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WWE TLC 2017 predictions: The Shield & Kurt Angle vs. The World

WWE returns to pay-per-view (PPV) -- if your cable provider is carrying the event, of course -- tomorrow night (Sun., Oct. 22, 2017) live from the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota with its TLC event starting at 7:00 p.m. ET with the Kickoff show leading right on into the main course at 8 p.m. ET on the WWE Network.

Set for the card: Kurt Angle will have his first match in a WWE ring in over a decade, Asuka makes her main roster debut, and more!

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.

TLC predictions

Kurt Angle, Seth Rollins, & Dean Ambrose vs. The Miz & Braun Strowman & Kane & Cesaro & Sheamus

Geno Mrosko: Roman Reigns is out and Kurt Angle is in. This is a bad idea, for a number of reasons, but most of all I’m going to watch this match through my fingers, holding my breath that Kurt Angle doesn’t go full Kurt Angle and try entirely too hard to make up for the gutted card by doing something ill advised. But they aren’t beating him in his first match back, tag or not. Pick: Angle, Rollins, Ambrose

Tommy Messano: The Hounds of Olympic Justice have to be the pick. The late Kurt Angle addition to The Shield brings a ton of intrigue to the match that was tracking to be Reigns, Rollins and Ambrose showcase. How will your potentially rusty Olympic Hero interact with the current Raw tag team champions? Braun Strowman, please don’t break Kurt Angle’s freaking neck. Pick: Kurt Angle, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins

Kyle Decker: If it were the Shield, that’d be my easy pick. It’s still what I’m going with even with Kurt Angle replacing Roman Reigns. They still will want the Shield to be a strong trio for whatever they want at Survivor Series and 2/3 of them losing alongside Hall of Famer Kurt Angle won’t help that at all. Pick: The Olympic Shield

Cain A. Knight: The story here is strange as hell and the lopsided numbers involved sort of remind me of that Doomsday cage match from WCW Uncensored 1996 featuring Hulk Hogan, Macho Man, and way too many heels. But even with these glaring issues, this match could still be great, because any match that has Cesaro and Seth Rollins wrestling for 30 minutes sounds like a good time to me. It doesn't matter how many more heels get added to the match at the last second, I'd be shocked if the babyfaces actually lose this one. Pick: Angle, Rollins, Ambrose

ReverendKain: The last time the Shield were in a handicap match at TLC (nevermind that That Damn Numbers Game pointed the other direction that time) it didn’t go so well for them, but four years, a break-up, and a reunion later and I wouldn’t be so fast to bet against them, much less with an Olympic Gold Medalist on their side. That Miz feels the need to keep stacking the deck against the Hounds of Justice is, I think, telling, and more importantly than that, I just want to sit back and Believe in the Shield right now... even if this isn’t the whole, True Shield. Pick: Dean Ambrose, Kurt Angle, & Seth Rollins

Alexa Bliss vs. Mickie James

Geno Mrosko: The Raw women’s division is best known for baffling booking decisions and/or shock surprises. It’s entirely possible they go for shock value here and do a title change but I don’t see the value in it and it’s always been clear this was a stop gap for Bliss to get to something bigger and better. Pick: Alexa Bliss

Sean Rueter: Partly because I'm not as into Bliss as a lot of my co-workers, partly because Natalya's reign opens the door to "victory lap" runs and partly because I think this title is probably just waiting for a certain Empress of a day after today. Pick: Mickie James

Kyle Decker: I always got the impression this is a one time feud for Alexa, but with the direction of the division completely up in the air, who knows? Eventually, Asuka is going to win the title no matter who holds it. She’s already had a fun match with Mickie in NXT. Why not again? Screw it, I’m going with Mickie. Pick: Mickie James

Cain A. Knight: I would love to see Mickie James get a run with the title because she can be a fascinating character and puts on better matches than most women on Raw. Unfortunately she is stuck in this ridiculous "Mickie James is old" storyline that seems like it is destined to result in a loss for the babyface. It's just a matter of time until Bliss is massacred by Asuka. Pick: Alexa Bliss

ReverendKain: I’ll level with you, folks, I dashed off all my other picks here with ease and celerity, but I stared at a blank entry for a long time on this one. So much of what happens with the women of Raw ends up retconned or ignored (more than usual for WWE!) and it’s hard to have enough of a sense where things are going to make a pick. That being said, certainly the title is Asuka’s to claim, but I don’t know if she’s going after it right away or whether the idea won’t be to work up the ladder for it. In any case, the champion’s disposition means that picking against her gives me a reasonable chance of being right even if the title doesn’t change hands, and seven is a good number... Pick: Mickie James

Kalisto vs. Enzo Amore

Geno Mrosko: There are quite a few issues with the cruiserweight division but the reality is Enzo makes it more interesting when he’s holding the title. Pick: Enzo Amore

