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WWE TLC 2013 predictions and preview: John Cena vs. Randy Orton, and more!

How will the latest WWE pay-per-view (PPV) event play out? We've got staff predictions for each and every match on the "TLC" card for tomorrow night's (Sun., Dec. 15, 2013) event right here!

WWE returns to pay-per-view (PPV) tomorrow night (Sun., Dec. 15, 2013) live from the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, with its TLC event starting at 7:30 p.m. ET with the free live streaming pre-show featuring Dolph Ziggler vs. Fandango leading right on into the PPV main course at 8 p.m. ET.

The line-up isn't great, but it isn't awful.

John Cena and Randy Orton will unify the WWE and world heavyweight titles in the main event of the evening in a tables, ladders, and chairs match. Elsewhere, CM Punk will battle The Shield in a 3-on-1 handicap match while Daniel Bryan takes on The Wyatt Family in a 3-on-1 handicap match of his own.

Luckily for you Cagesiders, our staff of learned wrestling blowhards is here to help figure out just how the event is going to play out with predictions for each match on the card.

Let's get to it.



John Cena vs. Randy Orton

The General: There's still just so much potential for some screwed up screwiness that it's difficult to imagine WWE not taking the bait. Imagine a meeting with Vince McMahon and a room full of the creative writing team where he's presented with 50 ideas for the finish of this match. Is there any chance in hell the finish he lands on will be the clear, clean result we're all hoping for? What's past is prologue, dear friends, and that means you can expect anything other than one man walking out with both titles after a set victory. Pick: Insanity

Hulk Holland: The idea that we can have one unified, undisputed champion after TLC and go on with our lives is preposterous, especially considering WrestleMania 30 is just over three months away. The X-factor here is the Royal Rumble, as the winner is granted a title shot at "the granddaddy of them all," so it is conceivable that John Cena loses, just so he can win the Rumble and get what's coming to him in April. Without any evidence to back it up, I'm forced to play it safe and pick both participants in a leggo-my-Eggo type of belt swap. Winner: Cena and Orton

Sean Rueter: To believe HHH, or not to believe HHH. That, dear smarks, is the question. I honestly don't know which to go with. My gut is telling me that Cena vs. Orton as a program rolls on, but they could do that even if we get a clean finish this month. Or, they could call an audible and give us a rematch of the SummerSlam main event to placate those bothersome fans - at the Rumble, a card that has the "right attraction" built in. I think I'll go with "all of the above"...Cena wins in a less-than-clean-as-a-sheet fashion, resulting in him as the wary face of The Authority, an increasingly unhinged Viper on the fringes and Daniel Bryan as the fan favorite who's about to screwed again. Pick: John Cena

Keith Harris: When this match was first booked everyone expected a screwjob finish where both men would grab a belt at the same time and the two championships would remain intact, but given the poor reactions to the endings of the last four pay-per-views that all had similar screwy finishes, it seems imperative for WWE to finally deliver on a stipulation in a decisive fashion. It's always hard to bet against Superman Cena in such scenarios, but where would they go with him as the Unified champion? There's no strong heels ready for him to face, it wouldn't aid the Authority angle at all and Cena reigning supreme again would be a bit boring. On the other hand, CM Punk seems primed to be the latest rebel to challenge the Authority's power and attempt to dethrone their handpicked champion Randy Orton. Pick: Randy Orton.

Kanenite: I firmly believe that WWE is telling the truth when they guarantee that there will be one unified champion at the end of the night. And I am praying that Cena gets the win at TLC. If Orton is victorious, then there is a very good chance that Cena will win the Royal Rumble and dethrone Orton and The Authority at WrestleMania 30. So let's all hope that Cena wins this match instead, so that Cena can go get his win back against Daniel Bryan at next month's Royal Rumble event. That match is absolutely the right mid-card attraction for an event of that caliber. Pick: John Cena

CM Punk vs. The Shield

The General: This is a stop gap, a big set up for Punk to move on to an issue with Triple H in the run up to WrestleMania, or at least I think it is, so I'm wondering if we don't get some backstage segment to give this match some proper context. Or maybe Triple H opens the PPV with a promo and this match comes up in some way. Punk will lose, inevitably, but he'll look as good as he can in the process. Maybe something like he'll take Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose out but a Roman Reigns spear will be his ultimate downfall and he'll take his frustrations out on Triple H on Raw the next night. Something along the lines of complaining that he sent three goons because he's too afraid to attempt to take Punk out himself. Pick: Shield

Hulk Holland: Punk benefits from his standing in the same way Bryan does and we can't overlook his recent confrontation (or past history) with Triple H. Whether or not DX reforms to fight "The Best & The Beard" remains to be seen, but something big is brewing in "The Lone Star State" and I can't see The Shield winning, though I would expect Punk to eat several spears by the time all is said and done. Winner: CM Punk

Sean Rueter: Is this where the break-up starts? Or find out that Paul Heyman is paying for The Shield's services rather than The Authority? Probably more of the former, since they want us looking forward to Punk vs. HHH II, whether it ever happens or not. I think it will, and that Trips will want The Best looking strong heading into it. After an inadvertent Spear or Flying Knee to Dean Ambrose...Pick: CM Punk

Keith Harris: It's clear that Roman Reigns is being groomed for a major babyface push in 2014 and will soon breakaway from his Shield comrades. This match would be the perfect place to start the breakup angle, by having Punk upset the trio due to dissension or miscommunication in the ranks. Pick: CM Punk.

