by Daniel Johnson, Kyle Childers, Jeremy Cundiff and Bad Booking
Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio vs. Team Rhodes Scholars in a tables match
Daniel Johnson: It would be nice if WWE got behind Sin Cara, but even if his team did win I still don’t see that happening. Sin Cara will probably take the loss in this match and Cody’s mustache will get one of the biggest pops of the night. Team Rhodes Scholars might even win clean. This will set up another Team Hell No/Team Rhodes Scholars match. Ideally, this time around Team Rhodes Scholars will walk away with the titles and Bryan can get showcased more as a singles competitor.
Kyle Childers: This match is one of the bigger toss-ups of the evening, both teams could easily win and challenge Team Hell No (since THN reside on the “Kane” end of the “Face-Tweener-Heel-Kane” scale of alignment) but it makes slightly more sense to see Rhodes Scholars pick up the win here because they have a ton of momentum in the growing tag division. I’ll admit to bias though as I love to see Team Hell No and Rhodes Scholars’ segments and anyone that finds fault in that has no soul. Regardless of who wins, this match has the potential to be one of the best of the night, especially with the added tables gimmick.
Jeremy Cundiff: The WWE booking has been working here lately because it’s been returning to a classic formula: faces win the big showdown, end of story. I see no reason for this to be any different (unless that long-rumored Rey/Cara match at Wrestlemania is really going to go down, in which case this is the perfect time to break out the setup for that). I would love to see Rhodes and Sandow get a cheap win, just to keep their momentum going. Maybe this match will exceed expectations and actually elevate some people, instead of just being some more Botchamania footage brought to you by the tables, Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio’s knee surgeon.
Bad Booking: I hope Cody and Damien get the win, while the first chink in the 619/Cara armor starts to show. Seriously, this is a really good time for the tag division. The last few years have had a dearth of great moments, but the current crop of teams can make something memorable happen. Expect some crazy bumps for sure!
Wade Barrett vs. Kofi Kingston (c) for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
Daniel Johnson: Kofi Kingston is beyond stale at this point and desperately needs his gimmick tweaked. In case you haven’t noticed it isn’t just us smarks that think this anymore. Even the crowds in cities with a lot of casual fans seem to be reacting less to him. I’d like to see Barrett completely brutalize Kofi and start a feud with some face that comes out to save him. The most likely candidate would be R-Truth. From there WWE could retool Kofi’s gimmick and breathe some life into it. Depending on where WWE is in their yo-yo pushing of Barrett at least part of that just might happen. I’ll stay positive for this prediction and say Barrett wins…but I doubt anything will be fixed for Kofi.
Kyle Childers: This match both has potential to be the undercard match of the night and biggest disappointment. I’m not saying that it’s not going to be at the very least good match, but I can’t help but have the selfish wish that they had made this a TLC match. With the WWE Title stipulation out of the main event, it makes sense to put the TLC stipulation to good use here but I digress. There hasn’t been a whole lot by way of story to base this prediction on so purely by preference I pick Wade Barrett, WWE’s favorite male prostitute.
Jeremy Cundiff: Pass.
Bad Booking: I think Kofi will barely pull this one out. Expect the match to be mainly based around Wade keeping the ever-flying Kofi grounded. I wouldn’t be too surprised if a fluke roll-up was used to win it. At the same time, there will almost assuredly be the rematch on Raw the next night, and expect Wade to win the title then.
Daniel Johnson: I don’t care what his detractors say. I love Antonio Cesaro to death. The guy manages to bring it every time he is on pay-per-view even though WWE never gives him more than eight minutes. Seriously, look it up! R-Truth is also a capable hand in the ring especially when he has a good person to work with such as Antonio Cesaro. This will be another contest under eight minutes, but those eight minutes will entertain anyone who gives it a chance. I’m hoping Cesaro has a much longer run with the WWE United States Championship, possibly one that breaks the record for longest champion with that title in it’s current incarnation. From there Cesaro could be moved up to the main event and capture the World Heavyweight Championship. Of course being a European heel he would think that the rest of the world is worthless so he changes the title to be the WWE European Championship. To kill two flies with one Cesaro he could then win back the WWE United States Championship and throw it away as a worthless belt. That way the company would be back to having just the right amount of belts and eventually the WWE Intercontinental Championship would work its way to being more prestigious than the WWE European Championship and all would be right in the world. Anyway, I’m getting way ahead of myself here.
