WWE’s Raw roster presents their final solo pay-per-view of the year on Sunday night as they host TLC live from The Target Centre in Minneapolis Minnesota.
The buildup to TLC could be described as lacklustre, but the events of the past 24 hours have allowed the WWE Universe to finally get excited about the show.
Illness has swept through the WWE locker room over the past few weeks and it seems that because of this three superstars have been ruled out of TLC which has had quite an impact on the matches that were already announced.
Whilst there are still three women’s matches and three Cruiserweight segments announced for the show, WWE have managed to pull a fantasy match out of the ashes as well as allowing Kurt Angle to return to a WWE ring for the first time in more than a decade.
Ready to share all of their opinions ahead of tomorrow’s show is this months panel including Jake Waring, Andrew Parker, Conair Bibby, Emellio Savvas, Phillipa Hopwood, Andy Arthurs and Vickie Hopwood.
Phillipa, Vickie, Jake, Conair, Andrew – Sasha Banks
Andy – Alicia Fox
Thoughts by Vickie – Sasha Banks has gone from being a main eventing history maker to being part of the preshow with Alicia because WWE didn’t want to push her towards the Championship again but at the same time they didn’t want her to job out to Asuka. It seems that Sasha has come to the point where there’s nothing left for her to do on Raw, so now she’s falling back down in the same way that she once climbed up. It’s a sad thing to see but if WWE hadn’t forced Sasha down our throat to begin with and give Sasha everything so quickly then she wouldn’t be in this position now. It seems that WWE really have messed up with her, maybe a switch over to SmackDown Live could be on the cards for her in the future.
Phillipa, Vickie, Andy, Andrew – Kalisto
Jake, Conair – Enzo Amore
Thoughts by Andrew – I admit it. I was wrong about Enzo in the Cruiserweight Division. I was strongly of the opinion that Enzo would flounder, die a slow and painful death on screen, be released and become a DJ of some small-town radio station. But whadda-ya-know, the lad has only gone and made any segment he’s in a much-watch piece of TV. Every time he picks up the mic, gold falls from his lips, and whilst his ring work isn’t up to the standard of others, it’s clear that he’s improving all the time. However, I don’t see him regaining the title. Kalisto has only just grabbed it, and whilst I understand that WWE seems to have a fetish for hot-shotting the championships at times (Kalisto himself has been a victim of this in the past), I don’t see it happening here. We need a nice face run for the Cruiserweight belt, and Kalisto is the best superstar for the job.
Phillipa, Vickie, Jake, Andy, Andrew, Conair – Asuka
Emellio – Emma
Thoughts by Emellio – In my opinion, this has to be one of the best matches on the card! We have ‘The Empress of Tomorrow’ up against the beauty from down under. Both of these women have a lot at stake and a lot to prove. Emma has been waiting for a time to prove that she is a force to be reckoned with but will her cocky attitude get in the way? Probably! Asuka has been a destructive force on NXT and with her debut match right around the corner only great things can come from this pure talent that we have all come to love and admire. This match has been built up to be an amazing collision between two very different competitors. As far as my hopes for the match, it is clear that Emma will target Asuka’ previously injured shoulder and hope to build an offensive strategy from that. Will this be Emma’s time? Probably until she gets in her own way. Asuka will be looking for any moment of weakness from Emma to hopefully capitalise, with her well aware that Emma will be targeting that shoulder, will she go in for an offensive or strategic strategy. That I can’t make up my mind. I hope Emma will win the match! But will she? Well, I think it’s safe to say I won’t be betting money on her.
