WWE Fastlane Preview

Xavier Woods & Big E vs. Rusev & Nakamura

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That tweet about sums it up.


Rey Mysterio vs. Andrade

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This is the best feud in wrestling right now, so it makes sense WWE would stick this blow off match on the pre-show of a filler PPV.

The cohesion and chemistry between these two has been absolute magic every time they’ve stepped inside the ring.

With a refreshing “how we can we make this match unique and different from the last one” attitude that is sorely lacking from many WWE feuds,  these two are whipping out Canadian Destroyers, top rope power bombs and an array of moves that are consistently wowing and shocking crowds. Their timing is so smooth and their level of difficulty on certain sequences is so on point, the minds of spectators can’t even process it properly.

Wonderfully, baffling awe, that’s what’s inspired by the type of offense and counters we see from these two.

Mysterio is a legend.

Andrade is already starting to flirt with the label one year into his main roster run.


Raw Tag Team Championship
The Revival vs. Aleister Black & Ricochet vs. Chad Gable & Bobby Roode

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If this match got 22 minutes and was on an NXT Takeover, this might be a dark horse match of the year candidate.

It won’t get that and it won’t be on that, and plus it’ll be in front of a Cleveland crowd, so there are three external factors working against this intriguing triple-threat tag bout. What’s working in its favor is the level of in-ring resumes of each of the six competitors.

Regardless of constant creative missteps, start and stop pushes and recent burials, The Revival have persevered and are currently vying for 1 and 1A spots with The Usos as the best pure tag team in the WWE right now. Having them face off at Mania and unite the belts isn’t a bad idea.

Gable and Roode have taken a “We’ve got nothing else for you guys , let’s try this” situation and made the best they could out of it (Drake Maverick catering jokes aside), putting together performances that range from oh that’s good to oh that was kind of great.

Ricochet and Aleister Black is the tag team we never knew we needed until now. The Halftime Heat spectacle showed how these two guys can build off of each other, spot and energy-wise. Sans Dream, they’re now proving it against main roster foes and more than holding their own.

The Revival should retain here, especially since the Ricochet-Black slot seemed like it was reserved for DIY before the extent of Tommaso Ciampa’s injury was realized.


Smackdown Women’s Title
Asuka vs. Mandy Rose

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Readers of tea leaves may foresee that the Smackdown Women’s Title match at Wrestlemania is shaping up to be Asuka vs. Lacey Evans vs. Mandy Rose.

Bright and vibrant is the hue of green of those two potential challengers.

If the WWE has high hopes for the two beautiful blondes, sticking them with a great worker and match-carrier like Asuka on the biggest stage wouldn’t be the worst idea.

That likely means another Lacey Evans showoff strut to the ring in a match that will likely be just a shade more in-depth than the Smackdown affair we just witnessed.

Asuka should retain, even with potential Evans hijinks. Rose is clearly not ready for a belt yet, but her improvement is noticeable and her potential is easy to see.

The most interesting part could be Sonya Deville’s involvement and whether or not we get a screw up interference that leads to tension between her and Mandy.


Women’s Tag Team Championship
Sasha Banks & Bayley vs. Nia Jax & Tamina

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This one doesn’t need to be much more than a paint by numbers Raw match.

Sasha or Bayley comes firing out of the gates but gets taken down due to the size discrepancy. Tamina and Nia will work over and dominate one of them for the next five or so minutes. Sasha plays the rag doll well and Bayley thrives in the awaiting a hot tag for the quick fire spot role, so that could be the route to go.

It’s possible we get an outside spot where Nia gets thrown into the post. A Bayley to the rescue saving an almost pinned Sasha spot could be a nice addition.

There doesn’t have to be anything too complicated here. The Boss ‘N’ Hug Connection should hold these titles for a while. They’re the right choice to establish the meaningfulness of the belts at Wrestlemania (against Lita and Trish, hmm?).

Tamina should eat the pin. Maybe we get some frustration between her and Nia after the match and have that boil over into Raw the next night. This one doesn’t have the makings of a rewatchable classic. If this goes more than 10 minutes, it’ll have gone too long.


Smackdown Tag Team Championship
The Usos vs. The Miz & Shane McMahon

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Was the first encounter between these two teams at Elimination Chamber a good match?

No.

Did the last five minutes of that meeting have fans invested?

Yes.

Was a rematch necessary?

