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WWE TLC 2018 predictions

WWE returns to pay-per-view (PPV) — if your cable provider is carrying the event, of course — tomorrow night (Sun., Dec. 16, 2018) live from the SAP Center in San Jose, California with its TLC event starting at 6:00 pm ET with the Kickoff show leading right on into the main course at 7 pm ET on the WWE Network.

Set for the card: A lot of gimmick matches, even more gimmick matches, and then even 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

Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka

Geno Mrosko: There is no world that exists that says Becky Lynch, in the midst of a hot run where she’s doing the best work of her career, should be losing the championship. If they didn’t take it off her when she was hurt, they aren’t going to do it here. She’ll be pinning Asuka, and that’s that. Pick: Becky Lynch

Sean Rueter: Because I like the idea of The Man winning the Rumble, and because it makes sense to take the belt off her to get her into said Rumble, and because they not only made this a match where she can lose the title without tapping or being pinned, but also added another player to further protect her... Oh, and also because if they don’t strap her I don’t even know what the point of her win streak was... Pick: Asuka

Kyle Decker: While I understand the thought that Becky shouldn’t lose the title, and I agree with that sentiment to some degree, I think they need to get the title off of her soon. While they could do a title vs. title at ‘Mania (and I’d dig the hell out of that), I don’t think they will. It’s not their style to go out of the box like that. If she needs to lose the title and win the Rumble, it needs to be here. A Nia Jax interference can straight up take Becky out of the game to allow someone else to win. I think that person will be Asuka, who remained hot with the crowds despite not having a great year since WrestleMania. I can imagine a situation where they rematch Asuka and Charlotte at Mania with the roles reversed. Pick: Asuka

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: A lot of folks seem to think that this is a triple threat so as to get the title off of The Man without having her directly take a loss, but I don’t think so. I think it’s moreso that this is a TLC match that needs the commensurate bonkers TLC match bumps, and maybe you don’t want to ask one of your top stars to take those kinds of bumps when she’s coming right off a concussion, so you bring Asuka in to hold up that end of the bargain. So this is gonna rule hard, but Charlie will remain beating the beats the beats he beats, and so shall The Man remain seated in her throne. Pick: Becky Lynch

Cain A. Knight: Considering that Becky, Charlotte, and Ronda are all in the same building together, it would be strange if Ronda didn’t get involved in this match at some point. My guess is that Charlotte wins the title and then faces the wrath of Rousey during her celebration. This leads to Rousey versus Flair at the Royal Rumble. Pick: Charlotte Flair

Stella Cheeks: As much as I want The Man to continue on her epic run as champion, the added element of Asuka in this match gives me pause. Charlotte and Becky are at the top of their game and feasibly could continue their feud without the title. Asuka on the other hand needs to reestablish herself as some one to be reckoned with. If Asuka defeats both The Man and The Queen then her dominance can no longer be questioned. It also opens creative up to do a lot of interesting things with the SD women’s division. As much as I want to say Becky my Pick: Asuka

Ronda Rousey vs. Nia Jax

Geno Mrosko: See the above on Becky, because it all applies to Ronda too. Pick: Ronda Rousey

Sean Rueter: Considering she wasn’t even able to hold onto the nuclear heat she got from injuring the The Man for more than a couple weeks, I don’t think she’s getting the nod to be the first to pin Rowdy. Pick: Ronda Rousey

Kyle Decker: Ronda isn’t losing the title to Nia Jax. Pick: Ronda Rousey

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: There’s a reason they call her Facebreaker and not Streakbreaker or Titlewinner or FormerUFCChampiondefeater. Pick: Ronda Rousey

Cain A. Knight: I really enjoyed their match at Money in the Bank and am looking forward to the sequel. That being said, the last few weeks have been a disaster for this feud and it’s pretty clear Nia Jax isn’t good enough for a top push. Rather than giving us a repeat of their first match, where Nia tossed Ronda around for 10 minutes, I think this time WWE will book Ronda to be completely dominant and make short work of the face-breaker. Pick: Ronda Rousey


Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles

Geno Mrosko: Bryan is just starting to get his wings underneath him with this fresh character turn working heel. They could take the title off him and put it back on Styles, but he’s been absent and/or uninteresting over the past couple weeks. Best to just leave the strap where it is. Pick: Daniel Bryan

