Liam Hoofe with his predictions for this Sunday’s WWE TLC event…
WWE Raw presents TLC this Sunday night, the company’s annual PPV which has, in recent years, been the company’s final stop on the PPV calendar. This year’s show, though, is the final pitstop before we reach Survivor Series next month and the card, the main event aside, feels slightly cobbled together.
The absence of the Universal title and the fact that the Intercontinental and Tag Team champions are both in the main event means that the card consists of a large number of grudge matches, with the woman’s division and the cruiserweight division getting some much-needed attention.
The big talking points of the night are the debut of unbeaten woman’s star Asuka, and the return of The Shield to in-ring action. The main event will definitely be worth staying up for, but what about the rest of the card? And who will walk away victorious heading into Survivor Series? Let’s take a look at every match on the card and assess the likely winners.
Pre-Show: Sasha Banks Vs Alicia Fox
This will be the first of three women’s matches to take place at TLC on a card that has a very strong representation of both the female and Cruiserweight divisions. While the feud itself hasn’t really been all that interesting, it should be a fairly entertaining pre-show match. Expect Sasha to win this one to get revenge for the events of Monday night.
Match Prediction: Sasha Banks Wins
Kalisto Vs Enzo Amore (Cruiserweight Championship)
I was very fast to criticise the WWE last month when they decided to put the Cruiserweight title on Enzo Amore. I felt that the decision would severely damage the division and that it would finally put the nail in its coffin. How wrong I was. Enzo has managed to make the Cruiserweight division a lot more relevant over the last month and while his in-ring stuff is far from spectacular, his work on the mic has been pretty exceptional.
The belt needs to end up back around his waist this Sunday night at TLC, one way or another. The decision to give Kalisto the belt was clearly one based on the occasion and Enzo is the right man to carry this division forward in the coming months.
Match Prediction: Enzo Amore Wins
Asuka Vs Emma
This is the easiest match to predict of the night. Asuka is not going to lose on her WWE debut and the question really is how good will the WWE allow Emma to look in this match-up. The duo put on some great matches down in NXT and Emma should be allowed to get some offence in here, though, Asuka should definitely end up looking dominant by the final bell.
Predicted Winner: Asuka Wins
‘The Demon’ Finn Balor Vs ‘Sister Abigail’ Bray Wyatt
UPDATE: Due to medical issues, Bray Wyatt has been replaced in this match by AJ Styles.
Well, this is where we’re at folks. Finn Balor and Bray Wyatt’s feud has been pretty rubbish from day one and has only really been saved by the quality of both men’s work in the ring. The build to the matches have been ridiculous but these past few weeks things have managed to get even worse.
Bray Wyatt is all but finished now. The only remotely interesting thing they had left was the reveal of Sister Abigail and that reveal may go down as the straw that finally broke the camel’s back. Where can they go with Bray after this? He’s at a total loose end creatively and the company really need to figure something out for him. A victory on Sunday night wouldn’t really do much for him now, but I have a feeling that they might try and get Sister Abigail over as a character.
Equally, Finn needs to win this one because if he doesn’t, how can he move further up the card? Which is, presumably, the plan for him. The best option here, in my opinion, would be a double turn. Bray has never had a chance to be a face and his new persona does allow him to just switch while having The Club help Finn would also give us the chance to dream of a Club Vs The Shield match in the coming months.
This whole feud is a mess, but I have a feeling that the WWE won’t want to let the Sister Abigail gimmick be defeated on its first run.
Match Prediction: Sister Abigail Wins
Mickie James Vs Alexa Bliss (Raw Women’s Championship)
How nice is it to see Mickie James being used properly again? The former Woman’s Champion had been missing for months prior to her feud with Bliss and it’s nice to see her getting the TV time she deserves, even if the company mock her fairly openly on television each and every week.
The two are likely to put on a great match this Sunday, but there is no chance of James walking away as the victor. Alexa is the best option for champion right now and a feud with Asuka in the coming months is a mouth-watering prospect.
Match Prediction: Alexa Bliss Retains
Jack Gallagher and The Brian Kendrick Vs Cedric Alexander and Rich Swann
A Cruiserweight match, taking place on a PPV, that isn’t for the Cruiserweight title!? What is this sorcery? Enzo Amore’s stint in the Cruiserweight division has managed to help draw some real attention to the division and it’s nice to see the company have finally decided to give members of the division a chance to prove themselves on the main card of a PPV.
Given the time, this match could really steal the show on Sunday night, with all 4 men involved being incredibly talented, the real test, though, will be getting the audience involved. Expect the heels to get the win here after Gallagher took the fall on Monday night.
Match Prediction: Jack Gallagher and The Brian Kendrick Win
The Shield Vs Kane, Braun Strowman, Sheamus, Cesaro, and The Miz
UPDATE: Due to medical issues, Roman Reigns has withdrawn from the match, and will be replaced by Kurt Angle, who makes his first in-ring appearance in WWE in more than 11 years.
The only match on Sunday anyone is really interested in seeing is the main event. The Shield have been getting incredible reactions since they reunited on Raw a few weeks back and anticipation is high to see them step back into the ring together.
The match itself should be total carnage and we wouldn’t want things any other way. The whole ‘divide and conquer’ routine will be brought into play here – with The Shield likely to systematically pick off each member before being left with just The Miz in the ring to take the pin-fall. While it would see 5 men lose to 3, if booked correctly, no-one will take any damage here and the match should feature some incredible spots. There’s no way The Shield lose this one.
Match Prediction: The Shield Win
What do you think will happen at TLC? Let us know in the comments below, and let Liam know on Twitter @liamhoofe