The 12th, and final WWE PPV of 2013 looks surprisingly great on paper. Survivor Series was a dud once again. TLC will make up for it. After this, it’s Rumble, Chamber, and the Road to WM 30. Buckle in WWE fanboys. This is what we live for…and this time it starts early. Think of it as the road to the road to WrestleMania.
• YouTube Pre-Show: Dolph Ziggler vs. Fandango
Hank Booth: Is Ziggler in Vince’s doghouse or is Ziggler in Vince’s doghouse? I haven’t really read much online about the situation but it’s clear something is up. You guys tell me in the comments section, I’d like to know. Anyway, it’s clear that Ziggs isn’t being set up for anything big anytime soon so I’m assuming this is either an opportunity to get some eyes on the YouTube pre-show or give Fandango his biggest win since that WM victory over Jericho and thus making him a title contender (U.S. or IC) heading into 2014. Fandango takes it.
Sean Sheehan: For once, I may actually bother to tune into YouTube half an hour before the PPV starts to check out this match. Dolph is Dolph. An under appreciated, under achieving talented athlete who needs to be given a chance to take it to the next level. Fandango, amazingly, is also Fandango. It’s tacky and probably won’t last long but like Rebecca Black’s ‘Friday,’ I’m damned if I don’t love it. Fandango is totally my guilty pleasure. This will be fun, and being honest; I don’t care or know who wins but I’ll say Fandango because F comes before Z.
Alex Reno: Okay, so Dolph Ziggler has to win a match eventually right? One that means something. I guess this match doesn’t really mean a whole lot. But how do you go from being on top, and cashing in the Money in the Bank briefcase, having the whole crowd go nuts and scream your name, to losing matches on Smackdown and getting pre-show fights? I guess you can say that Ziggler hasn’t really been “stealing the show” lately. He’s been lucky to be on the show. But that’s not all his fault. There just really isn’t a story line going on right now that compliments him. He’ll be back on top eventually. He’s just too damn good of a wrestler. Fandango’s act has gotten a little old lately, but Summer Rae is still looking beautiful. Ziggler takes this one via Zig Zag.
Chris Langevin: This is a fun kick-off match. This would get me excited for a PPV. Here are two guys that just love to put on a show and have fun doing it. I am a massive fan of both, but would like to see Ziggler get back to the winning ways (and maybe the main card of a PPV) with a win via the Zig Zag.
Matt Addie: Pick: Ziggler. Dolph Ziggler is in a pre-show match vs. Fandango, and that makes me sad.
• Tag Team Championship Fatal Four Way: Cody Rhodes and Goldust (C) vs. The Real Americans vs. RybAxel vs. The Big Show and Rey Mysterio
Booth: Predicting this one opens the PPV and we get another great showing from the brothers Rhodes. They’ve been the only reason to watch some of these recent PPV’s. Hopefully this one is different. I’d like it a lot more if it was just Cody and Goldust against The Real Americans but what do I know? If you have to make it a fatal four way then I don’t understand why The Usos aren’t in this one instead of the silly pairing of Big Show and Mysterio. I’m assuming it’s just because they need to keep trying unique ways to fit Mysterio into these PPV’s because he certainly cannot perform in singles matches due to his lingering injuries. This may be the story of the rest of his career. Maybe they have some fun stuff planned like a Cesaro swing on the Big Show! In the end it’s Cody and Goldust retaining. They’ll turn on one another eventually but not until we hit the ‘Road to WrestleMania’ weeks.
Sheehan: The tag-team division, usually, isn’t that interesting anymore – but this one isn’t the worst. Apart from Rybaxel I like all of those teams, and I love Rybaxel’s name. Showmysterio are here only to make up the numbers, Rybaxel wont be winning, The Real Americans and Zeb Colter are awesome and they need to be champions soon but at the end of the day I see Cody and Goldust retaining for the last time.
