It’s the final stop on the road to WrestleMania… unless you could all the Raw’s and SmackDowns that take place in the next few weeks.
Somehow Fastlane has even less hype than Elimination Chamber, which is somewhat impressive. At least that had some historical firsts while Fastlane just has a bunch of guys farting around pretending that they matter as much as Ronda Rousey, Brock Lesnar and DA BIG DAWG ROMAN REIGNS.
This is evident by SmackDown having two halves of a match (TBD vs Nakamura and potentially Asuka vs TBD if she jumps brands) in the books for Wrestlemania while has three full matches ready. We get it WWE DA BIG DAWG is the biggest dawg in the pound even though Shinsuke is the Royal Rumble winner and is universally beloved. But hey, at least we get Nakamura vs. AJ…unless they take that away from us (DON’T YOU DARE TAKE THAT AWAY FROM US WWE!!!). I’m Spaceman Frank and here are my Fastlane 2018 predictions!
(Note: as of this writing at 3:35 PM the day before Fastlane there is no preshow match announced, so I will go ahead and say Jinder Mahal will beat Mojo Rawley in a match that makes everyone sad.)
Becky Lynch and Naomi vs. Natalya and Carmella
This match is brought to us by the inevitable heat death of the universe.
Such is the depths of my apathy for the women’s division on SmackDown right now (Fun Fact: Becky Lynch has not won on PPV in over a year. Your first women’s champion of SmackDown ladies and gentleman). I do not know what the point of this match will be besides reminding us at 75% of the women involved in this match are former champions and Carmella may be one in the near future with the Money in the Bank briefcase. The good gals win because why not? (Probably WWE’s actual booking logic).
Bobby Roode (C) vs. Randy Orton (US Championship match)
As much as I love Bobby Roode his US title reign has…sucked. He pretty much has just hung around to kill 15 minutes and give us a singalong to partake in. Meanwhile, Orton has also been drifting around delivering RKO’s outta somewhere to remind us that he is a big deal.
I am concerned that Orton will win the belt here because he has to do something at WrestleMania, and Roode is can be in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal with all the other directionless schmucks. Orton wins in a slow, plodding match between two masters of the “methodical” style.
Charlotte Flair (C) vs. Ruby Riott (WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship)
Please God let this be the end of the constant matches between Flair and members of the Riott Squad. At this point the Squad seem to have wrestled 8,000 matches since their debut and have killed any hype we have for the gang. If you think WWE is going to go with Ruby over Flair for a title match at the biggest show of the year you need to stop drinking so much moonshine.
I hope Asuka jumps to SmackDown to face Charlotte at WrestleMania since that feels like it belongs at ‘Mania over two separate matches between the two. We got to cut time somewhere in the evening and this would be a better quality match than whatever else they book. If WWE wants to impress any fans tuning in for Ronda they should put their two best together. Charlotte wins and Ruby and the posse creep in the shadows for a while selling weed to middle schoolers.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Rusev
WWE cares about Royal Rumble winner Shinsuke Nakamura that they booked him a match with zero match less than a week before Fastlane (Yayyyy). At least we get two of the most over guys in the company facing off in what should be a fun match.
Rusev appears to be not quite committing to being a good guy, which is odd considering he is literally the greatest person in written history. But he exists to sell t-shirts and calendars and job out to people. Nakamura wins the battle of the singalong champions and goes on to hopefully face AJ BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT WE WANT WWE DO NOT DARE MESS THIS UP.
The Usos (C) vs. The New Day (WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship)
This match is here to give fans something to wake them up, which is weird because if WWE was going to walk this feud back you would think they would wait until WrestleMania.
The Usos are trying to make the main ‘Mania card for the first time ever, and besides their hosting duties last year The New Day have very little time on the main show as well. I do not think these guys can have a bad match, so this is a very likely match of the night candidate. It also is the one I am least sure of for predictions, because New Day’s popularity may trump the Uso’s workhorse cred.
