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WWE Fast Lane: full card predictions

The last big event before WrestleMania, and I am honestly disappointed the Elimination Chamber isn’t being prepped to be lowered ominously over the ring at in the FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tennessee.

In January, I would have thought that such a gimmick device could be quite useful in complimenting the number of talented superstars with great heat bouncing around before the Rumble, all with real possibilities of being a number one contender. Think about it: Daniel Bryan, Roman Reigns, Dolph Ziggler, Bray Wyatt, Rusev – all are gunning for the brass ring, all very capable and talented wrestlers, all going into the Rumble with heads of steam and eyes on the prize. You take all these stars, put them in the battle royal, shake well, and have it go to shmoz ending where no clear winner is declared. Then those wrestlers go to Elimination Chamber, where a decisive number one contender is crowned and any number of feuds may be born.

But no. The company decided to bypass the gimmick in favour of a generic offering that only serves to point out how WrestleMania is fast approaching and we need to build drama real friggin’ quick before the big night comes.

The WWE’s recent trend of leaving match cards relatively empty until days before the event is continuing, and in fact I had to look on the official website to find out exactly which matches we could expect on Sunday, because many were added in the last few days.

So, let’s get to the event itself before it’s already over and the results are already in.

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GOLDUST vs STARDUST:

Brotherly Glove-Slap

Goldust will play the protective, sympathetic and ultimately tortured older brother, unwilling to engage in physical contest with his confused and misguided sibling. Stardust will play the part of overly antagonistic, spiteful and irrational youngster and will no doubt take an aggressive offense which will lead him to make mistakes. Goldust will capitalize on this and use cool-headedness to get the better of his opponent numerous times but will be unable to put him away because of his love. In the end, Stardust will take advantage of Goldust’s hesitation and take the victory.

A great possible escalation of this feud would be a rematch at WrestleMania, possibly where Goldust sheds his make-up and costume and chooses to fight Stardust as Dustin Rhodes. He could even be accompanied by Dusty Rhodes, and the two could try and appeal to the side of Stardust that is still human, still Cody.

4c268823677d87f072bac4662db30151-d8iedzbTAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH

THE USOS vs CESARO & TYSON KIDD:

Should We Bring Our Wives?

I’m a bit confused as to how I should feel about this rivalry.

The whole thing began because The Usos are Tag Team Champions, and there are very few teams that are contenders. Cesaro was floundering as a singles performer at the same time Tyson Kidd was experiencing a revitalization in NXT, and since both wrestlers have had success in tag teams in the past and both are familiar with one another through their work in development, they formed up. Together, the pair have been showing the fans what a cohesive tag team should look like. Simply put, they’ve been awesome. It was obvious that before long, with virtually nobody else really setting a bar anywhere as far as competition is concerned, they would be contenders for The Usos’ titles.

Then, I don’t know. I suppose they were all out having drinks with their wives after work or something, and they thought hey, Naomi and Natalya don’t have anything to do, let’s use Jimmy and Tyson to start a rivalry!

This, in and of itself, is a great idea. The problem is that the women have been demoted to valets, instead of the awesome competitors they actually are. Naomi is the most athletically talented of all the Total Divas, and Natalya is the most technically proficient. These two are destined to have great matches and a great rivalry. Why do they continue to stay at ringside, cheering their husbands on and – in Natty’s case, at least – being on the receiving end of abuse?

I know there must be an angle of dissension brewing here, either that or they are building towards the match between Naomi and Natalya, but all this extra drama distracts from the fact that the TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS ARE ON THE LINE HERE! Does that even matter? Because it should.

Anyway, The Usos are due for a WrestleMania moment, and since their dad is being inducted in the Hall Of Fame this year, I think it’s safe to say that they will lose the championships this Sunday to Cesaro and Kidd, and then regain them in dramatic fashion at WrestleMania.

I only hope that we are treated to a few Naomi versus Natalya matches before then.

20150126_EP_LIGHT_fastlane-matches-HP_6manRYBACK, ERIC ROWAN & DOLPH ZIGGLER vs SETH ROLLINS, THE BIG SHOW & KANE:

Too Much Bacon for the Pan to Handle

This is what happens when you don’t use talent properly. You wind up with a whole bunch of pumped up potential with nothing to do when a big show comes to town.

By all rights, Dolph Ziggler should be challenging Seth Rollins for his Money In The Bank briefcase – and I am hoping this may come to fruition at WrestleMania. These two have great chemistry together in face to face interviews, they both give it everything they have as performers in the ring, and they work perfectly as heel/face opposites. They deserve a high stakes, high octane feud together, and I hope we see it sometime soon.

Ryback versus Kane and Rowan versus Show is just a re-hash from TLC a couple months ago, and it screams of WWE simply not having anything better to do with these guys.

This match has nothing at stake. There are no stipulations, such as the team that loses also loses their jobs, or anything of the sort. As far as heat goes, the only one who really needs to be protected is Seth Rollins, since he’s the Money In The Bank holder and needs to remain credible as a contender for the belt. Other than that, nobody has anything to lose by doing the job.

That said, I predict the face team loses because of interference by J&J Security.

paigeDIVA’S CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH

NIKKI BELLA vs PAIGE:

Please Be Longer Than Five Minutes

I’m looking forward to a good match between these two. Paige has been booked very strong in the past few weeks amid repeated attempts by the Bellas to humiliate her. She has shown strength of character, determination, and dominance in the ring. Nikki has, likewise, never looked stronger as a competitor. These two are polar opposites and it makes for a great rivalry.