Reno: This is a pretty awesome filler match. Big Show and Mysterio has to be the strangest tag team combo ever. I can’t see Axel and Ryback winning this now that Heyman has disappeared. They’re nothing without him. The Real Americans have been really exciting to watch, and of course everyone loves the Rhodes brothers. I think this one will come down to the Real Americans and Rhodes brothers. I want to say the Real Americans are going to win this one, but since this was a last-minute fight I just don’t see the titles changing. Cody Rhodes and Goldust win an exciting one.
Langevin: So we have Rybaxel v. Rhodes Dynasty v. Real Americans v. WSWFTGWBLPTISRM (Wait Seriously, We Forgot These Guys Were Back, Lets Put Them In Some Random Match). Okay, so they didn’t name the last team, it’s just Big Show and Rey Rey. The WWE wasn’t the only group that forgot about those guys… I didn’t even know this match existed!! (Thanks Dave!) The Rhodes Dynasty will walk away the winners, but I hope they start planted the seed for a Goldust v. Cody Wrestlemania match. Cody will pin Swagger after the Cross Rhodes.
BONUS PREDICTION: Cesaro will hit the big swing on Big Show.
Addie: Pick: Cody Rhodes & Goldust. Bonus prediction: this match will steal the show. There are only two winners that make sense: Cody & Goldust or The Real Americans. Since I fully believe we’ll see Cody vs. Goldust at Wrestlemania, I think they hold onto the titles a bit longer. I can’t see the swerve that breaks them up happening this soon. Yes, I’m waiting for Cesaro to swing Big Show, too.
• Intercontinental Championship Match: Big E Langston (C) vs. Damien Sandow (C)
Booth: Sandow Sandow Sandow. He’s gets his first WWE strap and entertains us more than ever on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights heading into the new year. Line the contenders and potentially incredible storylines up.
Sheehan: Didn’t this just happen? And if it didn’t, it feels like it did. The intercontinental belt needs a spark. Maybe with one of the two main belts going away (remains to be seen) it will get it soon – but it won’t be here. I like Sandown and Langston but not enough to fast forward through their matches on RAW. I’ll pick Big E to retain and hope he feud’s with Dolph next, again.
Reno: Big E. Langston is no ignoramus. Big Ending. Game over.
Langevin: Sandow already fallen hard since winning MITB huh? Yikes. Anyways, it’s way too early for Big E to lose the belt right? I think the WWE has big things planned for Big E and there is no way he is going to fall out now. It’s all going to start with a big run with the IC title that sees him on PPV after PPV smashing people with his size. I think Big E takes out Sandow with the Big Ending.
Addie: Pick: Big E Langston. Sandow certainly deserves a push, and probably even a title, but I don’t see it coming at the expense of Langston. Big E has some solid feuds ahead of him, and I expect him to carry the IC title a while longer.
• Divas Championship Match: AJ Lee (C) vs. Natalya
Booth: AJ Lee is on her way. She’s close to becoming the longest reigning Diva’s champion of all-time and Natalya isn’t going to get in her way. Not now anyway. This is an angle that’ll be played up and in order for that to happen AJ must retain in Texas. Cue the Black Widow.
Sheehan: Oh hey! Brie and AJ aren’t fighting this month! What gives? This has me flustered. Who to pick? Damn. Natalya has taken victories over AJ lately and that reign can’t last forever. I’ll pick Natalya via sharpshooter after getting my hopes up with her entrance music that Bret Hart is in the building.
Reno: THIS ONE IS FOR GIZZY. RIP Gizmo (Natalya and TJ’s cat). As you can tell I’m a huge Total Divas fan. And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t sad when that cat died. I love animals, and I love watching beautiful women fight and wrestle. Total Divas is a must watch. Natty wins via Sharpshooter.
Langevin: Every month I write that it’s going to be the month that AJ loses her title. Every month AJ wins her match and walks out with her title. That means only one thing… I HAVE TO BE RIGHT EVENTUALLY!!! Natalya will win via the Sharpshooter.
