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WWE Fast Lane 2015 predictions: Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan, John Cena vs. Rusev, more!

WWE returns to pay-per-view (PPV) -- if your cable provider is carrying the event, of course -- tomorrow night (Sun., Feb. 22, 2015) live from the FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tennessee with its Fastlane event starting at 7:00 p.m. ET with the Kickofff show featuring Miz TV with Paul Heyman leading right on into the main course at 8 p.m. ET on the WWE Network.

Set for the card: Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan to determine who faces Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 31, John Cena vs. Rusev for the US title, and so much more!

Luckily for you Cagesiders, our staff of learned wrestling blowhards is here to help figure out just how the event is going to play out with predictions for each match on the card.

Let's get to it.



Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan

The General: How odd is it that the very idea of choosing the Royal Rumble winner to keep his WrestleMania title shot guarantee seems ludicrous? Still, I'm thinking Vince McMahon is going to put his foot down once and for all and put an end to this nonsense about pleasing the most vocal members of the crowd. Pick: Reigns

Sean Rueter: Put me among those pleasantly surprised with how WWE has course corrected with this feud, so much so that I'm okay with either outcome. Maybe that's because I'm still pretty convinced that we end up with a three way main event for the second straight year at WrestleMania - more because they'll need The Beard to play ring general than because they want to placate the "vocal minority". The end of this one will probably be booked to the gills to provide storyline openings to put both men against Lesnar next month, and include Sheamus, or Randy Orton, or both. Vince's stubborn streak will probably lead to one man getting his hand raised at the end of this show, though. Pick: Roman Reigns

Keith Harris: There has been a lot of lip service paid by WWE management towards being 100% behind Daniel Bryan, who's apparently an A+ player in their eyes despite his inconsistent treatment on WWE programming, and also listening to the demands of the vocal minority in the so the current Reality Era of wrestling, but that's exactly what it is: lip service. It's hard to believe that Meathead McMahon would ever make a scrawny, scruffy vegan his flagship star, but we all know he can get behind an imposing Samoan-American jock with wrestling heritage in his blood and matinée idol looks. They may indeed do a disputed finish, to hedge their bets and give a storyline excuse for Bryan to be inserted into the WrestleMania main event if needs be, but their end game is still to make Roman the leader of their Empire, so he'll be the one to get his hand raised on the night. Pick: Roman Reigns

Cain A. Knight: When this match was first announced it seemed like an obvious win for Reigns. But now with rumors of Bryan potentially being added to the Reigns/Lesnar match at Wrestlemania 31, the likelihood of a smoz finish with no definitive winner seems pretty high. I think WWE would be making a huge mistake with that kind of finish though, because Fastlane would suddenly look just like your typical Sunday Night Raw. With extra eyeballs on this event due to the free month promotion, WWE really shouldn't end the main event in such as unsatisfactory manner. Therefore I'll stick with the original call of Reigns winning, while waiting to see how Bryan finds his way out of that inevitable match with Sheamus at WrestleMania 31. Pick: Roman Reigns

Jason Martin: Here's the good news. Regardless of how this finish goes down, and it's quite possible that will entail plenty of nonsense and no definitive conclusion, the MATCH should be excellent. The final build on Monday seemed to work and certainly did a nice job of making me want to see the match itself. It's going to make Reigns look good, because Bryan will do everything he can in that regard and Roman will have his working shoes on. The last I heard, we're moving toward a three way at Wrestlemania, though that is obviously "subject to change." My head continues to tell me they want Reigns to be the strongman at the end of all this, which would make Sunday's main event more of a stepping stone than anything else. But, a pinfall victory for Reigns just doesn't seem to be a good idea against a man who, even though his popularity is down, is still far more over with the crowd than Roman himself. It just doesn't feel like a clean finish. I said I wouldn't be burned into thinking they'll do DB and Lesnar, and I don't think they're taking Reigns out of the match. Vince still loves the guy, so does Triple H. If anything, over the past three weeks, he's gotten more over, not less. Maybe they do the countout finish, but I doubt it unless it's a double countout. I still say DB probably ends up in the Mania main event, but to do it, he can't lose again because then he'd have no argument. A non-finish would be the Night of Champions reaction, which sucked in Nashville last September, but it's probably the only way to go based on where they want Reigns. WINNER: SCHMOZ FINISH

John Cena vs. Rusev

The General: The old WWE special: Book the first match at a lesser pay-per-view to give the heel the victory so the babyface can win the return match at the much bigger pay-per-view. Pick: Rusev

