Contrary to recent years, where the Tables, Ladders & Chairs pay-per-view has been filled with stipulation matches that fit the theme, only one of this year’s matches won’t be contested under normal rules. However, what initially was a relatively bland card has been given an unexpected boost due to medical issues affecting some members of the Raw roster. With Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt sidelined, changes had to be made. Kurt Angle will replace Reigns, while AJ Styles will replace Wyatt. With two dream scenarios coming to fruition, TLC has suddenly become a much more exciting event.
Kickoff Match: Sasha Banks vs Alicia Fox
With both women out of the title picture as of late and trying to regain momentum, tensions sparked when Alicia Fox recently attacked Banks backstage on Raw. That attack has predictably led to this clash on the Kickoff Show, in what could be a good showing if given the proper amount of time. With competition heating up thanks to the arrival of Asuka, both women will be eager for a victory here.
Predictions: Sasha Banks (Jeremy, Jaime, Liam, Gur, Toby, Keegan, Jayke, Craig, Ben, Andrew, Ash), Alicia Fox (Patches, Ed)
Cedric Alexander & Rich Swann vs Gentleman Jack Gallagher & The Brian Kendrick
After weeks of issues on 205 Live, the problems between these two teams may finally be resolved at TLC. The cruiserweight division was completely shaken up lately with the change in champion and subsequent departure of Neville, formerly the cornerstone of the division. There are lots of personal issues in this contest, but a win will be key in getting a future shot at the Cruiserweight Championship.
Predictions: Cedric Alexander & Rich Swann (Patches, Jaime, Liam, Gur, Toby, Keegan, Ben), Gentleman Jack Gallagher & The Brian Kendrick (Jeremy, Ed, Jayke, Craig, Andrew, Ash)
Cruiserweight Championship Match: Kalisto (c) vs Enzo Amore
The world was shocked when Enzo Amore opted for a blatant low blow to pick up the win over Neville and capture the Cruiserweight Championship. Perhaps the only thing more shocking was when Kalisto entered the cruiserweight division and made a beeline for the championship. With Enzo having drawn the ire of most of the division, Kalisto capitalized in a lumberjack match to become the new champion. Enzo has now garnered some support from a few members of the division, but can their presence help him reclaim the Cruiserweight Championship at TLC?
Predictions: Enzo Amore (Patches, Jeremy, Jaime, Gur, Toby, Keegan, Jayke, Craig, Ben, Andrew), Kalisto (Liam, Ed, Ash)
Asuka vs Emma
Since she was stripped of the NXT Women’s Championship, it’s been a waiting game for many fans eager to see the main roster debut of Asuka. When it was announced she’d be debuting at TLC, the next question turned to who she would defeat. Not who she would face, but who she would defeat. You may have noticed that the predictions are unanimous for this match.
Considering her 500+ day reign as NXT Women’s Champion and still active undefeated streak, there’s no way Asuka is defeated in her debut. Of course, that doesn’t mean the match won’t be good. Emma has clashed with Asuka before, and could put up quite the fight here. Then again, Asuka may also squash her in mere seconds. Either way, Asuka will be making a hell of an impact on Sunday.
Predictions: Asuka (Patches, Jeremy, Jaime, Liam, Ed, Gur, Toby, Keegan, Jayke, Craig, Ben, Andrew, Ash)
Raw Women’s Championship Match: Alexa Bliss (c) vs Mickie James
While relatively new to some fans, Mickie James is on the quest for her seventh (not first) championship. During her first stint in WWE, James became a 6-time WWE Women’s Champion. However, Alexa Bliss has been insisting that James is a mere shell of her former self and not the threat she once was, despite the fact that Mickie clearly hasn’t lost a step in the ring.
Tensions rose in recent weeks, and now Mickie will get her first chance at the Raw Women’s Championship. Alexa has kept a vice-like grip on her title as of late, but she has a new challenge this time in the form of longtime veteran Mickie James.
Predictions: Alexa Bliss (Patches, Jeremy, Jaime, Liam, Ed, Gur, Toby, Keegan, Jayke, Craig, Ben, Andrew, Ash)
Finn Balor vs AJ Styles
Initially, we were expecting to see “The Demon” Finn Balor square off with “Sister Abigail,” the new alter-ego of Bray Wyatt. There were mixed opinions of the potential clash, but everything changed when news broke that Bray would be unable to compete due to an illness. In his place, we’re getting former WWE Champion AJ Styles. Of course, this is a match that has already garnered significantly more excitement from fans. Many have seen this as a potential dream match, even a dream main event at WrestleMania, ever since AJ Styles arrived in WWE.
While they’ve clashed little before arriving in WWE, they are forever linked due to being former leaders of Bullet Club, still one of the most influential factions in professional wrestling. There’s already been reports that this match will get a significant amount of time, definitely a possibility on such a thin card. On top of that, there have been murmurs about Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, also former Bullet Club members, potentially showing up and aiding one of their former leaders in victory. With only days of notice, and literally zero build, this has instantly become the most anticipated (or second most, at the very least) match on the card for some fans.
Predictions: Finn Balor (Patches, Jeremy, Jaime, Liam, Jayke, Craig, Ben, Andrew, Ash), AJ Styles (Ed, Gur, Keegan)
Tables, Ladders & Chairs 5-on-3 Handicap Match: Kurt Angle, Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins vs Braun Strowman, The Miz, Kane, Cesaro & Sheamus
It was clear on the road to TLC that the event was going to be centered upon one match, and one specific group in that match. It was all about The Shield. Ever since Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins reconciled, there have been rumblings about a potential reunion for The Shield. However, Roman Reigns has been plenty busy on his own. With the convergence of The Miz and Cesaro & Sheamus joining forces a few weeks ago on Raw, the stage was set. The Shield returned, and they immediately showed how dangerous they still were as a unit.
Of course, The Miz managed to stack the deck by getting Braun Strowman included in his team. However, that wasn’t enough of an advantage. Miz pressed and got the chance to add Curtis Axel, but a shocking return during a steel cage match between Strowman and Reigns revealed Kane as the fifth member. However, it is Roman Reigns who has been sidelined with an illness. With most of the match intact, a replacement was sought. Perhaps feeling guilt for allowing the deck to be stacked so high against The Shield, Raw General Manager and WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle has been chosen to replace Reigns.
It will be Angle’s first time competing inside a WWE ring in over a decade, and it has amped up the anticipation for this match as well. While Angle has a history of injuries at his age, he was holding his own on the independent circuit against Cody Rhodes as recently as March of this year. While his workload could be reduced by being in a multi-man match, any benefit there is nullified by the risks of a TLC match. It’s unclear what Angle’s return will be like, but it’s certain that fans are excited to see it happen.
Predictions: Kurt Angle, Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins (Patches, Jeremy, Jaime, Liam, Ed, Gur, Toby, Keegan, Jayke, Craig, Ben, Andrew, Ash)