The go-home show of Raw building up to the 2015 TLC pay-per-view just ended a few hours ago, and as has been the norm for far too long in WWE, half of the card wasn’t finalized until the last hour. Now, we have six matches, but despite how a whopping 23 people are involved in those (24 if you count Ric Flair being ringside for the Divas Championship match) there are still some noteworthy people who have yet to be announced for the card.
So, per usual, we’re going to look at the superstars who aren’t currently scheduled to wrestle as of the writing of this article. Keep in mind that there are plenty of people that are out with an injury (Cesaro, Randy Orton, Seth Rollins, etc) or busy doing something else (John Cena) who won’t be included in this list, nor will any of the people who haven’t been doing much recently (R-Truth, Damien Sandow, Curtis Axel, etc). Also, since the SmackDown tapings have not taken place, a pre-show match or something else might be added, so this may change, but for now, these are the wrestlers who stand out to me as absentees who will be missed.
King Barrett, Rusev and Ryback
Rusev and Ryback are currently in a feud with one another based on their recent interactions, but WWE has gone ahead and put those two in matches on television instead of on this pay-per-view. That starts making me question if this is a real feud they have any interest in or if this is just something for these guys to do. It’s probably the latter, which is sad. Still, to not have them wrestle or even make an appearance would seem quite odd, wouldn’t it?
In particular, what’s strange about this is how Rusev is part of this new League of Nations stable, so you would think his match would have some significance in some capacity. Even worse off, though, is King Barrett, who has been drawing the short straw since his affiliation with this group. He doesn’t even have a feud going on at all right now.
How is it that half of this new stable made up of some of the most important people on the currently super thin roster aren’t scheduled for TLC? If Rusev isn’t going to be facing Ryback, then Rusev and Barrett should have been included in the Tag Team Championship match to make it a Fatal 4-Way at the very least. Ryback shouldn’t be forgotten about either, but the priority here is the new stable, and considering how the ball has been dropped so far with half of the members, it doesn’t give off the best impression.
The Miz and Neville
For some reason, we’re getting a feud where The Miz has taken a shine to Neville and wants to give him a makeover for his career. Whatever—we’ll save the talk about storylines for another day. The point here is that these two are also feuding with each other, but don’t seem to be wrestling one another. You would think that on a wrestling show about wrestling, two wrestlers would wrestle each other, but that’s not the case.
The Miz is no stranger to being left off events and has made a habit out of getting more screen time with MizTV than anything else, but to see Neville take a backseat yet again is disheartening. Why is it that we know Neville has a better shot at appearing on an episode of Donny than he is to show up at TLC?
Tyler Breeze and Dolph Ziggler
Tyler Breeze was a standout on NXT who was just waiting to be called up to the main roster. Dolph Ziggler has a constant standout on the main roster, proving that he’s arguably the best in-ring performer in the company today. Both of them are feuding with each other and have had a match at Survivor Series, but nothing has been announced for TLC yet.
What’s problematic is that this list is already getting to be too big to where WWE can’t add all of these matches, despite how nothing is set for the pre-show. It’s a guarantee that not everyone on this post will be wrestling at the event, as we still have a few more names to go, but even something as simple as two great wrestlers like Breeze and Ziggler could end up sitting this out. Without any build whatsoever and no story to use as a backbone, these two could probably go out there, wrestle a 15 minute match and have it steal the show, but there’s a good chance WWE will opt to cut them or some of the others out of this show in favor of having a 1-hour kickoff where it’s mostly just chatter.
If the pre-show doesn’t mean anything, wouldn’t it be a better use of time to fit your stars on the card to warm up the crowd with some action and let them see these people that they should be invested in rather than to just show recaps? We’re in a ratings lull and the people who aren’t watching are probably still not watching the pay-per-view, so they don’t need to be filled in on what they missed (especially if what they missed is so bad that it refreshes their memories about why they didn’t watch). Likewise, the people that have been watching don’t need to be reminded of what’s gone on, because they already have seen this footage. The worst case scenario is that anybody too stupid to be able to follow how simplistic these storylines are will have to rely on their friends who are watching it with them to explain what’s going on or they will have to watch recaps on WWE’s YouTube channel or just watch the vignettes that will inevitably air before each match anyway.
Stardust vs. Insert Name Here
So Stardust was totally going to feud with Goldust, right? Nevermind, Stardust is feuding with Titus O’Neil, I guess. Hold on, didn’t I just see Goldust team up with The Prime Time Players to face Stardust and The Ascension? Where the hell are those two guys? And where the hell is Darren Young? And where the hell is this star room supposed to be if Titus O’Neil can get access to it? And why isn’t Eden Rhodes spoken of more often when people are talking about the best looking women in the company? And what should I eat for a snack right now?
You might be thinking that I’m confused about this storyline and contradicting my previous sentiment about these feuds not being too complex to understand, but no, it’s not my inability to see what’s going on in front of me, but WWE’s inability to just go ahead and pick with something and stick with it.