The final Raw pay-per-view before WrestleMania is set for this Sunday night, which means its time for another breakdown of the wrestlers not scheduled to make an appearance on the card—at least as far as what’s currently being advertised.
For one reason or another, these men and women weren’t dubbed important enough to find a spot for, or something else along the way prevented them from being able to appear. Last-minute additions and changes to the event could change that, along with the possibility WWE is holding some surprises back from us, but at the moment, the following people seem to be sitting out Fastlane 2017:
Seth Rollins / Triple H
Obviously when it comes to these two, Fastlane was off the table. Triple H is the type of person you save for the big show and don’t waste having him wrestle on a B-event while Rollins is still recovering from his injury, which prevented him from having his previously scheduled match against Samoa Joe to begin with.
This should come to no surprise to anybody and at this point, Fastlane isn’t a concern—the only real issue to discuss is whether these two will compete at WrestleMania itself. Rollins claimed on Raw that he would be there and it seemed to be implied that he’d be cleared to go, the match is on, and so forth, but anything could happen over the next month to take that away.
Unless Brock Lesnar shows up to cost Goldberg his match against Kevin Owens or attack him after he’s squashed Owens to become the new universal champion, we won’t be seeing him. Since it appears more and more likely that Chris Jericho will keep the United States Championship to be able to defend that against Kevin Owens at WrestleMania, all bets should be on Goldberg successfully capturing the title, which would rule out the Lesnar interference. If that happens, it seems almost counterproductive to have The Beast Incarnate then attack Goldberg during the post-match celebration as it would undercut the moment both for Goldberg and for Owens, who should be seething with anger. In fact, if anybody is going to show up to interfere in the Universal Championship match, it should be Jericho. Then again, who’s to say we don’t get Jericho brawling with Owens while Lesnar brawls with Goldberg to end the show?
Speaking of Jericho, his United States Championship should theoretically be defended, but with the transition from heel to babyface, there aren’t any options properly set up to face him. If the title is going to stay on him for WrestleMania, there’s no need to force a match to happen if you can get away with keeping him out of the picture with his “injuries” to keep the heat on Owens. A few weeks back, it looked like they could have built toward a match between Jericho and Sami Zayn, but with Rollins out of the picture, Zayn was chosen as the next best option to lose to Samoa Joe and that could have nixed plans for a Jericho/Zayn US title match—or, perhaps, that wasn’t planned at all and I’m speculating on a fallacy.
In any scenario, Jericho will definitely not have a match, but he might pop up to interfere in the Owens match as mentioned above. It’s not a necessity by any means, particularly as WWE might want to save their next confrontation for Monday Night Raw, but if Y2J makes any kind of appearance, the main event is where we’ll find him.
Big Show / Mark Henry
On his way to Fastlane, Braun Strowman took out both Mark Henry and Big Show, who haven’t been making many appearances as of late. Since Strowman is clearly the priority at the moment, this makes sense, but it also was a reminder of just how little we’ve seen the two of them over the past year.
What is particularly interesting is the lack of Big Show, who should theoretically be gearing up for his match against Shaquille O’Neal. Ideally, WWE would give him some opponents to look strong against so when he faces Shaq, it doesn’t come out of left field. That happened with The Shining Stars on Raw, but nothing else. Does this mean it’s so low on the hierarchy that WWE thinks it’s good enough to merely announce the match and build to it for a handful of weeks after Fastlane, or is this an omen that the entire thing has been scrapped?
Raw Women’s Division
It’s a running theme to mention Summer Rae’s injury, Alicia Fox’s lack of involvement on Raw outside of being a valet, and so on. Florence Pugh stands more of a chance to show up at Fastlane than Paige herself, oddly enough.
After 17 weeks of promotional material building up the switch from Emma to Emmalina, that whole gimmick was thrown away and Emma has been put on the backburner once more. I’m assuming at this point that we won’t see her until SummerSlam, where she’ll announce the makeover back to Tenille.
On the other hand, the other woman on the Raw roster without a match—Dana Brooke—is one of those things that just gets annoying from time to time. When she spent a month away from the scene, she could have returned with something new to the mix, but she’s gone straight back to her previous role as Charlotte’s stooge. Because of that, she’s essentially done nothing since returning except to stand next to Charlotte and that’s most likely all she’ll do at Fastlane as well. At some point, she’ll interfere in the title match and I guess that’s supposed to be good enough to keep her going. For her sake, she’d better hope the proposed Fatal 4-Way at WrestleMania turns into a Fatal 5-Way or she’ll be the only active woman on the Raw roster to be ignored for the biggest show of the year.
Raw Tag Team Division
The two most noteworthy tag teams not currently booked for the card are The New Day and Cesaro/Sheamus—the latter having losing a title opportunity to Enzo and Cass, the former just sort of hanging around and waiting to be the hosts of WrestleMania, which illustrates how WWE doesn’t necessarily have any feuds in mind for them. It’s unlikely The New Day will have promo time dedicated to them as that will be saved for the big show itself, while there’s a chance Cesaro and Sheamus could show up either in a backstage segment or in the Raw Tag Team Championship match as spectators who may or may not interfere.