Fastlane is one of those pay-per-view events (are we still calling them payperviews in
the postNetwork world?) that can be a bit of a wildcard. In name, it’s a new event. The idea
being that we are taking the “fastlane” in the road to Wrestlemania. Some of the more recent
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payperviews have a theme or stipulation attached to them. Between the Royal Rumble and
Wrestlemania, Fastlane evokes a feeling that we just need to get past it. It’s a long road, and we
want the trip to be over. Nothing to see here. “Fastlane” is a pretty awful name for an event. I
think we can all agree on that.
There have been worse names. Breaking Point and Over the Limit were fairly wretched.
But Fastlane is important because it’s a gateway to Wrestlemania. As much as it sounds and
feels like a minor event, WWE is going to have to work some magic Sunday night if they’re
going to get some significant Wrestlemania buys. So what can we expect; or hopefully not
expect? Let’s break it down.
The Intercontinental Championship has always been a symbol given to the best workers
on the roster and Fastlane has a worthy matchup. Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler is bound to be
an exciting bout. This match hasn’t been promoted well, but these are two guys who have been
nothing if not consistent in putting on great performances throughout their respective careers.
And it’s a perfect match for Ziggler to show off his signature selling and to make Owens’
impactful style look even more brutal. Both superstars deserve the title, but it will be interesting
to see if they continue to push Kevin Owens or throw Ziggler a much deserved and overdue
We also have two Divas matches to look forward to. Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch take
on Naomi and Tamina in a tag match, settling their rivalry after Sasha dropped out of Team
BAD. This one will be interesting to see if Sasha can keep the momentum she has going from
her NXT fanbase. Seemingly the current “it” girl, she has an opportunity to challenge for the
Divas Championship at Wrestlemania. And it’s about time, since she’s been the most over while
also being the most underutilized Diva (I’ll never be able to say “Diva” seriously) since she was
brought up to WWE. Becky Lynch has been improving greatly on the mic, and I always thought
Naomi didn’t get a fair shake for her level of talent. Hopefully, it will be an impressive showing
Then we have the Divas Championship match (Side note: Can we please change it back
to the Women’s Championship? The strap shouldn’t look like a Lisa Frank trapper keeper).
Charlotte vs. Brie Bella might just be the passing of the torch we need in the women’s division.
Rumor has it that Brie may be leaving wrestling to start a family with the freshly retired Daniel
Bryan. It’s likely that they keep Charlotte as champ leading into Wrestlemania. And to anyone
who thinks it diminishes her accomplishments to have her father, Ric Flair, by her side...don’t be
silly. It’s Ric Flair. It’s always great to see the Nature Boy involved, as much as I would like to
see him in a more prominent role. Either way, I certainly wouldn’t protest to Sasha vs. Charlotte
Alberto Del Rio will be challenging for Kalisto’s US title, which is sure to be entertaining,
as Kalisto is the first luchador since Rey Mysterio to be given a significant push. And who can
blame them? The guy is damn exciting, and I don’t think there’s a wrestling fan who doesn’t
respect him after the insane Salida del Sol he performed off the ladder at TLC.
And our brand new golden boy, A.J. Styles will be facing Chris Jericho for a third time. I
think it’s fair to say that Jericho has done a great job in the latter days of his career of coming
back from touring with Fozzy to help put someone over. He seems to enjoy helping out new
talent, which is a very commendable trait that I feel is often overlooked by smart marks. In the
past he took no issue with putting on a good match and putting over Bray Wyatt and even
Fandango to let the WWE audience know that this person was worth watching. This time, he
seems to have taken interest in Styles. I don’t think A.J. needs much help getting over, but this
certainly can’t hurt. It’s also been fun watching Jericho turn on the inner pompous heel again to
build the feud.
Apparently, WWE Creative really liked my article about wrestling Gods and turned it into
a sixman tag match between the Wyatt Family vs. Kane, Big Show, and Ryback. Now, this
match could be very boring, but oh, how I love the premise. The Godlike Wyatt’s are
systematically taking out the Titans (Yes, they’re saying Titans!) and I couldn’t be happier. This
is reminiscent of when the Gods overthrew the Titans, who were the original great deities in
Greek mythology. I won’t go deeper into it, but it’s very fun to notice Bray Wyatt drawing
inspiration from ancient religions and folklore. It speaks to his character. In his mind, he IS a
God, so the old guard of mountainous giants must be Titans. And then there’s Titan Towers!
Okay… I’ll stop before I go all “A Beautiful Mind” on you.
But as we’re connecting the dots, we come to the main event. For the number one
contender to face Triple H at Wrestlemania: The Beast Incarnate, Brock Lesnar vs. The Lunatic
Fringe, Dean Ambrose vs. Whatever Roman Reigns is calling himself.
Now, now, I never said I didn’t like Roman...he just needs a little polish. And no, I don’t
mean Ivan Putski. Roman just isn’t what that fans want right now. and I stress “right now.”
Wrestling fans will always be a fickle breed.
Ambrose seems to be more over that his Shield brother, and we’re finally starting to see
more development with his character, gladly bading the punishment at the hands of Brock
Lesnar. This leaves WWE with a few options. First, I’m hoping we don’t see Lesnar vs. Triple H
at Wrestlemania. They have already had a significant feud not too long ago, and even though it
would probably be the best main event for the Wrestlemania marquee, it’s been done, and it’s a
bit predictable. Second, this would be a prime opportunity for a heel turn for either Ambrose OR
Roman. Even though a heel turn is often speculated, it’s an easy way to get the audiences
engaged in a storyline. And at this point in their friendly relationship, something sinister needs to
happen. Never discount the selling points of betrayal.
So, Fastlane is a do or die situation. With the injuries of Cena, Rollins, Sting, and the
retirement of Daniel Bryan, WWE doesn’t have a lot to work with as we cruise toward
Wrestlemania. We could potentially see someone return Sunday night, but at the very least a
significant plot twist MUST happen for Wrestlemania. Watch and enjoy Fastlane despite it’s
stupid name. I have a feeling it won’t be just another filler payperview. Oh, and The New Day will be on
the Cutting Edge Peep Show with Edge and Christian. So that'll be a hoot.