Along with a grudge match between Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman, there are four title matches booked for Fastlane 2017 — WWE’s final PPV before WrestleMania 33 — headlined by Kevin Owens, defending the Universal Championship against challenger Bill Goldberg. What follows is a preview of the five matches already confirmed for WWE Fastlane 2017, along with predictions for those matches and the matches rumored to be added to the card before Sunday’s event.
Neville (c) vs. Jack Gallagher — WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match
Both the WWE Cruiserweight Champion Neville and the No. 1 contender, Jack Gallagher, have roots in the United Kingdom, but the similarities end there. Neville has completely dominated 205 Live and Raw’s Cruiserweight Division since going through a heel turn. Jack Gallagher’s gentlemanly gimmick — complete with umbrella-sidekick William the Third — has gone over very well with the WWE Universe, often using moves that remind fans of Mary Poppins. The Cruiserweight Division is already on its fourth champion since the title was awarded to T.J. Perkins in September, and Neville is being booked as the strongest champion to date.
Prediction: Neville retains the Cruiserweight Championship and faces a new challenger (Austin Aries) at WrestleMania 33.
Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson (c) vs. Enzo Amore & Big Cass — Raw Tag Team Championship Match
The popularity of Enzo and Big Cass has wavered a little since their main roster debut shortly after WrestleMania 32, but they have risen to the top of the Raw Tag Team Division in recent weeks, punctuated with a victory over Cesaro and Sheamus to earn a title shot at Fastlane. Gallows and Anderson won the titles from Cesaro and Sheamus in rather controversial fashion, despite the fact that the match had two referees.
Prediction: Gallows and Anderson retain under questionable circumstances, leading to a Triple Threat Tag Team Match at WrestleMania 33 with Cesaro and Sheamus thrown back into the mix.
Bayley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair — Raw Women’s Championship Match
No WWE title has changed hands more frequently over the last year than what is now recognized as the Raw Women’s Championship. One year ago, it was still known as the Divas Championship, and Charlotte was in the midst of a reign that would run through WrestleMania 32, when the title was rebranded as the WWE Women’s Championship. Shortly after SummerSlam 2016 and the creation of the SmackDown Women’s Championship, the title was rebranded once again as the Raw Women’s Championship. By that time, Charlotte had already dropped the title to Sasha Banks and won it back — which would be a recurring theme. Charlotte is now a four-time former champion, while Bayley will have held the title for less than three weeks when she faces Flair at WWE Fastlane 2017.
Prediction: Charlotte Flair defeats Bayley at Fastlane, and a Fatal 4-Way is scheduled for WrestleMania 33 that also includes Sasha Banks and Nia Jax.
Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman
The only non-title match that had been confirmed prior to the February 27 episode of Monday Night Raw was Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman. As WWE continues to build Strowman’s character as an unstoppable monster, they’ve decided to book him in a short program against Roman Reigns, the man who the WWE Universe refuses to embrace the way Vince McMahon would like. With all signs pointing towards Roman Reigns vs. the Undertaker at WrestleMania 33, it seems likely that the Dead Man will show up at Fastlane 2017. The only question will be whether he shows up to cost Reigns his match against Strowman, or whether he shows up after Roman defeats Braun to officially challenge the Big Dog to an epic battle at WrestleMania.
Prediction: The Undertaker distracts Roman Reigns, setting up their match at WrestleMania 33 while Braun Strowman gets the win at Fastlane.
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Kevin Owens (c) vs. Goldberg — WWE Universal Championship Match
The match between Kevin Owens and Goldberg at WWE Fastlane feels a lot like C.M. Punk vs. The Rock at Royal Rumble 2013. The champion was being booked as a heel — who, in actuality, was very over with at least the internet wrestling fans — up against a former icon who was returning to try to win the company’s biggest title heading into WrestleMania. Will Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg also be a title match? Or will Kevin Owens walk into Orlando as the Universal Champion, setting up a title vs. title match against United States Champion Chris Jericho, reminiscent of Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania 6?
Prediction: Chris Jericho helps Kevin Owens defeat Goldberg, then turns on Kevin Owens, setting up KO vs. Y2J at WrestleMania 33.
While WWE’s official Fastlane preview page currently lists just five matches for the March PPV, they will almost certainly announce one or two more matches on Monday Night Raw, as they will need to fill a three-hour PPV and the one-hour pre-show. Some WWE rumors claim that Samoa Joe vs. Sami Zayn will be added to the Fastlane card. It would also make sense for The New Day to get booked for Fastlane, since they were just recently named the official hosts of WrestleMania 33. And given Sasha Banks’ recent victory over Charlotte Flair, Nia Jax’s recent request for a title shot, and the unresolved issues between Banks and Jax, it’s entirely possible that they are added to next Sunday’s card as well.
Predictions: Samoa Joe will get a dominant victory over Sami Zayn, The New Day will defeat some mid-card talent, and Nia Jax will defeat Sasha Banks in controversial fashion on the WWE Fastlane 2017 Kickoff.
Where To Watch WWE Fastlane 2017 And Monday Night Raw
The only Raw-exclusive PPV before WrestleMania 33 is WWE Fastlane, which will air on the WWE Network on Sunday, March 5 at 8/7c. The Fastlane 2016 Kickoff will air at 7/6c on WWE Network and all of WWE’s digital platforms. WWE WrestleMania 33 will air live from Orlando on Sunday, April 2.
Episodes of WWE Monday Night Raw air live on the USA Network at 8/7c. Replays of WWE Raw aren’t made available on the WWE Network until several weeks after the original air date. However, a 90-minute version of Monday Night Raw is available to stream on-demand the following day with a Hulu subscription.
[Featured Image by WWE]