Welcome to WNW’s Fastlane 2017 Predictions! Fastlane will be emanating from the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This time around, we have myself, Kendra Bunyon, Zack Krasney, The Retro Goat, and Elizabeth Sherwood providing predictions. Let’s get to it!
Rich Swann & Akira Tozawa vs. Brian Kendrick & Noam Dar
This will be a fun filler match for the kickoff show. Tozawa has remained constant with his push since debuting, and I don't expect that to stop until he gets a shot at the Cruiserweight Title in the coming months. Swann was briefly put on the shelf after dropping the title at the Rumble, so it's still nice to see him on the card in some way. Kendrick and Dar continue to be regular figures on 205 Live, but I don't think they'll walk out with the win here, especially since I'm expecting Neville to retain later in the night.
CJ's Predicted Winners: Swann & Tozawa
I think this is a very smart match to make, as they are the strongest in the Cruiserweight Division, other than Jack and Neville, at this point. I completely blame McMahon and Creative for not building the Cruiserweights and then blaming them for not getting over on their own. The Cruiserweight Division isn't boring, their ring work is stellar, but this is Sports Entertainment, and the entertainment part is what's missing from the 205s. Tozawa might be the newest Cruiserweight, but he's interesting on mic, and they're building his story as well as his feud with TBK. Everyone knows I loves me some TBK, and have since his early days with the WWE. Even though he's young, I really like Dar. I think he has huge potential, as long as his young arrogance is left on TV and doesn't cause issues in his real life backstage. While Foxy has been a bit screwed over by this storyline, she's a great veteran for Dar to work with. And then there's Swann. He's cute, funny, and has great energy, but he doesn't have much of a character or story. The bits of story they've given us are great, but I know there's a lot more they could build on if they'd only spend twenty focused minutes writing it, and five minutes of vignettes here and there. They don't have to change the mat or wraps on the ring ropes if he has a few moments backstage here and there growing on the groundwork that's already been laid down. Basically Creative has been downright lazy when it comes to the Cruiserweight Division, and that's where the big problem is. Sorry about that tangent, but I know there's so much more they could do with these guys, and I know they can be successful if they only got the time they deserve.
On to this match. I cannot tell you why, but I think TBK and Dar are going to pull this one out and totally piss off Swann and Tozawa in the process. I think the heels going over here will only light a bigger fire under Tozawa and Swann's butt going forward, and that's something they need.
Kendra's Predicted Winners: Kendrick & Dar
I'll put as much thought into this match as WWE did. Good guys win. Done.
Zack's Predicted Winners: Swann & Tozawa
The Retro Goat's Predicted Winners: Swann & Tozawa
Elizabeth's Predicted Winners: Swann & Tozawa
Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax
I haven't been a fan of their previous brief matches lately, but here's to hoping we see what these ladies can really do together. I know they both have it in them. To keep Sasha relevant going into WrestleMania, and ultimately before her inevitable heel turn, I would love to see The Boss pull out the surprise win over Jax. Nia will be fine taking one loss since she seems guaranteed to be in the Women's Title match next month. Just the fact that Banks is wrestling may be one of the few reasons I'm watching this show.
CJ's Predicted Winner: Sasha Banks
There's so much I want to say about Nia Jax, but that's for another time, another article. For now, I have to say it looks like Nia will very obviously go over Sasha here. There's no reason to think otherwise, except this is Sasha Banks we're talking about, and she has so much heart and passion. She's right up there with Sami Zayn, and it's because of that I think she might be able to pull this one off. She's proven that she can take out Nia, and she needs to do just that to move forward toward WrestleMania. Now, I'm not sure what the plan is for WrestleMania, and I hope it's nothing really daft like Raw vs SmackDown so that all the women can get on the show, but I think Sasha does need this win for WrestleMania, or she's going to be back playing the wounded little puppy, and that's just not a good look for The Boss.
Kendra's Predicted Winner: Sasha Banks
Not sure why we're doing this match again. All I can say is that there better be a helluva story being told during this match because otherwise it risks becoming boring. I can't say anyone was really INTO their first match, so they need to do something special with this match just to stay on par. I know one of the talked about matches for WrestleMania is Charlotte vs. Bayley vs. Sasha vs. Nia, so maybe that's their justification here. I just can't get on board. Sasha needs some momentum so she's my pick here.
