WWE is closing it’s 2009 PPV year with TLC, the latest in a series of re-branded gimmick events. We get some fresh match-ups in this events and a new challenger for John Cena’s WWE championship, but on Smackdown’s side we have a revival of the long feud between Batista and the Undertaker. Will this be a breakthrough show for some of WWE’s younger talent? Stick around and read our views in this roundtable.
World Heavyweight Championship â€“ Chair Match:
Undertaker vs. Batista
Roy Reynolds: I love the Undertaker to death, but the “Deadman” certainly hasn’t looked to be on the top of his game in recent pay-per-view outings. My guess is that his previous injuries are finally catching up to him. Batista may not be the best choice for World Heavyweight Champion at the moment, but I think it’s out of WWE’s best interest to crown a new world champion as soon as possible. Aside from that, a potential Batista versus Rey Mysterio match for the World Heavyweight Championship at “Royal Rumble 2010” could be in store for us soon. I think the WWE writers have been setting up for a big time match between those two for a while now.
Steven Gepp: I like heel/monster Batista. I donâ€™t like the Undertaker. So Iâ€™m torn. I think Undertaker will slow this one down to his speed (nothing). But if there is a title change going to occur, this could be it. Still, I expect Batista to almost carry what will be an underwhelming match, and I think a Batista victory will lend itself to more feuds down the track.
Winner: (and new champ!) Batista
Fake Vince: We’ve placed Batista in the position to be the big bad guy to beat on Smackdown, and for that to really work he needs the belt. That way, Rey can come back and beat him for it, which will make the next 4 months of Batista as World Champ completely worth it.
Widro: This has been built up well, with a focus on the chair stipulation. I think there will be a title change here because Taker has been champ long enough and cant seem to go on a regular basis.
Winner – Batista
Raffi Shamir: Undertaker really can’t move any more. He needs to go away for two months and rest in order to return in time to start building up his Wrestlemania feud and match with whomever. Batista needs nothing more than the title to cement himself as the number one badguy on Smackdown. It seems like an obvious pick.
Winner and new champion: Batista
Andrew Wheeler: Hey, look at that, a Roundtable. So the TLC PPV is being called the â€œmost revolutionary PPV ideaâ€ for some reason, despite the fact that there really isnâ€™t too much innovative about the show. I still donâ€™t quite understand the distinction between making this a chairs match or just making it a no-DQ match, but I guess they really wanted to sell the gimmick. Speaking of selling the gimmick, Batista as a heel has been as good as I always said he would be. Ever since joining the site, I rallied for him to make the heel turn he desperately needed, because if anyone can play the unlikable, cocky prick, itâ€™s Dave. For anyone who saw his promo on Smackdown this week, there is no doubt that Batista is happier now than heâ€™s been in a long time. He doesnâ€™t have to pretend to suck up to fans that have been nothing but indifferent to him, and it is showing in the quality of his work. Hopefully this means a great match on the PPV, but I kinda doubt it. Why? Well, Taker has been wrestling hurt and this is hardly the same man who put together what will probably be Match of the Year from Wrestlemania. Undertaker is building towards his inevitable showdown with John Cena, so hopefully he can show us something at TLC that will make us believe he can still pull out a great match when needed. Unfortunately for both men, they are wrestling at a point where everything is teetering on the brink of collapse. Whether I like it or not, Undertaker cannot lose his World Title. Quite frankly, there is no one else on Smackdown that can step up and be the #1 Face on the show. When Jeff Hardy departed from the WWE and Rey Mysterio was found to be whacked out on wowie sauce, the WWE really only had one choice and that was Undertaker. Thankfully, the fans never tire of his shtick, so having him as champion has kept Friday Nights running. On the other hand, if he drops the title to Batista, there are few options for Big Dave. Since Mysterio is going to have some sort of surgery, he really isnâ€™t a prime candidate to challenge for the strap, and John Morrison has had a Ziggler-esque fall from grace. That means that Batista will not be successful in his quest for the title here. My guess is that he will lose the match thanks to Mysterio, who will humiliate Dave the way that Dave has consistently humiliated him. Or something like that. Either way, Taker will retain and Batista will have one more chance to eradicate Rey. With Dave off feuding with Mysterio, this allows Taker to move into a feud with Chris Jericho for the World Title at the Rumble, allowing the WWE to pull off the storyline I hoped they would save for Mania. Either way, seeing Jericho have another run at the top is a welcome change for Friday Nights.
Winner: The Undertaker
WWE Championship â€“ Tables Match:
John Cena vs. Sheamus (Tables Match)
Roy Reynolds: Sheamus has impressed the crap out of me lately on Raw and I would certainly love to see him win the WWE Championship from John Cena. Let’s face it, though; the odds of that happening appear to be quite slim. When’s the last time a wrestler won a world title in his debut year in the WWE? I seriously can’t even remember. Just to be safe, I’ve got to go with Cena.
