WWE Fastlane will take place on Sunday, March 10. The Cleveland based event is the last big show for the company on the road to WrestleMania 35 on April 6, which means that many fans don’t really expect much to happen. WWE is moving in certain directions and there’s little chance that Fastlane will deliver anything new.
But is that true? While it could be considered an irrelevant event, the fact is Fastlane is looking good on paper. That’s understandable of course. After all, WWE still has some business to do before WrestleMania gets here. Why not push Fastlane as hard as possible as April 6 draws near? The card is heavy with stars right now but three matches are standing out from the rest.
The most notable is The Shield versus Drew McIntyre, Baron Corbin and Bobby Lashley. It’s nothing that fans haven’t seen before. In fact, it could be said that this is nothing more than a main event on Monday Night Raw.
But this match takes on a bit more significance thanks to Reigns’ return from leukemia and The Shield’s recent reunion. Once again, The Hounds of Justice are on the same page and it’s exactly what the WWE faithful wanted. Dean Ambrose’s mishandled heel turn in 2018 is now a thing of the past as The Shield is back on the hunt.
Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins are much better together than they are apart. That’s not to take away from anything they’ve done in their singles runs, but it’s just not the same when The Shield is at odds.
Of course the biggest reason why this reunion is special is due to the fact that it may be the last one. Dean Ambrose is on his way out in a much publicized exit from the company. The Lunatic Fringe is supposedly finishing with WWE at the end of April and when he does, that will probably be the end of The Shield.
Anything can happen however, which means there is always the possibility that Dean could change his mind at the last minute. If so, then The Hounds of Justice will run again. But if this is indeed The Shield’s last hurrah, then fans surely don’t want to miss it.
Fans also don’t want to miss Daniel Bryan versus Kevin Owens for the WWE Championship. The “New” Daniel Bryan has been on top of his game since turning heel and recruiting Erick Rowan to his cause. The former Yes man has taken a positive and turned it into a highly successful negative and he’s really never looked better.
The same could be said of Kevin Owens, who recently returned to action in WWE. The former Universal champion is a babyface this time and while it’s an unusual spot for him, it’s one that he’s working hard to get over. KO wants to get back on top of the company and the only way to do that is to take down the champ.
But Owens got this opportunity at the expense of Kofi Kingston and that is the real story here. This match is perhaps less about Owens challenging for the gold than it is about reopening the door for Kofi to get another title shot.
Many WWE fans want to see Kingston versus Bryan for the WWE title at WrestleMania. If that’s going to happen, then the journey can get begin at Fastlane. Kofi could become a factor somehow, or something could happen during the course of the event that would change the title match.
Maybe it’s something as simple as a backstage altercation between Kofi and either Daniel or Owens. Either way, Kingston could find himself leaving Fastlane as the next man to challenge for the WWE Championship.
But when it comes to The Man, fans expect a win and nothing less. Becky Lynch finally has an opportunity to get back into the main event of WrestleMania 35 when she faces Charlotte Flair at Fastlane. If Lynch wins the match, she joins the Raw Women’s title match between Flair and Ronda Rousey at Mania.
Just like Kofi, Becky was robbed of her title shot. Now she can get back on track against her most hated rival on March 10. But the real story of this match is not the women in the ring as much as it is the woman that’s not in the ring.
Ronda Rousey has seemingly gone into business for herself by cutting a scathing promo on her Youtube channel. The Baddest Woman on the Planet said that WWE is “fake” and that she’s not going to do what the company wants her to do anymore. The Raw Women’s champ doesn’t care about the fans, the company, or anyone else. She’s out for blood and she’s going to prove that.
What are the chances that Rousey will just sit at home and watch Flair versus Lynch at Fastlane? There’s always the possibility that Ronda could be in the house that night and if she is, she may very well involve herself in this match. If she does, then everything could change for all three women at WrestleMania 35.
Fastlane was initially the irrelevant event that no one cares about. But that may not be the case after all. Fans are anxious to get to WrestleMania, but they’re also anxious to see how the company will actually get there. The only way to do that is to see Fastlane and hope that WWE delivers all of the drama necessary to kick off WrestleMania in grand fashion. It’s the show before the show and it may just be better than anyone ever expected.
Greg DeMarco’s Three Stars Of The Night: WWE Raw (5/20/19)
Big night on Raw — who stood out?
WWE Raw returned stateside this week, and we got ourselves a new championship. Who stood out?
The Third Star for WWE Raw: Paul Heyman
Paul Heyman knows how to deliver, and he delivered big time during Raw. He made the show feel like a big deal, and it did. He made both champions feel important, but put Brock Lesnar over in the process. Lesnar is so much more comfortable with Paul Heyman around, and the job done to make this briefcase situation feel unique was really solidified by Paul Heyman. Plus, his line about Rollins sitting through 7 hours of WrestleMania waiting for his girlfriend to main event the show he’s always dreamed of main eventing was clutch.
Elisa looks great in her Chairshot gear.
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The Second Star: The IIconics
Billie Kay and Peyton Royce really are national treasures. America, Australia, it doesn’t matter. They are the best, and they’ve crafted characters that don’t need to win or lose, they just need to perform their act. That’s what it takes in WWE, regardless of what we want it to be. Their promo during A Moment Of Bliss (full of people perfectly playing their characters, by the way), was outstanding. Hats off to both ladies for getting themselves to this place.