Zack's Predicted Winner: Sasha Banks
The Retro Goat's Predicted Winner: Sasha Banks
Elizabeth's Predicted Winners: Sasha Banks
Sami Zayn vs. Samoa Joe
Remember at the start of the year when there were some rumors about Sami Zayn being in the Universal Title picture at Mania? I really wish we were seeing that. This match had to be booked here to provide a little "oomph" to the lackluster card. Clearly Seth Rollins would probably be where Sami is, but stuff happens. After a hard-fought battle, Joe will more than likely walk away with a win. Where Joe goes after this is the next question.
CJ's Predicted Winner: Samoa Joe
As much as I love Sami, I don't think he has much of a chance in this match. While I know Sami can work against anyone and is impressive while he does it, Joe is getting pushed and needs to look like an unstoppable force backed by The Authority. That being said, I don't expect this to be a clean match by any stretch of the imagination. I will be shocked if Rollins doesn't get involved in some way. I will be shocked if we don't see Trip involved in some way as well. And, honestly, I wouldn't be shocked to see Finn Balor involved in some way. There are so many things they could do with this, and there really is a possibility that Sami could go over Joe, but I don't see it happening in this match. If this feud continues, I cannot say what will happen at WrestleMania, but for right now, Joe needs this win going forward.
Kendra's Predicted Winner: Samoa Joe
I think it's pretty obvious Zayn is going to be fed to Joe here. My hope is that Sami at least holds his own for a bit in this match, but we will have to see what mood WWE is in tonight. Sometimes Sami is given a chance, sometimes he is jobbed out. Sami seems to also be a little directionless going into Mania so we'll have to see where he heads. As for Joe, I know there are some ideas for what they want to do with him for WrestleMania, but it'll depend on a few moving parts so-to-speak. Either way, I'm happy for Joe going into his first WrestleMania. It's a big moment for him.
Zack's Predicted Winner: Samoa Joe
The Retro Goat's Predicted Winner: Samoa Joe
Elizabeth's Predicted Winner: Samoa Joe
Neville (c) vs. Jack Gallagher
I will become interested in the Cruiserweight Title picture once Austin Aries returns to the ring. That man is certainly one of my all-time favorites in the ring and I'm still super excited that he's in WWE. Neville has been a decent champion during his excellent heel run, but I'm still hoping to see more out of him. Part of me feels like Jack Gallagher's "push" shouldn't be happening this soon, like he hasn't had enough time to get the slow burn going on developing his character. Regardless, I hope this is a good match as Neville is more than likely retaining.
CJ's Predicted Winner: Neville
While this PPV looks like a lot of crap, I'm really excited for this match. Neville as a heel has proven that he is a force to be reckoned with, something he couldn't do as a face, and I'm thrilled he's found his niche. Jack Gallagher is my favorite Cruiserweight now, and in my top three ever. He's really a unique character, and he not only makes it work, he makes it believable, and that's something that many Superstars cannot accomplish in a lifetime, and he's only 27! I expect a lot of Gallagher's usual hijinks, as well as a lot of misplaced gravity from Neville, but beyond that, I see this being an incredible match, if they're given the time and booking to do so. These two men are masters at what they do and should be allowed to do just that, show the fans that the Cruiserweight Division is worth the time. I see these two giving their all, but in the end, Gallagher is going to win the strap. This will infuriate Neville to no end, and lead us to a jaw-dropping match at WrestleMania, and should be on the WrestleMania card, not the pre-show. These two need to leave it all out there and prove that the Cruiserweight Division is worth the time and money. Gallagher winning this match will add that much more excitement to the Cruiserweight Division, and hopefully give it a bit of a push that it needs.
Kendra's Predicted Winner: Jack Gallagher
I really like Jack Gallagher, but the CW championship has exchanged hands too much lately and I enjoy Neville too much as champion to want to see the title exchange hands. I would like to see Jack with the title eventually because his character is great, definitely some time this year. I'm interested to see what WWE does with the CWD during WrestleMania. I've heard rumors a ladder match, which could be amazing. Tonight, I'm going with Neville.
