WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders, & Chairs 2018 airs this Sunday, December 16, live on WWE Network. The show features twelve (whew) matches, including the First-Ever™ triple threat women’s TLC match for the Smackdown Women’s Championship, as well as The New Daniel Bryan defending the WWE Championship against AJ Styles, and more. Make sure you’re here this weekend for our complete coverage, including our live thread, results, and ongoing updates.
TLC 2018 Card:
1. WWE Championship Match: Daniel Bryan (c) vs. AJ Styles
2. Triple Threat TLC Match for the Smackdown Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka
3. Raw Women’s Championship Match: Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Nia Jax
4. Intercontinental Championship Match: Seth Rollins (c) vs. Dean Ambrose
5. Mixed Match Challenge Finals: Jinder Mahal and Alicia Fox vs. R-Truth and Carmella
6. Finn Bálor vs. Drew McIntyre
7. Guitar Ladder Match: Elias vs. Bobby Lashley
8. Cruiserweight Championship Match: Buddy Murphy (c) vs. Cedric Alexander
9. Tables Match: Natalya vs. Ruby Riott
10. Triple Threat Match for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship: The Bar (c) vs. The New Day vs. The Usos
11. Chairs Match: Randy Orton vs. Rey Mysterio
12. TLC Match: Braun Strowman vs. Baron Corbin (if Strowman wins, he gets a Universal Championship match at Royal Rumble and Corbin is stripped of all authoritative power; if Corbin wins, he becomes permanent General Manager of Raw)
As always, we’ve got your complete rundown of the card and analysis below, featuring predictions for all twelve matches. Make sure to drop a comment and let us know who you think’s winning, and be here on Sunday to see if you’re correct.
Here’s what we think will go down at TLC.
TLC Match: Braun Strowman vs. Baron Corbin
What Should Happen: Constable Head Waiter General Manager-Elect Baron Corbin shows up to cut a promo about how Braun Strowman’s not here, and how he’s about to win by forfeit. The referee starts to count Strowman out, gets to nine, and stops because Strowman has somehow commandeered an impossibly monstrous forklift and is tilting the entire arena on its side. Corbin falls out of the ring, dies, and is never heard from again.
What Will Happen: Hopefully, some easier-to-do version of that. If Raw’s opening segment was about how Baron Corbin’s the reasons for everybody’s problems and Alexa Bliss already has a bunch of dress clothes for a GM run, it’s time to have Strowman eat Corbin and remove him from our WWE Universe, Poochie-style.
Emily Pratt – Especially with Reigns out and Corbin just dragged by Rollins on Monday, Strowman is definitely winning this. Actual match quality is up in the air for me, but Braun + foreign objects has been a great combination in the past, so I’m a little optimistic.
Bill Hanstock – It certainly seems like there’s so many stipulations that Strowman HAS to win, but you really can’t ever count out WWE’s propensity to reverse-swerve itself into a massive creative corner. Corbin wins, and then the next day, Vince McMahon shows up on Raw to say “WHATEVER” and fire Corbin and give Strowman his title match. And then leave for 12 months after installing, I don’t know, Drake Maverick as interim GM-elect.
Raj Prashad – After getting brutalized by Corbin and Co., anticipating Strowman comes alive and earns yet another shot at Brock Lesnar with the win here.
Elle Collins – If they haven’t canceled this match yet, then I’m guessing Strowman wins with relatively little effort. I suppose Lashley or McIntyre might get involved, but as they grow more individually dominant it feels like they have less reason to stick their necks out for Baron Corbin.
Chairs Match: Randy Orton vs. Rey Mysterio
What Should Happen: Orton should stick a screwdriver in Mysterio’s ear and twist it around like he did to Jeff Hardy, only to find out you can’t do that to someone without dangly old piercings. Look on the bright side: Mysterio’s got a cool new set of red gear!
What Will Happen: I rarely pick Rey Mysterio to lose a WWE match, but the “chairs match” stipulation seems there to give us a finish where Mysterio meticulously sets up a Giza-sized pyramid of chairs, climbs to the top of it, and jumps off head-first with his arms behind him so Orton can RKO him. Orton wins, in the same accidental/opportunistic way he beat Hardy at Hell in a Cell.
