With Fastlane approaching quickly, it is time for another prediction run for our loyal wrestling reporters. Do they align with yours? Read on to find out!
Smackdown is in a bit of a down smack. The biggest feud on the brand is between Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan, two non-wrestlers. A feud that will seemingly never pay-off unless Bryan’s been cleared to wrestle and WWE is holding the biggest secret since the Seth Rollins heel turn. The Zayn-Owens story is the most compelling going into the show, but it is sandwiched together with AJ Styles proving himself, John Cena’s long walk in the woods, Dolph Ziggler negging fans, and Baron Corbin continuing his Captain Phasma-esque role of being a bad-ass who we are constnatly told is one but never does anything bad-ass.
The wrestling should be good, if the stories are big lackluster. WWE knows how to deliver when they have to. Being the last big show before Mania, this will be what sets the blue brand’s tone for Wrestlemania.
Let’s get into our predictions, shall we?
AJ Styles vs. John Cena vs. Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn vs. Baron Corbin vs. Dolph Ziggler (WWE Championship Match)
Sandra: The WWE Championship match is undoubtedly one of the more interesting ones on the card, despite the presence of Corbin and Ziggler who have been less than exciting to watch in matches lately. Still, this match also includes Styles, Owens, Zayn, and Cena, so we are in for a treat!
Nevertheless, I think the outcome of this match is straightforward. It would be stupid for the WWE to say goodbye to their WrestleMania revenue. If Styles were to lose the title, his match against Shinsuke Nakamura would not happen at WrestleMania. Fans would not take kindly to that since this is one of the most anticipated events of the year. Therefore, Styles retains!
I do believe there might be a surprise appearance at the end of this match, which might cost John Cena the win and sparking another match for WrestleMania. It was rumored this man would be Rey Mysterio, but unfortunately, he got injured. So, Cena’s opponent is a big question mark. Batista? Goldberg? Who knows?
Hunter: I was onboard with this until I realized it was putting four completely different storylines into one match. Way too messy. The match will be excellent and fun, but I don’t see how everyone advances character-wise. If they pull it off, it will be an impressive feat. AJ wins, we get the Styles-Nakamura match that some have drooled over for two years.
Katie: This match is a mess, but I don’t see any conceivable way that AJ Styles doesn’t retain his title. Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens are on a collision course of their own, John Cena’s mid-life crisis storyline is too good to end now, and Baron Corbin and Dolph Ziggler are just filler. The fans want Nakamura vs. Styles at WrestleMania, and I think that’s what they’ll get.
Bobby Roode vs. Randy Orton (United States Championship Match)
Sandra: The outcome of the United States Championship match is less clear, even though Roode is one of the leading attractions on the SmackDown Live roster in my opinion. However, due to his importance for the brand, I believe Roode will retain his title.
Let’s face it, the last thing SmackDown Live needs is another title reign for Randy Orton. Yes, he is a fantastic wrestler with impeccable ring ability, but Roode is doing well with the title at the moment, and we have seen Orton with the title many times before. There are not many exciting opponents on the Raw roster for Orton either, and there has been talking he will be moved to Raw after WrestleMania! So, my prediction is Roode retains. I also believe there might be some outside interference, leading Orton away from the title and towards a rivalry with Jinder Mahal.
Hunter: Bobby Roode wins because there’s no reason to put a belt on Orton. He’s fine without one and being the “Hey I’ll RKO you whenever the heck I feel like because I am crazy” character is working well for him. Also…cut your hair Randall.
Katie: I don’t know what’s going to happen here, and I don’t care. The U.S. Championship is beneath Randy Orton, but something tells me WWE wouldn’t hesitate to put it on him just so they can set up a triple threat match between him, Bobby Roode, and (ugh) Jinder Mahal at WrestleMania. So that’s my prediction, I guess.
The Usos vs. the New Day (WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match)
Sandra: This match could go either way since both teams are more than deserving. They can both put on a good match at WrestleMania too, so it is difficult to guess what the WWE is going to do.
One of my ideas is that the New Day might take the title from the Usos at Fastlane, leading to a rematch on the biggest stage of them all. We cannot have WrestleMania without the Usos or the New Day, so this seems like the appropriate step to take.
Hunter: Usos win and will finally get their main-card Wrestlemania match. Hard to think of two wrestlers, much less a tag team, that have put up the quality of work the Usos have in the last year. Please don’t do that stupid head-first dive, Big E.
Katie: The Usos have been insanely dominant tag team champions, and as such, it would seem silly to take the titles off them heading into the biggest show of the year. I predict The Usos retain, and New Day will get a rematch at WrestleMania.
Charlotte Flair vs. Ruby Riot (WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship)
Sandra: Even though the odds are against her, I think Charlotte will retain the title. A match between her and Asuka at WrestleMania is in the cards, so it would be idiotic to let Ruby Riot take the title and face Asuka at WrestleMania. A short prediction perhaps, but logical nonetheless.
Hunter: I am a big Ruby Riott fan since her indie days. She has what it takes to be a star. Her unique look, mic-work, skills. She has it. But Charlotte has to go into Mania as the champion. Otherwise, what is she doing? Charlotte wins but in the ensuing chaos gets cashed-in on by Carmella. That is who she will face at Wrestlemania.
Katie: Much like the match for the WWE Championship, WrestleMania implications make it pretty inconceivable that Charlotte loses here. The Queen retains, and (hopefully) goes on to face Asuka in New Orleans.
Becky Lynch & Naomi vs. Natalya & Carmella
Sandra: There’s certainly a lack of story for this match, which makes me less interested in it. Despite that, we can still enjoy the skill of the wrestlers in the ring. The lack of story makes this one hard to predict, but I will give the win to Noami and Becky.
Hunter: Becky and Naomi beat-up Carmella to distract from her cash-in later on in the night. Having random house show matches on PPV seems super weird, the whole story here revolved around Becky stealing Carmella’s phone.
Katie: I’m not sure why this match is happening. Anyway, I’m giving the win to Becky Lynch and Naomi just because I like Becky and I wish she were doing more.
Rusev vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Sandra: Nakamura will win this one, but this does not mean I don’t think they are wasting Rusev at the moment. There’s no sense in this rivalry. It is probably a match to make Nakamura look good before Mania.
Hunter: Rusev wins. Much like having the briefcase, winning the Rumble sort of makes you impervious to booking decisions. As for “who needs it,” the answer is Rusev. His Rusev Day chants are all over the place, and WWE has to capitalize.
Katie: Shinsuke Nakamura won the Royal Rumble. As incredibly over as Rusev is, he’s still a mid-carder. There’s no chance Nakamura loses, especially considering he will more than likely face AJ Styles for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania.
Are you excited for Fastlane? What are your predictions? Share them in the comment section below.