WWE TLC 2011: Preview and Predictions from GSM, RiZE, C-CooL and SiD
In mere hours, WWE will present the third annual TLC event live from Baltimore, Md., in their final pay-per-view of 2011. Despite only six matches being advertised for tonight's show, each contest looks to be enjoyable in its own right, regardless of the stipulation at hand.
As we get closer to the Road to WrestleMania, anticipation builds as four major championships will be contested on tonight's card, with two other grudges culminating as well. With the year of double digits coming to a close, who will rise above and conquer as we quickly approach the greatest spectacle known as WrestleMania 28?
Here, I am joined by the past, present and future of Bleacher Report to help me analyze tonight's electric pay-per-view with their intelligent insight on all things wrestling. Without further ado, please allow me to introduce the recognizable talent of RiZE, C-CooL and SiD for the most jam-packed prediction article ever conducted!
Randy Orton vs. Wade Barrett in a Tables Match
GSM: Since resurrecting his career a few months ago, Wade Barrett's wave of momentum has proven to be quite impressive. Already having pinned Randy Orton twice in the past month and costing the Viper a variety of matches, I fully expect Orton to exact his revenge tonight and unfortunately hinder the Barrett Barrage for the time being.
RiZE: Honestly, I’m surprised that this program has made it this far. I’m even more surprised that Wade Barrett has a legitimate shot at winning this match. The Bare Knuckle Brawler has made a swift return to relevance through subsequent wins over the likes of Sheamus and Orton himself.
I admire Orton for putting over Barrett as Randall isn’t the most generous superstar on the roster. Nonetheless, both men walk into TLC with a substantial amount of momentum. I expect Randy Orton to win this match, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Barrett gained a win with a dirty tactic.
C-CooL: Orton has pretty much gotten all the momentum, so Barrett will get the upset victory over Orton tonight. After the match, I expect Barrett to do something juicy. As of now, I expect Barrett to win the Royal Rumble so he needs quite a bit of momentum for it to be believable.
SiD: Randy Orton has been losing a lot lately, and thus has come out of his persona of "Super-Orton." Wade Barrett was lost in the beginning of the year, led Corre to no avail, he had one of the least memorable IC reigns, but finally he has got a much deserved push. This feud has been bubbling for weeks now, and now, it has finally culminated into a tables match.
I feel that the Barrett Barrage will run over the Viper, but again, not cleanly. A tainted win is what Barrett will get. On a side note, I think that somewhere, Randy's going to win something big. It could possibly be the Streak, or the Rumble.
Overall Consensus: Orton-2, Barrett-2
Dolph Ziggler vs. Zack Ryder for the United States Championship
GSM: Of all the matches presented on the card, this heated rivalry over the United States Championship has to be the most intriguing. I was a bit disappointed not to see this be a Ladder Match, but I still expect them to provide a quality performance.
With Ziggler entering his sixth month as champion and this presumably being Ryder's third and final chance at the prestigious title, I predict the Long Island Iced Z finally captures his first taste of singles gold in the WWE, while Ziggler moves on to bigger and better things in the main-event scene.
RiZE: Finally, Zack Ryder gets his shot at the U.S. Championship. While I’ve been indifferent towards Ziggler in the past, he has been the most entertaining superstar on Monday Night RAW for some time now. The Show Off puts on classic after classic on a weekly basis while this program with Ryder slowly progressed over time.
However, I feel it’s sad that Ryder created a better promo video on his YouTube show than the WWE has produced in some time now. There’s not much to this match except for the fact that Ryder has to win.
For Ziggler to take the next step, he has to drop the U.S. Title and Vickie Guerrero. So, expect Zack Ryder to finally win the U.S. Championship in a MOTN contender.
C-CooL: This match is pretty predictable, but it’s for the better. I think it’s pretty clear that Ryder is winning the U.S. title tonight and finally will have his lengthy run at the title. I’d also expect John Cena to be made the special referee to the title. If he is, Ryder will win, but Cena will be doomed to a Chokeslam by the masked Kane.
SiD: I'm not very impressed with Dolph Ziggler's Show Off gimmick, to be completely honest. I will admit that Dolph Ziggler is a budding star, who is going to earn his spot in the main event one day. I'm not a Zack Ryder fan, I must add.
I know this will generate a lot of hate, but he is not that good in the ring IWC claims him to be. I would proclaim him as average, and would definitely call Curt Hawkins better. With that being said, I think Zack Ryder FINALLY wins the gold with the Rough Ryder, but shooting Dolph Ziggler to the main event.
