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WWE Fastlane 2016 predictions: Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns vs. Dean Ambrose

WWE returns to pay-per-view (PPV) -- if your cable provider is carrying the event, of course -- tomorrow night (Sun., Feb. 21, 2016) live from the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio with its Fastlane event starting at 6:00 p.m. ET with the Kickoff show leading right on into the main course at 7 p.m. ET on the WWE Network.

Set for the card: Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns vs. Dean Ambrose in a triple threat to determine who goes on to WrestleMania 32 to challenge Triple H in the main event of the biggest show of the year for the WWE world heavyweight championship.

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.



Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns vs. Dean Ambrose

Geno Mrosko: I really don't know. I think I know, but if WWE has done anything well over the years it's prove to me that I never know as much as I think I do. Still, I'll go with what I think I know. Pick: Reigns

Sean Rueter: You know, I have no idea. And not just in the usual "I'm a moron who's bad at predicting what WWE will do" way. No outcome would surprise, although the thing I'm most certain of is that Lesnar won't win. They've done a masterful job of building Ambrose into both a likely and compelling choice, but at the end of the day, I think it's misdirection. The final verdict on their choice here, and booking over the past couple of months, won't be rendered until after Mania, but I can wait. And I'm not gonna get mad at them for sticking to their guns, which is what I think will happen. But maybe not. Pick: Roman Reigns

Bill Hanstock: They've built up Dean Ambrose SO MUCH and SO WELL since the Royal Rumble that most fans are just dying for him to shock the world and be the guy. Similarly, it seems silly to bet against SANDWICH GOLEM BROCK LESNAR, the ultimate ringer. But I predict the Wyatts will appear to spirit Lesnar away and we'll get the One True Outcome: The Roman Empire reigns supreme. Pick: Roman Reigns

Keith Harris: Everyone had this match figured until WWE artfully cast seeds of doubt by placing more of the focus on Dean Ambrose as the sympathetic underdog who will not quit in his battles with the Beast Incarnate, whilst Reigns took a step back, not wanting to interfere in his best friend's business too much. But unless Vince McMahon has torn up the whole WrestleMania script in a pique of rage at Reigns' unpopularity with hardcore fans or someone has gotten into his ear and convinced him that an alternative course is the smarter strategy, which are both distinct possibilities, but seem highly unlikely, there is only one winner. Who cares if he might get booed out of Cowboys Stadium? It has been an annual WrestleMania tradition with John Cena since 2006! Pick: Roman Reigns

Cain A. Knight: Make sure to enjoy this match because it will probably be better than anything on the WrestleMania 32 card. WWE has done a great job of emphasizing Ambrose in the story for this match, but it is just a tease. Keep in mind that The Rock isn't showing up at WrestleMania 32 to be a corner man for Dean Ambrose. The Rock will be there to support Roman Reigns, and so that's the main reason why Reigns will win this match. The Wyatt Family is going to take out Brock Lesnar and devour his soul (until he magically recovers the next night without explanation), and then Dean Ambrose will come up short against his brother once again. Vince isn't changing his mind this time. Pick: Roman Reigns

Kyle Decker: Part of me just wants to pick Dean here to help myself believe that's going to happen. However, I am still too confident that Roman is going to win. Roman will get the victory and then go on to try again for a WrestleMania main event win. Hopefully they have something planned for Dean worthy of the work they put in building him. Pick: Roman Reigns


Charlotte vs. Brie Bella

Geno Mrosko: While WWE is smart to put Brie in this spot to capitalize on the sympathy the audience has for her considering her personal life, it wouldn't be smart to actually put the title on her. Pick: Charlotte

Sean Rueter: No one would blame them for going with a brief Brie title run (well, it's wrestling fans, so of course someone would blame them, but you know what I mean). She's on her way out, and there's a bevy of 'Reality' Era reasons to cheer for her, and get her booked on mainstream media outlets. They could have her drop it back anywhere between Monday and the Toronto Network special. But I still don't see it happening, because I think there is a plan in place for this belt at Mania. And that's pretty awesome. Pick: Charlotte

