Good Afternoon Ladies and Gents –
This was a decently strong week for WWE. Raw was better than it has been (though that’s not saying much) and Smackdown delivered a great show once again. This week we saw the go home editions of both shows as they prepare for this Sunday’s PPV, “TLC – Tables, Ladders, and Chairs”. Let’s get into the highlights of the week and my predictions for this Sunday.
WWE Raw Highlights –
Opening segment with Seth Rollins and Baron Corbin – Seth did a great job with this promo. It was a borderline shoot promo using all the things that have actually been hurting the raw ratings – aside from MNF of course and blaming these terrible ideas on the kayfabe GM Baron Corbin. Seth provokes Corbin enough to get him to agree to a TLC match later that night, which Corbin then states will be for the Intercontinental Championship.
Raw Tag Team Championship – Authors of Pain and Drake Maverick v Bobby Roode and Chad Gable – like many things on Raw lately, it was mediocre match, but had a nice surprise win by Roode and Gable. These guys are talented in the ring and Roode has a great gimmick so let’s hope these guys can get some solid booking. The tag division in general needs to be booked stronger and with more importance.
Drew McIntyre v Dolph Ziggler – This was a great, PPV quality match. It had a great finish and post-match beat down as well. McIntyre came out with the win this week, after Ziggler handed him his first loss last Monday, since his WWE return. These guys are two of the most talented on the roster. I’m all for McIntyre getting the push for the Universal Title, but I don’t think WWE would or should pull the trigger on that JUST yet..
Ember Moon w/ Ronda Rousey v Tamina w/ Nia Jax – thank god Ember moon is talented enough to make this somewhat entertaining – and has one of the coolest finishers in the game. WWE needs to send Tamina and Nia back to developmental. They’re about as exciting as being 6 years old and getting a pair of socks for Christmas. I hope Rousey gets the win for the title at TLC on Sunday and Nia fades away. If they build Nia and have her face Becky Lynch instead of Rousey, WWE creative is dumber than I thought. Rousey v Lynch is where the money is.
Corbin v Rollins TLC match for the Intercontinental title – Overall this was a solid TLC match for a Raw Main Event. It told a good story and had some great spots. Spot of the match – Seth attempting a suicide dive to the outside which was countered into a chokeslam through a table. Seth got the win in the end, which means he will still be defending against Dean Ambrose at TLC on Sunday.
WWE Smackdown Highlights –
Opening segment – DB. His “New Daniel Bryan” gimmick is annoying, but it’s working. It’s annoyingly working. He claims calling ppl sheep is insulting to the sheep, and states they’re more like parasites. He goes on to talk about how he’s going to beat AJ Styles this Sunday. DB is interrupted by Mustafa Ali from 205 live and their match ensues.
Daniel Bryan v Ali – great little match, showing that 205 live guys can go with the main show guys and I hope they do it more often. 205 Live could use the exposure. Hell, most of you are probably like, “What the hell is 205 Live?” It’s essentially the same as the WCW cruiserweight division except they’re on their own show for some reason…Daniel Bryan gets the W to look strong going into the TLC PPV.
Battle rap – Uso’s v The Bar and hosted by The New Day – I hate these. Other than when Cena had his Doctor of Thuganomics gimmick, they’re ALWAYS cringy. This was no different at first. The Bar went first with a painfully white, awkward, “remix” to “Ice, Ice, Baby”. Thankfully this was short lived and it was the Uso’s turn. They were a little lame at first but then they started to pick up with a nice flow and good disses. Eventually The Bar attacked them, resulting in a brawl between all three teams.
Miz comes out cutting a brief promo about how great of a tag team him and Shane McMahon could be. Miz calls out Shane, followed by a ref and then two random guys for a tag match. This was just bad. Shane was in the whole time (about 4 minutes) and just looked terrible and sloppy. His “punches” were weak as fuck and barely connecting if at all. He attempted a float over DDT and almost killed the dude. Eventually Shane gets the win. Shane needs to stop being in the ring. Period.
Randy Orton comes out and starts talking about how much he has beaten Rey Mysterio’s ass the past few weeks, accompanied by some video clips. Rey attacks him mid-sentence with a chair and gets the upper hand in the end. I don’t give any shits about this feud. I’m glad Orton is at least a heel again, but he’s still just SO boring as a character. Randy Bore-ton indeed.
We got a quick Backstage promo from “The Man” – Smackdown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch. Long story short she talks about how she has the odds against her in the match on Sunday but she’s still going to come out on top…which is exactly where I’d like her. Babe if you’re reading this, she’s definitely at the top of my hall pass list.
Next we have a tag match pairing Rusev and one of my all time favorites – Jeff Hardy v Shinsuke Nakamura and Samoa Joe. Great match on paper and while it wasn’t mind blowing it was a solid match overall. It was great to see Rusev get the pin over Nakamura, since he’s usually booked like dogshit.
