WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs ... and Stairs 2014 predictions

WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs ... and Stairs 2014 predictions
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The final pay-per-view of 2014 is almost upon us, and with WWE TLC’s insane lineup, there’s no doubt WWE’s Demolition Derby will be one of the wildest events of the year. Will John Cena still hold on to his No. 1 Contender’s spot after facing Seth Rollins in a Tables Match? And what kind of carnage will be in store when Dean Ambrose fights Bray Wyatt in a Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match?

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Before WWE TLC airs live on WWE Network, check out WWE.com’s predictions for this Sunday’s winners and losers. Then, add your own voice to the conversation by leaving your WWE TLC 2014 predictions in the comments section below.

The New Day vs. Gold & Stardust (Kickoff Match)

WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs ... and Stairs 2014 predictions

@JoeyStyles: I’m not sure what to make of The New Day; matching ring gear doesn’t guarantee success. That said, the WWE Hall of Fame already has four tag teams in it and will have many more in the years to come. Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston & Big E seem to have created a whole greater than the sum of its parts. With any WWE makeover comes a new sense of optimism and confidence. Conversely, “Dust to Dust” (the name I continue to call Goldust & Stardust) have a less-than-stellar win-loss record since losing the WWE Tag Team Titles. The psychological advantage these brothers may have had upon Stardust's arrival seems to have worn off. Don’t get me wrong, the face paint and body suits are more entertaining and sell more merchandise than two more guys in tights and boots, but to win back the twin titles, Goldust & Stardust will have to ditch “the cosmic key” shtick and wrestle like purebreds. Unfortunately for this duo, I don’t think they will come to that realization by this Sunday. WINNERS: The New Day

@HowardFinkel: Tensions between The New Day and the former WWE Tag Team Champions ignited quite quickly over this past week, and so the stage is set for their Kickoff Match this Sunday. The New Day has a fresh, crisp feel to them, and they should slip by Gold & Stardust. And if I may: So far we’ve seen Kofi Kingston and Big E primarily in action for New Day, and they’ve both looked better than ever!  But I’m now interested to see if Xavier Woods, who last fought on the Dec. 5 SmackDown, will partake in the tag match on Sunday, representing his group. Only time will tell. WINNERS: The New Day

WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs ... and Stairs 2014 lineup

James Wortman: The sun has just begun to rise for The New Day, a group comprised of three reinvented Superstars using the power of positive thinking to turn heads in a major way in WWE. Gold & Stardust, meanwhile, seem to view this emerging faction as a threat, especially after Kofi Kingston defeated Stardust this past week on Raw. That singles victory was a mere preview of the triumph on the horizon for The New Day in their biggest match yet as a unit. WINNERS: The New Day

Scott Taylor: Look up “synergy” in the dictionary and you may just see a picture of The New Day. Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston & Big E were each impressive young Superstars in their own right, but as a group, the sky’s the limit for this spirited trio. Gold & Stardust have experience on their side, but when working together, The New Day look like a force to be reckoned with. WINNERS: The New Day

John Clapp: The New Day’s looking to make noise and can’t afford a setback at this stage, but I believe Gold & Stardust are motivated to reassert themselves. Don’t be shocked if the face-painted brothers take their sinister behavior to new depths at WWE TLC, much to the detriment of The New Day. WINNERS: Gold & Stardust

The New Day: 4, Gold & Stardust: 1

WWE Tag Team Champions The Miz & Damien Mizdow vs. The Usos

WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs ... and Stairs 2014 predictions

@JoeyStyles: The Usos are a superior team in every conceivable way. Even those of you who might disagree with me must admit there is a chance of Damien Mizdow throwing his own feet out from underneath himself if Miz gets knocked down. Regardless, Miz demonstrated equal parts showmanship and sleaze by driving a wedge between Jimmy Usos and his wife, Naomi. Jimmy’s explosive temper has been on display for the world to see on “Total Divas,” Raw, Main Event and SmackDown. Miz and his strange stunt double are not above retaining the titles by goading Jimmy into getting himself and his brother disqualified. WINNERS: The Miz & Mizdow