Zack's Predicted Winner: Neville
The Retro Goat's Predicted Winner: Neville
Elizabeth's Predicted Winner: Neville
Raw Tag Team Championship Match
Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson (c) vs. Enzo & Big Cass
What a mess this tag team division is. Not that SmackDown is much better; at least American Alpha has the belts. I didn't realize I was bored of Enzo & Cass until this feud was reignited. Meanwhile, I feel bad for Gallows & Anderson and how they've been treated over the last year. How are we supposed to buy them as legitimate champs when they could hardly win any title matches last year? I hope we get a decent showing here. If Enzo & Cass are going to win the titles, it should be at WrestleMania. Let's give The Club some more time at the "top."
CJ's Predicted Winners: Gallows & Anderson
I think this one should be pretty cut and dry, or, at least, I hope it is. The Club has done less than nothing since coming into the WWE, and their stock has dropped lower than The Ascension. Strapping them didn't help, and I think it's absolutely time to pull the gold off them and strap Enzo and Cass. Now, that Cass seems to be getting annoyed by Enzo could cause some issues in the coming future, but for right now I think it could add a lot to them as Tag Team Champions. Of course, Enzo will get his ass handed to him for a bit before Cass gets the hot tag and makes the big save and the win. It's time to get the straps off The Club and hope that things go better with them on Enzo and Cass.
Kendra's Predicted Winners: Enzo & Cass
It's amazing how quickly the Tag Team division has fallen into irrelevance after New Day dropped the titles. I feel like Enzo and Cass are getting their shot about 2-3 months after they should've. Since they've been doing basically nothing for the last few months I can honestly say some of the shine has started to fade. These two were red hot coming out of NXT but it's been almost a full year and WWE hasn't done anything really productive with Enzo and Cass. I feel like they'd do much better on Smackdown which has a much hotter Tag Team division at the moment. WWE needs to capitalize on Enzo and Cass NOW or risk them fizzling out. I know there are people who would say waiting to strap them at WrestleMania, but I disagree. Strap them tonight and have them retain in a multi-man elimination style match at WrestleMania.
Zack's Predicted Winners: Enzo & Cass
The Retro Goat's Predicted Winners: Gallows & Anderson
Elizabeth's Predicted Winners: Gallows & Anderson
Raw Women's Championship Match
Bayley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair
I already miss the days where I was excited to see the Women's Title match on pay-per-view. One thing's for sure - Charlotte needs to step away from the picture after WrestleMania. Logic says The Queen is winning the title back again. I was slightly disappointed Bayley won the title on Raw, as I believe she should've started her first reign at Mania. What's done is done, and it appears we're in for a four-way next month. I'm not even going to get creative with this since WWE seems to have the same mindset.
CJ's Predicted Winner: Charlotte
I think it's too early for Charlotte's winning streak at PPVs to end, but I think this time Charlotte's going to win the match, but not the Championship. Yes, it will put a bit of a crimp into her streak, but it won't end it. I'm not a fan of Charlotte as a heel, at least not on mic, but I'm a fan of her going far in the WWE. I really think it's time for Bayley (or anyone but Charlotte) to hold the strap more than a month, and I want to see Bayley go into WrestleMania as Champion. There are so many people who could interfere in this match, and I'll be shocked if at least a couple of them don't. Dana, Sasha, Nia all have a stake in what's happening in this match, and they will make things screwy. This close to WrestleMania there needs to be some craziness, and I think this PPV is the time to do it. Setting up for WrestleMania is what this is all about, and they have a lot they could do here. All that being said, Charlotte can win this match, but Bayley needs to retain the Women's Championship.
Kendra's Predicted Winner: Charlotte by DQ
Fastlane feels like such a formality in so many ways. I expect Charlotte to go over here. I think MOST people see Charlotte going over here. The story they'll tell is that Charlotte wins AGAIN at a PPV to keep her PPV streak alive. Only to have her lose the title and her PPV streak at WrestleMania. Here's the problem with what WWE is doing here. The Women's Championship has taken a major backseat to Charlotte's PPV streak. Her streak is impressive and I don't want to take anything away from that, but Charlotte is not the Undertaker. Ending her streak shouldn't be more important than the Women's Championship. You can't say that Charlotte looks strong because of her streak because she has lost the championship FIVE times in the last year. Yes, she has won it back at the next PPV, but at some point, it stops mattering. It was one thing when she and Sasha were playing hot potato with the Championship because the argument could be made that they were such perfect rivals that neither could get the better of each other. However, when you add Bayley in and start doing the same thing, it loses ALL value.
