We’ve already taken care of the superstars missing from TLC 2016, but who are the lucky few who will not only perform, but likely steal the show in some capacity?
Whether it’s in a scripted or a non-kayfabe sense by factoring in everything from wins/losses, how much of an emphasis WWE puts on that superstar, their momentum heading into the next television episode, match performance and everything between, here’s the shortlist for who I think will be stealing the most spotlight:
Dean Ambrose will have a great outing, but by no means is he walking out of TLC with the WWE World Championship in his possession. Styles has so much more momentum behind him and a wider range of possible matches he can participate in during the Road to WrestleMania, specifically against The Undertaker at the Royal Rumble event.
This will be the blowoff of the Styles vs. Ambrose feud where by hook or by crook, the champion will retain. Since it’s a TLC match (aka “exactly the same as a ladder match, but it just coincidentally always ends up involving a table and a chair at some point”) the win over Ambrose isn’t going to be something devastating to The Lunatic Fringe as he isn’t being pinned or made to submit. Hell, Styles could climb the ladder and retrieve the title with someone else even holding Ambrose back to start a new feud for him, opening up The Phenomenal One to face The Phenom. Where it goes from there is still up in the air (Ambrose vs. Undertaker with Styles vs. Cena at WrestleMania, maybe?) but as far as TLC is concerned, the champ that runs the camp will stay on top.
After trading the belt back and forth, there doesn’t seem to be much of a reason to give the Intercontinental Championship back to Dolph Ziggler unless that was the plan all along and giving it to The Miz for Survivor Series was simply to avoid having two babyfaces go up against each other. It’s not out of the realm of possibility for Ziggler to win the belt back and to go into WrestleMania season as champion, but I’m inclined to believe if they wanted him to hold the title around January, he simply never would have dropped the belt to begin with and they would have gone with Rusev to challenge him at Survivor Series. It wasn’t like Sami Zayn got traded over to SmackDown to continue a feud with The Miz or anything, so why bother?
We’ve seen it happen enough times now that it’s hard to anticipate anything else but The Miz winning the match due to some sort of distraction or interference from Maryse and/or The Spirit Squad. With the way things are panning out with Baron Corbin and Kalisto, my guess is we’ll see The Lucha Dragon being set up as the next in line to dethrone The Miz, not Dolph Ziggler.
It’s time for Heath Slater and Rhyno to lose those tag team titles. In fact, this is well past due, as they could have lost them the very next episode of SmackDown and it would have accomplished the goal of giving Slater his contract. Another thing that’s well past due, oddly enough, is The Wyatt Family receiving any kind of gold. It’s amazing to think that they’ve had various incarnations over the past few years and the only time any members have been champion were the NXT Tag Team Championship and Luke Harper’s short Intercontinental title run. While I never would have imagined the tag titles would finally come their way with Randy Orton in the mix, it’s pretty much now or never. I’ve thought The Usos were being set up to take the belts away, yet that route keeps being diverted and unless there’s some sort of interference disqualification, I can’t imagine a joke team like Slater and Rhyno will score a victory over either Orton or Wyatt. If that does happen, then my guess is The Usos will win the belts at the Royal Rumble or on an episode of SmackDown beforehand while whoever interferes will start a feud with Orton and Wyatt, but for now, I’m leaning toward the simpler outcome with The Wyatt Family coming out on top.
Carmella / Natalya
I’m 100% convinced the obvious answer to the whodunit of why Nikki Bella was attacked will be revealed at TLC when Natalya interferes and costs her the win. Since this is a No Disqualification match, it allows for this to happen while not ending in a disappointing DQ, but rather, Carmella getting a pinfall victory over Nikki, which in turn makes her look stronger than ever. Nikki will then move on to feud with Natalya, leaving Carmella to take a step up in the ranks to face Becky Lynch next for the SmackDown Women’s Championship. All eyes will equally be on the Nikki Bella vs. Natalya feud as it will be over how Natalya felt snubbed for not being on the team that Nikki was chosen to captain. Both heels will get a push out of the outcome while Nikki, albeit the loser of this match, will move on to a fresher feud. It’s a win/win/win scenario in the long run.
Those are my picks, but who do you think will end up being the primary focal points? Drop your predictions in the comments below!