On the surface, it seems as though WWE has put all its eggs in one basket when it comes to TLC. The unification match between John Cena and Randy Orton is dominating headlines, and rightfully so, but the rest of the card shouldn't be discounted either.
In fact, TLC's card as a whole is far superior to that of Survivor Series, but all anyone seems interested in discussing is Cena vs. Orton.
While none of the other matches have company-changing potential, several are likely to have fans talking once the pay-per-view is over.
Here are three underrated matches that aren't receiving much publicity right now, but will ultimately be viewed as high-quality bouts.
|John Cena (c) vs. Randy Orton (c)||Unified Championship||Tables, Ladders & Chairs match|
|Daniel Bryan vs. The Wyatt Family||N/A||Handicap match|
|CM Punk vs. The Shield||N/A||Handicap match|
|AJ Lee (c) vs. Natalya||Divas Championship||N/A|
|Cody Rhodes & Goldust (c) vs. Big Show & Rey Mysterio vs. Real Americans vs. Rybaxel||Tag Team Championships||Fatal 4-Way match|
|Big E Langston (c) vs. Damien Sandow||Intercontinental Championship||N/A|
|Dolph Ziggler vs. Fandango||N/A||Kickoff match|
Cody Rhodes & Goldust vs. Big Show & Rey Mysterio vs. Real Americans vs. Rybaxel
WWE has clearly made a concerted effort to place emphasis on the tag team division in recent months, and that will manifest itself at TLC.
The team of Cody Rhodes and Goldust will defend its Tag Team Championship in a Fatal 4-Way match against the newly formed teams of Big Show and Rey Mysterio, Rybaxel and the Real Americans.
Despite the stiff challenge they are sure to face, Rhodes and Goldust seem pretty attached to their titles, as seen in this photo courtesy of WWE's Instagram account.
Goldust has defied logic since returning to WWE on a full-time basis, as he is arguably doing his best in-ring work at the age of 44. Naturally, he and his brother have great chemistry as well. Essentially every match they have competed in together has been excellent, and this one should be no exception.
The intrigue doesn't stop with Rhodes and Goldust, as the other three teams have their strengths as well.
The Real Americans are starting to establish themselves as the best heel team in the company. Zeb Colter is a great mouthpiece, and Antonio Cesaro and Jack Swagger are a great fit together since they're fantastic all-around competitors.
The other two teams are brand-new, but the veteran pairing of Big Show and Mysterio is a good idea, while Ryback and Curtis Axel are more valuable as a team than as individuals right now.
With so many good workers involved, expect there to be nonstop action throughout, with Rhodes and Goldust finding a way to retain the straps.
Daniel Bryan vs. The Wyatt Family
TLC will feature two handicap matches, and most seem to think that CM Punk vs. The Shield will shine brightest. It's tough to argue with that since The Shield routinely puts on fantastic in-ring showings.
With that said, the three-on-one match pitting Daniel Bryan against the Wyatt Family shouldn't be discounted. Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan may not be as celebrated as the Hounds of Justice, but that doesn't mean that they can't perform at a high level.
Which underrated TLC match will be the best?
Bryan has had numerous singles matches against Harper and Rowan, and all of them have been surprisingly good. Despite Bryan's diminutive size, he meshes quite well with the big men.
Also, since he and Wyatt haven't really gone head-to-head yet, it will be interesting to see how they work together. Regardless of what the Wyatt Family members do, this should be an entertaining contest because Bryan is capable of carrying pretty much anyone.
Since he has nobody to tag, the onus will be on him throughout. As the chants on Raw suggested, Bryan is in higher demand now than ever before. With that in mind, this match should be a showcase for him.
The correct booking decision is to have the Wyatts win in order to further the possibility of Bryan turning heel in joining them, even though it won't come to fruition. As long as Bryan looks spectacular in a losing effort, though, he won't be adversely affected in terms of momentum.
AJ Lee vs. Natalya
It is admittedly difficult to get excited about the Divas division right now due to the fact that there is a lack of competition for impressive Divas champion AJ Lee, but she will face her toughest test yet at TLC.
Natalya is arguably the best female worker in the company, so she should be able to get more out of AJ than anyone has before.
AJ is solid in the ring in her own right, but there is only so much that she can do against The Bella Twins and The Funkadactyls. Natalya may be part of that Total Divas group, but she is a far superior wrestler to any of them.
Natalya and AJ have been at odds for the past several weeks. Natalya has been getting the better of AJ as of late and is ready to take the butterfly-emblazoned belt, as evidenced by this tweet:
As far as the current roster is concerned, it doesn't get any better than AJ vs. Natalya from an in-ring perspective. The main concern relates to whether or not they'll be given a proper amount of time.
Also, they don't need any shenanigans from the other divas. Matches involving AJ have been muddled by the Total Divas cast far too often.
As long as this is an honest, one-on-one affair, it could very well be the best Divas match of the year.
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