WWE TLC 2013 Card: Full Predictions and Winners for Each Match
Now that the WWE TLC 2013 pay-per-view card seems to be all but finalized, it's time to start breaking down the matches we'll get and giving our predictions.
We know that John Cena and Randy Orton will fight it out in a TLC match to determine who is the unified champion of champions, but which one of them is going to walk out with the title?
Is Big E Langston going to retain his Intercontinental Championship against former Money in the Bank holder Damien Sandow?
Will CM Punk and Daniel Bryan be able to overcome the odds and win their respective handicap matches?
Let's take a look at what is coming our way and what the possible outcomes will be.
Kickoff Match: Dolph Ziggler vs. Fandango
Just why exactly are Fandango and Dolph Ziggler on the card but many of the other programs are being ignored?
One would think that The Miz vs. Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods vs. Brodus Clay or something featuring Rey Mysterio or Big Show would have been announced instead of this match.
On top of that, there still hasn't been a WWE Tag Team Championship title defense announced, which is unquestionably more important than Ziggler vs. Fandango.
The likelihood that we will not see Cody Rhodes and Goldust defend their titles or a match between The Miz and Kofi Kingston is low.
For whatever reason, WWE has developed a habit of leaving matches off the card and then adding them on the night of the event, so those two will probably fill in the gaps.
In the meantime, WWE felt the need to announce a pre-show match of some sorts, which is why this match is going to take place.
The kickoff is frequently something that has very little value to it but is expected to be entertaining enough to motivate people to purchase the pay-per-view.
That is why two people who can deliver in the ring like Ziggler and Fandango have been placed in this position.
Since this is just the pre-show and not on the pay-per-view itself, fans shouldn't be cheated in seeing a match that came out of thin air with no feud behind it if there is quality in the ring work.
And if this all boils down to putting on a good performance, either man has a chance to win, depending upon WWE's motivation going forward.
If Fandango is getting a renewed push or this is to start a feud between these two, he will win this match, whether it is legitimate or by cheating.
However, if this is nothing more than a means to get these two on the card and to have a good match, Ziggler will be victorious, since making him lose for no gain is pointless.
Divas Championship: AJ Lee vs. Natalya
Despite Total Divas being the primary focal point of the Divas division in WWE for the past several months, AJ Lee has maintained her grasp on the Divas Championship.
So far, nobody has been able to take the title off her hands and when push comes to shove, the fiery little nutjob continually finds a way to avoid defeat.
But how much longer is that title reign really going to last?
It goes without being said that if a member of the Total Divas cast was holding the title, it would make sense, so there's always a threat that WWE will book a loss for AJ and award the belt to someone like Natalya to fulfill that role.
But who would challenge Natalya after she finished her program with AJ Lee?
Without stretching things too much, WWE could rely on a rematch between the two and at least one match involving Tamina Snuka, but after that, something would be needed to freshen the situation up.
Aksana, Rosa Mendes and many others would not draw an audience in comparison to someone as popular as AJ Lee, nor is it likely that WWE will bring up someone from NXT like Paige and push her to the moon that quickly.
On the other hand, if AJ Lee were to retain, there is still some vitality to her feuding with the rest of the Total Divas cast.
Nikki Bella hasn't been given a proper shot at the belt, nor has Naomi, who has it in her to pull off a decent match when given a chance.
With all things considered, AJ Lee is probably going to retain the title here and hold onto it for a little while longer.
Intercontinental Championship: Big E Langston vs. Damien Sandow
Very little time and effort has been put into this feud between Damien Sandow and Big E Langston, as TLC has snuck up on everyone rather fast.
With the unification of the WWE Championship and World Heavyweight Championship scheduled, the main event scene is going to become much more crowded.
As such, there are less spots that someone like Sandow could have filled, so he was pretty much doomed to take a step down the hierarchy.
At the very least, it's a good thing to see him positioned as the top challenger to the next best championship.
Likewise, Big E Langston is in the midst of a push, and it would do him no good to feud with someone beneath him, so Sandow is a worthy opponent to justify Langston's value.
Both of these men are deserving of a step up in the company and could use this win to help usher that along, but only one of them can win in the end.
Since Langston's title reign is still relatively new, it would be more of a disservice to him to drop the title to Sandow than for Sandow to come up short.
Even Sandow winning due to disqualification or Langston being counted out wouldn't do too much for either man.
