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411’s WWE TLC 2020 Preview

December 20, 2020 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
WWE TLC 2020

Hello 411 guys, gals, enbies, and everyone else! Welcome to 411’s WWE TLC 2020 preview! I’m Jeremy Thomas as always, and it’s time to take a look at the final WWE PPV of 2020. The nonsense of Survivor Series is behind us, and 2021 is almost here at last. To celebrate the end of 2020, the company is giving us a show with plenty of chaos and car wreck potential — and that’s just Nia Jax. (I kid, I kid. Mostly.) We’re still slightly short on matches, so there’s likely to be one or two more added to the show after the time of this writing. Anyway, let’s jump in and see what’s currently on tap, shall we?

Raw Tag Team Championship Match
Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin vs. Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods

First up we’re going with the match voted “Most Likely to Be On the Pre-Show” by People With Brains Magazine. Don’t take that as any knock on either of these two teams; I’m on record as being a big New Day fan and I also like Cedric and Shelton a lot, both as singles guys and as a team. But everything else has either a storyline that’s been a major focus of programming or a big gimmick (though I also think it’s equally likely that another match gets announced for the pre-show). Either way, these two teams have an opportunity to deliver here as long as they get enough time. The feud, such as it’s been, between these four has been a bit lackluster but as long as they turn it on at this show I’ll be very forgiving. Of the two teams, I think the Hurt Business definitely could use the win more. New Day will always be over, and a title win would add a little bit of weight to the Hurt Business’ current run of dominance. I really do see Shelton and Cedric pulling off the win, maybe with help from MVP.

WINNER: The Hurt Business (NEW Raw Tag Team Champions)

Firefly Inferno match
The Fiend vs. Randy Orton

The Fiend’s feud with Randy Orton has been entertaining a fair amount of the time — though admittedly when it’s fallen down, it’s fallen down pretty hard. I’ve enjoyed The Fiend’s work on Raw and I like the way this feud has been playing on Orton and Wyatt’s history thus far. While I do enjoy the character, it’s also hard to deny that The Fiend can be a bit of a momentum killer for his rivals (hello Braun Strowman, Seth Rollins, Finn Balor). That said, if there’s anyone who can suffer little as a result of losing to that character it would be Orton, who has had a phenomenal 2020. I’ve always been a bit critical of Orton as when he’s unmotivated he can be an absolute chore to watch, but that clearly hasn’t been the case. With his match being a “Firefly Inferno Match” and Alexa Bliss likely to make a return in this match, it’s hard to imagine The Fiend doesn’t beat Orton in this bout.

WINNER: The Fiend

Smackdown Women’s Championship Match
Sasha Banks vs. Carmella

Carmella is the latest woman on the WWE roster to be repackaged with this same gimmick of a glamorous, bitchy celebutante and I find myself confused every time it happens. It’s never worked whether it’s been given to Emma, Lana, Liv Morgan, or anyone else. But Vince has his gimmicks he refuses to let go of, and so we have Carmella rocking it now. To be fair, they’re at least giving this one a chance unlike the past examples I mentioned. And if anyone could make this work, it’s probably Carmella. Either way, it’s nice to see them putting some weight behind Carmella’s heel turn to establish her but that doesn’t mean she’s going over here. Sasha Banks is early in her title run and the smart money is on her retaining until they can revisit Bayley or someone else approaching that level at WrestleMania. The match should be okay, but I can’t say I’m incredibly enthused about it.

WINNER: Sasha Banks (STILL Smackdown Women’s Champion)

WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship Match
Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler vs. Asuka and Partner TBD

Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler remains the most perplexing women’s tag team in wrestling right now. I get the point of it; they want to give both women something to do, and it builds credibility for Baszler who had lost her way as a singles competitor while putting Jax in a position where they can utilize her well. But it’s just not clicking at all. Jax and Baszler don’t have that much chemistry as a team in or out of the ring, and their storyline doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. That might be in part because they’re stuck in this go-nowhere storyline with Lana, who is trying her damnedest but just isn’t able to carry her end of the whole thing. Lana being taken out of the match has to be for a reason; either WWE wants to use the spot for a big return, or they want Lana to come out and help the babyfaces get the win, letting her get one over on Jax and Baszler without actually putting the title on her. I have a feeling it might be both here.

There are a couple options for Asuka’s mystery partner here; everyone seems to be assuming Charlotte Flair or Naomi, but don’t sleep on the possibility that it could be Sonya Deville. Deville has been slowly coming back into the public eye, making TikTok videos again and posting to her Twitter account. Any of them makes more sense than Mandy Rose or Dana Brooke, who are set in their team right now, or Lana still coming out despite her “injury” which would be a bit eye-rolling. I’m going way out on a limb and picking Deville to be the returning star because I feel like Asuka will likely be facing Flair at WrestleMania and we don’t need another “tag team champions who are rivals” storyline right on the back of of Jax vs. Baszler. Look for Lana to come out and cost the champs the titles, leading to Asuka Two-Belts.

WINNER: Asuka & Sonya Deville (NEW WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions)

WWE Universal Championship TLC Match
Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens

The biggest problem that Smackdown has had in its main event scene as of late is its holding pattern feel. Everyone knows Roman Reigns is the guy, and deservedly so. He’s been kicking ass in his heel persona, and I don’t think anyone expects him not to hold the title for a good while longer. That means that WWE has been in a position where they have to find guys who can carry interesting feuds with Roman but who have no likely chance to beat him given current matters. And that’s not me giving Owens a knock; he’s a hell of a performer who has proven he can carry a title reign. But right now, he’s not in a position where I think anyone buys that he’s potentially going over the Tribal Chief. It’ll be a good match, very likely, and the TLC stipulation means that Owens will be able to look strong in his defeat as all sorts of fuckery is likely to happen. But this is an easy prediction for me, and if Owens does win I would be absolutely stunned.

WINNER: Roman Reigns (STILL WWE Universal Champion)

WWE Championship TLC Match
Drew McIntyre vs. AJ Styles

While Drew McIntyre doesn’t have the untouchable status that Reigns does right now, he is still pretty well solidified in the main event scene and probably will be at least through WrestleMania. And similarly to Reigns, he needs opponents that he can go in the ring with and which help build up him up for his eventual major opponent. AJ Styles is exactly that kind of guy. Styles is a perennially credible contender and obviously a fantastic in-ring talent, plus one who has shown exactly how great he can be in a TLC match. That gives this bout all the components it needs to be a hell of a match. There’s no reason to do the title switch here unless for shock value, and I think after the quick loss and win McIntyre had with Orton he needs to hold onto it for a bit more. So expect McIntyre to win, but the TLC stipulation to allow Styles to make a case for a rematch at the Royal Rumble.

WINNER: Drew McIntyre (STILL WWE Champion)

And that’s all we have for WWE TLC! Sure, the builds may not be the strongest and the predictions may be mostly pretty obvious, but one thing you can say about WWE in 2020 is that they’ve been consistently over-delivering on PPVs that look kind of ho-hum on paper (Survivor Series being the possible exception). If the company can avoid falling into any particular pitfalls of booking and they give the talent enough time to deliver, this could easily be another show that beats expectations.

Anyway, thanks once again for reading, and remember that we will have live coverage of WWE TLC courtesy of our the one and only Scott Slimmer, right here on 411mania.com. I’ve gotta run, my mentioning Lana seems to have gotten that gleam in Nia Jax’s eye, and — well, you know what happens then…

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WWE TLC, Jeremy Thomas