Bill Hanstock: No matter how much goodwill from Daniel Bryan is going around, I can't really see Brie getting the title here, even if it's just a short run and she drops the belt back before Mania. What I'm hoping is that we get the best Brie Bella match of all time. BRIE MODE. Pick: Charlotte

Keith Harris: Although I'm sure there will be at least some thought of milking the Daniel Bryan retirement sympathy for all it's worth by giving Brie the title here, that would be a rash move with WrestleMania around the corner. It would be a risk to put Brie in front of a heavily hardcore Dallas crowd who might react badly to the weaker worker of the Bella twins being inserted into the NeXT-generation ladies mix. I expect those in WWE will realise this and stick the course with Charlotte as champion, but you never know. Pick: Charlotte

Cain A. Knight: Bryan's retirement means that Brie Bella actually has a chance to win this match. I'm guessing that Charlotte will retain though, because the short-term gain of capitalizing on Bryan's retirement with a victory for Brie doesn't seem like it's worth sacrificing the longer-term buildup of Charlotte as an utterly despicable villain who should eventually be taken out at the right time by Becky, Sasha, or Bayley. Pick: Charlotte

Kyle Decker: While they've done a good job putting doubt in my head on the outcome with Brie's pending retirement and all, I still think Charlotte goes over here. This is the perfect chance for them to get some good heat on her going into her title defense at WrestleMania. While Brie will give a good effort, I expect Charlotte to retain in some dirty manner and Ric Flair to smirk like a d-bag while it's happening. Pick: Charlotte


Sasha Banks & Becky Lynch vs. Naomi & Tamina

Geno Mrosko: This is a perfect set up for the strange bedfellows to pick up a win before turning against each other as they jockey for position in the Divas division. Pick: Banks & Lynch

Sean Rueter: As long as the NXT almunas can stay on the same page and not try to kill each other until after the match, this should be smooth sailing for the former BAEs. Pick: Sasha Banks & Becky Lynch

Bill Hanstock: This should be a heck of a tag team match if all goes well. I can't see any way that Naomi and Tamina win, unless there's some dissent between Sasha and Becky. Lynch and Banks (my favorite men's clothier) pick up the win and cement themselves as co-No. 1 contenders to Charlotte's title. Pick: Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks

Keith Harris: This show is all about setting up WrestleMania, where either, or more likely both, of the babyfaces will assuredly face the winner of the Divas title match, while the heels will be lucky to get a spot on the card. So expect Becky & Sasha to win, but in a manner where there's a bit of friction that will be paid off later. Pick: Becky Lynch & Sasha Banks

Cain A. Knight: There's a general rule of thumb that I am following here: if Tamina is wrestling on PPV, she is probably going to lose. I don't really see any reason to change the course here. Pick: Becky and Sasha

Kyle Decker: This match feels like its main goal is to give Sasha and Becky something to do before building to their plans for WrestleMania. Since Becky and Sasha are most likely in the title plans at WrestleMania while Tamina and Naomi are not, it makes sense for the NXTer's to get the win here. The real question is how long after the match is over will Becky and Sasha to come to blows? I say 30 seconds. Pick: Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks


Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler

Geno Mrosko: They managed to retroactively make those Ziggler victories over the past couple weeks matter. Here, they'll show he can't win the big one. Pick: Owens

Sean Rueter: My anxiety levels are always high when it comes to KO, even though I have the utmost faith in his abilities and am pretty sure WWE does, too. But they've just hot-potatoed the U.S. title, and they've worked this year to make both secondary belts a little more important. Flipping this one for a second time in a week to a guy who doesn't have any angles working right now doesn't fit with that plan at all. Pick: Kevin Owens

Bill Hanstock: I'm glad we're finally getting a fresh matchup on the card. It wouldn't make a lot of sense to give Ziggler yet another IC title run just a month or so before WrestleMania, so I'm predicting some sort of non-finish where Owens retains and we build to a multi-man IC title match at Mania. Pick: Kevin Owens

