Brian Damage, Earl Marx, Craig Wilson & Russ Morgan
Tonight the WWE hosts its final PPV before WrestleMania with Raw’s Fastlane 2017. US Champion Kevin Owens defends again Goldberg, Braun Strowman locks up with Roman Reigns, Bayley puts her title on the line against Charlotte, Enzo and Cass challenge Gallows and Anderson for the tag titles and more. Today Brian, Earl and Craig preview and share their predictions for tonight.
Pre-show tag team match
Rich Swann and Akira Tozawa vs. The Brian Kendrick and Noam Dar (with Alicia Fox)
Brian: Eh, I really don’t know about this match. No real story or build up to it and I think the crowd will be totally dead for it.
Winners: Swann and Tozawa
Earl: I can’t say I have much to say about this match. Wait – I do have something to say. Alicia Foooooccckkkkkssss!!
Winner: Rich Swann and Akira Tozawa
Craig: Likely like the bulk of those in attendance, not too interested in this one. The WWE haven’t even really tried with the cruiserweights since the classic ended. A shame.
Winners: Swann and Tozawa
Russ: Should a fairly fun match. I can see the heels going over here. Expect Tozawa to get another lesson.
Winners: Kendrick and Dar
Tag team match for the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship
Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson (c) vs. Enzo Amore and Big Cass
Brian: I may be alone in thinking this, but I am already getting tired of Enzo and Big Cass’s shtick. In my opinion, Enzo is a serious detriment inside that ring and is better suited as a manager than as a wrestler. He is too sloppy and dangerous. With that said though…I think Enzo and Cass will win the titles.
Winners: Enzo Amore and Big Cass
Earl: I might be unpopular with this, but I am not necessarily looking forward to this. I am a fan of G&A, but it seems like this run is very underwhelming for some reason. I’m also over Enzo’s opening shtick. Enzo and Cass winning these titles feels like a nice Mania moment, so I think they come up short here and get another shot next month
Winner: Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson
Craig: I’m growing weary, also, of Enzo and Cass’ shtick. Frankly, as soon as we get to the stage where Enzo becomes Cass’ manager the better. Gallows and Anderson have largely been disappointing since joining the WWE, almost entirely through their booking, but I can’t see them losing the gold here. Hopefully, a dominant win here sets the team up for a bit of a run.
Winners: Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson
Russ: Not sure whether I see the tag titles being dropped, I’m pretty sure that will be at Mania. Enzo is pretty lightweight for me and I assume he will be better served as Cass’s manager in the not too distant future.
Winners: The Club
Sami Zayn vs. Samoa Joe
Brian: Should be an outstanding match from beginning to end. We all know how talented both wrestlers are…but Samoa Joe is the new flavor of the month.
Winner: Samoa Joe
Earl: Goldarn it Sami…you’re puttin’ over another debuting heel monster? Sucks to be Sami I guess. Ha. I am a Zayn fan and, yes, I do get. Bewildered by his “Dolph Ziggler” handling, but this will not be his breakthrough moment. He will fall to the man who actually needs the win.
Winner: Samoa Joe
Craig: I’m really keen to see this match. I’m on record as not being the biggest fan of Samoa Joe but these two have a fair bit of history so should gel well in the ring and put on quite the spectacle. Expect Zayn to bump around a lot for Joe and for Joe to get the win here.
Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax
Brian: Speaking of flavors of the month, Nia Jax is being pushed like Braun Strowman is being pushed for the males. Sasha Banks is great but Nia will win cleanly.
Winner: Nia Jax
Earl: I knew we were not done at the Rumble with these two. Since I think there’s a fatal 4 way for the Raw Women’s title coming at Mania, I think we give Sasha a confidence booster and she gets her win back here…but I don’t “tink” Nia will take the loss with grace and poise.
Winner: Sasha Banks
Craig: Difficult to disagree with any of Brian’s analysis of this match-up. We’re very much singing off the same hymn sheet on this one. I expect this to be one of the longer bouts Jax has had and will be a real test of whether or not she is the real deal. She will win, though.
Singles match for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship
Neville (c) vs. Jack Gallagher
Brian: Jack Gallagher has really built up a pretty strong following since his debut. He is an extremely entertaining character. I just don’t see Neville being derailed so soon after his initial big heel push.
