Alright first of all: Fastlane? Really? That’s the creative-name equivalent of a fart noise.
Moving on: I already miss the Elimination Chamber on novelty value alone. We all know who is going to win in the last PPV before Wrestlemania, since there’s no way we are going to get a new champ once all of those promotional materials are printed and put up, but at least we got an interesting, once-a-year match out of the equation. There’s literally nothing else like the Elimination Chamber. It is 100% unique and it gave the performers some new tools to pull off some really interesting and innovative spots. Rumor has it that the Chamber will be part of Summerslam from now on, so here’s hoping that’s true, as Fastlane is offering the same old “one-on-one pinfall or submission” setup that we see every night on RAW (and done better on NXT).
United States Championship Match: Rusev vs. John Cena
And we’re starting off the festivities with a bang! As in a gunshot wound to the leg. We all know how this story goes: Rusev keeps his win-streak alive, most likely through nefarious means so that Cena can topple-the-unstopple at Mania. Pure 80’s wrasslin’ at its finest. With both guys having about 3 moves between them I don’t think anyone expects a 5-star showing.
What I think will happen: Rusev beats Cena, retains, and we do it all over again next month.
What I hope will happen: Cena actually lets Rusev get some heat by letting him mangle him Lesnar-style, instead of going all Super-Cena on his candy ass.
Divas Championship: Nikki Bella vs. Paige
Unfortunately for the Divas division, I’ve been spoiled rotten by the high-quality Women’s division over at NXT (shout out to ol’ Blue Pants!), so it’s hard to not dread these low-quality, 5-minute matches. There’s just no emotional content or storylines. I feel really bad for Paige especially, who made the jump to the main roster last year and has seen how the grass isn’t really greener on the other side. Anyway, I don’t see the belts changing hands at all this weekend, so Nikki will retain for who-knows-why.
What I think will happen: Despite how much I may prefer Paige over the Bellas, I have a feeling that Nikki will hang on to the strap on this one.
What I hope will happen: With the extra week of storyline afforded to building up Wrestlemania, the Diva’s division actually gets a little boost from creative in the way of storytelling.
Intercontinental Championship: Bad News Barrett vs. Dean Ambrose
If there was one match that I thought might see a title change, it’s this one. Ambrose is incredibly over right now and creative would be foolish not to capitalize on it. That being said, they’d be foolish to capitalize on it right now with Mania right around the corner. Ambrose getting the belt is guaranteed to get a huge pop, so why not save that for the big show? Like with Rusev vs. Cena, look for Barrett to retain in favor of a rematch next month.
What I think will happen: Barrett retains the Intercontinental Championship.
What I hope will happen: This match steals the show as the match of the night.
Tag-Team Championship: The Usos vs. Cesaro and Tyson Kidd
How great would it be if Cesaro and Kidd won the belts? Seriously, think about it: The two greatest, most underappreciated technicians in the company finally grab those brass rings (Brass Ring Club!) that Vince said were out of their reach, and we finally mix up the tag division a little bit. Unfortunately, Vince has been pretty adamant about not being behind Cesaro for who knows why, so it seems farfetched that they’ll snake the belts right before Wrestlemania. Oh well, for a second there I dreamed a dream where interesting things still happen in the WWE creative offices.
What I think will happen: The Usos will retain again, and again, and again, as usual. Good ol’ status quo.
What I hope will happen: Cesaro and Kidd at least get to show off a little before doing the J.O.B.
#1 Contender Match: Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryant
If there was ever an indicator of how little Creative understands the WWE fans, it’s this match. We all know that Reigns is going over, and Bryant is being sacrificed because Vince has picked Roman as the next big thing. It’s so incredibly transparent, right down to Bryant being turned heel (which no one bought last year either). What’ll be fun will be the next night, watching Triple H try to explain away the flurry of boos that they’ll be hearing once this one is over. And they thought the Rumble was a bad finish…
What I think will happen: Bryant is sacrificed on the altar of Roman Reigns.
What I hope will happen: Someone manages to convince Creative of their mistake before it’s too late.