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Tables, Ladders and Chairs has quietly become one of the consistently best PPVs that WWE has been able to produce. Like Money in the Bank, TLC is a gimmick PPV that should really stick around as WWE begins to move away from gimmick PPVs in favor of the more traditional PPV styles. Last year’s show was very good, with Dolph Ziggler actually going over John Cena and The Shield defeating Daniel Bryan, Kane and Ryback in a TLC match, which was arguably the best WWE match of 2012.
WWE will try to build on TLC’s legacy with a show in 2013 that they have certainly gone all-out for. Unlike a lot of the last few PPVs, TLC does not feature an endless card of rematches, but instead a lot of new feuds have developed and WWE looks to set the road for the Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania.
The obvious main event is the “Unification” match between Randy Orton and John Cena. The object of the match is to unify the World Heavyweight Championship held by Cena with the WWE Championship held by Orton, to make one world champion, which will be called the Unified Champion.
The match will have both world titles held above the ring and a TLC match will ensue to determine the champion. Whoever pulls down both titles will be declare the winner and the Unified Champion. Typical of WWE, the match is set up for potential shenanigans. The likely scenario is that Cena will pull down one title and Orton will pull down the other title.
There are several reasons why fans think this is going to happen. The first is the overall speed of this storyline. The idea of a Unified Champion just came up a few weeks ago, and in today’s WWE with its 12-14 PPV events a year, it seems to strange that they would crown a champion within a few weeks. TLC is not really a PPV, and this is clearly going to be a major storyline, so it is more likely a Unified Champion will be crowned for the first time at the Royal Rumble or even Wrestlemania than at TLC.
The way I see it unfolding is that John Cena will grab the WWE Championship and Randy Orton will grab the World Heavyweight Championship, and both men will be still in the same place that they started in. You just don’t have a TLC match with TWO titles hanging above the ring and not do something like that. Cena and Orton will each grab the others belt instead of their own so they can each be billed as 50,000-time World Champions, because WWE loves to do that.
For whatever reason, TLC will have two 3-on-1 handicapped matches on their show. The first one will be CM Punk vs The Shield. The Shield has been subtly teasing a breakup, mostly in some very minor arguments on the outside of the ring. TLC will be the first major step in a breakup, as a breakdown in communication leads to the team blowing an easy match against an overmatched opponent. This match will be less about Punk and more about The Shield, as Punk looks to find a nice storyline to be in after the end of his feud with Paul Heyman.
The second 3-on-1 handicapped match will be Daniel Bryan taking on all three members of the Wyatt Family. Unlike Punk, Bryan does not stand a chance of defeating the Wyatt Family unless something really wonky happens. Bray Wyatt has become infatuated with Daniel Bryan, with his endgame looking to be recruiting Bryan into his family. While the chances of Bryan, easily the most over face in WWE, joining the Wyatt Family for any amount of time is very slim, it does make for an interesting concept.
Even if Bryan lost, it is unclear with what the Wyatt Family will do with Bryan. A couple of weeks ago, the Wyatt’s abducted Bryan and brought him to their hideout or whatever. While it seemed like Bryan would be held hostage by the Wyatt’s, or potentially brainwashed like Kane may have been, Bryan just appeared on the next episode of Raw and could not have seemed any worse for wear. Michael Cole just said Bryan woke up in the parking lot, beaten down by the Wyatt’s. The point I’m trying to make is that I don’t know what the Wyatt’s are going to do with Bryan if they beat him, because they already abducted him and that didn’t seem to do much. The Wyatt family M.O. is still very sketchy and not a lot is known about them or if they work for anyone, so maybe we will see a greater amount of detail concerning the Wyatt’s this Sunday.
The Rhodes brothers will defend their World Tag Team titles against the Real Americans, Ryback and Curtis Axel and Big Show and Rey Mysterio, who are suddenly a tag team. This match reeks of being just a “Let’s try to get as many people on the card as possible” match, so it seems like Cody and Goldust will retain. None of these tag teams, except maybe the Real Americans, are entrenched enough to become the champions anyways.
AJ will once again defend her Diva’s Title against yet another Total Diva, this time in the form of Natalya. Natayla is a better worker than anyone else AJ has faced, so this might be the best match she will have this year, but AJ should still retain. A case could be made for putting the title on a Total Diva for the sake of the TV show, but if they were going to do that, a more prominent person on the show like Brie Bella probably would have won it. The Diva’s division is just so much better with the title on AJ than it would be without her having the title that it just doesn’t make sense to move the title.
Big E. Langston will try to build up more steam as the Intercontinental Champion, taking on Damien Sandow. Sandow is a step above Axel, and as long as Sandow gets to talk before his match, he can get some good heat from the crowd. Langston has a lot of potential, but he still has a lot to prove before he can be considered for the main event, so hopefully this will be his best match yet.
Dolph Ziggler and Fandago will battle in the increasingly irrelevant pre-show match. Fandango and especially Ziggler have been poorly booked over the last 6 months, as WWE has really failed to capitalize on both men’s respective popularity. Fandago wins because WWE seems to be more interested in pushing Summer Rae than either man in the match.
TLC will hopefully set a good pace for Wrestlemania season. The card has more potential than any show since Summerslam, so it looks like WWE could end 2013 on a positive note.