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“Fast Lane 2017 Predictions – Tom Gets It Wrong”
So it’s possible, even likely, that I’m going to get all of these wrong.
1. Rich Swann & Akira Tozawa vs. The Brian Kendrick & Noam Dar (Pre-Show)
Pre-Show matches are hard to read. Cruiserweight matches even more so given how little storyline the division has had. That said, the division is finally starting to gain some traction, and the addition of Austin Aries should really raise the profile when he’s ready to get involved. Two stories meet in a tag match here and given how often the heels have won recently, I think this would be a good way to get the faces some heat back without damaging the heels all that much.
Winner: Rich Swann and Akira Tozawa
2. Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax
The Sasha Banks character is a bit devoid of character right now and a heel turn seems almost inevitable. The problem there is that the division will then lack faces. This same problem is afflicting the Smackdown roster. Meanwhile, Nia Jax needs a push in order to feel like the sort of dominant force that Braun Strowman does. With no range of options to compete against, I would imagine this will be another Nia win.
Less of a squash this time, mind.
Winner: Nia Jax
3. The Club vs. Enzo & Big Cass (Tag Team Championships)
I don’t get the appeal of Enzo Amore. I didn’t follow this team in NXT and more often than not I actually can’t understand a word he’s saying. When I hear their music, that’s my bathroom break. The Club, in contrast, have been treading water for months and having them win the titles in the first place was just plain confusing. The division is in trouble and WrestleMania seems to be the point at which the division will have a bit of a reboot.
I expect we’ll have this match again for WrestleMania, given how little time there is to build another feud. It’s also possible that we’ll see a triple threat tag match at WrestleMania but this seems to be the right time for The Club to get a win. Balor is coming back soon. The Balor Club will rise again.
Winner: The Club
4. Neville vs. Jack Gallagher (Cruiserweight Championship)
If Austin Aries hadn’t been announced as due back, I would have expected Gallagher to come away with this one. Gallagher has been treated like a star and been given a solid push by going up against the only actual star in the Cruiserweights. It should be a good match, if a little light on aggression. The problem is that Neville vs. Aries is the money match in this division. I would expect Gallagher to be coming up against star maker Brian Kendrick after this with no title involved.
5. Sami Zayn vs. Samoa Joe
If anybody has read my recent Friday Feature on Sami Zayn then they already know who I expect to win this one. Sami Zayn is just there to make Joe look good.
Winner: Samoa Joe
6. Bayley vs. Charlotte (Women‘s Championship)
I don’t think I can adequately describe how little I care about Bayley, mainly because of how little characterisation she’s been given by WWE. The superfan angle has been done to death by Sasha Banks to pretend that Banks was a baby face and I genuinely don’t get the “I’m a hugger” thing. Now Charlotte, I get. It seems destined to be WrestleMania when WWE finally pull the trigger on Bayley, but I’m still not going to care much then because this seems to be all that her character is.
Charlotte’s pay-per-view streak is so major an angle now that WWE could have a great swerve here, but come WrestleMania, we could be looking at at even better one should Charlotte retain there against greater odds.
7. Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman
Roman Reigns doesn’t lose clean. He can’t maintain his current “lolCena” character if he loses clean here. That said, Braun Strowman is effectively dead in the water with a loss here. He’d be just another victim of WWE’s resident superman. It happened to Rusev, it happened to Umaga, it happened to Khali, it happened to Batista, I could go on.
If the Undertaker match is coming then they better hurry up and doing it. Interfering in an active match is rarely Undertaker’s style but he has been known to do it. I would expect a match very similar to Reigns vs. Joe on Raw recently, with a last minute distraction costing Reigns an almost certain victory.
Winner: Braun Strowman
8. Kevin Owens vs. Goldberg (UV Championship)
Raw Talk is back come Fast Lane. In a three hour pay-per-view with seven matches, they’re throwing in a talking segment just in case they don’t run long enough.
Given that Goldberg can’t last more than 10 minutes, a shorter run time suits him. With Raw Talk returning, it is very telling. That said, Jericho did promise that Owens would keep his UV title and regardless of how their friendship ended, a face Jericho always keeps his promises. It comes down to a simple question: what match needs the UV title come Wrestlemania?
As with most things, this comes down to Reigns. Reigns has been beaten up far too much recently, so there’s a big win coming. Against Undertaker? Likely. At that point, he’d be right back up there competing for the gold, and who better to go up against than Brock Lesnar, fresh from a destruction of Goldberg at Wrestlemania.
I’ll see you for another live Twitter session during Fast Lane 2017.