Too Long Didn't Read: Charlotte has dropped the title too much and her streak shouldn't be more valuable to WWE than the Women's Title. Charlotte will win and then lose at WrestleMania.
Zack's Predicted Winner: Charlotte
The Retro Goat's Predicted Winner: Charlotte
Elizabeth's Predicted Winner: Charlotte
Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman
Aside from Zayn vs. Joe, this is the other singles match I'm looking forward to. I believe these big men are capable of putting on a show if they bring the same intensity they had last week on Raw. The booking gets tricky because neither man should go under... so that's apparently where The Undertaker comes in. I really hope he costs Reigns the match to let Strowman go over. It may seem like a heel-ish thing for Taker to do, but hopefully it results in Roman's darker side to come out.
CJ's Predicted Winner: Braun Strowman
After the way Raw ended this week, I'm actually looking forward to this match. Yes, I know, if McMahon continued on the way he has, Reigns will win, but I wonder if Strowman might be squirming his way into McMahon's mind and showing him that a Superstar doesn't have to be hot to move his way out of the mid-card. Strowman has everything needed to be a top Superstar. He has a unique look, always good for a Superstar trying to catch the attention of the fans. He can work the mic in an interesting and unique way. He's not the typical monster heel and has great comedic timing. In some ways, he reminds me of when Kane was a face and had already learned to talk. Lastly, Strowman can work the ring in an interesting and creative way. Not only is he a monster who does really well with power moves in the ring and out, but he's also faster than he has any right to be at his size.
All that being said, I worry that McMahon's unnatural need to push Reigns to the top of Raw as a face, when no one but the most casual fans and some women (but not me, I won't be swayed by his sexiness) really enjoy Reigns the way he is right now, Reigns will continue to go over the top. I worry that Strowman's momentum will fall apart if McMahon pushes Reigns over here. I think this is the perfect time to set up Reigns' WrestleMania feud (hopefully not against Taker, as Taker isn't well enough to work the ring against someone like Reigns), and possibly Strowman's WrestleMania feud. I have to go with my heart on this one and push for Strowman to get the win here. He more than deserves it and has proven that he's destined to be a top guy – sooner, rather than later. Normally I'm not big on pushing a guy this soon, but he's proving that he really is ready and that the fans really believe in him, more than they believe in Reigns right now.
Kendra's Predicted Winner: Braun Strowman
This is another match that I wish was happening at a real PPV instead of a "pitstop" PPV. We all know there won't be a clean victory here. At least I pray there isn't. If there is a clean victory it'll be Roman over Strowman and that'd be a damn crime. It's interesting to note that plans for Braun at WrestleMania are still up in the air, but hopefully, they do something soon. I want to on record that Strowman is possibly my favorite thing in WWE right now. My guess is that this match will go back and forth the entire time with neither man gaining much ground over the other. Roman will start to gain momentum when the lights go out and we hear a familiar GONG. The Undertaker appears in the ring and hits a Tombstone on Roman Reigns. The lights go back out and Taker is gone when they come up. Braun picks up Roman and hits a running powerslam for the win.
Zack's Predicted Winner: Braun Strowman
The Retro Goat's Predicted Winner: Braun Strowman
Elizabeth's Predicted Winner: No Contest
Universal Championship Match
Kevin Owens (c) vs. Goldberg
It's a good thing we have the WWE Network these days, because there's no way I would pay $60 for this main event. I'd like to believe that Owens will somehow retain, but I've got to be more realistic this time. Goldberg is taking the title, whether Lesnar or Jericho interfere or not. My fingers will remained crossed in hopes that KO shocks us all.
