Transition and transformations highlight the under-the-radar narratives leading into WWE Fastlane 2016.
Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Brock Lesnar remain at the forefront, but the upcoming pay-per-view on Feb. 21 promises to also feature some intriguing stories about Superstars who are undergoing change. Beyond the matches themselves, there are character developments worth watching.
No longer with Team B.A.D., Sasha Banks could be headed for a full-on babyface turn. WWE looks to be prepping The Wyatt Family for a massive collision. Dolph Ziggler may be embracing villainy once more.
As Raw and SmackDown hit the airwaves, followed by Fastlane itself, fans will have a much clearer picture of all those happenings.
Along the way, it's going to be fun to watch WWE resolve our unanswered questions. Several Superstars seem to be sliding into positions that are best suited for them.
Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks' Tenuous Alliance
While Brie Bella takes on Charlotte for the Divas title, two other top contenders have formed a strange partnership. Lynch and Banks will team up to try to take down Naomi and Tamina of Team B.A.D. at Fastlane.
Banks hasn't fully embraced a fan favorite role. She's still callous and vicious, and she doesn't seem to trust or like Lynch much at all. This alliance is one born of necessity, not admiration.
Lynch is playing a more valiant role, saving Banks at times, despite the fact that The Boss attacked her at the Royal Rumble. She's fighting for justice, even if that means putting herself at risk.
That dynamic is a compelling one.
Both women have their sights set on claiming the Divas Championship. Their partnership in this tag team match is a precursor to that. As Gene Mrosko of Cageside Seats wrote, "They'll unite to battle common enemies on the path back to glory but they're taking entirely separate, wholly unique routes to get there."
That's part of the fun here, as Lynch and Banks are getting chances to showcase their characters.
And depending on how things play out at Fastlane, the PPV tag bout could be a means to catapult Banks toward Divas Championship or set up a Triple Threat match that also has Lynch seeking gold at WrestleMania.
Where Is Dolph Ziggler Heading?
Kevin Owens and The Showoff have faced each other several times in the last few weeks with no storyline development. That changed on Monday's Raw.
Ziggler cheated to beat Owens by placing his feet on the ropes. That illegal move is out of character for the babyface.
As Fastlane approaches, it's going to be intriguing seeing where that leads.
Maybe it was just a result of Ziggler's desperation. Or maybe he's going to continue to become more unscrupulous. Seeing The Showoff evolve as a character in any way will be welcome. He's been playing the same song since turning face in 2013.
One has to wonder, too, if this Owens vs. Ziggler feud is just midcard filler or if one of the two combatants is headed for something significant at WrestleMania. Should Owens dominate Ziggler the rest of the way, it will set him up for an opportunity at The Show of Shows.
Should Ziggler take center stage as he becomes more aggressive, however, it may be him who gets more spotlight at Fastlane and beyond.
The Wyatt Family's Latest Promises
Bray Wyatt and his crew have long promised destruction and calamity. More recently, fans have seen those threats prove far from hollow.
The Wyatt Family has taken out Kane, Ryback and Big Show.
Does feeding on that trio now just mean that the powerhouses will unite at Fastlane to take down the unkempt clan? That's been the pattern with The Wyatt Family in the past.
But perhaps these shows of dominance are meant to build up someone from this family. Wyatt and company still have unfinished business with Lesnar after tossing him from the Royal Rumble. Should this foursome run roughshod on the roster leading up to and during Fastlane, it will look more and more like WWE is elevating them for a run-in with The Beast Incarnate.
Keep an eye who does the most destroying, too.
WWE should make Wyatt look monstrous, but the company seems high on Braun Strowman. If he provides the bulk of the beatings before the pay-per-view and scores the decisive fall come Feb. 21, that will point to him getting the huge opportunity ahead.
Who Stands up to The Dudley Boyz?
There will be no more tables in The Dudley Boyz' repertoire. On Thursday's SmackDown, the veteran tag team explained why they attacked The Usos on Raw and revealed that they will focus on beating folks down, not doing stunts with tables.
Immediately, Bubba Ray and D-Von's underwhelming run got some life. This is the right fit for them. As Kenny Herzog of Rolling Stone wrote, "Like Charlotte, Miz, Del Rio and a handful of others on the roster who flirted with face-dom in recent times, the Dudleys were born to be heels."
Now what? What does WWE have planned for the villainous duo?
With as popular as New Day has become, it makes sense to just have the top team embrace babyface status. That would open the door for The Dudley Boyz to challenge for the belts again. Or, Fastlane may feature The Usos looking for revenge against Bubba Ray and D-Von.
The champs may have to sit out the PPV and watch someone else earn the No. 1 contender's spot.
Which direction WWE is heading with the tag team division is unclear right now. The road to Fastlane will help clear that up. And we are promised a more predatory, merciless version of The Dudley Boyz along the way.
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