Kyle Childers: Let me take a second to rip the Band-Aid off for a certain segment of those reading this, the R-Truth push is over. It died a long time ago when he started dancing with Little Jimmy. Remember when R-Truth was awesome and crazy? Those were great times but they were also at least one kid friendly t-shirt ago. Now, for the rest of the people reading this I ask, how does Cesaro vary his uppercut before scoring the victory?
Jeremy Cundiff: Pass.
Bad Booking: Expect Antonio to retain in a hotly contested, but predictable match. R-Truth can probably use that Little Jimmy gimmick to some extent, but in the end, it’ll be Claudio with his Swiss demeanor getting the best out of the former K-Kwik.
Sheamus vs. The Big Show (c) for the World Heavyweight Championship in a chairs match
Daniel Johnson: I’m not a fan of how Sheamus has been booked for…well the past year or so really. I’m not going to say he should turn heel, but this jokey face Sheamus reminds me of face Batista when he started to get really lame. If WWE wants to add any realism to his character he should lose this match and then go on a journey to find the true Sheamus and bring back the monster that crushed Daniel Bryan in 18 seconds. Yes, I know the Sheamus who won at Wrestlemania was still the same lame jokey Sheamus, but factors like that never stopped WWE revisionism before. As you may have guessed I am a bit pessimistic here and expect fun loving Sheamus to stick around because WWE loves to hock that merchandise and few sell it better than a smiling face. Still, I just don’t see him winning. Show needs to have a longer reign so that he can elevate whoever gets the World Heavyweight Championship off of him. Hopefully, it is someone who hasn’t had a belt that significant before.
Kyle Childers: Does anyone win in this match? Yes, that’s a snarky question but it’s all I can muster. I’m not really excited by this feud that peaked when Big Show broke that podium during the verbal debate and has been on a fast decline since the first couple of times Sheamus was on the receiving end of a solid face-punching. Throw in the bizarre chairs stipulation and you have a match on par with a Jim Belushi one man show in terms of entertainment value. I’ll pick Sheamus out of hopes that Ziggler retains and the WWE is more likely to book a heel cash in on a face.
Jeremy Cundiff: One is a veteran enjoying what is likely to be his last run at the top. The other is the one of the few homegrown WWE talents that has not been overexposed. Unless they don’t have someone to go up against Sheamus at Wrestlemania in mind yet, I’m going with Sheamus. He’s going to be around for a while, and he’s still got a lot of upside left to explore. Big Show is a placeholder, but at least he’s a decent one who you can believe stands a chance against The Plaid Iced Gingerbread Man. This match is one I see going either way, but the nod in the long run goes to Sheamus.
Bad Booking: This is going to be brutal. Both men are known for slug outs and this is no exception. This could provide happy nostalgia for Sheamus as three years ago on this event he won the WWE Championship from John Cena. For Big Show, this could also be deja vu as last year he won and lost the World Heavyweight Championship in an ironic chairs contest. I think Sheamus is going to pull this one out on a desperation brogue kick to Big Show. Only there will be a chair involved in that as well.
John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler for a World Heavyweight Championship contract in a ladder match
Daniel Johnson: I’d love for WWE to do something crazy with this match. Like have Ziggler sneak attack Big Show early in the night and win the World Heavyweight Championship requiring two of the top matches to get a last minute change. Still, even that could backfire and lead to Ziggler getting his second incredibly short run with the World Heavyweight Championship after he is still forced to wrestle Cena. However, I don’t see WWE doing anything that whacky. I expect Ziggler to win the ladder match through underhanded tactics. Perhaps, someone will interfere so Cena could start his next feud?
Kyle Childers: This match is what wrestling is all about, emotion. I know sometimes my opinions come across as a bit obsessed with logic, booking and ring work, but I value entertainment and emotional investment as much as those other things. With that out of the way, I’ll say that my emotions regarding this match are based solely on the fear that my personal favorite performer in the WWE currently may lose his World Heavyweight Championship shot. With Ziggler getting wins over Randy Orton (yet still eating brogue kicks, can I take back my Sheamus prediction?) and his history as a performer the company seems willing to push it seems possible that he could win but with Cena’s history of being John Cena we could very well see Ziggler lose his Money in the Bank briefcase. I’ll go with my bias and pick Dolph Ziggler but the bigger question here isn’t who wins but what role does AJ Lee play?
