Gutteridge's "Man vs. Machine" WWE TLC Preview and Predcitions: Who will leave as the new Unified Champion? Will The Shield break up? WWE is guilty of gimmick infringement!
By Darren Gutteridge
Check back tonight for Jason Powell and Chris Shore's live coverage of the WWE TLC pay-per-view. Dot Net Members can look forward to their exclusive audio review after the show. Join us on the ad-free version of the website by signing up now via the Dot Net Members' Signup Page.
***Can Dot Net contributor Darren Gutteridge predict the outcomes of pay-per-view matches with more accuracy than the WWE 2K14 video game simulator? Let's find out.
It’s official – WWE has stolen my gimmick. If you look on their YouTube page, you will see that they have now posted video simulations of most of the matches at the TLC show. As if the company needed to give me more reasons to be mad at them. Well, I hope Vinnie Mac is ready to hear from my lawyer. He may look like me in a top hat and a fake moustache, but I assure you he is to be FEARED! FEAR Maximillion Deathridge, Rogue Lawyer!
Not that WWE has dived in to my format with a smarter-than-before game, as in it’s debut round of predictions, WWE 2K14 lost 6-3. That’s the first point on the board for me, and step 1 of 13 for the clean sweep.
Pre-show – Dolph Ziggler vs. Fandango: From a work-rate point of view, this match has potential to be great, fast paced fun. It makes perfect sense to have it on the pre-show to excite the viewing fans as well as those in attendance. But it now means Ziggler hasn’t appeared on an actual PPV since September at Battleground. We’ll never know how much that kick from Jack Swagger derailed his push, but it’s hard to envision a worse way for 2013 to end for a man who looked ready to soar as recently as Wrestlemania 29.
Prediction: Dolph Ziggler defeats Fandango
WWE 2K14: Ziggler defeats Fandango
AJ Lee vs. Natalya for the Divas Title: As is the case most months, I can’t envisage AJ dropping the title to anything but a hot act. She remains the only interesting character in the division, and although it could be argued that Natalya is a superior wrestler, she isn’t nearly over enough to warrant the change. I’d keep the title on AJ until Mania, and build someone (#COUGH# Paige #COUGH#) from the Rumble onwards to challenge her.
Prediction: AJ Lee defeats Natalya to retain the Divas Title
WWE 2K14: Natalya defeats AJ Lee to win the Divas Title
Big E Langston vs. Damien Sandow for the Intercontinental Title. #Insert comments from the pre-show match, replacing “Ziggler” for “Sandow” and “Wrestlemania 29” for “Money in the Bank”, here#. Yep, it’s essentially a copy and paste job for both guys, both acting as prime examples of WWE’s rampant “hot and cold” booking this year. At least Sandow is in a small feud, but I think he’s going to be fed to Langston here. This is definitely a match that could have utilised one of the old TLC gimmicks (I’d vote for a Tables match) to spice it up a little, especially considering how weak the build has been.
Prediction: Big E Langston defeats Damien Sandow to retain the Intercontinental Title
WWE 2K14: Big E defeats Sandow to retain
Cody Rhodes and Goldust vs. Ryback and Curtis Axel vs. Big Show and Rey Mysterio vs. The Real Americans for the WWE Tag Team Titles: Although I am fully aware that getting my hopes up for anything at the moment will likely end in disappointment, there must be a real thrust from the higher ups to push the tag division. Now with the formation of “RybAxel”, there are 10 plus teams (that’s without including this surely temporary partnership between Show and Rey), all with unique dynamics and styles. The Divas division could learn a lot.
During Chris Jericho’s recent podcast with Steve Austin, both men talked about the values of great tag matches and divisions, and it was a real eye opener to hear to predominantly singles guys sing the praises of the style, with Austin even saying that a great tag match is usually better than a great singles match. Hopefully, others are having their heads turned onto that philosophy, and we’ll see the division continue to go from strength to strength. I see it being strongest with the Rhodes boys remaining on top for now, so I’ll plug for that outcome.
Prediction: Cody Rhodes and Goldust retain the Tag Team titles
WWE 2K14: Ryback defeated Rhodes, Mysterio and Cesaro in a Fatal Four Way match
Daniel Bryan vs. The Wyatt Family in a 3-on-1 Handicap Match: I genuinely think they are just testing the limits of Bryan’s and Punk’s ability in the two handicap matches. At least the other match has the Shield dissension to play on, whereas this one has Bryan going up against a well oiled machine. How he’ll pull a good match out here is hard to see, because in my opinion he simply has to lose. The Wyatt’s can’t take a loss in this situation, regardless of the shenanigans that go on, but beating Bryan will also prove nothing. I’d have much rather had a singles match between Bryan and Wyatt, but my guess is we’ll get that at the Rumble.
Prediction: The Wyatt Family defeat Daniel Bryan
WWE 2K14: Bryan defeated The Wyatts by pinning Luke Harper
CM Punk vs. The Shield in a 3-on-1 Handicap Match: My problem here is a mean 1-2 combo. I hate the match concept, but the build has actually been intriguing. But the problem with that is the intrigue has been built around The Shield breaking up, and that’s a terrible idea. It will happen eventually, but they’re still doing great business, and the breakup itself will be great TV if done right, so why not save it until closer to Mania? They could do something akin to The Legacy breakup from a few years ago – stay together until Elimination Chamber, and then have a triple threat match at Mania 30.
Regardless, it will make for a must-watch match, if only because of morbid curiosity. I’ll be on the edge of my seat the whole way through, hoping against hope that they don’t break up. . . I just realised the end of that sentence made me sound like a 15 year old girl. I’ll wrap this up quickly. I’ll go with the obvious – Punk wins when Reigns turns on the other two.
Prediction: CM Punk defeats The Shield
WWE 2K14: The Shield defeat Punk
John Cena vs. Randy Orton in a TLC Match to unify the WWE Title and the World Heavyweight Championship: They did a hell of a hard sell on Raw, and it is an important match, but WWE can’t be surprised if they find interest in a Cena/Orton feud lagging. The kids will be into it, much in the same way I thought the unification match at Vengeance 2001 was the most important match ever when I was a kid. That probably infuriated the hardcore fans back then, but I was glued.
For me, it’s a mistake. I’ve listened to the perfectly valid reasons put to me for unifying the titles, but I personally feel the system they set up worked when used properly – establish main event guys with a WHC run, then if they catch on push them onto the WWE Title. I think the lack of a second World Title, as ludicrous as the concept of two world champions is to an outsider, will make it very hard to make new stars, as the WWE is extremely careful about who is positioned as “the face” of their company. Why else did they immediately pull the title away from the short, hairy and not particularly built Bryan, and put it onto the clean cut, handsome and athletic Orton?
If the ending isn’t screwy, then it has to be Cena. They’ll want to give him another accolade (because he’s so desperate for another one). But ever since Pruett shone a light on the idea, I can’t shake the feeling of HHH walking away with the new title. It’s the best of the bad, but it does make sense with the storyline and the guarantees Trips has made. It’s certainly more interesting than “Cena wins another title”. To make it fair for 2K14, I’ll plug for my initial idea.
Prediction: John Cena defeats Randy Orton to become the Unified Champion
WWE 2K14: Cena defeats Orton to become the Unified Champion
Thanks for reading. If you had any comments or thoughts on the show or this preview, add me on Twitter via @Dazatheg, where I will be live Tweeting the show
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