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    Fastlane 2019 Previews and Predictions

    Previews and Predictions for all the matches set to take place at Fastlane 2019!

    Last month during my Previews and Predictions for Elimination Chamber I opined that Fastlane was a bit of a pointless event, and the WWE would be better served in using two months to build towards WrestleMania.

    Looking at the card now it has fully formed, I think about 80% of it backs me up on that.

    There are, thankfully, some really good matches booked here though, and a couple I’m genuinely interested to see and feel like more than just the padding I suspected we’d get.

    Let’s take a look at what we have…


    Pre-Show Match

    Singles Match
    Rey Mysterio
    (w/Zelina Vega)

    I know I’m usually the first to deride the Pre-Show match choices but this one makes perfect sense.

    Andrade and Mysterio have been locked in a bit of a scuffle over the past few weeks, partly surrounding the US Championship.

    Nothing major enough to warrant a marquee match, but at the same time they have been having some very enjoyable matches and it would be a good platform to put Andrade over.

    Could this have been replaced with the brilliant United States Championship match we saw on Smackdown? Maybe, but I think that would have been wasted on the pre-show and there clearly wasn’t enough time to put it on the main card.


    Unless these two are going to go again at WrestleMania, which I highly doubt, this should be the payoff for their mini-feud.

    Andrade has to go over in that case, he needs to get a few big wins under his belt to stop him getting lost in the shuffle with all the new guys coming up from NXT.


    Pre-Show Match

    Tag Team Match
    The New Day
    Rusev & Shinsuke Nakamura

    Unlike the previous match, this one makes ZERO sense, on the pre-show, the main card or anywhere else.

    If this match got booked for Smackdown I’d wonder why, but on a Pay Per View where big names like Braun Strowman, Finn Balor, Samoa Joe, A.J Styles and Randy Orton haven’t made the cut I have no idea why The New Day (who are almost certain to have a presence around the WWE Championship match) are facing off against Shinsuke Nakamura and Rusev.

    They’ve not had any sort of run-in prior to this, in fact The Hardy Boyz or R-Truth and A.N. Other would have made better opponents.

    I presume it’s just an excuse for why New Day will be at Fast Lane when they inevitably get involved later in the show, but they didn’t NEED another reason to be there other than Kofi being screwed.


    There isn’t really a future in the Nakamura/Rusev tag team, in fact the writers have been INCREDIBLY short sighted in turning Rusev.

    He was getting over with the fans, now he’s just half of a loser team that nobody cares about, with a partner who has constantly been under-utilised and will likely leave after Mania.

    The New Day have the win in the bag.


    Smackdown Tag Team Championship Match

    Tag Team Match
    The Usos
    The Miz & Shane McMahon (c)

    I think I must have been one of the only people in the world to think The Usos were going to win at Elimination Chamber, and even then I suspected it might not be a victory for the titles given Jimmy Uso’s indiscretions the week before.

    The odds with the bookies were long, which was good news for me as I put a few ££ on the Samoan brothers and they came up with the goods.

    This whole thing is still following my original theory, so for the third month running I’ll copy and paste it here:

    Miz and Shane win the titles at The Rumble, they drop them to someone else at Elimination Chamber due to some huge miscommunication which Miz blames Shane for. Animosity begins to creep in, but they earn another title shot at Fast Lane… where Miz turns on Shane and they ramp up the build to Mania.

    So I’m slightly off with the animosity building between the two so far, but I still think it’ll happen.


    I suspect Shane will be responsible for them failing to win the titles and as it’s in Miz’s hometown, in front of his own father, he’ll snap.

    The team will split and end up going 1 on 1 at Mania while the Usos move on to feud with The Hardy Boyz or someone similar.


    Grudge Match

    3 on 3 Match
    Bobby Lashley, Baron Corbin & Drew McIntyre
    (w/Lio Rush)
    The Shield

    It’s almost like the past 3 months didn’t happen, huh?

    Reigns went off to fight his battle with cancer and the writers decided to turn Dean Ambrose in order to fill the void.

    It didn’t work… at all, so they pushed Rollins as the man on Raw, only for Reigns to come back way ahead of anyone’s expectations.

    To the writers credit they didn’t just crowbar him into the Lesnar/Rollins match (at least not yet anyway) and instead decided to pick up where they left off, reforming The Shield.

    Instead of taking on Ziggler, McIntyre and Strowman though they have the far less threatening prospect of McIntyre, Lashley and Corbin to deal with.


    And deal with them they inevitably will.

    Rollins has plans for Mania so it’s unlikely this will be more than a one month deal, maybe Reigns and Ambrose will go on to tag together at Mania, but this match really won’t mean much after it’s over.