Sean Rueter: This one is not for me, but I've enjoyed it for what it is. They're going to dance again in Santa Clara, and as easy as it would be to reproduce Jern's program with Bray Wyatt from last Spring, I'm hopeful that they learned from their mistakes there...and I think they might want the face that runs the place with a title over his shoulder while he does 'Mania PR. Pick: John Cena

Keith Harris: The recent ill-conceived portrayal of Cena as an ageing veteran who's taken too much punishment in his decade on top of WWE suggests that he'll fall at the first hurdle here, but will pick himself up and eventually win the war, similar to how Bruno Sammartino's feud with "Russian Bear" Ivan Koloff played out. Really, anything other than a dominant Rusev victory would make little sense, as Cena destroying the Bulgarian Brute in their first bout together would make it tough to sell a rematch and there's no other choices available for him at WrestleMania. Pick: Rusev

Cain A. Knight: John Cena is going to conquer Rusev's streak at WrestleMania 31, so WWE needs to give Rusev a major win at Fastlane. I'm not talking about some fluky pin fall out of nowhere or an underwhelming DQ finish. This match needs to end with the image of John Cena passing out in The Accolade. Of course Rusev will need to cheat in order to make that happen, because John Cena rarely ever loses clean to a heel in a match with no stipulations. But that's fine; the image of Cena passing out will be so powerful that it doesn't matter how Rusev cheats his way to that special moment. And it will also make it much more meaningful when John Cena finds a way to overcome that maneuver next time at WrestleMania 31. Pick: Rusev

Jason Martin: There's no reason to book this for FastLane and not save it for Wrestlemania unless it's planned for both. To keep it going, the heel (even if he gets a ton of cheers in this scenario) has to win dirty and lead to the rematch. Cena over at Mania, but if you look at the beating on Monday night, that was John Cena's victory in this round one match. Rusev will go over, it won't be clean, it may even be via DQ, but there's no feud here if John Cena walks out with the US Championship or even has his hand raised. Sure they could have Rusev go full-on nWo assault on him the next night on television, but that still doesn't make much sense. Rusev has to win to build that character, which has taken some bullets since Survivor Series and since the win over Sheamus. Cena will be the ultimate victor, but not on Sunday. Maybe Lana even gets involved this time? This should be interesting to watch. WINNER: RUSEV

Nikki Bella vs. Paige

The General: We're still waiting on Brie to turn on Nikki and if they're ever going to pay that off, you would think they would do it to set up a WrestleMania match, yes? Let's go with that idea, though I think it comes after Nikki wins so the title will be on the line. Pick: Nikki

Sean Rueter: Probably my second favorite feud on the card, because it combines the old school psychology of the U.S. title program with the realities of the 'Reality' era from The Beard & The Big Dog. If they get the time, it could be a match of the night candidate, too. This card is too busy (factoring in the time Sting/Haitch will get and the need for some kind of Wyatt/Taker tease) for this to be the night the main roster follows NXT's lead on how to feature the women, though. No matter who wins, I hope the second best thing to come out of Total Divas continues. Pick: Nikki Bella

Keith Harris: Yes, this week WWE got "Naked Paige" trending when they booked an angle where The Bellas stole her clothes whilst showering. No wonder then that fans will likely treat this match as a bathroom break, while the Divas work their asses off to no reaction. I can't wait for Charlotte to get brought up into this environment! Nikki retains, as a third Divas reign seems a bit pointless for Paige at this point, who hasn't taken off big as a babyface so far. Pick: Nikki Bella

Cain A. Knight: This should be a decent match where Paige fights valiantly but eventually succumbs to some kind of interference or distraction from Brie. Pick: Nikki Bella

Jason Martin: Paige has rebounded well in terms of fan response from poor booking late in 2014. Nikki and Brie are doing the mean girls thing and that gimmick works quite a bit better WITH the Championship. If we're moving towards Charlotte after Wrestlemania, it would make sense for her to do the same thing with Paige that the Anti-Diva did with AJ Lee a year ago. But, I have no clue whether Charlotte's on the way up. Paige thwarted the Bellas stealing her gear (albeit wearing Doc Martens boots she always wears and a second set of her gear underneath the Wonderland fairy outfit). It just doesn't look necessary to change the Title. Bella as heel going into Wrestlemania's likely multi-Diva match is where the RELATIVE money is in her holding the title. Brie will cause this finish or certainly play a major role. WINNER: NIKKI BELLA

Bad News Barrett vs. Dean Ambrose

The General: Genuinely don't have a clue, considering Barrett doesn't have a ton of heat right now and Ambrose's stock has plummeted following the Seth Rollins feud. If you're an Ambrose fan, you should probably hope he doesn't win the Intercontinental title here. Pick: Ambrose

