WWE Fastlane 2016 airs live on WWE Network (and on pay-per-view for a dollar amount JBL will emasculate you for) this Sunday, February 21. The show is headlined by a triple threat match to see who will go on to face WWE World Heavyweight Champion Triple H at WrestleMania 32, as well as … what’s the secondary headliner here? Brie Bella? Well, it’s almost WrestleMania, let’s try to stay positive.
Here’s your WWE Fastlane card as we know it:
1. #1 Contender Triple Threat Match: Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns vs. Dean Ambrose
2. Intercontinental Championship Match: Kevin Owens (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler
3. Divas Championship Match: Charlotte (c) vs. Brie Bella
4. Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch vs. Naomi and Tamina
5. Big Show, Ryback and Kane vs. The Wyatt Family
6. AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho
– 2-out-of-3 Falls Match for the United States Championship: Kalisto (c) vs. Alberto Del Rio
As always, here are our expert opinions and analyses. Let us know what you think’s gonna go down in our comments section below.
2-out-of-3 Falls Match for the United States Championship: Kalisto (c) vs. Alberto Del Rio
What Should Happen: A 2-out-of-3 falls match for a previously prestigious secondary championship between your two best attempts at creating a Latino star shouldn’t be on the pre-show, especially when Brie Bella, Tamina Snuka and a 6-man tag match involving the Wyatt Family and Several Hosses all make the card. I’m just saying. This should be set up to be the match of the night, and yet my brain’s like, “no, no.”
What Will Happen: It’s a bummer that the Kickoff matches have to be like half to 1/3 of the 30 minutes before the show starts, meaning this isn’t going to get the time it needs. It’ll do that thing WWE elimination or 2-out-of-3 falls matches do sometimes where guys take early falls on transitional moves that would never, ever beat then in a one-fall match. Del Rio’s going to get pinned with a hurricanrana, and Kalisto’s going to lose a fall to Del Rio jumping off the top rope with a barely-thrown axe-handle. Then we’ll actually have them wrestling in the third fall, and realize they should’ve just done a one-fall match if they weren’t going to take full advantage of the stip. Del Rio wins, because of the two, Del Rio’s the one I see on the WrestleMania card. Kalisto might make it if there’s a ladder match, or he’ll be there to get thrown out of the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal by, say, Mark Henry.
Jessica Hudnall – Okay, I’m hyped for this match. Provided Kalisto doesn’t catch another case of the Sin Caras and decides to just leap head first into a truck while attempting an arm drag, this should be Super Good Fun. My heart wants me to say it goes Kalisto-Del Rio-Kalisto, but my brain is thinking Del Rio-Kalisto-Kalisto. I know it’s not a huge difference because both result in Kalisto retaining.
Chris Trew – Whatever gets us Kalisto converting the U.S. title into a cruiserweight championship that he successfully defends at WrestleMania.
Austin Heiberg – Not going to lie here, when Del Rio said that this was going to be two out of three falls, the lucha libre section of my brain started glowing a bit. I think Alberto plays dirty to get la primera caida, but Kalisto battles back and gets two straight decisions, despite League of Nations interference.
Justin Donaldson – Now that Sin Cara is in between injuries, it certainly feels like the Lucha Dragons are more of a thing than Kalisto being U.S. Champion. Kalisto takes the first fall, then Del Rio takes two in a row to regain the belt.
David D. – This should be really, really good. I just wish I cared about them more. Kalisto will come out with the win here and maybe head towards a big unification match at Mania or something with a bunch of guys and a ladder.
Danielle Matheson – A lot of the card for this show is uh…not great, Bob, but this has the potential to be a lot of fun. This is where you hope Del Rio can use Kalisto to pretend he’s working in Mexico and, y’know, dynamic and entertaining and talented and not just…WWE Del Rio. I think Kalisto retains, and will definitely ask for bonus points if he stops after the second fall to literally choke Sin Cara to death on the apron.
AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho
What Should Happen: Jericho should take a clean loss to Styles, put him over hard, and then not ever wrestle him again. Not that the matches aren’t good, but the setup here is perfect. They’ve had two matches, and each guy won one. The better man (Styles) wins the third. If you do a fourth and a fifth and a sixth, which they are known to do, you’re wasting everybody’s time.
What Will Happen: I think Styles takes it. There’s no reason to give him a loss in his first PPV singles match the show before WrestleMania, especially when half your roster’s hurt and you’re dying to get something dynamic on the card. I’d like to see Miz involved, but I’m hoping he doesn’t directly cause the finish. Fastlane’s a pretty lackluster show, you know? Give us some good wrestling to talk about on Monday.
Jessica Hudnall – This is a rib (brother) on how AJ kept getting called “the future of TNA” even when he was in his mid-30s and had a whole passel of kids, right? I get that Jericho is Ye Olde Dadd, but c’mon, he ain’t Karl by gotch Gotch calling AJ a young whippersnapper (side note, Yung Whippersnapper is coming out with a fire mixtape next month). Look, I know that AJ keeps a seasonal residence in the Problem Attic, but I still enjoy the wrestles he does. My hope is that Jericho takes this L, puts a Pops A Dent on his chest to fix that divot, buys a dang suit like the Mature Adult he claims to be and starts thrashing kids because he’s a smart veteran, not some weird, never leaving uncle in a spangly jacket. AJ wins this via Calf Killer because I love me a good Slicer/Crusher submission.
Austin Heiberg – Jericho/Styles – While Jericho getting the win would be the most hilariously sad “typical WWE” move ever, it’s gotta be Styles here. It’s like Cool Dad Highlander, there can only be one set of regrettable tattoos.
Justin Donaldson – They’re not that stupid, are they? AJ wins this, right? I’m going with AJ.
David D. – I think they really turn up the pace on this match and go all in. Styles will win with (maybe) the Styles Clash. They’ve had two good matches on television and the two guys have a desire to surpass it so expect them to pull out all the stops.
Danielle Matheson – The battle of who the most Dad Dude in WWE is gonna be great. AJ Styles has his kids names tattooed on his body and also made sure that all of their initials are AJ, and Chris Jericho…is Chris Jericho. AJ Styles wins right out the gate with a flash pin, and then they spend the rest of their allotted match time sharing their favorite Pinterest rainy day activities. Spoiler: Jericho f*cking loves popsicle stick houses.
Big Show, Ryback and Kane vs. The Wyatt Family
What Should Happen: This should not happen.
What Will Happen: Ryback turns, I guess? I don’t even know. It feels to me like they wanted to keep doing Brock Lesnar vs. the Wyatt Family but everybody hated it, so they piled up three guys to approximate Brock Lesnar. The Wyatt Family is never as strong as when they’re building to a loss, and this match was set up on Monday, so I say they take it.
Jessica Hudnall – lol, good prank, Brandon. Wait, that’s a for realsies match? On one hand, it’s The Wyatts, and they are about as likely to win a given match as I am. Buuut, staring at them across the ring, flanking The Ryback, are Big Show and Kane, who are equally inept. Let’s go with a Wyatt win because the only man in WWE history who knows the counter to Strowman’s arm triangle is JTG.
Chris Trew – Whatever gets us Big show, Ryback, and Kane into the WrestleMania pre-show.
Austin Heiberg – In a match that will probably move slower than the sloth DMV from Zootopia, I’ve got the Wyatts. Honestly, I only pick them because my brain can’t fathom them sinking to a lower point of uselessness.
Justin Donaldson – Is “Who Cares” an option? If not, I’ll go with The Wyatt Family.
David D. – The Wyatts win here after Braun puts Show, Kane and Ryback in the sleeper at the same time. Let’s make him look strong out there, guys.
