Interesting fact about the event which sees us on the ‘fastlane to Wrestlemania’: Of the thirteen title matches which have taken place since the event’s inception in 2015, only two have seen titles change hands; Randy Orton beating Bobby Roode for the US Title in 2018 and Goldberg squashing Kevin Owens in 2017.
It’s fair to say that the – often – penultimate show before the Grand-daddy (Grandaddy? Gran-Daddy?) of Them All is more of a place holder event. Don’t expect any massive overhauls to the plans, merely place setting before the big event. Looking over the card for Fastlane 2019, I fully expect this year’s event to follow a similar trend, but still with the potential for surprises along the way.
Becky Lynch vs Charlotte Flair
This match, and indeed this entire angle, is an example of both simple and good AND awful and needlessly complex story telling. Lynch makes Rousey tap out in the main event. Huge moment. Confetti falls, maybe has a Guinness. Becky Lynch is the biggest star in the company and wins the main event of the first Wrestlemania headlined by a woman. Showcase of the Immortals stuff. Bloody marvellous story.
The awful story telling is how we’ve got there. Charlotte Flair deserves to be in the main event. Whether you think Lynch/Rousey by itself is a *better* match is irrelevant, Flair/Rousey/Lynch should be a great match and is a good choice for a main event, but the story telling to get there is a total mess. This match – where Lynch needs to win to get the main event for some reason – raises some serious questions; mainly “what happened to the Royal Rumble? Doesn’t THAT give you a headline spot anymore?”
From an in-ring perspective only though, this should be a cracker. It’s not at all unrealistic of WWE booking to have Flair win here to drag the story about further (Lynch eventually gets the main event in two weeks by putting Stephanie in a brutal submission during RAW ala. Foley twisting Shane until Vince gave him his first title win), so don’t put all your money on the favourite. But the favourite is Becky for a reason. Lynch wins, goes to Mania.
Prediction: Becky Lynch
“The New” Daniel Bryan (w/Rowan) © vs Kevin Owens
Of all the matches this evening, this is where I think Wrestling Betting aficionados could pick up some dollar. Daniel Bryan is the *heavy* favourite and for understandable reasons. Kofi Kingston’s both awesome and unexpected-a-month-ago push means that the WWE Title match at Wrestlemania really HAS to be Bryan vs Kingston. Happy Face vs Miserable Preachy Heel. Eco-warrior vs Corporate Pancake dispensing lightshow. Bryan/Kingston should be great.
THAT SAID… whilst I don’t for a second see Owens walking away from the event as Champion, most betting options are based around who wins the match, not who wins the Title. This is Owens’ first match back since his return and there are clearly plans for him – it’s just not “his year”. With that in mind, I’m calling that Kevin Owens wins by DQ – possibly from a Bryan dick-kick, maybe from outside interference from Rowan… or maybe, perhaps *this* is where Sami Zayn returns to set up Owens/Zayn at Wrestlemania and hopefully adding Zayn to D-Bry’s evil millennials hipster group. There’s several ways that Owens wins by DQ here, all of which help everyone come out well, so that’s what I’m calling.
Prediction: Kevin Owens (by DQ)
The Shield (Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose) vs Bobby Lashley, Drew McIntyre & Baron Corbin
One of these teams not only has Seth Rollins in his final PPV before fighting Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania for The Universal title, but also Roman Reigns’ first match back since beating Leukaemia. There’s absolutely no way that the The Shield (who have also just re-united) are losing here… that would be crazy… or is there?
The Shield winning seems so obvious, but based on the last bookmakers odds, Bryan, Asuka and Banks/Bayley all have longer odds of winning. The anomaly, the unpredictable element… the lunatic fringe of this bet (if you weel) is one Mr Dean Ambrose. The whole will-he-won’t-he-be-leaving post-Mania rumours have thrown a Moxley shaped Spanner into proceedings. I’d imagine that one (or more of) the heel team will be fighting Balor at Wrestlemania for the IC belt, so the question now is – what are Ambrose and Reigns doing? Ambrose costing (intentionally or not) his side a win could set up a match either against Reigns himself or a redemptive match with The Big Dog at Mania as a ‘last ride’ for The Shield, but for either of these to happen, The Shield have to lose here.
But it ain’t happening. Reigns is winning this. Spearing Corbin out of his stupid waistcoat.
