This Sunday, live on the Network, the WWE brings to you its penultimate Wrestlemania show, the newly christened Fastlane (get it? Fastlane? The fastlane to Wrestlemania... ugh). Anyway, it's a pretty stacked card and should be an entertaining show with one match in particular, Roman Reigns vs Daniel Bryan, having a major impact on Wrestlemania. On to the predictions.
Face to face showdown: Triple H and "The Icon" Sting
It was fourteen years ago that Vince McMahon bought WCW from Ted Turner. In the time since, every major star from WCW has made an appearance one way or another in a WWE ring. All except one. Sting is the last holdout, the last major player to make an impact in WWE. He's been in TNA mostly these last fourteen years, winning their World Title a few times, being their GM, mentoring young talent, you name it. It was looking less and less likely that Sting would ever appear for WWE. Less and less likely that is until this past November at Survivor Series. During the main event, when it seemed all but certain that Team Authority (the bad guys) would win and make life miserable for Team Cena (the good guys), the lights went out, a crow was heard over the PA, and Sting walked through the curtain, into the ring, and gave Triple H the Scorpion Death Drop allowing Team Cena to prevail. It was fucking surreal man. He's been on TV twice since then, has not said a word, and has built up more hype for this showdown than any amount of video packages could have. My prediction for this particular showdown Sunday is about as surefire as it gets. Triple H will talk, Sting will glower menacingly, he might even say a few words, there will be an altercation that Sting will get the upper hand in, they will agree to a match at Wrestlemania. 100% confirmed.
Six man Tag Team Match: Ryback, Erik Rowan, Dolph Ziggler vs Seth Rollins, The Big Show, Kane
Goldust vs Stardust
WWE Tag Team Championship: The Usos (C) vs "The Masters of the WWE Universe" Cesaro and Tyson Kidd
The Usos have been on top of the WWE Tage division for a long time. They have feuded with and gone over just about every team on the WWE roster. They have become the John Cena of the Tag division overcoming impossible odds and lolusoswin. It's tired and honestly, it's time for a change. Cesaro and Tyson Kidd are two of the best workers on the entire roster. These two can wrestle the tights off anyone and should be doing more than "random guys in a tag team for no good reason" that WWE creative falls back on way too easily. That being said, their team is really working right now and is over with the fans, both casual and hardcore. I'm torn on this match though. It makes sense for Cesaro and Kidd to win the belts here but WWE has rarely made sense recently. As much as it pains me to write, and I hope that I'm wrong, I predict the Usos get the win, hold the belts until Wrestlemania, and go against The Ascension there.
WWE Intercontinental Championship: "Bad News" Barrett vs "The Lunatic Fringe" Dean Ambrose
BNB vs Dean Ambrose is a potential match of the night. Both guys are really talented and can tell an awesome story in the ring. Both guys work pretty stiff as well so the match itself should be pretty hard hitting. Ambrose has been floundering a bit, okay a lot, since the breakup of the Shield. He's had a program with Seth Rollins that got stalled then dropped, a program with Bray Wyatt that went nowhere, and some random matchups here and there. But, somehow he is still one of the most over guys in the company. People love him and want to see him in high profile spots. His obsession with the IC belt has given his character direction and the fans a tangible reason to care. Barrett has been champ for a little while now and, if he can stay healthy which is a big IF, should be about ready to move up the card into the Heavyweight Title picture. His gimmick is super hot right now and he would add an interesting wrinkle in the main event scene. Be that as it may, my prediction here is Barrett getting the win, Ambrose losing his shit, and them having a blow off match at Wrestlemania involving some sort of stipulation like tables or a cage.
WWE Divas Championship: Nikki Bella w/Brie Bella vs Paige
The Bella Twins have been in WWE for a long time. It has only been recently that they have actually become respectable wrestlers (dating John Cena and marrying Daniel Bryan will do that I suppose). Nikki has had a nice run as champ and has shown herself capable of being the top woman in the company. Paige is a former Divas champion who has had a very uneven start to her career (she hasn't been on the main roster for a full year yet). She won the belt her first night out, dropped it a few months later, and has been booked as a crazy person, a manipulator, a badass, and a bitch since. I'm not sure if WWE knows what to do with her yet and because of that, my prediction is for Nikki to keep the belt. I have no idea where they go from there though and I'm not confident they do either.