A feud can continue between these two and properly develop with Langston retaining and Sandow seeking vengeance after the fact in some fashion, and this is the course of action that seems likely to happen.
3-on-1 Handicap Match: Daniel Bryan vs. The Wyatt Family
Daniel Bryan just can't catch a break, can he?
The poor guy has obstacle after obstacle placed in front of him, and this is just another big mountain that he has to climb.
Unfortunately for Bryan, this mountain hike isn't going to end with an engagement to the beautiful Brie Bella, but rather a beatdown from three unkempt men that look like they've been living in those mountains for far too long.
As much as the underdog story is compelling, it only works if the underdog can't win all of his challenges.
If Bryan were able to beat the odds in every situation except for those that involve interference, he doesn't look like the underdog anymore.
Likewise, if Bryan were to win this match, it would make no sense.
Every member of The Wyatt Family is bigger than him and since they aren't booked as total jobbers, they should not lose to one man that isn't the size of Big Show.
Bryan should be able to put up some of a fight, but ultimately, he has to lose for the sake of looking at least somewhat realistic.
What happens after his loss is up for debate, though. Does he join them, get abducted or worse?
3-on-1 Handicap Match: CM Punk vs. The Shield
As explained with the match between Daniel Bryan and The Wyatt Family, a three-on-one situation should, for all intents and purposes, end with the solo man losing.
CM Punk is not exempt from this rule, but he stands a better chance at winning his match than Bryan does.
The main reason for that is the tease of dissension amongst The Shield.
In fact, Michael Cole alluded to a possible finish for this match by saying if Punk can capitalize on the miscommunication between Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns, then he could pull off a victory.
That is, of course, only if these three men can't put their egos aside.
If they work like the well-oiled machine that they normally are, this should be a loss for Punk just the same as it is for Bryan, as they should be too much to overcome.
Punk is probably on a path toward challenging either Randy Orton or Triple H at WrestleMania, and if he's indeed given a prominent spot like that, the next few months should consist of building him up for it.
Because of that, Punk will look strong here no matter what.
If he loses, Punk will have lost by sheer numbers and not skill, but it's plausible that Punk will actually win instead.
All Punk needs is for Reigns to accidentally hit a spear on Rollins or Ambrose and he'll get his hand raised instead of The Hounds of Justice.
Title Unification TLC Match: John Cena vs. Randy Orton
No matter what happens here, a large portion of the fans are going to be disappointed and a large portion of the fans will be happy.
A John Cena victory will spark the usual comments of WWE shoving him down our throats and that "of course" SuperCena was going to win.
Randy Orton walking away with the titles will disappoint Cena fans and draw criticism from Daniel Bryan and CM Punk supporters that the Viper just doesn't compare to those babyfaces.
One way or another, no outcome is going to please everyone.
But between these two wrestlers, there's more to gain with Orton winning than there is with Cena as the champion.
The Road to WrestleMania is right around the corner and plans need to start coming to fruition for what is going to happen in New Orleans.
Whoever wins this match cannot drop the title before WrestleMania without looking weak and forcing WWE to rush to build someone else up as the champion.
With that being said, compare the two scenarios that are ahead of us.
Cena walking into WrestleMania as the champion to defend against a babyface Royal Rumble winner would mean it would have to be Cena vs. Punk or Cena vs. Bryan, both matches that we've seen.
Even worse would be a heel winning the Royal Rumble to defeat Cena at WrestleMania XXX, ending the pay-per-view on a sour note.
In comparison, a heel Orton as champion for WrestleMania almost assures that he will get his comeuppance when a babyface wins the Royal Rumble and takes the title away from him.
That babyface could be Bryan or it could be Punk, but at this point, the smart move is betting on the latter.
Some think that this match will end with some kind of a draw where both men grab a title and it stalls for a true champion until the Royal Rumble itself, but that isn't a necessity.
A rematch can easily take place between these two even if there is a winner.
Also, take into account that Cena can lose this match without being pinned or submitting and then lose their followup at the Royal Rumble from interference or cheating on Orton's behalf.
It is not beyond the realm of possibility for Cena to be crowned the unified and undisputed champion here, but all signs are pointing toward Orton getting the big win.
What are your predictions for Tables, Ladders and Chairs 2013? Who would you like to see leave with the Unified Championship?
Sound off in the comments below and fill us in on your theories!
Anthony Mango is the owner-operator of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment as well as the host of its podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.