Keith Harris: I suppose those Owens losses on television did count in the end, as it set up this title match here on short notice. WWE's creative team have firmly pegged him into place limiting Owens' drawing potential, but complaining about that at this point is really crying over spilt milk! The same goes for Dolph Ziggler; but you can tell that they've beaten out some of his heart, as although he's still a hard worker, especially on house shows, his act is stale, treading water, going nowhere. At least Owens still comes off as fresh and hungry, but who knows how long that will last if he continues following the Ziggler career trajectory? Owens retains unless they want to speed up that process for whatever reason. Pick: Kevin Owens

Cain A. Knight: This one is a toss-up because WWE clearly has no long-term plans in place for the Intercontinental Championship or either one of these men. Owens has lost on three straight PPVs and could really use a meaningful win. Of course it doesn't help that WWE does really stupid things like booking Dolph Ziggler to lose to the Social Outcasts back in January, and so it's not clear if a win over Dolph Ziggler has any meaning to it. Even if it doesn't end up meaning much, Dolph and Owens are two of the best performers on the roster so this match should be really fun. Pick: Kevin Owens

Kyle Decker: Who knows with this feud any more? Kevin Owens is still the wrestler with higher upside, and it would make sense for him to hold the #2 title in the company. However, with no clear plan for either guy going into WrestleMania, maybe they'll just going to feud until then. Or maybe they'll feud until WrestleMania 33. I still think (hope?) that Owens is going to win and will get something fresh at WrestleMania. Pick: Kevin Owens


AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho

Geno Mrosko: There is, quite literally, zero reason for Jericho to win this match. Pick: Styles

Sean Rueter: Finally, a "newcomer" Jericho can put over without a bunch of people whining about how wins over him don't mean anything! Pick: AJ Styles

Bill Hanstock: The rubber match between the two icons has to end with the new, younger, fresher, more marketable guy with a stronger upside going over, right? I mean ... right? Someone back me up here. Pick: AJ Styles

Keith Harris: Ever since he's opted to become a part-timer, Jericho has been used as a veteran hand to put over younger talent like CM Punk, Bray Wyatt, Fandango and even Braun Strowman. The value in that may be wearing a little thin, but clearly the aim here is to establish AJ Styles as a star and groom him for more substantial programs. That's clearly working, even though there have been aspects of his presentation that can be questioned. Given the aim of this feud is to put over AJ, I can't see him losing his first pay-per-view singles match. Pick: AJ Styles

Cain A. Knight: Styles and Jericho will continue their strong program with a fantastic match that could also end up being better than anything on the WrestleMania 32 card. If this feud is going to continue on then I suppose Miz will ruin the finish and cause a disqualification or no-contest. However I am going to ignore that possibility for now and go with the logic that AJ is the new guy and so he goes over the credible veteran in their rubber match. Meanwhile I still have to do a double-take every time I see "AJ" pop up in wrestling articles because my first instinct is to wonder why AJ Lee is back in the business. Pick: AJ Styles

Kyle Decker: They've done a great job telling this story, a story that's been completely serviced to introduce AJ Styles to a crowd that may not be familiar with him and make him look like a boss doing so. So barring some Miz interference that keeps this going, it would only make sense for them to cap it off with a Styles win over Jericho in the rubber match. Their matches have been top notch thus far so I'm really looking forward to the finale. Pick: AJ Styles


The Wyatt Family vs. Big Show & Kane & Ryback

Geno Mrosko: This is a showcase for the big bad heels as they gear up for a big run into WrestleMania. Pick: Wyatt Family

Sean Rueter: Aside from pleasing carnivores, I believe this is only happening to prep Bray and his boys up for their upcoming trip to Suplex City. Pick: The Wyatts

