Weekly Wrestling Recap 12-17-2011
It’s the eve of the final pay-per-view of 2011 and WWE Tables, Ladders, and Chairs has a card that should close out the year with a bang. What’s crazy about this show is that John Cena isn’t even on it nor has he been announced to even be in attendance. Over the last few days, Cena has been very active on Twitter mentioning how he will be on this weekend’s WWE house show circuit but will be watching the pay-per-view from home on Sunday. Whether these tweets are company sponsored plants for him to come to TLC as a big surprise or whether they are legit is still up in the air. What it will prove however, is the ability for the WWE to sell a pay-per-view without Cena being advertised on the card. If TLC gets the lowest buy rate of the year, we’ll certainly know where to place a large amount of the blame. A great story line angle to write Cena out of the card would be to say that he was still injured from Monday’s attack on RAW by the returning big red monster Kane. Kane’s return was very well done at the end of the broadcast and attacking Cena instead of Henry should be a precursor to a new feud between the two. Here’s a video of how it all went down:
WWE TLC also features some huge returns to the ring including Kevin Nash vs Triple H in a Sledgehammer on a Ladder Match and Booker T making a return against Cody Rhodes for the Intercontinental Title. Both matches have had solid build up leading up to them and should be highly entertaining. I expect both Triple H and Cody Rhodes to win and the rumor on the street is that Triple H will be facing Undertaker at WM 28 in a rematch. They had the best match on the card this year so I can see that happening, but it would be nice for the Undertaker to be in something fresh as well. A side note is that TLC takes place in Baltimore and if there are any local peeps reading this on IHJJR, last I heard the WWE has opened up some more tickets at 1st Mariner Arena so get on it if you don’t already have them.
The main event is CM Punk vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. The Miz in a Triple Threat TLC match. This feud is both a continuation of Punk/Del Rio’s ongoing program as well as an opportunity for The Miz to get back into the Main Event scene. I don’t see CM Punk losing the title but it should make for a fun match. A big rumor on the internet has been that Jericho is the returning wrestling behind the “It’s Coming” videos for 1/2/2012 and he will face CM Punk for the WWE Championship at ‘Mania. This is a fan boys dream come true which is why I think the rumor is probably false or that the WWE will drop the ball with it in some way. Punk however does need a strong opponent in 2012 and the Miz could feud with him leading into Rumble.
It’s interesting to note that the match that has the most hype and build up surrounding it, is for the United States Championship. Zack Ryder gets his title shot finally against Dolph Ziggler. I think Ziggler has to win this match for a few different reasons. First of all, from a merchandise standpoint he is becoming a cash cow for the WWE and like his YouTube videos or not, people can only support a perennial loser for so long before he needs to get a big win. A second reason is that Dolph Ziggler is prime for a major push to the Main Event in 2012 and the U.S. title is pretty much an afterthought for him at this point. Dolph is good on the mic and doesn’t necessarily need Vickie for cheap heat anymore either. I think it’s only time before you see the two split as the WWE has been building up a lot of ground work for her back up plan in Jack Swagger. Dolph is my early pick to win the Rumble and I think that if he can even get the title before Mania, a Ziggler/Daniel Bryan match would be epic in Miami. There has been some rumors that if John Cena does appear at TLC, he could be the special guest referee for this match but I don’t expect that to come through at this point.
Elsewhere on the card is Henry vs. Big Show for the World Heavyweight Title. I’d love to see Kane interfere in this match as we’ve seen these two behemoths go at it one too many times and at this point Henry is too big of a force to drop the belt to Big Show. Randy Orton and Wade Barrett will face each other in a Tables match which will be an exciting match to see. Barrett has stepped up his game tremendously in recent weeks and feels like a main eventer again. Orton needed a good heel to feud with and I wouldn’t be surprised if this one continued into the Rumble.
In other news, this was a busy week for the WWE with the Tribute to the Troops special airing on Tuesday. It was a fun show with a little bit of storyline progression, but the Nickelback and Mary J Blige performances were really boring to sit through. George Wallace doing stand up for a PG show didn’t make much sense either. Maria Menounos looked great and the main event was fun with John Cena celebrating the troops in a speech afterword.
Yahoo sports has a good recap of all of the Slammy Award winners from Monday on their site: http://sports.yahoo.com/top/news?slug=ycn-10666177. The Fatal 4-Way on the show between Dolph Ziggler, Zack Ryder, Cody Rhodes, and Daniel Bryan absolutely stole the show and will make you an even bigger wrestling fan if you aren’t one already. Watch it in its entirety here:
Here is the final card going into WWE TLC, there might be one more match such as a WWE Tag Team Championship match between Kofi/Evan Bourne and Epico/Primo added last minute.
Triple Threat TLC Match for the WWE Title
The Miz vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. CM Punk
Chairs Match for the World Heavyweight Title
Big Show vs. Mark Henry
Sledgehammer Ladder Match
Kevin Nash vs. Triple H
United States Title Match
Zack Ryder vs. Dolph Ziggler
Intercontinental Title Match
Booker T vs. Cody Rhodes
Wade Barrett vs. Randy Orton
Adi contributes regular columns on the world of Pro-Wrestling, Tech, Video Games, and Movies. You can follow him on Twitter @adiraval