Kanenite: I really have no idea how to predict these handicap matches at TLC. I don't think that The Shield is breaking up just yet, as next month's Royal Rumble match looms as a great way to fuel that fire. However, that doesn't mean this match can't end with Roman Reigns accidentally spearing the crap out of Dean Ambrose, leading to a Punk victory. Pick: CM Punk

Daniel Bryan vs. The Wyatt Family

The General: I don't get this match, mostly because I just don't see a desired outcome on either side. If Bryan loses, that would mean joining up with the Family, right? If he wins, what happens then? He sets his sights on the Royal Rumble? The Wyatts lose their luster? I just don't get what any of this is supposed to accomplish and the story has been absolute garbage since it started. I kind of like the idea of having Bryan join the family but turning him heel in the process would be the dumbest thing WWE could possibly do. Perhaps he could be forced into joining as the babyface in peril, put under the spell of the slick tongued Bray Wyatt with crowds across the country chanting YES at him to get him out of his weakened state. Or something along those lines. Otherwise, I just don't know. Pick: Wyatt Family

Hulk Holland: Bryan is still getting legitimate pops despite the organization's decision to boot him from the title picture. That said, his popularity will keep him relevant and he's moving on to bigger and better things. That doesn't mean he shakes the Wyatt family like a bad case of fleas, but with Shawn Michaels lurking in the background -- and Luke Harper and Erick Rowan being expendable when it comes to wins and losses -- the "Beard" prevails. Winner: Daniel Bryan

Sean Rueter: I'm still suprised that Bray and company didn't leave Survivor Series with the decision win as The Best and The Beard's popularity seems fairly bulletproof at this point.  But maybe Bray has already reached that point, as well. If he can keep delivering speeches like he has for the last month, he very well might have. So, what does any of that tell us - except to not put to much into whatever Sean picks? Who knows, but I don't think they have any plan for this program, and the Raw from Seattle makes it seem more likely that they audible out of the whole thing pretty soon. I'm not sure who's name goes in the record book as the winner, but I think DB stands tall. What the hey, let's say he wins, too. Pick: Daniel Bryan

Keith Harris: A vanilla midget singlehandedly beating three hosses? You honestly believe Vince McMahon would ever book that? Or that Triple H would allow one of the acts he's high on to be buried in that way? Clearly, the Wyatt Family will give Bryan a hellacious beating to attempt to convince him to turn to their dark side. Pick: The Wyatt Family.

Kanenite: I don't really know where they are going with this story of the Wyatts trying to have Bryan accept his inner demonic tendencies and join them. It doesn't seem like WWE really knows where they are going with this story either, as they immediately failed to follow up on Bryan's kidnapping. So until further notice, I am just assuming this will be booked like Cena versus Kane from 2012, where the good guy resists the bad guy's mental tactics for a few months and then eventually triumphs in a shitty ambulance match at Elimination Chamber. Pick: Daniel Bryan

Big E Langston vs. Damien Sandow

The General: This is one of those matches where it's not even kind of a secret that Sandow is playing the role of jobber to a guy WWE expects to be a big star down the line. Get out there and make him look good, kid, maybe there's something in it for you later. Pay your dues, you'll get there. Pick: Langston

Hulk Holland: I feel like WWE pulled the trigger too soon when it comes to Big E. Langston. Sure, he had some pop behind him, but what gets a superstar his spot is the race, not the finish. The strap is like a trophy, it should be seen as a reward for your accomplishments. I'm not sure Langston has earned it yet and now that he has the belt, there is nowhere to go but down. That's why I think Damien Sandow takes it tomorrow night, so that Bigs can rebuild his momentum and with any luck, get some new walkout music. Blech. Winner: Damien Sandow

Sean Rueter: Our Savior is in this spot to make the new kid look good. He's going to have to keep waiting for his first taste of WWE gold. Pick: Langston

Keith Harris: You don't have to be a genius, given their recent results, to realise that WWE sees great potential in Langston, whilst Sandow seems typecast as a character that can't hang with the big boys. Might always defeats wisdom in Vince McMahon's macho fantasies. Pick: Big E Langston.

