In around six hours’ time, WWE makes the final Sunday-night stop on the road to WrestleMania, as they head into Cleveland, Ohio for their second annual Fast Lane pay-per-view. With just 42 days to go until WrestleMania, WWE will be looking to lock down as much as they can so they can start promoting the biggest show of the year.
So far, six matches have been announced for Fast Lane, with a seventh on the pre-show. With a hat-tip to the guys over at 888sport it’s time for a quick run-through my predictions and some bettin odds for this evening’s show.
Pre-show: Kalisto (c) vs. Alberto del Rio – two out of three falls match for the United States title
888sport have Kalisto as the firm 3/10 favourite going in here, with Del Rio at 11/5. The question really is this – are WWE content with resetting Kalisto into the tag team picture now that Sin Cara is back from his shoulder injury, but I can’t see the company leaving Del Rio languishing. I’m going to go with Kalisto retaining the title, and potentially a ladder match at WrestleMania.
AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho
This will be the rubber match between the pair, and after AJ’s debut at the Royal Rumble last month, he has quickly won over the WWE fan base. 888sport have him as a clear 1/10 favourite, and I see little reason for anyone to put money on Chris Jericho, even if it is at 5/1. I’ll be picking AJ here, and hopefully setting up something major for him in Dallas in April.
Becky Lynch & Sasha Banks vs. Naomi & Tamina
After the tease of Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks at the Royal Rumble, this is only serving as a delaying tactic on the road to WrestleMania for “The Boss”. That being said, I can’t picture any other result than Sasha winning – and at 1/10 odds-on (to Team B.A.D.’s 5/1), the bookies have the same mindset too.
Charlotte (c) vs. Brie Bella for the Divas’ title
There’s two trains of thought here – with Brie Bella having just been on TV to accompany her husband’s recent retirement, as well as her announcement of an impending retirement of her own, you could be forgiven for taking the 3/1 shot and having Brie win the title for a final time, and then lose it (perhaps at the Road to WrestleMania special in Toronto next month). However, I’d be more tempted to leave this one alone, and stick with the favourite, with Charlotte on at 1/5 odds
Kevin Owens (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler for the Intercontinental title
Owens only just won the title on Monday, so it’d make little sense for WWE to play hot potato with this belt. Yes, Owens and Ziggler have traded wins in the last few weeks, but unless WWE have plans for something bigger in Owens’ immediate horizon, like, say, Sami Zayn, it’d make no sense to not have him hold the title until at least WrestleMania. For those looking for a bet, 888sport make Owens 1/10, whilst Ziggler is 5/1.
Ryback, Big Show & Kane vs. Luke Harper, Erick Rowan and Braun Strowman
I’m surprised that this one hasn’t been stretched out to WrestleMania, given that they’ve built to Brock Lesnar vs. Bray Wyatt; and that every other match mooted for Strowman appears to have been shot down by the Internet Wrestling Community. In the run-up to this, all three of the babyface team have been laid out by the Wyatts, and I’d be tempted to see the babyfaces take this one by disqualification, perhaps building up to a stipulation match at WrestleMania? The Wyatts are 1/7, whilst the team of Ryback, Show and Kane go in at 15/4.
Dean Ambrose vs. Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar – winner faces Triple H for the WWE title at WrestleMania
On the surface, this is a fairly straightforward pick, with WWE looking to get things right at the second try. Of course, last year saw Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar in the main event at WrestleMania, only for Seth Rollins to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase and spoil Roman’s coronation. This time, I can’t see any other outcome other than Reigns going to WrestleMania and winning the big one – Brock’s already tied up with Bray Wyatt, and Dean Ambrose, as much as WWE seem to be wanting to tease a swerve, is destined to remain a bridesmaid yet again. For those looking to place a bet, Reigns is 1/5 favourite, Ambrose is at 7/2 and Lesnar at 8/1.
Unless there’s any major changes or swerves, this looks to be a card where everything of consequence – bar the pre-show match – is somewhat predictable. There’s tellingly no tag team match on this show, with the New Day instead set to appear in a talking segment with Edge and Christian which, if you believe the rumour mill, will introduce a certain Jersey duo from NXT and set them up for a WrestleMania title match. Given that this debut was rumoured a few weeks back, and didn’t materialise, you can forgive me for being a little “Sawft” on this!