The last stop on the road to Wrestlemania comes to us this Sunday from Columbus, Ohio when Smackdown Live presents WWE Fastlane. Not only is this the last stop on the road to Wrestlemania but it is also the last of the brand exclusive Pay Per Views, which is not a good idea for many on the roster, but that’s another column for another day. With 6 matches announced on the card as of this writing, we should get some clarity by night’s end on some of the Smackdown programs for next month’s Wrestlemania 34 event. With that in mind, let’s take a look at WWE Fastlane from an Insider’s point of view:
Six-pack Challenge for the WWE Championship: AJ Styles (c) vs. John Cena vs. Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn vs. Baron Corbin vs. Dolph Ziggler
What started out as a triple threat match was then turned into a fatal five-way before finally settling into a six-pack challenge and thus continuing with the company’s obsession for multi-person matches that isn’t going away anytime soon. AJ Styles comes into this match looking to get through five other superstars in order to make official the dream match with Shinksue Nakamura we are all hoping for. John Cena has proclaimed this to be his last chance at a Road to Wrestlemania which, spoiler alert, will not end up being his last chance at a Road to Wrestlemania. Kevin Owens and Sami Zyan continue in their convoluted storyline that has been intertwined with both Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan and seemingly has no end game. Baron Corbin is, well, Baron Corbin and Dolph Ziggler has already locked up a Slammy Award for “most poorly booked superstar”. Given all of the payers in this match, it should be nothing short of phenomenal, pun intended, and with so many different storylines in play should lend to provide added intrigue and drama.
How I would book it: AJ Styles retains the title and before the show goes off the air has a face to face in the ring with Shinsuke Nakamura to officially kick off the dream match everyone is waiting to see at Wrestlemania.
How will they book it: Had Nakamura not already publicly challenged Styles at the Royal Rumble I’d have some doubts on what direction they take for the finish here but with that match already put out there Styles will go over.
United States Championship: Bobby Roode (c) v. Randy Orton
Since being called up to the main roster in late August, Bobby Roode hasn’t quite made the main event level impact so many of us felt he would immediately make. Roode was given the US Title by winning a tournament in January and is now being programmed with a major star in Randy Orton so one would think Roode’s profile within the company is rising. Unfortunately what should’ve been a hot program between the two has been hurt by being booked around a Smackdown Superstar Top 10 list that was a failed concept from the day it was first pitched in a creative meeting. Bad booking aside this should be an entertaining match before a predictable finish that will surely leave the live crowd underwhelmed.
How I would book it: Roode would benefit from going over here giving both himself and the US Title some momentum going into Wrestlemania.
How will they book it: Jinder Mahal will play a major role in the result of this match leading to a disputed finish and a triple threat match at Wrestlemania…ah another multi-person match.