses, as he has been doing with those hammy promos with Bryan. This is going to be a squash match. I’m sure they will find a way to make it entertaining though.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
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