    It should be entertaining enough to see The Shield back together, but the outcome feels incredibly obvious and the whole match feels like a way to keep Rollins occupied until Lesnar is ready to start building toward their title match at Mania.


    WWE Womens Tag Team Championship Match

    Tag Team Match
    Bayley & Sasha Banks (c)
    Tamina & Nia Jax

    This is barely even a feud, more a fallout from Elimination Chamber that needs wrapping up.

    I know it’s been less than a month but Bayley and Sasha haven’t done anything at all with the titles since winning them.

    They talked, VERY briefly, about how much it meant to them to be the first Champions but since then nothing.

    I thought having a set of cross-branded titles would mean we’d see the Champs appear on both shows, but so far that hasn’t really been the case.

    Maybe once the threat of Tamina and Nia Jax are neutralised we’ll see that happen though.

    Why have Nia and Tamina got a shot at the belts? No idea, because they were the last team eliminated in the chamber presumably.


    The bookies give Nia and Tamina no chance and I don’t either.

    Nia is good enough to carry the belts but I just don’t see Tamina as Championship material.

    The only thing she really had going for her was her heritage, being poor on the microphone and only slightly above average in the ring, but now they can’t even really bring that up.

    Sasha and Bayley are winning here all day long, and if they don’t win they will at least hold onto the belts.


    Raw Tag Team Championship Match

    Tag Team Triple Threat Match
    The Revival (c)
    Ricochet & Aleister Black
    Roode & Gable

    I wonder if The Revival are regretting their decision to stick around?

    Sure, they’re champions now but they’ve hardly been booked particularly well since winning the belts.

    These guys are good too, both in the ring and on the microphone, and despite having the belts I think they’re still completely under-utilised.

    It’s similar to Shinsuke Nakamura having the US Championship, it feels like a move to placate them without anything actually changing.

    Roode and Gable still being in the title picture really shows how weak things are on Raw, or rather how little faith the creative team have in the likes of The Ascension, The B Team and Hawkins & Ryder to get over (with good reason I suppose) but these guys shouldn’t really be in the Tag Division, at least not Roode anyway.

    Do they have anything else for him to do though? Probably not.

    Finally we come to Black and Ricochet.

    Amazing talents, not sure why they are being paired together but it’s working, and similarly to Roode I don’t know where they’d fit in if it wasn’t here.

    Will they win the belts though?


    This whole thing seems like an experiment to see if Ricochet and Black would fit in on the main card, and the fans have been very receptive to it.

    Ciampa and Gargano got good reactions too though and they’ve gone back to NXT, but they had title belts to defend, these guys don’t.

    I think WWE are keen to avoid another Tye Dillinger situation so they’re wisely testing the water.

    Have the results been positive enough to put the straps on them this early though? Probably not, but I’ve put a few ££ on them winning just in case, given how The Revival have been treated previously.


    Smackdown Womens Championship Match

    Singles Match
    Asuka (c)
    Mandy Rose
    (w/Sonya Deville)

    This is exactly what happens when you completely pick apart one brand’s Womens division in order to make the other the ‘MAIN EVENT’ match it has to be in order to warrant putting it on last at the biggest Pay Per View of the year.

    I personally think Rousey Vs. Lynch would have been enough warrant it, given the amount of support Becky has drawn from the crowd, leaving Charlotte and Asuka to have a re-match from last year.

    But I guess the writers didn’t want to risk it, so they’ve thrown Flair into the mix as an insurance policy.

    The problem is, who does that leave for Asuka?

    There’s nobody on the Smackdown brand the level of Becky and Charlotte to fill the void, and pushing Mandy Rose at the 11th hour just isn’t cutting it.

    Carmella doesn’t have the credibility she once had, but she IS over so the writers wisely aren’t touching that, and Naomi is presumably still in the bad books (and couldn’t really sell a Mania match anyway.)

    Someone could jump over from Raw (Nia Jax, Alexa Bliss, Natalya) but all that would do is devalue Becky’s Rumble win and her subsequent right to choose what title to go after.

    Could they bring up someone from NXT? I suppose they could but I think it’s more likely we’ll either see this match again or some sort of multi-woman match for the title at Mania.


    Whatever the plan is, I don’t see Mandy Rose walking out with the belt.

    One thing is for sure though, the Smackdown Womens Championship picture is a mess right now.


    Grudge Match

    Singles Match
    Charlotte Flair
    Becky Lynch

    I might have given away my thoughts on this one already, but let’s take a look anyway.

    Normally Charlotte Vs. Becky would be a really big deal, we’ve seen them go a couple of times and it’s been really good stuff.

    The problem is, two things are completely marring this one.

    Firstly, Becky’s knee injury.

    At first the knee injury was a solid plot point, it gave Stephanie and Triple H a reason to suspend Becky when she wouldn’t see a doctor.

