2018 WWE TLC predictions, matches, card, start time, date, PPV preview, location

With the WWE pay-per-view schedule set to come to a close for 2018, we get one more offering in the form of the annual TLC event. The final PPV event of the year is one of the most stacked we'll see as 12 matches are slated to take place with a plethora of titles set to be defended. Of course, some of those bouts will feature the permitted use of tables, ladders and chair, making them all the more intriguing and fun to watch as we get set for WrestleMania 35 season to begin in 2019. 

TLC will begin at 7 p.m. ET with the show expected to last anywhere from 3.5-4 hours, not counting the kickoff show, which starts one hour prior to the main card at 6 p.m. CBS Sports will be with you the entire way on Sunday with live results, highlights and analysis.

For now, let's take a look at how our experts believe TLC will play out. 

Listen to our audio preview of TLC from the In This Corner with Brian Campbell podcast, and be sure to subscribe at the link in the player below. We will have an instant analysis immediately after WWE TLC on Sunday night.

2018 WWE TLC predictions

Mixed Match Challenge Final -- R-Truth & Carmella vs. Jinder Mahal & Alicia Fox

Jack Crosby, Brian Campbell, Adam Silverstein: It's sometimes never wise to speculate, but it almost seems as if all of the injuries that accumulated throughout this tournament may have forced final plans to be altered. Nonetheless, Truth & Carmella have been featured weekly in their comedy dance breaks on SmackDown, somewhat signaling a semblance of a push, so we'll roll with this duo to earn the all-expenses-paid vacation and the No. 30 Royal Rumble slots. Pick: R-Truth & Carmella win the Mixed Match Challenge

Rey Mysterio vs. Randy Orton (Chairs Match)

JC, BC, AS: This back-to-the-future feud sort of came out of nowhere upon the full-time return of Mysterio, and so did the match as it was announced just five days prior to the event. Nonetheless, it's difficult to see this continuing on into 2019, and with Orton getting the better of Mysterio for the most part, the Master of the 619 should come away with the victory to put this one to bed so both men can move on. Pick: Rey Mysterio wins

Cruiserweight Championship -- Buddy Murphy (c) vs. Cedric Alexander

BC, JC, AS: Unless WWE has plans to call Murphy up to the main roster on Monday, there's no reason to end what has already been an exciting reign as champion. With that said, he and Alexander have more potential to produce a five-star match than any other cruiserweights on the roster. Even if they are only allotted 10 minutes, this one has the potential to steal the show. Pick: Buddy Murphy retains the title

Elias vs. Bobby Lashley (Ladder Match)

BC, JC: If this becomes the "popcorn match" of the evening complete with comedy, hijinks and a four-minute run time, you'll get no complaints from here. Lashley deserves credit for how well he has turned his character around following a heel turn, the addition of mouthpiece Lio Rush and his new nickname. But he's not on Elias' level at the moment in terms of potential or fan interest. Let's hope this is the last stop in Elias' walk towards something meaningful. Pick: Elias wins

AS: I leaned Elias here for a long time, but he has proven able to eat loss after loss on the main roster, and another defeat by Lashley would make him look even weaker. The numbers game should be enough to catch up to Elias eventually, which would allow Lashley to go over. The problem is that there is apparently no future for either of these guys until the intercontinental title is able to leave the feud in which it currently exists. Bobby Lashley wins

Finn Balor vs. Drew McIntyre

AS, BC, JC: Considering McIntyre just suffered his first defeat since returning to the main roster two weeks ago on Raw, I simply don't think WWE is going to have him take another in a non-title match against a guy that they refuse to get behind. I would love to be surprised and there be a twist with Balor being the one going over, but I won't trust that WWE is pushing him until I see it with my own two eyes. A loss to McIntyre doesn't hurt Balor much overall, though I hope I'm wrong with this prediction. Pick: Drew McIntyre wins

Natalya vs. Ruby Riott (Tables Match)

JC, BC, AS: Truth be told, Riott has the brighter future and should get the win here. However, when you look at how the emotional storyline has played out over the past few weeks, it's been set up to see the leader of the Riott Squad get some comeuppance for her actions. Pick: Natalya wins

SmackDown Tag Team Championship -- The Bar (c) vs. The Usos vs. New Day

BC, JC, AS: It's hard to complain about a match that will likely prove to be among the best of the night. But with a gluttonous 12 matches scheduled for the card, this one feels a bit unnecessary due to how many times these teams have shared a ring over the last two years. Still, if we're being truthful, The Bar has outlived their usefulness as champions after (thankfully) ending their short-lived union with Big Show. Considering how transcendent last year's Usos-New Day feud truly was, it wouldn't be a bad idea to begin the build toward an unforgettable WrestleMania match between the two in 2019. Pick: The Usos win the titles