The main event was certainly something to look forward to, as we have a WrestleMania rematch – “The Queen” Charlotte Flair v “The Empress of Tomorrow” Asuka. While not at the same level as their much-anticipated WrestleMania match up, this match still delivered and was a great way to end the “go-home” edition of Smackdown Live. A great display of athleticism, storytelling, technique and power, all leading to a great finish and post-match beat down. In the end, Charlotte got frustrated that she couldn’t win, much like when she fought Rousey and went apeshit with a kendo stick on Asuka. Eventually she turned her attention to Lynch, who was at ringside. This proved to be a bad move as Lynch then bested Charlotte. However, Asuka then got the upper hand on BOTH Flair and Lynch in a vicious assault with the kendo stick. All three women have been booked great going into TLC, where they will face off in the first ever Women’s TLC match for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. This is really the only match where I don’t have a solid prediction of who will win. That being said, let’s look at the other matches on the card.
WWE TLC Predictions
WWE Title Match
Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles -This will be a great match like only these two guys can deliver and there will definitely be a “holy shit” moment or two. I think DB comes out with the title in this one. I just don’t see them taking the title off of him just yet.
WWE Intercontinental Title Match
Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose – I think Ambrose takes the IC title. There will probably be some fuckery involved, but with Reigns out indefinitely and Strowman injured, I think WWE is going to utilize Rollins as the face of Raw and he will be built up to take on Lesnar for the Universal Title.
WWE Smackdown Women’s Title Triple Threat TLC Match
Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka – Honestly this is really the only match that I have no idea what direction they’re going to go. Becky Lynch is the hottest thing in WWE right now so I could see them keeping her as champ, however the money is in the chase. I’m going to say that Charlotte gets the win. In my perfect world Becky would then win the Womens Royal Rumble, and cash in her earned title match for Rousey’s Raw Women’s Championship at Mania.
WWE Raw Women’s Title Match
Ronda Rousey vs. Nia Jax – This feud is a dud. I hope Rousey retains and I think she will. I dislike Nia very much. I wanted to like her, but just…no.
WWE Smackdown Tag Team Title Match
The Bar vs. The Usos vs. The New Day – I’m honestly tired of the tag division in WWE. It’s so stale for the most part with the exception of the Uso’s. I think and hope they get the titles this Sunday. They deserve a great run under their newer, better gimmick.
WWE Cruiserweight Title Match
Buddy Murphy vs. Cedric Alexander – Most of you probably said, “who are they”. WWE terribly mishandles the cruiserweight division. That being said, this will probably be on the preshow. Either way, I think Murphy rightfully retains.
Braun Strowman vs. Baron Corbin – If Strowman wins, he will get a Universal title match against Brock Lesnar & Corbin will lose his GM position; if Corbin wins, he becomes the permanent Raw GM. With Strowman injured, if he can’t compete then Corbin wins by forfeit. I could see them actually going this route as it would be cheap heat for Corbin as the GM. However I could also see a swerve like Angle or someone showing up to at least try and stop Corbin from becoming GM. Either way I think we will see Corbin as the GM going forward.
Natalya vs. Ruby Riott – I’m big on Ruby Riott and the Riott Squad. I think they’re a solid female heel stable and they’ve done a good job with this feud. I do think that Natalya has the underdog story and overcomes the odds, and tables, stacked against her.
Ladder Match – Elias’ guitar will be hanging above the ring
Elias vs. Bobby Lashley- Lashley is a snoozefest but at least Lio Rush makes it bearable. I think Elias gets the win and hopefully starts to build toward being a solid midcard star.
Randy Orton vs. Rey Mysterio – a match so dated it would make a fine wine. Rey can still hang pretty well but Orton, while very naturally gifted is one of the blandest performers I’ve ever seen. He clearly just shows up for his check and goes home. Let’s not even get into how stupid of a concept it is to have a “chairs match”. Lame. I think Rey goes over simply to make people happy.
WWE Mixed Match Challenge Season Two Finals
Winners are number 30 in their respective Royal Rumbles
Jinder Mahal & Alicia Fox vs. R-Truth & Carmella – While it was a nice touch to add the rumble entry stipulation to try and get people to care, this match is a throw away because none of them are going to win their rumbles, even at number 30. This match will more than likely be on the preshow, and I think we see R-Truth and Carmella getting the W.
Finn Balor vs. Drew McIntyre- No stipulation for this one but honestly it could be Match of the Night. Two great performers and honestly both could use the win. I think this will be a great “David v Goliath” story with Finn putting up a great fight, but ultimately falling victim to the Claymore Kick and McIntyre scoring the 1, 2, 3.
That’s all the highlights and predictions for WWE Raw, Smackdown and TLC! Let me know your thoughts or how you would like to see these matches and stories play out!