Predicting Entire WWE TLC 2018 Match Card and PPV Predictions
The WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs pay-per-view is December 16, and for that we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief. Finally, there's enough build-up time to tell a proper story.
For the first time since the four-week PPV gap between SummerSlam (August 19) and Hell in a Cell (September 16), there is another 28-day space, this time between Survivor Series (November 18) and TLC (December 16).
WWE narratives work best when given room to breathe, and the last five PPVs—crammed into the space of the last three months—have compromised that narrative cohesiveness. It's a shame because, from a technical standpoint, the matches have been wonderful. However, WWE needs to give us a better reason to care.
Here's a preliminary look at the current TLC card. Four matches are confirmed, and we have also made some educated guesses as to what the other matches will be. Lastly, we included our early predictions for who wins what.
Agree or disagree? Include your personal fantasy bookings and predictions in the comments below.
Prediction: The Miz and Asuka vs. Finn Balor and Bayley (MMC Final)
The WWE Mixed Match Challenge now has legitimate stakes: The winning duo will be the final entrants in their respective Royal Rumbles come January.
At one point, the winners were probably going to be Alexa Bliss and Braun Strowman, but Ember Moon was swapped out for the injured Bliss. And now that The Monster Among Men is on the shelf with an elbow injury, the chances of that team winning are looking slim.
That's why Bayley and Finn Balor will probably face Asuka and The Miz in the MMC final and win.
Miz and Asuka can't win for a second year in a row. Bayley and Balor are the two purest babyfaces on the roster, and they would almost be guaranteed a positive fan response come Rumble time on January 27.
Confirmed: Braun Strowman vs. Baron Corbin
This match is unfortunately in jeopardy, thanks to Braun Strowman's recent elbow surgery.
However, even assuming The Monster Among Men recovers in time, he's probably going to lose to Baron Corbin—not cleanly, of course, but thanks to Authority-related shenanigans.
Strowman's reward for beating Corbin would be a title shot against Brock Lesnar at the Royal Rumble. The problem is The Beast Incarnate has already defeated The Monster in one-on-one competition: first at this year's Royal Rumble and then at Crown Jewel.
Fair or not, Strowman doesn't feel like a legitimate, bankable threat to Lesnar any longer.
Prediction: AOP vs. Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre (Raw Tag Team Championship)
Drew McIntyre needs to go solo, and WWE knows it.
The company is starting to have The Scottish Psychopath go to the ring without The Showoff backing him up (as if McIntyre ever needed backup to begin with), so what better time to split them up than at TLC?
The Authors of Pain can fight McIntyre and Ziggler and retain the titles. The Showoff can take the pin, perhaps in a foolish manner that should have been prevented.
McIntyre can then beat Ziggler at ringside for holding him back, thus solidifying his rise to the top of the card.
Prediction: The Bar vs. the New Day vs. the Usos (SD Tag Team Championship)
The SmackDown tag team division is thriving at the moment.
We know The New Day and The Usos have incredible chemistry, and The Bar matches well with everyone. A TLC match featuring all three tag teams would have "potential classic" written all over it.
Sheamus and Cesaro are good champs, but The Usos—now playing badass babyfaces—would be even better ones.
The Usos should walk out of TLC with the titles, which will give The New Day something to chase when the Road to WrestleMania starts in January.
Confirmed: Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose (Intercontinental Championship)
The feud between Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose will go on for a while.
There's no way that a beef this personal, especially with Roman Reigns' sickness being leveraged as an angle, can end after a single match.
Ambrose will eventually be the one to take the Intercontinental Championship off his former Shield teammate—but not yet.
We are still at the point where Rollins is more emotionally hurt than angry. Both The Architect and Ambrose need to be on the verge of tearing each other apart for a title switch to happen.
Rollins will win this with a pinfall or a disqualification, but perhaps this can be escalated to a TLC match to raise the stakes further.
Prediction: Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte (SmackDown Women's Championship)
If Becky Lynch is medically cleared by December, she should take on Charlotte Flair.
However, The Irish Lass Kicker already won her last feud with The Queen, so why do it again?
Answer: Because in her absence, Charlotte has become a sort of Lynch imitation, showing the same type of hardcore attitude The Lass Kicker displayed before being sidelined.
It feels like WWE is giving Lynch's storyline to Charlotte, rather than creating a new narrative.
So, first, Lynch has to defeat her imitator and then move on to her main concern: defeating Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania 35.
In fact, the only reason Lynch might lose the title at TLC is to set up a clash with Rousey. If she's free from her title obligations, a Royal Rumble win could be her road to WrestleMania.
Confirmed: Ronda Rousey vs. Nia Jax (Raw Women's Championship)
Ronda Rousey is going to win this match.
She will walk into WrestleMania 35 as champion, and depending on how she feels about her future with the company, WWE and chairman Vince McMahon may keep the belt on her beyond that.
Nia Jax is catching a lot of flak for accidentally breaking Becky Lynch's face two weeks ago. If WWE has decided to play into it, The Irresistible Force could use a high-profile win to raise her notoriety even further. But this won't be it.
Prediction: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Randy Orton (United States Championship)
Randy Orton became a major heel last week after ripping off Rey Mysterio's mask, and the two men will feud for the next three weeks. However, TLC will require a match with a little more at stake.
Why not Shinsuke Nakamura vs. The Viper? Their fighting styles are both underhanded and passionate, and they both love to play the charismatic bad guy.
Heel vs. heel showdowns can sometimes be difficult to watch, because the audience response devolves into a mess. But Nakamura is so magnetic that people cheer him anyway. And lots of people would love to see Orton take a low blow.
If this match becomes reality, expect Nakamura to win and extend his Nak-America gimmick even further.
Confirmed: Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles (WWE Championship)
WWE did something risky: It turned one of its most beloved babyfaces—Daniel Bryan—into a villain and got the fans talking.
It's such a gamble that WWE now has to go all the way with it—the company can't turn back now.
That's why AJ Styles will lose this rematch with Bryan. It won't hurt The Phenomenal One's push at all, and depending on how The Yes Man wins, it could solidify his position as a heel.
The WWE Universe seems willing to play along for now, and it kept ironic cheers to a minimum last week.