I’ve grown weary of predicting winners in wrestling, because such things are a) sort of absurd, and b) rather subjective. Instead, I’m trying something new: What are the odds that a story will in any way conclude?
First off, I skipped Vengeance and Survivor Series, two PPVs that basically finished off no stories. But how have I done since Hell in the Cell?
Divas Champion Kelly Kelly vs Beth Phoenix: This is the last match between these two. Regardless of who wins, the focus will likely shift to either Natalya or the Bellas.
I was right about it shifting, but it wasn’t to either of my predictions. Eve took Kelly Kelly’s spot for two months, and it looks like Alicia Fox is about to take it for a bit.
WWE Championship Triple Threat Hell in a Cell Match: This one reeks of transition, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Punk and Del Rio are the two trading championship reigns going into the fall, leaving Cena open to do some things with The Rock.
World Heavyweight Championship Hell in a Cell Match: It should be brutal and satisfying. It will also be a conclusion, either of Henry as a World Champion, or Orton.
Sin Cara vs Sin Cara: Only in wrestling can this be a) a thing, and b) a thing almost nobody cares about. There has been lots of specualation that this is the beginning of something that will culminate at Wrestlemania. While I don’t think that’s at all possible, I don’t think there’s any way this is the only time these two play around while fans get popcorn.
Sheamus vs Christian: Sheamus is going up, Christian is going sideways. This isn’t even a story so much as a reason to have their new shining babyface get a dominant win.
Great white yup.
Pretty good, all told. Not much has changed since then, really. How does TLC look? Will anything actually conclude?
Randy Orton vs Wade Barrett (tables match)
Tables matches are places where bad guys get cheap wins over dominant heroes. There is exactly one way this match is going to go, and that’s to another at the Rumble (or during it).
Dolph Ziggler vs Zack Ryder (US Championship Match)
Whether this is the place they give Ryder his big win or at a future show all depends on just how big they want it (and Ryder) to be. A Ryder loss here would tell me they actually have bigger plans for him, since they don’t want to spoil his inspirational victory at such a throwaway show. But I’ll be cynical and predict it ends here.
Cody Rhodes vs Booker T
This has act 1 of III written all over it. If Booker’s game, there’s no reason this can’t stretch to Wrestlemania, or at least Elimination Chamber.
HHH vs Kevin Nash (Sledgehammer of Plot Ladder Match)
There’s absolutely no guarantee this match is going to happen, because Kevin Nash is one of the wrestlers in the match. But if it does, it will probably be the blowoff match. I think even WWE knows that 4 months of this is too much. Besides, the Rumble is right around the corner, and it’s time to get HHH in line for whatever his marquee Wrestlemania feud is.
Mark Henry vs Big Show (Chairs Match for the World Heavyweight Championship)
This is the only match on the card where the stipulation makes sense. The triple threat TLC sounds fun, but fun in the same way Hell in the Cell main even was kind of fun: an excuse for three great wrestlers to do fun things with props. But Mark Henry and Big Show have been injuring one another with chairs since mid-summer. It should also be the only real decisive conclusion on the show: Mark Henry kills Show, ending a five-month and surprisingly satisfying story.
CM Punk vs Miz vs Alberto Del Rio (TLC match for the WWE Championship)
Aren’t more belts usually on the line on PPV? It’s just the two big ones on this show, and neither of them are going anywhere.1 Punk is going to win in creative and fun fashion. But what does he do after this match? I’m guessing Punk vs Miz at the Rumble, but that’s easy. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised to see Randy Orton shoehorned somehow, just to keep his streak of WWE Championship matches at the Rumble going (2004, 2008, 2010, 2011)
Overall, TLC feels really light, like the single-brand PPVs used to feel. Half the roster isn’t here, John Cena is nowhere to be found, and there isn’t even a Divas of Doom squash (though they might throw that in unnanounced). There isn’t even a tag match involving Jack Swagger losing. It’s like the guys on this show forgot to book Christmas off.