Danielle Matheson – So, Kane is back to being a demon, and we know Bray Wyatt isn’t of this world because he wears white pants and they don’t have salsa stains on them anywhere. Demon vs. demon should have been resolved long ago, but it should still probably be the talking point now, right? In a perfect world, the match would end in a no contest when the demons inside both of them agree that vaping is worse than anything they’ve seen or done in either hell or any of the Libertarian meetings Human Kane has been to, and everyone just bails on Big Show. Realistically…god, who even knows. The Wyatts? They’ve gotta catch a break somewhere, and the two aging giants and the guy with the mobility of an an action figure with only two points of articulation have to give them the edge…right?
Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch vs. Naomi and Tamina
What Should Happen: Part of me wants this to end with Arn Anderson/Dustin Rhodes turn, where Becky gets beaten up the entire match and FINALLY tags in to Sasha, Sasha gets the crowd fired up and then just Bank Statements the crap out of Becky. The rest of the match can just be a reformed Team B.A.D. putting the boots to Becky, because they honestly broke up for no reason, and have always promoted unity. I learned everything I know about good WWE women’s storylines from watching Bayley get sh*t-kicked for two years, though, so I might be broken.
What Will Happen: Of the two teams, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch are the ones who seem like they’ll have a spot on the WrestleMania card. If that’s the case, I say they learn to work together and get the win here, and maybe there are some post-match shoves or punches to let us know they aren’t actually friends or on the same page. If Tamina goes for the Superfly Splash and gets even one degree horizontal, we’ll consider it a win.
Jessica Hudnall – I like Naomi and whatnot, but cheese n peas, you can’t win a match by teaming with Tamina. Boss Lass (La$$?) wins this one with ease.
Chris Trew – Whatever gets us Sasha vs. Charlotte at WrestleMania with Sasha getting the WrestleMania entrance we all deserve.
Austin Heiberg – I would be nothing short of flabbergasted if Naomi and Tamina won here. I think it’s almost a given that Sasha (and probably Becky as well) are cruising towards something big at WrestleMania with Charlotte, so this is pretty much cruise control for them. Easy submission victory for Team Horsewomen, probably followed by Sasha putting the boots to Becky.
Justin Donaldson – I kind of want this to be a Sting/Flair set-up, like Halloween Havoc ’95. Becky tags in Sasha only to have Sasha turn on her and beat her down, rejoining Team BAD. But I think it’s probably going to just be Becky and Sasha squashing Naomi and Tamina.
David D. – I’m really excited for this match. Sasha and Naomi had a tremendous match on Smackdown last week, so this should really surprise people. Sasha and Becky win and maybe start fighting to set up a triple threat at Mania for the belt.
Danielle Matheson – Oh no, poor Tamina. She’s like the wrestling DUFF of the match, but if the DUFF were beautiful and in great shape but moved with the mobility of a Ryback. The good news is everyone else in the match is awesome, and they’ll probably be busting their asses to make up for this pay-per-view having both a lackluster card and a severe lack of actual race cars, so she’ll probably just have to make a few saves and take very little heat. Sasha and Becky win because of course they do.
Divas Championship Match: Charlotte (c) vs. Brie Bella
What Should Happen: Charlotte should beat Brie in like 15 seconds and sarcastically wave at her as she walks to the back making unbelievable cry-faces. Then we get Charlotte vs. Sasha, or Charlotte vs. Becky vs. Sasha, or Charlotte vs. anyone who isn’t Brie Bella. They should put Brie in Team B.A.D. and have her not think it stands for anything.
What Will Happen: For the longest time we’ve assumed Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks for the Women’s Championship (featuring one or both of them throwing the Divas Championship into a river) would be the WrestleMania match. Now with Daniel Bryan’s retirement, Nikki Bella’s neck injury and Brie’s announced end-point, I’m worried they’re gonna keep Brie in the title picture through Mania to get Bryan on the show. Maybe to even give Brie a title win there, to get her and Bryan doing “Yes” chants. I don’t want that to happen but I feel like it might, so no matter who wins here, I’m picking Charlotte to retain. She can retain by DQ or something, in either direction. I’ll say Slick Ric gets involved and the ref sees it, giving Brie a reason to want another match. Maybe Brie will pull a Batista and get super great right before she leaves? Yeah.