US Championship: Rusev vs "LOLCENAWINS" John Cena
Rusev, a Russian patriot, is the current US champ. He is a scary dude in the ring; a guy you believe could kick your ass if you crossed him. He is undefeated, well unpinned, so far in his first year on the main roster. He is a throwback in every sense of the word to old school WWE heels. His finisher, the Accolade, is the Camel Clutch submission move made famous by one of the greatest heels in the history of professional wrestling, The Iron Sheik. He hates "Murica, he speaks a different language most of the time, he has a super hot manager, he beats up the current face of the week. He is a legit main event talent and should be a future Heavyweight Champion within a year or so. John Cena is well, John Cena. Over the last ten years Cena has gone from a wannabe rapper to the biggest cross-over star since Hulk Hogan. He is a mainstay in the main event scene and has one less title reign, fifteen!, than Ric-goddamn-Flair. Cena does not need this win. He should not get this win. And I predict that he will not get this win; not clean in the ring anyway. See, over the last few years, Cena has been marketed as the guy who never gives up. He does not quit. Rusev has a submission finisher, a finisher where guys quit. Can you see where this is going? At Fastlane, Rusev will not lose the belt because the title cannot change hands due to a disqualification or count out. Rusev will most likely get disqualified due to interference from his manager Lana and hitting Cena with the Russian flag. This will lead to a rematch at Wrestlemania with an "I Quit" stipulation. And it will be that match, where Rusev finally suffers his first loss and furthers the fact that no matter what elese is happening or if it even makes sense, LOLCENAWINS.
Number 1 contenders match: Roman Reigns vs Daniel Bryan
In an incredibly baffling move, WWE decided for some reason to have Roman Reigns win the Royal Rumble and main event Wrestlemania against Brock Lesnar. The problem with this booking decision is that they also decided to bring back Daniel Bryan and put him in the Royal Rumble, all but assuring themselves that if anyone other than Bryan won, it would be a shit show. And it certainly was. The fans in Philadelphia booed the Reign victory hard, even going as far as to cheer for Rusev, the anti-American Russina patriot guy from the paragraph above, to win the Rumble. Even The Rock, everyone including your Grandmother's favorite wrestler, got booed as he held up Roman Reign's hand. That is an impressive level of apathy for the wants of the fans on the part of WWE. Bryan is the most over guy since Stone Cold Steve Austin. He gets the loudest pop of the night every night. He is the former WWE Champion who had to surrender the belt due to injury. He is the same guy that the WWE Universe forced into the main event of Wrestlemania last year. He is who we want to see wrestle, and defeat, Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania. And I think, finally, WWE realized this. Maybe they thought we would stop caring since he was off of TV for nine months with an injury. Maybe they thought we would love Roman Reigns because he looks cool and does some cool moves (he does and he has by the way). Maybe they thought we would ignore the fact that Reigns is, despite the cool move or three he does, is still not very good in the ring or on the mic. Maybe, maybe. I mean, they were way off the mark but maybe. The fact that less than a month later we are getting a chance at Bryan vs Lesnar is a surefire sign that WWE know they messed up. Reigns is not ready for that spot. He has the potential to be in a year or two. Bryan is the guy right now. There has been a lot of speculation that this match will end up screwy and lead to a three way for the belt at Wrestlemania. I don't think so. I think Bryan wins clean while making Reigns look strong. It will be a tough victory for Bryan but he will find a way to overcome the bigger, stronger guy. The story they will tell is that Bryan simply is the better wrestler right now and they're right. This is my most hopeful prediction of the night because if it goes the other way, if Reigns wins, they will have ruined his career. He will be hated by marks and smarks alike, the big money spenders. He will remain over with women and kids. It's already started. The chants of "You can't wrestle" from the men in the crowd and "Yes he can" from the women and kids are audible every time he has a match. If he wins on Sunday, that will be his life.
So there you have it. Fastlane has potential to be a very good show. There should be some interesting setups for Wrestlemania and a few potential match of the year candidates. For the first time in a long time every match feels important and not just treading water until Wrestlemania. Am I crazy? Agree or disagree? Let me know and check out my live tweet of the show and follow me on twitter @geekadedan