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Precap to WWE 'TLC' TONIGHT (Dec. 16, 2012) featuring Hell No & Ryback vs. The Shield

Previewing WWE's "TLC: Tables, Ladders, and Chairs" Pay-Per-View (PPV) featuring Hell No & Ryback vs. The Shield in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match, John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler in a Ladders Match for the Money in the Bank briefcase, and The Big Show vs. Sheamus in a Chairs Match for the World Heavyweight Championship.

You know how you climb up a ladder? From the bottom up, of course! And that is exactly how we will be approaching this card.

Aksana! Cameron! Fox! Kaitlyn! Layla! Natalya! Naomi! Rosa! Tamina! Pre-Show! Santa's Helper Battle Royal! No. 1 Contender! Divas Championship!

Saint Nick and I were having a conversation the other day. You see, my great, great grandfather did him a solid years ago. So now he's like a member of the Bradford family.

However, that's a story for another day.

Anyways, Ol' Nicholas and I were chatting it up when he asks me "C.J., you've been such a good boy this year. What do you want for Christmas?"

I told Mr. Claus, "You know what I want more than anything? I want to see nine sexy Divas weakly toss each other through the middle ropes in slutty Santa outfits as they fight for a completely worthless belt."

Santa was shocked! "C.J., what about peace on earth and goodwill towards all mankind?"

"Nope!" I shouted back at him, "Slutty Santa outfits! And I want it free on YouTube!"

As you can see, Santa had granted my wish. So what I'm trying to say is this:

You're welcome.

Mysterio! Sin Cara! Rhodes Scholars! Tables! No. 1 Contender! Tag Team Championship!

Team Rhodes Scholars, by all accounts, should have already become Tag Team Champions. Life just kept getting in their way.

They faced Team Hell No at Hell in a Cell (Oct. 28) and actually managed to pick up the win. The only problem is that Kane got disqualified, thereby keeping the titles around Hell No's collective waist. The two teams would then match up a few weeks later on Main Event (Nov. 14) in a championship rematch. The only problem with that was Cody Rhodes fell awkwardly after a back bodydrop from Kane, suffering a concussion and a shoulder injury in the process. While it can never be certain how things change the booking plans, it looked for certain that Rhodes Scholars would be picking up the titles sooner than later.

Well, tonight may very well be a step back in the right direction.

Cody & Damien Sandow take on Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara in a Tables Match for the No. 1 Contendership to the Tag Team Championship. How did Cody and Sandow get here? They beat The Usos, Primo & Epico, and The Prime Time Players in a Fatal Fourway Elimination Match last Monday Night Raw (Dec. 10) on the very first night Cody came back from his injury.

How did Mysterio & Sin Cara get here?

I... actually have no clue. They just kind of showed up, I guess.

How does one win a tag team Tables Match? Why, one team has to put both opponents through a flimsy table. Because when you want to build up a strong team, the cheapest win is the way to go.

I absolutely despise Tables Matches. How does going through a table make you a loser? It just means you were really clumsy. WWE might as well make this a "Santa's Helper" match and dress everyone up in slutty Santa costumes.

I'm sure there are a few Cagesiders who wouldn't mind that.

Kofi! Barrett! Intercontinental Championship!

This will be the match you tell your grandkids about, Cagesiders. This fight right here will live on throughout the history of professional wrestling. What are you gonna do, brothers and sisters, when "The Wildcat" and "The Barrett Barrage" come head-to-head in the middle of the squared circle?

Wait, this isn't a match for the stupidest nickname? Forget everything I just said.

This is actually a really weird matchup between two guys who should be much higher on the card than they are. Kofi Kingston has everything it takes to be a top face. Maybe not a main eventer, but at least he could fill Rey Mysterio's shoes, as the luchador is out the door. He jumps high, kids pop for him, and I know at least a few females who think he's cute.

The second he touches the mic, though, it's like he's never cut a promo in his life. How is he CM Punk's best friend?

