On Sunday, December 20th, the WWE will be live from the Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, for their annual TLC: Tables, Ladders, and Chairs PPV. This is the 12th TLC show and it will be in the WWE ThunderDome, without fans in attendance.
This article was written and published prior to the December 18th episode of SmackDown. With that said, there are a half dozen matches that have been confirmed so far, and a few more that we can predict will take place.
Both the WWE title and the Universal Championship will be on the line in separate TLC matches as Drew McIntyre defends his WWE belt against AJ Styles and Roman Reigns defends his Universal Championship against Kevin Owens.
The RAW tag team titles will be up for grabs as The New Day defends their belts against The Hurt Business. The WWE women’s tag belts will also be on the line as Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler defend their titles against Asuka and a mystery partner.
Also on the card is Sasha Banks who will defend her SmackDown women’s title against Carmella and “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt in a firefly inferno match against Randy Orton.
WWE betting sites have released odds and props for these TLC matches. Let’s step inside the squared circle, pose like Rick Rude, and hit a devastating neck breaker on these predictions.
The WWE has really gone silly with the buildup for this match. Everything was built up for Lana and Asuka to take on the tag champs, but then the WWE decided to go with a Lana injury angle and removing her from the match.
It makes little sense considering Lana has been a focal point for RAW over the last three months.
Going all the way back to the September 14th episode of RAW, Lana has been attacked or harassed by Baszler and Jax ever since then. They repeatedly beat her up and put her through announce tables time after time.
Lana won a battle royal in mid-October, which earned her a title shot against Asuka. Lana lost that match and was then attacked again by Nia Jax.
Two weeks later, she won a fatal four-way match to snag a spot on Team RAW at the Survivor Series. Jax and Baszler didn’t want her on the team, but Lana ended up being the sole survivor and winning the match for Team RAW.
Lana got another title shot against Asuka the next night after SS, but Jax and Baszler interfered which led to an impromptu tag match. Asuka and Lana won this match and another non-title match the next week on RAW. Eventually, a tag title match was made for TLC.
As you can see, everything was lining up for Lana and Asuka, but the WWE has decided to go in a different direction.
The question now is who will replace Lana. There are numerous speculations with the following names being at the top of the list:
Deville would make for an interesting replacement as she also has an MMA background like Baszler. Peyton Royce is a former tag champ and she recently took to social media to lobby to replace Lana. Mandy Rose could get the spot, but she’s already in another “tag team.”
There’s a rumor, and growing buzz, that Charlotte Flair could be the replacement for Lana as The Queen is returning from hiatus. If Flair does return then this duo will win the belts. In fact, if Lana still competes in this match, then I believe her and Asuka win the titles.
If anyone else shows up as Asuka’s partner then the champs will retain.
Women’s TT Winner –Asuka and Charlotte or Lana win (NA)
Asuka and anyone else lose (NA)
Raw Tag Team Championship Match
The New Day (+144)
The Hurt Business (-200)
The buildup for this match has been befuddling to say the least. In fact, it’s another headscratcher just like the decision to remove Lana from the women’s tag title match.
The New Day have been tag team champs since coming back to RAW in October. They really have had no significant competition or feud since then.
The Hurt Business have been a solid faction since May, but have been poorly booked at times including this feud with the New Day.
The champs have gone unbeaten against The Hurt Business in tag team matches. Yet, in a singles match, Alexander earned THB another title shot.
Furthermore, a six man match saw THB win, but is was due to Bobby Lashley getting the victory over The New Day and Jeff Hardy. He forced Hardy to tap out.
If that wasn’t silly enough of a buildup, we now have online betting sites listing THB as the large betting favorites. If the recent booking has been any indicator, then the oddsmakers are dead wrong. However, this is exactly something that the WWE would do.
Their poor creative booking for this feud would have the heels lose every match then win on PPV by hook or by crook.
So, this match comes down to two scenarios: The New Day lose or Cedrick Alexander does something stupid and THB loses, which leads to an internal strife.
I’m hoping the WWE decides to put the titles on The Hurt Business as it would make things more interesting. In fact, they could use the “Freebirds rule” and have different members defend the titles at different times.
Raw TT Championship Match Winner –The Hurt Business (-200)
SmackDown Women’s Championship Match
(c)Sasha Banks (-500)
After the big payoff at Hell in a Cell, where Sasha Banks defeated Bayley for the SmackDown women’s title and ended a two year storyline, there’s absolutely no way that the WWE will have Banks lose the title two months later.
Banks’ title reigns on RAW or SmackDown have almost always been notoriously short except for the tag title run she’s had with Bayley.
Carmella has been a former champ and is a good heel, but it’s not time for Banks to lose. In fact, this is how a feud should work in pro wrestling.