    The thing is, once she eventually DID see a doctor and got the all-clear, the writers decided to take that already terminally ill horse and flog it until it was practically an equine paste.

    And I don’t think they are done yet.

    Becky’s damaged joint seems to fluctuate in seriousness as and when the story calls for it, going from pretending to need crutches only to toss them away, to hopping around and writhing in pain after a few shots from Charlotte or Ronda.

    Surely if Steph and Triple H were doing their job they’d have to get her to see the doctors after each and every single one of these attacks, but instead they’ve just opted for the ‘Holds Harmless’ agreement to ensure they can carry on with the knee injury bit right the way up to WrestleMania.

    Secondly, we all know, and have known for months, that the Main Event of WrestleMania is going to be Becky Vs. Charlotte Vs. Ronda.

    The only way it seems like that is going to happen is if Becky beats Charlotte in this match, so quite obviously that’s what’s going to happen.


    I haven’t saved much for the prediction have I?

    I think everyone needs to prepare themselves for 15 minutes of Charlotte attacking Becky’s leg, and Becky ultimately coming out on top with the win.

    Maybe Charlotte will get frustrated as she did when she faced Rousey at Survivor Series and get herself disqualified, but I don’t see anything interesting happening in this match.

    I don’t think it’ll even be THAT good, with Becky selling her dodgy leg the whole way through.

    After the match keep an eye out for Rousey, that is if she hasn’t already made her way out to the ring before the final bell.


    WWE Championship Match

    Singles Match
    Daniel Bryan (c)
    Kevin Owens

    On occasion the WWE writers stumble upon a really brilliant concept that goes over brilliantly with the fans, be it a particular match-type, or a clever gimmick, or a huge surprise angle.

    What they tend to do in this situation though, is to latch onto it and lazily trot it out as much as they can as often as they can until the fans notice what they are doing and slowly lose interest.

    When they cleverly had Vince McMahon suspend Becky Lynch until just after Mania for her insubordination, replacing her with Charlotte Flair, the WWE Universe reacted angrily and it went over great.

    So satisfied with their work were they, that just a few weeks later they trotted out the same trick on Smackdown just as Kofi Kingston was about to sign on the dotted line for a well deserved title match.

    Except this time they didn’t have any reason to suspend Kofi and actually have the angle make sense, so instead they just had McMahon say Kevin Owens was more deserving and The New Day, Shane and Stephanie just… accepted it, as did the rest of us.

    Admittedly it was a big surprise and it gave me ‘the feels’ I used to get when I first started watching wrestling, it’s just a bit lazy that we’d seen the exact same thing on Raw a few weeks earlier.

    That’s the entire build too, other than Bryan throwing out some fat jokes and Owens cutting a particularly good promo earlier this week on Smackdown.


    Owens winning doesn’t go anywhere, and Bryan hasn’t had the belt long enough to drop it.

    KO is probably one of the few people that could get away with dropping the wooden belt and bringing back a nice leather and gold strap, but it feels too early in DB’s run for that.

    The only logical reason in the real world for taking Kofi out of this match is to save him for Mania, so you have to think Bryan wins and goes on to face the former Jamaican Sensation on the grandest stage of them all.

    Sami Zayn is ready to come back, so he might show up, but whether it’s to support or attack Kevin Owens is anyone’s guess.


    The End Bit…

    It’s rare I do an ‘end bit’ these days, but I just felt I had to comment on the massive amount of talent that has been left off this card.

    No US Championship means no Samoa Joe, no IC Championship means no Finn Balor.

    Elias, Natalya, Ruby Riott, Ronda Rousey, The Hardy Boyz, Randy Orton, A.J Styles, The Bar… all names you’d expect to see at Mania but just don’t make the cut here.

    Newcomers like Heavy Machinery don’t have a place either.

    There’s no sign of Braun Strowman either, who should have held the World Championship by now but for some reason never got put over.

    Last year when he won the Tag Championships alongside a 12 year old kid you thought ‘this time next year he’ll be heading into the title match, surely’, but a year down the line he doesn’t even have a prospective Mania opponent lined up.

    Triple H Vs. Batista is being kept for Raw when really it could have gone over well here as a 10-15 minute segment to really hammer home how big of an angle it is.

    We’ve not seen The Undertaker yet either, or Bray Wyatt who is supposed to have been back months ago.

    I know I was vehemently against it for months, if not years, but it almost feels like the rosters have filled out enough to warrant brand-specific Pay Per Views now…

    Wait, what did I just say? I think I need a lay down before tonight’s show!

    Remember everyone, tonight’s show kicks off at 11PM here in the UK! 10PM if you want to see the pre-show, and we’ll be live with our results as soon as the first pre-show match starts!

    - JayD

    Card as of 16/02/2019.
    Please note card is subject to change.


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