Braun Strowman vs. Baron Corbin (TLC Match)

BC: Who would have guessed Corbin might find his groove as a performer while wearing slacks and a vest in an authoritative role? The interim general manager has succeeded as a grating character who has ruined Raw with his nefarious decision making. Look for that to continue with a schmoz victory of some kind against the injured Strowman to acquire a full-time role as GM. A few online suggestions have included the debut of NXT's Lars Sullivan as Corbin's corporate muscle to take out Strowman. Consider that a strong booking idea and a slow build toward Strowman's eventual conquering of the universal championship and Corbin's authority. Pick: Baron Corbin wins

AS, JC: What sense does it make having Corbin win this match? Hell, even if Lars Sullivan debuted and helped him, Strowman would still take a loss in that scenario. You could argue that it puts Strowman in place to win the Royal Rumble and face Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 35 ... but that's far from the best match WWE can make. Seth Rollins or AJ Styles would be better in that spot. It makes the most sense for Strowman to win, going on to face and lose to Lesnar at the Royal Rumble with Kurt Angle, Alexa Bliss or someone else taking over the general manager role on Monday night. Pick: Braun Strowman wins

Intercontinental Championship -- Seth Rollins (c) vs. Dean Ambrose

JC, BC, AS: When Ambrose shockingly turned heel, hopes were high that we may be on the ride of our lives. Well, WWE has proven us very wrong in that regard with the subpar booking of the heel Ambrose character. Looking into the future, though, it certainly seems as if Rollins is being positioned as the man to dethrone universal champion Brock Lesnar, most likely inside MetLife Stadium at WrestleMania in April. It makes sense to put the IC title around the waist of Ambrose here so Rollins can prepare for that likely journey back to the top of the mountain. Pick: Dean Ambrose wins the title

Raw Women's Championship -- Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Nia Jax

BC, JC, AS: The sooner Rousey can be free of having to feud with Jax (or share microphone time opposite her in any form), the better we all will be for it. There's no other way to sugarcoat it: this has been a bad feud and has only stunted Rousey's growth. For whatever real-life heat Jax acquired with the fans for accidentally injuring Lynch, she has completely failed to capitalize on it. Give us four hot minutes and get out of here. Rousey by armbar, all day. Pick: Ronda Rousey retains the title

WWE Championship -- Daniel Bryan (c) vs. AJ Styles

BC, JC, AS: It sounds like hypocrisy given how organically magical his rise to stardom initially was as a babyface, but Bryan's recent work as a heel has been so strong that one gets the feeling he could be on the verge of tapping into the defining character of his career (I know, hypocrisy). Bryan seems completely comfortable in his new role as he has played into some of his real-life beliefs as a vegan and environmentalist. He has the build and the beard that's perfect for the role of despicable cheater, and his character's message of being better than others because of the pure way he lives his life is one that carries much more importance when it's backed by a world title. Bryan is red-hot and the male face of SmackDown Live at the moment. No need to change that. Pick: Daniel Bryan retains the title

SmackDown Women's Championship -- Becky Lynch (c) vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka (TLC Match)

AS, BC: Any of the three women in this match could win, and it would be A-OK with me. Maybe a bit less OK if it is Flair, but from a storyline perspective, a Flair-Asuka rematch at WrestleMania would work with Lynch and Ronda Rousey main eventing. But the best possible scenario is likely a triple threat for the Raw women's championship, which means WWE has to find a way to take the title off Lynch. They can do that Sunday night without Lynch suffering a pinfall or submission defeat by having Lynch and Flair take each other out while Asuka climbs the ladder and retrieves the gold. She would quickly restore the credibility she's lost over the last eight months and be in her rightful spot as the SmackDown title holder. Pick: Asuka wins the title

JC: Flair's bouts of insanity have cost her matches lately, but it won't in this title match. Channeling her old heel tactics, Flair will steal the SmackDown women's title away from both the champion Lynch and fellow challenger Asuka. Hopefully, that will start us down the road to WrestleMania 35 where Asuka could seek the ultimate redemption. Pick: Charlotte Flair wins the title

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Brian Campbell covers MMA, boxing and WWE. The Connecticut native joined CBS Sports in 2017 and has covered combat sports since 2010. He has written and hosted various podcasts and digital shows for ESPN... Full Bio

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