Projecting the Biggest Surprises and Most Shocking Results of WWE TLC 2018
For a minor pay-per-view, WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs sure is big. Twelve matches are currently on the fight card, and most have some type of hardcore stipulation, as befitting the PPV's theme. We're looking at a situation where WWE might utilize the entire allotted four hours for the show.
And unfortunately, the storylines—particularly the Raw storylines—do not justify this sort of excessive treatment. Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Roman Reigns, Alexa Bliss and (possibly?) Braun Strowman are all on the shelf, forcing WWE to rush and change its plans headed into WrestleMania. The narratives have suffered as a result. It's up to the performers to make up the difference.
Any major story twists will probably happen at the Royal Rumble next month, when more WWE fans tune in to watch. But there still could be some surprises at WWE TLC. Here are our projections.
Prediction: The SmackDown Tag Team Match Will Steal the Show
The Usos, The New Day and The Bar have incredible chemistry; they're three teams with three different styles, and they're sure, consistent things, turning in a compelling match every time that WWE pits them against one another.
The emphasis at TLC will be on Charlotte Flair, Asuka and Becky Lynch, who is wrestling her first match since Nia Jax concussed her prior to Survivor Series. But don't sleep on the SmackDown men's tag team match. Despite the other marquee matches on the card (AJ Styles vs. Daniel Bryan, Ronda Rousey vs. Nia Jax), The Usos vs. The New Day vs. The Bar could quietly upstage everyone.
Prediction: The Elias vs. Bobby Lashley Match Will Be the Evening's Low Point
This is a ladder match in which a guitar is suspended from the ceiling. And from what we know so far, grabbing the guitar does not end the match. Instead, the person who reaches it first can use it as a weapon on his opponent.
It's rare to have a ladder match that can be won by pinfall or submission. It's even weirder to have a ladder match where the thing you're trying to reach is less scary than the steel ladder you're climbing to get it. At the 2011 TLC PPV, for example, Kevin Nash and Triple H competed in a sledgehammer ladder match; a sledgehammer seems like a more logical escalation than a guitar, which explodes after a single solid hit.
This stipulation does not work on paper, so it certainly won't work in practice. Expect an overbooked match with lots of Lio Rush, run-ins and whatever other shenanigans WWE decides to throw in there for good measure.
Prediction: Baron Corbin Will Find a Way to Pin Braun Strowman
This is the Chekhov's gun principle at work: To paraphrase, if, when writing a book, there's a gun on the wall in Act I, it must go off in Act II.
If Braun wins at TLC, he'll get a title shot against Brock Lesnar at the Royal Rumble. But this is a well-trodden outcome; we've already seen it at this year's Royal Rumble and again at WWE Crown Jewel. Lesnar won both encounters; there's little reason to expect that another rematch would go any differently.
But if Corbin wins, he wins full control of Monday Night Raw. And the writers and commentators have spent so much time bemoaning this possibility that there's no way they won't go through with it at this point.
The result of the match will be whatever keeps this feud moving. And a power-mad Corbin who subsequently books Strowman in lopsided, lose/lose scenarios would certainly keep this storyline chugging along.
Prediction: Becky Lynch Will Lose the SmackDown Women's Championship
Becky deserves to hold the SmackDown Women's Championship for a long time. But if WWE wants to book Ronda Rousey vs. Becky Lynch for WrestleMania 35, Becky will need to drop the title at TLC.
Ronda has been booked so strongly that we can assume she will walk into WrestleMania as Raw champion. (Can you imagine Ronda walking into 'Mania as a challenger?) That means that in order for Becky to take on Ronda at 'Mania in a title fight, she'll have to be beltless. And since Becky is on SmackDown, she'll either have to switch brands or, barring that, find some way to take on Ronda and remain on the blue brand.
The solution is the Royal Rumble. If Becky loses the title at TLC, she can enter the Rumble and win it. And then she can stay on SmackDown and still challenge the Raw women's champion.
So, fans of The Man could find themselves disappointed at the end of TLC when Asuka or Charlotte (probably Asuka) is hoisting the belt high. But no worries. This is building to something much, much bigger.