Bill Hanstock: THE MEAT BUFFET IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS. I have to assume that you're putting the company's three beeflords together so the Wyatts can trounce them en route to Bray taking on the ultimate meatgod at WrestleMania, but they've made stupider decisions in the past. Pick: Wyatt Family

Keith Harris: Although there have been no hints in that direction since the Royal Rumble match, it's clear that Brock Lesnar will probably face Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania 32, because you don't script the baddest man in WWE to get gang attacked and unfairly dumped out of that battle royal, if he isn't going to get his kick-ass revenge on a major stage. Thus, the ragbag combo of Ryback, Big Show and Kane have just been put together as giants for the Wyatts to slay in a vain attempt to convince fans that they will have the Beast's number in Dallas. Pick: The Wyatt Family

Cain A. Knight: I really wish this garbage was on the pre-show or just outright canceled. This match is just not for me and I can't even pretend to be interested in any facet of it. They basically took last year's 6-man tag match from Fastlane 2015 and substituted out Rollins and Ziggler for Harper and Strowman. The Wyatt Family is the obvious winner because they apparently need the non-existent credibility that comes with defeating Kane and Big Show. They need the win here so that they can be properly squashed by Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 32. Let's face it, the Wyatt gimmick was killed beyond dead at Survivor Series 2015, and WWE is making the wrong choice by choosing the Wyatt Family instead of Kevin Owens as the heel act to put in a big time match at WrestleMania 32. Pick: Wyatt Family

Kyle Decker: There's absolutely no reason for the ragtag group of Ryback, Kane, and Big Show to beat the Wyatt Family this Sunday. This looks like a clear victory for the Family over WWE's "titans" so they can build to Bray's eventual program with the biggest titan of all: Brock Lesnar. Pick: The Wyatt Family


Kalisto vs. Alberto Del Rio

Geno Mrosko: If they're planning on continuing on with Lucha Dragons, it makes sense to put the US title back on Del Rio but it seems clear they don't really know what to do with him. Pick: Kalisto

Sean Rueter: This is one of those situations where there are bigger plans for the loser of a feud than the winner. Whatever they're paying Del Rio, it's to do more than hold the lowest singles belt on the ladder. Whereas the red, white and blue belt (without Cena, of course) is right where Kalisto belongs to keep his rise at a natural pace. Pick: Kalisto

Bill Hanstock: Not only do we get another match between these two, we get THREE MORE MATCHES between these two. I guess they were going to do three more anyway, so may as well get it over with in one night. I sincerely hope they keep the belt on Kalisto. I hope even more that he takes it in two straight. I'm fearful they'll send him back to the Lucha Dragons full-time because they have no other ideas for what to do with him, Del Rio, or the U.S. belt, but I'm still holding out hope we can move on from this feud and continue the Kalisto push. Pick: Kalisto

Keith Harris: This feud has been booked very even-steven and the fact that they made this a best of three falls match suggests that this trend will continue. The loser will likely save face in some way: if it's Alberto, he'll win the first fall clean; if it's Kalisto, he'll lose the final fall by foul means, allowing this feud to carry on till WrestleMania. Toss a coin which way they'll go here. Pick: Kalisto (my coin landed face up)

Cain A. Knight: It's hard to ask for a higher quality pre-show match than this one. Del Rio's role should be putting over rising stars like Kalisto, so hopefully that's what happens here. I am somewhat afraid that Sin Cara's return will mean that Kalisto loses the strap and is immediately demoted right back into the soul-sucking void that is the tag team division. But I just don't see any upside in that decision, and I think Del Rio has failed enough times with his previous pushes that WWE will agree with me on this one. Pick: Kalisto

Kyle Decker: While I wouldn't put it past WWE to turn this into a best of 5 series with del Rio winning tonight, I think they are going to stick with Kalisto as US champion, solidifying the US title as the lower title (like the European title back in the day). Then he could feud with fellow midcarders like Tyler Breeze, Neville, and Stardust. Or maybe I'm just hoping for that and less ADR/Kalisto. Pick: Kalisto


Those are our predictions, Cagesiders. What are yours?

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