Intercontinental Championship Match
Kevin Owens (c) vs Dolph Ziggler
It feels like these two guys have fought each other every week on Raw for the last month. So how do you add some shine to their latest match? Throw the Intercontinental Championship into the mix!
The Road to Fastlane
You have probably seen Kevin Owens wrestle against Dolph Ziggler before.
If you haven't, check out any of these episodes of Raw since last June:
Or check out any of these episodes of Smackdown since last September:
That is a total of 15 times that you may have seen Ziggler and Owens go at it in the past. 9 of those 15 matches were of the one-on-one variety. 11 of these 15 matches have come in the last 17 weeks of television.
The matches are always really good because Ziggler and Owens are two of the best performers on the WWE roster. Their upcoming match at Fastlane should once again provide the excellent quality that fans have to come to expect from these two wrestlers.
However the underlying problem behind this quantity of matches is that there has never been much of a storyline to warrant the repetition. The repetition mainly exists because WWE has 5 hours of television to fill out each week but they don't have enough guys who are popular enough to fill out that time with.
Dolph Ziggler has served this exact role in the mid-card for a very long time, so this is nothing new for him or his fans.
The situation is a little more disconcerting when it comes to Kevin Owens. He is the guy who debuted with a rare clean win over John Cena last May. He is the guy that many people hoped would emerge from Survivor Series 2015 as WWE Champion and take his spot as the top heel in the company after Seth Rollins went down with injury. He is the guy who many people thought would make a great opponent for Undertaker or Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 32.
But these last few months have been very confusing for fans of Kevin Owens. Sheamus ended up as the heel who replaced Seth Rollins in the top storyline, while Owens spent the last 3 months losing on every single Pay-Per-View event to Dean Ambrose.
Rumors also spread that Owens had to lobby behind the scenes in order to secure the notable elimination of AJ Styles during the Royal Rumble match. Other rumors suggested that Owens lobbied to get the big match with Undertaker at WrestleMania 32 but his efforts proved fruitless.
Even if those rumors are not true, the fact that Kevin Owens has been quickly inserted into a feud with mid-carder Dolph Ziggler on the fast lane to WrestleMania 32 suggests that Kevin Owens is going to have to wait a couple more months before he has chance for a big push back up the card.
Is Owens even a lock to beat Ziggler at Fastlane? Could things actually get worse for him going forward? The fact that the Intercontinental Championship was quickly taken off Dean Ambrose without much of a build up suggests that WWE doesn't have any long-term plans in place for the belt. It is simply around KO's waist right now in order to add a fresh coat of paint to this Fastlane match with Ziggler that we have seen on Raw for 4 weeks in a row.
What's at stake?
Kevin Owens claims that he is on the fast lane to KO-Mania, and the outcome of this match could be a strong indicator of where Kevin Owens is headed on that WrestleMania 32 card.
If Owens wins at Fastlane, then maybe he is still penciled in for an enviable spot against someone like AJ Styles or Chris Jericho at WrestleMania 32. But if Owens loses this match to Ziggler, perhaps the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal awaits him on April 3rd.
Oh yeah, the Intercontinental Championship is also on the line at Fastlane. But that seems almost secondary at this point.
Tune into Fastlane and keep it here on Cageside Seats to see which man walks out with the gold!