This started out as a positive preview of WWE Fastlane, I swear.
Fastlane has several matches that could be great. Styles vs Jericho, Kalisto vs Del Rio, and Owens vs Ziggler have a lot of potential, and only the Wyatt Family clusterfuck deserves low expectations. However, a specter looms over all these matches, the same specter that has loomed over almost every Pay-Per-View for the past two years: The Undying Push of Roman Reigns.
Last year at this time, the WWE tried to resurrect Reign’s push by sacrificing their most popular wrestler, Daniel Bryan, to it’s altar. Anyone could tell that the Roman vs Bryan match at Fastlane last year was for the sole purpose of making Roman look good, but there was hope, however faint, that the WWE would recognize their mistake. It was not to be, and with Bryan’s health problems, I can’t really fault them, but still. Bryan was, again, the most popular guy on the roster, and the best thing WWE could think to do was pray his popularity would transfer to Roman through some sort of osmosis. Obviously, it didn’t take, and WWE had to resort to Plan B with Seth Rollins and Money in the Bank in order for their WrestleMania to not end with a cascade of booing.
Hilariously, the main event last year was exactly the kind of match Roman Reigns needed. He needs to be a strong competitor, who takes the strongest hits a guy like Brock Lesnar has to offer and keeps coming. Roman’s comeback at Mania was met with, if not resounding approval, at least a medium amount of interest. Roman has shown these brief glimpses in the past year of being able to get over on his own merits of being an ass-kicker, but that’s not in the WWE cards. He can’t get over as an ass-kicker, because he has to hug children, and make jokes for 5-year olds, and overcome every odd in existence, and basically be the new John Cena.
Now, we’re back to where we started last year. Roman Reigns is destined for the main event at WrestleMania, for the second year in a row. This time there is no one as popular as Daniel Bryan on the roster to get in the way of the Push. This year is the year, the year Roman Reigns stands tall at WrestleMania while the fireworks go off and the confetti falls. If it wasn’t such a certainty of happening, I would actually applaud WWE for casting more doubt about it then last year. When Dean Ambrose lost the Intercontinental Title on Raw, it opened a possibility, no matter how faint, that something interesting could happen at Fastlane.
But that’s not going to happen. WrestleMania will succeed or die on the reaction Roman Reigns gets when he pins HHH for the WWE title. There’s no Plan B this time. No Money in the Bank cash-in. No super popular wrestler to tease as a back-up. WWE is going all in this time, and maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe if it would finally sink in to Vince McMahon’s head that this isn’t working if 100,000 people sit on their hands with the occasional disinterested boo during the main event to his biggest show.
I don’t know. I don’t have a lot of hope that anybody will see anything except what they want to see. And that will be Roman Reigns, standing on the turnbuckle in a rainfall of confetti, holding the WWE title up high. After all, they can always mute the crowd in the WrestleMania montages that will follow. Roman Reigns will get his moment, that was so callously denied last year by all of us who didn’t want it to happen. And maybe, finally, once he gets that moment that they have been building to for years, we can move on to something else.
Anyways, here are some quick Fastlane predictions. Kalisto decisively wins two falls to none against Del Rio. The Wyatts will win whatever thing they are doing (does anyone care anymore? Does anyone really want to see Bray vs Brock?). Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch win to set up a multi-man match for the Diva’s title at Mania. Owens beats Ziggler and AJ beats Jericho, setting up a match for those two. Charlotte beats Brie Bella via shenanigans.
And of course, in the main event, Roman Reigns will rule supreme, whether anyone likes it or not.