Honorable Mention: Alexa Bliss, Nikki Cross, Lacey Evans, Becky Lynch, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Kofi Kingston, the entire 24/7 crew, The Usos, The Revival, Baron Corbin (yup), Bobby Lashley (I miss Lio), Drew McIntyre, and Shane McMahon
So many great performances tonight, and I am positive I’m leaving deserving folks out.
The First Star for WWE Raw: The Miz
The Miz is on fire right now, and it comes at a time where both world champions are babyfaces. He’s world champion caliber, and needs something to sink his teeth into if the issue with Shane truly is done. Drew McIntyre is a fine option, but I really want a top flight program for Miz. Maybe he’s the guy to elevate Drew? I’m not sure. I don’t feel like we turn Miz, but the best options for him (to me) are AJ Styles and Seth Rollins.
In hockey, a game’s “Three Stars Of The Night” represent the top three performers of the night. For more clarification, I defer to this Pittsburgh Gazette explanation:
“The tradition dates to the 1936-37 season, when Imperial Oil became the principal sponsor of Hockey Night in Canada radio broadcasts and was seeking a way to promote one of its products, Three Star gasoline. The idea of doing so by selecting the top three performers in a particular game purportedly came from a Canadian advertising agency.
Many clubs do recognize the player with the most three-star selections with an award or trophy, usually in conjunction with a corporate sponsorship, at the end of the season (or sometimes, each month). All six Canadian franchises, for example, have an affiliation with a well-known brewery.
The NHL keeps track of its own Three Stars Of The Night selections, but that is done on a league-wide basis. The league employs a system that awards 30 points to a first star, 20 to a second star and 10 to a third – a running total can be found on the league’s website – but it does not present an award based on them.”
In hockey tradition, the first star represents the best of the three, but all three are considered to be receiving a high honor.
7 Best Candidates To Win New Japan Best Of The Super Juniors 26
Who is the front runner?
Abe takes a look at the New Japan Best of the Super Juniors tournament and who is on pace to pick up the overall win.
New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Best of the Super Juniors tournament kicked off just last week and plenty of quality wrestling has already taken place. For the first time ever, twenty total men make up the tournament field. That means a few more sleeper candidates could potentially sneak their way into the finals.
Best Chance of Winning The New Japan Best Of The Super Juniors
At the time of this being written, Takagi is still undefeated since making his debut in NJPW. That includes the matches he’s already competed in during this year’s tournament. I don’t believe they’ll pull the trigger on him going the whole tournament without a loss but it’s definitely something to monitor. He’s been an incredible addition to Los Ingobernables de Japan as well as to the company as a whole.
Takagi has already taken shots at current IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, Dragon Lee for overlooking the field and only thinking about impending return of Hiromu Takahashi. Dragon Lee and Shingo are the favorites in their block. Takagi’s reason for winning the block could be that Lee was too focused on the future.
After winning the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship in Madison Square Garden, there is nobody in the tournament with more momentum. The current champion winning the tournament is very uncommon but there is already a story in place as I mentioned. If the current champion wins the entire BOSJ tournament, he will get to select who challenges him for the championship at Dominion. Hiromu Takahashi is the man he wont stop talking about. Almost a year ago, Dragon Lee was the guy that put his biggest rival on the shelf. Hiromu had to vacate the title as a result of the injury suffered in that match. If Takahashi is cleared to compete, there is no better person to accept the challenge.
Who Else Has A Chance?
He hasn’t won the tournament in three years and is competing with the heavyweights more and more. Among the current field, Ospreay almost certainly has the most high-profile matches under his belt. He’s the clear betting favorite to make it to the finals in his block. If there’s anything that’ll stop him, it’s that NJPW may already be trying to transition him into a heavyweight.
Ishimori made it to the finals of the BOSJ tournament last year but only finished as the runner-up. He was also the most recent IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion. Since his official rebranding as Bullet Club’s “Bone Soldier” last year, he’s maintained a spot near the top of the junior division. If they want to continue his recently-formed feud with Dragon Lee, the opportunity is right there.
The newest member of the NJPW roster is in a similar position to the one Taiji Ishimori was in last year. El Phantasmo was introduced as the newest member of the Bullet Club mere days before BOSJ. The aforementioned Ishimori did actually end up going all the finals and Phantasmo is off to a 3-0 start this year. The only man in the B Block that’s a real threat to his path there is Will Ospreay but that’s going to be a tough ask.
Most fans think of him as a comedy wrestler but if you’ve seen him in longer, more competitive matches, you know that he’s one of the most talented guys New Japan has. It’s rare to find someone that can balance entertainment with in-ring skill the way he does. Taguchi is a two-time Junior Heavyweight Champion, former BOSJ winner, leader of his own faction, and one of the veterans of the locker room. It sounds strange but I wouldn’t put my money on Ospreay or Phantasmo as long as Taguchi is hovering near the top of the standings. He’s my dark horse in this year’s tournament.
This definitely wont happen but he is worth mentioning. SHO isn’t going to win the tournament as long as he’s attached to YOH and Rocky Romero as a part of Roppongi 3K. However, with three matches in, SHO has already wrestled the two longest and best matches of the tournament. He’s only 1-2 so far but that could make things more interesting. Watching him storm back and go on a serious winning streak would be something amazing to see.