Predictions for WWE Raw, SmackDown and AEW Dynamite for Week of November 30
WWE continues its march to TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs this week with a series of matches and angles designed to fill out the card while simultaneously building excitement for the December 20 event.
AJ Styles, Riddle and Keith Lee battle for the right to challenge Drew McIntyre for the WWE Championship while Randy Orton will undoubtedly look to avenge his loss to The Phenomenal One, thanks to interference by The Fiend on Raw.
Over on SmackDown, Roman Reigns will return Kevin Owens' loud, clear and direct message as they head toward a Universal Championship showdown.
AEW presents Winter Is Coming this Wednesday night, with main event pitting Jon Moxley against Kenny Omega for the AEW World Championship.
Who will leave with top prize in that company and who will set themselves up with an early advantage on the road to TLC? Find out with these predictions for the week to come in pro rasslin TV.
AJ Styles Earns His Way to TLC
AJ Styles, Keith Lee and Riddle do battle in a Triple Threat Match Monday night for the right to challenge Drew McIntyre for the WWE Championship at TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs. While the red brand has done a fair job of positioning The Limitless One and The Original Bro as faces of its future, The Phenomenal One is the only real choice to win this week's main event and capture the championship opportunity.
First, Vince McMahon hates babyface vs. babyface matches. They don't draw as well, they lack the raw emotion of a traditional good guy vs. bad guy battle and it rarely does either man any good as someone inevitably gets booed.
Secondly, Styles is still one of the marquee names in WWE and would bring a sense of credibility to the match, as well as McIntyre's reign. While they competed against each other in the main event of Raw this past summer, they have yet to do battle on the grand stage presented by a pay-per-view extravaganza.
A first-time PPV battle, accompanied by what is sure to be a gimmick match of some sort, makes that particular contest intriguing to both management and the fans. It is the most sensible and will be made official by the time the USA Network broadcast leaves the airwaves.
Randy Orton Strikes Back Against Bray Wyatt
A week ago, The Fiend popped up at just the right time to distract and startle Randy Orton, leading to The Viper's loss to AJ Styles and costing him another opportunity at the WWE Championship.
The appearance by Bray Wyatt's masked alter-ego was the latest insinuation that the master of mind games has not forgotten the intensely personal feud with Orton in which the third-generation star burned down his compound and left The Wyatt Family itself in shambles.
While the mental chess has been thus far dominated by Wyatt, look for Orton to gain a measure of revenge Monday night as he joins a Moment of Bliss.
Earlier this year, we saw Orton deliver a sickening RKO to Beth Phoenix during his rivalry with Edge to really up the ante. While WWE typically strays away from that sort of angle, do not be surprised if Orton catches Alexa Bliss with his finisher as he attempts to send a message loudly and clearly to his familiar foe (and prospective TLC opponent).
Will it be controversial? Probably, but it is exactly the sort of action that will manage to infuriate The Fiend to a level we have not seen to this point and set up a hotly anticipated showdown for the December 20 spectacular.
Kenny Omega Wins the AEW World Championship
The biggest episode of AEW Dynamite ever, Winter Is Coming, will see Jon Moxley defend his world title against Kenny Omega in what may be the most significant match in the short history of the company.
With superb build and enough history between the two to feed off, Moxley vs. Omega will alter the immediate and long-term future of the company. Will Moxley continue his incredible reign as champion, marching on as the top dog in AEW for a tenth month, or will Omega realize his destiny and capture the title that has thus far eluded him?
The heart says Moxley finds a way to conquer the suddenly smug, arrogant Omega, just as he has every other challenger that has stepped up to him. The gut, though, suggests otherwise.
The long-term booking has led Omega to this point. The early frustration, the makeshift team with Hangman Page that became championship-worthy, the split, and the World Title Eliminator victory at Full Gear that capped off his redemption story...all of it has brought him to the December 2 episode of Dynamite and this date with Moxley.
It was the champion who defeated him in an Unsanctioned, Lights Out Match at Full Gear one year ago. How fitting it would be for Omega to right that wrong and take Moxley's title in front of a worldwide audience?
Omega wins here, completes his transformation back into The Cleaner and starts a run atop the company as its lead heel.
Roman Reigns Sends Kevin Owens a Message of His Own
Friday night on SmackDown, Kevin Owens looked into the camera and sent a very clear, very loud message to Universal Champion Roman Reigns as he battered Jey Uso with a steel chair. It was a message of defiance, one that announced to the world that he does not respect Reigns nor does he accept him as the guy on SmackDown.
As he left Uso lying in the center of the ring following a stunner, it became clear it is only a matter of time before Owens encounters a response from The Tribal Chief.
Look for that response Friday.
There is no telling in what form it may come in, either.
Perhaps Reigns attacks Owens himself. Maybe he takes out his frustrations on Uso. But maybe, just maybe, Reigns targets a friend of KO's. Someone like, say, Sami Zayn?
While the current Intercontinental Champion is firmly entrenched on the blue brand as a wholly unlikable heel that fans want to see catch a beatdown, he is also firmly established as Owens' best friend. A beatdown that blurs the line of fiction and reality may be exactly what this program needs to light that spark and send its performers off on their journey to TLC.
Given the fantastic wars Owens and Reigns have waged to this point in their careers, finding that next level (presumably in a high-profile gimmick bout) would only make for an even more must-see showdown.