Posted March 10th, 2019 by 1Wrestling News Team


By Don “The Predictor” Murphy (Twitter: @DonThePredictor)

As of this writing, we are approximately one month from the biggest show of the year. Yours truly is very much looking forward to taking in the sights and sounds of the entire week, which has become a spectacle in and of itself. But first, we have one more “stop” to get through, as the WWE presents its annual Fastlane show this coming Sunday night from the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Overall, I think most of the outcomes are predictable, given where we expect to land come WrestleMania. Nevertheless, as always, I’ll be interested to follow the stories being told. So far, they’ve been decent; however, I will say that in the case of Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair and Ronda Rousey, they’re trying to add too many twists and turns and the story is losing its luster in the process. It’ll still be a great match, but I’d prefer a much more straightforward approach without an overabundance of storyline injuries, suspensions, stipulations and authority figure involvement. All three performers are highly talented (and yes, that includes Rousey, who I think gets unfairly criticized at times), and I think a better course of action would be to drown out all of the side activities and let the talent sell the match. That said, let’s run down the card!

Main Event/WWE Championship Match: Daniel Bryan defends the WWE Championship against Kevin Owens

Topline Thoughts: This will be a fun match and I actually like that they’re likely saving Kofi Kingston’s big moment for WrestleMania. I also like that Owens seems to have assumed the role of the “every man.” He’s a great talker and should excel in the role, depending on who he’s matched up against. I do think they should have held this program off until later in the year and done a bigger build, but it doesn’t mean they can’t go back to it. And, they have the right two guys to make it compelling again, should they decide to do so. As for the match, Bryan will retain, due to some form of outside interference, which will ultimately protect Owens. Perhaps it’s Rowan or a returning Luke Harper. Heck – we may even see Sami Zayn re-emerge to cost his friend the title, setting up a Mania match between the two. I can’t see Owens lumped into a battle royal or a multi-man match at Mania, so Sunday night will likely give us a clue as to who he’ll be paired up with for the foreseeable future.

The Predictor Predicts: Daniel Bryan retains the WWE Championship

Singles Match: Becky Lynch meets Charlotte Flair

* If Lynch wins, she will be added back into the WWE Raw Women’s Championship match at WrestleMania 35

Topline Thoughts: This one’s a no-brainer. While I know that there has been a lot of online criticism over making the Mania match a triple threat, I still think it’s going to be good and, what’s more, it looks as if Ronda won’t be forced to play the babyface in the midst of a likely loud chorus of boos from the New York/New Jersey crowd. It’s also a curious, yet interesting direction they’re taking Rousey’s character in, positioning her as a “real fighter” against “scripted wrestlers.” It’s a risky approach, but I think the curtain has already been pulled so far back that the fans know what they’re getting at this stage. My biggest complaint, as I said at the top, is that they’re taking the story in too many directions, when there was a much more direct and logical approach they could have taken to get us to the exact same place. Becky wasn’t supposed to be in the Royal Rumble, but forced her way in and won, eliminating Charlotte. Charlotte complains, so to satisfy everyone, it’s a triple threat. In any event, my hope for the Lynch-Flair match at Fastlane is another well-told story, which we know they can deliver, followed by a more straightforward build to Mania. I’m less down on the Lynch injury story, as it’s an attempt to give Lynch a hurdle to overcome, even though we know the outcome.

The Predictor Predicts: Becky Lynch defeats Charlotte Flair

Six Man Tag Team Match: The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, and Seth Rollins) vs. Baron Corbin, Drew McIntyre, and Bobby Lashley

Topline Thoughts: First of all, with all of the bad celebrity news we’ve seen in the last week, Roman Reigns’ news has been a bright spot. And, for now, I’m glad that they are resisting the temptation to add him into the WWE Universal Championship Match at WrestleMania. With the news of Dean Ambrose leaving the company (which could very well be a work, as I’ve never seen the WWE announce something like this so far in advance), it will be interesting to see where we go. Do we get a true feel-good moment? Or, do we get Ambrose turning on the Shield again to set him up with Roman at Mania? I like the latter, as it gives Roman a logical opponent, based on an existing story, rather than trying to shoehorn him into something that’s not a natural fit. I see the Shield winning here, giving the fans the feel-good moment, before the likely heel turn on Monday night. As for the heels, aside from Corbin, I think there’s money and potential being left on the table, as both Lashley and McIntyre can and should be in programs to make them stronger, rather than consistently being on the losing end.