Winner: John Cena
Steven Gepp: This is an experiment, and I really canâ€™t see the WWE at this point giving their title to an unknown commodity. But I think this will surprise. Cena tends to bring the goods to PPV. And I think this will be the coming out party for Sheamus, no matter what. I think he will step up to the plate and surprise everyone.
Winner: (and still champ) John â€œHulk Hoganâ€ Cena
Fake Vince: We’re going to have this match pretty low on the card, so I’m not sure why it’s second on the list. Oh, right, the WWE championship is on the line. Except it isn’t. Not really, anyway.
Winner: John Cena
Widro: I’m with the majority of fans – it’s great to see someone new get a push to the top, I just question whether Sheamus is the right guy. Similar to the Koslov push a couple years ago, this match will likely make or break Sheamus.
Winner – Cena
Raffi Shamir: I already wrote my views on this matchup two weeks ago on TBD. In short â€“ I like that Sheamus is in this position, even though there’s no way he wins the title.
Winner: John Cena
Andrew Wheeler: Iâ€™ve said all I can say about Sheamus. He deserves the shot simply because it is something different and a great calculated risk by the WWE. The only way this could backfire is if Sheamus actually wins the damn title. My fear is that the WWE is going to have Sheamus drive Cena through a table only for Cena to turn around, cash in his rematch clause and win it back. That would mean Sheamus would get the old Yokozuna style title reign of about 3 minutes. Then, the WWE could hold the title belt up like they did back in the early 90â€™s, possibly even declaring that the winner of the Rumble is the new WWE Champion. That would add a bit of intrigue to the Royal Rumble, but it would prevent them from being able to claim a strong #1 Contender going into Mania. Either way, I donâ€™t think that Sheamus is going to conclusively walk out of the PPV with the title. Sure, there is always the chance that they could have him drive John through a piece of furniture for the momentary shock value, but I hope that they realize that Sheamus winning the gold is worth a lot more than an empty moment. Besides, a tables match is a great way for Sheamus to lose without looking weak or losing credibility. So in short (because Iâ€™ve already dedicated tons of column inches to this topic over the past few â€œFor Your Considerationâ€s), unless they go screwjob, they champ will still be there.
Winner: John Cena
John Morrison vs. Drew McIntyre
Roy Reynolds: John Morrison has been a tremendous Intercontinental Champion thus far, but it seems highly unlikely that he will be able to get past Drew McIntyre on Sunday. McIntyre crushed Morrison in a singles match on SmackDown last Friday and will most likely continue his dominance by crushing Morrison with that vicious Kobashi DDT of his. Get ready to watch a new Intercontinental Champion reign over SmackDown in weeks to come.
Winner: Drew McIntyre
Fake Vince: We’ve been trying out this strange thing lately where we don’t move the Intercontinental Championship every two weeks for no reason. I personally don’t like it, but Patterson’s happy.
Winner: John Morrison
Steven Gepp: My comments for Sheamus go for McIntyre, but I do not think he will be able to step up. I think this is a bad idea.
Winner: (and still champ) Morrison
Widro: Another big test match, this time for McIntyre, who is another wrestler getting a mini push. I could see them doing a title change here to continue the push.
Winner – McIntyre
Raffi Shamir: I’ve stated my hetero man love for Morrison many times before and it hasn’t changed. I think he’s a great IC champ and can still go a long way with the belt. I don’t want to see him lose the title until the middle of the year, before/after he wins Money in the Bank.
Winner: John Morrison
Andrew Wheeler: Oh how the mighty have fallen. A few short months ago, John Morrison, Dolph Ziggler, CM Punk and Jeff Hardy were the main eventers of Smackdown. Now? Hardy is awaiting trial, Ziggler is main eventing Superstars, CM Punk is the heat man for Festus and John Morrison is doing lame dress-up promos. To quote an obscure SNL skit, â€œWhat the hell happened?â€ Well, since I donâ€™t think any of the main titles in the WWE are going to change hands on this PPV, why not crown a new Intercontinental Champion? While Smackdown doesnâ€™t seem to have any true main event faces anymore, they do have a wealth of midcard faces who can be jobbed out to make a heel look strong. What does that mean? Well, besides me asking a lot of rhetorical questions, it means that Drew McIntyre can win the IC title and beat a hell of a lot more competitors than John can. In a way this is good because it will allow Creative to assess just how credible a threat Drew can be in the main event picture. A few weeks of him beating R-Truth, Matt Hardy and Finlay should allow him to show us something specialâ€¦or reveal that he just doesnâ€™t have â€œitâ€. Either way, heâ€™s getting the push Dolph Ziggler was promised, so maybe unlike Dolph, the WWE will have the smarts to pull the trigger on a Drew McIntyre run. In the meantime, Morrison can sink back into the amorphous midcard before maybe being fed to Batista. Iâ€™m not worried though, because just like Punk, Morrison can be raised and lowered as needed and not suffer any truly long-term damage.