@HowardFinkel: Cleveland-area product The Miz returns home with his stunt double, Mizdow, who I guess will adopt Cleveland as his home. Believe what you want, but true or not, Miz has done a masterful job (on the surface) of instilling in Jimmy Uso’s head that he’s setting his sights on getting Naomi an audition. Jimmy seems to be more focused on those developments than on winning the WWE Tag Team Titles, and I think that Jimmy’s preoccupation with The Miz will factor into The Usos falling short of their goals this Sunday. WINNERS: The Miz & Mizdow

James Wortman: On Monday night, The Usos won the Slammy Award for Tag Team of the Year, and it wasn’t just because the WWE Universe digs their face paint. As one of the most dominant tag teams in recent years, Jimmy & Jey Uso are determined to reclaim the prize they lost at Survivor Series to The Miz and his eager stunt double, Damien Mizdow. WWE’s self-professed “A-lister” has resorted to mind games in recent weeks by offering his unsolicited career guidance to Jimmy’s wife Naomi, but Miz’s sleazy tactics have only fortified the twin brothers’ resolve. Don’t be surprised when The Usos become two-time WWE Tag Team Champions at WWE TLC. WINNERS: The Usos

Scott Taylor: The Miz & Damien Mizdow’s in-ring theatrics may be unconventional, but they work. Together they have become a tag team that no challengers can prepare for. And whether it was intentional or not, The Miz’s offer to help Naomi’s career has become a distraction that will create issues for The Usos. WINNERS: The Miz & Mizdow

John Clapp: Jimmy Uso clearly doesn’t trust The Miz’s intentions of helping Naomi, and once he unleashes his temper against the Superstar with the Moneymaker, it’s going to be lights out for the WWE Tag Team Champions. If you thought The Usos’ double superkick was already lethal enough, wait until Jimmy throws it with serious malice. WINNERS: The Usos

The Miz & Mizdow: 3, The Usos: 2

Ryback vs. Kane (Steel Chairs Match)

@JoeyStyles: Ryback is enjoying a career resurgence. (Can anyone pinpoint exactly what derailed his dominance in the first place?) Kane has waffled between corporate enforcer and masked demon with little luck as either, as far as his win-loss record is concerned. I’m picking The Big Guy to get a big win and make a big statement by Shell Shocking Kane on a pile of steel chairs. WINNER: Ryback

@HowardFinkelThis match boils down to who can endure the most pain. Since returning to WWE, Ryback has proven his mettle. However, I feel that the difference here is Kane being more of a grizzled veteran when it comes to matches of this type. Call him Corporate Kane, call him The Devil’s Favorite Demon, but I call him the winner! WINNER: Kane

Match preview: Ryback vs. Kane (Steel Chairs Match)

James Wortman: There won’t be anything technical about this match, where two of WWE’s most muscled brawlers will wail on each other with steel chairs until one of these behemoths can’t get up. This will be a close match, as each of these adversaries has more than proven their skill at wielding this weaponized furniture in recent weeks. Yet, given Ryback’s desire to ascend to WWE’s upper echelon since returning to the ring in October, The Big Guy will close out his 2014 with a suitably big win over a seasoned veteran. WINNER: Ryback

Scott Taylor: Is it just me or is Kane regaining some of his old fire now that The Authority is out of power? Nevertheless, despite Kane’s renewed intensity, I don’t know that a hungry Ryback can be defeated. Hell-bent on returning to the top of WWE’s food chain, Dec. 14 will be feeding time for The Big Guy. WINNER: Ryback

John Clapp: There’s an absurdly harmonic quality to this match, like it’s only completely natural to pit the muscle-bound destroyer against the demonic punisher, but not before arming them with steel chairs. I anticipate The Big Guy being able to both absorb and deliver more chair strikes than Kane. WINNER: Ryback

