WWE returns to pay-per-view (PPV) -- if your cable provider is carrying the event, of course -- tomorrow night (Sun., Mar. 5, 2017) live from the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with its Fastlane event starting at 7:00 p.m. ET with the Kickoff show leading right on into the main course at 8 p.m. ET on the WWE Network.
Set for the card: Kevin Owens defends the Universal championship against Goldberg, Bayley puts the women’s title on the line against Charlotte, and 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.
WWE FASTLANE PREDICTIONS
Kevin Owens vs. Goldberg
Geno Mrosko: Nothing about this tells me Goldberg should be winning the Universal championship unless Vince McMahon wants his match with Brock Lesnar to headline WrestleMania with the top Raw title on the line. But that’s a disservice to what they’ve built with Owens and Chris Jericho, who will almost surely get involved here in some way. Considering his newfound affiliation with Triple H, something tells me they aren’t going to take the title off Owens just yet. Pick: Owens
Sean Rueter: You’re gonna tell me that after all the times we’ve seen KO outsmart his opponents, get disqualified, convince Monsters Among Men to come to his aid, etc, he’s gonna go ahead and get done in by a guy who got tazed by Scott Hall in a security guard outfit? GTFOH. Pick: Kevin Owens
Kyle Decker: It’s WrestleMania season, so time to get that strap on a part timer! Pick: Goldberg
Reverend Kain: KO blindsides Goldberg during his entrance, mid-sparkler, belt shot, then brawls him to the ring. The bell rings, Owens puts boots to him for an extended period, cover, kickout. Bill dodges a pop-up powerbomb attempt, Kev sidesteps a spear, beats on Goldberg in the ropes some more, grabs a reverse chinlock, they struggle on the mat, hold nearly broken, back to the chinlock. Bill fires up, tosses him off, spear, spear, Jackhammer, 1-2-3. Pick: Goldberg.
Cain A. Knight: WrestleMania coming up means that it’s time for the full-timers to look like chumps compared to the part-timers, so Owens will probably be squashed by Goldberg. That’s too bad because after what happened at the Festival of Friendship, I really want to see Jericho get his revenge by ending KO’s championship reign. I hope the fans reject this squash nonsense. KO’s impending alliance with Triple H will probably put him right back in the championship mix when they find a way to get the title off of Lesnar or Goldberg the night after WrestleMania. Pick: Goldberg
Bayley vs. Charlotte
Geno Mrosko: It sure looks like they’re going to keep the streak alive. They’ve done such a bad job with this story it doesn’t really matter either way. Pick: Charlotte
Sean Rueter: You’ve broken my heart, Raw Women’s division. I hope Nia squashes the whole squad at Mania. Pick: Charlotte Flair
Kyle Decker: I’m not betting against Charlotte’s PPV streak at a B show. At WrestleMania I’ll consider it. Pick: Charlotte
Reverend Kain: Charlotte Flair does not lose on PPV. Pick: Charlotte Flair.
Cain A. Knight: Having Bayley take a pin from Nia Jax on the go-home show makes me more hesitant to also pick the Hugger to lose here, but I don’t really see Charlotte’s streak ending at Fastlane. Maybe Sasha and Nia both run in and cause an overbooked DQ mess that allows Charlotte to retain her streak without winning the championship. Pick: Charlotte Flair
Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows vs. Enzo & Big Cass
Geno Mrosko: It isn’t yet time to put the titles on Enzo & Cass. They should absolutely wait to do it until WrestleMania, where they’ll be back home in Orlando where they came up and also never won titles. This is the payoff of all the hard work they EVER put in, so you can’t do it at a show like Fastlane. Then again, Bayley’s first big title win happened on a Raw show. Pick: Anderson & Gallows
Sean Rueter: Can I still pick New Day? No? Then who? Who? Who? Sorry... that sad attempt at humor was a result of my having nothing unique to add to what my fellow denizens of the Cageside orifices had to say, which is... not yet, Certified Gs. Pick: Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows
Kyle Decker: It feels like they’re building to a triple threat with Cesaro and Sheamus in the mix. May as well keep the belts on the Good Brothers going into WrestleMania and then do a switch if that’s the plan. Pick: Anderson and Gallows
Reverend Kain: The Club's longest IWGP Tag Team Championship reign lasted a solid year. Ain't nobody knocking the Hoots from their perchski this early. Pick: The Club
Cain A. Knight: Big Cass defeated Gallows on the go-home Raw, so that probably means the heels are winning this one. Let’s hope they don’t break up Enzo and Cass any time soon because they are both miserable singles wrestlers and they probably need each other to remain entertaining. Pick: Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson
Neville vs. Jack Gallagher
Geno Mrosko: The money match is Neville vs. Austin Aries. With apologies to the Gentleman. Pick: Neville
Sean Rueter: You think it’s easy to make a “Tea and Biscuits” chant happen? Vince notices these things, man. While I think the title stays on the king, don’t be surprised if the rest of the roster attacks him to set-up a multi-man match for next month, or he gets so mad he gets himself disqualified, or suddenly A-Double, or... Pick: Jack Gallagher