Winner: Drew McIntyre
Unified Tag Team Championship â€“ Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match:
Chris Jericho & Big Show vs. D-Generation X
Roy Reynolds: For weeks now, it has been mentioned on episodes of Raw that DX has done a lot of amazing things in their stable career, but they have ultimately never won a pair of Tag Team Championships. JeriShow have held onto the tag gold for a long time now, so I’m honestly assuming that their time as champions is up. Not only that, but the WWE broadcast team really made it seem like Chris Jericho had wrestled his final match on Raw this past Monday.
Winner: D-Generation X
Steven Gepp: I am really enjoying the Jerishow pairing; I am finding DX stale. I think seeds have been sown for both these teams to break up, but DX are selling merch and Jerishow are entertaining the hell out of people and have brought legitimacy (in my opinion) to a tag division starting to really grow nicely. But I think if Michaels is going to retire, heâ€™ll let HHH do it, so Jerishow to retain, slow burn to WM begins here.
Winner: (and still champs): Jerishow
Fake Vince: Have we ever had a match where a major superstar has stated that they’ve “never held X title before” and then had them not win it? I don’t think we have.
Widro: This will likely be in the main event position, and could make or break the show. Having DX win seems like a forgone conclusion but Jericho seems too valuable on Raw, and this could continue the DX dissention that could lead to a Wrestlemania match.
Winner â€“ Jerishow
Raffi Shamir: JeriShow have been doing an excellent job with the tag titles and can still go. I fail to see what DX can do with the belts, other than dropping it to Hornswoggle and a partner of his choice.
Andrew Wheeler: If this doesnâ€™t main event the show, Iâ€™ll be shocked. I said MANY months ago that JeriShow (wellâ€¦back then it was JeriEdge) was created to ultimately hand the tag straps to DX. Shawn and Hunter are completists in their global domination, so they needed to hold the Unified Tag Straps. The problem was that they wouldnâ€™t face the Terrible Colons on PPV and they already demolished Legacy, so that meant they needed a super-team to beat. Folks, no team has been more super than JeriShow. They have added incredible value to the tag titles and they have allowed Chris Jericho to appear on my television set on two programs a week. Unfortunately, with Big Show about to take a leave of absence due to a bum knee, the run of JeriShow is over. Thankfully, I think that Hunter and Shawn are headed for a collision course at Mania, so their title reign shouldnâ€™t last all that long. My guess is that since neither guy will want to work RAW and Smackdown for too long, theyâ€™ll engage in a feud with the Hart Dynasty and give those kids the rub. I doubt anyone will complain about seeing Michaels/Kidd once or twice, right? Even better, this means that Jericho gets to work ladder magic with Shawn one more time, while Hunter and Big Show can watch while throwing wildly missing punches at one another. In the end, I will miss JeriShow, but I can hope that they will someday rise again, like the South or Marty Jannetty.
ECW Championship â€“ Ladder Match:
Christian vs. Shelton Benjamin
Roy Reynolds: My fingers are crossed for Shelton Benjamin to finally capture the ECW Championship, but I would honestly be surprised if Christian’s reign came to an end some time before WrestleMania. Expecting a lot of cool spots from these two workers in this bout, but in the end, I see Christian being the one grabbing the ECW Championship from above.
Steven Gepp: This could be the other match of the night. Christian has shown he is insane when given a chance to use ladders, and Benjamin has impressed in Money in the Bank. Christian has been a good ECW champ, ECW has been a fun brand to watch, and this shot on this PPV will show the hard work put in by the brandâ€™s wrestlers. And this is a tough call, butâ€¦
Winner: (and still champ) Christian
Fake Vince: I don’t care about ECW, but you knew that.
Winner: Shelton Benjamin
Widro: Two of my favorite wrestlers in a ladder match – it could actually steal the show as advertised. I dont see shelton winning but I’d still love to see Christian move to a real brand in 2010.
Winner – Christian
Raffi Shamir: This might be the toughest match to call and the toughest one to pick who I want to win. I like both Christian and Shelton, they both proved that they can steal the show with a ladder and each of them would make a terrific champion. I really have no reason to pick one over the other.