Ryback: 4, Kane: 1

Erick Rowan vs. Big Show (Steel Stairs Match)

WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs ... and Stairs 2014 predictions

@JoeyStyles: Let’s start by addressing all the smarmy tweets. Yes, we are calling the steel ring steps “stairs.” Why? Because “stairs” rhymes with “chairs.” Tables, Ladders and Chairs … and Steps lacks panache. Did you really think we hadn’t discussed it internally? With nomenclature behind us, let’s turn our attention to what should be the most brutal match on the card. I’m not privy to any insider information, but I simply expect these two giant ogres to blast each other with many sets of steel “stairs” placed around the ringside area in a war of attrition. I predict that the younger and hungrier Erick Rowan will win this match because if he does not, his career as a singles Superstar may be over as quickly as it started. WINNER: Erick Rowan

@HowardFinkel: In this battle of the big men, strength and endurance will play a major factor here, and to me, Erick Rowan and Big Show are even in those categories. But another intangible is big-match experience, of which Big Show has a decisive edge over Rowan. That is the X-factor, which leads me to believe that Big Show will get (and earn) the win. WINNER: Big Show

James Wortman: This match boasts one of the most unusual stipulations we’ve ever encountered, so it stands to reason that the advantage here goes to WWE’s hulking enigma, Erick Rowan. The man behind the sheep mask has many gifts — an IQ of 143, musical talent and the refined palate of an award-winning vintner — but his most striking attribute is his ability to absorb pain. On Raw, “Big Red” was chokeslammed onto the steel steps and actually bounced on impact, but despite that attack, Rowan is still prepared to do battle with a giant in his most important match to date. This one goes to Rowan. WINNER: Erick Rowan

Scott Taylor: Since being set free from The Wyatt Family, Erick Rowan has made a name for himself … literally, as he’s now being billed as “Big Red” Rowan. However, despite Rowan’s elevated IQ and impressive strength, he is going head to head with an angry giant. When The World’s Largest Athlete is focused, nobody can stop him. WINNER: Big Show

John Clapp: Erick Rowan reminds me very much of a young Big Show, with his good instincts, remarkable size and freakish athleticism. But while he may one day knock off Big Show and become WWE’s top giant, Big Red doesn’t have the killer instinct to get it done at WWE TLC, stairs or no stairs. WINNER: Big Show

Big Show: 3, Erick Rowan: 2

United States Champion Rusev vs. Jack Swagger

WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs ... and Stairs 2014 predictions

@JoeyStyles: Jack Swagger had multiple opportunities to hand Rusev his first pinfall or submission loss months ago and couldn’t do it. Neither could Mark Henry. Neither could Big Show. It seems that Rusev has proven himself so dominant that no new Superstars want to take a chance to try to take down the Moscow mauler for fear of being the next American to fail his country. It sounds exactly like what WWE Chairman Vince McMahon told Steve Austin on WWE Network’s live “Stone Cold Podcast.” I admire Swagger’s fighting spirit, but if he was going to defeat Rusev, he would have done it already. WINNER: Rusev

@HowardFinkel: They’ve met before, and now they collide again this Sunday. What makes Jack Swagger better this time out against Rusev? Confidence and determination. Confidence in the sense that he has gone toe-to-toe with Rusev before this go-round, and applying the Patriot Lock on Lana’s charge last Monday effectively served as his calling card. Swagger’s determined, meanwhile, to get some in-ring retribution for Rusev’s recent attack on Zeb Colter. I see a gallant effort by the native Oklahoman falling short of the mark, and Rusev coming out of this match somewhat battered, but victorious nonetheless. WINNER: Rusev

