WWE Fastlane 2017 Matches: Full Card Breakdown, Bold Predictions and More

Kevin Berge@TheBerge_Featured ColumnistMarch 5, 2017

WWE Fastlane 2017 Matches: Full Card Breakdown, Bold Predictions and More

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Tonight, WWE will present Fastlane 2017, the last pay-per-view before WrestleMania, and an event with huge implications for the Showcase of the Immortals. This Raw-exclusive show will include every championship on the line as well as all of Raw's top stars fighting to gain lasting momentum before the biggest night of their year.

    Hoping to outshine SmackDown Live's Elimination Chamber 2017, this night has serious potential with multiple first-time clashes as well as rarely seen encounters. From Goldberg's first singles match in WWE against someone besides Brock Lesnar since February 2004 to multiple wrestlers fighting for their first gold, this night is loaded with potential to make and showcase stars.

    This is the official WWE Fastlane 2017 card as it stands Sunday morning:

    • Kickoff: Rich Swann and Akira Tozawa vs. The Brian Kendrick and Noam Dar
    • Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax
    • Raw tag team champions Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson vs. Enzo and Big Cass
    • WWE cruiserweight champion Neville vs. Jack Gallagher
    • Samoa Joe vs. Sami Zayn
    • Raw women's champion Bayley vs. Charlotte Flair
    • Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman
    • WWE universal champion Kevin Owens vs. Goldberg

    Will Kevin Owens or Goldberg walk into Mania as Raw's top champion? Could Roman Reigns be the first to put a stop to Braun Strowman's momentum? Will Bayley be able to end Charlotte's incredible PPV streak and stand tall as champion before WrestleMania? All of these questions and more hang in the balance.

Rich Swann and Akira Tozawa vs. the Brian Kendrick and Noam Dar (Kickoff)

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Story So Far

    When Akira Tozawa debuted on 205 Live, the Japanese star instantly caught the eye of The Brian Kendrick, who wanted to help teach the suplex master. Tozawa dismissed Kendrick, however, leading to the veteran taking it upon himself to destroy and humiliate Tozawa in the form of "lessons." While Kendrick will look to inflict more pain, Noam Dar will attempt to put down Rich Swann, who dissed his girlfriend Alicia Fox recently.

    Potential Consequences and Likelihood to Steal the Show

    While seemingly just a filler kickoff match, this bout has a decent amount of story thanks to including one of the major cruiserweight feuds right now. If it were purely a match between Tozawa and Kendrick, it could have been a surprise hit. Instead, this will likely come off as a slightly longer television match to break up the panel talk.

    Predicted Result: Swann is still owed a title rematch against Neville, and Tozawa is a star on the rise. The faces are almost guaranteed to win this match with nothing truly on the line. Swann and Tozawa win with Swann getting the pin on Dar.

    Bold Prediction: Akira Tozawa will be the savior of the cruiserweight who dethrones Neville during the summer.

Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Story So Far

    Nia Jax has been a force of nature on Monday Night Raw for months; however, she had no goal or objective, running through endless enhancement talent. No one knew what to expect of Jax once she found a rival, but it was likely far more tame than the savage destruction that ensued when Jax chose to target Sasha Banks.

    Breaking the former Raw women's champion became Jax's sole mission as she despised Banks, feeling The Boss was an unnecessary obstacle to the top of the division. Repeatedly, Jax has crippled Banks and defeated her in matches Banks should not have competed in based on her health. Banks will now face off with Jax at 100 percent, but she is still wildly outmatched by the powerhouse of the division.

    Potential Consequences and Likelihood to Steal the Show

    While Banks and Jax have fought multiple times, this will be their first chance to tell a complete story as Banks no longer has to sell a kayfabe injury. The two are top women on Raw with Jax ready to take the jump to the title picture. This match could determine the future of both women and might just steal the show if they get enough time to tell their David vs. Goliath story.

    Predicted Result: Jax has been on an unstoppable run since debuting on Raw, but she has not gone undefeated. With so many victories already against Banks, it is time for The Boss to gain some measure of revenge. Banks takes a surprise roll-up victory over Jax.

    Bold Prediction: Banks will turn heel on Bayley by SummerSlam.

Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson (c) vs Enzo and Big Cass (Raw Tag Team Championships)

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Story So Far

    Everyone knew how dangerous Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson were when they debuted last year in WWE given their dominance in New Japan Pro Wrestling through all of 2014 and 2015, but it took them a while to overcome the wildness of WWE. Gallows and Anderson finally found their groove in 2017, capturing the Raw Tag Team Championships at the Royal Rumble.