Overall Consensus: Ryder-4, Ziggler-0
Cody Rhodes vs. Booker T for the Intercontinental Championship
GSM: Cody Rhodes has had one of the best years in 2011, but has taken some focus off the Intercontinental Championship in recent months despite all the hype he's given it. I'd be content with either Superstar going over here, but I don't believe Booker is returning to the ring full-time, so I'll go with Rhodes retaining the strap and holding possession of it until an eventual feud with Goldust.
RiZE: This is undoubtedly the most well built up feud on this card. Cody Rhodes vs. Booker T for the Intercontinental Championship has been rumored for some time now. After Rhodes was successful at Survivor Series with Wade Barrett, his sparked a feud with the multi time World Champion.
I must say, the storyline progression is admirable. They had Cody set this feud a blaze with a number of sneak attacks while verbally destroying Booker by proclaiming him to be a lowly announcer. If there’s one thing positive about Booker, it’s the fact that he’s a character in this current day and age.
The former King of the Ring possesses a number of qualities that makes him easily recognizable from the current generic prototypes on the WWE roster.
Besides this, Booker can still put on a classic in this match as he has gotten rave reviews for his performance at a string of recent house shows. However, Booker is being utilized to legitimize Cody Rhodes, so I expect Cody to retain here.
C-CooL: Now Rhodes winning cleanly against Booker would a pretty boring way to end a—in what I call—an exciting rivalry. So as I do expect Rhodes to win, I also expect a post-match fiasco to occur. I’m not at all sure what it is, but if I’d choose, I’d picture Booker to attack Jerry Lawler out of frustration.
It’s been reported WWE’s looking for Lawler to have a match at WrestleMania 28, and I think Booker would be a fine opponent. I don’t expect this exact sequence to happen, though, so mark my prediction down for Rhodes.
SiD: I have to be honest here, it feels great to see Booker compete again, and stepping into the squared circle, where he really belongs (Yes, in the ring; not on commentary) It is to be found out if Booker has in-ring rust, though, but I believe he'll do fine.
Cody has been growing on me ever since his "un-dashing" gimmick. He has really proven himself this year, and he deserves the main event berth in the future. Onto my prediction, Cody needs to retain here. I do not see Booker T losing clean because this feud has to continue, but expect Cody Rhodes to win, but dirty.
Overall Consensus: Rhodes-4, Booker-0
Triple H vs. Kevin Nash in a Sledgehammer Ladder Match
GSM: Originally, I didn't mind this feud, but it's gotten to the point where it feels like nothing more than an afterthought. I desperately want these two to just go away, and I can't imagine many other people care about this feud much either. The sledgehammer stipulation is overbooked and has no business being contested in a Ladder Match, as neither guy can work much anyway. Expect Triple H to emerge victorious and finally put an end to this disastrous rivalry.
RiZE: Honestly, I would’ve anticipated this match 15y ears ago. However, it’s 2011 and Kevin Nash has no business anywhere near a ladder. I also find it strange that the target weapon is a sledgehammer while a competitor could easily inflict more damage on his opponent with a ladder.
Anyway, this feud was interesting when Nash administered the initial attack on Triple H but WWE Creative allowed too much time to pass. They should’ve pulled the trigger with a match at Survivor Series but I guess they needed to sell the severity of the attack to fans.
I don’t expect a great matchup here as both men have passed their prime in-ring wise. Triple H will pick up the win after a pedigree in what should end one of the most uneventful feuds of 2011.
C-CooL: This match is practically the match that nobody really cares about. I’m going to go on a limb and say Nash pulls out a victory with some evil tactic of John Laurinaitis. I also wouldn’t be surprised whatsoever to see Mick Foley get involved and backfire Laurinaitis’ evil plans and garner Triple H the victory—but I’ll still go with my original prediction and state that Nash will get the victory.
SiD: I think I can say this for all of us, nobody wants to see this match. I mean, Kevin Nash, who should have retired months ago, will face a not-so-young Triple H, in a ladder match? I seriously hope that none of these competitors break their quads or injure themselves. And what's the point of hanging the sledgehammer on top anyway?
The feud will end, finally. I think that HHH is going to face the Undertaker at WM28 again, so this feud will be over. In my opinion, Kevin Nash has absolutely zero chance in winning this. Triple H will win this match, injure Kevin Nash, and shift his focus on the Undertaker.
Overall Consensus: HHH-3, Nash-1
Mark Henry vs. Big Show in a Chairs Match for the World Heavyweight Championship
GSM: Despite how uninspiring this match may look on paper, both Mark Henry and Big Show have made this feud over the past few months quite enjoyable. Show has absolutely no business being in the World title picture, much less holding the strap itself.
Sure, the World's Largest Athlete has dominated a majority of this rivalry, but that gives me all the more hope that Henry will successfully retain and continue his dominant reign as World Heavyweight Champion.