Sean Rueter: Picking against him would just be... fickle. Pick: Daniel Bryan

Kyle Decker: They can’t undercut the start of Bryan’s hot heel run by having him lose so soon. We’re entering a time where AJ Styles is not going to be in the title scene and that’ll be weird. Pick: Daniel Bryan

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: The old Daniel Bryan might have lost the title back even if he won it fair and square. The new Daniel Bryan will kick as many dicks, stomp as many heads, and (hopefully) mutilate as many cattle as he has to in order to keep hold of the title. Pick: Daniel Bryan

Cain A. Knight: Daniel Bryan is the best heel in WWE, and it would be a shame for his title reign to end before WrestleMania 35. I’m confident Bryan will leave this show as champ, and I’m confident that AJ Styles’ balls will suffer at least one more kick in 2018. I could definitely see them going the disqualification route to keep this one going to the Royal Rumble. Pick: AJ Styles by DQ

Stella Cheeks: Daniel Bryan is not the hero we deserve, but he’s the hero we need. Also don’t forget to recycle you earth ruining consumer pig! Pick: Daniel Bryan

Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose

Geno Mrosko: I can see every outcome here. I just wonder if they’ll be able to put together a good match, considering the rest of the card. Pick: Seth Rollins

Sean Rueter: Seth will deal with the pain of one brother’s exit and another’s betrayal, and channel his emotions into outsmarting his brother. But that time ain’t now. Pick: Dean Ambrose

Kyle Decker: Ambrose losing his first match after turning heel would be a baffling move. I suppose they could keep the title on Seth and end it in a way that Dean is still dangerous. But Dean should get the full on win here. Plus, if rumor is that Seth vs. Brock is in our future, Seth is going to have to lose his gold. Pick: Dean Ambrose

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: It’s a good thing Dean’s been inoculated against cooties or whatever, because Seth has held that title for a good long time and it’s probably swarming with his germs at this point. Goofy as his promos and affectations have been since turning, I’m looking forward to hopefully seeing Ambrose bring a little bit of that Jon Moxley ultraviolence back on his way to winning the title here. Pick: Dean Ambrose

Cain A. Knight: This feud has suffered from excessive rambling on the mic and not enough intense physical action in the ring. The heel should win the first match in a story like this. Maybe Heath Slater will be the referee? Pick: Dean Ambrose

Stella Cheeks: Man, this was SO exciting when Dean’s turn first happened. But then they talked...and talked...and lit things on fire...and got a butt shot...and talked some more. It just lost some of it’s luster. I am hoping that there is no talking involved at all and they just beat the piss out of each other because frankly, the only thing to save this feud is carnage. Carnage like only Ambrose can do. Pick: Dean Ambrose

Braun Strowman vs. Baron Corbin

Geno Mrosko: This has been given a lot of build but it sure feels like just an absolute waste of time that I hope goes no longer than three minutes, and even that is probably too long. Pick: Braun Strowman

Sean Rueter: Hopefully they realize he shouldn’t be in six segments on a three hour show, but I believe the powers-that-be think the acting GM’s unpopular for the right reasons. There’s also plenty of time for a whole nother story to set up Braun’s title shot in Phoenix. Pick: Baron Corbin

Kyle Decker: I guess it all depends on Strowman’s health. But I think he can beat Corbin with one arm. And he should too. Because full time Baron Corbin as GM really can’t happen. Pick: Braun Strowman

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: General manager is not an elected position and I am still mad about it. Pick: Braun Strowman

Cain A. Knight: A super quick squash for Strowman is the best way to go, because a 10 minute back and forth match between these two guys sounds like a terrible idea. But if WWE decides to stretch this one out, the best way to make it worthwhile is to make sure Corbin causes a ref bump. Afterwards, newly appointed referee Heath Slater can run down to the ring and be the man who counts Corbin’s shoulders to the mat, screwing Baron out of a job. Pick: Braun Strowman

Stella Cheeks: I just think Corbin is going to some how weasel his way into a W here. I don’t know how, but with Strowman’s condition unknown a safe story line swerve would be give Corbin the W unjustly, make us all hate him more and feed him immediately to Braun upon his return. Pick: Corbin

The Bar vs. The New Day vs. The Usos

Geno Mrosko: The titles are to be passed around among these teams forever and ever. I guess it’s time for another Usos title run? Pick: The Usos

Sean Rueter: If there’s one thing my forty-some years of watching wrestling has taught me, it’s that when a Triple Threat’s build includes a rap battle, go with the judges. Pick: The New Day