Kyle Decker: When the bell rings, I’ll be rooting super hard for the extraordinary gentleman. He was my favorite part of the CWC and I just love the guy. But Neville isn’t going to lose his first title defense. And he shouldn’t with the work he’s been doing. Hopefully, the match will be badass and Gentleman Jack will come out looking at good, if not better, as he did going in. Pick: Neville
Reverend Kain: Aries/Neville feels like the alignments are wrong and if the Cruiserweight Championship makes the card, I have to imagine it'll be a multi-man scramble or ladder match, and that's not just because I yell "SCRAMBLE!" at my TV every five minutes during 205 Live. So, not that I feel super strongly about Neville retaining, but I wanna go against the grain a little... Pick: Jack Gallagher
Cain A. Knight: Jack Gallagher is one of the most intriguing wrestlers on Raw, but I don’t see him beating Neville. Neville’s team coming up short on the go-home Raw against Gallagher’s team makes me feel even more confident about the winner here. I hope they give this match a bunch of time because I think this one could steal the show. Pick: Neville
Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman
Geno Mrosko: This is one of the few times I fully support WWE attempting to book a way around anyone losing. Really, no one should have to take a loss here. Pick: No finish
Sean Rueter: There will be shenanigans, but I think the Big Dog will - and should - win. Braun’s time will come; there’s no shame in taking a ‘L’ here. Pick: Roman Reigns
Kyle Decker: I don’t pick against Roman overcoming. Pick: Roman Reigns
Reverend Kain: The unstoppable force meets the immovable object! Look, I could be crabby about WWE booking themselves into the corner but damn if this one doesn't feel larger than life. It's gonna be a war, and neither man will be the same after it's said and done, but I'm gonna go the other way and assume Braun pulls ahead and they save face by letting Roman get a beatdown in after or something. Pick: Braun Strowman
Cain A. Knight: This match is likely going to be garbage if they don’t add a No DQ stipulation to it. By the way I evaluate wrestling, Strowman is an awful performer and there’s no way he will be able to match what Owens and Reigns did together last month at Royal Rumble. I think Reigns should win because he is being set up for a big match with Undertaker at WrestleMania, whereas Braun is probably going to be dumped into the irrelevant filler battle royal. Strowman has dominated Reigns nearly every week on Raw; I think it’s Roman’s turn to get the last laugh. Pick: Roman Reigns
Samoa Joe vs. Sami Zayn
Geno Mrosko: I sure do love the way Sami Zayn dies. Pick: Joe
Sean Rueter: I’ve seen what happens when you say his name, and I don’t want that to be my world. Pick: The wrestler in this match who isn’t Sami Zayn
Kyle Decker: Sami shows fire. Joe snuffs it out. Pick: Samoa Joe
Reverend Kain: I know it's bad form. I know he's had two matches against two of the very best wrestlers Raw has to offer, so of course he looked great. But I'm gonna start a narrative that Joe was dogging it in NXT, because he has looked really good since coming to Raw. And so, firing on all cylinders, he's gonna beat Sami, and it's gonna be awesome to watch. Pick: Samoa Joe
Cain A. Knight: This feels like the sort of match that Samoa Joe should just dominate quickly from start to finish, but it will probably go long to make up for other short matches on the card. Both of these guys are great and this one should be fun, but Samoa Joe is an assassin working for Triple H, which means Sami Zayn has close to no shot. Pick: Samoa Joe
Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax
Geno Mrosko: Jax has always had the upper edge but I think with Charlotte likely winning later, they’re going to give Sasha a victory here to even things out. Pick: Banks
Sean Rueter: Keeping Jax monstrous is the only thing working for me in this scene, and as stated above, I’m pulling for her to merc the Horsewomen soon so we can re-set things. Pick: Nia Jax
Kyle Decker: If they’re building to a fatal 4-way, Nia will likely get the win here. Charlotte (who I assume will be champ at the end of the night) will have beaten Bayley. Sasha recently defeated Charlotte on Raw. If Nia beats Sasha here, they all have claim to a shot at the gold. Pick: Nia Jax
Reverend Kain: Nia's big, she's bad, but she ain't the Boss. Pick: Sasha Banks
Cain A. Knight: Nia Jax just defeated the champion Bayley on Raw in a tag match, so that explains Nia’s path into a championship fatal 4-way at WrestleMania. Sasha needs this win more, especially with how Nia Jax has dominated her thus far in 2017. Pick: Sasha Banks
Rich Swann & Akira Tozawa vs. Brian Kendrick & Noam Dar
Geno Mrosko: Pick: Swann & Tozawa
Sean Rueter: TBK probably has at least one more lesson to impart, and I hope the payoff to what’s been an enjoyable story doesn’t come in a pre-show tag match, so... Pick: Brian Kendrick & Noam Dar
Kyle Decker: Picked a lot of heels so I’ll go with the good guys here. Pick: Swann & Tozawa
Reverend Kain: Why, oh why is this a bland, boring tag match instead of a super exciting scramble? Gonna bang this drum for a long time. Scrambles are awesome. They get dudes over, start and progress stories, they're basically magic. But no... Pick: Akira Tozawa & Rich Swann
Cain A. Knight: I think almost every single cruiserweight tag team match exists for the good guys to win. Pick: Rich Swann & Akira Tozawa
That’s how we see the card playing out.
How about you?