Winner: Shelton Benjamin
Andrew Wheeler: So Iâ€™m a huge fan of this match. My love of ECW television is not a secret, and it will be detailed further in my column this coming Monday (that, folks, is called a teaser). With that said, I havenâ€™t enjoy the fact that these two keep promising to â€œsteal the showâ€. I know wrestling is fake and itâ€™s a show, but the goal should be to win the match or the title, not to put on a great performance. Eh, minor quibble, but if it gets these two on PPV, I like it. My guess is that Christian is going to win here, which will set up a Shelton heel turn and hopefully an inevitable Benjamin win. Then he can feud with face Ezekiel Jackson. See, itâ€™s not too hard to book ECW. Why did it seem so hard a few years back?
Michelle McCool vs. Mickie James
Roy Reynolds: The diva angles are the things that I try to avoid most whenever the WWE presents them. Most recently, all I have heard about is “Piggy James”. I could be completely off, but I’m expecting Mickie James to go psycho on McCool and grab hold of the Women’s Championship for a fifth time on Sunday.
Winner: Mickie James
Steven Gepp: WWEâ€™s women wrestlers are not a patch on TNAâ€™s, and I really think Mickie James is awful, especially after seeing her live on the Australian tour. So I donâ€™t care.
Winner: McCool (but certainly not the audience)
Widro: I am not a fan of Michelle McCool and would love to see Mickie get revenge for the cruel pig jokes.
Winner – James
Raffi Shamir: If Undertaker is losing the belt, his girl can’t keep hers, or there will be trouble at home.
Winner: Mickie James
Andrew Wheeler: The feud between these two has been cookie-cutter and dull, but McCool has held the title for what feels like an eternity, so why not give Mickie another go at it?
Winner: Mickie James
Kofi Kingston vs. Randy Orton
Roy Reynolds: Kofi Kingston has been on an absolute tear lately. If the WWE writers want to continue his momentum into 2010, then it is pretty much mandatory for Kingston to pin Orton on Sunday. I expect Kofi to fight past outside interference by Rhodes and DiBiase and knock out Randy Orton with the Trouble in Paradise.
Winner: Kofi Kingston
Steven Gepp: This could well be match of the night. And I think the â€˜E are serious about pushing a new face to the top, and Kingston has really impressed me of late. I hope Orton brings his best and leaves his occasional attitude at the door. This has the potential to be the start of a great feud. And with no Legacy on the PPV, I expect shenanigans.
Winner: (by interference) Ortonâ€¦ and the fans
Fake Vince: We’re all looking forward to Kingston’s performance in this match, and by performance I mean watching how well he loses.
Winner: Randy Orton
Widro: Two wasted non-match singles matches on Raw notwithstanding, this has some heat and has been a solid feud and really elevated Kofi. With Legacy having all but disappeared from relevance, this could be something to do with them to lead Randy to lose. Either way, I think Kofi needs a win here to continue his rise
Winner – Kingston
Raffi Shamir: I can easily see this feud continuing until Wrestlemania. In january both of them can go into the Rumble and in February they can square off in the Elimination Chamber. But in order for that to happen, Orton needs to win here, of course with Legacy’s help. Kofi has been looking so strong lately that he can take a dirty loss here and still go strong.
Winner: Randy Orton
Andrew Wheeler: Unlike Morrison on Smackdown, Kofi on RAW is showing us that it is in fact possible to create an over face that has forward momentum. His feud with Randy Orton has been surprisingly coherent and well written, even if I donâ€™t like the fact that theyâ€™ve already squared off for free on two separate occasions. With that said, Kingston could lose all of his progress if he does in fact do the job to Orton. Yes, Randy is a former World Champion and therefore Randy should win, but that wouldnâ€™t really elevate Orton and it would cut Kofiâ€™s legs out from under him. In a surreal universe, Sheamus would win the WWE Title and Kofi would beat Orton and they would feud at the Rumble. This would lead to dogs and cats living together, so I donâ€™t think weâ€™ll see that. I think Kingston will get the win here and sustain his momentum for a few weeks, making him seem like a potential winner of the Royal Rumble (donâ€™t worry, he probably wonâ€™t win it). Either way, if the WWE can leave the TLC PPV with Sheamus, McIntyre and Kingston being more over than they are now, then this show will be a complete success.
Winner: Kofi Kingston
And that’s the final WWE roundtable for 2009. Come back to Pulse Wrestling on Sunday night for ongoing live coverage of WWE TLC.
Tags: batista, big show, chris jericho, Chris Jericho & Big Show, christian, D-Generation X, degeneration x, Drew McIntyre, DX, ECW, ecw championship, HHH, Intercontinental Championship, JeriShow, john cena, John Morrison, Kofi Kingston, ladder match, Legacy, michelle mccool, Mickie James, randy orton, Raw, roundtable, shawn michaels, sheamus, shelton benjamin, tables ladders and chairs, tables match, the undertaker, TLC, TLC match, triple h, Unified Tag Team Championship, women's championship, World Heavyweight Championship, WWE, wwe championship