WWE Fastlane was Monday Night RAW’s final pay-per-view (or pit stop) on the road to WrestleMania, and now both brands have a clear path to Camping World Stadium in Orlando on April 2. WWE Fastlane is used to wrap-up any intermediary feuds while continuing the build to the more significant matches for the WWE’s biggest show of the year. This year’s version will most likely be remembered for Goldberg becoming a champion in WWE again for the first time in more than 12 years.
The show has largely been met with criticism in the 12 hours (and counting) since WWE Fastlane went off the air. The three matches and/or outcomes of those matches scrutinized the most were the Roman Reigns-Braun Strowman bout, the RAW Women’s Championship match between Bayley and Charlotte, and, of course, the WWE Universal Championship main event that featured Goldberg and Kevin Owens.
Chris Jericho’s distraction was celebrated, but the squash match that ensued had a good portion of the WWE Universe up in arms. Fans felt Owens was mistreated by a part-time superstar who hasn’t wrestled a match longer than two minutes since his triumphant return. Charlotte had her undefeated streak on pay-per-views snapped, seemingly inexplicably. And Reigns, of course, went over Strowman clean without any sign of the Undertaker appearing.
However, there was another element to consider that cast a shadow over WWE Fastlane Sunday night as well. Gambling on wrestling has become more and more en vogue in recent years, with more online sites offering odds on pay-per-view matches. As betting on pre-determined bouts has risen in popularity, there has also been a contingent of wagerers that continue to sway the odds right before a WWE pay-per-view goes on the air.
This is known as the smart money, where WWE insiders with privileged information may be placing bets late in the game. The smart money alters the odds one way or the other and is usually a definitive indication of who is going to win the match. According to a report from Wrestling Inc., the smart money never came in before WWE Fastlane went on the air, which raised a lot of eyebrows Sunday night.
The odds for WWE Fastlane stayed consistent throughout the day Sunday, whereas normally on the day of a pay-per-view, you’d see significant shifts. Sites like Wrestling Inc. will post the odds on all of the matches before a show begins, and they’ll usually wait until the smart money comes in and the lines make their final moves. That will happen several hours before a particular show, but in the case of WWE Fastlane, they waited to post them until very late because the shifts never occurred.
The three most notable matches in which the lines stayed consistent were the Strowman-Reigns bout, the Charlotte-Bayley contest, and the match between Nia Jax and Sasha Banks. Strowman was a 9-1 to favorite, meaning you would have had to put $900 on The Monster Among Men to win $100. Charlotte was a -170 favorite, but Nia Jax was the biggest favorite on the card with -1,700 odds to beat Sasha Banks. All three favorites, of course, lost their matches.
This is significant because when the smart money comes in and the odds shift, the favorites are considered locks to win the matches. Most recently at the WWE Royal Rumble, all of the favorites in terms of betting odds won their matches. Randy Orton was the odds-on favorite to win the Royal Rumble match, and he did.
John Cena started that day as a -570 favorite and that jumped to -4,500 when the smart money was placed. Going back to WWE Survivor Series, Goldberg opened as a +280 underdog, but his odds changed drastically to a -900 favorite when all the wise guys placed their wagers. It’s unclear whether the WWE insiders didn’t have time to put their bets in, if they were instructed not to, or if final decisions were made too late.
[Featured Image by WWE]