WWE TLC 2018: B/R Expert Match Picks, Predictions and Analysis

The Doctor Chris Mueller@@BR_DoctorFeatured ColumnistDecember 14, 2018

WWE TLC 2018: B/R Expert Match Picks, Predictions and Analysis

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    Charlotte, Becky Lynch and Asuka.
    Charlotte, Becky Lynch and Asuka.Credit: WWE.com

    When it comes to WWE's B-level pay-per-views, TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs is easily the most popular with fans because of the number of special stipulations.

    This year's card is huge, with 12 matches scheduled to take place. Here is a full rundown of the show, according to WWE.com:

    • Natalya vs. Ruby Riott (Tables)
    • Finn Balor vs. Drew McIntyre
    • Elias vs. Bobby Lashley (Guitar on a ladder)
    • Rey Mysterio vs. Randy Orton (Chairs)
    • Asuka vs. Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch (TLC SD women's title)
    • Ronda Rousey vs. Nia Jax (Raw women's title)
    • The Bar vs. The New Day vs. The Usos (SD tag titles)
    • Baron Corbin vs. Braun Strowman (TLC)
    • Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles (WWE title)
    • Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose (Intercontinental Championship)
    • Buddy Murphy vs. Mustafa Ali (Cruiserweight Championship)
    • Mixed Match Challenge final: Fabulous Truth vs. Mahalicia

    Our writers will analyze some of the biggest feuds and provide predictions for all of the matches. Our group is made up of the following:

Kevin Berge

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    Elias vs. Bobby Lashley (Guitar on a Ladder)

    Q: Which match on the card without a special stipulation would have been more exciting as a ladder match than this one?

    I don't know how Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins went without a stipulation. The two have been brawling so viciously since The Lunatic's turn that it would make too much sense for them to get a major stipulation behind their contest.

    While the two have already had a ladder match together, this would be a different dynamic than their 2015 clash. The stakes are high. The tension is higher. It would have been the perfect match to be fought with ladders.

                                

    Ronda Rousey vs. Nia Jax (Raw Women's Title)

    Q: After this feud is over, who deserves the next title shot on Raw? 

    Just counting those on Raw, the best competitor to get that shot would be Natalya. She's been built up for months in her feud with The Riott Squad, and it would be interesting to see how the title rivalry would strain her and Ronda Rousey's friendship. A heel turn would not be necessary to sell it.

    That said, it is far more likely that Rousey faces Charlotte Flair again, defends her title in the Elimination Chamber and goes on to fight Becky Lynch at WrestleMania. I don't know whether this is the obvious plan or just the best plan available.

                                

    Buddy Murphy vs. Cedric Alexander (Cruiserweight Title)

    Q: Would you rather see Murphy or Alexander get a chance at success on Raw and SmackDown? Why?

    Not to discredit all that Cedric Alexander has accomplished in WWE, but Buddy Murphy's rise to prominence has been remarkable. He feels like a star, and he would fit in much more easily on the main roster than Alexander, who still has serious room to grow as a mic worker.

    The Juggernaut is pushing the limits of what can be classified as a cruiserweight anyway. He could work with anyone and stand out. However, it is best for him to stay away from either bloated roster for a while to remain the clear star of 205 Live.

                              

    Predictions

    • Natalya vs. Riott (Tables): Natalya
    • Balor vs. McIntyre: McIntyre
    • Elias vs. Lashley (Guitar on a ladder): Lashley
    • Mysterio vs. Orton (Chairs): Orton
    • Asuka vs. Charlotte vs. Lynch (TLC SD women's title): Charlotte
    • Rousey vs. Jax (Raw Women's title): Rousey
    • The Bar vs. The New Day vs. The Usos (SD tag titles): Bar
    • Corbin vs. Strowman (TLC): Strowman
    • Bryan vs. Styles (WWE title): Bryan
    • Rollins vs. Ambrose (IC title): Ambrose
    • Murphy vs. Alexander (Cruiserweight title): Murphy
    • Fabulous Truth vs. Mahalicia: Fabulous Truth

Erik Beaston

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    Baron Corbin vs. Braun Strowman (TLC)

    Q: WWE will likely throw a swerve and have someone else face Corbin at TLC. Who would be the best person to fight for the GM position other than Kurt Angle?

    If there is anyone on the Raw roster who could benefit from a break from the in-ring action while giving themselves an opportunity to create a character beyond the one fans are long familiar with, it is Dolph Ziggler. Why not allow him to freshen up with a little character work and maybe become the face of authority on Raw? Clearly, the heel GM is not working out.

                                    

    Mixed Match Challenge Final

    Q: Based on the prize for the winners, which team do you think deserves to win more and why?

    Jinder Mahal and Alicia Fox should be the winners, if only to give Mahal a break after his long, hard fall from the main event picture to Raw. Fox is a longtime employee who has consistently proved herself to be an asset to the women's division when given the opportunity. Rewarding their hard work will help them with credibility. Carmella and R-Truth will remain popular regardless.

                                  

    Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles (WWE Title)

    Q: Which one of the four major stipulations used for this PPV would have been the best fit for this match? 

    If one of the gimmick matches was absolutely necessary, a ladder match would best suit AJ Styles vs. Daniel Bryan. Their in-ring styles would benefit from it in that they are master storytellers who could take a basic match formula, in which Bryan targets the knee of his opponent, and perfectly mold a classic ladder match out of it. Still, considering their rivalry feels like it is in its infancy, a straight wrestling match is welcome.