Sean Rueter: These poor bastards. The bad news is, they'll both continue on as they have been regardless of the outcome of this match...losing most of their feuds despite being over, with a gimmick that Creative misinterprets as base-level comedy. Pick: Dean Ambrose

Keith Harris: Sadly, whilst Bad News Barrett was out injured, the WWE creative team seemingly forgot how they successfully booked him as a dominant Intercontinental Champion in the spring and summer of last year. Thus, what should be a major match for him, instead feels more like WWE scraping the bottom of the barrel to find someone for Ambrose to face. I expect Ambrose to win just because he's never held this particular belt before and they've got nothing better for him to do, as even cooled off Ambrose is hotter than BNB is right now. Pick: Dean Ambrose

Cain A. Knight: Just be thankful that it isn't Ambrose versus Big Show or Ambrose versus Kane. WWE's top heels are pathetic and so Ambrose has to spin his wheels in these kinds of harmless but uninspired feuds until WWE gives us a better reason to care about bad guys not named Seth Rollins. I think WWE is going to drag this one out for a little while, so I expect a DQ ending here. Ambrose will probably win the title on an upcoming episode of Raw. Pick: Dean Ambrose by DQ

Jason Martin: I'm completely lost on where they want Ambrose to fit into the Wrestlemania picture. It's absolutely possible there will be another match in California. One thing to remember is every singles title is currently held by a heel. Dean Ambrose is a top baby, but he's also a top baby that doesn't need the title to elevate his standing. He's over regardless. Barrett hasn't been booked well at all since his return. Because WWE is attempting to push both the US and IC Titles as something people would actually want for a change, this match counts a bit more than it would have otherwise. It's likely all designed to get us to care about those titles in order to care about midcard matches at Wrestlemania and then head back to the shallow end, but I'll take it. Barrett should probably win the FastLane bout, but because of the structure of the rest of this card, it can't be all heels on top. Also, I don't see WWE wanting Ambrose to lose to Barrett in February of 2015. Not sure it's the end of this feud, but if you put the IC on Dean, his match against whomever at Mania - means more. The only question is whether they'd rather have him win the IC at Mania rather than Fastlane. Look back to guys whose first big title wins at Mania were Intercontinental wins. I just look at one guy being a much bigger star right now than the other. He could lose it back on TV, which is very WWE. WINNER: DEAN AMBROSE

The Usos vs. The Brass Ring Club

The General: I can't think of anything that would help push the Tyson Kidd-Natayla angle further than putting the tag team titles on the Brass Ring Club. Pick: Kidd & Cesaro

Sean Rueter: The Tyson Kidd rebirth is the best thing to come out of Total Divas, and I'm grateful for as many matches of his that we get, solo or with the Swiss Superman. I don't think they have a chance in hell here, however. Another probable match of the night candidate, but this one leaves me a little cold because the champs' "characters" are staler than day old Sliced Bread (#2) and will almost certainly retain. Pick: The Usos

Keith Harris: If we believe the hackers, Vince McMahon doesn't deem Cesaro fit to even polish his World Tag Title belts. I'm not quite so cynical, but feel it's a bit too early to make the switch. The Usos have only had the belts for a couple of months, and I think Tyson & Cesaro need to show more of a vicious streak. Expect Natalya to accidentally cost her men the match to further her Total Divas marriage breakdown story. Pick: The Usos

Cain A. Knight: This one has a chance to steal the show, with the usual "if they get enough time" caveat. Not only are all four wrestlers well above average in workrate, but the potential for Naomi and Nattie to get involved adds an extra layer of intrigue. WWE desperately needs hot new tag teams, and Cesaro's team fits the bill. However, I do fear that Cesaro and Kidd are just this month's placeholders while The Ascension are ultimately being groomed for that spot. Pick: Cesaro and Kidd

Jason Martin: Kidd and Cesaro seem like the uncrowned Champions here. Usos are very over with the kids and they're solid workers, but they don't need those titles any longer unless they're planning to have them flirt with the all-time record. The heels in this case, unlike some others, really could use the gold for a while and are a solid tag team and a good pairing. That's really all that needs to be said. One team doesn't need ‘em. The other team definitely benefits from ‘em. Expect Naomi and Nattie to play a key role, but the match itself should be very good, probably around eight-ten minutes, but would love to see what they could do with a bit more. WINNERS: KIDD AND CESARO

Goldust vs. Stardust

The General: If Goldust is on his way out, there's no reason for him to win a single match during this program. Pick: Stardust

Sean Rueter: It depends on whether or not they'll find their way onto the card at WrestleMania. Goldy deserves that big of a send-off, and his brother that big of a push if this is really going to be the gimmick he's riding with for the rest of his career, so I'll hope that's what happens. Probably by virtue of disqualification or frustrated walkout, but since there's no doubt about who'll end up on top in their feud, if there's going to be one more match after this... Pick: Goldust