Watch Swagger and Rusev's confrontation from Raw

James Wortman: After Rusev hobbled Zeb Colter in an underhanded backstage assault, Jack Swagger has been more aggressive than he’s ever been, nearly snapping Rusev’s ankle in a retaliatory strike on Raw. Having failed to defeat The Super Athlete in any of their previous encounters, The Real American has a new fire lit within him that could finally give The Hero of the Russian Federation his first submission loss in his career. Expect Swagger to win the United States Championship for Zeb, Old Glory and every Real American out there. WINNER: Jack Swagger

Scott Taylor: You have to respect Jack Swagger’s fight to represent America and gain redemption for an injured Zeb Colter. If this were “Rocky IV,” I would say The Real American is looking at an extremely motivational and patriotic victory. But alas, Rusev is not Ivan Drago, and we won’t be witnessing a warm and fuzzy Hollywood ending. The Super Athlete is bigger, stronger and faster than Swagger. Get used to seeing Rusev with the United States Championship around his waist. WINNER: Rusev

John Clapp: Swagger’s angry and in need of a career-rejuvenating win, and The Super Athlete’s ankle — which Swagger can seemingly pick with ease — may be his closest thing we’ve seen to a weakness in the U.S. Champion. Shocker of the night right here, as Swagger wins the U.S. Title. WINNER: Jack Swagger

Rusev: 3, Jack Swagger: 2

Divas Champion Nikki Bella vs. AJ Lee

WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs ... and Stairs 2014 predictions

@JoeyStyles: Nikki Bella’s second reign will forever be remembered most for the way Brie inexplicably ended her 30 days as her sister’s whipping girl by helping Nikki win the title from AJ Lee. Since Survivor Series, the war of words between AJ and The Bellas has made for great television. As a matter of fact, I think the match itself may have a hard time living up to the hype. If AJ is smart enough to find someone to accompany her to ringside and neutralize Brie, I have no doubt she can beat Nikki. Unfortunately for AJ, she has ostracized herself from the entire Divas locker room and will be going it alone against two twin sisters who have proven they will do anything to win. I’m not a gambling man but two pair beats one queen. WINNER: Nikki Bella

@HowardFinkel: As I have mentioned in previous match predictions, the Divas Championship has been a hot potato, changing hands no fewer than five times in 2014. Do I believe it will happen a sixth time this Sunday? Yes I do! Of course, AJ also has to be alert to the presence of Brie Bella on the outside, and cannot allow a repeat of what happened last month at Survivor Series. I believe that AJ will become a four-time Divas Champion this Sunday. WINNER: AJ Lee

James Wortman: At Survivor Series, AJ Lee’s fate as Divas Champion was sealed with a kiss from Brie Bella, an underhanded distraction that ended what should have been a competitive bout in mere seconds. Now, Nikki & Brie stand united, and as long as Brie is around, there’s no way the butterfly-emblazoned prize is leaving Nikki’s manicured clutches. Look for Brie to be a factor as Nikki retains the Divas Title. WINNER: Nikki Bella

Scott Taylor: I respect AJ Lee’s underdog mentality, but her lone wolf ways within the Divas Division are going to lead to cruel consequences. In a true one-on-one match, AJ has the advantage over Nikki Bella. Unfortunately for the 2014 Diva of the Year, I don’t foresee her getting a fair fight with Nikki’s sister Brie in the picture. WINNER: Nikki Bella

John Clapp: Re-watch AJ Lee’s Slammy Award acceptance speech for Diva of the Year and you’ll see a young woman who has no doubt in her mind she’s the best in her division. Look for The Black Widow to bite back after falling for The Bellas’ shenanigans at Survivor Series. She won’t make the same mistake twice. WINNER: AJ Lee

Nikki Bella: 3, AJ Lee: 2

Intercontinental Champion Luke Harper vs. Dolph Ziggler (Ladder Match)

WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs ... and Stairs 2014 predictions

@JoeyStyles: Initially, one would guess that a Ladder Match favors the incredibly athletic Ziggler, who can scale a ladder in two leaps. After all, 2014’s comeback kid has competed in more memorable Ladder Matches than we can list here, including winning the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. Conversely, Harper has no experience in this kind of match and it may take him five times as long to ascend all the rungs as it will The Showoff.