Kanenite: Yeah I know I have too many good guys winning on this card, but most of those upper card picks are basically a coin flip that could easily land in the heel's favor. However this one is an absolute sure thing. Damien Sandow is a glorified jobber while Big E. Langston is a future PPV main event player (sorry Brodus!). And let's face it, there is no way that Langston is actually going down to a finishing move called the "You're Welcome." Pick: Big E. Langston

AJ Lee vs. Natalya

The General: I keep waiting for WWE to do the natural thing and provide Total Divas with a storyline revolving around the Divas championship. There are a million angles they could work off it, all of which would play well both on WWE TV and on a reality television show about catty women who are either jealous of each other or are constantly on a quest to be better than everyone else. Still, WWE has resisted going that route. Now that the show is on to season two, me thinks that stops here. Pick: Natalya

Hulk Holland: If AJ Lee hated Total Divas before, she's going to like it even less after Sunday. That's because Natalya is walking out of the Toyota Center as new Divas champion, thanks to her buzz on the weekly reality show. Who knew dead cats were good for your image? In all fairness, Lee had the belt for a good stretch but she's not doing anything with it, so it's time to cough it up and capitalize of the few pops Nattie is getting, though I don't expect them to last. Winner: Natalya

Sean Rueter: As much as I'd like to see the champ get a 400+ day run of her own, they haven't figured out what to do with Lee as champ since the Kaitlyn feud ended. Having the belt around the waist of a Total Diva gives her a purpose again. Pick: Natalya

Keith Harris: Natalya is the Daniel Bryan of the Divas division. She's clearly the best worker of the bunch, but it's highly doubtful that she'll ever get a sustained push as the WWE Queen, due to lacking the requisite swimsuit model looks that management wants from the femme in that role. AJ Lee is much more up their street, so she retains again. Pick: AJ Lee.

Kanenite: I have been picking against AJ for months because of Total Divas, and she has consistently made me look like a fool every single time. So I have finally seen the light and am instead sticking with AJ at TLC. Plus even if AJ is booked to lose, then either Natalya or the referee will probably botch the final sharpshooter spot anyway, leading to an accidental AJ win. Pick: AJ Lee

Rhodes Bros vs. Real Americans vs. MysteriShow vs. Rybaxel

The General: Unless there aren't any plans to change any of the other titles on the show and someone gets desperate enough to switch the tag belts because of it, I can't see Cody and Goldust losing the straps just yet. We should just be thankful the tag division isn't awful anymore. Pick: Rhodes Bros

Sean Rueter: Given how this was thrown on at the last minute, and that the champs cleaned up at the Slammys, the odds that The Rock shows up tonight to do a backstage skit with Goldust are probably better than The Bizarre One and his brother losing their belts. Pick: Cody Rhodes & Goldust

Keith Harris: Given that the Brothers Rhodes have been a tag team revelation, it seems unfathomable that they would lose here in a card filling four-way match that features two makeshift teams put together at the last minute and a duo that needs more steam put on them before they're worthy of the belts. Pick: Goldust & Cody.

Kanenite: Rybaxel is a horrible tag team name. I would much rather Ryback turn into a dancing babyface and join Tensai as Tons Of Foodstuffs. But in the meantime Ryback will have to settle for losing at yet another PPV. It really is too bad that Ryback went over Jericho at MitB. An unblemished Ryback PPV losing streak could have been turned into an entertaining story. But guess what, the Big Show actually has fewer PPV wins this year than The Ryback! So there the Big Show goes yet again stealing another guy's story right out from underneath him. And it looks like he and Rey also stole a PPV spot away from The Usos. That sounds about right for WWE booking. Pick: The Rhodes Brothers

Dolph Ziggler vs. Fandango

The General: One year ago, Ziggler was wrestling the main event against John Cena. Now he's working the free pre-show against Fandango. It doesn't take long to lose your ass in this business, does it? I'm just wondering if he loses here if it will help manufacture stories about his being in the doghouse because of some off hand comment he made in some interview no one watched in Cleveland. Pick: Fandango

Hulk Holland: A kickoff match should be something that entices the viewer to buy the pay-per-view like a battle royal with the winner appearing later in the show for something important. Shit, give us a U.S. title match. But this garbage? I don't care about either of these two -- which is criminal when you consider their combined talent -- but blame WWE because creative has nothing for them. Winner: Dolph Mizzler

Sean Rueter: Uhhhh...The guy with a valet? Pick: Fandango

Keith Harris: Clearly, Dolph Ziggler is still in the WWE doghouse for him to be consigned to the curtain jerker again, but I don't think they're pissed off enough for him to lose to the company's comedy dance act that is going nowhere. Pick: Dolph Ziggler.

Kanenite: Dolph Ziggler went from the TLC 2012 main event to the TLC 2013 pre-show. And even though Dolph's career is continuing its plummet in the wrong direction, he is still a bigger star than Fandango. Fandango has been pigeonholed as a comedy wrestler thanks to the Fandango-ing craze after WrestleMania 29. And while that Fandango-ing gimmick will help him make money even long after his WWE career is over, it is probably going to keep him from ever moving up the card as a serious player in WWE. Pick: Doph Ziggler


Those are our predictions, Cagesiders. What are yours?

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