In the end, I want The Usos to be rewarded for stepping up their game and retain so they get their moment at WrestleMania.
AJ Styles (C) vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin vs. John Cena vs. Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens (WWE Championship Match)
WWE blew the most interesting story joining into this when they had Sami go after his super best friend on the go home show, thus shutting down the storyline that he would lay down for KO when he got the chance. That two vs. all gimmick would have at least yielded some drama, but now I expect Zayn to rediscover his heart of pure pureness at attack the dastardly Owens.
As for the rest of the people in this match, Ziggler came back after his sabbatical to continue his Zigglypuff ways. Corbin continues to be a person who is employed by the WWE, snd Big Match John threatens to digivolve to ManiaJohnamon at any second.
I have a shadow in my heart that whispers “it does not matter how good AJ Styles is: Cena will beat him for the championship because he is John Effing Cena.” I pray that does not happen because AJ VS. SHINSUKE WILL BE THE BEST MATCH EVER WE LITERALLY HAVE VIDEO EVIDENCE CONFIRMING IT WWE STOP YA NONSENSE AND GIVE US A MATCH WE WANT TO SEE AT MANIA.
….AJ wins or I drink a bottle of mouthwash before bed on Sunday.
by Jonathan Schorr
Jon and Matt discuss the crazy beginning to the NFL Free agency and review this week in WWE including the Review of arguably the worst WWE Pay-Per-View in awhile, Fastlane.
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by Frank Lucci
It is Fastlane time in WWE land, which means we’ve got one last pitstop before WrestleMania.
Smackdown Live had the advantage of having Elimination Chamber two weeks after the Royal Rumble, allowing them to put on a nice bow on Rumble storylines while giving people a reason to watch the blue brand build its ‘Mania storylines for two uninterrupted months.
Meanwhile, WWE has tried their darndest to get people to care about Fastlane in combination with hyping and setting up matches for the show of shows. With two title matches almost guaranteed to end a certain way and most of the rest of the card meaning very little, fans can at least look forward to incessant ‘Mania commercials and people pointing at the big WrestleMania sign at random times. I’m Spaceman Frank and here are my predictions for Fastlane 2017.
Rich Swann and Akira Tozawa vs. Brian Kendrick and Noam Dar (Kickoff)
We start the night (after about 30-40 minutes of useless banter) with four Cruiserweights trying their best to make some sort of impression on the Raw crowds. I think we’ll get some sort of crazy Cruiserweight scramble for the championship at ‘Mania (perhaps taking over the Intercontinental Championship Ladder match that has opened the show recently). Tozawa seems to be making some headway with live crowds, and Rich Swann and Brian Kendrick have history on their side. Sadly, Noam Dar has been adrift despite being crazy talented, possibly due to a lack of direction after being paired with Alicia Fox. The faces win because Tozawa’s Snap German Suplex is the best.
Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax
A preshow match at the Rumble becomes a real match here, and Banks looks to take down the monster Jax with her fully recovered knee. I’m curious to see if Banks get a respectable amount of offense in, or if she continues to ragdoll around Jax to make her look dominant. In the end, however, I see Jax pulling out the win to make Banks go back to her Boss ways and betray Bayley because it’s about time she turns heel.
The Club (c) (Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson) vs. Big Cass and Enzo Amore (WWE Raw Tag Team Championship Match)
The Club are finally champions, much too late for anyone to care and facing the perennial challengers who never win anything. Enzo and Cass may be the Buffalo Bills of the WWE, and that is coming from a Bills fan (I never expect either of them to get the championships, but I can dream right?). If WWE pulls the trigger with Enzo and Cass it will be at WrestleMania for the big feelgood moment of the card, but honestly I think WWE will hedge their bets and have the Raw and SmackDown tag champs face off on the preshow to get everyone a payday. The Club win and the crowd halfheartedly make a vaguely disappointed sound.