                                

    Predictions

    • Natalya vs. Riott (Tables): Natalya
    • Balor vs. McIntyre: McIntyre
    • Elias vs. Lashley (Guitar on a ladder): Elias
    • Mysterio vs. Orton (Chairs): Mysterio
    • Asuka vs. Charlotte vs. Lynch (TLC SD women's title): Lynch
    • Rousey vs. Jax (Raw Women’s title): Rousey
    • The Bar vs. The New Day vs. The Usos (SD tag titles): The Usos
    • Corbin vs. Strowman (TLC): Corbin by forfeit
    • Bryan vs. Styles (WWE title): Bryan
    • Rollins vs. Ambrose (IC title): Rollins
    • Murphy vs. Alexander (Cruiserweight title): Murphy
    • Fabulous Truth vs. Mahalicia: Fabulous Truth

Anthony Mango

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    Natalya vs. Ruby Riott (Tables)

    Q: Which feud is more interesting, this or Jax vs. Rousey?

    That's a tough call, as both have pros and cons. Ultimately, I would go with this one because the biggest heat from the Jax-Rousey feud relates to Lynch's injury, not anything between Nia and Ronda. At least Natalya and Riott are focused on each other.

                                 

    The Bar vs. The New Day vs. The Usos (SD Tag Titles)

    Q: We have seen these three teams dominate the SmackDown tag team division for a long time. Pick any two teams you think should take over the title scene for a little while and explain why they would make good choices.

    I can't wait for The Undisputed Era to come up to the main roster and be the dominant team on SmackDown. If I had to pick another choice, it would be Sanity, but that group is a distant second. The Undisputed Era is just too good and passionate and could breathe some new life into the scene, whereas with these teams, it's all old news.

                                   

    Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose (IC title)

    Q: If WWE drafted one of these Superstars to SmackDown during the next Superstar Shake-up, who should it be and why?

    I'd rather see Dean Ambrose go to the blue brand, as I feel he'll never be a true top guy on Raw because there are so many other pet projects that CEO Vince McMahon puts on that show. Seth Rollins, on the other hand, might be the fill-in for Roman Reigns and can share that top babyface spotlight with Braun Strowman, at least, whereas Ambrose has McIntyre, Lashley, Corbin, potentially Lars Sullivan and others who could overtake him. But it's all a balancing act that requires other moves too.

                               

    Predictions

    • Natalya vs. Riott: Natalya
    • Balor vs. McIntyre: McIntyre
    • Elias vs. Lashley (Guitar on a ladder): Elias
    • Mysterio vs. Orton (Chairs): Orton
    • Asuka vs. Charlotte vs. Lynch (TLC SD women’s title): Lynch
    • Rousey vs. Jax (Raw Women’s title): Rousey
    • The Bar vs. The New Day vs. The Usos (SD tag titles): The Usos
    • Corbin vs. Strowman (TLC): Strowman
    • Bryan vs. Styles (WWE title): Bryan
    • Rollins vs. Ambrose (IC title): Ambrose
    • Murphy vs. Alexander (Cruiserweight title): Murphy
    • Fabulous Truth vs. Mahalicia: Mahalicia

Chris Mueller

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    Finn Balor vs. Drew McIntyre

    Q: Which one of these Superstars would you rather see face Brock Lesnar for the universal title?

    Finn Balor would get demolished by Brock Lesnar, while McIntyre could provide a physical threat to The Beast Incarnate. The Scottish Superstar has been on a rampage recently, and seeing him reach the top level of WWE would prove management is trying to create new stars to carry the brand into 2019.

                               

    Asuka vs. Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch (TLC SD Women's Title)

    Q: How long to do you see Lynch keeping the title, and who is the most likely candidate to take it from her?

    While I would love to see her hold the belt until WrestleMania 35, WWE will likely pull it off of her before then. That would allow her to move over to Raw and feud with Rousey heading into the biggest pay-per-view of the year.

                              

    Rey Mysterio vs. Randy Orton (Chairs)

    Q: Should WWE use Rey Mysterio to boost the credibility of 205 Live, or is he better off on SmackDown? Elaborate.

    At this point, 205 Live might not last another year. Being exclusive to the WWE Network limits its audience, and not putting the Superstars on Raw regularly means nobody has a reason to care about them. Rey Mysterio would give the brand a small boost in visibility, but it wouldn't help in the long run. 

                             

    Predictions

    • Natalya vs. Riott (Tables): Natalya
    • Balor vs. McIntyre: McIntyre
    • Elias vs. Lashley (Guitar on a ladder): Elias
    • Mysterio vs. Orton (Chairs): Mysterio
    • Asuka vs. Charlotte vs. Lynch (TLC SD women's title): Lynch
    • Rousey vs. Jax (Raw Women's Title): Rousey
    • The Bar vs. The New Day vs. The Usos (SD tag titles): The Usos
    • Corbin vs. Strowman (TLC): Whoever replaces Strowman
    • Bryan vs. Styles (WWE title): Bryan
    • Rollins vs. Ambrose (IC title): Ambrose
    • Murphy vs. Alexander (Cruiserweight title): Murphy
    • Fabulous Truth vs. Mahalicia: Fabulous Truth