Although a match between Dolph Ziggler and John Cena has yet to be formally announced for WWE Tables, Ladders and Chairs, it would seem at this stage in their heated rivalry to be a foregone conclusion.
A match that originally was seemingly being built for Survivor Series last month, there is considerable hype surrounding the Cena/Ziggler bout, especially following reports of the "extremely positive" reaction to their matches on WWE's recent European Tour.
The beauty of WWE's final pay-per-view of the year is that its gimmick is not as one-dimensional as events such as Hell In A Cell. There are a number of options for the creative department to examine when booking the likely culmination of the Cena/Ziggler feud.
With the World Heavyweight Championship match being contested in a Chairs match for the third year out of four, it is fairly safe to say that this is one of the event's gimmick matches that we will not see Cena and Ziggler involved in.
Although having two TLC matches is perhaps unlikely, and would be unprecedented at the event, it should not altogether be ruled out as an option for Cena's first pay-per-view singles match against "The Show Off".
However, it would seem that there are three likely options remaining:
- Tables Match
- Ladder Match
- Singles Match
Perhaps the most anticipated of these would be a Ladder match, and as has been mentioned previously, it would arguably make sense given the successes of the two back in July, especially if fans were treated to a match in which the Money in the Bank briefcase was hanging in the balance.
Although it would make for an exciting match up, it has to be asked if two weeks is enough time to make Cena seem at all interested in a World Heavyweight Championship opportunity. Whether the company feels that putting the contract on the line is worth it, especially as it means Cena would likely lose in a fairly clean manner to the up-and-coming star, is also an issue heading in to Dec. 16.
A Singles match could also work for the pay-per-view. Although it's an event traditionally packed with gimmick matches, there are usually, with the exception of 2010, a number of matches that do not feature tables, ladders or chairs. Given the aforementioned solid reviews of the singles matches the two contested while on tour, it would not be a total surprise to see them battle it out on pay-per-view in a match purely built around Ziggler trying to out-wrestle the 10-time WWE Champion.
However, it could be argued that at this stage, it would most likely be a Tables match. Although arguably above being able to lose significant momentum and overness at this stage in his career, it must be remembered that John Cena has not won a pay-per-view match since his MITB victory back in July.
While I see him losing to Ziggler at TLC later this month, it will probably, and unfortunately, be in a tainted manner. This is where a Tables match is perfect, as it allows a competitor to lose without looking particularly weak, yet without outside interference or blatant cheating. Therefore don't be surprised if we see a Big Show/Cody Rhodes type of ending at the final pay-per-view of the year.
Ultimately, although a Ladder match for the briefcase would perhaps be the most exciting route for WWE to take, it would seem that the safest path is a Tables Match.
This evening's episode of Monday Night Raw should hopefully provide the answer.