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So it’s possible, even likely, that I’m going to get all of these wrong.
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I’m having to guess at the pre-show matches here but I’m quite confident.
1. R-Truth & Carmella vs. Jinder Mahal & Alicia Fox (MMC Final)
Given that this tournament hasn’t been on a main card at any point beyond a brief Balor vs Mahal feud – designed to give Balor something to do between feuds – I can see this being a pre-show match. Ultimately, none of the competitors are top card talent, though all four have been featured consistently if not strongly.
Truth and Carmella have been very entertaining and, given that the winners will be the 30th entries in their respective Royal Rumbles, I can see them being perfect next month at giving some final hype going into the final stretches.
Winner: R-Truth and Carmella
What If?: Mahal and Fox join in the dance break post match and everyone just kind of goes home happy?
2. Natalya vs. Ruby Riott (Tables Match)
As personal as this feud has become, it’s got pre-show written all over it. This is one of those matches that seems most likely to affect proceedings later, as a kayfabe injury to Natalya would leave Ronda Rousey without an ally against Nia Jax and Tamina.
You can’t overlook the Riott Squad. As much as it might encourage Banks and Bayley to briefly appear on the card in support, the reality is that this is a one on one match with one of those having backup. Ruby Riott has been built strong, using landmark wins and, even though she’s no longer the second tier heel behind Bliss, her push is likely to continue here.
Winner: Ruby Riott
What If?: In her fury, Natalya takes out Morgan and Logan before the show even begins?
From there I think we’ll move on to the main card and open with our standard show opener.
3. Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose (Intercontinental Championship)
So this has been a bit of a tepid feud, hasn’t it?
Normally, I would expect this to be a feud that goes and goes and goes. It’s got that sort of history and the build is probably best described as lacklustre, which typically means more to come. Now, of course, rumour has it that Seth Rollins is in the line for a big Royal Rumble win. So how will that change things?
The most logical option would be for nothing to actually change. Seth Rollins, who has been in and around the IC title since mania, loses to Dean Ambrose. He goes on to win the Rumble, and then loses his rematch in February to Dean Ambrose conclusively.
Plus, to be fair, the title needs to move on now. Ambrose vs Balor would be a great match for Wrestlemania.
Winner: Dean Ambrose
What If?: Rollins doesn’t just win, but goes on to WrestleMania to become a double champion?
4. Randy Orton vs. Rey Mysterio (Chairs Match)
The result here really depends on what both men will be doing in future. We’re in that build up to mania now, after all. Rey Mysterio would be in a good position for a US title multi man match featuring Rusev, Nakamura and Almas. Meanwhile, Randy Orton surely has more heroes to conquer – most notably there’s a big feud with AJ Styles still yet to come.
So what happens in this match? Well, Rey Mysterio can’t do all that much with a chair, can he? He’s a high flier. Randy Orton can certainly do a lot of damage but I’m not sure how chairs will help Rey’s offence.
In fact, if there’s only one thing their feud guarantees, it’s that we’re going to get to see one huge RKO during the match.
Winner: Randy Orton
What If?: Mysterio moves on to a straight war with Almas from here?
5. Buddy Murphy vs. Cedric Alexander (Cruiserweight Championship)
The return of 205 to WWE PPVs has been very well received and with stars in the making like Buddy Murphy leading the way I for one am eager to see more in future. This match gives WWE the chance to reverse what was a very big decision in giving the title to Murphy in the first place. I really hope they don’t.
The issue we have is that we don’t have many well positioned heels on 205 once you get past Buddy Murphy. We could get a strong prolonged feud but they really need to build stars down on 205 so I could definitely see Murphy holding strong.
Winner: Buddy Murphy
What If?: We get what we all truly want, which is more Drew Gulak Powerpoint presentations on our TV screens?
6. Ronda Rousey vs. Nia Jax (Raw Women’s Championship)
Literally the only thing you need to do to make Rousey one of the biggest heels in the company is to make this the main event.
Tamina should play a part here but really it would be a very bold move to put the title on Nia Jax at this time. Nia Jax is needed for the Royal Rumble, where she can be the big bullying brute for Becky to beat the hell down. Meanwhile, Ronda Rousey is still unbeaten and should continue so until Wrestlemania.
Winner: Ronda Rousey
What If?: Similar to earlier, Rousey takes Natalya’s lead and takes out Tamina well before the show starts?
7. Elias vs. Bobbly Lashley (Guitar Ladder)
Even Lashley doesn’t know the rules of this one.
