Busted Open‘s Mike Riker breaks down each of the matches heading into Sunday’s WWE Tables, Ladders & Chairs (TLC) pay-per-view event.

John Cena (World Heavyweight) vs. Randy Orton (WWE) in a Title Unification Match

When this match was announced, a lot of fans groaned. Two guys we’ve already seen on the main event scene for too long in a unification match, when this could have been Daniel Bryan’s spot. Add in the fluke endings in the past four pay-per-views, and there didn’t see much to get excited about. But after two weeks of great promos and smart booking, there’s real intrigue. (They just better deliver.)

This is a TLC match – neither Cena nor Orton’s forte – but the two do have great chemistry in the ring, as shown in 2007. Both guys look reinvigorated with the build-up, and I think it will show in the ring. Do you know who else might show in the ring? Triple-H … and not to help Mr. Orton.


CM Punk vs. The Shield in a 3-on-1 Handicap Match

This match could steal the show, featuring four guys who can all go. The story of the match is the tension within The Shield. Since Survivor Series, Roman Reigns has broken out, Dean Ambrose has tried to look like the group’s baddest member, and Seth Rollins has lurked quietly in the background.

This breakup may happen sooner rather than later. Whether that’s a good thing is a different story for a different day. The fact is there are cracks in the Shield, and I think we might see more coming Sunday. Punk survives.


Daniel Bryan vs. The Wyatts in a 3-on-1 Handicap Match

This should be another entertaining match, largely thanks to Daniel Bryan. Anytime Bryan is in the ring with bigger guys – which is almost all the time – it’s a must watch. The idea of Daniel Bryan joining the Wyatts is a huge mistake. As we saw Monday, he is the most over guy in the company. I don’t think the WWE will touch that. I also think they won’t have him win here. The Wyatts need the win, and Daniel Bryan can look good in losing.


Big E Langston (c) vs. Damien Sandow for the Intercontinental Championship

It will be interesting to see what happens with the IC title once we have one champion in the WWE. Will it be like the golden years of the IC belt, when the next big thing often wore the strap? Maybe Big E could be that guy. He has all the skills in the ring, but needs to work on his mic skills. Sandow, on the other hand, probably won’t get any bigger than the night he tried cashing in on John Cena. I see this as a one-off for both guys.


AJ Lee (c) vs. Natalya for the WWE Divas Championship

There is no diva more entertaining than AJ. But over the last few months, her stock has slipped; she’s lost matches, and her promos have fallen flat. Natalya, meanwhile, has gone on a bit of a run. And what better way to start the second season of Total Divas than Natalya winning the Divas championship? I thought they might go with Brie Bella in that spot, but Natalya makes more sense.


Dolph Ziggler vs. Fandango in the TLC Kickoff Match

Were there any hotter stars in the WWE than these guys the night after Mania? After Fandango’s big win over Chris Jericho, fans were “Fandangoing” in the aisles of the IZOD Center on Raw the night after. And Dolph might have had one of the moments of the year when he cashed in on Alberto Del Rio for the World title in front of a very pro-Ziggler East Rutherford crowd.

My have times changed. Fandango is just a comedy act on the mid-card scene, while Ziggler is languishing, losing to the likes of Sandow and Ryback. I wonder if the WWE sees what we see in Ziggler, or if there’s Dolph is doing that we are not seeing. Whatever it is, Ziggler needs a win here.


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