By: Brian McDonald (@sackedbybmac)
The last WWE Pay-Per-View before WrestleMania!
The stars of the RAW brand are going to Milwaukee this Sunday and will compete for gold with nearly every championship up for grabs. There will be more than just gold on the line however as which matches and where on the card those matches will be for WrestleMania could change quite a bit after the Fastlane PPV.
You guys know all that though, so let’s go ahead and get to the predictions and fantasy booking angles.
RAW Tag Team Championship: Gallows and Anderson (C) vs. Enzo and Cass
Now that Bray Wyatt has finally won a singles title, the current most criminal booking oversight belongs to Enzo and Cass never being crowned tag team champions in either NXT or on the main roster.
It didn’t make sense for them to be the team that ended the New Day’s historic title run; no problem with the booking there.
It also didn’t make sense for them to defeat another babyface team like Sheamus and Cesaro, especially since Gallows and Anderson as the veteran heels deserved the spot and opportunity more; no problem with the booking there.
So, with those obstacles out of the way, Enzo and Cass should get a title run soon, but it won’t start at Fastlane.
Story lines rarely go from zero to the babyfaces immediately overcoming the heels at the very first PPV, so expect Gallows and Anderson to win this match.
Big Cass going over last week on RAW in a singles match against Gallows should also be factored into your prediction since they usually give the person or team who will lose at the PPV a win the week before to even things out some, and also try to use someone “building momentum” as a fake towards where the booking is headed.
My guess is Enzo and Cass will get cheated out of a victory during this match, that will give them a legit reason to ask for and receive a rematch, and they’ll get their big moment at WrestleMania.
Prediction: Gallows and Anderson by pinfall, with some cheating or distraction of the ref involved.
WWE Cruiserweight Championship: Neville (c) vs. Jack Gallagher
I’m not that interested in the cruiserweight division, but the fans who are seem to love Jack Gallagher.
If the WWE has also sensed that and wants to put the title on Gallagher, my guess is they’ll save that moment for WrestleMania.
The title for the cruiserweight division has changed hands more frequently than I thought it would since their debut last September, so anything is possible here, but Neville is the biggest name in the division and I expect him to win this match.
Going forward, I think the Cruiserweight Championship will be decided in a six or seven man ladder match at WrestleMania. That spot has gone to the Intercontinental Championship the last two years, but we seem to be headed towards a Dean Ambrose vs Baron Corbin match to decide that championship.
Prediction: Neville by pinfall.
Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax
Don’t have a great feeling either way on this one, but my gut says WWE wants to keep Nia Jax strong as she’s started to move up the card, so they’ll give her this win.
They seem to be building up the sympathy for the babyface in this feud—Sasha Banks—which would later setup a big moment for her down the road. Only way to get to that point is to have her lose this match.
Besides whatever multi-woman match they might have planned for WrestleMania—more on that later—with the way Sasha has been hobbling around on crutches recently, it wouldn’t make sense to have her defeat the most physically dominate female athlete on the roster.
Prediction: Nia Jax by pinfall.
Sami Zayn vs. Samoa Joe
Pretty simple booking logic: Samoa Joe is billed as “The Destroyer” and a badass heel; there’s no way they’ll book him to lose his first PPV match.
This match was probably going to be Samoa Joe vs Seth Rollins before Rollins injured his knee, but Joe and Zayn had a great series of matches in NXT last year leading up to Takeover: Dallas, so despite the quick setup it should be a great match.
What the WWE has planned for Samoa Joe at WrestleMania is a mystery to me, but he’ll defeat Sami Zayn at Fastlane.
Prediction: Samoa Joe by pinfall.
WWE RAW Women’s Championship: Bayley (c) vs. Charlotte
Bayley has already defeated Charlotte three times over the last couple months, which includes taking away her RAW Women’s Championship, so if Bayley wins again, the story line, would feel complete.
Booking should avoid being predictable whenever possible of course, but having the “good guy” win that many times over that short of a span finishes the story of good overcoming evil.
However, if Charlotte wins by cheating then it continues the story of the underdog, do-gooder, lifelong wrestling fan Bayley trying to prove her worth against the physically bigger Charlotte, who was born into the business, breaks the rules, and who views her place at the top of the card as something she is entitled to rather than something that needs to be earned.
So, Charlotte will remain undefeated in PPV title matches and win back the title.
From there, Bayley will be owed a rematch and I think they’ll look to book either a triple threat or fatal 4-way match for WrestleMania with Sasha Banks and Nia Jax added into the mix since both have been involved in the Charlotte vs Bayley story line.
Prediction: Charlotte by pinfall, probably will cheat.
Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman
If there is a clean winner of this match, it should be Braun Strowman, but don’t expect this match to end cleanly.
Vince McMahon does love to put Roman Reigns over in big spots—most of the time against the wishes of his audience—but handing the undefeated Strowman his first one-on-one loss by pinfall or submission just a month before WrestleMania would seem odd and shortsighted.
Neither wrestler can afford a clean loss right now, so my guess is they’ll book this as a double count-out, or have interference setup whatever their plans are going forward into WrestleMania.
WWE creative has hinted at both Strowman and Reigns possibly facing the Undertaker recently when Strowman was shown watching the Undertaker on a TV screen backstage when he announced his entrance into the Royal Rumble, and of course Reigns eliminated Undertaker from the Royal Rumble match, so either one is possible.
My guess is Undertaker will face Reigns, and Strowman will compete in and win the annual Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.
So here’s how I would book the match: Strowman dominates early and most of the match, Reigns starts his comeback at about the 10-minute mark, gets a pop from being able to lift up Strowman for a Samoan Drop, two superman punches—because it always takes more to get a big guy to the ground—backs into a corner and yells OOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHH to signal he’s about to go for the spear, but just before he can…
Lights go out.
Lights come back up with the Undertaker in the middle of the ring, he surprises Reigns and hits him with a chokeslam and Tombstone.
Prediction: Non-finish from a double count-out, or The Undertaker showing up.
WWE Universal Championship: Kevin Owens (c) vs. Goldberg
The Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar match coming up next month at WrestleMania doesn’t need a title on the line to make it important or must-see, but WWE creative will likely keep Goldberg strong and book him as impossible to defeat, so expect him to dethrone the longest reigning WWE Universal Champion.
I’m a huge fan of Kevin Owens and have loved his title run so far, but predicting this match feels, well, predictable.
The story line so far for Goldberg vs Lesnar has been that Goldberg is an unstoppable force and is the only man capable of making the beast incarnate look vulnerable. So, the natural progression of that story line will see Goldberg look more and more impressive to set up the big payoff at WrestleMania when Lesnar finally gets his revenge and ends his losing streak against his top nemesis.
Besides the story line of the conquered overcoming his conqueror, of the two men, Lesnar will be the one staying with WWE past WrestleMania, so he’ll be put over to end their current feud.
So far Goldberg has defeated Brock Lesnar in under two minutes at Survivor Series, and eliminated him from the Royal Rumble in even less time, so they should book his finish against Owens similarly. If Lesnar was the baddest dude on the roster and Goldberg can squash him, logic would tell you he should also squash Owens.
Wanting to protect Owens from that finish is understandable, so maybe right as the match starts the music of Chris Jericho hits, Owens turns around to face the ramp and yell at Jericho, he then turns around blindly into a spear followed by a jackhammer for the 1-2-3 by Goldberg.
That gives us Goldberg vs Lesnar for the Universal Championship, and Owens vs Jericho for the United States Championship at WrestleMania; sign me up.
Prediction: Goldberg by quick squash match, possibly because Chris Jericho distracts Owens.