It’s a shame that one can’t make predictions for matches on this card without taking into account that WrestleMania is right around the corner, otherwise I would say that Paige will take it. But considering that Paige made her debut in WWE the day after WM30 last year, I think she is in line for a big victory at the big show to solidify her as the new leader of the Diva’s division.

It makes the most sense to have Paige lose at Fastlane, probably due to underhanded heel tactics on the part of the Bellas, then get grand retribution at the grand stage in March and give the warrior from UK a decent welcome to the company.

WWE-FastLane-wade-barrett-38153593-500-281INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH

BAD NEWS BARRETT vs DEAN AMBROSE:

One for the Old Days

There are some who think this feud is contrived and weakly conceived. They find the reasons why Dean Ambrose is seeking the IC belt flimsy.

I think this whole story is brilliant in its simplicity. In the old days, you needed no reason to gun for a title-holder other than “I want that belt and I will beat you for it so it is mine.” Dean wants the intercontinental belt and Barrett wants to keep it, simple as that.

Beyond the reasons why this match is occurring, the pairing of the two wrestlers is enough to make me want to watch. Barrett is a brawler capable of telling a great stories between the ropes, and so is Dean. Both perform best when involved in intensely physical battles, and together they have the potential to bring the walls crashing down.

As much as I want Dean to win the belt, I also don’t want to see this rivalry end at Fastlane. What I would like to see is Dean lose out this Sunday, not on the match but on the championship win. The way Barrett has been side-stepping Ambrose since being challenged, the logical move would be to have Bad News take his belt and run for the hills, losing by count out but retaining the belt. This would set up a rematch at WrestleMania, one with some type of gimmick or stipulation that would ensure a much more entertaining contest – I’m thinking “Falls Count Anywhere”, “Lumberjack” or even (dare I dream) a “Back Lot Brawl”.

20150126_ep_light_fastlane

FACE TO FACE CONFRONTATION

TRIPLE H and STING:

Is This a Match or Not?

The answer is no. This is not a match. Never before have I seen a “face to face confrontation” billed for a big event in WWE.

The biggest shame of all is that so many young superstars in need of more exposure in which to build careers are being robbed of room on the card because WWE is spending so much time building up a non-match between two men who are not even active members of the roster.

This segment could occur on any edition of Raw, it does not deserve time on a pay-per-view event. Nobody wins here, everyone loses.

20150126_EP_LIGHT_fastlane-matches-HP_rusevcena1

UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH

RUSEV vs JOHN CENA:

The Red, White & Blue Versus the Red, White… and Blue? Wait…

It would be a shame if this entire event served as only a prelude to the really big show next month, but that appears to be the case. That being said, even though I’m fairly positive these two will face off again at WrestleMania, the match this Sunday could go a few different ways.

For instance, we could see Rusev get battered pillar to post by an incensed Cena and, much like I think Barrett will, he may take his belt and run, retaining but setting up a rematch. Or, we could see Rusev batter Cena mercilessly to some kind of knock-out victory, which would win him the match cleanly but give Cena reason to want to win back his pride. We could even see Cena beat Rusev for the belt, handing the Russian his first legit loss. This would set up a rematch for ‘Mania, where Rusev defeats John Cena decisively to win back his title, win back his pride, and appear dominant on the big venue.

Can’t say which scenario I’m pulling for, or even which is most likely. I hope the bookers don’t go for the cheap and easy way out, and instead opt for Rusev losing the belt to gain it back at WrestleMania. John Cena jobbing out at the biggest show of the year would be very telling, however. It would indicate that Cena’s time is definitely coming to an end. Is the company ready to do something like that? Hmmm…

a20150126_ep_light_fastlane

WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP #1 CONTENDER’S MATCH

ROMAN REIGNS vs DANIEL BRYAN:

By Popular Demand

This has, to the credit of both wrestlers, become quite the rivalry to watch. I was skeptical, I must admit. I felt it was forced and a bit of a miss-match, but these two are really showing great stuff. Reigns has shaken his earlier awkwardness on the mic, and despite the reaction he received at Royal Rumble he has won a large percentage of the fans back. Going into Fastlane, both men have the crowd divided.

I’m divided as well.

On the one hand, you have the majority of people predicting a draw or no-contest, resulting in a triple threat championship match at WrestleMania for the second year in a row. I’m not exactly sure how you go to a draw in a match like this, unless both men batter each other senseless or perform some kind of outrageous stunt through a table or lighting board that leaves both men incapacitated.

I think a winner should be decided. In my opinion, that winner should be Roman Reigns. If the company is behind him, I think they need to get behind him. Winning the Royal Rumble was not enough to convince the fans, in part because Daniel Bryan was eliminated long before Reigns entered the fray and the two were never placed in direct competition. Placing them in direct competition now allows Roman the chance to prove unequivocally that he has earned a title shot.

I would like a singles match to close out ‘Mania, ideally. Booking a triple threat in this manner is weak, it means you can’t decide who to push more.

What needs to happen this Sunday is for Roman Reigns to defeat Daniel Bryan cleanly – no run-ins, no interference, no cheap shots, no funny stuff. Then, Bryan can stand and face the man and shake his hand, accepting defeat and granting him the credit for getting the better of him. That way, the fans cannot claim that Bryan got ripped off or cheated. Daniel Bryan endorsing Reigns as the #1 contender is the classy way to go, and I hope they go this route.

FastLaneStory1-660x400

Tune into Fastlane on Sunday February 22nd on the WWE Network, or be a complete brain-dead sucker and buy it on PayPerView, or be super smart and just get it for free on the internet. Either way, enjoy and we’ll see you on the other side.

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