Michael D: Here we are folks, a new WWE Network event called Fast Lane. Not sure why they opted to go without Elimination Chamber this year, unless the match itself has either been retired or going to be featured at another Pay-Per-View. This is what I have been saying about Money in the Bank, except WWE knows it steals the spotlight at WrestleMania, although, wouldn’t you want an incredible ladder match as part of the WrestleMania highlight reel? In any event, this is the final major event before WrestleMania 31. Before we begin the predictions, some interesting words from the Professor himself, Steve Miller.
“Life in the Fast Lane, Surely make you lose your mind.” – Joe Walsh, Glenn Frey, Don Henley
“WWE Fast Lane, Vince has really lost his mind.” – Steve Miller
Steve Miller: I have been a casual observer of the WWE/WWF since the days of Bruno Sammartino, Dr. Bill Miller, Argentino Rocca, and the Grahams and the booking has never been so confusing and last minute. The constant and instantaneous changes in direction based on audience reactions on TV versus those at house shows paints a mosaic rather than linear direction for the company. This is not good for an organization as it approaches its most important show in six weeks. Instead of the single-minded, single-focused promotions of the past, Vince, Paul, and Stephanie are giving its audience a half-hearted, scattershot, C-level, go home show as the stop on the Road to Wrestlemania. It seems as if the McMahons are showing the wear and tear of trying to make the most out of their WWE Network experiment. The in-ring product is suffering and this will do more to undermine the ingenious and innovative streaming experiment than anything else. What’s best for business is strong storylines and wrestling and they aren’t giving its public that with this card. It will be interesting to see whether the in-ring winners take them on the Fast Lane to profitability or whether this takes them to a dead end.
United States Championship Title Match: John Cena vs. Rusev (c) w/Lana
Michael D: Edge and Chris Jericho held mid-tier titles after winning the WWE or World Championships, but that was never a surprise. I am surprised it is not a bigger deal that John Cena is going for the United States Championship, and not the WWE Championship anymore. For everyone who says Cena is always main eventing or always going for the “big one” this is the cement, I believe, John Cena’s days of main-event-glory-hogging are over. Are merchandise sales not what they once were?
I expect Rusev to somehow come out of this unscathed, with U.S. Title in-hand. This rematch is heading to WrestleMania.
Steve Miller: Dear Vince, The cold war is dead. Do you live in the 21st century? You have taken a Romanian, paired him with his Florida-born girlfriend and made them into Stalinesque Russians who are fighting against your biggest moneymaker whose career you are trying to kill. This is one of two matches that have interference written all over them and shows you to be a tired, out of touch promoter. Where has your creativity gone? Where is the genius that brought us daring, cutting edge pairings with great promos and exciting personalities? This is dull and duller part 365. There were better opponents for both of these performers and everyone knows it. Oh, Vince! It’s obvious that you will not end Rusev’s “undefeated” streak here and save it for Wrestlemania, but you don’t want bury Cena only up to his neck. So, this will be a DQ or Cena will lose because of a run in. You need a new booker man, Vince. Sincerely yours, Steve.
Bill Bodkin: Winner: RUSEV wins, with The Accolade after some short of shenanigans leading to Cena being KO’ed and passing out in the move leading to a Submission Match at Mania.
John Lister: I expect a very awkward match with maybe one wow moment of strength, but doubtful. Rusev will somehow retain and this feud will carry on into WM.
Divas Championship Match: Paige vs. Nikki Bella (c) w/Brie Bella
Michael D: I… Don’t… Care.
Steve Miller: How I wish Awesome Kong was still in WWE. This would be the perfect place for her to interfere and set up a Bella/Kong match at Mania. However, they have AJ and that’s what she’s going to do. Nikki wins and goes against Ms. Punk at the big one. The best option, though, would be for Ashley (Charlotte) Flair to interfere and set herself up for a debut in California with daddy as her manager. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!
Bill Bodkin: Nikki retains in order to lead to a Nikki vs. Brie match at Mania.
John Lister: I’m hoping WWE is as done with the Bellas as I am. Going with my heart on this one and picking Paige.
One-on-one: Goldust vs. Star Dust
Michael D: I want to be excited for this, but this one will be settled at WrestleMania, where it will be Stardust vs. Dustin Rhodes. Goldust will shed the paint and compete under his “real name” much like Cody did before going loony to join his brother in the first place. Or, this could be a complete swerve where Stardust reverts to Cody Rhodes in some sort of plot to kill the “Dust” gimmicks.
Steve Miller: This tag team is the personification of the McMahon/Levesque team’s inability to properly read the audience. When given the chance the Rhodes brothers were the best act in this traveling troupe. Their insane interactions were funny, pointed, and surprisingly entertaining. But, the real life Authority has always looked for any way it can to stick it to Dusty’s family and this break-up is just another chance to do it again. Dustin Rhodes was the Comeback Wrestler of 2014 and his reward will be a humiliating loss to his brother in this match.
Bill Bodkin: Winner: Star Dust by some crooked trickery.
John Lister: Sadly, I see us witnessing the “twilight” of Dustin Runnel’s career. Look for him to make a noble (and pointless) gesutre by jobbing to his little brother.