Well, for whatever strange nostalgia reasons, fans still seem to be invested in Shane doing big spots and that’s fine, so it is what it is. Plus, the tease of dissension between McMahon and The Miz following their loss to the Usos at that show will likely boil over here and tempers may finally flare up, which could potentially set up the greatest bathroom break match in Wrestlemania history.


The SHIELD vs. Baron Corbin, Bobby Lashley & Drew McIntyre

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Ask any die hard fan of a great band that broke up in its prime and they’ll tell you the first reunion tour is always fun. But that second one always feels like a bit of cash grab.

Now, to be fair, the first SHIELD reunion story line was probably supposed to run its course until this Wrestlemania. Dean’s triceps injury and Roman’s leukemia diagnosis threw a few monkey wrenches into those plans.

It’s weird, as a fan of all three of these guys, I’m just burnt out on all of them at this point.

Five years ago, if you wanted to tell me all three were the future of the business, I’d have signed on for such a statement, knowing full well they were bound to break up at some point.

Back then, they were doing this type of stuff.

For whatever reason (well, there are probably many reasons) it just didn’t happen.

Excuses that creative hampered each of their characters post-break up and failed to strike while the iron was hot on each (A Roman heel turn at any point, giving Rollins a run as a face champion when we was red hot after returning from injury, giving Dean a chance at a title match with HHH at Wrestlemania 32 instead of the Brock match that likely killed his career) are most definitely legitimate.

Or maybe, the tough to swallow pill is that the whole was just greater than the sum of the parts. Because now, here they all are, lukewarm and as bland as ever, ready to take on three generic goon heels that no one cares about seeing being overcome, again.

This world is littered with old tattered leaflets that promised the many next big things that never materialized. Unfortunately, time may remember the Hounds of Justice as just another one.


WWE Championship
Daniel Bryan vs. Kevin Owens

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Deep down inside, Vince McMahon has likely been waiting and craving for a Stone Cold-esque adversary to come along and look him in the eye and match his brutal intensity.

He may have found such a foe in Kevin Owens.

Owens, who McMahon likely sees as a natural connector to the everyman dynamic of his audience, returned from injury a few weeks ago to put a damper on Kofi Kingston’s post-Elimination Chamber momentum.

It’s been a tough spot to enter for a once dastardly heel trying to transition into a face who uses the corporate approved term WWE Universe multiple times in a promo.

Owens is so damn good on the mic, though, he can pull it off.

Having a bubble vest-clad heat magnet like environmentalist Daniel Bryan to work off of has proved to be a godsend.

Owens’ feud with AJ Styles never got into full gear and failed to meet expectations. His feud with Bryan, however, feels like a fresh start for such a promising talent.

If anyone can make fans forget about those Kofi chants, it’s KO.


Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch

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Coming out of the Royal Rumble, it seemed like the WWE was doing things right and wouldn’t be able to mess up a seemingly bulletproof storyline for the Raw Women’s Championship main event at Wrestlemania.

Becky won the Rumble and she picked Ronda as her opponent.

Form there, theoretically, you could have gotten a complaining Charlotte who said Lynch wasn’t even supposed to be in the Rumble therefore she was the official last woman standing in the match, and she deserved a title shot. Add in the beat down of Rousey at Survivor Series at the hands of Flair and it’s easy to see why Ronda would accept to get her revenge and acquiesce to a three-way.

Lynch gets to look fearless by saying she’s beat Charlotte already so she doesn’t fear her. There it is, we’ve got ourselves a huge main event worthy match.

Instead, we got a convoluted McMahon Family-heavily-involved mess that has left everyone involved feeling at least a bit diminished, and in the case of Rousey, looking foolish.

A recent Ronda promo where she imitates a fourth-grader learning what the F-word is for the first time was something to behold for all the wrong reasons.

This feud, following suit of the WWE’s overall creative direction, has begun to head off the rails. It’s up to Charlotte and Becky to reel things back in.

Admittedly, this match up doesn’t exactly have a fresh feel, considering we’ve seen these two go at it in the final sequence of the Rumble and in either one-on-one matches or triple-threats at basically every pay-per-view since Summerslam. Still, the bond these two have and the ease with which they work together and feed off each other is always something special to behold.

It’ll be interesting to see if this match closes the show. Becky would benefit from a clean well fought win here. However, a Ronda spotlight-stealing ending is certainly in play.


Notable Absences

  • AJ Styles
  • Braun Strowman
  • Brock Lesnar
  • Finn Balor
  • Kofi Kingston
  • Randy Orton
  • Ronda Rousey
  • Samoa Joe

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