The final pay-per-view before WrestleMania is just around the corner with Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose headlining this year’s Fastlane.
Seven matches have been announced for the event as Kalisto, Charlotte and Kevin Owens will all be defending their respective championships inside the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.
KALISTO © VS. ALBERTO DEL RIO – UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP 2 OUT OF 3 FALLS MATCH
How times change. Some months ago the title was involved in main event matches with John Cena holding the championship, and now it’s being defended on the pre-show. Nevertheless, it’s good to see that Kalisto is being given the freedom to impress as a singles superstar with the title around his waist.
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The feud hasn’t been fantastic regarding promo work, but inside of the ring you can’t fault the two, and you can be sure it’ll be a great pre-show match to get the fans pumped for the show. I see Kalisto retaining his title.
Fellow Lead WWE Writer, Phillipa Hopwood shares a similar view: It shocks me that this match has been relegated to the kickoff show, especially since it is for the United States Championship. After all the WWE had done last year with John Cena as Champion, it feels like it was a complete failure.
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Kalisto has the talent and ability to be a great US Champion, but when he's stuck in a rut of matches with Alberto Del Rio, then it makes sense that fans are losing interest in the feud. The added stipulation doesn't mean a lot and probably won’t add that much to the match; it will be a fall each, and then Kalisto will hit another high octane move and retain.
KEVIN OWENS © VS. DOLPH ZIGGLER – INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP
On one side I’m happy that the title is back with Kevin Owens, but I’d not happy that he’s been thrown into a title defence with Dolph Ziggler, which is a match we’ve seen too often in the past few weeks.
It’s safe to say it will be a solid match, you can’t fault their chemistry in the ring and their individual move-sets, and it should be a great match to watch. Owens has only just recaptured his gold; I expect him to keep hold of it going into WrestleMania.
Phillipa: A match that has been made because Dean Ambrose is too busy in the main event to be able to cash in his rematch clause. Luckily for WWE, Dolph Ziggler is a great replacement, and he and Kevin Owens will put on a great show.
Could Owens take the title into WrestleMania? Definitely and he could be fighting his old adversary Sami Zayn if speculation is to be believed. But this is about Sunday's match and even though we are aware of Ziggler's talent, it's hard to see past Owens retaining.
SASHA BANKS & BECKY LYNCH VS. NAOMI & TAMINA SNUKA
I guess this is the best way to keep Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch busy heading into WrestleMania where they could be involved in the Diva’s Championship match. At the end of the day, I’d rather have them involved in any capacity rather than none.
This break-up between Banks and Team BAD came from out of nowhere, and it did feel rushed, but I hope for their sake they’re able to put up a decent effort against the fan favourites. Regardless of how this match plays out, I expect Sasha and Becky to win – and I wouldn’t rule out Sasha attacking her partner after the match either.
Phillipa: Why are Becky and Sasha spending their time trying to be friends when they should be fighting over the Divas Championship? Team BAD is over, and Naomi and Tamina have no reason to be going after Sasha in all honesty.
She broke up with them amicably which makes this storyline even harder to follow. It should be an easy match for Sasha and Becky to win and then the duo will predictably turn on one another just to prove that they are still in the hunt for that Championship regardless of who is wearing it.
BIG SHOW, RYBACK & KANE VS. THE WYATT FAMILY
Again, another match which has been thrown together for no reason and very little interest from the fans, but it is a way to keep them all busy and on-screen heading into WrestleMania.
The thing about The Wyatt Family is that they’re usually involved in minor matches on big events which keeps them under the radar. That’s before they make a big impact at the end of the show and in this case, Brock Lesnar could be a target. You can’t look past The Wyatt Family in this one.
Phillipa: I'm unsure what to think of this match, all three face stars have already been attacked by The Wyatt Family and have shown that they have a twisted side. But it's hard to see past the fact that The Wyatts will have an extra person, and they are fantastic at playing the numbers game.
Wyatt has stepped up his promos as of late, and it is about to get interesting for him as he heads towards WrestleMania. You have to think that The Wyatts will take the win here if they are going to go after Brock Lesnar in the main event and it will need to be a quick match because all four of them will need to be on-point if they have any hope of taming the beast.
AJ STYLES VS. CHRIS JERICHO
This is the match I’m most looking forward too. The build-up to this match has been perfect, and it hasn’t been in the limelight as much as you’d think. Jericho is a perfect first feud for Styles as Jericho knows the Japanese style of wrestling and the WWE style, something Styles needs to get used to.
This will be a good test for him, one I believe he will pass with flying colours. Expect the fans to be into this match right from the get-go and although it’s more wishful thinking on my part, I think AJ Styles takes the win in a match of the night contender.
Phillipa: I'm enjoying this feud; I think Chris Jericho was the perfect person to put AJ Styles up against because the two are doing great so far in this rivalry.
Styles won the first match and Jericho retaliated by winning the second this past week on SmackDown; now we have the rubber match that could go either way. I hope Styles has enough to overcome Jericho and step into a new feud looking strong.
CHARLOTTE © VS. BRIE BELLA – DIVA’S CHAMPIONSHIP
All of a sudden everyone seems to be the biggest Brie Bella fan around, and she supposedly deserves a run as the champion. No, she doesn’t.
We’re all upset Daniel Bryan has retired, and it looks likely that Brie will be on her way out later this year too, but she hasn’t done nearly enough lately to prove she deserves to hold the title. I believe it’s a poor booking decision to have Brie win especially when Charlotte is enjoying a lengthy reign and it’ll be a huge slap in the face to Becky and Sasha who have worked harder than most. I want, and I expect Charlotte to retain.
Phillipa: WWE have struck gold with this one, first they had Brie going into a Divas Championship match so that they could use the sympathy of the crowd from her sister’s surgery, but now Daniel Bryan has retired, and they can fully cash in on even more sympathy.
If we're honest no one is that interested in this match, Charlotte has tried her best to be a heel but she is failing, and Brie isn't the opponent that the WWE Universe wanted so expect "We want Sasha" chants throughout. I'm going to stick my neck out and say Brie will win this.
ROMAN REIGNS VS. BROCK LESNAR VS. DEAN AMBROSE – WINNER FACES TRIPLE H AT WRESTLEMANIA FOR THE WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
This has been a great feud with Dean Ambrose being the focal point of this feud. Roman Reigns has surprisingly taken a step back and allowed Ambrose and Lesnar to go at it – which means Reigns looks like the ‘surprise’ winner in this.
We may see a heel turn; we may not. We may even see Bray Wyatt making an appearance and Triple H will show his face and his shiny new belt too. It will be a great surprise to see Ambrose picking up the win from nowhere but I can’t look past Reigns as his feud with The Authority looks to come to an end at WrestleMania.
Phillipa: The main event we have all being looking forward to since The Royal Rumble, who will go on to face Triple H in Dallas? Who will headline WrestleMania? There is only one man in this match that is yet to main event the biggest event of the year, and he is widely regarded as the biggest underdog here.
Speculation suggests that Reigns will go on to face Triple H at WrestleMania while Ambrose and Lesnar finally have a singles match showdown, but where do The Wyatt's fit in here? It's a hard one to believe but taking the Intercontinental Championship away from Dean has given the Lunatic Fringe a lot more to fight for in this main event which is why I think he will be the one to prevail.
WWE FANS – WHO DO YOU THINK WILL REIGN SUPREME AT FASTLANE? LET US KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS IN THE COMMENTS SECTION BELOW.