WWE Fastlane 2017: Predicting Match Card, Most Likely Swerves at Raw PPV
Rematches and revenge will be key to building the rest of the WWE Fastlane 2017 card.
The Raw-exclusive pay-per-view's top fights are already set. Goldberg, Neville and Roman Reigns already have opponents lined up for the March 5 event.
But what of Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson? Who will take on the Raw tag team champs? The bruisers need a dance partner for the upcoming PPV.
Newly crowned Raw women's titleholder Bayley needs a challenger. Sami Zayn needs a chance to exact vengeance. Fastlane can provide those Superstars with all of that.
The PPV's current lineup, per WWE.com, looks like this:
- Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns
- Neville vs. Jack Gallagher (WWE Cruiserweight Championship)
- Kevin Owens vs. Goldberg (WWE Universal Championship)
The latest developments on Raw, WWE's potential plans for WrestleMania and storyline projections help forecast what other matches and moments Fastlane will feature. Read on for a look at what's set to unfold at the PPV.
Bayley vs. Charlotte Flair (Raw Women's Championship)
In a surprising move, Bayley knocked off Charlotte Flair on Monday to become Raw women's champ, a moment many expected to happen at WrestleMania.
This story is far from over. The ending of that bout saw Sasha Banks hit The Queen with a crutch, giving Bayley a win Flair is likely to dispute. Plus, dethroned champions generally get a rematch.
The increased involvement of Banks and Nia Jax in this feud suggests a Fatal 4-Way is in the works for WrestleMania. Before that, Flair will get a shot to reclaim her throne.
This match will have the added drama born from Flair's PPV undefeated streak.
Sami Zayn vs. Samoa Joe
Samoa Joe made himself an enemy on Monday's Raw.
Sami Zayn had just pinned Rusev when he made some disparaging comments about Joe. Moments later, The Destroyer emerged to beat down and incapacitate Zayn.
There couldn't be a clearer sign of where both men are headed for Fastlane.
A bout against Zayn will be a great introduction for Joe. The Underdog from the Underground was in need of a new rival after failing to take down Strowman.
Whether WWE would simply book a Joe vs. Zayn rematch for WrestleMania or cram them in the Andre the Giant Battle Royal is uncertain, but their Fastlane plans look set. Zayn better start working on a counter for the Coquina Clutch.
The Club vs. Enzo and Big Cass vs. Cesaro and Sheamus (Raw Tag Team Championships)
Gallows and Anderson's rivalry with Sheamus and Cesaro has expanded to include a third team—Enzo Amore and Big Cass.
It began when The Realest Guys in the Room interfered in a Feb. 6 title match between The Club and Cesaro and Sheamus. A ringside brawl led to the European bruisers getting disqualified. They were rightly maddened by the situation.
Amore and Cass, meanwhile, appear to be done tangling with Rusev and Jinder Mahal.
This is all poised to lead to a three-way feud, one that allows WWE to use more of the tag team division at once. The contest is also a way to keep things fresh rather than go with another clash between The Club and Cesaro and Sheamus.
Emma/Emmalina Makes Her Mark
WWE aborted the Emmalina experiment after a painfully long process of introducing her. Months after hyping Emma's transformation into Emmalina, she told fans on Monday she's reverting back to Emma.
After that disaster of a repackaging, the Australian grappler needs a big moment to generate some momentum.
Fastlane is a smart place to do that. WWE may give her a tomato-can opponent to walk all over.
In addition, there's a strong chance she plays into the Bayley-Flair fight. Her previous alliance with Flair's protege Dana Brooke could lead to a reunion that is bad news for The Huggable One. Flair would be happy to add an enforcer to her entourage, and Emma would benefit from being in a high-profile spot off the bat.
Chris Jericho's Revenge
Owens has to know Chris Jericho is coming for him.
The universal champ ended Monday's Festival of Friendship by attacking Y2J. KO powerbombed him on the ring apron and smashed his head into a glass sign.
He will now have to watch his back as he heads into battle with Goldberg.
It's clear a Jericho-Owens collision is on the way, and Fastlane provides the perfect opportunity to build toward that. Should Jericho interfere in Owens' match, costing him the title, the animosity between the enemies will overflow.
Jericho's involvement in the title match is a surprise waiting to happen.
Finn Balor's Return
Any moment now Finn Balor will re-emerge, seeking to reclaim the WWE Universal Championship he was forced to vacate due to a shoulder injury last summer.
With WrestleMania on its way, WWE needs to reintroduce Balor and give him a clear direction for the marquee event.
The company would make the Fastlane PPV a far-more-talked-about show should he step into the ring and announce his return. Maybe he shows up to announce that he's on Seth Rollins' side in his fight against Triple H. Maybe he simply issues an open challenge for WrestleMania. Either way, it's time to welcome Balor back.
The Demon is bound to join the march down the road to The Show of Shows.