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Posted in: Just Business
Just Business: The Preview Side of the Pond – Predicting Tables, Ladders and Chairs 2017
By Samuel 'Plan
Oct 20, 2017 - 6:48:12 PM




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Don’t forget to pick up your copy of my book, 101 WWE Matches To See Before You Die, from the LOP Store or Amazon today! Simply click here to find mine and a host of other books and merchandise on offer, all courtesy of LOP, or on the icon to the left to be taken directly to Amazon!




Just Business: The Preview Side of the Pond – Predicting Tables, Ladders and Chairs 2017


Believe it or not, it’s pay-per-view week once again and this time it’s Monday Night Raw’s (MNR) turn, with the 2017 edition of the ever-creatively entitled Tables, Ladders and Chairs. As is tradition on The Right Side of the Pond, in just a couple of hours you can hear me, alongside Maverick and Mazza, run through our official predictions and general thoughts on each of the matches on this relatively thin card.

Before then, though, I wanted to share some brief thoughts with you on the way this show has taken shape. I’ve seen some consternation this week about it, and in the most severe quarters of the IWC some outright disdain for the way this pay-per-view has been compiled. It’s true enough, of course, that it’s a top heavy show. The main event features no less than eight individual stars; and quite possibly the top eight stars of the brand. That’s a lot of talent to pump into a single bout, naturally leaving WWE struggling to make ends meet lower down.

This seems to be the central point of contention for a lot of people. In typically contrarian fashion, however, I would warn the cynical fan from prejudging too harshly. I understand a certain degree of apprehension, but I find myself actually feeling quite optimistic. With a more slender card in place, I for one am hoping for a show not unlike the perennially underrated 2016 edition of Backlash – comparatively short, to the point and focused.

Yep, it’s time for a New Generation Era reference: I loved the In Your House (IYH) pay-per-views precisely for this very reason. They were easy to watch and easy to fit into your working week, and more often than not presented at least one classic; sometimes of the Era, quite often of all-time. TLC 2017 has the potential at least to follow suit.

Is 5 on 3 for the main event a little much? Maybe, though I sit comfortably in the camp that creating an old school alliance of loosely affiliated villains was a great way to retroactively justify the need for the Hounds to come back together as a pack.

Truthfully, though, it is my opinion that the real magic of this match lies in two quarters specifically: the subtle character-driven genius of the way The Miz has been written throughout the evolving storyline (essentially escalating a fight he picked into a war that could eliminate any viable threat to him, his position and his championship) and the dream match situation found in the immovable Braun Strowman – who wasn’t around when The Shield first were – confronting the unstoppable Hounds of Justice.

Putting all of that aside, there is also the strong possibility that we are in for some kind of instant classic on Sunday. The Shield have serious form in these multi-man scenarios, and you simply need to revisit their debut match against Ryback and Team Hell No from TLC 2012 for reassurance (as if any should be needed!). What’s more, WWE have somewhat mastered the format this year too – from the Royal Rumble Match, to the Extreme Rules Fatal 5 Way, to the Summerslam Fatal 4 Way, these no man’s land like match ups have been handled with an increasing degree of precision and creativity until, now, it feels like each one is a tour de force in its own right.

Perhaps inevitably, the sheer weight of the main event on Sunday has left other happenings somewhat overshadowed. It’s worth remembering that Asuka vs. Emma is not a pairing to look past. Why not go re-watch their clash at NXT Takeover: London from December 2015 before this Sunday night? It remains one of the best NXT matches nobody ever talks about. With a thinner card this weekend, the two of them will hopefully be given a nice juicy run time to really put together another special something for us MNR fans, and I for one look forward to seeing how Asuka asserts herself in a new environment, where so much fresh meat awaits her. If the main event somehow fails to live up to its insta-classic potential, then I have to think Asuka vs. Emma remains our second best hope; even for those who feel that hope to be fruitless and dim.

The cruiserweights are being leaned on a little heavier at TLC 2017, presumably to help flesh out the top heavy card, and while the storylines (that are nonetheless competently developed, with decent to strong match quality playing in their favour) might do little to excite, it’s nonetheless intriguing to see if and how the 205 division capitalise on what feels like something of a rare opportunity to shine on a major stage for them. Here’s hoping they over-achieve, but if they don’t we should still get a solid pair of affairs; the sort of matches I always say provide the unsung heroes, the backbones, of the most entertaining kind of pay-per-views.

Hell, I’ll throw my hands in the air as well: as a New Gen fan, I’m not opposed to a little over the top, supernatural melodrama that overplays its hand. There was plenty of that with the mid-1990s Undertaker, after all. That means that I can’t even say the bizarre (to put it mildly) storyline between Finn Bálor and Bray Wyatt has soured my taste. I’m not going to play the apologist and pretend it’s great. It isn’t. In fact, it carries all the signs of a storyline WWE and the two performers will regret in years to come. But, you know, we’re all allowed a guilty pleasure now and then. I’m…is fascinated the right word?...to see how WWE present the Sister Abigail portion of this one; and, to my shame, I wouldn’t really hate it all that much if they decided to put the two of them in another House of Horrors Match….

I know. I’m absolutely in a minority of one with that, and I accept that wholeheartedly. It is a cynical part of me that finds a certain amount of nihilistic enjoyment in the quite ridiculously conceived storyline between the two biggest MNR stars not in the main event on Sunday, and I too genuinely hope this will be their final confrontation.

Regardless, from the classic potential of a couple of the matches, the slim nature of the card and the possibility it won’t even run three hours, and with more than a little retro feel to some of the storylines (the supernatural nonsense of Bálor vs. Wyatt; the loose villainous alliances conceived by Enzo Amore and The Miz) I personally am digging the IYH feel to TLC.

I’m going to be delving into more depth about it all in just a couple of hours with my usual Pondian co-conspirators. The Right Side of the Pond airs only on LOP Radio every Friday night, 9pm BST / 4pm EST, or can be listened to on demand at any time via BlogTalkRadio or on iTunes, so be sure to check it out!

But before you do, please share with me below or on social media your predictions for TLC 2017, and whether this unassuming pay-per-view holds any positive water for you at all!



Don’t forget to pick up your copy of my book, 101 WWE Matches To See Before You Die, from the LOP Store or Amazon today! Simply click here to find mine and a host of other books and merchandise on offer, all courtesy of LOP, or on the icon to the left to be taken directly to Amazon!





Click here to add me on Facebook!


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