WWE Tables, Ladders and Chairs, in theory has everything required to be the grand finale of the PPV year. A massive medley of novelty matches before discussion of Wrestlemania begins. However, this year’s booking has been getting something worse that ridicule – apathy. If there is any match where the audience has a particular favourite, it’s unfortunately the guys booked as heels. Here is a quick run down of who I think should and/or will win each of the matches on the card.
Kevin Owens vs Dean Ambrose
(For the Intercontinental Championship)
Who should win?: Kevin Owens
Who will win?: Kevin Owens
It is a little disappointing to see that this match does not have an especially creative stipulation to it at a PPV like TLC. One only has to see Owens vs Balor at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn, and the horrifying bumps taken by Ambrose at Wrestlemania 31 to know just how ready they both are for such a match. The fact that WWE has decided against including any such stipulation says that they are reluctant to have this match be too spectacular, and finale like, so for this feud to continue at least until Royal Rumble ’16.
Kevin Owens needs to win this match for multiple reasons. First of all is so that the IC title isn’t thrown around too much again. Secondly, even though he keeps losing, Ambrose is safe as a babyface, whereas Owens must remain champion to retain his place as a brilliant heel. Also, anything that Ambrose achieves, also appears to be a badge upon Reigns, and with him in the WHC picture, the title needs to be kept out of Ambrose’s hands. Besides, Ambrose’s next reign should really matter. The grand finale of the Shield’s cycle as the final one to slowly climb to the very top circa Wrestlemania 33.
Charlotte vs Paige
(For the Divas Championship)
Who should win?: Charlotte
Who will win?: Charlotte
On the subject of the disappointment in the lack of a TLC stipulation, we reach the Diva Division. Whoever started the so-called ‘Diva Revolution’ backstage isn’t doing a very good job at maintaining it. TLC was a fantastic opportunity to elevate the importance of the women’s match, considering that the card is built from novelty matches that the women have never been assigned in the WWE. Similarly, there has never been a women’s Hell in a Cell match. Even at Extreme Rules ’15, the women’s match (Nikki Bella vs Naomi) was the one match of the night to still be standard rules.
Charlotte and Paige are fantastic, but the constant presence of Ric Flair, and the twists of their face and heel roles (especially as Becky Lynch has appeared more often) says that this match will end messily. This would have been great if literally (for example Charlotte disqualified after putting Paige through a table), but sadly, this will match will function more as an emotional plot device than a spectacular match.
Alberto Del Rio vs Jack Swagger
(Chairs Match for the US Championship)
Who should win?: Alberto Del Rio
Who will win?: Alberto Del Rio
The importance of this match has not been promoted especially well. For starters, there is WWE’s tradition of alienating everyone outside of the USA with a ‘save Murica’ booking, and in this instance, the MexAmerica plot was so ridiculous that the USA itself presumably doesn’t care nearly as much as was hoped by WWE Creative. In spite of there being a belt on offer, it just does not come across as especially important. Chairs Matches are traditionally the least exciting out of the ‘T’, ‘L’ and ‘C’, and it is a safe assumption that Jack Swagger will not be the man to put Del Rio away. Or if Cena isn’t the man to do it, he’ll be the final inspiration for Swagger to win another day.
Ryback vs Rusev
Who should win?: Rusev
Who will win?: Ryback
This is essentially Del Rio/Swagger though with even less at stake. While there isn’t a belt up for grabs though, this match could be very important in future booking of these two. I imagine that this match’s primary purpose is for Rusev to take a blow for the League of Nations, as it is so likely that the other two members of the heel stable are going to win.
Considering how Rusev’s character is now far lighter than it once was, that he will be the token loser, in a similar tragic role to that of Barrett. This might not be a bad idea, as in conjunction with lightening up, this could link with a face turn during which he turns on the League of Nations, or is perhaps kicked out (or both?). However, if not exploited this way in the long run, a win for Ryback may be a bad idea.
The ECW Originals vs The Wyatt Family
(Elimination Tables Match)
Who should win?: The Wyatt Family
Who will win?: The Wyatt Family
Now this was quite unexpected. Ever since the return of the Dudley Boyz to the WWE, the IWC has pondered who the Dudleyz would face in a TLC match for the tag team title. As it turns out – no one. That’s certainly not to say that we won’t see a few ridiculous bumps here as someone is superplexed through (at least) two stacked tables at once. This match is destined to be the messiest, with all eight men built to come crashing down with some serious thuds.
The Wyatts are in desperate need of a win, having exhausted the list of A-list stars to haunt for no good reason. On top of this, with all due respect to their opponents, it might be increasingly insulting to be defeated by such… veterans. Hopefully (and I presume that this is the case), Dreamer and Rhyno are on board more to emphasise the extremity of the match due to their reputation, rather than to win.
The New Day vs The Usos vs The Lucha Dragons
(Ladder Match for the Tag Team Championship)
Who should win?: The New Day
Who will win?: The Usos
A bold prediction, but I have my reasons. It has to happened at some point or another, and TLC should not be that time. However, the rest of the card suggests that The Usos will regain the Tag Team title here. The Reigns Family (of Reigns, Ambrose and The Usos) is built from the people who are clearly being pushed as the face figure of each of the divisions that they are involved in. With Reigns and Ambrose presumably going to lose, I refuse to believe that all of them will leave empty handed.
While this match will be spectacular, it is not time for The New Day reign’s finale yet, 1. because their reign is so entertaining, and 2. with such personality, it needs to be lost in a direct rivalry, not in a 3-way match where nobody cares which team beats The New Day.
Sheamus vs Roman Reigns
(TLC Match for the World Heavyweight Championship)
Who should win?: Sheamus
Who will win?: Sheamus
Sheamus vs Reigns has been a massively disappointing feud. Nobody was especially upset when Sheamus cashed-in his Money in the Bank contract, and the ‘tater tots, heh-heh-heh’ booking ever since has done more harm than good in attempting to get Reigns some sympathy. This booking fixation on Reigns suggests that progression for the title will be a new villain for him, rather than a new hero to take down Sheamus, meaning that Reigns will presumably regain the title – but not yet.
Sheamus is the front of a stable that should be far more powerful than it is being portrayed as. Where Rusev was once all powerful, not even together to the League of Nations come across as nearly as monstrous. For them to lose either the US title or WHC would make them even more pathetic. While Sheamus vs Reigns has been a naff feud, a few more weeks of ‘tater tots’ level booking is a small price to pay to at least keep Sheamus, Barrett, Del Rio and Rusev afloat until Royal Rumble ’16.
And that’s a wrap. Who do you think will be the victors at Tables, Ladders and Chairs 2015?