Tables, Ladders and ….. Meningitis! – TLC Preview and Card Predictions – 10/22/2017

For those of you who haven’t been keeping up, the Raw roster has been plagued by a Meningitis outbreak that has rocked the roster, and led to some rather insane match changes for this card, including the return to action for our GM and the Olympic Gold Medalist, Kurt Angle.  I’m scratching my head on some of it, like slotting in a match like AJ Styles vs Finn Balor because Bray can’t make their scheduled match.  AJ-Balor is a dream match, and one that you’d be completely ok seeing at the top of a Wrestlemania card, but it has absolutely no build or anything here, so it’s just odd that’s the direction they went with it.  Kurt Angle clearly hates Miz and he’s also going to be a massive draw even if it’s just for nostalgia, so I guess it’s ok to go ahead and burn the surprise return to action that was undoubtedly being saved for later.  As long as we don’t get any more medical leave on the roster, this is the card and these are our predictions:

The Mountain Dew, KFC, Little Ceasars, Kay Jewelers Kick-Off Show

There’s not really any predictions to be made here, Drew Gulak is going to give a “Championship Edition” Powerpoint Presentation.  He won’t get far into it before Tozawa attacks him, but still.  Drew Gulak has stepped up and been an incredibly bright spot in a world trying to move on without The Man That Gravity Forgot, Neville (The Once and Future King of the Cruiserweights).  This will be an enjoyable segment if they give Gulak enough time to roll with it (see his work from Tuesday night’s 205 Live.  He’s great.).

Alicia Fox vs Sasha Banks

Matt:  There are THREE WOMEN’S MATCHES ON THIS CARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Ok, now that I got that excitement out of the way, this could be a decent match, but I’m going to have to watch it on mute because I can’t listen to Alicia screech.  She won’t get the win either.  Sasha Banks hits the Banks Statement.

Jeremy:  Step aside Dean Ambrose, Alicia Fox is the real lunatic fringe.  What I love about her is that it seems like she doesn’t know it’s a work.  Her commitment is scary.  We could frankly use a little more Alicia Fox in the rest of the roster.

That said, Sasha Banks hits the Banks Statement.

Tables, Ladders and Chairs 2017 – Main Card

Cedric Alexander and Rich Swann vs The Brian Kendrick and Jack Gallagher

Matt:  This will be a decent match, and I expect it to open the show because Rich Swann gets the crowd going.  Gallagher and Kendrick have been good characters working heel together, and Rich Swann does some really cool stuff in the ring, so this match could be another good one.  Not a lot of stakes on this card, as only two championships are up for grabs (with no Universal defense, and the Tag and IC Champs all involved in the TLC contest).  The Good Guys Win, probably via a Lumbar Check-Whatever Cool Flippy Thing Rich Swann Does tandem move.

Jeremy:  There’s other great double-knees in the business, but the Lumbar Check is the best I’ve seen. I love Kendrick and Gallagher but Matt is right.  Swann and Alexander pick up the pinfall here.

Asuka Debuts, Asuka vs Emma

Matt:  As much as I’m on team #GiveEmmaAChance (and secretly trying to trend #GetEmmaNewLipstick), Asuka is going to get a win here.  They’ll both look like rock stars, hopefully, as they have the potential to show you exactly why the NXT Women’s Division changed everything and started the revolution.  When Emma is allowed, she shines brightly.  Asuka will get the win, and not in a squash either.

Jeremy: I think this actually might be the longest women’s match on the roster.  Even if it’s one-sided, I expect Asuka to take the time to toy with her prey.  If you want a strong women’s division, you have Asuka make Emma look great.  They have the potential to put on a 4-star match.  And this is one of the only matches that have been planned way in advance.  They’ve had a lot of time to figure out how to build this match in the ring.  I’m excited for it.  Asuka Lock for the win.

Cruiserweight Championship Match – Kalisto defends against Enzo Amore

Matt:  Enzo Amore is not the best in ring performer.  I’m sure he’d even admit that.  But what he’s done to get more people tuned in for the cruiserweight division deserves some recognition here.  I’ve been singing the praises of 205 Live for a while, and I don’t necessarily like that Enzo cuts 10 minute promos on an hour long program each week, he’s getting people to tune in to the best hour WWE puts together each week.  I do expect him to get this belt back, most likely by assistance from his “Money Team”, and it really works for the story they’ve been working, because it would open the entire division up to get a piece of Enzo again as his “protection paperwork” would be cancelled out from his last reign.  Enzo Amore is the new Cruiserweight Champion via Jaw-Done-Zo.

Jeremy:  I honestly don’t know.  Kalisto is always a boring champion.  He does “lucha things” but has zero personality.  For that reason, I think it’s best for Enzo to get it back.  There’s way more story possibilities here.