The heel chases after the face, does a bunch of dastardly things, brings out the viciousness of the champ, and then the champ wins the title match. It builds up both wrestlers, which helps the SmackDown women’s division overall.
As much as I criticized the WWE for how they booked the tag team matches, they have actually done a solid job with this feud. And, the competitors, have taken it to another level which makes this match a compelling one.
With that said, I must reemphasize that there’s no way Sasha Banks loses the title. Champagne will flow after Banks wins. I wonder if she will be using the Chris Jericho bubbly?
This match has the most depth to it as these two wrestlers have feuded against each other on and off over the last three to four years. In fact, the WWE has brought up some of the past matches between these two stars including their WrestleMania 33 match.
This feud was reignited in October when Randy Orton was the WWE champ for a brief moment. He ended up losing the belt to Drew McIntyre again, but Bray Wyatt was interjected into their storyline as a way to quickly transition Orton into another major feud.
However, it was a sensible direction for Orton because of the background between Randy and Bray Wyatt.
For the last two months, these two veterans have been trying to get the better of the other in one form or another. It started with Wyatt attacking Orton for a few weeks. Then Orton returned the favor and even threatened to hurt Alexa Bliss as he said that she was Wyatt’s weakness.
Fast forward to a recent episode of RAW where Randy Orton locked Wyatt in a crate and set it on fire as he tried to kill him. Keep in mind, Orton burned down the Wyatt compound back in 2017, so this pyromaniac gimmick is a continuation.
However, the lights go out and then The Fiend appears. It begs the question of whether or not the happy, go-lucky Bray Wyatt will be gone for a while.
Following the recent fire angle, the WWE decided to make this TLC bout a firefly inferno match. Unfortunately, the WWE has given no details on what a match with this stipulation will look like.
If I were to guess, I would say that this bout will be another cinematic match like the ones that Wyatt had against John Cena and Braun Strowman earlier this year.
If that’s the case, then sign me up to appear on the ThunderDome because those matches have been more entertaining than the same standard in-ring action we see from the same competitors.
Nobody wants a Fiend vs Orton match that takes place in a wrestling ring. They want something that will be different and more entertaining.
How Many RKO’s In This Match?
Over 1.5 (-125)
Under 1.5 (-110)
Since this is The Fiend we’re talking about, I would imagine Orton has to hit at least three or four RKOs on him. The Fiend has taken many other signature finishers from other wrestlers and continued to overcome them. Heck, even Seth Rollins had to hit The Fiend in the head with a chair like 20 times.
I believe this will be an easy bet. Take Over 1.5 RKOs (-125).
Who Will Win the Firefly Inferno Match?
When it comes to any kind of firefly angle, The Fiend always wins. Even when The Fiend competes in a non-firefly angle, he almost always wins. He’s been booked as an unstoppable force that feeds off of rage or revenge.
The storyline with Orton is a perfect catalyst for an extreme amount of rage and revenge considering all of the things that Orton has done to the Wyatt Family over the years.
Additionally, it’s believed that Alexa Bliss will return this weekend and appear in this match to help The Fiend. Bliss was off WWE TV due to filming a TV show.
If the WWE was smart, they would keep Orton off TV for a while after this match. Just say he suffered burns that will require him to heal. That will allow Randy to return in the New Year with a fresh feud like the possible wrap up of the storyline against Edge.
For this TLC bout, bet The Fiend to win at online betting sites.
Firefly Inferno Match Winner –Wyatt (-400)
WWE Championship TLC Match
(C)Drew McIntyre (-625)
AJ Styles (+350)
Two of RAW’s, and all of WWE, top superstars will square off for the company’s biggest prize – the WWE world title. This is the same title that McIntyre won back from Randy Orton last month which makes him a two time WWE world champ.
After the Survivor Series, one of Team RAW’s members was going to earn a world title shot. So, the WWE made three singles matches out of Styles, Lee, Sheamus, Riddle, Lashley and Orton. Riddle, Styles and Lee all won their respective matches.
Then, the WWE put those three into a triple threat match where the winner gets the title shot at TLC. AJ Styles came away with the win and will once again challenge for the WWE world championship.
This won’t be a regular singles match, this will be a tables, ladders and chairs match. That means there will be plenty of carnage and potential interference.
There are numerous subplots that could play out in this match, which we will examine below.
First Move to be Performed: Glaskow Kiss or Pele Kick
Glaskow Kiss (-150)
Pele Kick (+108)
The Glaskow Kiss is the favorite here and there’s a pretty good chance that this move comes first. Typically, McIntyre gets on a roll and uses this move. The Pele Kick doesn’t usually come until AJ Styles is trying to turn the tide.
It would be cool if McIntyre hits the Glaskow Kiss and then Styles counters with the Pele Kick. Either way, the Glaskow will come first.