Emily Pratt – I really had to think about this one, but I think Orton wins. Orton continues to be built up as a sadistic heel and Mysterio gets put in that underdog position, despite his legend status, from which he has historically shined.
Bill Hanstock – Chairs! That’s the deadliest table and ladder of all! There’s absolutely nothing to say about this, so Rey Mysterio wins, and Orton spends several months boredly beating up, oh, let’s say Jim Duggan.
Raj Prashad – Orton has taken rivalries to another level, and while Mysterio should get his fair share of offense, expecting Orton to mark off another legend from his list.
Elle Collins – Rey Mysterio is the one older guy I’ve been excited to have back in WWE. I’m picking him to beat Randy Orton, who nobody likes, because it’s the way things should be.
Triple Threat Match for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship: The Bar (c) vs. The New Day vs. The Usos
What Should Happen: New Day wins when they realize they can just use Lucha House Rules and attack the other teams 3-on-2.
What Will Happen: No matter who wins, this should be one of the better matches of the night. I think The Bar could stand to hold onto the championship a little while longer, especially if their two biggest opponents have had enough title reigns in the past few years to last a lifetime. In a perfect world The Bar would lose and Cesaro would go off on another attempted singles run, but also monkeys might fly out of my butt.
Emily Pratt – I am the winner of this match! Also, maybe the Usos? I feel like the Usos, and then they go continue to feud with either both of these teams or just the Bar.
Bill Hanstock – The three teams on the show do battle! Any of these teams could conceivably win this, but my official prediction is the New Day adding to their multi-time collection. Because you want a babyface team holding the titles when the Revival makes the jump to Smackdown Live. Right? Right????? (Unless the Bar wins so the Young Bucks can beat them in January.) (lol)
Raj Prashad – The Usos seem to have worked their way back to the top of the tag team division, and predicting another title run for Jey and Jimmy.
Elle Collins – This is really too many guys for one match, but all of these guys are so good that it’s going to be fun anyway. I’m not even sure it matters who wins, so I’m going to pick the Bar to retain.
Tables Match: Natalya vs. Ruby Riott
What Should Happen: Natalya should win after surprising Ruby Riott with a table with a Liv Morgan Fathead stuck to it. If not that, Ruby should “kill” Natalya by accident, only for her to be revived by a group of stray cats, Batman Returns-style. I don’t know.
What Will Happen: This seems like another excuse for Natalya to attempt to cry on command, so I’ll say Natalya has the match won, but loses when Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan do something unfair and/or totally fair in the spirit of fun depending on your Raw announcer of choice.
Emily Pratt – Apologies to the Anvil, but I think Ruby Riott needs this win a lot more. But will WWE actually have Nattie go through a table bearing the image of her dead dad? I doubt it.
Bill Hanstock – Natalya would seemingly have to win this feud based around her dead father, but WWE also really seems to enjoy making people as sad as possible. I’ll still predict Natalya to win, but I’m not confident about it.
Raj Prashad – Natalya just has to get revenge for her father here, right? Taking the Queen of Hearts.
Elle Collins – Look, I know she’s been disrespecting a recently departed legend and all, but what’s the point of this match if the veteran Natalya doesn’t put over the rookie Ruby Riott. These two can put on a good match, even with the table stipulation in play, but I’m pretty invested in Ruby winning. Good, evil, whatever, she’s the future.
Cruiserweight Championship Match: Buddy Murphy (c) vs. Cedric Alexander
What Should Happen: Buddy Murphy and the Cruiserweight Championship stole the show at both WWE Super Show-Down in Australia and Survivor Series, so they get another main-card appearance and do it again at TLC. The world continues to take extremely slow notice of the fact that while WWE can’t book cruiserweights, they can for an hour every week when nobody’s watching. Murphy retains, and they use some of Mustafa Ali’s momentum from his Smackdown match with Daniel Bryan to set up an even bigger, better match for Royal Rumble.
What Will Happen: Yeah, I read what I just typed, but this card has 12 matches on it. Back, back to the pre-show with you! :(
Emily Pratt – I’m pretty sure Murphy will retain here because I doubt they’ll put the belt back on Alexander so quickly. This should be another really good match between these two, and it’s cool to see another cruiserweight match on the main card.
