After a miserable Survivor Series, you’d be hard-pressed to say that anticipation is high for WWE TLC. Nor should it be. There’s six announced matches thus far and three of them are underwhelming. That includes the main event of Sheamus vs. Roman Reigns. Of course, the TLC stipulation could make that match a pleasant surprise even after its horrendous build. Stipulations, as usual, abound the TLC card and represent the best chance for this show to succeed.
All that said, let’s take a look at each of the matches on the 2015 TLC card and rank them based on whether they’ll fall short of, meet or exceed expectations.
6. Divas Championship: Charlotte (c) vs. Paige
This Survivor Series rematch earns the dubious distinction of the bottom spot on our rankings because the feud, which began in September, has been lacking, to say the least. I guess you could say the WWE deserves some credit for trying to add some heat to the rivalry, but the awkward usage of Charlotte’s deceased brother probably wasn’t the best way to go about it. In the weeks that have followed, Charlotte confusingly begun to show signs of a heel turn. This angle as a whole has been sloppy and mismanaged and as such, it’s hard to suggest there’s much excitement for this matchup.
5. U.S. Championship Chairs Match: Alberto Del Rio (c) vs. Jack Swagger
Alberto Del Rio’s WWE return has, unsurprisingly, fallen flat. To go from a clean, relatively easy victory over John Cena to a feud with a guy who’s been on and off programming for the better part of a year is a clear indication of that. While Del Rio’s a fine in-ring performer, he struggles to garner much reaction from live audiences. Del Rio and Jack Swagger’s World Championship feud in 2012 was hardly anything to write home about and that won’t likely change in ’15. This match avoids the bottom spot because of the stipulation, which could make it a more entertaining watch.
4. Tag Team Elimination Tables Match: ECW Originals (Bubba Ray, D-Von, Rhyno and Tommy Dreamer) vs. The Wyatt Family
Granted, the outcome of this match is fairly predictable. The Wyatt Family and particularly their leader, Bray Wyatt, are in a perpetual state of “not quite there.” Still, the WWE’s repeated use of Wyatt against major stars suggest they want him to remain a major player. As such, it’s hard to see a scenario in which he and his disciples drop a match to four guys over 40. Still, this match promises to be plenty fun and deliver at least four broken tables.
3. WWE World Heavyweight Championship TLC Match: Sheamus (c) vs. Roman Reigns
This definitely isn’t a match anyone’s dying to see. TLC’s main event features two stars who fans are underwhelmed. Excruciating build-up (how many times did Reigns say tater tot on Raw?) hasn’t helped matters any. Still, while the match itself is lacking appeal, it’s one that could surprise. Sheamus and Roman Reigns are two adept bruisers who could excel in the TLC environment. Lose the stipulation and this one sits at least a spot lower, but add in the weaponry and you’ve got a contest that could be more entertaining than expected.
2. Intercontinental Championship: Kevin Owens (c) vs. Dean Ambrose
This is matchup that, on this show, seemed ripe for a stipulation. Two of the WWE’s brightest young stars would have no trouble tearing the house down in a ladder or chairs match. Each have ladder matches from this year (Ambrose vs. Rollins and Owens vs. Balor) which prove that much. Toss in a foreign object or two and Owens vs. Ambrose would be an easy contender for the top spot. Still, they’ve proven plenty capable of tearing the house down in regular singles matches as well and, if given enough time, should do so again on Sunday.
1. Triple Threat Tag Team Championship Ladder Match: The New Day (c) vs. The Usos vs. The Lucha Dragons
It’s been some time, too long in the eyes of most, since the WWE’s put on a good old-fashioned tag team ladder match. Thankfully, that’ll come to an end this Sunday and the one on the card should be a good one. Kofi Kingston’s a proven ladder match specialist and each of The Usos and Lucha Dragons have proven to have the sort of knack for the spectacular, and disregard for their bodies, which makes these matchups so entertaining. In these six superstars and this stipulation, you have TLC’s show-stealer.