    While they still have unfinished business with former champions Sheamus and Cesaro, Enzo and Big Cass defeated that duo to become the No. 1 contenders and obtain their first shot at tag team gold on the main roster. The eccentric fan favorite duo will rekindle their old rivalry with the heavyweights of the division and attempt to take tag team gold.

    Potential Consequences and Likelihood to Steal the Show

    The tag team division on Raw has lagged behind the rest of the roster with current champions Gallows and Anderson the prime victims of the division's poor booking to date. Even with the titles, they have yet to come off as the dominant bruisers they debuted as last year. Enzo and Cass also suffered recently from a terrible feud with Rusev that has tempered their popularity.

    Both teams need momentum, but their feud in 2016 did little for either pair. Even as Enzo and Cass have gained popularity, they have yet to prove themselves as top in-ring performers. This match might be a great opportunity or just filler, but both teams will need to step up regardless to make an impact.

    Predicted Result: It would not be surprising to see a title change here, but Gallows and Anderson have only been champions 35 days now. There is no reason to take the titles from them until at least WrestleMania with Enzo and Big Cass still needing some rebuilding after their feud with Rusev. Gallows and Anderson injure Cass to allow them to double-team Enzo and steal a win.

    Bold Prediction: The Raw tag team division will be represented at WrestleMania by a Triple Threat between Gallows and Anderson, Enzo and Big Cass and Sheamus and Cesaro where Enzo and Cass will finally capture their first tag team championships.

Neville (c) vs. Jack Gallagher (WWE Cruiserweight Championship)

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Story So Far

    When Swann was injured following his championship loss at the Royal Rumble, it left an imbalance at the top, leaving no challenger to the King of the Cruiserweights, Neville. Jack Gallagher was the cruiserweight to step up, defeating TJ Perkins, Mustafa Ali, Cedric Alexander and Noam Dar in a Fatal 5-Way elimination match to become the new No. 1 contender.

    However, he may have just earned a chance to take a beating as Neville has seemed untouchable since his return to WWE with a new aggressive attitude. Frustrated with being constantly overlooked, Neville has taken matters into his own hands, ready to injure and take any shortcut to the top, while Gallagher will attempt to ride fan support to an upset over one of the best athletes in the division.

    Potential Consequences and Likelihood to Steal the Show

    No one could have expected quite the monstrous turnaround Neville would make in his career the moment he turned heel, but he is now one of the best WWE villains. He has also been a pillar of the cruiserweight division, seriously increasing match quality. This match is set to be another excellent contest.

    Gallagher winning so soon would be a mistake, but it is the only way this match will truly change the direction of the division. Neville must continue to be the dominant force for the cruiserweights to overcome, but Gallagher can stand out even in a loss.

    Predicted Result: Neville has been the best part of a division that has been on life support since its debut, and he should run with the championship for a while. Gallagher has become a fan favorite quickly, but he does not support the division the way Neville can. Neville takes the victory by submission.

    Bold Prediction: Neville will represent the cruiserweight division alongside a debuting Austin Aries at WrestleMania with the rest of the division working the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal.

Samoa Joe vs. Sami Zayn

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Story So Far

    Samoa Joe has been on a path of destruction since his debut the night after the Royal Rumble. Most have learned to steer clear of Joe's reach, but Sami Zayn has never been one to back down from a challenge. When Joe called Zayn out as "just happy to be on Raw," Zayn fired back, calling Joe a sellout and challenging him to a fight.

    These words set off Joe, who has repeatedly ambushed Zayn and left him lying on the ramp. Zayn finally took the fight to Joe this last week, forcing this match to be made official so that Zayn and Joe would be in the same ring at the same time without one ambushing the other first.

    Potential Consequences and Likelihood to Steal the Show

    Few wrestlers have been more consistently excellent in the ring these last two years than Zayn, but he has not often been rewarded for that quality, working more to put over young heels (including setting up Kevin Owens for his championship reign and Braun Strowman for his recent dominant run). Joe is the latest rising main event heel for Zayn to promote.

    This should be a great introduction of Joe's ability to fans as he and Zayn will put on a show much as they did in NXT last year. With a win here, Joe will be one step closer to the title scene post-WrestleMania.

    Predicted Result: Joe has just begun his reign of dominance in WWE, while Zayn has taken the fall for many rising heels lately. There is no way that Zayn ruins Joe's PPV debut. Joe wins in impressive fashion in the match of the night.

    Bold Prediction: Joe will not compete at WrestleMania but be an enforcer at ringside for both HHH and Kevin Owens, who he will ally himself with by the end of Fastlane.

Bayley vs. Charlotte Flair (Raw Women's Championship)

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Story So Far

    The women's division may have never seen a more dominant run than the last couple years of Charlotte Flair's career. Flair has gone undefeated in singles matches on PPV and held the Raw Women's Championship four times as well as the Divas Championship once before its retirement.

