WWE TLC 2012: Stars That Set the Stage for Epic WrestleMania Run

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistDecember 19, 2012

UNCASVILLE, CT - AUGUST 3:  Actor Jeremy Piven guest hosts WWE's 'Monday Night Raw' at Mohegan Sun on August 3, 2009 in Uncasville, Connecticut.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

After an amazing 2012 TLC pay-per-view and an even more impressive edition of Raw on Monday night, it has become blatantly clear which WWE stars have set the stage for an amazing run to WrestleMania 29.

The PPV on Sunday opened many fans up to the fresh wave of young talent being infused into the product, and their enormous pushes almost immediately prove that their 2013 future is very bright.

The Royal Rumble marks the beginning of the road to WrestleMania, and all of the following budding stars are ready to make a run at greatness this year.


Antonio Cesaro

While Antonio Cesaro’s anti-American gimmick has been slow to pick up steam, the in-ring prowess of the Swiss star and his sheer size and strength have caught the eye of management backstage.

Cesaro proved at TLC when he beat R-Truth that the company was standing behind him and he would enjoy a long run as the United States champion.

The company clearly intends to bring legitimacy back to the secondary titles, while building a resume for a future main-event star like Cesaro. Expect the former Ring of Honor tag champion to be heavily promoted in the next year of programming.


Dolph Ziggler

Every time Dolph Ziggler defends his Money in the Bank briefcase—like on Sunday at TLC against John Cena—he wins the match.

The WWE Universe can say what they want about how he loses too much, but Ziggler is already becoming a main-event star.

Ziggler is one of the best workers in the WWE, and that comes with the price of having to lose to the best in the business. It’s called paying your dues.

As long as the company allows him to win his big matches on PPVs, the young star will be around the World heavyweight championship scene for a long time.


The Shield

While these three young men—Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns—have only had one match in the WWE so far, the way The Shield is being featured on television already is a clear sign of what’s to come.

The Shield has already become the mortal enemy of almost every major face in the WWE locker room, knocking out everyone from Randy Orton to Ryback, and that means their push is going to be long-term and straight toward the top of the card.

This trio will not stay together forever, but will likely remain a cohesive unit until they achieve a goal that culminates at WrestleMania 29.

With the many ways the creative team can take this invasion angle, The Shield will use TLC as the catapult to the grandest stage of them all—WrestleMania.


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