RiZE: While I can’t speak for others, I must say, I’ve immensely enjoyed this program between these two giants despite the size of the combatants. The Big Show has stepped his game up since his return while Mark Henry continues his phenomenal heel run.
Apparently, the third match in this unforgettable trilogy will likely discontinue this program and I must say, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Big Show picks up the win here. Honestly, I’d be satisfied with either result but if I were a betting man, I’d say Mark Henry retains the World Heavyweight Championship.
However, I also wouldn’t be surprised if a certain dragon slithered in and swiped the World Championship out of the clutches of the World’s Strongest Man.
C-CooL: At first I was sure Big Show would win the title, but now, I’m a little skeptical. If Big Show won the title, he would most likely face Henry again at Royal Rumble and defeat him there.
But let’s be honest: as much as I’ve been impressed with Big Show as of late, there’s no way he can carry SmackDown at any point in the Road to WrestleMania—and WWE knows this.
At this point, I can only imagine Henry winning tonight and feuding with Sheamus at the Royal Rumble. Plus, Big Show could be a valuable asset to the Royal Rumble match.
SiD: I've been really liking Big Show's work, as of late. The man has been delivering solid promos, and hasn't exactly given us terrible matches. On the other hand, Mark Henry has been losing steam now. He is completely being owned by the Big Show in this feud.
My prediction is going to be short, and up to the point, Mark Henry will still retain the title, and I hope it is clean. Henry winning and this feud ending could open up doors for a new rivalry for Mark with Sheamus, Randy or Bryan. I predict the Big Show to be inducted in the Hall Of Pain.
Overall Consensus: Henry-4, Show-0
CM Punk vs. The Miz vs. Alberto Del Rio in a TLC Match for the WWE Championship
GSM: Although the ending result may seem a bit predictable, the match quality is what I'm really looking forward to. All three Superstars involved have tremendous chemistry, and will no doubt provide a show-stealing performance in the main event slot. Both Miz and Del Rio have no reason to go over here just yet, so I'll go with Punk retaining here and continuing his reign of change as WWE Champion going into 2012.
RiZE: For weeks, the WWE has effectively ignored TLC and it’s obvious when you observe the WWE Championship match. I think it was clever to have them earn their places in this match but the fact that Punk single-handedly left both of his challengers staring at the lights by the end of the show, it makes the finish seem predictable.
Yes, Miz and Del Rio picked up momentum with a tag team victory over Punk and Orton last week but can anyone honestly say they believe Punk will lose the WWE Championship? So CM Punk will retain his WWE Championship after pinning/submitting Del Rio thus allowing a program between Miz and Punk to materialize and continue.
C-CooL: I expect this to be the best match of the night. I’m not going to give a whole logic explanation on why Punk has to win, so I’ll just blatantly say, “Punk will retain the title.” After this, I expect Punk to maintain a feud with The Miz at Royal Rumble but I would also not be surprised to see Ziggler get a shot at the big one.
SiD: The WWE title match is totally different from what we expected, as Miz is in the title picture. It's good to see Cena not involved in the title picture, though. Alberto Del Rio just doesn't click for me. I mean, he's got good in-ring skills, but can't cut a promo to save his life.
Miz has been entertaining as of late, but I don't think he walks out of Baltimore as the new WWE champ. Alberto Del Rio has had two weak reigns, Miz is just waiting for R-Truth to return, and the person who is winning will be CM Punk. CM Punk has a good thing going on, and retaining would do no harm to all the competitors present.
Overall Consensus: Punk-4, Miz-0, Del Rio-0
Overall, the results are bit predicable, but if done right, will be logical and anticipated. With this being the final stop being the Road to WrestleMania, expect numerous seeds to be planted for what might transpire come the Royal Rumble event next month.
Additionally, it's been said that officials backstage aren't confident the buy-rate of this show will do well, especially seeing since John Cena isn't advertised on the card. Even still, they should at least make an attempt to make this pay-per-show worth watching for those dedicated fans who end up ordering it regardless.
With that being said, I personally have a strong feeling Cena will be involved in some fashion or another, as well as the returning masked Kane, who has received a handful of coverage since this past Monday.
Don't be surprised to see an inevitable WWE Tag Team Championship between Air Boom and the team of Primo and Epico take place as well, with the latter tandem defeating the champs twice this week.
I'd like to thank RiZE, C-CooL and SiD for collectively participating in my TLC preview, all of which put in valuable time and thought into making their respective predictions. Drop a comment with your thoughts going into TLC and be sure to tune into tonight for what could be an unexpected excellent show with the strong card provided.
Visit my website at Next Era Wrestling as well as my WrestleRant and Spoilers podcasts for more of my thoughts and writings, along with WWE/TNA news, rumors, reviews and more. Follow me on Twitter @SAVE_US_GSM.