Where did you go 2015? How are we already at the final PPV of the calendar year? It seems like only yesterday, Justin, Scott, The Cowboy, myself and several other members of the nation crammed into taxis in Philadelphia, ate our collective body weights in cheesesteaks and screamed our lungs out counting down the next entries into the Royal Rumble. Now fast forward several months and many of us are doing it all over again this time from the TD Garden in my back yard of Beantown. I hope my guts can handle the countless chicken wings and Dunkin iced coffees I’m going to consume in the next two days.
With that said, it’s great to have you back in the good old preview center. I sadly had to downgrade myself from questionable to out last month due to the vaunted “flu-like symptoms.” I’ll spare you the details though thankfully it wasn’t as bad as the time Warrior got cursed by Papa Shango mercifully. Because of countless injuries and an extremely short bench, this card has a “booked on the fly” feel to it. Insta-feuds galore which could lead to some unpredictable finishes. As always, what follows is my commentary for each match followed by a number of lackluster predictions. Will this be the night Roman Reigns finally gets the BB gun he always wanted for Christmas? Let’s find out shall we!
RYBACK VS. RUSEV
Show of hands. How many of you even remembered this match was on the card? Liars! Okay, how about this one… How many of you know why these two are even fighting? You’re a much better fan than I if you can answer that. As a faithful “Hulu” abbreviated Raw watcher, I miss the occasional undercard storyline, though this one feels completely out of left field. So Lana is back in the picture and Rusev is using her to gain an edge against Da Big Guy. She’ll fake injuries, get in our hero’s way, and continues to look stupid hot despite now being engaged to the Bulgarian Brute. Honestly though, they make the perfect pair. The hook for Rusev here is that he can have many matches, but only one Lana. I see him crushing the now aimless Ryback who has literally done less than zero since dropping the IC title. Rusev starts the newly formed League of Nations on the right foot and he and the Ravishing Russian live happily ever after. MCGINN’S PICK: RUSEV
8-MAN ELIMINATION TABLES MATCH
The ECW Originals vs. The Wyatt Family
This match has all the makings of a McGinn Family Christmas Party just minus a few cases of Sam Adams and many many more Kendo sticks. My prediction is that we are in for an ultra violent, albeit PG-rated, treat when we witness the return of the ECW Originals against the deranged Wyatt Family. I could be wrong, but we may have finally found an angle that Bray and the boys can actually win. Sure they had to lure The Dudleys away from Dixie and then grabbed Tommy and Rhyno out of mothballs, but we could be looking at the only guys on the roster who could withstand a one-sided beating at the hands of the Wyatts. I’m glad they are rewarding Rhyno with a PPV pay-day since he has worked so hard this year putting guys over in his comeback at NXT. It’s also great they found something for D-Von and Bubba to do besides choking in a tag team titles match. As for Bray, he needs a win more than Clark Griswold needs his Christmas bonus in order to build a swimming pool. The tables stipulation will only add to the chaos and entertainment factor though I still see the family winning convincingly either 3-1 or a clean sweep. MCGINN’S PICK: THE WYATT FAMILY
WWE UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP CHAIRS MATCH
Alberto Del Rio (C) vs. Jack Swagger
I haven’t done this in a while but may I have permission to treat this match as a hostile? I honestly have no freaken clue what they are doing with Del Rio since his huge return. First he beats Cena and sends him on sabbatical. Then he forms and unholy alliance with Zeb Colter and they run with the super cheese Mexamerica gimmick. Just when that starts to, I guess, pick up some steam, Swagger gets involved, Del Rio joins up with Sheamus and the League of Nations and then dumps Zeb. Meanwhile, Swagger hasn’t been on a special event all year and I was shocked he was still getting a paycheck from Titan Towers. Whether the Colter thing is a ruse or just a waste of everyone’s time, we may find out this Sunday. As for this match, I think The League goes 2-for-2 and Swagger returns to fighting Adam Rose on the house show circuit. MCGINN’S PICK: ALBERTO DEL RIO
DIVAS CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Charlotte (C) vs. Paige
This match is perplexing because once again WWE has blurred the face/heel lines completely for the Divas title match. A month ago, Paige was the caddy, manipulative bi…shut your mouth! She backstabbed her best friends and even made it personal by verbally assaulting the Flair Family. Now the dirtiest player in the game has joined up with his daughter and it appears the apple hasn’t fallen far from this championship tree. Charlotte is now using her dad’s playbook to stay on top, even at the expense of my soulmate Becky Lynch. So Paige, who on live television mind you, besmirched the memory of the departed Reid Flair now possibly enters this rematch as a sympathetic babyface? What planet are we from? As for the match, I expect more of the same as we got from their Survivor Series encounter meaning it will have more time than usual though fall short of what we have grown accustomed to seeing on NXT. Charlotte retains and hopefully Becky or even the forgotten Sasha Banks gets her chance to finally grab that giant pink butterfly belt. MCGINN’S PICK: CHARLOTTE
WWE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP TRIPLE THREAT LADDER MATCH
The New Day (C) vs. The Lucha Dragons vs. The Usos
Have you all jumped on The New Day Bandwagon yet? Are you wearing your unicorn horns while you read this? God I hope so. What’s taking you so long? I’ve been a card carrying member of the fan club since the spring and I honestly can’t find anything in five hours of weekly programming more enjoyable than these three dancing fools. If you ask me, they should just retire as tag team champions and then never bring the belts back. How anyone can make trombone playing must-watch television I’ll never know but somehow it all works. Now as for this match, holy cow! Three awesome teams plus ladders plus the chance for some outrageous spots equals a possible late entry into the match of the year conversation. Kalisto is the one to watch here and as much flack as he takes on our reaction shows, Kofi has a real chance to shine in a match he was born to be in. My only concern is the injury factor with Jey Uso but even if those boys leave the high flying stuff to the Dragons, this should still be a fun little battle. It’s going to be hard to know where they go with this and despite my earlier comments, I wouldn’t be shocked if either face team won here to get a short run with the belts. The Usos haven’t had them since December 2014 so they are probably due while the Dragons have never won the straps. This could be a good time to give Sin Cara and Kalisto a nice run to start the new year much like they did with Tyson Kidd and Cesaro over a year ago. Or they could just stick with the hottest act in the company and let these teams continue the chase. I like that idea greatly because… New Day Rocks! New Day Rocks! MCGINN’S PICK: THE NEW DAY
INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Kevin Owens (C) vs. Dean Ambrose
Remember when Kevin Owens won the IC title and we thought he’d do for that belt what he did for the NXT Championship? He would dominate the midcard and make that championship even bigger than previously imagined. Eventually he would parlay that success into the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and maybe have a go with Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania? Well some of that still might happen but the Intercontinental Championship still has some growing up to do. Their tournament match at Survivor Series was terrific and I would be shocked if they didn’t crank it up a few more notches as the semi-main event attraction in Boston. You want to talk about a guy who is due for bigger things, Ambrose has come so close on two separate occasions this year of winning the company’s biggest prize. Win or lose, this guy remains so over with the fans and he is constantly abusing that lunatic body of his. They should put him in a straight jacket just to protect him from himself.