Bill Hanstock – It’s too early for Murphy to lose the title, and definitely not to lose it back to Cedric, as there isn’t really anywhere to go that Cedric hasn’t already gone. That’s my assumption, anyway. Buddy Murphy for life.
Raj Prashad – As much as I love Cedric Alexander, picking Buddy Murphy to retain in another really solid title bout.
Elle Collins – Buddy Murphy is doing great things with that belt, and as much as I like Cedric Alexander, Buddy’s retaining. More importantly, this match is going to be really good.
Guitar Ladder Match: Elias vs. Bobby Lashley
What Should Happen: Bobby Lashley should bend over and slap his ass, and then Elias should smash him in the butt with a chair to pin him. Also, we shouldn’t be having what amounts to a “guitar on a pole” match in 2018 on pay-per-view in not WCW. Also also, Jeff Jarrett shows up.
What Will Happen: Really hoping they’ve got a plan for this one. All signs point to Lio Rush climbing the ladder instead of Lashley to grab the guitar, then either attacking Elias so Lashley can get a “tainted” win — pun intended — or Elias boots him, smashes him in the back with the guitar, then turns around into a spear. Either way, HEY BAHBBY wins.
Emily Pratt – ELIAS ASCENDS VIA GUITAR MURDER, CHALLENGES FOR UNIVERSAL CHAMPIONSHIP.
Bill Hanstock – This sure does exist! Let’s hope Elias hits Bobby Lashely in the butt with a guitar. Elias wins. Or not. It doesn’t matter. The real winner is entropy.
Raj Prashad – Judging from Lashley’s history in ladder matches, Elias should have the upper hand in this one. Picking the Drifter to finish off Lashley with a guitar shot.
Elle Collins – If Elias can’t win a ridiculous guitar-based gimmick match, when can he win? I’m a little worried that he’ll fall before the perceived need for Bobby Lashley to seem indomitable, but it really feels like this match is made to get Elias the win and help cement him as a fun babyface.
Finn Bálor vs. Drew McIntyre
What Should Happen: That really doesn’t look like a promotional image for a wrestling match. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining.
What Will Happen: The only question here is whether or not we see the Demon Bálor. I think we do, and that McIntyre manages to defeat him anyway. McIntyre needs a real kind of rub if he’s ever going to do anything at the top of the card, and Bálor is in that weird stasis where he’s just the same amount of boringly “over” all the time and nothing he does ever seems to matter. I’d like to be completely wrong and for this to end up stealing the show, but … yeah, I think Drew’s just going to end up with a bunch of colorful paint on the bottom of his boot.
Emily Pratt – If the Demon shows up, I think Finn wins. If not, I think McIntyre’s journey to the top continues unheeded.
Bill Hanstock – There’s only a set number of losses that Drew McIntyre will be taking over the next couple of years, and I don’t envision Finn Bálor being one of them.
Raj Prashad – Bálor has floundered in meaningless rivalries for far too long, so naturally assuming he loses another one — this time to Drew McIntyre.
Elle Collins – I’d like to live in a world where it might be Finn Bálor that wins this match. Drew’s great, don’t get me wrong, I’m just nostalgic for the days when we thought Finn’s push was coming. But we live in this world now, and we all know Drew McIntyre’s winning this match.
Mixed Match Challenge Finals: Jinder Mahal and Alicia Fox vs. R-Truth and Carmella
What Should Happen: R-Truth and Carmella win, because the idea of Jinder Mahal and Alicia Fox winning anything meaningful right now is hilarious, and they do a bit where Truth runs out as #30 in the women’s Royal Rumble. Even better if Carmella gets the #30 spot, Truth shows up afterward, and tosses her out thinking it will give him a United States Championship match.
What Will Happen: That, probably, plus a lot of flossing. Hey guys, it’s an R-Truth vs. Jinder Mahal pay-per-view match! Sorry everyone else in the Mixed Match Challenge got hurt!
Emily Pratt – I am so psyched for the sheer crazy girl energy of Alicia Fox vs. Carmella, and for what’s sure to be a wacky conclusion to this ridiculous season of the MMC. The Fabulous Truth definitely wins this as Mahalicia finally implodes.