Phillipa, Andrew – Swann and Alexander
Vickie, Conair, Jake, Andy, Conair – Gallagher and Kendrick
Thoughts by Conair – TWO Cruiserweight matches on a pay per view?! Wow, can’t you tell the main event scene is all lumbered into one match tonight. Really though, it’s awesome to see a feud that would normally be segregated to 205 Live get some main show exposure in the form of an (albeit short) tag team match. Jack Gallagher turned baddie after attacking Cedric Alexander during his match with Brian Kendrick. Gallagher and Kendrick had been feuding for a while beforehand, so Gallagher showing up mid-match wasn’t necessarily a surprise. Gallagher cemented his turn by changing up his ring gear (the man wrestles in a full suit!) basically confirming that he’s evil. No man could do that without sweating his vital bodily fluids. Now, switching from that disgusting visual, Rich Swann came to Alexander’s aid because….I guess they’re friends? This part was never really explained. This falls into the “all faces are buddies” trope which the WWE likes to fall back on around this time of year especially, with Survivor Series and all of its multi-man tag team mayhem. Might as well start the trend early, eh? I have Gallagher and Kendrick to win here. It’s not like Swann and Alexander have any momentum to lose and it’s a nice little way of getting Gallagher over as a heel, especially since he was quite openly portrayed as a lovable (albeit buffoonish) babyface since his debut last year. Plus, I’m pretty sure that this is Alexander’s first PPV match, and faces aren’t allowed to win PPV debuts. Tally ho!
Phillipa, Vickie, Andy, Andrew, Conair – Alexa Bliss
Jake – Mickie James
Thoughts by Phillipa – Alexa Bliss defends her Raw Women’s Championship in quite a poetic match against Mickie James, considering her current challenger was only brought back to WWE because of her. Mickie makes history just by being in this match as she becomes the first woman to challenge for every title that the women of WWE have been given over the past decade, but could become a seven-time Women’s Champion with a win here. But, we are talking about Alexa Bliss, she’s a smart Champion, she knows that if she’s about to lose her title then she only has to get herself disqualified and she will live to fight another day. It’s hard to bet against Alexa in her current form, but since Nia was last seen when she faced Mickie on Raw and future plans suggest that WWE want Nia vs Alexa to pick back up, interference from Nia would perhaps be the safe bet here.
Phillipa, Andy, Jake, Andrew, Conair – Finn Balor
Vickie – AJ Styles
Thoughts by Andy – Alright. This threw everything up in arms. I was going to originally do a semi-comedic look at one of the oddest and potential flop matches of 2017. Super Spoop Cross Dress Wyatt versus Mr Halloween Town Jack’o’lantern Finn Balor… This isn’t the case. Bray came down with Viral Meningitis so no joking is here. Hope Sister Abigail looks after him. However? Didn’t we get a bloody good announcement that made NJPW fans and Dave Meltzer feel like a 16-Year-old on Prom Night?? Bray out. AJ Styles in. The match between two former leaders of the infamous Bullet Club, in a dream scenario everyone has been clamouring for. If no funny business takes place? This will steal the show. No doubt about that. Unless AJ is Sister Abigail. Then I have no idea….
Phillipa, Jake, Andy, Conair – Team Angled Shield
Vickie, Andrew – The Demon Monster Among Miz Bar
Thoughts by Jake – Pick the bones out of this one. What a weird, yet interesting match. The Shield are back- for now- and it’s awfully exciting for the merchandise department at least. The Miz is on top form and is, for me, the safest pair of hands around a promo in WWE right now. The Bar are fantastic, two great wrestlers having a lovely old time wrestling together. Braun Strowman is the next BIG thing and has had a meteoric rise since his humble beginnings as ‘Second Wyatt henchman on the left’. And Mayor (sorry, that’s premature) Glenn Jacobs (sorry, Kane) has re-emerged (quite literally, through the ring on Monday night). The Shield surely can’t lose their reunion match, can they? But they are outnumbered by almost 2 to 1, and exactly that if poor old Curtis gets a look in Chants ‘Curtis Axel!’ I’m going to boldly throw a massive curveball at this and say an outside bet might be… REST. IN. PEACE…. However, Roman Reigns is in it so The Shield will win. STOP PRESS: No Roman Reigns! How on earth can I be expected to pick the bones out of the rubble caused by viral meningitis?! Roman, I don’t hate you, I hate the idea of you. Get well soon, Big Dog. Angle and the Shield wins. Oh, it’s true, it’s damn true.