Fans let out a big sign of relief when it was revealed that WWE champion CM Punk would only miss a few weeks after undergoing knee surgery Tuesday. Unfortunately that takes him out of TLC and thus a new headlining match was needed.
The WWE announced the new headliner Tuesday night on WWE.com. Vince McMahon issued a lengthy statement naming the new match and its participants on the WWE website.
“Recent events on RAW have led me to make the following match at the TLC Pay-Per-View. Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns, “The Shield,” will take on Team Hell No and Ryback. This match will be a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match and for the first time ever, it will be decided only via pinfall or submission.”
It is certainly an interesting choice of a main-event. Most have already predicted that with the new main-event, TLC could wind up as the lowest purchased WWE pay-per-view of 2012, hitting historically low numbers. I don’t know if I’d go that far. There really is very little incentive for fans to buy the show without Ryback (or anyone) challenging for the WWE championship. I would be shocked if Cena vs. Ziggler isn’t now positioned as the show main-event.
The irony here is that the original plan for the last WWE big event, Survivor Series 2012 was to have a show without a WWE championship match. I understand that many in the business feel that titles have lost a lot of prestige in the WWE in recent years but I think the belt is still a draw. I know some people will defend Punk’s critics and point to his absence as a reason for the low buys (if they are low). I don’t think it has much to do with Punk at all as it does with the title and the Punk vs. Ryback storyline being moved off of the show.
It is obvious that RAW was written Monday with this idea in mind. Punk was obviously hurt heading into Monday night and the show played out to offer the WWE a backup plan in case Punk was unavailable for the next event. I don’t think it is coincidence at all that Team Hell No wound up in this middle of this thing at the right time.
The easy answer here is to put Ryback over and finish up his program with Punk on RAW or after the Rumble. At the same time, they could really make “The Shield” stars by having them win this one outright.