Bill Hanstock – It’s gotta be R-Truth and Carmella, right? Either way, No. 30 is a comedy spot in both Rumbles now, and there’s a lot more to mine from R-Truth and Carmella in those spots. R-Truth is definitely attempting to enter the women’s Rumble at No. 30, isn’t he?
Raj Prashad – R-Truth and Carmella’s in-match antics have them over the moon right now, and they’ve gotta be the favorites to become MMC champs.
Elle Collins – It’s got to be R-Truth and Carmella. As I’ve been saying in the Mixed Match Challenge recaps, Carmella has become the protagonist of this tournament, and her victory is the only proper resolution.
Intercontinental Championship Match: Seth Rollins (c) vs. Dean Ambrose
What Should Happen: Dean Ambrose is about to win by Dirty Deeds’ing Rollins through some cinderblocks, when a vision of Roman Reigns dressed as the Virgin Mary appears on the Titantron. Thinking only he can see it, Ambrose is driven to madness, and Rollins stomps him through the blocks to win and retain the championship.
What Will Happen: I figure Ambrose is going to win this. If he doesn’t, and doesn’t cost Rollins two championships in his first couple of months as Gotham’s Bane, what’s the point? Shift the IC title to Ambrose, separate these two after the pay-per-view (or at least after the Royal Rumble) and reposition Rollins to be the guy who takes the title off Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. It’s the right call. Strowman’s already nerfed like so much Bastion.
Emily Pratt – Oh man, I was so much more psyched for this match when it was first announced! Raw, get it together! I think Ambrose wins and the feud continues, but sadly I don’t really care. The match will probably bang though.
Bill Hanstock – While I wouldn’t be surprised if Rollins retains here (in order to keep the only singles champion on Raw a fighting champion), it doesn’t make sense to have Dean lose his first big match since his turn. Of course, both men feel bigger than the Intercontinental Championship at this point, but my official prediction is a non-finish, setting up a stipulation match at Royal Rumble. (Or hell, Rollins loses the IC title and enters at No. 1, then wins the whole dang thing.)
Raj Prashad – The evolution of Ambrose’s character has dampened the heat this match should have. Assuming they can spark the fire on Sunday, with Rollins keeping the belt.
Elle Collins – I think Dean needs to win here, because this storyline probably works better if Seth is chasing the IC Title instead of holding it. Dean winning would keep things going for longer, plus he’d get to do weird promos with the title.
Raw Women’s Championship Match: Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Nia Jax
What Should Happen: Ronda Rousey quickly disposes of Nia Jax, punches her really hard in the face for real once before locking her in an armbar, and then we don’t hear from Jax for like six months while she figures out how to wrestle better and speak into a microphone.
What Will Happen: That, I hope. Obviously Rousey’s keeping the championship until The Man comes around, so we need to take the Smackdown Women’s Championship off Becky Lynch and clear the runway for her winning the Royal Rumble and deciding to challenge Ronda instead of Charlotte. Let’s just hope they don’t take the long way around by having Jax beat Ronda here, Lynch beat Jax at the Rumble, and RONDA win the Rumble to challenge Lynch so they can say Ronda Rousey won a Royal Rumble.
Emily Pratt – This is one of a few matches on this card that it’s hard for me to come up with a prediction for besides *shrugs* because Raw is so bad right now. Like, anything could happen and none of it matters and whatever happens feels like it will be done badly. However, I enjoyed Jax and Rousey’s first match, so I’m hoping for the best here.
Bill Hanstock – Ronda retains, proving that the fist is not as important as the arm to which it is connected. (Which Ronda will break.)
Raj Prashad – I have faith that WWE won’t play into Ronda Rousey’s UFC past and have Jax “knock her out”, so going Rousey. Just needed to put that in writing in case they shock us all and put Rousey to sleep.
Elle Collins – Obviously Ronda wins. Because if she hasn’t lost yet, she’s not losing at TLC. The only real question here is what becomes of Nia Jax once she loses to Rousey, but we won’t learn the answer to that until Sunday’s come and gone.
Triple Threat TLC Match for the Smackdown Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka
What Should Happen: As I mentioned above, the best idea (at least to me) is to have something slightly opportunistic happen again, like maybe Asuka has Becky in the Asuka Lock, so Charlotte runs up the ladder and pulls down the championship. There’s probably good money in another Charlotte vs. Asuka WrestleMania match, especially if you’re doing Lynch vs. Rousey (which you obviously are), so have Charlotte be the scumbag champion she was born to be, ride the momentum, and give us her vs. Asuka, anything goes, at Mania. That’d be two can’t-miss women’s championship matches on your biggest show of the year.
