Allen Jones Styles and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Booking: McNEILL Previews WWE Fastlane 2018! (with a Wrestling History Lesson)

By Pat McNeill, PWTorch columnist

Wake the pets and call the neighbors, it’s time for our exclusive WWE pay-per-view projections!


DISCLAIMER: Projections are based on what the columnist would do if he were booking this event, instead of Paul “NXT” Levesque, Runjin Singh, Brian G. James and WWE President Charles Foster Kane. Projections are not predictions, because this is the column where everything’s made up and the points don’t matter. This preview has been sealed in a mayonnaise jar on Funk & Wagnall’s porch since noon today. Some of our departing contestants will receive a year’s supply of Creamette’s brand macaroni and pasta (easy quick recipes are placed on each box). Pat McNeill’s wardrobe provided by Members Only. Remember, this is only an exhibition. This is not a competition. Please, please, no wagering. This lineup is based on the best available information as of this writing. These predictions are based on what the columnist would do if he had creative control over WWE, except for where he replaces Mr. McMahon with the booking engine from WWE 2K18.

Last week, Dolph Ziggler went on the ATW podcast and explained his character’s story arc. Ziggler went to management and asked for time off, saying he was tired of jobbing on television. WWE’s response was to have Ziggler win the United States Title, then forfeit the championship without explanation before returning at Royal Rumble.

At first glance, this seemed like a real dick move from WWE. But when you compare The Showoff’s treatment to how WWE is booking the rest of the Smackdown Live roster? Par for the course.

There’s been speculation on which “mystery team” will face The Bar at WrestleMania. I don’t think it’ll be a team from NXT. WWE will probably end up putting two singles wrestlers together as challengers, like Braun Strowman & Kane. Sorry.

Before we get down to business, let’s get to this month’s edition of the Wrestling History Lesson, because that’s why many of you clicked here in the first place. Twenty years ago, on March 7, 1998 the World Wrestling Federation aired an episode of “Shotgun Saturday Night” from the Gund Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Your featured match saw Blackjack Bradshaw taking on “Marvelous” Marc Mero. Michael Cole and Kevin Kelly had the call.

What was happening in World Wrestling Entertainment fifteen years ago? I’m glad you asked! On March 8, 2003, World Wrestling Entertainment aired “WWE Velocity”, pretaped from Bridgeport, Connecticut. The main event of that program saw Billy Kidman taking on Shannon Moore. Josh Mathews & Ernest “The Cat” Miller had the call.

Did you miss this week’s Smackdown Live, or forget what you saw on the program? It’s okay, because WWE posted some highlights for us. “The Phenomenal” AJ Styles fought Dolph Ziggler in a non-title bout from Green Bay, Wisconsin. Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton & Corey Graves had the call.

Yes, it will be Tom Phillips, Corey Graves & Byron Saxton announcing the show, while Renee Young, Booker T, Sam Roberts and David Otunga appear on the All-Star Panel, I mean, the WWE Network preshow. Kayla Braxton will be in the social media lounge, wishing she were somewhere else.

Speaking of the preshow, nobody has bothered to announce a preshow match yet. I will take The Fabulous Bludgeon Boys defeating Breezango here, with the ring entrances lasting longer than the actual match.

On To The Main Show!

I think we need another match here. How about a match we’ve seen a bunch of times on the house show loop? My money is on Jinder Mahal defeating Sin Cara.

Becky Lynch & Naomi Uso vs. Carmella Van Dale & Natalya Kidd: I was wondering what happened to the fabulous Carmella and her fabulous briefcase. At least these four ladies will get a match on the big show. Projection? Nattie uses her feet on the ropes for leverage to pin Lynch. We might as well have a Smackdown women’s feud that doesn’t involve the Riot Squad.

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Alexander Rusev (w/ the Rusev Day Orchestra): WWE has obviously figured out how popular Rusev is, and are lo0oking to capitalize by putting the Bulgarian Behemoth into a money match this Sunday. Or… Projection? We get some high quality Aiden English antics before Rusev gets Nak’d out with the Kinshasa. You can’t have the challenger taking a loss going into the WWE Title match at WrestleMania.

Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso vs. The New Day (WWE Smackdown Tag Team Titles): This is Match 211 in our Best of 465 series between Smackdown’s top tag teams. On the bright side, they’re good matches. Projection? Jey Uso catches Kofi with a chop block and a double superkick puts the challengers squarely in the Penitentiary.

Charlotte Flair vs. Ruby Riott (WWE Smackdown Women’s Title): We know Ruby will have have Logan & Morgan at ringside with her for the championship bout. We also know none of Charlotte’s friends are going to be there to help the queen. Projection? The other thing we know? Ruby Riott isn’t fighting Asuka at WrestleMania. Charlotte wins with Natural Selection. The Riott Squad beats up Charlotte after the match. Carmella comes down the aisle with the briefcase, but the Riott Squad doesn’t like the look of her either, and they chase Carmella to the back before she can cash in..

Bobby Roode vs. Randall K. Orton (WWE United States Title): The goal here is to elevate the Glorious US Champ by putting him against a real superstar, in the hopes some of the Orton magic rubs off. I don’t know if it will work. Projection? Orton wins with the RKO, setting up a rematch (and probable heel turn) for Bobby Roode at WrestleMania.

AJ Styles vs. Baron Corbin vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. John Cena vs. Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn (WWE Heavyweight Championship): Wait a minute. This is a regular old Six Pack Challenge? No cage? No ladders? No special referee? What kind of WWE pay-per-view are we running here?

Styles needs the title so he can get his dream match at WrestleMania 34. But if John Cena doesn’t win here, he’ll never, ever, get to WrestleMania next month. Not even if he buys a ticket. Maybe Impact Wrestling could give him a match at Redemption. Projection? Sure, it would be poetic if Styles pinned Big Match John, but Cena already lost last month at Elimination Chamber. Plus, you know who is right there to take the fall. Dolph hits Zayn with the Zig Zag, but eats the Phenomenal Forearm, and the champ pins Ziggler.

After the match, Owens & Zayn attack AJ Styles until Shinsuke Nakamura comes in to make the save. Styles makes it clear to Nakamura that he didn’t want nor need his help. And we’re off.

Aftermath: We go to WrestleMania 34. Yes, it’s AJ Styles against Shinsuke Nakamura. Yes, it’s Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka (at least that’s what it should be.) We can also do New Day vs. Owens, Zayn & Corbin in a six-man tag and Shane McMahon as our special WrestleMania host.

Let the good times roll.

Pat McNeill has been a PWTorch Columnist since 2001. He lives in Greenville, South Carolina. He’d take Oklahoma City over San Antonio in tonight’s NBA game. You know, if gambling were legal.

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