However, when you take into consideration that the ladder can and will be used as a weapon, anyone could climb a ladder after beating an opponent into an unrecognizable pulp with the mass of metal mayhem. Harper is bigger, stronger and more sadistic. Ziggler is faster, smarter and more resourceful. It is that resourcefulness that makes me pick Ziggler to continue his ascension, figuratively and literally. WINNER: Dolph Ziggler

@HowardFinkel: So the blueprint of this match could read as follows: “Ziggler’s quickness and agility is superior to Harper’s, so it should be a layup for Ziggler to accomplish the purpose of the Ladder Match and regain the Intercontinental Championship.” Not so fast. One of Harper’s attributes is that he is deceivingly quick on his feet, and this Sunday, the former Wyatt Family member will surprise much of the WWE Universe with his efforts. But to me, the Survivor Series MVP is championship-bound anew. This contest will be a battle, with the Cleveland-area native giving his hometown faithful in attendance a chance to cheer, as The Showoff regains the Intercontinental Championship gold. WINNER: Dolph Ziggler

Video playlist: Watch ultra-rare Ladder Matches

James Wortman: Ladder Matches make even the most seasoned Superstars weak at the knees, but Dolph Ziggler never ceases to shine in these precarious contests. After winning the World Heavyweight Championship Contract Money in the Bank Ladder Match in 2012, The Showoff defended his contract against John Cena in a second Ladder Match at WWE TLC later that year. Coming off one of the most awe-inspiring Survivor Series performances ever witnessed — he eliminated Luke Harper in that match, by the way — Ziggler is not only poised to ascend a ladder to reclaim the Intercontinental Championship, but he’s going to make it look easy. WINNER: Dolph Ziggler

Scott Taylor: Dolph Ziggler has picked up where Daniel Bryan left off, consistently overcoming insurmountable odds as he represents the WWE Universe in his climb to the top of WWE. It’s The Showoff’s time, and nothing, not even a 6-foot-5 monster who moves around the ring like a cruiserweight, can stop him from grabbing that brass ring … or in this case, the Intercontinental Title. WINNER: Dolph Ziggler

John Clapp: Tell me if this sounds familiar: A towering brawler battles a smaller but more agile opponent in an Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match. Not to put the cart before the horse, but I could very much see this becoming a modern-day Shawn vs. Razor, and not just because of the similar contrast of styles. As far as a winner goes, Harper’s height advantage, minor though it sounds, could be a difference-maker. More than that, I don’t think he’s ready to let go of his prestigious title. WINNER: Luke Harper

Dolph Ziggler: 4, Luke Harper: 1

Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt (Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match)

WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs ... and Stairs 2014 predictions

@JoeyStyles: Bray Wyatt likes to play mind games. Dean Ambrose is a lunatic. Wyatt’s sermons usually last longer than his matches. Ambrose is a lunatic. Wyatt likes holograms. Ambrose is a lunatic. As the former Voice of ECW who called Sabu conquering the likes of Shane Douglas, Rob Van Dam and even Cactus Jack, I’m picking the lunatic. WINNER: Dean Ambrose

@HowardFinkel: When you have two individuals whose eccentric personalities play into their respective offensive arsenals, then add in the unique mix of tables, ladders and chairs, well, even Katie can’t bar the door for this match. Both Ambrose and Wyatt are out to destroy one another, and I think Ambrose will be hell-bent and will settle the “physical score” that he suffered at the hands of Wyatt a week ago. This will be intense in every sense of the word, with Ambrose prevailing over Bray once the dust settles. WINNER: Dean Ambrose