They could keep the status quo and have Owens get his win back to retain the gold but on a show where I don’t see many title changes, why not switch it up here? Ambrose deserves it and Owens’ reign has been less than stellar. Plus, how do you not know that Ambrose is going to dump popcorn and soda in your face when he brings it to ring? I feel like that’s his calling card when they can’t find anything for him to do. “Hey Dean, go to the concession stand and grab a few things before going to the ring. You’ll know what to do once you get there.” If this were 1995 he’d be known as the “Concession Stand Man” who would walk down the aisle with a hot dog cart or a popcorn machine and have food fights with the likes of The Goon or Salvatore Sincere. Anyway, Ambrose doesn’t need the belt but they need to pop this crowd somehow since I suspect another turd in the punch bowl ending to this pay-per-view. Check me into the Ambrose Asylum! MCGINN’S PICK: DEAN AMBROSE
WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP TLC MATCH
Sheamus (C) vs. Roman Reigns
And now, our main event. Since I started writing these previews, I can’t remember a time where I’ve been so torn over the outcome of a match. As a Roman Reigns guy, I know what my heart wants. This neverending screw job needs to end. I’m sick of the cash in finishes, The Authority sticking their noses into every World title story, he backstage bickering over whether Roman is ready or not. I’ve had it with this crap. But still, I’m torn. TLC isn’t WrestleMania but it’s not a throwaway show either. Two years ago, Randy Orton unified the two brand specific major championships in cluster of a match against John Cena. Dolph Ziggler’s memorable 2013 was jumpstarted by a gigantic win over Cena at TLC 2012. My point is, big things like an enormous major title change could potentially happen Sunday to cap off Roman’s roller-coaster 2015. On the other hand, doesn’t it seem like the company is doing everything in their power to back Sheamus as the king of the mountain? He formed a new faction in the League of Nations. They have their own theme music and have fought in several team vs. team matches the last few weeks. Pair them with the New Day and your have the most powerful force in Sports Entertainment since Nexus? DX? The N.W.O.? It just strikes me as funny if they give Sheamus all this power only to have him lose in his first title defense on the Network. Perhaps I’m overthinking it a tad, but when you’ve had the rug pulled out from under your feet as often as Roman and his fans have these last 10 months, you always have to be on your guard.
In a perfect world, Roman would win the belt, carry it into Mania, beat Brock Lesnar in a “pass the torch” moment and finally give this guy a chance to sink or swim up at the top. No more Daniel Bryan distractions, Cena sticks to the midcard and sells t-shirts, and Reigns can spear and Superman punch his way through the roster until a new beast stands in his way. They have had ample opportunities to do this sooner but for whatever reason, the WWE just can’t help themselves. Sadly, this world is far from perfect. At least if Sheamus were to lose here, he could always say that since it’s a TLC match, he was never actually pinned or forced to quit like in traditional title bouts. Then you can set up a rematch at Rumble. But I suspect the waiting game for Roman will continue thanks to some serious interference by the League. Barrett or someone will knock Reigns off the ladder and through a tower of tables leaving him completely incapacitated. I’ll be in attendance at the TD Garden and will exit with that stomach pain usually associated with getting kicked in the cherries as WWE once again decides to make Reigns into the modern-day version of Lex Luger. I’ll flip Sheamus the bird from the first row balcony and Christmas will be ruined unless someone drops by my one-bedroom palace with a brand new Lexus with one of those big red bows on top (hint, hint). I guess what I’m trying to say is, at this point, I’ll believe Roman will be champ when I see it. Until then, Bah Humbug! MCGINN’S PICK: SHEAMUS
And there you have it! Be sure to follow all the action and analysis from WWE TLC only at Place to Be Nation. Be sure to catch the PTBN Reaction Show Podcast featuring my buddy Will and the gang early next week! Did you like or hate my picks? Tell me about it by following me on Twitter @DmcGP2B. In addition, please subscribe to both the Place to Be Nation Podcast as well as the PWO-PTBN Podcast Network feeds on iTunes for continuous coverage of WWE TLC. Enjoy the show!