WWE TLC 2013: Bold Predictions for Latest PPV Event
On Sunday, Dec. 15, World Wrestling Entertainment will produce its annual TLC pay-per-view live from the Toyota Center in Houston. The main event will see World Heavyweight champion John Cena take on WWE champion Randy Orton in a Tables, Ladders and Chairs match aimed at crowning a single, unified champion.
Elsewhere on the card, handicap matches abound as CM Punk takes on all three members of The Shield and Daniel Bryan meets the Wyatt Family.
Intercontinental champion Big E. Langston will meet his biggest challenge to date as he takes on Damien Sandow, while AJ Lee will attempt to preserve her lengthy Divas title reign against Natalya.
2013 has seen its fair share of wildly predictable pay-per-view events, with only nonsensical booking decisions catching fans off guard for the most part.
With that precedent in mind, here is a look at a few bold predictions surrounding the event's top stars that some may not see coming.
Title Changes Will Be Few and Far Between
Outside of the championship main event, not another championship will change hands on December 15.
United States champion Dean Ambrose finds himself involved in a three-on-one handicap match against CM Punk and, thus, his title will not be on the line.
Intercontinental champion Big E. Langston just recently won his title and seems poised to breakout in 2014. While Damien Sandow is a worthy challenger who had what should have been a star-making performance against John Cena back in October, he is not the guy to dethrone Langston this early in his run.
For now, at least, that title is safe.
There is a ton of untapped potential in WWE Tag Team champions Cody Rhodes and Goldust. While there are a number of teams deserving of the titles, it does not feel like like the Rhodes brothers' story is over.
Which brings us to Divas champion AJ Lee.
Of all the champions heading into TLC, AJ feels the least safe, what with the temptation to put the Divas title on one of the Total Divas castmates ever looming. She will defend her title against third-generation Diva Natalya at the show and is coming off of a series of losses.
With that being said, AJ is arguably the best-booked champion on WWE programming.
She is also a complete performer, something no other Diva can claim.
Big Show Will Lose His Second Straight PPV Match
Remember that time WWE opted to give Big Show a renewed push at Daniel Bryan's expense?
It will feel like a lifetime ago when Big Show loses his second consecutive pay-per-view match at TLC.
The sharp fall of the giant following his putrid performance against Randy Orton at Survivor Series is justified but it is still somewhat shocking to see just how far he has plummeted.
Despite months of planning and booking was put into his angle with The Authority, Show has not interacted with the company's power couple since losing the WWE title match to Orton.
Last Monday night, he was the weak link in a tag team main event and this week, he was just another guy in a midcard six-man tag team bout, which was more focused on putting The Shield over than the former number one contender.
With his push suddenly non-existent, it remains to be seen if Big Show will even make the TLC card.
If he does, it is hard to imagine a scenario in which he wins his match, especially given the manner in which he has been phased out of relevant storylines the last two weeks.
Whether it is a singles match against Alberto Del Rio or a tag match including any of the other top stars not involved in anything else, he has fallen off significantly and in all likelihood, has seen his time at the top of the card come to an end.
At least for now.
The Seeds Will Be Planted for the Shield's Impending Split
When CM Punk takes on The Shield in a three-on-one handicap match at TLC, it will not only be the next step in feud, it will also be the first major step in the eventual split that will see Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose branch out into singles competition.
The booking of Roman Reigns at Survivor Series backed up all of the reports, such as this one, claiming he was poised to be the next "golden boy" of World Wrestling Entertainment. He dominated the competition and has used his explosive spear to ensure victory for his team on numerous occasions throughout the year.
It seems unlikely that both The Shield and the Wyatt Family will win their matches at TLC. With the latter needing a high-profile, pay-per-view win more, that leaves The Shield to somehow lose a match in which they have a heavy numbers advantage.
That starts with miscommunication among the team members, ultimately leading to Reigns catching one of his partners with the spear and Punk taking advantage of the mistake and securing the victory.
The spear creates dissension within the group and the distrust and finger-pointing thereafter ultimately leads to its downfall.
John Cena Turns Heel
Ah yes, the mythological John Cena heel turn. It has been speculated upon and anxiously anticipated for the better part of five years.
The crowds have expressed their disdain for the character and have waited for the moment that the company would freshen him up by drastically changing him.
Now, however, it seems as though fans are closer to getting their wish than at any time in the past.
Don't believe me?
Listen to Cena's promos since returning from injury in October. There is a noticeable change that includes the reintroduction of his Thuganomics accent, less pandering to the audience and a harder edge to his words.
Then there was his entrance at Survivor Series, following the Randy Orton-Big Show match. There was something about the way he stopped in the middle of Triple H and Stephanie, and the way they looked at him with such adoration, that struck this writer as strange.
That is not to mention the mysterious conversation the COO and Cena were having in the backstage area prior to the WWE title match, a conversation that Orton walked in on and ended promptly afterward.
The cryptic way in which Triple H continues to guarantee one champion without explicitly supporting Orton only adds to the mystique and enigmatic nature of the match, an element that has gone largely overlooked.
From the very moment that "face of the WWE" was uttered in the weeks leading up to SummerSlam, the only person that could truly and conceivably fill that role was Cena. That label has been used to refer to him by both serious and sarcastic fans across the Internet for years.
While the company used it to refer to Orton and Daniel Bryan in months passed, it only really ever fit Cena.
What better way to finally execute the heel turn than by playing up the very real fact that Cena is, without a shadow of a doubt, the face of the company?
Of course, the likelihood of Cena finally turning and the company appeasing its rabid fanbase is highly unlikely.
But that is why they call them bold predictions, right?