WWE Fastlane is this Sunday, March 10. Time shoots forward an hour, don’t forget! The road to Wrestlemania is in full swing and Fastlane is the last PPV before we get to the big show in April. Make sure you come back on Monday, March 11 for a full recap of the event and ongoing coverage of WWE and other wrestling around the world. Fastlane card preview ranked from matches I’m the most to least excited about.
Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte
Becky Lynch and Ronda Rousey are pretty much THE story in WWE right now. Between Becky’s effortless warmth, underdog appeal, and new killer badass persona, she’s truly the ace of the company. Ronda hasn’t overcome her creepy braids and bad mic skills as much as she’s become a better in-ring performer than anyone should be in such a short time. Charlotte Flair’s addition to their angle may scream “nepotism,” but would you rather have Charlotte sneering at the camera or get double the Ronda rants? Ronda Rousey’s promos occupy a fascinating space that’s neither compelling nor boring. They’re simply confusing and unpleasant.
Anyways, Becky and Charlotte have this match to determine if Becky gets to go to Wrestlemania and wrestle with Ronda and Charlotte or not. If you missed their last woman standing match at Evolution or their triple threat with Asuka at TLC, do yourself a favor and check them out.
Best possible result: A short, exciting match ending in a DQ when Ronda interferes.
WWE Champion Daniel Bryan vs. Kevin Owens
If Becky Lynch is the hottest star in WWE right now, Daniel Bryan is certainly the most delightful. The self-proclaimed Planet’s Champion has replaced the WWE World Championship belt with a replica made of reclaimed wood, hemp and turquoise. It is the single best prop gag I’ve seen in WWE since the List of Jericho. The WWE using Bryan’s real life vegan, environmentalist, anti-consumerist ideals to get him heel heat may be reactionary, but it’s also very, very funny.
This match was originally supposed to be against the New Day’s Kofi Kingston, whose sudden singles success and introduction to the main event picture felt both totally unexpected and completely earned. After a moving performance in this year’s Elimination Chamber match (I never thought I would call an Elimination Chamber match “moving” but here we are) led to fans and wrestlers all calling for #Kofimania, the Kingston-Bryan match looks like it’s been pushed to Wrestlemania. The newly returned (babyface!?) Kevin Owens challenges instead. Bryan and Owens are two excellent in ring performers and have no reason to fail to entertain us with whatever they do, even if it is just biding time for the real story.
Best possible result: Daniel Bryan retains. Kofi gets the Mania match.
Rey Mysterio vs. Andrade
Andrade following Rey Mysterio around Smackdown and insisting on having matches with him for no big storyline reason would be confusing if it wasn’t Rey Mysterio. Who wouldn’t want to have a bunch of matches with Rey Mysterio? This is on the pre-show and not for a title but everything they do together is gold. Andrade is a fantastic talent and Mysterio is a legend. Some things are just really, really good wrestling. This should be that.
Best possible result: They have an even better match than their recent showings on Smackdown.
New Day (Big E & Xavier Woods) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura & Rusev
Yes, it’s another preshow match. No, it doesn’t seem to tie into any ongoing storylines. Still, Big E, Xavier Woods, Rusev, and Shinsuke Nakamura are four of the most charismatic dudes on the whole roster. This is a dream hangout session for me.
Best possible result: They aren’t too depressed about their positions in the company right now and get the go-ahead to put on a really fun match. I believe in them.
Raw Tag Team Champions The Revival vs. Aleister Black & Ricochet vs. Chad Gable & Bobby Roode
After repeatedly being sidelined by injuries, classic Southern tough guy heels the Revival have the Raw Tag Team Championship. They took it off the still baffling team of charming former Olympian Chad Gable and robe-with-a-theme-song Bobby Roode, so those guys want it back. Recent NXT call-ups Ricochet and Aleister Black are a team now also and want these belts because? Not sure why. I wonder if there are long term plans to have these guys as a tag team. It seems like a weird pair to me but what do I know. This could end up being a really fun match OR it could end up being a real mess. I’m not sure what to expect, other than some flips, some fists, some suplexes, some kicks, and a guy in a robe, which are all pretty much guaranteed.