We can assume what’s going to happen is that the loser will get the guitar and the winner will then use it. As such, I would expect Elias to get the guitar, get attacked by Corbin/McIntyre and then get hit by Lashley when he fends them off.
Poor Elias. Unfortunately, sometimes a big face needs a bit of a losing streak to make sure that people are well behind him.
Winner: Bobby Lashley
What If?: This is all part of the usual Strowman mega push?
8. Finn Balor vs. Drew McIntyre
There are a lot of matches on this card. A lot. That means that some of them are going to have to be very short. I would expect Rousey to be one, I would expect Corbin to be one but I also expect this to be one.
Now, if this was Summerslam, I’d be expecting to see a Demon King maul McIntyre. It isn’t, so as part of the ucatastrophe that we should expect to see lining up against Baron Corbin, I expect Finn Balor to be squashed.
Winner: Drew McIntyre
What If?: The Demon King does spawn, for the second year in a row, at TLC?
9. The Bar vs. The Usos vs. The New Day (Smackdown Tag Team Championships)
This had better not be on the pre-show.
These are three amazing teams who always find a way to keep things fresh and interesting. Matches of this quality don’t even need a build, but they do need time. A solid 20 minutes could make this a 4+ star match.
Regarding the team that I expect to win? I’m really not sure. Smackdown has been very hard to predict recently and that is a very good thing. I would normally suggest that we look at the other teams that could compete with a potential winner, but there really aren’t many right now. If the Bludgeon Brothers are expected back then I would expect an Usos win but in reality these three are the whole division right now.
After two wins over Styles and Bryan, it would be a very good thing if The Usos had their push continued, took the titles one more time and went into a long term feud with The Bar.
Winner: The Usos
What If?: The Bludgeon Brothers are back, and just as the match gets going they come in a destroy everyone once again?
10. Braun Strowman vs. Baron Corbin (TLC)
Sooo many matches.
If Strowman is fit, healthy or not, he’s going to squash Baron Corbin. If there’s anyone who can take out Lashley, McIntyre and Corbin at once, it’s Strowman. If he’s not fit, there are a lot of elements. Corbin could give himself a forfeit win, which would explain why Vince McMahon is making an appearance tomorrow. Bray Wyatt, heavily rumoured to be making a return soon, could wrestle for Strowman, or in fact wrestle to put Matt Hardy in the GM position. Who knows?
My prediction is based on the idea that Strowman will make it. In fact, quite a lot of my predictions are.
Winner: Braun Strowman
What If?: Bray Wyatt does return, pick up the win, and lead Strowman en route to the Universal Championship?
11. Daniel Bryan vs. A.J. Styles (WWE Championship)
I would expect a match of this quality to be in the middle if it’s not going to main event, but I would expect it to be held until later so as not to give away what the main event will be.
This match will definitely go the longest and could be by far the best on the card. There are some very exciting matches on this card and most of them are either Seth or Smackdown. I would like to highlight a simple fact here, which is why I think Bryan is currently the champion.
You can not put Daniel Bryan into a Royal Rumble unless he is going to win it.
For two Royal Rumbles, Daniel Bryan’s presence or lack thereof caused an audience to turn on the company by and large. He can not be in the Rumble, regardless of how popular the eventual winner might be, especially without Roman there to be the runner up and force the winner to be cheered for eliminating him.
So, A.J.’s losing this one.
Winner: Daniel Bryan
What If?: This is the match in which AJ Styles returns the favour and taps clean for Daniel Bryan?
12. Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka (Smackdown Women’s Championship TLC)
As a huge Lynch fan since her debut, I can not wait for this one. These are three of the absolute best in the industry right now and, whoever wins, I personally am going to be happy. Add in Ronda Rousey and you have the four competitors for both women’s matches at Wrestlemania and trust me that both matches are going to be incredible.
For all of WWE’s talk about making history and pushing the women’s wrestling agenda, it is the talent themselves that have stepped up and made people care. I believe that Becky Lynch will main event Wrestlemania.
As such, she has to lose the title.
Also, if WWE want to avoid giving away a Royal Rumble winner, Charlotte Flair can’t win. Lynch and Flair should be the final two in the Royal Rumble if you really want to build excitement as much as possible and make people excited.
Which means we might get a bit of a shock winner?
What If?: I have nothing to say, this is everything I want.
I’ll see you for a live tweeting session of TLC 2018.
I hope you read and enjoy it. Please share as much as possible. Thanks!
— Tom Colohue (@Colohue) November 19, 2018