Then, on the other side we have Wade Barrett. I was actually shocked to learn that he has never held the WWE Championship. I wasn't really paying attention during the Nexus run, but WWE didn't even let him sniff the title? The only gold he has had was the Intercontinental Championship, which ironically, he won from Kofi in March, 2011. Wade has the size, the skill, the swagger to be a solid upper-tier heel.

Be it horrible booking, or general apathy though, he just can't seem to get any real traction.

These two will square off in a match that looks good on paper, but no one will actually care about. And if someone does say he cares about this match, slap them in the face with a stinky fish. They are lying to you, and liars are not good friends.

Cesaro! Truth! United States Championship!

There's not too much to say about this match, so let's jump to the bullet points a bit early:

  • Antonio Cesaro is awesome. He finally has figured out how to work with the gimmick he's been given. If nothing else, you have to pay attention, in case you miss that nasty uppercut he has.
  • R-Truth is 40-years old, debuted in 2000 as Road Dogg's partner, is a two-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion, a TNA Tag Team Champion with Adam "Pac-Man" Jones, and main-evented last year's Survivor Series with The Miz against The Rock & John Cena. You're lying to me if you say you remember any of that, and we know how I treat liars.
  • Remember when Lil' Jimmy was supposed to represent all the evil in the world, or Truth's haunted past, or was a part of a giant C-O-N-SPIRACY? No, you don't! Stop lying!

Show! Sheamus! Chairs! World Heavyweight Championship!

I'm at the point now where this has to be a five-star classic to really get me to care about this match. That's not to say that The Big Show and Sheamus aren't great in the ring together. In fact, it is quite the opposite. These two have amazing chemistry. Show knows how to lead a match, and Sheamus has the skill to keep up with him.

But we've seen this already at Hell in a Cell and Survivor Series. Don't try to tell me adding chairs to the matter will make everything fresh and new.

I do appreciate the cleverness of how WWE booked the whole thing. Big Show lost the Survivor Series match by disqualification. Actually, he won the match at first, then it got reversed when the ref realized Show pulled him into a Brogue Kick, and it was this huge mess of an ending.

The point is, Show retained, then Sheamus got pissed off and started beating him with a steel chair. Which led to a Chairs Match between the two. simple booking is simple, and that is not always bad.

I'm okay with the premise that Show won the title, then got himself DQ'd to retain. I just have two problems with the execution. The first is that WWE did this exact same thing with Mark Henry and Show last year, with Henry playing the heel. I get that history repeats itself and pro wrestling is always recycling old gimmicks.

But it was less than 12 months ago. It's called the seven-year rule, not the seven-month rule.

The second is that SmackDown has been insufferable these past few weeks. WWE Creative just ran out of stuff to have these guys talk about. What I don't understand is why even stretch it out this long? No one is buying the Pay-Per-View (PPV) because of this match. Have this on Raw. Have this on SmackDown.

Hell, put this on Main Event if you want to make the people at the ION Network happy. Just stop dragging this out longer than it needs to go.

A trilogy of Championship matches is damn near impossible to maintain. It takes two guys at the top of their game, a strong story that can handle the test of time, and enough creative direction to keep fans from getting bored. This has none of those things.

At the very least, though, this should be a fun match. And hopefully we are seeing the blowoff to this entire feud.

Cena! Ziggler! Ladders! Money in the Bank!

Dolph Zigger will try to defend his Money in the Bank briefcase against John Cena in a Ladder Match, a match that was setup by Vince McMahon meddling in WWE's day-to-day operation.

And it is a match that has fans running for the hills.

Every mark, smark, and everyone in between has gone through the possibilities that could come out of this match. Ziggler could go over as the future star of the company. Cena can win this clean and march right onto a Title Unification Match. Practically anybody on the roster could come flying out of the back to interfere. The Shield, AJ Lee, Vickie Guerrero, Vince, The Rock, Brock Lesnar.

Hell, I'm at the point where I wouldn't be shocked if Alex Riley made a surprise appearance.

