Triple H and Stephanie on Monday's Raw.
You should expect WWE’s TLC pay-per-view to churn out various surprises and swerves when it takes place December 15.
Sure, the company’s year-end event can often come off as a throwaway occasion en route to the much more high-profile Royal Rumble.
But this time the show is shaping up to be a pretty big deal, mainly thanks to the World title unification bout between Randy Orton and John Cena.
So, in order of importance on the card, let’s have a look at the various X-factors that may end up playing a major role at the pay-per-view.
The Miz: Heel or face right now?
Is The Miz a heel or face these days? It’s very difficult to say.
WWE’s writing crew don't even seem to have a clue, either, having turned the wrestler at least twice in the past few weeks.
This perplexing booking is truly like something out of WCW Nitro circa 1999.
Presumably, the 33-year-old will turn on Kofi Kingston definitively at some point soon, but who knows with this creative team?
Hopefully we get some confirmation of Miz’s character direction at the TLC pay-per-view.
Will Paul Heyman return at TLC?
Evil manager Paul Heyman has been notably absent from WWE television in recent times, selling his various injuries at the hands of Punk. He has also dropped his association with Ryback and Curtis Axel, apparently feeling that both guys failed to properly protect him.
However, fans shouldn’t expect the former ECW owner to be gone too long—he’s simply too valuable to programming. (Raw and SmackDown both feel somewhat lacking without him around to spice things up.)
It wouldn’t be too much of a shock to see Heyman turn up at Hell in a Cell, possibly as the mastermind behind the Wyatt family, a role he would be perfect for.
And speaking of the Wyatts...
Daniel Bryan: Could he join the Wyatt crew?
At TLC, Daniel Bryan is set to take on the Wyatt Family in a daunting 3-on-1 Handicap match (thank you, Kane).
But while Bryan may be heading into Houston as a babyface, will he be leaving as one?
In fact, a heel turn doesn’t seem to be entirely out of the question for the 32-year-old, especially with the way Bray Wyatt has been urging the star to join his group and generally getting under his skin.
Sure, Bryan is hugely popular with the WWE Universe, but if he has reached his ceiling as a babyface—and the company is certainly acting like he has—maybe a heel turn is the way to go.
It’s also possible WWE management has grown weary of the loud “Daniel Bryan” chants at inconvenient points in the show, like on last week’s Raw, and figure a drastic change in character direction will be a good way to combat this.
Kane, looking very corporate on Raw.
New director of operations Kane has been throwing his weight around since he received his promotion, making unfair matches, dishing out orders and generally pushing The Authority’s corporate agenda.
I can't imagine the star taking a backseat at the TLC pay-per-view, either.
So, don’t be too surprised if Kane comes out during the event and makes his presence felt at the Toyota Center.
Who knows? He may even get involved in the main event unification match between Randy Orton and John Cena and affect the outcome.
Triple H and Stephanie lay down the law to Orton.
Honestly, it’s hard to see Triple H and Stephanie McMahon not interfering in the main event of TLC.
Indeed, both vowed several times they wouldn’t get involved in the WWE Championship match at Survivor Series only to, well, get directly involved in the WWE Championship match at Survivor Series.
(And the company wonders why its core audience has lost faith in stipulations in recent times.)
Make no mistake: These days, the McMahons have to be involved in everything remotely important that goes on. It’s, like, the law, or something.