The Predictor Predicts: The Shield defeats Baron Corbin, Drew McIntyre, and Bobby Lashley

WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship Match: The Usos defend the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship against the Miz and Shane McMahon

Topline Thoughts: It’s given the tag team title situation on Smackdown a small amount of juice, but it hasn’t really moved the needle. Nevertheless, we’ll get the climax of this program to set up Shane vs. the Miz at WrestleMania. The question is – who will be the heel? If they’re smart, it’ll be the Miz, but don’t rule out a swerve where we get another heel run for Shane. That would be disappointing, as Miz is so natural in the role. For the Usos, they definitely need some fresh match ups as they’ve used up the number of times they can face the Bar and the New Day.

The Predictor Predicts: The Usos retain the WWE Tag Team Championship

WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship Match: The Boss ‘n’ Hug Connection (Bayley and Sasha Banks) defend the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship against Nia Jax and Tamina

Topline Thoughts: Despite having the worst tag team name in wrestling history, I’m glad they’ve found a role for Bayley and Sasha, if they’re not going to have them feud with each other in a meaningful program. Now they just need to add some depth to the women’s tag division. I like that they’ll be able to float between brands and I expect that at Mania, we’ll see them in some form of a multi-person match against a team from Raw, a team from Smackdown and a team from NXT. As for Jax and Tamina, I expect them to be prominently featured in the Mania women’s battle royal.

The Predictor Predicts: The Boss ‘n’ Hug Connection retain the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship

WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship Match: Asuka defends the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship against Mandy Rose

Topline Thoughts: I’m happy that Rose is getting a spotlight match here, and my hope is that they find a way to keep her strong in the anticipated loss. For Asuka, it will be interesting to see how she’s presented at Mania, as she’s been fairly dormant since defeating Becky Lynch at the Royal Rumble. I’m hoping we don’t get another multi-person match, especially since we’ll see that on the Raw side. My pick would be Lacey Evans as Asuka’s Mania challenger, if we can get past her weekly runway walk into an actual in-ring role.

The Predictor Predicts: Asuka retains the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship

WWE Raw Tag Team Championship Match: The Revival (Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson) defend the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship against Aleister Black/Ricochet and Chad Gable/Bobby Roode

Topline Thoughts: How can a tag team division have so much talent, yet be so disorganized and flat? We know that the upper brass hasn’t seen the value of tag teams for years. It’s just a shame it’s at the expense of superb workers. It’s great that they’ve finally put the titles on the Revival, but they continue to job them out weekly. I expect a win for them here, which saves them a little, but I feel like these matches are random and well-worked, with no real purpose as part of a bigger story. I also hope that two top NXT performers don’t get dragged down in the process.

The Predictor Predicts: The Revival retains the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship

Pre-Show/Singles Match: Rey Mysterio meets Andrade

Topline Thoughts: For the first time in a while, we have an intriguing pre-show match. These two work so well together and my hope is that they’re given a decent amount of time. We really don’t need to hear the panel for close to an hour. I’m hoping and going with Andrade getting the big win here. The rumor is that they have big plans for him, and here’s where we may see this start to be put in motion.

The Predictor Predicts: Andrade defeats Rey Mysterio

Pre-Show/Tag Team Match: The New Day (Big E and Xavier Woods) meet Rusev and Shinsuke Nakamura

Topline Thoughts: Remember when Shinsuke Nakamura was a big deal? Remember when Rusev Day was one of the hottest things in WWE? Those days are gone. And before you blame creative, I think some of the blame, at least in the case of Nakamura, is the talent themselves. It’s a common thing I see where talent will rely on 1-2 things that resonate well with the audience, or past accomplishments, without working to evolve and stay fresh. As for the New Day, I don’t know this for sure, but this may be one of, if not the first time they’ve told us in advance which New Day members will be in the match. It makes sense that it wouldn’t be Kofi, though I expect he’ll be at ringside. But, could this a sign of things to come, where the group will start to break off a bit?

The Predictor Predicts: The New Day defeats Rusev and Shinsuke Nakamura

Category: Wrestling.

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