TLC 2018 is loaded with 12 matches featuring feuds from RAW, SmackDown, 205 Live, and the Mixed Match Challenge Finals. Here’s a preview of each match and predicted winners for WWE TLC 2018.
WWE Champion Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles
Rumors are swirling about who each man may face at WrestleMania 35. Sunday will give us a clearer picture of each man’s path. Multiple members of the SmackDown roster are showing newfound aggressiveness. Will AJ Styles follow suit and tap into the aggression he had in 2016 to get his title back? “The New Daniel Bryan” is ruthless featuring new moves in his arsenal: the Heel Hook, Rapid Fire Curb Stomps, and the Kick To The Groin. This aggressiveness will lead Daniel Bryan to once again use illegal tactics to get a second victory over AJ Styles. This feud will continue until the Royal Rumble at Chase Field with a potential audience of over 40,000 fans.
WINNER: Daniel Bryan via pinfall
Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose
Dean Ambrose will stop at nothing to hurt Seth Rollins. Coming back from injury and finally free from the SHIELD, Ambrose is more focussed than he’s been in years. His wrestling style has changed to be much more powerful and direct with less wasted motion. Dean Ambrose is solely focused on Rollins and his Intercontinental Title whereas Rollins’ promos have shown that his psyche is divided between Dean Ambrose, Baron Corbin’s poor leadership, and Brock Lesnar as Universal Champion. Seth Rollins is also vulnerable after a hard-fought TLC match against Baron Corbin on RAW this past Monday. Ambrose will take advantage of these factors to become the new Intercontinental Champion. Rollins’ 2018 has been spectacular and it’s time for him to drop the Intercontinental Title and shift his focus by entering the Royal Rumble to eventually take Brock Lesnar’s Universal Championship and be the new leader of RAW.
WINNER: Dean Ambrose via pinfall (New Intercontinental Champion)
Braun Strowman vs. Baron Corbin (Tables, Ladders, & Chairs Match)
Braun Strowman has been out with a hand injury suffered at the hands of Drew McIntyre & Dolph Ziggler, but he will make his return on Sunday to fight for the opportunity to face Brock Lesnar for the Universal Title at the Royal Rumble. The stakes are high for the very unpopular General Manager Elect Baron Corbin as well who could make himself permanent RAW General Manager with a win over Strowman. Corbin has been counting on Strowman not being physically able to perform, but the Monster Among Men will make his return Sunday at TLC and will make quick work of Baron Corbin as he bounds towards Lesnar for one more match.
WINNER: Braun Strowman
RAW Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey vs. Nia Jax
Cheers for Ronda Rousey have cooled off since her feud with Becky Lynch/Charlotte Flair at Survivor Series. Nia Jax is the hottest heel in the company right now after breaking Becky Lynch’s face with an errant punch. Tamina Snuka serves as extra muscle for the 6ft 300lb Jax and will likely get involved in the match as well. With Nia’s punch being hyped this much going into the match, one has to wonder if this could be a credible threat to Ronda Rousey, whose UFC career ended due to her being knocked out. In spite of Nia’s punch and Tamina’s muscle, Rousey will pick up the win and get the momentum she needs going into an even bigger match at Royal Rumble.
WINNER: Ronday Rousey via submission
SmackDown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka (Triple Threat TLC Match)
The SmackDown Women’s Division is on fire with Becky Lynch leading the way as champion. Her rivalry with Charlotte Flair has been the most intriguing storyline on the main roster for the past 3 months. Asuka’s popularity has cooled significantly since her loss to Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania 34 but a performer with Asuka’s ability is undeniable when given an opportunity in the ring. Asuka ended SmackDown by giving Charlotte and Becky a massive beatdown with a kendo stick that she took from Charlotte. The aggressiveness shown by these three women throughout this build-up will result in a new level of violence for women’s WWE matches. Any one of these women could walk out victoriously making this match the most exciting on the card. The only question besides “who wins?” is “will this match close the show?” After taking heavy damage, Becky Lynch will manage to climb the ladder and cement herself on top of the SmackDown Women’s roster and the WWE.
WINNER: Becky Lynch
SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Bar vs. The New Day vs. The Usos (Tag Team Triple Threat)
The three best tag teams on the main roster for the past 4 years will meet once again, but not in a TLC match on this show. Bully Ray recently said on Busted Open Radio “These three teams have the one thing the Dudley’s, Edge & Christian, and the Hardy’s had. Chemistry. It takes chemistry to get the job done.” Bully Ray went on to say that if the WWE made the match a TLC match, these three teams have the talent to outperform TLC 1 & 2. With or without the TLC stipulation, this match will be a banger. The Bar have been excellent champions but the Usos beat them cleanly on the November 27th episode of SmackDown. It really feels like the Usos are operating on another level right now with their in-ring performance and the evolution of their Uso Penitentiary gimmick. In spite of jaw-dropping tag team wrestling from the Bar & the New Day, the Usos will come out victorious after pinning the Bar.
