The last WWE pay-per-view of the year is upon us.
It hasn’t necessarily been a memorable 12 months for the top wrestling company on the planet, marred by injuries, low ratings and unwelcome could-be champions.
Will Roman Reigns or Sheamus be able to change the minds of fans around the globe with a solid outing Sunday? Will Charlotte continue her championship reign as a heel in WWE? Which of all the matches at TLC has the best chance to be remembered?
Today’s Knockout gathers its WWE writers to answer some important questions heading into 2015’s final PPV event.
What match are you most looking forward to at TLC?
Riley Kontek: Call it nostalgia or just being purely enthralled by the promise of violence, but the ECW Originals vs. the Wyatt Family is the match I am most looking forward to. First off, it’s an elimination tables match, so that means you will see at least four people driven through tables. Secondly, it’s a chance to see Rhyno and Tommy Dreamer, along with the Dudleyz, compete. Do I think Team ECW wins? No. However, given how weak the WWE books the Wyatts, it’s not out of the question.
Jason Hall: Kevin Owens vs. Dean Ambrose. This is a main event quality match that — for whatever reason — hasn’t received much of a buildup despite featuring two of the best talkers in WWE. Owens and Ambrose are both capable of putting on a stellar match and Sunday should be no exception.
Andy Watkins: Without a doubt I’m most excited for the triangle ladder match between The New Day, The Usos and The Lucha Dragons. Granted, this card is far from loaded, but I think even on a stacked show my anticipation would be high for this match. It’s been some time since we’ve seen a multi-man ladder match that wasn’t one-against-all. The tag team ladder matches were always great fun in my youth and I think this match, loaded with high-fliers, will be a callback to some of those great contests.
Is Charlotte more suited to follow in her father’s footsteps as a heel?
RK: At this point, anything to swerve the ship with how Charlotte has been used on WWE TV is welcome. I do think she’s a better heel, yes. Her in-ring psychology as a heel were better. As a babyface, she was boring and kind of annoying, frankly. Let her be the cheating, ass-kicking heel that is slimy like her old man. It’s what makes her most interesting. Oh yeah, and give her a damn storyline to work with!
JH: Yes. I’ve had more interest in Charlotte’s character over the past two weeks than any other point of her title reign. Since every match/promo makes mention of her being Ric Flair’s daughter, why not capitalize on it properly? Also, she’s more physically imposing than any of her main roster opponents so why waste her as a babyface? It just makes too much sense not to turn her heel and use her as a dominant villain.
AW: Absolutely. If for no other reason than that Charlotte’s struggled mightily to get over as a face. The “my dad’s Ric Flair!” card is an easy one to lay initially in hopes of a positive reception, but it’s a hard one to sustain. In fact, repeatedly calling back to a relative’s legacy generally has the opposite effect. In NXT, Charlotte trumpeted her genetic superiority and it made her an easy-to-hate heel. Using those same tactics in the WWE should result in similar disdain.
Could a good outing from Sheamus and Reigns be enough to sway opinions on Sunday?
(Courtesy of WWE.com)
RK: I think a GREAT outing from Sheamus and Roman Reigns would be enough to sway opinions, not just good. Fans are critical of Sheamus as WWE Champion, which I somewhat agree with. I think he’s done a solid job thus far, despite blow back. I think he can garner heat and put on a hard-hitting match with Reigns. That’s what fans want. I think a violent, 20-plus minute hardcore showing can win fans over. Fans respect that kind of stuff.
JH: No. I think people are just too set in their ways about Roman Reigns. It’s not like his in-ring ability has lacked at all, especially over the past year. The feud itself is just so “meh” to the majority of fans. Sheamus has elevated into an interesting character since winning the title but still isn’t someone fans get too excited about. Unfortunately, WWE is protecting Reigns as the face and wouldn’t dare put him against someone that the fans will clearly side with — Owens, heel Ambrose, etc. So no, even if Reigns and Sheamus put on a five-star match — which is possible — the majority of people will still complain about it.
AW: No way. I’m, perhaps, in the minority that think Sheamus and Roman Reigns will put on a fine showing at TLC. The two bruisers will be right in their element amidst all the weaponry of the showcase match. However, the next night on Raw they’ll go back to the same flat storytelling and unenthusiastic crowds. Storylines are as much a part of wrestling as the action in the ring. There’s a reason they call it a male soap opera. The fact of the matter is neither of these two have a great connection with the audience and regardless of how good, or bad, Sunday’s match is, that won’t change.