Sean Rueter: Nice Hispanic Heritage Month moment, but this division is gonna live or die by the Zo, and it doesn't make a ton of sense to build a show around a heel chasing a champ people don't really care about (sorry to speak badly about your pops, lucha kitty). Pick: Enzo Amore

Kyle Decker: There’s no real story in the division if Enzo loses his rematch. The entire division is built around him being the worst. That’s not going to work if he has to move to the back of the line after losing against to Kalisto. Pick: Enzo Amore

Cain A. Knight: I think they only took the title off of Amore to do away with Kurt Angle's stipulation about the cruiserweights not getting any title shots. Now that the stip is done with, Amore can take the title back and continue to be the realest champ in the room. Pick: Enzo Amore

ReverendKain: I just don’t want to hear anything that implies that Enzo knows the title belt carnally ever again. Also, Dragon Gate USA 4 life. Pick: Kalisto

Asuka vs. Emma

Geno Mrosko: You don’t bring Asuka up the way they have and then beat her in her very first match. Pick: Asuka

Sean Rueter: They're not really acknowledging their history directly, but if she wasn't ready before, why would she be ready now? Pick: Asuka

Kyle Decker: The undefeated streak is going to be a big thing on the main roster. If it weren’t, she probably would have lost on the way out of NXT. Pick: Asuka

Cain A. Knight: Lol, Emma is so dead. Pick: Asuka

ReverendKain: This match is like the best kind of bedtime story— comforting, superbly violent, and it ends the same way every time but you never get sick of it. Pick: Asuka

The Demon vs. AJ Styles

Geno Mrosko: This creates an entirely different dynamic, and feels like one of those matches where the participants can throw the playbook out the window and go out there and have the match they want to have. That could mean they steal the show with a performance that could have far reaching implications. Pick: Finn Balor

Tommy Messano: Bullet Club dream matches are now going down at WWE pay-per-views. The last 48 hours for the WWE have been wild, so why not make it even crazier and have short notice replacement AJ Styles pick up a win. Maybe from his hospital bed in the swamp, Bray Wyatt makes the lights go out to distract “The Demon”. Pick: AJ Styles

Kyle Decker: If rumors of Bálor going on to fight Lesnar are true, he’ll need to get the win here. Then again, if AJ is facing off against Jinder soon, he’ll want to avoid a clean loss too. Since they’re still billing Finn as “The Demon” who is undefeated, I’ll go with Finn. Pick: Bálor

Cain A. Knight: AJ Styles is a big star who can take a loss because he is no longer a champion. I think it's much more important to protect the Demon for a highly anticipated match with Brock Lesnar down the road. Pick: The Demon

ReverendKain: As sad as I am to lose the dream match that was Jack O’Lantern vs. Bootleg Chewbacca, this is much better. The babyface replacement rule says AJ goes over, but the fact that both guys are gunning for major titles makes me question the merit of a straight-up loss for either guy. Further, the tenor of the Wyatt/Balor feud suggests shenanigans will be afoot no matter what. I gotta assume even a sick Bray Wyatt will let his presence be felt with some spooky nonsense that ends the match in confusion and sadness. Pick: No contest

Cedric Alexander & Rich Swann vs. The Brian Kendrick & Jack Gallagher

Geno Mrosko: Pick: Kendrick & Gallagher

Sean Rueter: Ced's been looking strong and showing a new edge, while Swann just decisively beat TJP in their long program. Probably time to give the Dark Gentleman and his break-slicing friend the rub. That will also make Team Zo look like a bigger bad moving forward. Pick: The Brian Kendrick and Gentleman Jack Gallagher

Kyle Decker: Good guys? Bad guys? Good guys? Bad guys? I’ll say good. Pick: Cedric Alexander & Rich Swann

Cain A. Knight: This is going to be a really good match that the crowd will be dead for because the Raw audience has been given no reason to care about any of these guys over the last few months. Pick: Rich Swann & Cedric Alexander

ReverendKain: Can’t imagine this gets blown off as a tag, so Kendrick and Gallagher will pull some underhanded tactics and we’ll carry on. Pick: Brian Kendrick & Jack Gallagher

Sasha Banks vs. Alicia Fox

Geno Mrosko: There isn’t much about this that suggests they wouldn’t put the babyface over to get the night rolling. Pick: Sasha Banks

Sean Rueter: Is 2018 the Year of the Fox? It should be. Pick: Alicia Fox

Kyle Decker: I imagine future plans feature Sasha more than Alicia, though I’d like to see Alicia get more time like this. Pick: Sasha Banks

Cain A. Knight: I'm picking Sasha because she is usually given a decent spotlight on Raw, while Alicia is not a regular presence on television. Pick: Sasha Banks

ReverendKain: Ordinarily you’d think this would be a slam dunk for the Boss, seeing as she’s tapped Fox out two weeks running, but WWE always like to overthink these things. That said, I’m gonna hedge my bets and call for a DQ victory for Banks when Fox loses her mind throwing a fit after another near-submission to the Bank Statement. Pick: Sasha Banks

That’s how we see the card playing out.

How about you?

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