Pruett’s WWE TLC 2012 Preview and Predictions: What will happen in The Shield's first match? Will Ryback, Kane, and Daniel Bryan prevail? Will John Cena leave with Money in the Bank?
By Will Pruett
Tables, Ladders, and Chairs was thrown into disarray faster than the couches on MizTV when they came into contact with Ryback. C.M. Punk had surgery and suddenly the card looks very different. This card actually looks different than anything WWE has done this year. That excites me.
December tends to be WWE's month to throw random acts of kindness and excellence out there to their fans. Last year, Daniel Bryan won the World Heavyweight Championship. In 2005, a mundane tag match was turned into a four way ladder match (that was great, but not so much for Joey Mercury). WWE likes to surprise and delight fans that order their holiday time offering.
The following predictions are made from a place of complete ignorance to the finishes. They are merely predictions of what I would find logical, entertaining, or interesting. Let's all have a good time.
Ryback, Daniel Bryan, and Kane vs. The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns) in a TLC match: This was the fallback plan, but that doesn't make it a bad match. WWE has something fun going on with The Shield and they would have been involved in this main event, even if Punk had been wrestling in it. Putting them in the lead antagonist role in this match shows a tremendous amount of confidence in the young trio.
While we haven't seen much as far as character development from The Shield, I believe we will on Sunday. Hopefully their characters are fully formed, especially concerning the physicality they display. They have an aura about them that I would hate to see go by the wayside when the bell rings (see Sting at Starrcade 1997 for an example of an aura leaving).
Speaking of an aura, Ryback is definitely generating his own. I won't say he is starting to catch on, because I believe he started to catch on this summer and has been doing great work ever since. The promos haven't been amazing, but they don't need to be. He's being pushed well and WWE's product is more fun to watch because he is there. While he isn't the breath of fresh air most online fans were looking for, he has been a breath of fresh air.
Daniel Bryan and Kane's suddenly serious tag team fits well in this main event. They offer Ryback enough cover from the chaos that he can be protected. They also offer an expertise in working the WWE style that will allow them to guide The Shield through this important match. I'd be willing to bet that WWE officials couldn't find two wrestlers they believe in more to carry the workload and construction of this match.
The finish is the key here. Ryback was already slated to lose at this show, but is that the right choice now that Punk's title isn't on the line? What would it do to The Shield to lose? Could this backup plan end up hurting either entity? The secret is in the chaos. The match will include tables, ladders, and chairs. While I expect to see a slightly illogical (but exciting) ladder bump or two, I also expect to see Ryback decimated with these objects. This would allow The Shield to take out Daniel Bryan or Kane and win.
A quick side note about this match: five out of six wrestlers in it debuted with WWE in or after 2010. This is one of the youngest WWE main events we have seen in years. Look for the young guns to have some fun in this one.
Prediction: The Shield defeats Ryback, Daniel Bryan, and Kane, with Bryan taking the pin.
Sheamus vs. Big Show for the World Heavyweight Championship in a Chairs Match:
Since its inception in 2009, the Chairs Match has been a staple of the TLC pay-per-view. It has often been the worst part of it. Undertaker and Batista had their worst ever match together with this gimmick. Big Show and Mark Henry's hot streak came to an end with it. John Cena physically buried Wade Barrett in it. The gimmick is cursed.
Enter Big Show and Sheamus attempting to save themselves from the evil clutches of the chair. They can try, but I don't know if they'll get there. This feud has not been as good as their matches together have been, but it has been decent. Sheamus is taking a more serious approach to his character, which is quite necessary. Big Show is still looking monstrous, which is the best thing for him.
I do see these guys having a good match and I see Show retaining. Ryback is fixing to get himself a big meal soon.
Prediction: Big Show pins Sheamus in the best Chairs Match to date.
Dolph Ziggler vs. John Cena in a Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Well, this is more interesting than a Tables Match. This is also more interesting than just a straight singles match between these two. While the story leading into this match hasn't been great, this match will be relied upon to steal the show and it should do that.
