Wrestling fans know just how WWE likes to close out the year – with tables, ladders, & chairs!
This time around, the rosters of Raw and SmackDown Live will come together on the 16th of December. And it’s a safe bet that most of the top Superstars will hash out their differences in all types of hardcore bouts. Someone’s going through a table, someone’s getting cracked with a steel chair, and someone’s taking a dangerous dive off a ladder. And we’ll probably witness someone experience all three instances during one match! TLC: Tables, Ladders, & Chairs 2018 will be full of anarchy and hype, just in time for the holidays.
Here’s a full preview of the announced match card for WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders, & Chairs 2018.
Buddy Murphy (c) vs. Cedric Alexander (WWE Cruiserweight Championship)
Predictions & Winner: Buddy Murphy is at the top of his game right now. He took down the former title holder Cedric Alexander, a feat that Murphy accomplished in his home country of all places. Ever since then, he’s gone through the competition presented to him by 205 Live’s General Manager Drake Maverick. Mere days before TLC 2018, Drake has come up with a PPV challenger for the current Cruiserweight Champion. And that opponent is none other than the former champion who’s out for revenge.
I’m pretty sure that this match is going to be one of the highlights of the show. Murphy and Mustafa Ali did just that at Survivor Series, so it’s only right to think that Murphy will perform that feat again with an equally talented opponent. Murphy and Cedric are going to deliver the same in-ring excellence they gave the viewing audience at WWE’s Australian showcase. I’m already envisioning Murphy as the king of 205 Live for a lengthy amount of time, so I don’t see Alexander getting his hands back on the title so soon.
The Bar (Cesaro & Sheamus) (c) vs. (Big E, Kofi Kingston, and/or Xavier Woods) vs. The Usos (Jey Uso & Jimmy Uso) (Triple Threat Tag Team Match for the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship)
Predictions & Winners: Man…that Bar and Big Show alliance sure was short-lived. Not that anybody really cared about it anyways. Anyways, the current tag team champions of SmackDown have been enjoying a nice string of matches against two other fine duos – The New Day and The Usos. All three tandems have exchanged wins and losses with each other, which has now lead to what looks to be their final encounter. All three teams will do battle in a Triple Threat Match for the lauded SD Live Tag Team titles. Just had a random thought about this whole ordeal – wouldn’t this make for a fine Triple Threat Tag Team LADDER Match? Sure would, wouldn’t it?
What you’re looking at here is a candidate for one of the better matches of the entire PPV. I’m sure you’ve all witnessed the greatness that blessed the ring when The Usos and The New Day went to war. Add The Bar to that equation and you have yourself a situation where everyone’s capable of stealing the show. All three teams have the potential to claim the tag team titles, but I don’t think The Bar’s run as champions will end at the hands of two teams who’ve already had lengthy runs with them. The Bar shall retain and I’m envisioning their future challengers to either be Gallows & Anderson or perhaps Sanity.
Natalya vs. Ruby Riott (with Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan) (Tables Match)
Predictions & Winner: Man…some friend Ronda Rousey is, huh? Natalya has been getting the worst treatment of all the women on Raw ever since she got drafted over. Her stock has dropped dramatically, she hasn’t even come close to title contention, and she’s been getting destroyed by The Riott Squad. All while Ronda Rousey has become the biggest star on Raw (amongst the men’s and women’s rosters), captured the brand’s Women’s Championship, and done a horrible job of backing up her supposed “best friend.” Natalya found herself getting planted through a table recently, which has led to the booking of this one-on-one speciality match.
TLC 2018 looks to be an evening full of babyfaces getting a much deserved victory. I get the feeling that Natalya will get one of those token “good guys prevail!” wins, too. During the build to this event, The Riott Squad have constantly gotten the better of Natalya and anyone she’s stood next to. With so many checks in the win column for Ruby Riott and her stable mates, it makes all the sense in the world for Natalya to finally get a win of her own. I can even see a few ladies coming out to assist Natalya (Bayley and Sasha Banks immediately come to mind) against Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan. Ruby’s most definitely going through a table during this PPV!
Elias vs. Bobby Lashley (Ladder Match With a Guitar Suspended Above the Ring)
Predictions & Winner: After weeks of live acoustic performances, baby oil assisted flexing, and annoying hype man talk, we’ve arrived at this. Elias will clash with Bobby Lashley in a Ladder Match with a specific weapon hanging above the ring. This contest certainly has ties to the beef between Raw’s babyfaces and heels under the leadership of Baron Corbin. For weeks now, Baron and his crew of loyal followers have taken the upper hand. It’s gotten to the point where the good guys of Raw have been made to look like total losers who just can’t seem to catch a break.