Jeremy Cundiff: On YouTube, I saw a clip from a Terry Funk roast where Scott Hall, sitting in the back with beer in hand, said the following: “You told me this a long time ago, Terry, and I’ll never forget it…you told me ‘don’t get too good at doin’ jobs, kid. That’s all you’ll ever do.’ ” Touche. I see this as nothing more than a vehicle for Cena to miraculously appear back in the World Heavyweight Championship picture just seconds before The Rock makes his three-month vacation stop in the WWE. Yeah, I’m a little salty about this one. But truth be told, this is the way it’s got to go. Ziggler is too good at losing to ever be taken seriously as a winner. That’s going to pay off for him one day, but only as a face. Hopefully this match won’t ruin that.
Bad Booking: Dolph has to win. No ifs, ands, or buts. Ziggler may have been a world titlist before, but this is his time to be the man in the WWE. If WWE was smart, they’d make The Shield run in and take out Cena. They could also allege Vickie Guerrero was in on The Shield the whole time. It would make a lot of things make sense, but it would also potentially compromise the heat these guys have. The only thing I can guarantee is that win or lose, Ziggler will look like a million bucks. Even if it kills him. Then there are some fantasy booking options. For instance, take the World Heavyweight Championship match, and place it third in the lineup. Sheamus wins and is also very groggy. Dolph runs in, cashes in the briefcase. Dolph wins the title and he thinks he’s all good for the night. Now Vince McMahon shows up and forces Dolph to defend that title in the originally scheduled Ladder Match with Cena. Now take that ladder contest, leave in The Shield interference, and we got ourselves a bumpy ride for the future. Cena/Orton/Ryback/Bryan/Kane vs. Seth Rollins/ Roman Reigns/Dean Ambrose/Ziggler/CM Punk as a potential main event? I’d bite! And with how Orton is supposed to turn heel, that would be the right time to pull the trigger.
Team Hell No and Ryback vs. The Shield in a TLC match
Daniel Johnson: I really wanted to go with The Shield on this one even if it would have meant that I predicted a card of straight heel wins. It at least would keep the wind in their sails which they desperately need because if you strip them of everything else they are basically three guys who have never been on national TV long term and that casual fans could give or take. Still, I just don’t see them winning especially with WWE’s recent tendency to have newcomers lose even when they desperately need to win. For evidence of this look no further than Ryback in the very same match. Yes, I see Ryback giving his shell shocked finisher to one or two members of The Shield through a table for the victory. The Shield will then go on to be a more serious version of The Spirit Squad before being disbanded. Hopefully, they are sent packing in a more dignified manner than being put in a crate and shipped to developmental.
Kyle Childers: The likely main event of the evening really deserves the spot but once again I have to question what the point of the TLC stipulation is here. Are they going to climb a ladder to retrieve Paul Heyman because if so, take all of my money six months ago you magnificent bastards, if not and this match is a pinfall TLC then it’s got to be an indication that management doesn’t have faith in Ryback to work for extended periods even with five better performers working around him without a gimmick involved. Nonsensical stipulation aside, any match with this combination of guys is sure to be entertaining and I don’t see why this won’t be either. Storyline-wise, a Shield victory would help establish them as a legitimate threat after weeks of ambush attacks and a Team RyNo win would certainly lend a bit more credibility to the tag titles just because the champions won and would keep the Ryback momentum. Conventional wisdom would see The Shield win and continue wrecking things for weeks to come so that means Team RyNo will win.
Jeremy Cundiff: Oh boy. The best thing to do would be to give The Shield the win at this point. These guys have got to be pushed strong, as they have been. That means getting it done in the ring too, not just outside of it. It’s obvious that the Ryback = title contender thing isn’t working out, and nobody is going to stop cheering for Kane and Bryan if they lose this match. I predict The Shield because WWE cannot be that stupid, and if they are going to put the heels over in just one match it better be these guys. Remember that Nexus came in and sent shockwaves all over, but within six months half the group was either injured, released or back in developmental. It’s how you handle the ball once it’s started rolling.
Bad Booking: Team Hell No/Ryback vs. The Shield in a cluster fuck: I’m sorry guys for my language, but that is exactly what it is. Six men full of war. Tables. Ladders. Chairs. One fall to a finish? If I got my notes correctly, this is the first time the WWE has done a one-fall ladder contest (I have seen ECW matches with this though). I fully expect Ryback to destroy The Shield, and Kane/Bryan to get weakened up for the title defense the next night on Raw.
Categories: Smooth Runs