Addie: Pick: Natalya. It just feels like time for a new champion, so I look for WWE to reward Natalya for a successful Total Divas season with the Divas Championship. I’m already crafting up my crazy “Tyson Kidd turns heel against Natalya” story.
• 3-on-1 Handicap Match: The Wyatt Family vs. Daniel Bryan
Booth: Two 3-on-1 handicap matches on this card. Unlike ‘The Shield’, there will be no dissension between the Wyatts on this night. Still, I believe Bryan takes this. These 3-on-1 matches will be statement makers. They are to show us that Bryan and Punk are to be feared; if they can take out 3 at a time… then why can’t they take out 20+ heading into the Rumble to secure themselves a title shot. Bryan wins.
Sheehan: OK, let me go completely off topic here. Did you see the crowd reaction Bryan got on RAW this past Monday with the other 20 champions in the ring? Absolutely amazing. He may be the most over superstar in the history of the WWE. Let me just say also, he will probably give up this one to Bray Wyatt (who needs a push following a great start) but It doesn’t really matter to Bryan in the long run. Which I will discuss in the next match-up.
Reno: I fully expected Daniel Bryan to follow the Buzzards and become a Wyatt. Since I was completely wrong, I now fully expect Daniel Bryan to get his revenge. This match might set a record for most combined facial hair in a single match. The only thing that could make this match even better and hairier is if current Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Brian Wilson were to team up with Daniel Bryan and make this match a little more fair. Okay that last part isn’t going to happen, but the rest will. Daniel Bryan wins this one via multiple flying knees.
Langevin: Now here is where the PPV gets interesting. This has been a very weird build up to this match, and while I’m still QUITE salty that Daniel Bryan isn’t a main event superstar anymore (seriously… Vince didn’t think he could connect with the crowd?! THE YES! CHANT WAS MORE OVER THAN HALF THE SUPERSTARS ON THE ROSTER!!! And he won the freakin Superstar of the Year award voted on BY THE FANS!! UGGGGH!!!) *ahem* … Sorry… This is more used as a way to get the Wyatt’s over than to punish Daniel. His small stature leads to fun bookings when he is able to overcome some insurmountable odds. He should be booked much like Rey Mysterio was in WCW, constantly being put in situations where it seems like he has NO chance of winning, but winning time and time again. Sadly, this is not WCW and the Wyatts will win after Bray hits Daniel with Sister Abagail’s kiss.
Addie: Pick: The Wyatt Family. This one is just a gut feeling. If The Wyatts are being pushed as a top heel team, I don’t see them losing to one guy in a handicap match. Word on the street says this angle is headed for a surprising direction, so maybe it will end in some chaos. Hey, Brie Bella: Follow the Buzzards?
• 3-on-1 Handicap Match: The Shield vs. CM Punk
Booth: The Shield are headed for splitsville. How, and when will it happen though? The ongoing trend for the WWE seems to be to save the best for the post pay-per-view RAW. So assuming that trend continues we will see The Shield lose to CM Punk due to a disagreement between Ambrose and Reigns thus setting up their inevitable break up which will happen on Monday night.
Sheehan: Usually I would start off this with; “Yawn” but after seeing this week’s RAW I have some hope. I have been saying for months that it’s only a matter of time before the Shield’s tyranny in the WWE ends, and I think this time I’m right (probably not). Divisions have started to occur between the trio and I foresee another RAW situation occurring at TLC where Punk pins Ambrose, the Shield split and the other two turn face.
Reno: Okay, third times a charm. I’ve predicted the Shield breaking up twice now, but THIS TIME, THIS TIME it’s going to happen. We’ve seen Ambrose and Reigns go at it a few times now. There has been talk about Reigns getting a big push from the WWE, and this is the perfect way to do it. A 3-on-1 Handicap match against Punk. Punk is going to get beaten up in this match, but who’s going to try to pin him? I see Ambrose and Reigns getting into an argument towards the end of the match, pushing and shoving each other. Rollins tries to stop the feud, but Punk catches him alone and puts him to sleep. The Best in the World wins and beats the odds, and The Shield is no more.