    However, she has had one weakness, one wrestler who has repeatedly defeated her: Bayley. In their series together, Bayley had stood tall more often than not, including taking the women's championship from Charlotte a few weeks back on Raw. Now, she must prove she can defeat Charlotte on the stage where Charlotte has never fallen as she attempts to end Charlotte's PPV streak.

    Potential Consequences and Likelihood to Steal the Show

    The winner of this match will go into WrestleMania as Raw women's champion, representing the championship that stole the show at Mania last year. Bayley has the potential to be a huge star for the women's division, but her current run has yet to legitimize her status. A clean win at Fastlane would instantly solidify her reign.

    The last time that Charlotte and Bayley clashed on PPV, it was one more impressive match to add to Charlotte's championship legacy. This match should be just as good even with expected interference as the two will be tuning up to steal the show at WrestleMania.

    Predicted Result: If WWE follows its own patterns, Charlotte would win her sixth championship as she has been undefeated on PPV, but that would almost be a comical move at this point by WWE. Instead, it would make most sense to have a false finish with interference from other title contenders Banks and Jax to set up a WrestleMania Fatal 4-Way. This match goes to a no-contest thanks to interference.

    Bold Prediction: Charlotte will not hold the Raw Women's Championship again this year with Banks and Jax getting title reigns.

Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Story So Far

    Roman Reigns has always been a confident performer, but he made the mistake of showcasing that confidence against A Monster Among Men, Braun Strowman. Alongside Goldberg, Reigns speared Strowman to make clear he was not intimidated by Strowman, which set off the giant.

    Strowman has grown more dangerous with each passing month since he separated from Bray Wyatt to the point where he now looks to be an indomitable force. Choosing to cost Reigns the Universal Championship, he has angered one of the biggest stars on Raw, but it is hard to say which big man will emerge more dominant.

    Potential Consequences and Likelihood to Steal the Show

    The improvement of Strowman almost on a weekly basis has been a sight to behold. The big man has dominated the roster and done so with impressive athleticism. However, he has not had many chances to perform in main event-level matches. Reigns will be the biggest challenge for Strowman to date with the two likely to go at least 15 minutes.

    If his recent matches with Zayn and Big Show were any indication, this will be a war that could outshine the main event. Both men will been driven to succeed, and the result here can help develop both men's characters.

    Predicted Result: Strowman has been heavily protected since his debut, never submitting or being pinned, with most of his losses coming from tag team matches back when a member of The Wyatt Family. Reigns has a likely clash with The Undertaker on the horizon that will disrupt this match, keeping Strowman protected. Strowman wins thanks to interference from a returning Deadman.

    Bold Prediction: Because no opponent can step up to Strowman for WrestleMania, he will dominate the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, eliminating more than half the field on his own on his way to victory.

Kevin Owens (c) vs. Goldberg (WWE Universal Championship)

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Story So Far

    When Brock Lesnar called out Bill Goldberg, challenging him to step in a WWE ring for the first time in over a decade, he had no idea he was awakening a sleeping giant. Goldberg destroyed Lesnar in their clash at Survivor Series 2016, winning in a mere minute and 26 seconds. Since then, Goldberg has seemed like an unstoppable monster.

    Now he has set his eyes on WWE universal champion Kevin Owens, who has recently showcased a new dangerous side as he destroyed his former best friend Chris Jericho with unexplained malice. While KO has held the championship for 188 days, he has never faced a threat this seemingly indomitable: the man who embarrassed the Beast.

    Potential Consequences and Likelihood to Steal the Show

    The winner of this match could very well be performing in the last match at WrestleMania. That is a tall order for both of these men, who are not proven in different ways. Despite a long reign as champion, Owens has been overshadowed on Raw for a while. It would show WWE's true commitment to him if they gave him that opportunity.

    While Goldberg has the popularity and the pedigree, one question still lingers. Can Goldberg put on a WWE-quality match? He has not been in a match more than three minutes since his return. It would be easy to book this as another Goldberg squash, but it may be more important to see how Goldberg wrestles a semi-lengthy match, especially if he's going to win and headline Mania with Lesnar.

    Predicted Result: Jericho and Joe will attempt to interfere, but Goldberg will prevail in a longer match than Goldberg has had in a long time. WWE will want to keep Goldberg looking invincible heading into a final clash with Lesnar. Goldberg wins with a Spear to become the new WWE universal champion.

    Bold Prediction: Lesnar will win his second world championship at WrestleMania from Goldberg and defend it once before losing it at SummerSlam.