Jessica Hudnall – Lady Flair retains and then institutes a contest to determine her next challenger. She can call it the Charlottery. Aaand I’m just getting word that I have been fired from all future With Spandex predictions.
Chris Trew – Whatever gets us Charlotte vs. Sasha at WrestleMania.
Austin Heiberg – I used to complain about WWE nerfing things immediately after they happen. But with Brie announcing her impending retirement, they’ve somehow found a way to start derailing story arcs before they even happen. Brie winning here is now a statistical impossibility. So yeah, congrats on the Good Morning America press, but it doesn’t help that we’ve now got a drama-free match on our hands at a PPV.
Justin Donaldson – Before Bryan’s retirement, this match felt like a stepping stone for Charlotte on the Road to WrestleMania. But now I’m not too sure. WWE does love to profit off of tragedy, so I’m going to pick Brie to win the title in Daniel Bryan’s honor.
David D. – This is part of Brie Bella’s farewell, so I imagine she loses and gets the spotlight to walk away to a standing ovation. I must admit, Charlotte saying Brie and Daniel’s babies would be born with beards is a gross misunderstanding of genetics, but it was the highlight of RAW. This should be prime time for Charlotte to get really diabolical. Maybe she beats Brie up after the match is over to really heel it up.
Danielle Matheson – If you combine the blonde, glitter, daddy issues, and propensity towards pastels of Charlotte with the plaid and weird slashy pants of Brie, you have like 90% of my daily aesthetic. While I’m gonna miss feeling that represented when Brie eventually bails to fill herself with babies, I don’t think I’m going to miss struggling to find nice things to say about her before she wrestles. Charlotte ultimately makes Brie submit, but all the while whispering in her ear and making her promise that Daniel Bryan will be a more attentive father than Ric Flair.
Intercontinental Championship Match: Kevin Owens (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler
What Should Happen: Kevin Owens should retain, setting up a “Kevin Owens vs. everybody who hates Kevin Owens” match at WrestleMania. Make it a ladder match if you want. Owens vs. Ziggler, Zayn, Finn Balor, maybe Ryback, maybe Dean Ambrose if he’s not doing anything. Hell, throw Alex Riley in there before you send him to life on a farm. SURPRISE JOHN CENA. Let’s pay off the year and a half of Owens being the worst person in the world in the best possible way.
What Will Happen: Owens retains. Giving Ziggler the belt will feel underwhelming at best, especially if they knew that’s what they wanted to do and didn’t just give it to him on Raw. We’ve seen this too many times, so let’s give Owens a strong win in the best match these two have had, and either escalate the situation for Mania or move on from it.
Jessica Hudnall – Underdog Ziggler is going to get whooped, whomped and beat dang near to death in this one. Kevin Owens is The Best and I expect Dolph to bounce at least six feet in the air off the match-ending Pop-Up Powerbomb.
Chris Trew – Whatever gets us Kevin Owens in a position to have the greatest WrestleMania debut of all time and Dolph Ziggler’s little brother hired (what’s up, Hot Young Briley).
Austin Heiberg – I went into Maximum Pout mode when Owens lost the title in the first place, because in my mind, that ruined the chances of Zayn/Owens at WrestleMania. So yeah, guess how pleased two-time Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens makes me. Owens retains over Ziggler, the wettest of wet noodles, and then we get to the real fireworks factory.
Justin Donaldson – Would they give Owens the belt Monday just to take it away Sunday? Yeah, I guess they would. Still, I’m picking Owens to win. There’s no way Ziggler is going to beat someone three matches in a row.
David D. – Kevin Owens wins here. These guys have wrestled so many times in the last month, I wouldn’t be surprised if Owens wins with a Trouble in Paradise.
Danielle Matheson – Finally, a fresh matchup for Dolph Ziggler! *looks at how many times they’ve wrestled* Finally, an interesting matchup for Dolph Ziggler! *watches said matches* Finally…a matchup? I guess Owens? *voice squeaks* Question marks?
