WWE’s last pit-stop on the Road to WrestleMania is coincidentally also dubbed Fastlane, because the creative team loves their puns just as much as I do. Seeing as how this is the final chance to dramatically alter the lineup for the biggest show of the year without looking like an emergency backup rush-job was put in place by relying purely on the episodes of Monday Night Raw to fill in the gaps, the card for Fastlane 2017 is particularly important.
Currently, we don’t have many confirmed matches, but with some context clues and a little guesswork, we can figure out where WWE is realistically going to go as far as what matches will be booked for the show. Here is a breakdown of what seems to be in store.
WWE United States Championship Match
I’m holding out hope that Sami Zayn’s win over Chris Jericho was a purposeful means to justify giving him a shot at the United States Championship so he can win the belt from Jericho at Fastlane.
Why would I want that if I’m a bigger fan of Jericho than Zayn? Well, I do like Zayn, so it would be nice to see him actually accomplish something for once, but most importantly, because I feel this would up the likelihood that the upcoming match between Jericho and Owens would then be for the Universal Championship instead of the United States title. Hence why I’m putting this in front of that match on this list even though we all know the main event would be Owen’s defense.
Jericho stressed the importance of Owens not having his back again this week and how if KO were to lose the Universal Championship, they’d still have the United States. I’m hoping this is a sign of things to come, but somewhat on the flip side. Owens again wouldn’t have Jericho’s back, he’d lose the title and be upset about it, but suddenly it’s not about the two of them sharing the Universal Championship—it’s about Owens. Jericho’s had enough and he challenges him for the title at WrestleMania. He comes up short, sure, but that’s because he’s leaving in May and Owens will take the boos and run with them. Meanwhile, Zayn will be rewarded for his hard work over the past few years with a run as United States champion and either will defend that at WrestleMania against Braun Strowman possibly, or will be grouped into the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal match as one of the big names there or something along those lines.
WWE Universal Championship Match
What might throw a wrench into this whole plan is who challenges Kevin Owens for the belt. We know Goldberg is supposed to wrestle a match, but since he’s going to accept Brock Lesnar’s challenge, that means a couple of different options are at play.
A) Goldberg can fight Owens, quickly win the title, and his match against Lesnar turns into a Universal Championship match. Let’s hope not. Elsewhere on the card, Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman fight it out in a grudge match of sorts.
B) Goldberg, Braun Strowman and Roman Reigns are all lumped into a Fatal 4-Way with Kevin Owens for the Universal Championship. Either Goldberg wins the title so he can defend it against Lesnar, Reigns wins it so he can defend it against The Undertaker, or Owens retains, which would actually be easier in this type of match because he could pin someone without getting the proper credit for it. Goldberg isn’t going to wrestle for long, but they can mask that in a multi-man match by having him on the outside for portions of it. Ideally, Owens would pin Goldberg after Brock Lesnar interferes and lays him out, so Owens can keep the championship, Lesnar just upped the stakes for his match against Goldberg, and both Reigns and Strowman don’t need to lose either.
C) Goldberg fights someone else randomly for a quick match just for something to do and isn’t factored into the title match at all, which means it would definitely at that point be a triple threat with Strowman and Reigns and either Reigns wins that or Owens retains. Strowman isn’t getting the title.
Seth Rollins vs. Samoa Joe
This came out of left field and I have no idea what WWE has planned for Samoa Joe at WrestleMania if he’s part of the Raw brand, as SmackDown needs him much, much more. In the meantime, it wouldn’t make sense for Rollins to be entered into a Universal Championship match if Triple H and Stephanie McMahon hate him so much, but he still has to wrestle in some capacity after missing the Royal Rumble, so my guess is they go with a regular match between these two. Joe will act as an emissary for Triple H and it will all end with Rollins taking a pinfall loss when Triple H interferes—or, possibly, a disqualification chaos brawl. They’re not going to set Joe up just to have him take a fall.
Raw Tag Team Championship Match
There are still several weeks until Fastlane where Enzo Amore and Big Cass could stop their feud with Rusev and Jinder Mahal and become the new contenders while Cesaro and Sheamus fully break down and split, but the simplest answer is usually what happens, so the safe bet is to say Cesaro and Sheamus are going to have their rematch against Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson here.
Since Anderson/Gallows are fresh champions, they won’t be dropping those titles. Instead, this will be the end of the Cesaro/Sheamus duo so they can feud with each other around WrestleMania season either in a singles match against one another or as two members of the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.
Raw Women’s Championship Match
I know if I were booking things, I’d like to see some new talent brought into the mix where Emmalina finally shows up and sides with Charlotte and Nia Jax in a six-women tag team match against Bayley, Sasha Banks and a returning Dana Brooke, who turns babyface and denounces her former best friend. This would give WWE the ability to not have to book another match between Charlotte and Bayley where Charlotte would inevitably retain as they assuredly won’t have her lose her streak and her title the event before WrestleMania.
That being said, they’ll probably just do that anyway and have Bayley lose another singles title match. Ugh.
Cruiserweight Championship Match
Not a single Raw or cross-branded event has gone by since the reintroduction of the cruiserweight division without having a Cruiserweight Championship match on the card, so it’s safe to assume another one will happen here.