James Wortman: It takes a monstrous mind to make Bray Wyatt nervous, which is probably why The Eater of Worlds is staying far away from Dean Ambrose these days. Returning from a neck injury sustained at the hands of the backwoods preacher, The Lunatic Fringe came even more unhinged than usual on Raw when he vowed to eat Wyatt alive at WWE TLC. Look for Ambrose to tenderize his meal with every armament at his disposal in what will go down as the most barbaric contest at WWE’s Demolition Derby. WINNER: Dean Ambrose

Scott Taylor: Dean Ambrose and Bray Wyatt both love to inflict pain, but with tables, ladders and chairs in play, it will be the Superstar who can take the most punishment that wins this battle. No matter how hard The Lunatic Fringe gets hit, he always seems to find a way to endure the beating and come back for more. Ambrose has shown he is a survivor, which will prove useful in this contest. WINNER: Dean Ambrose

John Clapp: Dean Ambrose’s extensive experience in ultra-dangerous matches would seem to give him the edge here, but Bray Wyatt is more desperate for the win. It no longer feels like The Man of 1,000 Truths has the whole world in his hands, and, realizing his grip may be slipping, Wyatt has no choice but to pull out all the stops against Ambrose. WINNER: Bray Wyatt 

Dean Ambrose: 4, Bray Wyatt: 1

John Cena vs. Seth Rollins (Tables Match)

@JoeyStyles: I don’t think anyone reading this has any doubt that in a traditional one-on-one matchup, John Cena would defeat Seth Rollins by pinfall (AA), submission (STF) or disqualification (J&J Security interference). However, to win a Tables Match, one simply needs to put his opponent through a table, which is infinitely easier than achieving pinfall or submission. Remember Cody Rhodes defeating Big Show when the giant accidentally stepped on and broke a table? How about Sheamus winning the WWE Championship by countering a superplex attempt by Cena and simply pushing off the Cenation leader, who fell through a table? Furthermore, there are no count-outs or disqualifications, so Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury can, and will, interfere from start to finish. The stipulations of this match set the table for Rollins to get a cheap win. See what I did there? WINNER: Seth Rollins

@HowardFinkel: John Cena loves adversity. Seth Rollins loves to be the straw that stirs the drink. Their collision course this Sunday should be something to see. Rollins knows that if he wins the match, Cena loses the No. 1 contender’s  position, and the spotlight will shine on him. Based on a few recent “discussions” with Brock Lesnar’s advocate, Paul Heyman, I feel that Rollins will turn those discussions into motivation, which will not only bring him the victory this Sunday, but also serve notice to Heyman that Mr. Money In The Bank  remains poised and confident to cash in the contract and take the next step to immortality. I am not selling Cena short by any means; I just think that Rollins is on a roll, and is destined for success this Sunday. WINNER: Seth Rollins

James Wortman: Anything goes in a Tables Match, and with a veritable army on his side — including the likes of J&J Security, Big Show, Kane and Luke Harper — Mr. Money in the Bank has proven that he’s going to make full use of the lenient stipulations at WWE TLC. Expect Rollins to obliterate Cena’s WWE World Heavyweight Title No. 1 contendership in a shower of splinters. WINNER: Seth Rollins

Scott Taylor: With John Cena’s spot as the No. 1 contender to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on the line, you can bet the Cenation leader will rise to the occasion. It also doesn’t hurt that the 15-time World Champion’s Attitude Adjustment is tailor-made for a Tables Match. Seth Rollins may see himself as the “undisputed future of WWE,” but John Cena is still the undeniable present of WWE. WINNER: John Cena

John Clapp: Even though Cena has more experience in Tables Matches, I wouldn’t be surprised if the match stipulation works to Seth Rollins’ favor for reasons other than the no-disqualification aspect. He’s squirmy and acrobatic, which could make him supremely tough to plant through a table. Plus, Mr. Money in the Bank is an innovator in the ring, and that gives him an advantage in this unusual contest. WINNER: Seth Rollins

Seth Rollins: 4, John Cena: 1

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