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Cup of coffee in the big time: Your casual guide to WWE TLC

There’s nothing quite like a good wrestling PPV party. Watching a show with friends can boost even the worst event, but what do you do when you invite someone who has been out of the loop on “the current product?” (And let’s be honest, the ratings suggest there are a lot of people who fit that bill)

The Cup is here to help you break things down in the simplest of terms for the final PPV of the year. So gather round, maybe even print a copy or two to hand out at your WrestleParty.

With the card order not finalized, we’ll run it down in order of the matches as currently presented on the TLC page.

Daniel Bryan (c) vs. A.J. Styles for the WWE Championship - Bryan, the face of all faces, has turned his back on the fans, possibly driven mad by time in hyperbaric chambers en route to his return from the ring. He won the title from Styles after delivering a swift kick to the balls, something Styles is not unfamiliar with.

Styles of course wants his belt back, but the real feud is between Bryan and the fans, who he accuses of being fickle while also deriding their consumerist lifestyles like the absolute worst guy at a college party.

Seth Rollins (c) vs. Dean Ambrose for the WWE Intercontinental Championship - The former Shield brothers clash after Ambrose turned on Rollins the night Roman Reigns announced a hiatus due to leukemia. While that beating was swift and brutal, Dean’s big follow-up was to burn a vest and get a series of vaccinations while taunting the champ. Things amped up with some brawls, thankfully, so we can lean on more than giant needles in the ass to get amped for this one.

Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Nia Jax for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship - Who would have guessed a Rousey program would have ever included Tamina? These two met in Rousey’s first singles match and delivered a high-quality showdown. The build here has been rough, though, with bad promos all around. It also doesn’t help the two women have basically been props in the much better Smackdown womens’ storyline. Jax recklessly broke Becky Lynch’s face, so that’s now her entire character and Rousey is the obnoxious WWE version of herself who also has been battered by Lynch on social media and by Charlotte Flair at Survivor Series. The match should be fine enough but it’ll be nice to move past this awkwardness quickly.

Becky Lynch (c) vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka in a TLC match for the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship - This should be the main event. Lynch has become an unstoppable force and a personality with momentum unlike WWE has seen in a long time. Flair battered Rousey while filling in for Lynch after the face breaking and they quickly reverted from their temporary reconciliation to bitter rivals once again. Then Asuka earned her way into the match and beat up both women with a kendo stick. I wish there were anything funny to say about this match, but it’s just good.

Jinder Mahal & Alicia Fox vs. R-Truth & Carmella in the Mixed Match Challenge finals - The MMC was decimated by injuries and the stipulation of the winners earning the #30 spot in the Royal Rumble has lost a little shine. R-Truth is a more interesting #30 than Mahal, Fox is a more interesting #30 than Carmella. Even with the stipulation, this doesn’t feel as interesting as the last MMC.

Randy Orton vs. Rey Mysterio in a chairs match - Chairs matches are the worst of the TLC staples — unless we count “stairs matches” — but Orton has been a creep for a few months and he did steal Mysterio’s mask, which we are supposed to pretend is a shocking act despite a year of programming available on the WWE Network where Rey wrestled maskless. Orton is a jerk, Mysterio is a superhero, they’ll hit each other with chairs.

Buddy Murphy (c) vs. Cedric Alexander for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship - 205 Live has very good matches. Not enough people watch them. This will be fine except it won’t get as much time as it should because this show is already overstuffed with matches.

Natalya vs. Ruby Riott in a tables match - Riott broke Natalya’s dead dad’s glasses. She also presented Natalya with a table covered in a Fat Head of her dad, which she intends to put her through. That’s all you need to know.

The Bar vs. The New Day vs. The Usos for the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship - The three teams who have all the Smackdown title matches. They’re almost always great together. The white guys were in a rap battle, the less said about that, the better.

Finn Balor vs. Drew McIntyre - McIntyre is attempting to reshape Raw in his image while Balor is just attempting to have WWE let him have an image. McIntyre, Bobby Lashley and Baron Corbin ran roughshod over Raw for a few weeks until Balor served as the lynchpin to swing the momentum to the faces of Raw. He was then off TV for a week due to “injury” after McIntyre handed him a beating for his role in Drew’s loss to Dolph Ziggler. Good wrestlers usually have good wrestling matches, and these two are good.

Elias vs. Bobby Lashley in a ladder match - What’s at the top of the ladder? A guitar! Lashley has lil’ Lio Rush as his mouthpiece, he also points at his ass a lot now. Elias hit Rush with a guitar, Lashley hit Elias with a guitar and now we watch them try and climb a ladder to get a guitar with which to hit the other guy. Despite his popularity, Elias has no singles wins on PPV in 2018.

Baron Corbin vs. Braun Strowman in a TLC match - Strowman, who has flipped ambulances and trucks and survived a massive crash in the back of an ambulance and apparently being murdered by a trash compactor, was taken out by steel steps to the arm by Corbin. It’s uncertain if Strowman (who is legitimately injured) will be in shape to wrestle, but a title shot against Brock Lesnar at the Rumble is his should he win. Meanwhile, Corbin can continue flushing TV ratings down the toilet by becoming Raw’s permanent GM should he pick up the W.

I am sad there’s no AOP vs. Roode & Gable match because I want you to have to tell your guests about the pee antics, but disappointment is a part of life.

Crashing into the weekend ...

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