Raw Women’s Championship – Alexa Bliss defends against Mickie James

Matt:  I’m happy they are still utilizing Mickie James and she wasn’t just brought back for a nostalgia pop and to be the brunt of a bunch of old lady jokes.  Alexa Bliss isn’t dropping this belt until she meets Asuka, and then Asuka may hold it forever.  Alexa Bliss retains.

Jeremy: Alexa Bliss retains.  I don’t expect them to have great chemistry in the ring.  I hope I’m wrong.

Finn Balor vs AJ Styles

Matt:  I don’t know if I even want to talk about it.  I feel robbed of whatever story they could have put together to get to this down the line.  I hate the idea that if Balor does bring the Demon then AJ is guaranteed to lose, which does what to his World Championship opportunity hopes?  If Balor doesn’t beat AJ, why is he still viable to defeat Sister Abigail-Bray in Drag?  I don’t know.  I am just going to take the easy pick here and say they’re going to use a win here over Styles to build Balor towards a meeting with Brock Lesnar (which he’s going to lose), and really I’m making that decision because it’s a Raw show and Styles can go back to Smackdown and they’ll just ignore that it happened anyway.  Finn Balor wins.

Jeremy: I’m not so bothered but the lack of build here.  As the founder and his successor to the bullet club, they have an unspoken history, even if its not directly with each other.  I would love to have the Good Brothers on commentary here.  I don’t even want them to interfere, I just want them to provide insight on both nerds in the ring.

Since they are advertising The Demon, Finn is going over here.  I expect a damn good match though.  I imagine they’ll find themselves on opposite sides at Survivor Series and maybe another match at next year’s Mania.  Coup de Grace for pinfall on AJ Styles.

The Hodge-Podge Shield vs The Miz’s Band of Merry Misfits (Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose & Kurt Angle vs The Miz, Braun Strowman, Kane, Cesaro & Sheamus)

Matt:  What?  It was one thing when it was 3 on 5 so The Shield could look huge.  Now it’s 3 on 5 with a ring rusted GM stepping in for sickly Roman Reigns.  I don’t see this thing going down with quite the handicap.  Kane doesn’t seem to make sense here without Roman, a statement I make built entirely on the idea that his purpose was to build an “I’m avenging my brother” story.  I do desperately want to see Strowman and Angle trade Powerslam for Suplex, and I’d even take Angle getting the win with the Ankle Lock on Miz, actually I’m going to predict that.  Kurt Angle wins the match via the Ankle Lock on The Miz.

Jeremy:  I kind of think, when this “Plan B” was unveiled so quickly, that we were going to get some kind of spot from Angle tonight.  I think it was inevitable.  I think they were going to tease his return to the  (WWE) ring for the first time in 11 Years at Survivor Series.  It makes sense and Kurt can still go.  With the unfortunate sickness, the surprise because a match.  I do think we get the “It Kicks” on Angle and some sort of beatdown on Angle from Braun Strowman.

It does suck that what was a show about the Shield reunion is now a show about Angle’s return to the ring.  I hope Roman (and the others) get well soon so we can actually see it.

Kane doesn’t make sense in this match anymore.  It would have made more sense at this point for him to face Finn Bálor, Demon King Vs. Demon.

This match is now about Angle Vs. The Miz & Strowman.  Angle defeats Miz with the Ankle Lock.  Strowman destroys everyone.  Jason Jordan (and maybe Matt Hardy) tries to help but also gets destroyed.

Final/Bold Predictions:

Matt:  Well, some part of me built a scenario that having Kane in the main event here was because Undertaker was going to appear so they could double chokeslam Roman, leading to a Brothers of Destruction vs The Shield match for Survivor Series (which is even more of an Undertaker centered event than Mania).  That being said, save that shit for a Raw episode where you’re competing with a pretty solid Monday Night Football match up, or just let him retire quietly.  That being said, I want chaos, damn it.  I don’t know where to put it though.  Maybe the Bludgeon Brothers take out Cesaro and Sheamus and get that main event back to even footing?  Let’s look in a different direction.  I’m going to predict that Lita helps Mickie James win the Women’s Championship, also that Johnny Gargano tears the house down by appearing to lay out the new Cruiserweight Champion.

Jeremy:  I hope that Johnny Gargano shows up on Raw or SmackDown before next April.  I can’t handle having to choose between ROH’s Supercard of Honor, which we just got tickets for, or seeing Johnny Wrestling taking on Ciampa in the main event of Takeover New Orleans.  Anyway, I think the reports of Undertaker coming back are overblown.  I think this will be ultimately a way for Roman to retire Kane as well.  The question is: will Roman be healthy enough to take out Kane before his mayoral election is over?

I personally don’t feel like anything needs to happen.  I think we would have gotten some kind of hint that Angle was going to return to the ring next month.  The meningitis forced their hand, I think.  So, instead of a surprise, they’re just telling us.