Best possible result: The Revival retain and get a Mania match against an actual tag team. Also Bobby Roode and Aleister Black start a feud based on who can have a longer and more overwrought entrance.
WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Boss n Hug Connection vs. Nia Jax & Tamina
The inaugural Women’s Tag Team Champions Sasha and Bayley are defending their titles against Nia Jax and Tamina. Which, woof. Okay. I always say Sasha Banks gets the best matches possible out of everyone she works with, so we will see what she and Bayley can get out of these two.
Best possible result: Bayley and Sasha retain and defend against a better team at Mania.
Smackdown Tag Team Champions The Usos vs. Shane McMahon & The Miz
This is a rematch from the last PPV. Miz and Shane became friends because they both want their dads to love them. Then they lost the titles to the Usos, a far superior tag team who are also twins and also coincidentally seem to have a strained relationship with their father. Fastlane is in Miz’s hometown this year so they’re really going for the dad angle hard. (Plus, Miz’s reality show Miz & Mrs. is coming back for another season next month.) The Usos think Miz and Shane aren’t a very good tag team, and they’re right. If wanting paternal approval was all it took to make a good tag team, we’d all be good tag teams.
Best possible result: Miz turns heel again and beats up Shane Mcmahon while his dad cries in shame in the front row. His mom faints.
Smackdown Women’s Champion Asuka vs. Mandy Rose
Asuka’s last two PPV title matches were absolutely killer (a TLC match against Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair and a singles match at the Royal Rumble against Becky Lynch.) Mandy Rose isn’t incompetent or anything but she has the combination of generic beauty and mediocre charisma that makes her feel like a model standing next to something I’m supposed to want to buy. The theme music is fun and the Vaseline lens effect they put on her entrance is a great gag, but expecting audiences to buy her as a dynamic blonde bombshell is kind of an insult to our culture’s long, complicated legacy of brilliant babes.
Maybe I’m being too hard on her. Maybe she’ll get there. She’s not there now though. This wouldn’t be so annoying to me if this was adding tension to an exciting storyline that will bring Asuka to yet another great PPV match at Mania like the Kevin Owens diversion is doing for Bryan and Kingston. It’s not, though. This is Asuka’s whole storyline.
Best possible result: Asuka retains in a squash and someone really exciting and surprising comes out to challenge her. If it’s Lacey Evans I’m going to call 911.
The Shield vs. Baron Corbin, Bobby Lashley, & Drew McIntyre
I have a hard enough time keeping up with the soap opera that is The Shield without having to bring three more dudes into it. Let’s write this all out. Okay. The Shield reunited and had some championships. Then Roman Reigns had to relinquish the Universal Championship because his (real life) leukemia came back. Dean Ambrose turned heel on Seth Rollins later that night. Dean bought a jacket at Zara and wore a gas mask for a little while. Then it came out that he was leaving the company. Then Roman came back because he’s in remission.
Meanwhile, Baron Corbin has been kind of a low-level annoying heel, Bobby Lashley lost his Intercontinental Title, and Drew McIntyre did something. I don’t know what. He’s really hot, though. Huge thighs. They teamed up to become a gang of bullies from a 90s after-school special if all those kids went on HGH and were in different stages of dealing with male pattern baldness. There’s three of them and there’s three of the Shield so they decided they don’t like the Shield. So they’re wrestling. This is being billed as the final Shield match and it looks like Dean might actually be leaving because this is a very weird, thrown-together thing to have as their last hurrah.
Best possible result: Bobby Lashley and Baron Corbin step on rakes on their way to the ring. Dean and Seth stare into each other’s eyes and cry manly tears of longing while Roman Reigns and Drew McIntyre just full on fuck.