Kyle Decker: Which ones are the champs now? The Bar? OK, I’ll go with them. Pick: The Bar

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: Well, the Bar don’t have Big Show anymore, so that’s them out just on principle. So... New Day or Usos, New Day or Usos... Welcome back to the Uso Penitentiary, SmackDown tag team division, hope you survive the experience. Pick: The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso)

Cain A. Knight: This match, along with Bryan vs. Styles and Becky’s title defense, are a clear demonstration of SmackDown’s superiority to Raw. Give these teams 15+ minutes and they will steal the damn show. And really this match should have received the ladder stipulation too. I’m not sure who will win, and it probably doesn’t even matter. The Usos haven’t held the titles since WrestleMania 34, so maybe it’s their turn again. As long as Shane McMahon and Miz aren’t added to this match at the last second, everything should work out just fine. Pick: The Usos

Stella Cheeks: I simultaneously don’t think it matters who wins this match and think that this match will be one of the best of the show. Their story lines might be a mess, but boy do these dudes know how to wrestle. I’m just gonna say the New Day because they were the only ones that didn’t do a horrible rap this week. Pick New Day

Buddy Murphy vs. Cedric Alexander

Geno Mrosko: Whatever. Pick: Buddy Murphy

Sean Rueter: Which one gets us to the already overdue Mustafa Ali title reign quicker? I want Ali to beat his old nemesis Drew Gulak for the belt at ‘Mania, so Drew needs a face to beat for the belt. Pick: Cedric Alexander

Kyle Decker: Full disclosure: I don’t watch 205 Live anymore. Hell, I’m past even telling myself I’ll catch it later. Moving the time slot did it to me. So I’m guessing based off nothing. However, since Alexander was already champion for a long while, I don’t see it going back to him. Pick: Buddy Murphy

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: The cruiserweight division is so stacked with talent that are neck and neck with each other that I simply can’t see them pulling the trigger on another two-time champion anytime soon. Pick: Buddy Murphy

Cain A. Knight: I hope Daniel Bryan comes down to the ring before the match and starts grilling these guys on what type of car they drive. Pick: Buddy Murphy

Stella Cheeks: I want to care, I really do, but it’s hard to care about something when you’re repeatedly told that it’s not worth your time by the network that produces it. For what it’s worth, it’ll be a banger match, but it will probably feel too short. It won’t entice the non 205 fans to watch and the 205 fans will be disappointed because they know it can be better. Man, they really need to figure out this division. Pick: Buddy Murphy

Rey Mysterio vs. Randy Orton

Geno Mrosko: Orton took Mysterio’s mask, so Mysterio should take his ....... uh ....... well, he should hit him with a chair real hard! Pick: Rey Mysterio

Sean Rueter: Who’s that jumpin’ out the sky? Yeah, I’ve got nothing. Pick: Rey Mysterio

Kyle Decker: Rey should wear two masks, just in case. Pick: Rey Mysterio

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: I dunno, Orton jacked Mysterio’s neck up pretty hard with all that chair nonsense, but what I’m hoping for here is a victory from the arguable greatest of all time followed by a Rumble program opposite Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship. Pick: Rey Mysterio

Cain A. Knight: Once a victim, always a victim? I sure hope Rey proves Randy wrong. Pick: Rey Mysterio

Stella Cheeks: Can I RKO myself so I don’t have to watch this? Sorry nerds, I don’t care about the 2000’s and both these guys are old and overrated. Sue me. Pick: Randy (because Randy always somehow wins!)

Elias vs. Bobby Lashley

Geno Mrosko: Elias has gone all of 2018 without winning a match on PPV. He’s gotta turn it around at some point, right? Lashley can take a loss here. Pick: Elias

Sean Rueter: WWE’s probably already broken like 17 child labor laws, so Lashley and his sidekick need to take the rest of the year off. Pick: Elias

Kyle Decker: I’m picking the guy who’s willing to show us his ass. His All Mighty Ass. Pick: Bobby Lashley

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: Ah yes, that classic WWE staple, the battle of two people that I should like a lot more than I actually do. Sigh. Maybe the weird rules of this flavor of ladder match will come into play and somebody’ll get DQ’d for using the guitar when they’re not allowed? Probably not. Pick: Bobby Lashley

