Well, we’ve finally made it. The last pay-per-view on the schedule before “The Showcase of the Immortals,” aka: WrestleMania 35.
I’m not sure how they did it, but the McMahon family found a way to smash in two fairly significant PPV events in the last month & somehow the talent hasn’t missed a beat.
They better hope that doesn’t start now, as they’re in the finally home stretch before the BIG one next month at Medlife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ.
Kicking off live tonight at 7pm ET from Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, OH, here are my predictions for WWE Fastlane.
Rey Mysterio vs Andrade *Kickoff Show
Unfortunately, I fear WWE missed out on a heck of an opportunity to make this rivalry one of the best of the year so far. Every time these competitors have gotten in the ring together over the last two months, they’ve brought the house down with their in-ring chemistry. So the fact that this match is on the kick off show & never really got much room to grow as a feud is frustrating. Nonetheless, I still expect a great match, but sadly won’t get the amount of time it truly deserves.
The New Day (Big E & Xavier Woods) vs Shinsuke Nakamara & Rusev *Kickoff Show
The wrestling business is one of extreme peaks & valleys. It wasn’t long ago that both Nakamara and Rusev were respective United States Champions and had spots on PPV cards to build momentum. Fast forward to the present, where their failing attempt at a tag team has resulted in hardly any TV time and being bumped down to the kickoff show. On the other side will be Big E & Xavier Woods, whose main focus has been on their brother Kofi Kingston’s unfair treatment by Vince McMahon.
Out of the ring, given Rusev’s most recent tweets about “no longer being here” and “don’t read into it, but read into it” makes me wonder if he will be added to the recently growing list of performers asking for their release from the company.
Winner: The New Day
Raw Tag Team Championship Triple Threat Match – (C) The Revival vs Aleister Black & Ricochet vs Bobby Roode & Chad Gable
For being the “A Show,” RAW clearly has always had the lesser build & hype in it’s tag team division and it shows. Not only has this forced experiment of Roode & Gable yielded a championship run previously, but they have yet another chance here. Also note that another forced, but highly successful thus far, NXT call-up team of Black & Ricochet are already contenders for the titles after only three matches on RAW, this proves overall lack of confidence in the brand’s roster.
I won’t take much time on this one. Black & Ricochet have to be called up and put in this situation to try to revitalize Raw’s tag division, otherwise this would all be a waste of time & space for another team.
Winner: Aleister Black & Ricochet
Smackdown Women’s Championship – (C) Asuka vs Mandy Rose
In a match that has had very little buildup and a champion who’s hardly been on TV at all over the last month or so, this is my candidate for quickest match of the night. I like both of these competitors a lot, but they received no creative help building this bout and sadly the only thing that kept this off the kickoff show was that it’s a title match. I don’t expect an upset by Rose here, but with less than a month before WrestleMania, the SmackDown Women’s division needs some kind of shakeup to draw interest back. Especially considering that it’s two talents, Charlotte & Becky Lynch, are preparing to fight for a chance at the RAW women’s crown.
Smackdown Tag Team Championship – (C) The Usos vs The Greatest Tag Team in the World (The Miz & Shane McMahon)
The Usos became six-time tag team champions last month at the Elimination Chamber PPV and further cemented their place as not only the best team on SmackDown Live, but the best in WWE overall. Shane & The Miz, who the Usos beat that night, look to bounce back in Miz’s hometown to retake the gold.
A few months ago, I incorrectly predicted a heel turn by either Shane or Miz on his teammate. So I’m here to admit that I jumped the gun before, but I fully expect it tonight! I predicted the Miz would turn previously, but I’m going with Shane turning on his partner in front of Miz’s father, who will most likely be front row. This shock will set up their ‘Mania match that will undoubtably steal the show as McMahon seems to do every year.
The downside to this, however, is what the Smackdown tag picture could look like after this. Could we see another Usos vs New Day classic? Or maybe The Hardy’s or The Bar jump back up? Should be an interesting next few weeks.
Winner: The Usos
Women’s Tag Team Championship – (C) The Boss N Hug Connection (Sasha Banks & Bayley) vs Tamina & Nia Jax
This is the first ever title defense of these brand new titles that were absolutely deserved and overdue after all the hard work this company’s women have put in during the Women’s Revolution. It was clear all along who they’d crown first with these titles, and I don’t expect Banks & Bayley to give them up just yet. Jax & Tamina’s cousin connection is formidable and interesting to say the least, but with the overall hype the former has gotten, I don’t see them walking out as the new champions. The McMahons can’t wait to have them defend their titles on all brands, and they’ve got the perfect team to do it.
Winner: Boss N Hug Connection
The Shield vs Baron Corbin, Drew McIntyre, & Bobby Lashley
News of Roman Reigns’ cancer being in remission sent more shockwaves through national news than his initial cancer announcement last fall. He made a promise he’d beat cancer again and be back in the ring as soon as he could, and we’re all glad to see that he did indeed keep that promise.
In a surprising turn, as soon as he got back, it didn’t take long at all before he got the band back together and convinced Rollins & Ambrose to put aside their differences. Unfortunately, it’s against the same opponents we’ve seen them face for the better part of the last year in Corbin & his goons. McIntyre & Lashley have had solid runs since we last saw this match though, so that hands another layer of excitement for this matchup. However, with this being Reigns’ first match post-cancer, there is no way The Shield doesn’t capitalize on that moment & walk away with the win.
Winner: Sierra. Hotel. India. Echo. Lima. Delta.
Charlotte Flair vs Becky Lynch
If Becky wins, she gets added to the Raw Women’s Championship match at WrestleMania that was taken away from her & given to Charlotte by Vince McMahon.
Prior to Roman Reigns returning from cancer, this was by far the greatest thing that could have happen to the company in the form of Lynch’s momentum with the WWE Universe. Her constant back and forth battle with Ronda Rousey on social media has been nothing short of entertaining and hilarious. Lynch will find a way to win this match, probably with some help from an interfering Rousey, setting up this triple threat that in my opinion should close out the show next month at WrestleMania as the true main event.
WWE Championship – (C) Daniel Bryan vs Kevin Owens
With Kofi Kingston being replaced by Kevin Owens, I honetly lost interest in this match. I’m a huge fan of both Bryan & Owens, but Kingston getting his shot excited me. Undoubtably saving Kingston for his big moment after the reaction he got last month at Elimination Chamber, this match seems like a good replacement. Building on the similar storyline of Becky Lynch, Kofi’s pop will only be amplified by this recent bump in the road.
Even with a returning Owens, I expect this match to be very clean and technical, but overall for Bryan to pull out the victory. However, I do expect Eric Rowan to be a problem for Owens, and for his good buddy Sami Zayn to make his return to balance out the odds. I expect the official announcement of Kingston being Bryan’s next opponent next week on Smackdown Live.
Winner: Daniel Bryan