How the Bookies See it:
This latest TLC encounter has been on the cards ever since Roman Reigns recorded victory over John Cena at No Mercy. Following the bout, the Florida-born fighter was subjected to a tirade of abuse from The Miz, who mercilessly mocked Reigns’ former stable, The Shield, claiming that his crew, known collectively as The Miztourage, were far superior. Following a war of words, Reigns felt the full force of The Miztourage (The Miz, Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel) as they attacked the 32-year-old.
Meanwhile, the other two members of The Shield, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins, had reformed to retain the Raw Tag Team Championship against Cesaro and Sheamus. However, the following night delivered mixed fortunes as Ambrose fell victim to Braun Strowman, while Rollins triumphed over Sheamus.
The following week, during a grudge match between Roman Reigns and The Miz, Cesaro and Sheamus delivered a well-orchestrated attack on Ambrose and Rollins. Visibly distressed, Reigns left himself open to a brutal triple powerbomb from The Miz, a move that was made famous by The Shield. Later that evening, Reigns was approached by Ambrose and Rollins, only for The Miz to belittle the trio once more. Fired up, The Shield opted to reform, ending a three year hiatus.
In their first act, the newly-reformed stable set about disposing of The Miz and Cesaro and Sheamus, before turning their attention on Braun Strowman, who was fresh from his victory over veteran wrestler Matt Hardy. As a result, The Miz, who was already busy plotting The Shield's downfall at TLC, requested that Strowman be added to the bill alongside Cesaro and Sheamus.
A further plot twist came just days before the encounter as legendary fighter Kane returned to the ring to help Braun Strowman see off Roman Reigns in a steel-cage match. The 50-year-old delivered a tombstone powerdriver to all but end Reigns’ hopes of victory, a move which saw Kane brought onboard as the fifth member on The Miz’s already impressive TLC team.
There is no doubting that there is bad blood between The Shield and The Miz, a rivalry that has been further intensified by the inclusion of Cesaro and Sheamus. These six men have already been involved in their fair share of scraps in recent weeks, and it’s clear that The Shield, given the chance, would obliterate their opponents in this upcoming encounter.
However, the acquisition of Braun Strowman is a stroke of genius. The Monster Among Men has gone toe to toe with Roman Reigns on plenty of occasions and has no real reason to fear his old adversary. It could be argued that Reigns is the linchpin of this trio, and having former strongman Strowman take him out could leave Ambrose and Rollins vulnerable. That said, seeing their comrade under attack has brought the very best out of both men in the past, so don’t rule out a reaction if The Shield do find themselves a member light.
If this had been a four on three battle, many WWE fans may have predicted a tight contest, however, with the addition of Kane, the dynamic of the altercation changes somewhat. Despite entering what must be the latter stages of his career, Kane is still a force to be reckoned with, especially after he rushed to the aid of Braun Strowman. The 7 foot fighter might just be too much for The Shield to handle as they eye a route back to glory.
Sports.net’s top tip:
- Braun Strowman, The Miz, Kane, Cesaro and Sheamus to win.