Six Man Tag Match: Dolph Ziggler, Erick Rowan & Ryback vs. Seth Rollins, The Big Show, Kane
Michael D: This could be good. I just worry this will be rushed. Here’s what will happen. Big Show and Kane will turn on each other. Ziggler and Rollins will steal the match. Ryback will shellshock someone and end the match. This is one of those “extremes” where either it will be fantastic or a complete dud. Everyone is expecting the “OUTTA NOWHERE!” from Randy Orton to feud with Seth Rollins.
Steve Miller: Don’t watch this match until the 15:00-20:00 mark. That is when you will look to the left or right of your television screen and see Randy Orton prevent Seth Rollins from curb stomping Dolph Ziggler, costing them the match, and setting up their clash at Wrestlemania.
Bill Bodkin: Winner: Zigs, Rowan & Ryback b/c Big Show and Kane will erupt in a brawl and then RKO OUTTA NOWHERE on Seth.
John Lister: Pointless match made up at last minute because they need to have these guys involved in a PPV somehow. Look for Ziggler to pin Kane as they continue to tease Dolph with the thought of one day becoming relevant in their main storylines.
Intercontinental Championship Match: Dean Ambrose vs. Bad News Barrett (c)
John Lister: Ambrose will get him dq’ed as he will lose control. I don’t see them putting another title on him until they feel he’s ready to become heavyweight champion. Look for Barrett to get injured during this match.
Michael D: Good grief am I looking forward to this one. I fear disappointment, this will get maybe ten minutes if lucky. They could put on such a great contest, and I really do not care who wins, loses, has the title. I love Barrett, and I am loving what they do with Ambrose. As long as it is a good match, both will come out looking like winners. However, in the interest in choosing, I think Barrett will get the victory, prolonging this feud to… you guessed it, WrestleMania. BARRETT WILL NOT GET INJURED!!!
Steve Miller: I don’t know what Vince’s obsession is with Wade Barrett. He is not good in the ring and he’s a one-trick pony outside it. He lost his momentum when he first got hurt and has never gotten it back. While it would be logical to give the belt to the up and coming Ambrose, I can see a distraction costing Dean the match and giving it to Wade.
Bill Bodkin: Winner: Bad News Barrett takes the W here by disqualification in order to further the feud to Mania.
WWE Tag Team Championship Match: Cesaro & Tyson Kidd vs. The Usos (c)
Michael D: Calling it from the start, we get new tag team champions. The Brass Ring Club (Cesaro and Kidd) need this win, and they need to have the titles. They are being built up, and a loss would just kill whatever momentum WWE wants them to have. Usos can lose the belts, because they will get them back as soon as the Kidd/Cesaro pair run their course and WWE decides it is time to split them up.
Steve Miller: He has gone from being the potential future of this organization to teaming with another talented, yet forgotten smaller wrestler. Tyson is still here just because of the Hart connection and Nattie’s talent, which is also being wasted. The three of them have suggested calling themselves The Brass Ring Club, but should be labeled the Political No Chance Club. It’s a shame because all three need to be given a chance. However, it won’t be here. The Usos will be inducting their father into the Hall of Fame as the reigning Tag Team Champs. If that isn’t Too Cool, nothing is.
Bill Bodkin: Winner: FACT – Tyson & Cesaro win after one of The Usos is distracted by Naomi & Natalya in a fight.
John Lister: Another example of WWE not knowing what to do with wrestling talent. Usos will retain and continue to retain until either The Ascension stops putting people to sleep or WWE concocts another tag team worth anyone’s time.
Number One Contender’s Match to challenge Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 31:
Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan
Michael D: Sadly, this is going to be one big tease. WWE appeared to have caved in last year, but that was the big 3-0. Wrestlemania 30. They were not going to end the biggest event of the year with an arena full of booing fans. This year, Vince or Triple H will likely put their foot down, and Roman Reigns will be the likely winner. It won’t be clean, expect interference or an unexpected heel-behavior from someone.
Steve Miller: This is the most important match of the year. It will show whether the real life Authority still has a spine. They have three choices: stick to their guns and book Reigns to win, fall prey to the Royal Rumble reaction and give it to Bryan, or split the baby and create a three way and either double count out or double pin. Given the less than forceful direction they’ve been going, I think it’s going to be option number 3 and send both to the big dance as partners for Lesnar. Or, as Austin Aries would say: They’ve created Option C.
Bill Bodkin: Winner: Sorry kids, but The Roman Empire will reign supreme here. How? Remember all them Sheamus promos? Yeah, he’s returning at Fast Lane and he’s going to cost Bryan the match so we can now get the Bryan/Sheamus program Vince wanted to book last year.
John Lister: Quite the quagmire here. WWE is caught between a rock and a hard place. Either going with Reigns despite what the audience wants or going with Danielson and have a near repeat scenario of last year. I’ll pick another aspect of a repeat scenario and have this be a Double DQ/Countout/ No contest kind of ordeal making it a triple threat match at WM. Look for this to be Reign’s last opportunity to show he’s worth main eventing. Otherwise, he’ll be mid-card for the forseeable future.
This is it for the predictions. Also keep in mind we will have appearances by Triple H, Sting, and most likely Bray Wyatt finally giving a name to the one he has been calling out for weeks, challenging his power in the realm of darkness and fear… Doink the Clown.
You know by now, he means The Undertaker.