Bayley (c) vs. Charlotte (WWE Raw Women’s Championship Match)
This one is obvious. We have seen this storyline beaten into the ground, and despite Bayley having more pure babyface potential than Sasha Banks, that will not save her from the streak of Charlotte. If WWE was smart, they would have Charlotte keep the belt for a bit and stop having the title hot potato between people (if Charlotte wins she will have become a five time champion before the title’s one year anniversary) and make her Pay Per View streak more compelling. Then call up Asuka post-Mania and have a streak vs. streak (Asuka is currently threatening Goldberg’s WCW undefeated streak legitiamtely) match between the two at some point. Until then, Charlotte should just stop defending the belt on Mondays and just cut insane promos like her dad.
Neville (c) vs. Jack Gallagher (WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match)
This is one of the more intriguing championship matches that WWE has put on for the Cruiserweights since the finals of the CWC. Neville is the heel champion the division needs, easily blowing Kendrick out of the water in that regard. Meanwhile, Gallagher is one of the few true breakout stars the division has had, getting reactions Swann and TJP could only achieve by meeting Jiminy Cricket and wishing upon a star. The fact that Jackie Boy was the only Cruiserweight in the Royal Rumble match speaks volumes on how much WWE values him. And yet, he will lose here. After so many different champions, the division needs a rock to build a foundation on. Neville is that rock, and he will walk out as champ by doing something dastardly and ungentlemanly.
Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman
Finally, WWE has found a Reigns match I am actually intrigued by. While the Reigns hype train is a little beat up at this point, he always threatens to run over the internet’s favorite wrestlers…until now. Strowman is Vince’s shiny new toy, and his push thus far is similar to Reigns early push in The Shield, minus the extra teammates to lean upon. I think Strowman is the one guy WWE management may have usurp Reigns as their guy, but being so close to ‘Mania I do not see this match happening, or at least having a proper finish. Instead, I see these two brawling all over the arena much like they have in the past, leading to a Falls Count Anywhere match at ‘Mania between the two. If I have to pick a winner, I would go with Strowman just in case they want to have Reigns seek a vengeful rematch at the biggest show of the year.
Samoa Joe vs. Sami Zayn
The other big grudge match on the card sees Joe staying on his warpath to destroy all the top babyfaces on Raw. Rollins’ injury is unfortunate, but may be a blessing in disguise for himself (he essentially gets a second chance at his big babyface turn) and Zayn, who gets something important to do and another chance to steal the show. Rewatching their epic 2 out of 3 falls match from NXT makes me salivate at what these guys can do, plus the WWE universe has been too long for Samoa Joe to debut on the main roster. In what will be the match of the night, Zayn will go down swinging as only he can and make Joe look like a boss from Dark Souls 3.
Kevin Owens (c) vs. Goldberg (WWE Universal Championship Match)
There are so many possibilities that I have chosen to list all of them as a series of cliffhanger questions.
Is there any way Owens walks out as champ? Can he beat Dad-Berg, or at least carry him to a decent match that is longer than three minutes? Will Chris Jericho cost Owens the Universal Championship? Will Brock come in to even the odds in Owens’ favor? Will the son of Goldberg pop his shirt off and defend his father against the team of monstrous evil dads? Will the son of Kevin Owens take down Junior-Berg leading to a father and son inter-generational tag team match at WrestleMania? Will Jericho emerge from the ashes and end up challenging Brock Lesnar for the title after winning it on Raw the day after this PPV? Will the universe eventually stop expanding, collapse, and thus claim the Universal Championship before becoming a singularity and becoming the Universal Champion in the past, present, and future simultaneously? Find out on WWE Fastlane!
In all seriousness, Goldberg will probably win in five minutes or less because it’s just that time on the WWE’s calendar for stuff like this.
SSEP returns as Jon and Matt hit on NFL offseason news, a UFC 209 preview and this week in WWE, including a Fastlane preview and early ‘Mania speculations.
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