I cannot say with any shred of certainty who will win tonight. I cannot even begin to predict what will happen. Backstage rumors offer little insight into what the booking might be. Everyone says that WWE is high on Ziggler. But does anyone really expect him to beat Cena clean? Will "Mr. Cena's Baby Boy" actually allow himself to do the job?

Even if someone comes running in to protect Ziggler, who the hell will it be? The Shield is scheduled for a match tonight. That doesn't exclude them from interfering, but it will mean Cena is going to be attached to that angle moving forward. Do we want to see a three-on-four match go down in the main event?

Because I don't have the confidence in WWE to handle that in any satisfactory way.

I'm still undecided to the idea that AJ will somehow find her way into this match. I've been a fan of the former Raw General Manager since day one. But her relationship with Cena is just unsettling at best, and repulsive at worst. Her getting caught up between Daniel Bryan and CM Punk was fun television; her running into Cena's arms just has a weird feeling to it.

Unless WWE has a trick up its sleeve, the thought that this is going to continue is unsettling.

I want to believe that there is a way everyone will be happy with how this match ends. I don't know how it is even possible, never mind is it even likely. The best I can hope for, is that something actually happens at the end of the night. There is too much status quo right now in WWE. I want something to change. I need for something to change.

Even if it means that one of my favorite wrestlers has to take the fall, I wouldn't mind if it was done for the right reasons.

Hell No! Ryback! The Shield! Tables! Ladders! Chairs! Pinfall! Submission!

What we have here, dear Cagesiders, is perhaps one of the oddest assortments of talents to ever headline a WWE PPV. There are three of the greatest Indie stars America has seen, a man who is part of perhaps the greatest pro wrestling family trees, a 17-year veteran, who's still contending for major championships, and a steroid riddled freak who, for some damn reason, is as over as a pork roll in New Jersey.

I'm still trying to grasp how all of this happened.

Kane and Daniel Bryan were stuck in what seemed like a pointless feud. The words "Creative has nothing for you" crossed many fans minds as we watched these two alternate between stiff matches and comedy skits. The Tag Team Championship they wear around their waists was seen as more of a joke than a real accomplishment.

Now they are in the major angle in WWE.

Ryback was supposed to be a parody of Goldberg. A worthless win streak taken to the absurd. Win a bunch of squash matches against local jobbers, throw a couch or two, grab a midcard title in between pink eye treatment.

Then somehow he got himself placed in not one, but two WWE Championship matches, and he shows no signs of slowing down.

Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins were supposed to be too good for WWE. Both had talent that those in charge wouldn't be able to appreciate. They had the look, the talk, the in-ring skills to be stars. But someone, somewhere, would find something wrong with them. The fans in the know wanted it too much for their hearts not to be broken. Someone like Roman Reigns, who has the pedigree, but not much in ring experience, would get the nod before them. A college football star who is related to The Rock? That is the man Vince will shove down our throats instead.

Somehow all three have banded together and are in the middle of taking WWE by storm.

Whereas Cena vs. Ziggler has a billion possibilites -- and all of them seem unsatisfactory -- I fully contend that the outcome to this match is completely irrelevant. I don't care who walks out of this match in victory. I want to see these six men get all the time in the world to show off the talent they each possess. I want Bryan to show that he is the best in the business. I want to see Kane continue to prove that he still has it. I want to see how Ryback fairs in a spot fest. I want to see Reigns step up and demonstrate that he is no third wheel.

I want Ambrose and Rollins to remove all doubt that the hype isn't true.

Sometimes a match is just a match. Sometimes pro wrestling is just a bunch of guys in the ring being entertaining as all hell. Sometimes story comes second to pure action.

I want WWE to end 2012 with a bang. I fully expect this match to deliver in spades.

Hopefully, this has prepared you for the night's festivities. Leave a comment below about what you are looking forward to, and please join Nolan, myself, and the entire CSS Sunday night gang TONIGHT in the live blog right here!

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