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TLC RunDown: The Blue Brand’s Refresh Button


Are you ready for some tendon-lashing chaos? It’s time to place your bets as SmackDown Live looks to end their PPV calendar with a bang. I’m just glad the card for TLC doesn’t have Ellsworth’s name on it. Anyway, let’s start the forecast!

Tables, Ladders, and Chairs Match for the WWE World Championship

Dean Ambrose vs AJ Styles (c)



AJ Styles and Dean Ambrose tried their hardest to make the rivalry work. They had great matches together, but their questionable roles hurt the quality of their program. James Ellsworth made things better for a while, establishing Styles as the pompous heel and Ambrose the goofball face. The formula was working great until Creative decided to screw it up by overstaying Ellsworth’s welcome and blurring the moral code of Ambrose’s character yet again.

If Creative didn’t give Ellsworth too much momentum and if they didn’t let Ambrose band with his former Shield-mates at Survivor Series, then maybe this storyline would be more compelling than it currently is. The way I see it, Styles was pretty much justified for his actions towards Ellsworth and there’s nothing to boo or cheer for in this match. Let’s just close this chapter and be done with it.


Who will walk out as the champ? AJ Styles should definitely retain. Both men will destroy each other for sure, but in the end, AJ Styles will find a way to retain. If they turn Ambrose heel or if they both turn, that would be great. I would actually prefer if Styles enters Wrestlemania as the champ. Wouldn’t that be sweet? For the meantime, let’s add some new faces to the world title picture.


Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship
Dolph Ziggler vs The Miz (c)


This match will probably steal the show. It won't be as emotionally-charged as their encounter at No Mercy, but I’d still bet they will deliver a classic ladder match. It’s a shame they didn’t give enough time to build up this match considering that this should be their last encounter ever. I still don’t get why they had to cut Dolph Ziggler’s momentum as the IC champ just to make Miz vs. Zayn happen at Survivor Series. Maybe we’ll have a more interesting final encounter if Ziggler is defending, but that’s all in the past now. Let’s just see what happens next after Sunday?

Who will end this rivalry as the victor? There’s no good reason for Dolph Ziggler to regain the Intercontinental Championship so I’ll place my bet on The Miz. Don’t worry, Ziggler won’t fade now that he’s not gunning for the Intercontinental title. If anything, this gives him more time to chase the WWE World Championship. Ziggler and Styles still have some unfinished business that needs to be explored.

Tables Match for the SmackDown Women’s Championship
Alexa Bliss vs Becky Lynch (c)



How often can you witness a tables match between two women? This match should be a fun one. I just wish they had something more to fight about other than Alexa’s foot being on the bottom rope. As much as I love the mic work of both women, hearing them banter week after week is getting too repetitive. Their next matchup should have more context or personal motives.

Who should be the SD Women’s champ? The only way to advance this storyline is for Alexa Bliss to decisively beat Becky Lynch for the title. Alexa will definitely breathe new life to the SmackDown Women’s Title and besides, Becky truly shines when she’s chasing a target. It’s not really fun when she’s the marked one. Everybody wins.

SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match
Bray Wyatt & Randy Orton vs Heath Slater & Rhyno (c)


This one I actually want to see. I love Heath Slater and Rhyno as much as the next guy, but they weren’t really relevant after winning the SmackDown Tag Team Championships. I really want to give them another chance to make things work, but it’s too late when the challengers are the new Wyatt Family. The piso tag titles will be Bray Wyatt’s first taste of gold, but it would be perfect if his first gold was a world title, you know? That will probably save his face a little from all the questionable booking decisions he’s been put through over the years.

Can the Wyatts bag their first gold? Absolutely. Beauty and the Man-Beast will definitely put up a fight on Sunday, but I can’t see a scenario where Slater and Rhyno escape with the tag titles still in their possession. Unless Luke Harper suddenly betrays the family out of jealousy, Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton are your new SmackDown Tag Team Champions.

No Disqualification Match
Nikki Bella vs Carmella



So, this rivalry, huh? Carmella went from attacking Nikki Bella from behind week after week to tearing Nikki a new one with her fiery promos. I know it’s uncomfortable at times, dragging Nikki’s personal life and all, but you can’t help but applaud Carmella because she delivers her insults creatively. I’m pretty sure this rivalry will also end on Sunday so this match is going to be brutal.

Who will get the last laugh on Sunday? It will definitely be Nikki Bella. She will beat Carmella once and for all to become the new contender for the SmackDown Women’s Championship. Let’s just hope Carmella won’t hit Nikki’s twins so hard they will pop out off her back. That will be gnarly.

Chairs Match
Baron Corbin vs Kalisto



Honestly, I don’t really care about this match-up. I already lost interest a few months ago after Kalisto injured his knee. Still, I have to tip my hat to Creative for re-opening this rivalry even after almost everyone forgot about it. It gave Baron Corbin something to do while reassertingg Kalisto as a valuable asset in the roster. The other reason why I don’t care about this one is because it’s a Chairs Match. Did we ever see a Chairs Match worth paying for? Kalisto better dazzle us with some chair-oriented offense.

Who will end this story on a high note? Maybe #Kalisto2016 isn’t dead like we all expected. A win over SmackDown Live’s future star will give Kalisto some momentum he already lost this year. I don’t think this rivalry will end on Sunday but if it does, I won’t really mind. At least Corbin isn’t on the pre-show.

There you have it. The last SmackDown Live PPV of the year. Are you hyped? You should be. The Blue Brand will wrap things up as they to 2017. I can’t wait to see what lies ahead next year, but for now, it’s time to tie loose ends. TLC seems like the best place to do it.



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