CJ's Predicted Winner: Goldberg
This is the match I least want to see this coming Sunday, and the list of reasons is so long that I won't bore you with them here, though if you are reading this, you're part of the IWC, and you either have the same issues I have, or you've read the same issues from someone else online, somewhere. This is one of the daftest of matches I've seen in a long time. Yes, I know McMahon has a hard on for the big guys, especially when they're huge names, and even more so if they come back and show a passion they didn't show fifteen years ago, but that doesn't mean he should be working the ring, and he's proven that with every move he's hit and every bump he's taken, even those ones that were accidental – tripping in the ring and almost busting his own ass, slamming his head into his locker room door and having color before even entering the ringside area. Further, you don't take a mess like that and put him in a singles match with the most over Superstar on Raw. Even bigger than that, you don't put him in a match against the top heel and most over Superstar on Raw for the Universal Championship! This is basic booking 101, yet there's a signed contract with Goldberg to be on Raw, works matches on certain PPVs, and have everything culminate at WrestleMania when he's back in the ring against the other most useless part-time wrestler the WWE has ever contracted with.
Basically what I'm saying here is that Kevin Owens is getting as screwed as the fans, and I feel worse for him than I do for those of us, because he physically has to be in that match with Goldberg. Now, there's been tons of talk about Goldberg winning this match so that he will be strapped going into his WrestleMania match with Brock Lesnar. I have less use for Brock than I do for Goldberg, and absolutely believe that he shouldn't even be working in the WWE, never mind holding any Championship when he cannot bother to give any shits for the fans. If you want to do a job only for the paycheck, and show how little you care about those you are doing the job for, that's fine, just don't do it in my beloved fandom! It's time for these part-timers who are only in it for the money, so, mostly only Brock, need to go the heck away and stop screwing with the natural order of things.
All that being said, I'll be shocked if Brock doesn't get involved in this match, and I'll be even more shocked if Jericho doesn't get involved. Since this match was announced, and all the rumors have flown around, I don't think this match would end in DQ or Count Out; just a gut feeling. This one might not be long, heck, with Goldberg if it lasts more than two minutes, Goldberg will be on the floor by announce begging for medical to put him out of his misery, and that's the last thing he wants his son to see him doing – especially if he's going to be briefly strapped as the Universal Champion. Ugh, just writing that made me sad, but I did realize that if KO loses this match that means he will still be fighting for gold at WrestleMania when he faces Jericho, and we all know that's what they're building toward. Further, if Jericho is the one who screws KO out of his Universal Championship, he will be seething to get his hands on Jericho. This will make for that much more fun on the Road To WrestleMania. So, as much as it kills me to do this, I don't think KO will walk out of Fastlane as Universal Champion.
Kendra's Predicted Winner: Goldberg
This match is definitely the match I'm tuning in for. Not because I'm excited about it, and not because I'm excited Goldberg is back. I'm tuning in to see this match and will be on the edge of my seat, to see if Kevin Owens retains. It's funny because, at least to me, this match the roles are reversed. Traditionally you should want the heel to lose and the face to become champion, but because personally, I think that'd be awful, I'm the reverse. I'm hoping the heel retains the championship and the face gets beat. I've been around the block enough to know KO won't win clean in this scenario.
There are a lot of factors to take into consideration, the two biggest being Brock Lesnar and Chris Jericho. Here's how I would have things play out, and hopefully WWE does the same. First, this match can't be a 10-second squash, you just can't do that to KO. Have Owens rolls out immediately to avoid a spear. Show that Kevin's brain is better than Goldberg's brawn. Towards the end of the match, have Jericho run out while the ref is down or distracted and hit a Codebreaker on Owens and roll him in. Looks like Jericho has just cost his former best friend the championship. Owens is out but Goldberg still wants to hit the spear and Jackhammer, and as Goldberg goes for it Lesnar runs in and hits an F5! Goldberg is now also laid out. Owens starts to come to and crawls on top of Goldberg, throws an arm on him, and picks up the 3 count for the win.
Zack's Predicted Winner: Kevin Owens
The Retro Goat's Predicted Winner: Goldberg
Elizabeth's Predicted Winner: Goldberg
Thanks everyone for reading our predictions this round! Feel free to post yours in the comments below, and don’t forget to join us tonight at 7 PM EST for our live coverage and Open Thread Party for Fastlane!