What Will Happen: I definitely think Charlotte wins here. Becky Lynch’s eventual match with Rousey is more important than her holding the Smackdown Women’s Championship, and if you work around her face here and get her through the match undamaged any further, you can give her a few more understandable weeks off to rest and rehabilitate and make sure she’s 115% for a Rumble/WrestleMania run at the tip-top of the card. Where she belongs.
Emily Pratt – My prediction for this match is a lot of fist-pumping by me combined with every over the top Ilana Wexler quote about women from Broad City. My ideal result is Asuka wins and Lynch pursues her for a rematch, but I think we could also see Lynch retain… and still feud with Asuka. Honestly, the SmackDown women’s division is so hot right now and I’m just happy to see how this unfolds.
Bill Hanstock – It’s not inconceivable that Asuka could win her first(!) main roster championship here, freeing Lynch up to win the Royal Rumble and challenge Ronda Rousey and WrestleMania and freeing Charlotte up to chase and challenge Asuka for the title at the biggest show of the year for the second year in a row, I imagine Charlotte will be coming out on top in this match, by taking advantage of and screwing over both of her opponents and snagging the belt to become however-many-time champion. (It helps that this one is a ladder match, honestly.) It’s possible Asuka gets to challenge Charlotte for the title once again at Mania, but finally get the big win there in Part II.
Raj Prashad – No reason to think “The Man” drops the title here unless putting Asuka in the championship match was a sneaky way to get the belt off Lynch and put it on Asuka without making her take the loss. Lynch’s pursuit for the belt again could be even more fun than her holding the title.
Elle Collins – This could go a lot of ways, but I’m predicting that The Man retains. I don’t think Asuka wins because of how dominant they made her look at the end of Smackdown, and I think/hope WWE has learned their lesson when it comes to letting Charlotte Flair steal a belt that fans think Becky Lynch should have. No, I don’t know how we get from here to WrestleMania, but I don’t think Becky’s reign is over just yet.
WWE Championship Match: Daniel Bryan (c) vs. AJ Styles
What Should Happen: The New Daniel Bryan figures out a way to kick one man in the groin two times and retains. The last thing I want from this pay-per-view is AJ goddamn Styles leaving as WWE Champion again. We’re done. Daniel Bryan is a wrestling genius and already had a killer match with Mustafa Ali on Smackdown, I don’t need Styles holding onto it for another six months and only wrestling two people ever. If Daniel Bryan kicks him hard enough to send him to 205 Live, I wouldn’t complain.
What Will Happen: I’m really worried they’re going to give the belt back to Styles. If they do, it’s the worst decision they’ve made in a while, which is saying something if you’ve seen Raw or Saudi Arabia or Hulk Hogan lately. I probably have too much emotional currency in Daniel Bryan, and do not want to see a flat-Earther defeat the guy who cares about the environment in an already politically uncomfortable WWE. Also, Daniel Bryan is just a dozen times better than Styles at every understandable aspect of pro wrestling and don’t you even think about @’ing me.
Emily Pratt – The New Daniel Bryan drives a Prius to the ring, Eddie Guerrero style, and defeats AJ Styles.
Bill Hanstock – Daniel Bryan is hot, hot, hot, and although I have absolutely no idea with whom Styles will feud next (Shane McMahon again? shudder), there’s no way D-Bry doesn’t retain here. My only hope is that he hits Styles in the groin with his small child to win.
Raj Prashad – The “new” Daniel Bryan has been great since turning heel on Styles, and there are still plenty of low blows to go around. Picking Bryan to hold the title here.
Elle Collins – Everything that’s going on with the New Daniel Bryan is just too interesting for him to lose the belt right back to Styles. I’m not sure what’s next for AJ, but I’m pretty confident that what’s next for Bryan is more time as WWE Champion.
Those are our thoughts on TLC 2018, happening under the rule of the Mad King Baron Corbin. Do you agree with our thoughts and picks? Let us know down in the comments section, and make sure you’re here all weekend for our TLC coverage!