CONTAINS SPOILERS FROM THIS FRIDAY'S SMACKDOWN!
WWE's first TLC event in December 2009 was a surprise hit. The final PPV of the year was possibly their finest of 2009. It was opened by a decent ladder match for the ECW Championship and ended on a main event for the Tag Team Championship. It was unique and that was its strongest selling point.
As we come to the second TLC event though, we have to wonder if its unusual charm will remain considering some of the elements that made it so different are no longer in the company.
Last year's card saw:
Christian (c) Def. Shelton Benjamin In a Ladder Match for the ECW Championship
Drew McIntyre Def. John Morrison (c) For the Intercontinental Championship
Michelle McCool (c) Def. Mickie James For the Women's Championship
Sheamus Def. John Cena (c) In a Tables Match For the WWE Championship
The Undertaker (c) Def. Batista In a Chairs Match for the World Heavyweight Championship
Randy Orton Def. Kofi Kingston
DX Def. Jeri-Show (c) In a Tables, Ladders and Chairs Match for the Unified Tag Team Championship
So lets start off with the pee break of the PPV a tag team match...wait, I mean a tag team tables match? Seriously? WWE are actually letting the Divas partake in the gimmick match this PPV? Well alright then. All of a sudden I'm interested, if only to how well this actually plays out.
So last month Laycool finally lost the Diva's Championship and Beth Phoenix would also make her long awaited return by helping Natalya clear the ex-champions from the ring. So essentially Laycool, who don't have rematch clauses apparently, have made little attempt to regain the gold, so I do wonder if this truly heading to the end of the union between McCool and Layla.
Being a tables match I just don't see Laycool winning. Do you see McCool or Layla picking up either Natlya or Phoenix? Do you see one of them diving off the ropes to win the match? Not really, but I see Layla getting a Glam Slam through the wood.
Winners: Natalya and Beth Phoenix
[Entering Sarcasm Mode] Thanks WWE. The whole John Cena getting fired story was so riveting. I would have never guessed that he was ever going to get his job back [Exiting Sarcasm Mode].
In all fairness I had no problem with John Cena turning up despite being fired or the fact that he got re-hired. What annoyed me the most was the pure and utter laziness that went into this angle. Essentially it had three phases. Cena gets fired. Cena beats up Nexus for three weeks. Cena get rehired.
Not once did Cena get arrested for trespassing, he turned up in his wrestling gear and his music was played despite not being an active competitor. I get the feeling that WWE were really hoping the Juan Cena story would take off, but rightly so most critics said it was a stupid and lazy angle. So in the end we cut stupid and just got lazy.
I'm a little foggy on the rules of a chairs match. Last year The Undertaker and Batista competed in this type of match and I assumed it was just a No DQ match with a heavy emphasis on chairs. But with the match being restarted after a low blow, I guess it's a regular match where chairs are legal as weapons.
You see if it's the first choice, Wade Barrett will win because The Nexus will charge down to the ring and beat the living crap out of Cena. If the second way is true then Cena will win because...well he's John Cena.
With this said WWE look to be writing an end of Cena vs. Nexus. After all have you noticed that Cena has started to mention that his goal is to "hurt" every member of the Nexus instead of destroy. All Cena needs to do by those words is beat Barrett in this match and then he has hurt every member. Also John Cena will rarely lose two PPV matches to one guy in a row. Barrett had the first win at Hell in a Cell so Cena seems the logical choice.
Winner: John Cena
The No. 1 contendership threw me out at first since I was going to pick Sheamus to win the rubber match between the King of the Ring finalists. It has been ages since I've seen the next title contender for the WWE Championship decided at the PPV prior. It's good to see this sort of match make a comeback as it's an easy filler match that still retains importance.
So here we stand at 1-1 with Morrison earning a win at Survivor Series and Sheamus defeating Morrison at the King of the Ring finals. In some way Sheamus was right last Monday by saying he should already be a contender for winning the tournament, but in the end he won just as many matches Morrison did on that night.
Not much else to talk about other than my prediction. Ladies and gentlemen, I think this is going to be John Morrison's huge breakthrough. After so much turmoil, The Monday Night Delight will get his first PPV one-on-one World title match. Maybe Triple H will return and cost Sheamus the match as this would seem better than doing to old return at the Rumble option.
Winner and No. 1 Contender: John Morrison
To save us from the umpteenth Kingston vs. Ziggler match for the IC title is this ladder triple threat that throws Jack Swagger into the mix. Kingston is the obvious replacement for the recently released MVP who had a title match in the bank. Swagger may vary this up slightly but in the end this match will be used as opening fodder for the PPV.
I doubt the belt will be placed back on Kingston yet, otherwise we would have to endure more matches between him and Ziggler. Jack Swagger could use the credibility boost an IC title reign may give him, but as I mentioned before, I feel he is just here to vary up the stale championship match. Dolph Ziggler will once again retain the belt as his star keeps on growing.
Winner and Still Champion: Dolph Ziggler
Kane(c) Vs. Edge Vs. Rey Mysterio Vs. Alberto Del Rio
No. Just no. What have Del Rio and Mysterio done to deserve a shot at the World title? Haven't they spent the last four weeks attacking each other in a WWE version on one-upsmanship? Wouldn't the PPV have benefited from having this match advertised during the build up instead of two days prior to actually happening? I will never understand the marketing brain behind WWE.
Kane is currently on quite a title run. He has the longest title reign (154 days on Sunday) since Batista's first tenure as champion (282 days). By Sunday he will have the joint third longest single reign in the belts history (Batista's first at 282, Triple H's second at 280 and Benoit's at 154). In terms of WWE title changes he is well overdue to drop the belt.
Edge on the other hand has had all the momentum going his way. He's managed to even pin Kane over the course of the build up. This means he will not be walking out as champion this Sunday. The huge momentum is usually to make up for the fact a wrestler will fail to capture the title for a second time in a row.
Mysterio and Del Rio have been costing each other matches but are unpredictable choices because of their late addition.
I'm not certain who will win this Sunday because of the late change, so I'll go with Kane retaining one more time and expect Edge to start a rivalry with Del Rio because of this match.
Winner and Still Champion: Kane
I suppose we should be considering this match as Miz's first big test as a main event wrestler. Whilst this may not be his inaugural championship defense, it is his first major test as the WWE Champion. This match is probably going to be the one most have an interest in because people will use it to fuel the popular Miz is/is not read argument.
As I am writing this, it all seems so natural that we have come to this point of Miz vs. Randy Orton. Miz had been carrying Money in the Bank for a while and lost the US Championship. Randy Orton on the other hand had run through the very limited contenders for the WWE Championship and needed someone new to face. Unless we saw yet another Orton vs. Sheamus match, The Miz needed to cash in and get a rivalry going.
Currently I have enjoyed The Miz's title reign and don't see an end to it on Sunday. The tables match is the perfect set up. Miz can win the match and retain the championship while Orton will not lose credibility because he never submitted or got pinned. Tables matches are never the most credible way to defend or win a championship but they allow a lot of flexibility with who can win.
Winner and Still Champion: The Miz
TLC was one of the best PPVs of 2009, as it was highly entertaining from first to last match. Although I did not agree with putting the belt on Sheamus, the tag team main event made up for it. Also the opening ladder match between Christian and Shelton Benjamin was almost a classic (ruined by the stoppage for blood).
I see no reason for this year's event to not be just as good. The talent and possibilities are there but we will have to wait and see. In the end no matter what the results are and how they play out, I hope we all enjoy TLC 2010.