Just when I was about to write my thoughts about the merger of the WWE and World Heavyweight Championships tonight at TLC, a WWE roster member did my job for me.
As you may recall, Greg Oliver spoke with Curtis Axel recently, and the former Intercontinental Champion weighed in on the title unification.
"I've had mixed feelings about this," Axel said. "I like having the two titles around, just because... we separate our roster into live events. Like if someone wants to come to Vancouver, we have a loop there, the other half is going somewhere else. It's good to have those championship matches involved in the show. If you do unify into one, that's the match right there."
Axel then expressed the other side of the coin in his mixed feelings.
"Which title's better than the other, you kind of go both ways. Considering that, I don't think it's a bad idea to unify them, but show-wise, I think people like to see championship matches. Either way it doesn't bother me."
I'm pretty on the fence too admittedly. Yes, the two championships give 'more room at the top', and yet the Attitude Era, which had many legitimate headliners, was able to do so with a three-title system - the WWE, IC and European Championships (I'll leave aside Hardcore and Light Heavyweight since they were niche).
No matter which side you're on, either John Cena or Randy Orton is walking out of TLC as the Unified champ, unless you subscribe to the theory that there's going to indeed be a screwjob ending tonight. Personally, I do like the idea of the title being held up and awarded in the Royal Rumble, as some have suggested, since it's been over 20 years and could result in a unique champion, rather than the go to of either Orton or Cena.
If forced though, I'd assume Orton picks up the win and heads into the Rumble to battle... I'm not sure who. Honestly, I could see Triple H plucking away the return match clause from Cena since his title, in theory, no longer exists, and Cena instead going into the Rumble. Maybe a returning Sheamus gets the shot.
Now onto the two 3-on-1 Handicap matches, of CM Punk vs. The Shield and Daniel Bryan vs. The Wyatts. To me this is a bit of overkill but I'm still curious. Punk's declaration that he's going to lose almost makes you think he's going to win, perhaps in part due to more tension among the boys in black. Let's say Roman Reigns accidentally spears Dean Ambrose causing the loss. For Bryan, meanwhile, I think it's inevitable that he goes down, succumbs to the trance of Bray Wyatt, and goes into the Rumble as a heel.
Elsewhere on the card, I wouldn't be surprised if Natalya picks up the Diva's Championship, I'll take Big E Langston to retain the Intercontinental strap and the Rhodes Bros. to retain. Pre-show, put your money on Dolph Ziggler.
Enjoy the show!