WWE TLC 2016 preview – can AJ Styles climb to the top again?

A mere two weeks after the inter-brand calamities which transpired at 2016’s Survivor Series, SmackDown hits back with its third brand exclusive PPV. While this is yet another gimmick event, it is sufficiently varied as to provide a bit more excitement than the shows like Hell In A Cell. Let’s break down the TLC 2016 predictions!

Becky Lynch (c) vs. Alexa Bliss
Tables match for the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship

wwe-tlc-2016-becky-lynch-vs-alexa-bliss

A tables match! The WWE is going whole hog after shattering the hardcore barrier for women at October’s Hell In A Cell, and I ain’t complaining. The table spot on Tuesday’s show was fun, and if Becky going through the table is anything of a sign, then the Lass Kicker will keep putting boots to butts through the sign-off on Sunday night.

Alexa is a tremendous heel doing incredible work both in the ring and on the mic, but I’d like to see a little more drive, a bit more passion before she comes off with the belt. Becky is a great champion and face for the brand, but the hot-potato title on Raw makes me dream of the back-and-forth battle these two women could put on. Becky remains champion tonight, but I’ve got a feeling her days are numbered.

PICK: Becky Lynch

The Miz (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler –
Ladder match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship

wwe-tlc-2016-the-miz-vs-dolph-ziggler

It’s gonna be great.

PICK: The Miz

Heath Slater and Rhyno (c) vs. The Wyatt Family
for the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship

wwe-tlc-2016-slater-and-rhino-vs-wyatt-family

Now this is quite the interesting setup. Two main event talents teaming up to battle for tag team gold silver. The team of Bray and Randy is surely headed for Splitsville sometime next year, so where do they land as they vie for championships together. It feels weird even thinking of these World Championship level stars holding tag titles, but the straps would only add drama to the inevitable breakup.


Slater and Rhyno have been nothing short of magnificent as champions, but to see them escape the combined fury of the Viper and the Eater of Worlds would be baffling. A match with American Alpha certainly could have been enticing, but devaluing the power of the Wyatt Family is criminal and the right choice was clearly made. Hopefully, that trend continues.

PICK: The Wyatt Family

Nikki Bella vs. Carmella –  Disqualification match

wwe-tlc-2016-nikki-bella-vs-carmella

I can’t say I’m overly excited for this match, but Carmella has definitely upped the ante with a slick promo on Tuesday’s episode. The heat between the two is super nova level, so I hope we see the impassioned brawl so well foreshadowed. Why was Nikki sidelined at Survivor Series? Maybe we’ll find out on Sunday! Will Carmella deliver on her rather graphic promises? I sure hope so. Solid mid-card feud should make for an entertaining break from a slew of title matches.

PICK: Nikki Bella

Kalisto vs. Baron Corbin – Chairs match

wwe-tlc-2016-kalisto-vs-baron-corbin

The grudge match chairs match! What will it be like? Who can say! Kalisto is a dynamo between the ropes (at least when he doesn’t slip off them) and Baron has been a great badass/mercenary figure on the SmackDown roster. The feud between the two has been…weird, but their talents promise an entertaining showdown.

I would like to see Kalisto come out on top, given that he has been mostly on the receiving end of beatdowns as of late. However, if the SmackDown team is serious about lifting the profile of Corbin, a victory on Sunday would do him well. It would be over a much smaller opponent, but that opponent is a multi-time US title champion.

PICK: Baron Corbin

AJ Styles (c) vs. Dean Ambrose:
TLC match for the WWE World Championship

wwe tlc 2016 aj-styles-vs-dean-ambrose

Much like most of this card, the marquee title match of the evening features a pair who have succeeded tremendously before in recent months and square off yet again to settle the proverbial score. Both are tremendous talents who have carried on a strong and thoroughly entertaining feud through the past weeks.

AJ has been a terrific heel champion, but with another heel champ on Raw I think his time with the belt may be coming to a close. At least for now. Going into Christmas and the New Year, a face with the #1 WWE title is probably for the best. Still, I crave the AJ vs. Shawn Michaels Royal Rumble match that has teased the living daylights out of me (a match which would feel naked without the strap). This is a big tossup for me, but I’m placing the odds in favor of the Lunatic Fringe, as this style match is well within his wheel house.

PICK: Dean Ambrose

With a deluge of title matches, Sunday evening won’t be short in stakes, and it certainly won’t be lacking any foreign objects. As a closet hardcore fanatic, I’m quite excited for the potential PG carnage. I’ll take what I can get! I hope you all enjoy the show and remember to check back next week for my recap and rating!

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