Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from the WWE Universe.
Reported Plans for TLC Card
Although the WWE TLC pay-per-view is just over one week away, no matches had been officially announced for the show entering Friday's episode of SmackDown.
According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t WrestlingInc.com's Raj Giri), that is being done by design since WWE Network sign-ups are more important than pay-per-view buys, and the fact that most new sign-ups happen on the day of a pay-per-view event means there is little incentive to announce matches far in advance.
Meltzer also noted that there have been some advertisements promoting Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair against The Kabuki Warriors in a TLC match, Roman Reigns vs. King Corbin in a TLC match and Rusev vs. Bobby Lashley. All of those matches are reportedly expected to happen.
Daniel Bryan against "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt is also a possibility, but Meltzer reported that WWE may look to save that for a later date, which means The Fiend vs. The Miz at TLC could occur instead.
Other matches that reportedly may be part of the TLC card are Aleister Black vs. Buddy Murphy, Raw Tag Team champions The Viking Raiders vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, SmackDown Tag Team champion New Day vs. Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode, Intercontinental champion Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Braun Strowman, Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles and Seth Rollins vs. Kevin Owens.
While there are several feuds ongoing in WWE, there hasn't been much focus on TLC, which may lead some to believe that it will be a throwaway pay-per-view.
With the Royal Rumble set to kick off WrestleMania season in late January, WWE may already be looking ahead to that instead.
Change Reportedly Made to Raw Main Event
The six-man tag team match that closed Monday's episode of Raw was reportedly supposed to go down differently originally.
The match that did happen saw The OC beat United States champion Rey Mysterio, Ricochet and Humberto Carrillo. After the match, Orton appeared and hit Styles with an RKO out of nowhere.
According to Meltzer (h/t Giri), the initial plan called for Orton to team with Ricochet and Carrillo against The OC. Mysterio then would have helped the babyface trio pick up the victory.
Since Vince McMahon reportedly desires to have Orton take Styles out with an RKO, however, he felt that Styles and The OC needed to win first in order to ensure they had some heat.
After what happened Monday, it seems like WWE is moving forward with an Orton vs. Styles feud. They had a rivalry entering WrestleMania as well, but the roles were reversed since Orton was the heel and Styles was the face.
While The Viper is technically a face right now, he is really more of a tweener because of his lone wolf mentality.
Mysterio beat Styles for the U.S. title last week, but unless WWE decides to do a multi-man match with the title on the line at TLC, it doesn't seem likely that Styles will get a rematch.
If that is the case, then WWE must find a new opponent for Mysterio with Drew McIntyre and Andrade standing out as potential options.
WWE's Reported Plans for Samoa Joe
WWE announced this week that Samoa Joe will continue to serve as part of the Raw announce team while recovering from a hand injury, but it is reportedly not a permanent gig.
According to Meltzer (h/t Felix Upton of Ringside News), WWE deems Joe to be "too valuable" as a Superstar, so the plan is for him to return to active competition when healthy.
Joe has been universally praised for his work on commentary alongside Vic Joseph and Jerry "The King" Lawler to the point that WWE decided to send Dio Maddin back to the WWE Performance Center so he can go back to training as a wrestler.
Since joining WWE's main roster in 2017, Joe has consistently been one of the company's top heels. His recent surge in popularity could lead to him turning babyface, but he figures to be a major asset regardless.
Announcing may not be in the cards much longer for Joe, but consider his current run an audition for a potential future job when his in-ring career comes to an end.
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