Langevin: Now here is where the PPV gets interesting. This has been a very we… wait a second… is anyone else getting Deja Vu? I swear I just predicted the 3-on-1 handicapped match where the small stature wrestler is put up against insurmountable odds and needs to overcome. *checks* I DID! Why is this match booked twice? Anyways… I think this is the same match but with different outcome. I think Punk WILL win this match as he is on his way to fight HHH. And I will FINALLY get what I have been waiting for, Punk v. The Authority. The problem with the Authority angle so far (besides HHH… and Stephanie… always booking themselves… above the talent… night after night… segment after segment) *ahem* … sorry… has been that Punk has not been involved. Largely Punk’s rise to stardom in 2012 was him v. the Authority, except they weren’t called the Authority yet. Each person that the Authority has picked on has had something to lose (Big Show – His Job, Daniel – His Spot, Cena – His Title). CM Punk has nothing to lose. He is the first person that can stand up to the Authority. And while the Authority usually just sends the Shield after someone to do their dirty work, instead, CM Punk will beat the Shield using the GTS, and will show the Authority that they have met their match.
Addie: Pick: CM Punk. The Shield either breaks up, or they come close to breaking up, causing Punk to get the victory.
• WWE and WHC Title Unification Match: Randy Orton vs. John Cena
Sheehan: Let me preface this by saying; absolutely none of this will happen; but it would be magical if it did. OK, here goes. RAW ended on Monday night with The Authority and John Cena standing over the fallen Randy Orton and it sprung an idea into my head. And maybe, just maybe it will happen…. I think we all have figured out by now that Cena will take the unified title (not convinced yet that one title is going away, we’ll see, but anyway) after beating Orton on Sunday. But what if? There’s a double-turn? Cena finally turns heel with the help of HHH and makes a hero out of Orton immediately. The Viper badly needs a new direction after a failed heel stint and he has always been best as a Punk-style bad-boy face anyway. Cena, as a heel, would bring new life to the WWE. Imagine the reaction he usually gets on a Monday but instead, everyone is booing? It would be HUGE for the company. He would be one of the biggest heels ever. It will elevate his star beyond anything he has achieved before. As I promised, here’s where old Goatface comes in. You have the biggest hero in the WWE, the biggest heel in the WWE and one promised the other a shot at the title last week. Wrestlemania? Sounds like dollar bills to me. Now someone send me the link to apply for the WWE script writer! That would really be; Best For Business.
Reno: Finally! A title unification match! But will this actually happen? Will there be one man who walks out of the ring with two belts? Of course not! This is TLC. I guarantee you there will be a title unification match where one man walks away with both belts, but it’s not going to be this Sunday night. It’s going to be during Royal Rumble or WrestleMania. Two belts will be hanging from the rafters, and Cena and Orton will both be on top of the ladder on each side. Orton grabs the Heavyweight Championship and Cena grabs the WWE Championship simultaneously, and they both fall down with their new belts ending in a title swap. Randy Orton is no longer the face of the WWE.
Langevin: Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Just Ugh. There is NOTHING I like about this match. There is nothing I like about Unifying the titles right now. There is just nothing about this that says GOOD to me! I don’t even want to predict anything. Why? Because I will predict something and the Authority will get involved and there will be some overbooked and messy ending that will leave us all confused, angry, and questioning our own decision-making on WHY we would EVER buy another PPV after the last 7 ended with some overbooked and messy ending. I don’t even have a winner. That’s my prediction. Somehow the ending will suck. Stupid. Is it time for the Royal Rumble yet?
Addie: Pick: Cena. It’s not that I’m overwhelmed with confidence that Cena will win this; I just don’t believe WWE passes up an opportunity to give Cena the unified title. I’m also a huge conspiracy theorist, so I could see a swerve with a third person walking away with both belts (Triple H?) The COO has been careful to guarantee there will be “a” champion, but hasn’t gone much further than that.