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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 18 January 2019

Nia Jax costs Becky Lynch the SmackDown Women's title as Dean Ambrose beat Seth Rollins: WWE TLC predictions

A look ahead to WWE's final network special of 2018, with Ronda Rousey, Daniel Bryan, Braun Strowman, Drew McIntyre and Elias also backed for big wins

Becky Lynch may be going into WWE TLC as SmackDown Women's champion but she will not leave the event still carrying the belt. Image courtesy of WWE
Becky Lynch may be going into WWE TLC as SmackDown Women's champion but she will not leave the event still carrying the belt. Image courtesy of WWE

The WWE's network special of the year, WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs, takes place on Sunday at SAP Center in San Jose, California.

It is a stacked card made up of 12 matches, with six of them having championships on the line.

Ahead of the event, which begins at 4am UAE time on Monday morning, with a kick-off show preceding it, here is what to watch for and some predictions on the outcomes.

Asuka wins the WWE SmackDown Women's Championship against Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair in a triple threat TLC match

This is a very hard one to call. It should be the main event as it is has three great superstars, all of who have a decent shout at winning this match.

Lynch is still massively over with the crowd, despite not having competed since suffering a broken nose after being hit by Nia Jax.

Ideally the WWE would ride her momentum and have her retain.

But a WrestleMania match-up with Ronda Rousey could be on the horizon and for that she needs a setback or two.

She needs to drop the title to be in the Royal Rumble, which is the most obvious and sensible way to set up Rousey v Lynch.

I see interference from Jax costing Lynch and allowing one of her opponents to win. It will give Jax even more nuclear heat, give Lynch a reason to head to Raw for revenge and set up a final two at the Rumble in January of Lynch and Jax, where Lynch wins to book her spot at WrestleMania 35.

Flair could easily be the superstar to pick up the pieces, but this feels like an ideal time to try out Asuka as a champion on a main roster.

Vince McMahon has proven willing to experiment at this time of the year in the past on the men's division, so having Asuka have a run with the title works here.

Asuka and Flair can go back into their WrestleMania 34 feud as the Japanese woman finally wins the big one, while Lynch heads to Raw for revenge.

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Daniel Bryan to retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against AJ Styles in a singles match

Bryan has been great as a heel and has reminded everyone how amazing he is. Given how much the crowd want to cheer him, the fact he has them booing shows just what a good job he has done.

This will be a great technical match but the result is predictable. No way is Bryan dropping the title so soon, especially to Styles, who had become stale in a run that had gone on too long.

Bryan marches on and Styles prepares to drop down the card to a rivalry not involving the title.

Dean Ambrose wins the Intercontinental Championship against Seth Rollins in a ladder match

Ambrose needs to win this badly. His heel persona has been fun but he needs to back it up in the ring with a big result.

Beating his Shield stablemate would achieve that.

Rollins is bullet proof at this point. He has been superb for the past two years and his run since April as the IC champion has helped lift the title's credibility up.

He can afford to lose here and this may open the door for him to enter the Royal Rumble and a possible title shot at WrestleMania against Brock Lesnar.

This should be a cracking match and if booked correctly everyone wins out here.

Ronda Rousey retains the WWE Raw Women's Championship against Nia Jax in a singles match

Having Tamina alongside Jax at ringside adds some unpredictability to proceedings and ensures that Jax will be in the ascendancy for some of this match.

But no way is Rousey's unbeaten record ending at the hands of Jax.

Jax will dominate large parts of this but this will end with her tapping out to the armbar.

Braun Strowman to beat Baron Corbin in a TLC match

Strowman needs an emphatic win here, especially if he is facing Lesnar for the Raw Universal title at the Rumble.

They may tease a shock victory for Corbin here, with outside interference, but Strowman must stand tall and flatten Corbin.

A quick match is likely, given Strowman is competing on the back of elbow surgery, so a squash match should fit the needs of one of the competitors as well as the narrative.

Corbin has been a frustrating presence as acting general manager and this might end up giving Alexa Bliss the role to keep her on screen as she deals with concussion concerns.

Drew McIntyre beats Finn Balor in a singles match

This comes down to priorities. And continuing McIntyre's push is a bigger one for WWE right now then giving Balor any kind of heat.

Balor will have some good near falls here but McIntyre wins this, and wins it emphatically as he continues his rise towards the top of the card.

Elias beats Bobby Lashley in a ladders match

You can count Elias's big wins in WWE on one hand, arguably not needing all fingers either, and it is a testament to his brilliance as a performer that he is so over.

This is an ideal scenario as he can get a big victory without WWE having him pin Lashley to do that.

WWE will give Lashley a push as a title challenger at some point soon, but losing here will not harm him and give Elias a lift in the process.

Natalya beats Ruby Riott in a tables match

The Riott Squad's bullying of Natalya has not made for great viewing and in many ways it is a relief that the talking stops and the action starts on Sunday.

Riott can really go in the ring and this should be an entertaining clash.

Purely because of fact she has been bullied for so much of this feud, this needs to end with Riott going through a table and Natalya standing tall.

Rey Mysterio beats Randy Orton in a chairs match

Again this one could go either way with both men being plausible WWE title contenders in the near future.

Mysterio is fresh back as a full timer and could do with a big win and getting one over on the ruthless Orton would achieve that.

Cesaro and Sheamus retain the Raw Tag Team Championships against the Usos and New Day

If given time, which could be tough on a stacked card, this has the chance to steal the show. All three teams could win this, but Cesaro and Sheamus feel like they still have mileage as champions so they retain here.

Buddy Murphy retains the WWE Cruiserweight Championship against Cedric Alexander

Murphy won the title against Alexander and this is a chance for Alexander to get the gold he won at WrestleMania 34 back.

Murphy has been fun as champion and there is no reason for him to drop the title yet so he retains, possibly through nefarious means.

R-Truth and Carmella to win the Mixed Match Challenge Finals against Jinder Mahal and Alicia Fox

This would be easy to forget that it was going on if it was not for the fact the winners get the respective No 30 spots in the Royal Rumble.

Given none of the four have any chance of actually winning the Rumble itself this is about who would be relevant for the roles.

Purely based on the fact Carmella is a former champion, having her be a legitimate threat at No 30 could be a good narrative for her, and R-Truth can be a fun throwaway part of the Rumble on the men's side.

So largely because of Carmella it is her team that wins here.

Updated: December 14, 2018 10:47 AM

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