These predictions were made with no help from the betting lines because I’m not a cheater, nor a dirty, rotten, filthy, stinkin’ whore of a man. In other words, I’m guessing just like you are. Join me for live coverage of WWE TLC beginning with the Kickoff Show at 6CT/7ET. Dot Net Members will have exclusive access to the audio review that Jake Barnett and I will record after the show. Join us on the ad-free version of Prowrestling.net to gain access to over nine years of audio content via the Dot Net Members’ Signup Page.
WWE was put in a tough position when they had to make late decisions to pull Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt from the lineup due to medical issues. Obviously, our thoughts are with Reigns, Wyatt, and Bo Dallas in that we hope everyone gets well soon. To WWE’s credit, they managed to make the lineup look better on paper than it did originally. I’m not big on Kurt Angle returning on short notice, but I do understand and appreciate the desire to give the fans who were expecting The Shield reunion something special. Meanwhile, AJ Styles replacing Wyatt’s Sister Abigail persona and facing Finn Balor is far more appealing than the apparently Halloween themed insanity that WWE had advertised. Admittedly, I had a perverse curiosity when it came to seeing how Wyatt would wrestle as Sister Abigail, but Styles vs. Balor makes this event feel like more than the one match show that it did prior to the changes.
Kurt Angle, Dean Ambrose, and Seth Rollins vs. Braun Strowman, Kane, The Miz, Sheamus, and Cesaro in a tables, ladders, and chairs match: The fact that Angle was ready on short notice begs the question of when or if he received medical clearance. Perhaps he was scheduled to return to the ring at Survivor Series and they just moved up his return date? If Angle did not go through the medical testing then the company is putting themselves at risk. Either way, here’s hoping we get a tame version of Angle. Does anyone want to watch a 48 year-old man with a history of major neck issues perform his moonsault from the top rope let alone from the top of a ladder? The appeal of this match is now seeing Angle wrestling in a WWE ring after more than a decade away. Fans will be more than satisfied with some suplexes, an ankle lock, and an Olympic Slam. Keep it simple. When an injury leads to a lineup change, the company typically delivers a happy ending to the match, so I’m going with the babyface trio.
Kurt Angle, Dean Ambrose, and Seth Rollins win.
AJ Styles vs. Finn Balor: This match is a little tricker to pick in that either babyface winning clean would be a satisfying finish. It would be fun to see these guys get 20-plus minutes to work their magic before the match ends in a clean finish. I don’t think either wrestler would be damaged by putting over the other, and if there is a clean finish then my guess is that Styles goes over since he’s moving into a title feud with Jinder Mahal on the Smackdown side. However, I could see a Wyatt video flash creating a distraction that somehow leads to Styles going over while also keeping the Balor vs. Wyatt program alive.
AJ Styles wins.
Alexa Bliss vs. Mickie James for the Raw Women’s Championship: The old lady jokes are finished and it’s time for the match. Bliss and James have worked together in the past and have yet to deliver anything particularly memorable. Here’s hoping that changes this time around. As much as I think there’s a fun story to tell with veteran James winning the title and bringing it home to her young son, my guess is that they intend to keep the belt on Bliss until Asuka eventually defeats her.
Alexa Bliss retains the Raw Women’s Championship.
Kalisto vs. Enzo Amore for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship: The addition of Kalisto and Enzo to the cruiserweight division has made some fans care more about it. I can’t say that I’m one of those people. The division is horribly damaged and it’s going to take more than three Raw main event segments to make me feel like the company is truly committed to making this work. No, that doesn’t mean I want to see more of the cruiserweights in the final segment on Raw. It means I need to see a real creative commitment and ideally some new faces in the division. As for this match, I’m pulling out my trusty pick’em quarter. When I die someday, said quarter will be auctioned off on eBay for 20 cents. That’s the Jason Powell Effect.
Tails. Enzo Amore wins the WWE Cruiserweight Championship.
Asuka vs. Emma: I normally push for WWE to do more with Emma. The best I can do this time is hope that they will give up this silly and ineffective social media and revolution starting silliness. As for the finish, they must do the right thing. This isn’t the time to get cute.
Cedric Alexander and Rich Swann vs. Jack Gallagher and Brian Kendrick: Creative has failed to make me care about the feud, but I am looking forward to the actual match. These four are more than capable of delivering a match of the night contender if they are given enough time and a quality finish. One of the problems with the cruiserweight division early on was the lack of heat put on any heels other than Neville. I’d put the heels over in a way that extends the feud. And by extend the feud, I don’t mean the babyfaces simply get their win back on Raw in another parity booking move.
Jack Gallagher and Brian Kendrick win.
Sasha Banks vs. Alicia Fox (Kickoff Show): Banks defeated Fox in the five-way elimination match on Raw a couple weeks back. They were reportedly planning to go with Banks vs. Nia Jax in this match, but once they found out that Jax wasn’t going to be available they decided to double down by having Banks beat Fox again in a singles match on Monday’s Raw. The big plan for setting up the need for yet another match was to have Fox do her ridiculously over the top crazy woman routine while attacking Banks in a backstage segment. Ugh. While I can’t rule out WWE going with an upset only to have Banks avenge the loss on Monday’s Raw, I’ll go with Sasha scoring the hat trick.
Sasha Banks wins.
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