WWE Fastlane 2016: Top Stars Who Deserve a Match at PPV
WWE Fastlane is coming up on Sunday, February 21, and fans are hoping for the best on this one.
That's because this is the last event before "The Show of Shows" WrestleMania 32, and the company's injured list is still littered with main event names. Seth Rollins, John Cena, Sting and Randy Orton are all still out, while Daniel Bryan is now retired.
This is not what Vince McMahon had in mind for his company's biggest night of the year.
WWE needs stars to fill its card and to bring in fans and money. Without the world's greatest talents at the ready, the matches are not as exciting, and the hype is not as important. With Mania being in obvious trouble right now, where does that leave Fastlane?
The combination of WWE's missing main event roster and WrestleMania's prelude is making a lot of fans worry just what will happen on February 21.
But if WWE hopes to lay the groundwork for Mania, then Fastlane must deliver on every level. The stars must come out that night, and that includes more than just the men in the main event.
There are other top stars who have earned the spot and deserve to be booked on February 21.
The Dudley Boyz
The Dudley Boyz are finally heel once again.
The legendary tag team made the turn on February 8's Raw, and for many fans, it was a long time coming. Like some stars before them, The Dudleys came back to a WWE that was much different than the one they knew.
This WWE's top tag team is The New Day, an act that is heel, but, instead, is over as babyfaces. It broke the mold of what a team should be and put a new spotlight on the tag division that has really not been the same since Bubba Ray and D-Von left.
But The New Day is the team fans want now, and the more The Dudleys opposed it, the more it was not working. So instead of fighting it, The Dudleys decided to switch sides, and now the landscape is much different for tag teams in WWE.
The Dudleys need to be vile and disrespectful and go on a heel run the likes of which has not been seen in a long time. Bubba Ray and D-Von have earned this spot and should be showcased as the two hated men they're capable of being.
Fastlane should see them face The Usos in a match where Jimmy and Jey are out for revenge. The Usos could learn a lot from The Dudleys, and Fastlane seems like the perfect night for these two high-caliber tag teams to bring the house down.
Bray Wyatt deserves a main event spot at WrestleMania, but right now no one knows what that spot is going to be.
He's had heat with both Ryback and The Big Show, so if he is to work at Fastlane, then it will likely be against either one in a singles match or against both in a tag team match. This may not sound like the most anticipated match of all time, but it would set up his Mania bout.
That match could come against The Beast Incarnate.
If Wyatt is meant to face Brock Lesnar on April 3, then the building blocks for that possible match need to be laid relatively soon. That means Fastlane could well be the night The Eater of Worlds makes his presence known to The Conqueror.
He will likely not do that alone.
The Wyatt Family will be in tow that night, both during a possible Bray Wyatt match and the confrontation with Lesnar that could potentially happen afterward. The Wyatts have already proved they are more than capable of taking Lesnar down, but it took more than Bray to make it happen.
Much has been made of Bray's main event future in WWE, and it's obvious to many fans he has what it takes to become a key player on the top level. If that is indeed the case, then the time for him to make a statement is now, and the best place for that is Fastlane.
Kevin Owens has been hailed by many as a future top heel in WWE and has seemed to be on his way there at one point.
But after nearly nine months on the main roster, some people are beginning to ask when exactly it's going to happen for him. Considering WrestleMania is the night when legends are born, it's safe to assume Fastlane is the night when that birth will be foretold.
Or at the very least, he should be booked in a great match.
If anyone in the WWE locker room can give him that great match, it's Dolph Ziggler. It's no mystery magic happens every time two talented workers get on the same page and give it all to get the match over.
That is exactly what Ziggler and Owens can do at Fastlane.
Ziggler is all style paired with incredible work ethic, and arguably no one in WWE understands how to sell in the ring better than he does. He has been a top-guy-in-the-making for quite some time, and instead of that happening full time, he consistently has the best match on the card practically every time he steps into the ring.
He is the measuring stick for every midcard star and wannabe main event talent who comes through WWE. If a guy wants to show off and prove he can go, then there's no one better to do that against than The Showoff.
Owens deserves another high-profile match that can showcase his ability to tell a story. Fastlane is the night to make that happen.
AJ Styles is the well-traveled Superstar who has made a new home in WWE. The Phenomenal One has been wowing audiences with his high-octane offense and intensity, which keeps him on a level all his own.
Much of that offense has been on display against one of WWE's legends—Chris Jericho.
Jericho is taking the heat in this rivalry thus far, and it's to be expected. After all, Styles is the new guy on the roster, and the company wants him to get over as soon as possible. Jericho turning heel on him is the best way to make that happen right now.
He's also the best opponent in terms of Styles being able to show off in the ring.
Both men have great chemistry in the ring, and that chemistry could cross over into Fastlane. The series is tied with one win apiece, and that means the rubber match should take place. If that happens on February 21 and there is no winner, then the fourth match is set up perfectly for WrestleMania 32.
This is one of the best sets of matches fans have seen in quite some time, and it's a big deal it's happening for Styles upon his entrance to WWE. He has done and seen it all in his career; to see him perform on the WWE stage now after all this time has been great for fans who have followed him from the beginning.
For fans who are just now watching him work, there could have been no better way to introduce him. Jericho is giving his all as he always does, and Styles is responding in kind. He looks as though he fits right in, and that should only improve with his next match against Y2J.
Tom Clark can regularly be found on Bleacher Report and his podcast, Tom Clark's Main Event, is available on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Android, Windows Phone and online here.