This year’s TLC definitely got taken for a loop. The big attraction was supposed to see the unified Shield against The Miz and his cronies. Absent for weeks, Bo Dallas, Bray Wyatt, JoJo, and others. Cesaro and Sheamus took the place of Dallas and Axel, and to make things crazier, let’s throw Braun Strowman and a questionable return by Kane.
At first I thought, “Oh cool! Kane is back!”
Then it hit me, “oh… Kane’s back.” Less shock, more, huh?
With Roman Reigns out due to possible illness, the gap is filled by none of the 50 or so wrestlers on the roster, but RAW boss himself, Kurt Angle.
This isn’t because there was no one else to choose from, WWE wanted to be sure fans still tuned in to watch TLC. The chance to see Angle compete again in a WWE ring? Hells yeah. The fans will chant “you still got it” after he performs an armbar, so fan reaction is irrelevant, as fans chanting is all about them trying to be trendy.
Braun Strowman and Kane on Team Miz is an interesting and intriguing decision. It’s a 5-on-3, my guess to show Shield Dominance, but alas, not happening tonight. Strowman needs something major to do since losing to Brock, and keeping him in the main event is a very smart thing to do, even if it means teaming up with people who he would wipe the floor with.
In any case, with my self-dubbed Olympic Shield against the Expanded MizTourage, this will be one hell of a match. Carnage, yes.
Absent from this RAW PPV is Brock Lesnar, and no one cares.
On the pre-show, we’ve got Sasha Banks vs. Alicia Fox. When was the last time, if any, did Banks get shuffled to the pre-show? If anything, I would have thought this would have given Fox the chance to make it to the main card. Ah well. We’ve got two more women’s matches which have potential to be show stealers, WWE can’t have the women dominate the whole show? In any case, Fox vs. Banks will be a good boost for Fox, perhaps she will be more than just girly fodder.
Speaking of another women’s match, it’s Emma vs. Asuka. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind Asuka will win. It’s just how she wins. Will she play as face or heel? Will anyone care? Will she make it a squash or could Emma send this one 15 minutes or more, as though this was NXT? I’d rather see the 15 minute match than the squash. For all we know, Asuka will not dominate RAW like she did WWE, hopefully her insane win streak doesn’t completely get fans hopes up. If they are going to Goldberg her, meaning, never lose, then give her a belt, a throne, and we can all watch everyone else fight for the right to lose to her. Not that anyone would complain.
In yet another women’s match, this one for the Women’s Championship, Mickie James challenges Alexa Bliss. On the one hand, I’d like to see James get one last title run. She can win here, and then drop it back at Survivor Series. Bliss is better as a champ than chasing.
The Cruiserweight division is getting a lot of love with two featured matches… On the main card! No preshow for these guys! Cedric Alexander and Rich Swann vs. Brian Kendrick and “Gentlemen” Jack Gallagher. This should be good. Cedric and Swann are bona fide no-doubt entertainers in the ring, and there is no shortage of wrestling ability from Kendrick and Jackie Boy. WWE will likely give them less than 10 minutes to fly, dive, and go spot-crazy, but it’ll be a great 10 minutes.
The Cruiserweight Championship is on the line as new champion Kalisto defends against Enzo. While the title win is subject to dirtsheet controversy, there is no questioning Kalisto’s talent is a solid fit among the 205 Live roster. I do wish WWE would have faith in the actual 205Live roster to let one of them hold the title for a little while? Rich Swann had it for a whopping two months, Akira Tozawa for less than a week! We’ve got two main roster guys feuding for the title, I do hope someone from 205 Live gets to challenge after this one. Enzo vs. Kalisto will be a decent match, it’ll be interesting to see their styles clash.
Like that segue? Right into the final match to review, AJ Styles vs. “Demon” Finn Balor. Maybe Styles should come out as Sister Styligail or something goofy. Nah. Styles is here because Bray is also possible with illness, and there is no doubt in my mind we will be allowed to see a ridiculous high-impact fast-paced bout. Backstage, they should tell them, “pretend you are in Japan, and we’re giving you 25 minutes.” Yep, that would be a match-of-the-year candidate… If they are allowed.
While some parts of the PPV got canned because of unforeseen circumstances, WWE is making certain we get our fill of great matches tonight. TLC could be a major success.