Prediction: The Shield
WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship
The Boss n Hug Connection (Sasha Banks & Bayley) (c) vs Nia Jax & Tamina
If Banks & Bayley lose here, then the only thing I can see them doing next month is chasing the titles and probably winning them again at Mania, so – as that seems a bit anti-climatic – I fully expect the inaugural champs to pick up a win here before finding new opponents next month.
Whilst Jax/Tamina have their critics, this has the potential to be a fun match with The Boss n Hug Connection playing The Rockers to Jax & Tamina’s Twin Towers ala. Wrestlemania V. But unlike that night, the smaller team will pick up the win to help solidify the new titles, especially as they’ve promised to defend them across all brands (and with the women’s title picture on RAW crowded) this gives Banks/Bayley a positive direction for a while before the inevitable break-up down the road.
Prediction: The Boss n Hug Connection
WWE Raw Tag Team Championship
The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder) (c) vs Aleister Black & Ricochet vs Bobby Roode & Chad Gable
For a card which – on paper – seems to have some fairly certain outcomes (more on that later), I think this might be one of the harder matches to call. Roode/Gable turned full dickhead on RAW this week (good) so we’ve got an interesting mix of the tweener champs against the debuting goodies in Black/Ricochet and the Glorious Wrong ‘uns.
I’m predicting a Revival retain (because it’s Fastlane), with the champs pinning either Gable or Roode. It seems too early to hand the recent NXT call-ups a loss here (even in a tag match) and there’s far more fun to be had with The Revival as champs for now. Them having to defend in a massive Mania multi-man seems to fit their Conspiracy Victim attitudes.
Prediction: The Revival
WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship
Asuka (c) vs Mandy Rose
It honestly wouldn’t be a shock to have Mandy Rose win here – albeit not cleanly. Asuka hasn’t had a lot to do post-Rumble and Mandy has had a good showing – especially within the Women’s Tag Elimination Chamber. I can see a scenario where Mandy wins here (with help from Sonya) and this sets up Mandy vs Naomi vs Asuka at Wrestlemania. You’ll get some good odds on Mandy here, so could be worth a small flutter.
That said, I don’t think it’ll happen. I expect Mandy’ll have a good showing before Asuka wins clean – setting up Asuka to defend at Mania (probably versus Lacey Evans) whilst Rose/Deville go after the women’s tag titles.
Side note – “the team of Mandy & Sonya” really does sound more like a team from Walford than from Wrestling…
WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship
The Usos (Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso) (c) vs The Miz & Shane McMahon
This is where we get to the more predictable parts of the evening. AND THAT’S FINE. THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH PREDICTABLE PARTS OF A STORY. WE KNEW LUKE WOULD BEAT THE EMPIRE. WE KNEW THAT THE TITANIC WOULD SINK. YOU NEED PREDICTABLE PARTS SO THAT TWISTS WORK AND THAT LOGIC MAKES SENSE. THAT’S WHAT GOOD STORY TELLING IS. IT’S NOT JUST TWISTS. YOU NEED TO EARN THEM FIRST DAMMIT.
Sorry, not sure what happened there… too much late 90s WCW.
Any-hoo… Put a big load of cash on it. This one is a ‘gimme’. It’s the result which people actually expected to happen on the last PPV – The Usos wins as Shane & The Miz have a complete combustion as a team. This will be followed by Miz turning on Shane-o-Mac at the end to set-up their Wrestlemania match (which should be wonderfully fun and totally mental), whilst The Usos face The Hardyz and/or The Bar
Prediction: The Usos
Andrade (w/Zelina Vega) vs Rey Mysterio
Not sure where these two go from here – although there’s still life left in the feud to keep going through to Wrestlemania. It’s fair to say that Andrade (don’t-call-him-Cien-Almas) is playing a key role in bringing the best out of the Master of the 619 over the last few months; they’ve had a couple of absolute bangers on Smackdown recently and it would be great to see them given some more time and an even bigger stage.
For me, it all depends on what happens at ‘Mania. If they’re getting a ‘full’ match, then Almas wins here (via interference from Vega) before Rey wins at Wrestlemania. If they’re both in the Andre Battle Royal, then Mysterio wins at Fastlane, but Andrade win the Battle Royal, last eliminating Rey.
Prediction: Andrade Wins
Those are our predictions, what are yours? Please leave them in the comments!