Keith Harris: The break-up of the Rhodes brothers is likely a sign that Dustin is winding down his in-ring career to eventually move back into an agent or trainer position again. But first, he'll feud with the young Stardust, something that has been teased about a half dozen times over the years, but WWE never fully pulled the trigger on until now. Clearly, the aim here is to make Star shine brighter than Gold, so expect the former Cody to always get the upper hand on his big bro. Pick: Stardust

Cain A. Knight: It would be ideal to have some more television time to build this one up rather than have their first match take place less than a week after Stardust betrayed Goldust. But there probably won't be room on the WrestleMania 31 card for this match, so it is being rushed for Fastlane. I'd be surprised if Goldust wins, unless they plan to have Stardust suffer through some kind of mental breakdown story line. Pick: Stardust

Jason Martin: I had said last year leading into Wrestlemania that if they gave Cody and Dustin what they wanted, they could have had the Authority force Dusty to referee it and have it get very nasty on television with worked and even shoot dirty laundry. Once they get to Mania, they have the match, and after the finish, Cody comes back to reality and hugs his brother and his father. A short lived turn to get to a destination but no one wants to see these guys at each other's throats LONG term. Goldust is in a better position than Stardust right now, but it feels like Stardust should cheat here to win and keep it moving, even if the rematches are on TV and not at Mania. However, if Goldust were to win and Stardust's rage and jealousy became the storyline, I think that would work better. Stardust reacting to a loss is the storyline. I'm torn because I don't know much of what they think of either guy. I feel like Goldy will be leaving sooner rather than later. So I have no feel for what they'll do here. Stardust has the vitriol, but his loss is the smart play. WINNER: GOLDUST

Seth Rollins & Big Show & Kane vs. Dolph Ziggler & Ryback & Erick Rowan

The General: There are only two guys worth paying attention to in this six-man tag and that says quite a bit, doesn't it? That said, this is such a lower level match that the babyfaces can score a much needed victory. In this instance, I'd imagine Show and Kane will continue turning on each other while Rollins walks off holding his Money in the Bank briefcase, which makes him impervious to defeat. Pick: Ziggler & Ryback & Rowan

Sean Rueter: Hopefully, this one is structured to give us a lot of Rollins vs. Ziggler. In the end, the squabbling giants will get into it with each other to advance their program and/or someone will appear OUT OF NOWHERE to give Team Fired a nice but ultimately meaningless victory. Pick: Dolph Ziggler, Ryback & Erick Rowan

Keith Harris: As this should be a show to kickstart WWE's road to WrestleMania, this seems to be the right time to have Randy Orton make his delayed surprise return, cost Seth the match, while everyone else gets lost in the Andre The Giant memorial battle royal shuffle. Pick: Dolph Ziggler, Erick Rowan & Ryback

Cain A. Knight: My best guess is that WWE has been holding Orton off television because they didn't want to run the Orton versus Rollins match at both Fastlane and WrestleMania 31. WWE is rumored to already be considering rematches at WrestleMania 31 for Cena versus Rusev, Cody versus Goldust, and possibly even Bryan versus Reigns in some form. So doing that with Orton versus Rollins might be overkill. Without Orton in the picture, this would have been a good time to reignite the Ambrose/Rollins feud. But instead, Seth Rollins is wasting his time with guys I give no craps about in Big Show, Kane, Ryback, and Rowan. There is nothing at stake in this match and so Orton's return doesn't really feel right here either. It's basically just a filler Smackdown six man tag team match. I expect Rollins to walk away unscathed while a miscommunication between Kane and Big Show causes their downfall. Pick: Ryback, Rowan, and Ziggler

Jason Martin: How long before this becomes five on three with Mercury and Noble? I'd say it's a given, but the when is the only thing in doubt. I wish it had been them with Seth, but we're getting the big guys who have had issues over the past few weeks. I'm deathly afraid Vince is thinking Kane vs. Show at Mania, but I have hopes that it will take place in the Andre Battle Royal, especially with how those two bickered about the finish of the Royal Rumble. I'm fine with it if that's how they use them. If you go with a singles match, just kill me now. This match, because of the problems between the two skyscrapers (not Spivey and Vicious), seems tailor made for a babyface win that doesn't hurt Seth whatsoever. Ziggler gets the pinfall in a match that hopefully is controlled by Seth and Dolph. Some of those other components could make for some ugly stuff, but they'll probably occur more in brawling settings. WINNERS: ZIGGLER, RYBACK, ROWAN


Those are our predictions, Cagesiders. What are yours?

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