This PPV seems like it’ll be the one where the heels finally get their well-deserved comeuppance. Elias has somehow transitioned into a babyface role, which is a nice change of pace. The crowd reacts strongly to everything he does, so him switching roles makes sense. Bobby Lashley has gone full powerhouse heel and is nothing but a walking wrecking ball. Lashley should have no problem running through Elias, but I don’t think that end result will come to be during this bout. Lashley’s cockiness and full-steam ahead offense will end up biting him in the ass, which will lead to Elias ascending the ladder to grab his signature weapon. After cracking Lashley one good time, Elias will prevail!
Finn Bálor vs. Drew McIntyre
Predictions & Winner: Remember how I mentioned that Baron’s backup have gotten the upper hand too much lately? And how this PPV seems like it’ll be the one where Raw’s heroes will finally get big victories? Those elements will definitely come into play during this interesting matchup. Ever since Finn Bálor embraced his Demon persona and quickly defeated Baron Corbin at this year’s SummerSlam, Raw’s acting GM has had it out for him. Corbin has employed the services of Drew McIntyre and found a new way to make Bálor’s life a living hell.
Now that Corbin isn’t a part of the equation, Bálor and McIntyre will lock up for a one-on-one meeting. I remember this match taking place on past episode of Raw back in July and I’ve got to say – it was pretty good until the non-finish. So I’m all the way in for a 2nd meeting between both men. McIntyre’s certainly on the rise and it looks like he’s a safe bet as next year’s Royal Rumble winner. As for Bálor, he seems to be in a perpetual holding pattern as of late. He gets pitted against Raw’s best and always delivers in the ring, but it never seems like he’s going somewhere meaningful on the roster. I can see Bálor besting McIntyre here just so we can finally reach some sort of conclusion to the main storyline on Raw.
Seth Rollins (c) vs. Dean Ambrose (WWE Intercontinental Championship)
Predictions & Winner: The unbridled hate and intensity that Dean Ambrose embraced as a heel on the indies has returned. Seth Rollins’ former running mate chose to turn on his Shield stable brother and break up a championship duo just as it got started. Ambrose’s promos have gotten all the more darker (and entertaining), while Rollins has made it clear that he’s ready to eliminate a man he once considered family. The absence of Roman Reigns has added even more heat to this feud – Ambrose even incorporated Reigns’ current situation into his promos against Rollins, which has made this beef all the more personal. So now its finally been set – Seth Rollins will lock up with Dean Ambrose in a grudge match with championship implications.
Ever since recapturing the Intercontinental Championship, Rollins has raised his game even more than usual and turned into Raw’s current in-ring MVP. It’s safe to say that he’ll put on another standout PPV bout as champion, especially since it involves someone he’s clashed with numerous times before. This one will get real ugly, real fast.
Rollins and Ambrose will assault each other as they release all their emotions through their fists and feet. Ambrose as a newly turned heel just got going and he needs a big win to really put his new persona over. I think he’ll get that major victory here. Rollins’ focus will be clouded a bit due to his immense hate for Ambrose, which will ultimately be his undoing. Some sort of distraction will knock Rollins off his game, which will aid Ambrose in the end as he takes advantage and becomes the new IC Champion.
Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Nia Jax (WWE Raw Women’s Championship)
Predictions & Winner: At Evolution, Nia Jax become the last woman standing after clearing out the rest of the field during a battle royal. As the winner, she was granted a future Women’s Championship opportunity. Now we know which champion she’s putting her title shot towards – the current Raw Women’s Champion, Ronda Rousey. During their first meeting, no official decision was reached due to Alexa Bliss using her MITB cash-in to disrupt their match and capture the title. Now that Bliss is far away from the title picture, Jax has fought her way back in and looks to finally settle the score with Rousey.
Both women are in interesting positions at the moment. The crowd absolutely abhors Jax due to her perceived sloppiness in the ring. She’s garnered plenty of nuclear heat because of the injuries she gave to Becky Lynch. As for Rousey, she’s coming off of a severe beating at the last PPV. I’m pretty sure the crowd’s appreciation for Charlotte’s actions and the raining down of boos on Rousey have shaken the champion’s confidence.
The crowd reaction to this one will certainly be interesting. Even though Jax has been built up into a formidable monster, Rousey is still a hot commodity. I think WWE has big plans for her going into 2019 and they probably involve her still running around as champion. Jax will fight hard and look to be on the verge of besting Rousey, but it will be all for naught. Rousey will maintain control of the title and enter the new year as Raw Women’s Champion.
