TLC 2016 preview and predictions

It’s only been two weeks since the Survivor Series, but WWE’s back on pay-per-view, for the final SmackDown special of the year – TLC!

TLC Match for WWE World Championship: AJ Styles (c) vs. Dean Ambrose
After a feud that started before the brand split, and took a brief hiatus with the introduction of James Ellsworth, you could be forgiven for hoping that this is the going to be the blow-off… and with this being a TLC match, it bloody well should be! Depending on how WWE books the Royal Rumble, we’ll either get a SmackDown challenger for WrestleMania, or a new feud will blossom. Either way, I’m expecting this to be the blow-off, and we’ll hear no more of AJ and Ambrose for a while for the title. Prediction: AJ Styles

Tables Match for SmackDown Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Alexa Bliss
A rematch from SmackDown in Glasgow, this could well see a surprise title change, particularly with the addition of the tables stipulation. We saw it many years ago when Sheamus beat John Cena in a table match, and given how much of a surprise hit Alexa has been since since she moved up to SmackDown and ruined everyone’s Amazon Echo’s. Whether she keeps the title long term is another story, especially with Nikki Bella’s storyline conveniently coming to an end… Prediction: Alexa Bliss

WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship: Rhyno & Heath Slater (c) vs. Randy Orton & Bray Wyatt
I sense that time is running out for the feel-good story of Rhyno and Heath Slater. Particularly given how strong the Wyatts were made to look at the Survivor Series, I fully expect a title change here; but hopefully without killing the champions so much that they’re left with little choice but to split and return to midcard obscurity. Prediction: Randy Orton & Bray Wyatt

Ladder Match for WWE Intercontinental Championship: The Miz (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler
After many many matches between these two, including one for the sake of a chicken burger, this is the last time they’re doing it for the title. For now. They’ve only just switched it back to the Miz, and there’s no legs in anything with Ziggler right now – especially given that they’ve already done the title switch… so you could be cynical and say they’ll switch it back. I’m going to go with Miz retaining, and we’ll see where Dolph goes from here. Prediction: The Miz

Chairs Match: Kalisto vs. Baron Corbin
After wrecking SmackDown’s dreams of getting the Cruiserweight division, Baron’s punishment ended up being… a match with Kane. Which bled into this, a chairs match against Kalisto, since the former title challenger attacked Baron with a chair. This could go one of two ways: Kalisto gets his revenge with an equaliser, or he gets wiped off the face of the earth. Knowing WWE, I’m kinda wavering towards their usual… Prediction: Baron Corbin

No Disqualification: Carmella vs. Nikki Bella
Finally, we wrap up with the “secondary” women’s feud on SmackDown – and it’s another one that’s been building since the draft. A lot of people have Nikki pegged as being the next Women’s championship challenger, so there’s only one result that would get here here. It’s almost nailed on this… Prediction: Nikki Bella

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ian Hamilton has been a wrestling fan since 1992, and when he’s not watching WWE, New Japan or his latest wrestling love, PROGRESS, he’s usually suffering through Sunderland AFC and the New York Jets. He’s got a couple of books out on Amazon – “Wrestling’s Sinking Ship” and “Gone Too Soon”, and can be reached via his website, BackBodyDrop.com, or on Twitter @theianhamilton

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