#1 Contender Triple Threat Match: Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns vs. Dean Ambrose
What Should Happen: Honestly? Ambrose should win. It’d be the unexpected move, he and Triple H had a great moment at the end of the Royal Rumble, and it’d throw a creative wrench in the otherwise by-the-numbers Roman Reigns Inevitable Victory story. Alternate plan: Brock Lesnar kills everybody, goes on to WrestleMania, kills Triple H, and we pretend like the day after WrestleMania is the day after SummerSlam 2014.
What Will Happen: Roman wins, probably by pinning Ambrose, and that sets up Roman vs. Triple H and Ambrose vs. Lesnar for Mania. If you want to make that sweeter, let Roman pin Lesnar here, but only after Ambrose does something insanely crazy to put Lesnar down. Just own the fact that crowds think Reigns is kind of a jerk. You can always have Seth Rollins show up out of nowhere at WrestleMania for the second year in a row to make Reigns/Triple H interesting. In this scenario, I pretend that guys I want to see wrestling are actually totally fine and not severely injured.
Jessica Hudnall – My lizard brain always goes with Brock, because c’mon, he’s Brock and he’s bigger and stronger and as quick as these other two, even with a missing chunk o’ guts. I guess there will be some tension among the Shieldlings, but Ambrose will forget about it as soon as someone jangles some keys in his face. Again, Brock should be picking scraps of these two dudes out of his teeth, but my cynical wrestling fan brain is just repeating “of course it’s gonna be roman” in a dull monotone.
However, to that, much like when I drink that devil water known as sweet demon whiskey, I say “f*ck you, brain” and I’m going with MY MAIN MAN BROCK LESNAR.
Chris Trew – Whatever gets us Paul Heyman saving Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose going corporate, and Brock being Brock at WrestleMania.
Austin Heiberg – Well, I could be a jerk and just say “Not Brock Lesnar,” but that seems like the cheap way out. I just feel like Lesnar’s going to be doing something else at ‘Mania. So, if not him, then who? Reigns versus Triple H is the story that still needs completion, but I think Ambrose is the secret ingredient that gets people to care. So, with that said, I think there’s going to be some kind of wonky finish where Ambrose and Reigns end up simultaneously pinning Brock. That’s what we need to get the full puppetmaster side of Triple H at WrestleMania, where he’s attempting to use the ShieldBros against each other.
Justin Donaldson – I guess the foregone conclusion is that Roman Reigns wins. But it’s weird, it feels like the buildup has been to a one-on-one Brock Lesnar and Dean Ambrose match and Reigns is just an afterthought. Rollins’ cash-in last year only postponed the inevitable. I’m picking Reigns to win at Fastlane, and I’ll go ahead and pick him to win at WrestleMania. Sad face.
David D. – The obvious pick from the beginning was Roman Reigns because Triple H vs. Roman is the match WWE has wanted forever. But, at this point, their stubbornness is getting really ridiculous because Ambrose has emerged as the top star coming out of this feud. The crowd loves him more and he’s carried his end more than anyone else. I’d love for Ambrose to get the win so Roman can go on to face Undertaker or something. But this is going to Roman whether we like it or not. (We don’t.) Lesnar will get eliminated when the Wyatts come in and take him out at some point. So, once again, Roman will win by avoiding Brock. Way to make him look good.
Danielle Matheson – This is probably going to be better than anyone expects, and I think it’s safe to say expectations are already pretty high. Like, I feel this could only be better if they were wrestling in the middle of a slot car racetrack set up to make Brock Lesnar look even more like Actual Godzilla and also tie in the theme somehow. Either that or, after seeing the success of Grease: Live, the main event is actually just all three of them singing “Grease Lightning” while Eva Marie robotically waves checkered flags in the background. I will settle for either, but we’ll probably get Roman Reigns winning because some kind of shenanigans take place to set up a future Brock/Ambrose feud. Ooo, wait, WWE … can we have both? Pretty please?