John Cena hasn't been in many Ladder Matches. He was in a brilliant TLC match with Edge at Unforgiven 2006. Other than that, I can't remember a single time Cena has had to dramatically slow climb a ladder reaching for a prize. I don't expect him to perform a ton of dangerous spots or take a huge fall, but I do hope that he is able to build up the drama using other devices.
Dolph Ziggler, a veteran of the Money in the Bank match (he's been in three of them) and is familiar with ladders. His history in one on one matches with a ladder in play has yet to be proven. Ziggler has a real chance to shine in this match, not just in taking bumps, but in the chemistry he can produce with Cena. This is (probably) the biggest match of Ziggler's career to date.
Some people are predicting Ziggler to leave this show as World Heavyweight Champion or even cash his briefcase in before this match. I don't see either of those things happening. WWE doesn't usually repeat themselves on an annual basis (as much as we all wanted that Kevin Nash run-in at SummerSlam again) and Daniel Bryan cashed in at TLC last year. Because of that, I see the man that wins this match having to check a dented, blue, awful briefcase on their flight home.
Prediction: Dolph Ziggler retains his Money in the Bank and leaves the show with the briefcase intact.
Kofi Kingston vs. Wade Barrett for the Intercontinental Championship: Could Wade Barrett and Cody Rhodes have a great rivalry over the Intercontinental Championship over the first part of 2013? I'd postulate that they could. Will they? Probably.
Kingston, as wildcat-esque as he claims to be, is without a true character. Sure, he has nicknames, but he isn't a fully formed human being in the eyes of fans. This makes it hard to cheer for him in the passionate way WWE would like fans to. Perhaps Kofi should go through some hardships, and then overcome them? I hear chicks dig perseverance.
Wade Barrett is starting to catch on with his Bull Hammer and bearded persona. His rebuilding from the Nexus rebel to the English bare-knuckled fighter he was originally sold as seems just about complete. Barrett is the better for it. This match is an opportunity for Barrett to launch into a major feud for a secondary title that can enhance everyone involved.
Prediction: Wade Barrett defeats Kofi Kingston through nefarious means to capture the Intercontinental Championship.
Antonio Cesaro vs. R-Truth for the United States Championship: Cesaro has had a couple really great matches in the last few weeks. His efforts with Sheamus and Kofi Kingston have definitely been exciting to watch. While his matches tend to start out rather slow, Cesaro knows how to build perfectly.
R-Truth is just R-Truth (who was really just K-Qwik), aside from a few months in 2011 when he wasn't. This feud hasn't been exciting, but it is a chance to establish Cesaro. That should make it worthwhile.
Prediction: Antonio Cesaro pins R-Truth to retain the United States Championship.
Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara vs. Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow in a Tables Match for a shot at the WWE Tag Team Championships: This match is all about Cody's mustache. It is the most popular facial hair in wrestling today and is a fun, but odd, addition to Cody's act. Hopefully it will not be damaged in this very dangerous Tables Match.
I prefer to watch the tables stipulation used in a multi-man match and preferably with more athletic wrestlers. I believe these four guys will actually use the psychology of the match well and make it a fun affair. I don't see the babyfaces getting the win here, simply because Kane and Bryan are being firmly entrenched as babyfaces themselves in the main event.
Prediction: Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow win this match and a shot at the Tag Team Championships. Cody's mustache survives.
Santa's Little Helper Battle Royal: WWE sent out a survey to their "fan council" this week discussing the WWE Divas and asking what fans thought of them. I'm guessing none of the answers described them as serious competitors. This is why.
Prediction: Someone wins this match and loses to Eve. No one cares..
This show is interesting, but not altogether enthralling. WWE could make some really poor choices with this one, but they could also make some great ones. I believe that the show will be worth buying, mostly for the drama with The Shield and Ryback. C.M. Punk will be involved somehow (and I hope it'll be on commentary) as well. I'm excited to see where WWE goes with this one.
Make sure to check back here on Sunday night. Jason Powell will be covering the show live and will have an audio update for Dot Net Members shortly after the show!
Let's do some good old fashioned talking about this show! Feel free to email me at email@example.com or to follow me on twitter at twitter.com/itswilltime.
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