WINNER: The Usos (New SmackDown Tag Team Champions)
Natalya vs. Ruby Riott (Tables Match)
Ruby Riott has been tormenting Natalya for two months now using imagery of Natalya’s late father, Jim “The Anvil Neidhart” to play mind games with Natalya leading up to this match. Ruby Riott has been constantly ascending to stardom since being drafted to RAW in April of 2018. Look for Bayley & Sasha to get involved in this one as well to try and even the odds against Riott Squad members, Liv Morgan & Sarah Logan. The Riott Squad has found their groove on RAW and they will help Ruby defeat Natalya as she makes her case to be the #1 contender for Ronda Rousey’s RAW Women’s Championship.
WINNER: Ruby Riott
Finn Balor vs. Drew McIntyre
This match features two wrestlers with completely opposite momentum in the company. Despite being the first Universal Champion, Finn Balor has been lost in the shuffle on RAW since WrestleMania 34 and seems to have no direction leading up to WrestleMania 35. Balor has the talent and character to lead the RAW brand but languishes in the midcard with feuds that have been hampered by questionable logic and injuries. Drew McIntyre, however, is on a direct path to the top of the card. Since his return to RAW as the muscle for Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre has looked more dangerous than ever and is being positioned as a top heel for the RAW roster. With his split from Dolph Ziggler last Monday on RAW, look for Ziggler to get involved in this match to make life more difficult for McIntyre. This could lead to a McIntyre/Ziggler feud to start 2019, or they could drop it and have McIntyre go straight for Lesnar. Either way, Finn Balor will pick up a win any way he can get one and he’ll do it here with help from Dolph Ziggler.
WINNER: Finn Balor via pinfall
Elias vs. Bobby Lashley (Ladder Match)
These men have switched roles completely over the past two months with Elias becoming one of the hottest babyfaces in the company and Lashley becoming a self-obsessed heel adding Lio Rush as his manager. Elias is the one of the few babyfaces on the RAW roster with clear intentions and desires making him a joy to watch whenever he appears on TV. This feud centers around Elias’ guitar and using it as a weapon. The guitar will be suspended above the ring and whoever climbs a ladder and gets the guitar will win the match and be allowed to use it as a weapon against his opponent. Expect a great high-flying spot for Lio Rush in this match to add an extra element to this feud. Lashley can take a loss here and it wouldn’t kill his momentum going into the Royal Rumble. Elias may start to look to add some championship gold to his act in 2019. A win here could position him to contend for the Intercontinental title in the near future.
Cruiserweight Champion Buddy Murphy vs. Cedric Alexander
Cedric Alexander dominated much of 2018 as Cruiserweight Champion on 205 Live but he now finds himself on the outside looking in at the champion, Buddy Murphy. Murphy has found a way to elevate the wrestling on 205 Live from great to can’t miss. These two always deliver and expect nothing less here. Murphy is the man in 205 Live and will continue to be the man through the beginning of 2019.
WINNER: Buddy Murphy via pinfall
Rey Mysterio vs. Randy Orton (Chairs Match)
It’s hard to imagine Randy Orton being more dangerous than we knew he could be, but in 2018 we have seen Randy Orton become downright terrifying. His feud with Jeff Hardy made both men look amazing while pushing Randy as a sadistic, dangerous man. Rey Mysterio has been tormented by Randy Orton for the past month and could finally get revenge in this chairs match at TLC. As amazing as Rey is, Randy Orton will raise the bar again and provide us with a cringe-inducing spot that will make everyone concerned for Mysterio. Rey will recover in 2019, but at the end of this match Randy Orton will stand victorious.
WINNER: Randy Orton via pinfall
R-Truth & Carmella vs. Jinder Mahal & Alicia Fox (Finals of MMC Season 2 – Winners get #30 spot in Royal Rumble)
After losing the first three matches of the Mixed Match Challenge, Jinder Mahal & Alicia Fox have been on a roll using Shanti and the Singh brothers to guide them to finals. R-Truth and Carmella have become a perfect pair with their humor, in-ring chemistry, and dance breaks. After defeating Miz & Asuka, Truth and Carmella look very strong going into TLC. With an all-expenses paid vacation and #30 in the Royal Rumble on the line, look to Truth and Carmella to pick up the win here as they continue to successfully entertain everyone on SmackDown.
WINNERS: R-Truth & Carmella