Cain A. Knight: This is the leading contender for worst match of the night. Can Lashley just give me 5 minutes of ass poses instead? I think WWE is trying to establish Elias as a babyface who isn’t a total loser, but they are off to a poor start considering how often his ass has been handed to him lately. The Living Truth is a really stupid nickname, so that isn’t helping either. This is also a complete waste of the ladder stipulation, since it’s in effect no different from a Guitar on a Pole match. Yikes, this match simply never should have been booked for TLC. Pick: Elias

Stella Cheeks: Omg this show is so long. Seriously, how am I still writing predictions? I’m gonna say Lashley. I’ve been won over by his superior posterior. Pick: Lashley

Finn Balor vs. Drew McIntyre

Geno Mrosko: Who even knows what’s going on with Balor but Drew McIntyre shouldn’t be losing right now. Pick: Drew McIntyre

Sean Rueter: As long as he can keep tweeting pictures of his junk, Finn doesn’t need to win. We’re all winners. Pick: Drew McIntyre

Kyle Decker: This is a sleeper match, one that’s been forgotten about because it was part of the crappy Raw story. But it should be awesome. They’re still protecting the hell out of McIntyre, so I don’t see him losing here. Pick: Drew McIntyre

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: Before getting his win back from Dolph Ziggler on Raw, Drew explained his initial loss away by pointing out the simple truth in pro wrestling that no one stays undefeated, and I feel like that has to inform his win/loss record going forward at least to some extent. Finn sneaks one out and gets Claymore’d and hung out to dry postmatch. Pick: Finn Balor

Cain A. Knight: You know why Finn won’t dress up as The Demon for this one? Because he’s got virtually no chance to win, so why bother? Pick: Drew McIntyre

Stella Cheeks: This is the stuff that fan fiction is made of. This match is a gift. Too bad tumblr is dead... Pick: Drewboo

Natalya vs. Ruby Riott

Geno Mrosko: There’s no way in hell they are going to have Natalya lose this match after the way they wrote this feud. Pick: Natalya

Sean Rueter: Tell your sob stories somewhere else. This is three-on-one. The winner is obvious, because math. Pick: Ruby Riott

Kyle Decker: Normally I’d think Nattie would put over the newer Ruby. But with this story, Natalya has to get the W. Ruby is going through a Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart adorned table. Pick: Natalya

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: A babyface avenging disrespect shown to her deceased father? C’mon. I don’t even have to play the cat lady solidarity card here. Pick: Natalya

Cain A. Knight: I believe a Tables match means there are no disqualifications, so I’m expecting Liv Morgan, Sarah Logan, Sasha Banks, and Bayley to all interfere and turn this one into pure chaos. Considering that Natalya went through a table on Raw, I think Ruby will suffer that same fate at TLC. However, Natalya will probably hesitate to put Ruby through a table that has Jim Neidhart depicted on it, so she’ll have to find a different piece of plunder to get the job done. Pick: Natalya

Stella Cheeks: Nattie has to win. I mean, this whole feud is built around the legacy of her dad. If she loses she’ll be a disgrace to the Hart name and, frankly, I cannot deal with butt hurt Bret tweeting about it. Pick: Natalya

Fabulous Truth vs. Mahalicia

Geno Mrosko: R-Truth and Carmella are the crowd favorites but the number 30 spot in the Royal Rumble not being a surprise might mean they want a heel for it. That is if they stick to the stipulation. Pick: Mahalicia

Sean Rueter: Whatever. Pick: Jinder Mahal & Alicia Fox

Kyle Decker: DANCE BREAK! Pick: Fabulous Truth

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: There are a lot of matches on this show and I haven’t been watching Mixed Match Challenge. Pick: Fabulous Truth (Carmella & R-Truth)

Cain A. Knight: So, whichever team wins gets the number 30 spot in the Royal Rumble. The dance break gimmick seems appropriate for the earlier portion of the Rumble, so that doesn’t bode well for Carmella and Truth. But former WWE Champ Jinder Mahal is once again a jobber, so he doesn’t really seem like a good fit either. I guess it doesn’t matter, WWE has six weeks to have the winner here do something stupid to lose their final entry spot anyway. Pick: Fabulous Truth

Stella Cheeks: Look, I love a good dance break like the rest of you, but I am here to stan my queen Alicia Fox and her BOLD fashion choices. She is criminally under appreciated and I will not stand for it! Pick: Alicia Fox (and Jinder, I guess).

That’s how we see the card playing out.

How about you?

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