First Move to be Performed: Claymore Kick or Phenomenal Forearm
Claymore Kick (+175)
Phenomenal Forearm (-250)
Each of these moves represent a finisher for each wrestler. McIntyre uses the Claymore Kick and AJ Styles use the Phenomenal Forearm.
In a match like this, I imagine that Styles will hit his finisher first and McIntyre kicks out. I’m not sure if Styles will kick out of Claymore Kick, so it makes little sense to have this move happen first.
Number of Claymore Kicks
Over 1.5 (+125)
Under 1.5 (-150)
Go with the Under here. I don’t see McIntyre needing to hit more than one Claymore Kick to win this match. Since there will be tables, ladders and chairs, these two men will beat each other up to the point where one Claymore Kick should be enough.
Who Walks Away as the WWE Champ?
For those of you who have followed my WWE betting coverage the last few years, you all know that AJ Styles is my favorite wrestler. With that said, it hurts me to pick against him. But, I just can’t see a valid reason for the WWE to take the belt off of McIntyre before WrestleMania.
Now, onto some of the subplots and potential interferences.
The Miz could easily run out to try and cash in his MITB contract. This is the type of match where it would benefit someone that has the contract because the champ is going to be battered and bruised. Unfortunately, The Miz will still lose!
Another potential angle the WWE could do here is have Sheamus come out and interfere. He’s been a longtime friend of McIntyre and he’s the type of character built for a swerve like this. At some point, these two will feud.
Why not do it at TLC where Sheamus costs his friend the title and my man AJ Styles becomes the champ once again?
Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening. The “Scottish Psychopath” will retain the title.
WWE Championship TLC Match –McIntyre (-625)
Glaskow Kiss (-150)
Phenomenal Forearm (-250)
Under 1.5 Claymore Kicks (-150)
Universal Championship TLC Match
(C)Roman Reigns (-3300)
Kevin Owens (+800)
The Universal Champ Roman Reigns has been the best thing about SmackDown other than Bayley in 2020. Reigns has been tremendous and his alliance with Paul Heyman has been brilliant. Yet, I don’t want to ignore how Bayley carried this show for most of the year.
Reigns and Kevin Owens have been feuding for the last month. This angle has also involved Jey Uso and Daniel Bryan in one capacity or another. It’s also lit up SmackDown with intensity and entertainment.
With that said, there’s no way that the WWE will have Reigns lose this title before WrestleMania next year. Furthermore, there are multiple rumors for Reigns’ next title challengers.
Daniel Bryan is expected to be the next foe for Reigns, which could take place at Royal Rumble. This is another reason why I see Daniel Bryan appearing in this TLC match on Sunday. Additionally, Goldberg is also rumored to wrestle Reigns. That will probably be at WrestleMania.
As for this match, Reigns is a massive favorite for a reason. And, that reason is because he’s the face of the WWE right now and their most compelling wrestler at this point. His heel turn has been magnificent and his tribal reign on SmackDown has been brilliant.
Reigns walks away with the title this weekend. The only question is whether it’s by a tainted pinfall or by DQ.
Universal Championship TLC Match –Reigns (-3300)
Other Potential TLC Matches
The WWE is notorious for adding matches to their PPVs at the last minute. The following matches could end up on TLC even if they aren’t officially made before then:
Daniel Bryan vs Jey Uso
This match will most likely happen. It makes too much sense for it not to happen. As mentioned in the opening of this TLC betting preview, this article was written before the Dec. 18th episode of SmackDown. So, it’s entirely possible that the WWE goes through with this match.
Big E vs Sami Zayn
Big E and Sami Zayn are locked in a dance for the Intercontinental Title and they could end up wrestling on TLC this weekend. WWE has already announced that Zayn will host his “Sami Awards” show on this week’s SmackDown and it could definitely lead to a fight with Big E.
Speaking of Big E, he’s destined to be the breakout star of 2021 as he’s rumored to be one of the favorites to win the men’s Royal Rumble match in January. I think an IC win this weekend would be perfect for the rising Big E.
Bobby Lashley vs Jeff Hardy or Lashley vs Matt Riddle
How do you have a TLC PPV and not have Jeff Hardy on it? He’s become synonymous with a ladder in the WWE.
Recently, Hardy has feuded with Lashley for the US title. Yet, the WWE decided not to go with this match at TLC. At least not yet.
Hardy has been working on his music outside of the ring including a song about a covid vaccine. Additionally, he’s reportedly interested in doing a musical collaboration with Elias which could lead to a wrestling storyline as well.
With that said, there still is a chance that the WWE could add this a match between Hardy and Lashley at the last minute. A ladder match between these two would be entertaining if given enough time.
The latest report is that Matt Riddle will challenge Bobby Lashley at Royal Rumble for the US title. I think there’s a small chance this match could be added to TLC as well.
As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed “King of the Blog” in his first year with the site. …