With TLC just around the corner on Sunday, Corey Graves spent some time during his most recent episode of After The Bell discussing the comments he read that fans posted about this upcoming pay-per-view.
Many weren’t too happy with the fact that this card has less titles on the line, and that there wasn’t a lot of buildup to these announced matches. Graves mentions that this isn’t the first time the WWE didn’t have as many matches on a card, which then led him to compare this weekend’s pay-per-view to Stomping Grounds from back in June.
“This seems like it came together out of nowhere (TLC),” Graves began. “I’ve seen some criticism on social media, even internally, a lot of people talking about how this pay-per-view seems to have-I don’t want to say lack of build-but there aren’t too many matches that have been announced. But, that actually gives me optimism. I feel like this could be the sleeper hit of the year.
“Does anyone remember Stomping Grounds? I mean, I know we’ve done like 45 pay-per-views since then, but Stomping Grounds had a similar feel to it, where it didn’t necessarily feel like the culmination of anything; more of a placeholder. I thought it was a surprisingly, shockingly, good pay-per-view. It wasn’t really story-driven, it was more match-driven. I think we have the potential to have that sort of thing at TLC. Oh, and then you factor in tables, ladders, and chairs and that never sucks.”
Speaking of the card, Graves went into detail about which matches he believes will be entertaining, and which ones he thinks could be star-worthy matches, but needs some work.
“We’ve got Roman Reigns versus King Corbin in a TLC match,” Graves stated. “I’m stoked for this one, it’s not going to disappoint. These two dudes are going to beat the holy hell out of one another, and I’ll be at ringside watching and enjoying every second of it.
“Maybe the sleeper hit of the night, at least the potential for it, on a sleeper pay-per-view, could be Aleister Black and Buddy Murphy. These two dudes have not had the opportunity lately to show what they’re truly capable of. It’s my hope that TLC is that night. Obviously, anyone who is familiar with Aleister or Buddy knows what they’re capable of, but I think this could truly be a star-making night for both of those guys.”
Additionally, Graves adds that the match between Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair versus The Kabuki Warriors for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships deserves to be the main event match at TLC mainly because it’s showcasing just how skilled the women are and that it’ll also spark interest among the WWE Universe that was once there for their division.
“I’m going to tell you why I think this is the most important matchup of the night,” Graves began. “Because, if you listen regularly, I was critical – I made my opinions known on Charlotte Flair in particular. I think it’s bigger than just Charlotte Flair with what my opinion was last week, and it was that Charlotte hasn’t felt necessarily as important as I’m used to, as we’re used to. I got a lot of feedback on Twitter, regarding that statement-some positive, some negative. But, there were a lot of valid points made. People would say ‘Well, what about Asuka? What about this person, what about that person?’ I don’t disagree with you.
“I think after 2018 into 2019, obviously, the women headlined WrestleMania 35, I think can be argued as one of the biggest years in WWE history as far as women’s wrestling. The women were getting the opportunity to showcase what they could do. Each and every time an opportunity was provided, without fail, they knocked it out of the park. I don’t know what the reasoning is, but, RAW, SmackDown, everywhere except NXT, NXT’s women’s division to me is still on fire. But on RAW and SmackDown, this has nothing to do with the ability of the women.
“We have the most talented group of women on the planet Earth. This is not a negative against their abilities or their desire to do so. I don’t know what the fix is, but looking up and down the roster, as I mentioned before, Asuka, remember when she dominated NXT? Remember when she arrived in the WWE and won the Royal Rumble Match? Went on to WrestleMania against Flair. Yeah, she’s one of the women’s tag team champions, but remember when she used to kick everybody’s a**? Now, she can’t win a match without the dreaded poison mist.”
Graves also addresses the other women on the roster who haven’t had their main event moment in a while. or at all, and how disappointing it is that they’re not the main focus on either Raw or SmackDown.
“Looking elsewhere on the roster, you’ve got Liv Morgan, who is coming back,” Graves stated. “I think Liv is a star ready to be born. Ruby Riott, hopefully, comes back from injury soon. I’m sure I’m missing a ton of names. Of course, I’m partial, but when was the last time Carmella was used on television? She’s a former SmackDown Women’s champion. Bayley, in this new iteration of herself, doesn’t feel important. It’s bad when the women’s champion isn’t a focus of the show.
“This is not a knock on any of the women. Our women are insanely talented. I don’t know if it takes another hashtag. How about allowing the women champions to be in the spotlight? That’s why I think this matchup at TLC is so important. Not only because the women’s tag titles are on the line, but this could truly be an eye-opener for everyone in the WWE Universe to go ‘Oh my God. We forgot how awesome these women are.’ This could really remind everyone just how deep and talented our women’s roster is, and hey, maybe pay attention to them again.”
WWE TLC takes place this Sunday at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. As always, Wrestling Inc. will have live coverage of the pay-per-view. New subscribers can sign up for the WWE Network today by clicking here and get their first month for free, which includes WWE TLC.
To listen to the full episode, click here. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Corey Graves’ After The Bell with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.