Braun Strowman vs. Baron Corbin (Tables, Ladders, & Chairs Match; If Strowman Wins, Corbin will be Stripped of all Authoritative Power and Strowman will receive a WWE Universal Championship Match at the Royal Rumble. If Corbin Wins, he will become the Full-Time General Manager of Raw)
Predictions & Winner: Braun Strowman’s on another collision course with a new foe. That mortal enemy happens to be Raw’s acting General Manager, Baron Corbin. Stephanie McMahon found a way to calm the big man down enough to the point where he worked alongside Team Raw at Survivor Series. Even though he helped his team secure the victory, Corbin still snuck in a cheap shot after the match came to a close.
This further enraged Strowman and made his feud with Corbin all the more heated. In order to settle their growing differences, both men have been booked in a TLC match with huge implications tied to them. Should Strowman win, Corbin will no longer be GM and Strowman will get a Universal Championship match at the 2019 Royal Rumble. But if Corbin prevails, he’ll become Raw’s full-time GM.
This one’s pretty easy to predict and everyone should see the result coming from a mile away. Even though Strowman endured a group beatdown at the hands of Raw’s top heels, it won’t be enough to keep the “Monster Among Men” down. Not let me be clear – the severe injury Strowman sustained from that assault will play a big part in how this match goes down. With the added elements of tables, ladders, & chairs in play, Corbin will have the advantage during most of the match. But Strowman can not and will not be stopped during this bout. The big man will run through Corbin at the end of this match and finally rid Raw of his authoritative presence. Strowman will cut right through Corbin on his way to facing off with Brock Lesnar once again in 2019.
Daniel Bryan (c) vs. AJ Styles (WWE Championship)
Predictions & Winner: The YES! Movement has come to an end. After delivering a debilitating low blow to AJ Styles, Daniel Bryan shed his babyface moniker and took the WWE Championship with him to the dark side. Even though he was unable to defeat the Universal Champion at Survivor Series, Bryan put in an amazing performance that put his newfound killer instinct and mind games on display. With that Champion vs. Champion match now behind him, Bryan will now grant AJ Styles his much deserved rematch for the WWE Championship.
AJ Styles enjoyed a long and eventful run as WWE Champion. It definitely came as a shock to witness him lose the title mere days before his scheduled rematch with Brock Lesnar. Styles got his time in the sun and succeeded as the shining beacon of SmackDown Live. From this point forward though, it looks as if Styles will play the role of an upper mid-carder for a while.
Bryan’s reign as the new face of SD Live looks like it’s going to stay in place for a lengthy amount of time. This rematch will be hard fought and focus on the dynamic between Styles’ clean wrestling and Bryan’s dirty grappling/striking. Once it nears its conclusion, Bryan will find a way to cheat the former champion once again. Bryan will pull out all of his heel tactics and find another way to defeat his current rival once again.
Becky Lynch (c) vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka (Triple Threat Tables, Ladders, & Chairs match for the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship)
Predictions & Winner: THE MAN IS BACK! After a slight hiatus due to an errant punch from Nia Jax, SD Live’s hottest Superstar is back to wreak havoc once again. On the night of her return, she was quickly placed into a bout befitting of her high stature – a Triple Threat title defense against Charlotte and Asuka. And to raise the stakes even higher, all three women will make history as they clash in a Tables, Ladders, & Chairs match.
The most interesting part of this three-way equation is Asuka. Over the past few months, the 2018 Women’s Royal Rumble winner has taken a saddening fall from grace. Going from competing against Charlotte at this year’s WrestleMania to getting repeatedly bested by the lesser talented Carmella was tough to watch. Thanks to her inclusion in this bout though, it seems as if the path to rebuilding her is finally in effect.
As for the other two parts of this match, they’re known for putting on magic in the ring. Their title match back at Evolution was the best bout of the night and a definite MOTY contender. Now that Asuka and a whole lot of TLC is being added to their ongoing feud, I’m very much looking forward to how it all turns out. This match should nab the main event spot due to the hot streak Becky Lynch is currently experiencing.
Her and her two opponents are all capable of putting out an amazing match with all those extra bells and whistles put in place. Like I mentioned before, Lynch is hotter than she’s ever been. So I don’t envision her dropping the SD Women’s Championship just yet. Her title reign is going to be a long one and it sure won’t come to an end here. Lynch is getting the win, Charlotte will still be a valuable player in the SD Women’s Division, and Asuka will regain her awesomeness once again.