Earl: I do like Jack Gallagher. I really, really, really do. I just like Neville more right now. Does that make me shallow? Neville’s heel run has been nice and I don’t think we stop here. Sidebar: I am not a fan of the “Flavor of the Month” booking with the cruisers. I mean TJP was the first champ and he’s an afterthought now…That’s a shame.
Craig: The heel-turn for Neville was long, long overdue and he’s been a far more entertaining talent since. Jack Gallagher has been an entertaining addition to the roster as well and this match-up should both be good fun and good from an in-ring standpoint. Thanks to the heel-turn, however, Neville seems to have the big mo, well some mo, behind him so cannot see him dropping the gold here.
Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman
Brian: I know people are going to groan over this match…but Strowman has shown some pretty impressive athleticism in the last few weeks. Roman Reigns will work hard and I think this match will be better than expected.
Winner: Braun Strowman
Earl: Now this match has me REALLY interested in how they book this. One on hand, it screams victory for The Great Reigns, but doesn’t Braun Strowman matter here? You know…he has been built up pretty well over the last few months (in addition to him just getting better overall) and him losing to Reigns would be somewhat deflating for me. If the plan is truly for Reigns to face the Deadman, then yes, he does need this victory to give him a jump. If I were booking, I would have Braun go over here if we want him to be considered a main event heel champion/contender in the next 3-6 months. I am not sure that’s the plan, but I do think Taker and Reigns is happening.
Winner: Not sure the finish of this will be clean, but Roman Reigns
Craig: The battle between two superstars who have had rockets strapped to their backs. That aside, the build up to this has been ace. They have made both look indestructible which should mean this will be a hard-hitting affair. Despite not really being a huge fan of either act, this actually is a bout I’m quite looking forward to watching. I am struggling to see past a win for Strowman here.
Singles match for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship
Bayley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair
Brian: The way the women’s division has been booked lately and considering Charlotte is undefeated in championship matches on pay per view…I don’t see it changing any time soon…well…at least until WrestleMania.
Earl: Thoughts: I have to admit that I do not like Bayley’s chances of winning this match. There’s a reason they emphasize Char’s ppv streak so much and I just have a feeling they won’t let Char break her ppv streak on Fastlane. Mania? Very probable. Fastlane? Better hit your breaks kid.
Winner: And New Women’s Champion Charlotte
Craig: Well this is fairly predictable. Charlotte’s PPV winning streak will not be ending at a show like Fastlane. It would have made more sense had this gone to ‘mania with Charlotte still champion and Bayley’s win being a huge upset on the grandest stage. Instead, they brought it forward and it seems a bit flat. I am starting to wonder if Charlotte will have as many championship wins this year as her dad had in his career!
Winner, and new champion, Charlotte Flair.
Singles match for the WWE Universal Championship
Kevin Owens (c) vs. Goldberg
Brian: Everything points to Goldberg beating Owens for the WWE Universal title. I am going to go against the grain here and say that Brock Lesnar interferes and costs Goldberg the match.
Winner: Kevin Owens
Earl: Is this the biggest given or what? Maybe it’s indicated so much that Goldberg will win that the “powers that be” will pull the ol’ switcharoo and make KO over? Uhhh…nah. Goldie fulfills his comeback promise and leaves with the gold..or..whatever the belts are nowadays. So does Jericho cost KO this match or does he return on Monday Night Raw?
Winner: And New Universal Champion Goldberg
Craig: I’m with Earl 100% here – this is perhaps as predictable as the last match is. I cannot look past a Goldberg win here and I also expect some involvement from Chris Jericho in order to set up their expected WrestleMania match-up.
Winner, and new Universal Champion, Goldberg
Brian: Another average sounding pay per view on paper. I hope it can be a little bit better than I anticipate and set the wheels in motion for WrestleMania.
Earl: I will actually be in attendance at the show this year, so I must admit I am particularly excited from that perspective. I have never seen Goldberg live although I grew up with him so that’s exciting. I must wonder this – why TF is Rusev not on this card? That’s a shame. There’s no US title either, which I can understand because Jericho is out, but why put the title on him to not defend it? I am going to crown the United States Championship as the worst booked title of the last 2-3 years. I should be more positive. Seems like a B show on paper, so I am hoping they deliver. Buckles up seatbelt…varrroooooommmmmm!
Craig: This looks alright, really. A few things worth checking out but a few things I’ll definitely either skip through or use as an opportunity to refresh my beverage. Still, should finalise a few things for WrestleMania which is really the whole point.