Views From The Turnbuckle: Fast Lane Preview, Match Predictions, WrestleMania Implications And More

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Despite reports previously stating that WWE was committed to making Fast Lane, the annual PPV between the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania an event of greater importance, with the show just a couple days away it is clear that Fast Lane is not very important to WWE. Outside of the main event, all of the matches seem like they could easily have been on RAW, and Triple H apparently cares so much about the event that he doesn't even care to wrestle on the show, despite recently becoming the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. However, on paper, Fast Lane has the potential to be a very good show, if not an exceptionally memorable one.


The main event will pit Brock Lesnar against Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns in a Triple Threat match, with the winner advancing to face Triple H in the main event of WrestleMania 32. The important thing to know about this match is that although Reigns has generated zero sympathy from live audiences for getting screwed out of the world title at the Royal Rumble, the result of this match isn't really in doubt. Reigns is going to win this match and going to face Triple H at WrestleMania, where he will almost certainly win the championship.

Recently, WWE has been teasing the idea that Ambrose is going to turn on his best friend Reigns. The storyline is very simple, while Reigns continues to get world title shots and plenty of exposure, Ambrose is relegated to the undercard and only appears in big matches as Reigns' sidekick. WWE may believe that turning Ambrose will help generate more sympathy for Reigns, but that seems unlikely. Just by going over the last month or so, it is clear that Ambrose is the top babyface in the company. The fans really enjoy his wildcard act and rally behind him, even when he takes on fan favorites like Lesnar.


On the contrary, fans have not really been very vocal in their support from Reigns. When Reigns announces to the world that he is going to whup Lesnar or Triple H, the crowd either boos or doesn't react at all. This is not a John Cena reaction, where the crowd is split between cheering or booing, this is a reaction where the majority of the crowd is either angry at Reigns, or worse, indifferent towards him.

If WWE were to turn Ambrose against Reigns, the crowd would probably cheer for Ambrose. A beat-down on someone the fans dislike is right up Ambrose's alley and the fans will cheer for him as he destroys Reigns after the match on Sunday. The only way the fans may not support Ambrose in his war against Reigns is if Ambrose completely changes his character and becomes a choir boy under the leadership of The Authority, similar to the way Dude Love changed his persona when he began collaborating with Vince McMahon in 1998. Even then I'm not sure it would work, but WWE is pretty much throwing anything at the wall and praying it sticks when it comes to trying to get Reigns over, so it will likely happen.

WWE could get cold feet like they did last year and end up changing the plans for WrestleMania. Remember, Reigns was originally supposed to win the title last year at WrestleMania but WWE changed their plans because Reigns wasn't over enough as a babyface. A whole year of pushing Reigns as the next face of the company hasn't necessarily gotten him over more than he was during this time last year, so it is reasonable to expect a similar outcome. I personally don't believe it will happen because WWE has fewer options this year than they did last year. They don't have Seth Rollins as a backup plan and if Reigns doesn't face Triple H at WrestleMania, who will? It has been made abundantly clear that WWE is pushing Reigns to the moon at all costs, and while I would love to be proven wrong on Sunday, I think the finish for the match at Fast Lane is clear: Lesnar is in control until the Wyatt family runs interference, leaving Ambrose vulnerable to be pinned by Reigns, who advances to WrestleMania to face Triple H.


Probably the second biggest match on the card is the Diva's Championship match between Charlotte and Brie Bella. I think Charlotte has been a pretty good heel champion so far, a little more outlandish than her run as the champ in NXT, but still does a solid job. Her promos need some work but she is far better in the ring as a heel than she was as a babyface. Brie Bella got shoehorned into the title scene because WWE felt that there would be sympathy for her because of the injury to Nikki Bella and the retirement of Daniel Bryan. Giving Brie the championship would be an impulsive decision and kind of set back the plans for the division a bit, but I could envision a scenario where they pull the trigger and give the title to Brie.

In a perfect world, I think Charlotte beats Brie to build more heat as a champion. Also on the card is a tag match with Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks teaming up against Naomi and Tamina. After Becky and Sasha defeat Naomi and Tamina, they have a lengthy number one contenders match on RAW, with Banks winning and ultimately going onto WrestleMania to face Charlotte for the title.

Kevin Owens won the Intercontinental championship on RAW, taking it from Ambrose in a five way match. He will face Dolph Ziggler at Fast Lane for his first title defense. Owens always seems to have a spot on the card, but he has been treading water lately, hanging around the mid-card and having decent matches, but below the lofty ceiling that someone of his talent has. He should be able to defeat Ziggler and begin a new feud for WrestleMania. I personally think that he would be a great opponent for The Undertaker, although that is a real long shot. His most probable opponent is AJ Styles, who should also be able to win his match Sunday against Chris Jericho. I'd like to think that both men are capable of much more than a random mid-card match at WrestleMania, especially considering Styles is arguably the second most popular babyface on the full-time roster, but that wouldn't be the worst thing to happen to them either.


A 2-out-of-3 falls match for the United States Championship between Kalisto and Alberto Del Rio has been relegated to the pre-show, which makes me think that WWE doesn't think that highly of Kalisto has champion, meaning that Del Rio will likely win it back. Kalisto has been good in the ring since he won the title, but he hasn't really gotten the chance to do much else. He rarely gets the opportunity to speak and he hasn't gotten involved in any storyline other than "these two guys don't like each other" with Del Rio. I think it is unfair to write him off and dump him back into a tag team with Sin Cara so soon.

The last latch on the show is a six man tag match between three big guys nobody cares about (Ryback, Kane and The Big Show) and three big guys nobody cares about (the three members of the Wyatt Family that are not Bray Wyatt). The match only exists because WWE is really committed to getting Braun Strowman over for some bizarre reason. The rumor floating around is that WWE wants Strowman to be ready for a potential feud with The Undertaker at WrestleMania, and Strowman dismantling Kane and his teammates seems like a logical way to set that up. Asking The Undertaker to get a match out of Strowman at WrestleMania would be like asking Steve Jobs to make an iPhone out of a coconut, the guy is brilliant but he isn't a miracle worker.


From a match quality standpoint, Fast Lane could be very good. The main event, the two mid-card title matches, the Diva's Championship match and Styles vs Jericho all have the potential to be very good matches. The actual impact of the show will be determined on the overall influence it has over the build-up for WrestleMania. While the matches might be good, I'm not so sure the build for WrestleMania coming out of Fast Lane is going to be very respectable, but of course, we will have to wait and see.