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Posted in: Doctor's Orders
Doctor's Orders: Young Guns Carrying TLC
By The Doc
Dec 16, 2011 - 8:03:01 PM

Let's take a little break from Wrestlemania and talk about TLC...

This Sunday, it’s the WWE’s TLC PPV. I find it hard to believe that this is the third one when it seems like yesterday that the first one went down in 2009. I plan to head up to the bar and take a gander at it, as the undercard features young and hungry up-and-comers that could have huge years in 2012. Thus, I sure hope that Cody Rhodes vs. Booker T and Dolph Ziggler vs. Zack Ryder are given some decent time. I am specifically watching TLC for those two matches. Everything else is in the background, as far as I’m concerned. Booker T returning to the ring has me pretty pumped. I think they chose well and were intelligently patient on the opponent and timing of his return feud. Rhodes is on fire as a character and this is another big opportunity for him. I’m not sure what Book has left in the tank, but I can dig any wrestler that comes back into the fold to put over a new talent, SUCKA. The youth movement in 2011 has been one of the primary reasons for my renewed interest in the non-Mania season product and Rhodes has been a big part of that. I’ll be curious to see how Rhodes handles this situation. Remember, Book may have wrestled in TNA, but I imagine that Cody is going to bear the responsibility of calling and carrying the match. This is not like working a PPV match with Orton. I think Cody is up to the task, though, and I think he’ll win in such a way that will keep this feud going for awhile.

If you’re a regular reader of this column, then you’re aware of my praise for Dolph Ziggler, who finds himself in a similar situation as Rhodes. Ziggler has had some great matches this year, but he’s always been the less established of the performers he’s been booked against. Now, he finds himself in the role of having to help further the career of someone else. Ryder needs this match to be good. He’s over and the WWE seems to understand that, but it’s put up or shut up time. If this match doesn’t succeed, then it could be trouble for both of them. Each are riding waves of momentum and they need to perform at a level that allows those waves to continue. I know very little about Ryder. I don’t watch the Z Story or whatever it’s called. What I do know is that he’s athletic. What I don’t know is if he can wrestle. His match with Cena on Raw wasn’t designed to give me any further answers about his ability – just to make him look credible. Sunday is about finding out what he can do. Ziggler is one of the most gifted in-ring performers they’ve got and nobody ought to be able to make him look better, but I foresee a challenge. I’m hopeful that they’ll steal the show right out from under the gimmick matches and that Ryder can back up the considerable hype he’s created for himself without ever actually having a standout match.

Aside from the above two matches, the third bout on my “most anticipated” list will come in the form of a Chairs match between Big Show and Mark Henry. Those two just keep quietly having one of the better feuds of the year, flying under the radar amidst a swarm of others trying to get more exposure. Henry should hold onto that belt, as far as I’m concerned. It’s a rare thing when a heel comes along that keeps getting more interesting, especially once they’ve reached the top of the mountain. I credit Henry for not getting complacent. I also credit Show for his work. If this is the end of their feud, on Sunday, then I tip my hat to them both one final time and hope that the payoff match is similar to their Vengeance encounter. I’m certainly a lot more interested in the World title match than I am the WWE title match. I just don’t care about Miz or Del Rio right now, especially ADR. None of the mic work that I’ve seen from any of them makes me want to see a TLC match between them. I’m sure the match quality will be good, but they’ll be working against a small bias against it on my part. I hope that Punk is given something a little bit more creatively stimulating when the New Year arrives. I’d like to see some verbal battles between him and Miz that don’t involve Del Rio or Johnny Ace, both of whom suck the energy out of each segment that they’re in. I hate saying that about ADR, who I was so high on a year ago….but I just don’t want to see him in the main-event anymore. Not until he freshens up a bit…

What else is there? Oh yeah! Triple H vs. Kevin Nash! Trips has been a focal point of discussion this week after opening the door for a return Mania match against Taker. If the IWC has any pull, that match may not go over that well the second go-round. It was almost a necessity for Mania 27 to have a match like that on the card, but I’m getting the sense that the best emotion that the IWC can conjure up for a rematch will be “Oh well.” That’s not good. This Sunday, he’ll conclude (hopefully) the awful feud he’s had with Nash. A sledgehammer will be hanging from the hook and there will be ladders. This just seems unnecessarily dangerous, but I’m curious to see how it’ll play out in a “it’s been so bad thus far and it can’t get any worse” kind of way. Maybe Trips will get injured and we won’t have to see anything from at Mania 28, right guys!?! Triple H SUCKSSSS!! BOOOO!!! Always amazing to me how much the IWC hates Triple H. Interesting to note, though, that he does often seem to be awfully close to these situations where a guy who should’ve / could’ve been pushed to the moon gets derailed in some way. There was no worse wrestler for Trips to be involved in the push killing department for than the IWC’s hero, CM Punk.

This is the time of the year that I feel like we’re just spinning our wheels until they start hyping the Royal Rumble. TLC will always have to fight that stigma given its proximity to the start down the Road (to WM), but the WWE does a lousy job of helping with that. Raw has gone back to being uber-boring every week. The summer was so refreshing. I had hoped Survivor Series would get us back to interesting TV on Mondays, but it just didn’t. I’m not sure what it will take. Hopefully, it’ll be the continued pushes of younger guys and the WWE distancing themselves from guys like Nash. Wade Barrett is another guy that is on the rise again and his work with Randy Orton, while not lighting the ring on fire, is certainly of interest. I will be curious to see how that match plays out on Sunday, as the table match is usually a vehicle to further a feud (not end it). Either way, the Barrett Barrage hopefully is going to take Wade to the top of the card for good. He’s too talented on the microphone to be in the mid-card. There are a plethora of guys that he could work with not named John Cena in 2012. We need more guys like that – with something interesting to say and do – in the top spots.

Speaking of John Cena, he was the victim of both a chokeslam from the returning (and re-masked) Kane AND of Johnny Ace (for not booking him on this show). Do you think he’ll end up on the card? I really don’t care, to be honest. If it isn’t a match with the Rock, I just can’t get interested…

If Wade, Dolph, and Cody can come away with big time performances, Punk can find a way to make the TLC match interesting, Trips can drag something watchable out of Nash (going to be tough), and Show vs. Henry delivers, then this could be another solid PPV in the 2011 collection of solid WWE PPVs. Here’s hoping! You going to watch it? What do you think will happen? Answer in the feedback below, email me, or hit me @TheDocLOP on Twitter.

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