Monday, 22 February 2016

Predicted WrestleMania 32 Card After Roman Reigns Wins At WWE Fastlane

WWE Fastlane featured Roman Reigns beating Dean Ambrose and Brock Lesnar, AJ Styles defeating Chris Jeric

ho and Kevin Owens getting the win over Dolph Ziggler. In other words, the pay-per-view went almost exactly as expected.

Other than the Wyatt Family losing to the trio of Ryback, Big Show and Kane, this was an incredibly predictable show that played out much like your average WWE fan imagined it, but that’s not always a bad thing. Charlotte also retained the Divas title while rising stars like Kalisto, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch picked up some important victories themselves, meaning we’re one step closer to some up-and-comers getting a chance to shine at WrestleMania 32.

With the WWE missing a number of established stars, WWE Fastlane made it very clear that the company will focus on some different stars on the grandest stage of them all. The question is: Will it pay off?

According to The Texas Tribune (h/t WrestlingInc), the WWE wants WrestleMania 32, which is shaping up to be its biggest pay-per-view ever, to “have an economic impact on the (Arlington) area akin to an NFL Super Bowl and officials hope to draw a record crowd of over 90,0000 attendees to the event.”

Given that the WWE is still feeling the bite of the injury bug and many fans aren’t thrilled about Reigns’ spot in the main event, did WWE Fastlane do enough to help the company accomplish those goals?

Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal

The WWE has committed to getting as many superstars as possible on the WrestleMania 32 card. It was once the Money in the Bank match that featured a plethora of mostly directionless midcarders, but now, it’s the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal that gives midcard and lower card performers a chance to compete on the show.

Expect the same to happen this year, when anybody who’s had a consistent, albeit minor, spot on TV but isn’t in line for a big singles match finds himself in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.

With a number of former main eventers, like Dolph Ziggler and The Miz, seemingly out of the loop when it comes to major singles matches at WrestleMania 32, this match should actually pack a nice star power punch and give a rising star the opportunity for a signature WrestleMania moment.

WWE Tag Team Championship: The League of Nations vs. The New Day

In a rather odd twist, the League of Nations seemed to kick off a feud with The New Day during the trio’s appearance on “The Cutting Edge Peep Show” at Fastlane, seemingly setting up a WrestleMania rivalry between the two stables and a face turn for The New Day.

While the expectation was that it would be NXT’s Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady making their main roster debut to set up a ‘Mania match with The New Day, the creative team pulled off a surprising twist by going with the League of Nations in that spot instead.

League of Nations has pretty much run its course at this point, and hardly anyone is buying into the group as a legitimate heel faction anymore. But with the growing popularity of the New Day and the team lacking many more options for a WrestleMania feud, perhaps we should have seen this coming.

Stardust vs. Stephen Amell

The WWE typically has some sort of celebrity involvement at WrestleMania, and it looks like this year’s celebrity will be Arrow’s Stephen Amell.

Though Amell isn’t as big of a name as some past ‘Mania celebs, like Floyd Mayweather, the Wrestling Observer (h/t WrestleZone) reports that Amell is expected to face Stardust at WrestleMania 32. While this match might be better saved for a B-level pay-per-view, Amell and Stardust have a long-running feud that has actually been fairly entertaining and even produced a surprisingly good in-ring performance from Amell in a tag team match at SummerSlam last year.

Amell may not have the drawing power that another celeb would have, but as far as the actual match goes, Stardust vs. Amell should be a decent bout, with the potential to bring in Arrow fans who wouldn’t normally watch WWE.

Divas Championship: Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch

Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks have recently developed an odd relationship in which they’re neither friends nor enemies but have simply joined forces in the fight against Naomi and Tamina. But we shouldn’t forget that they both have one other goal in common: To become Divas Champion.

That’s where Charlotte comes in. Charlotte has a long history with both Banks and Lynch, creating the ideal scenario for a Triple Threat match featuring three of the four Divas who revolutionized women’s wrestling with their performances in NXT.

After Charlotte retained her Divas title against Brie Bella at Fastlane, the stage is set for Lynch vs. Banks vs. Charlotte to take place at WrestleMania 32 in a match that could be one of the most intriguing bouts in the history of women’s wrestling.

And one of the very best, too.

At Fastlane, AJ Styles defeated Chris Jericho in their rubber match while Kevin Owens beat Dolph Ziggler in what seemed like their 50th match, meaning that these two feuds are likely finished.

That opens up the very real possibility that a diehard fan’s dream match pitting the former face of TNA, Styles, against the former ROH stalwart, Owens, could finally come to fruition, a scenario that’s actu

ally been rumored since Owens eliminated Styles from the Royal Rumble match.

The Intercontinental title has a long history of feuds and matches between incredible in-ring workers, and Styles vs. Owens could continue that tradition by giving WWE fans a highly anticipated midcard bout at WrestleMania 32, one that could be the most entertaining match on the show.

Brock Lesnar vs. Bray Wyatt

Bray Wyatt vs. Brock Lesnar was all but confirmed when the Wyatt Family eliminated Lesnar from the Royal Rumble last month, and Lesnar’s loss at Sunday’s Fastlane pay-per-view likely cemented the bout as one of WrestleMania’s biggest.

Though there is the perception that this match is a “step down” for Lesnar and that Wyatt has virtually no shot of winning, it does have the potential to be one of the better matches on the card and it is a chance to finally elevate Wyatt to another level.

Lesnar is the biggest draw for WrestleMania 32, which means that this match could be treated as perhaps the No. 2 or No. 3 match on the card, even though, realistically speaking, it’s a midcard encounter that should be quite the brawl, especially if a stipulation is added down the road.

Update: Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer (h/t SEScoops) is reporting that Lesnar is now expected to face Dean Ambrose at WrestleMania 32, which would explain the Wyatt Family’s loss at Fastlane as well as the interaction between Lesnar and Ambrose over the last several weeks. Though this is the right call given how well Ambrose has performed lately, this likely leaves Wyatt without a major match and could relegate him to the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.

Dean Ambrose vs. Chris Jericho

Chris Jericho is probably done with AJ Styles while Dean Ambrose should probably face Brock Lesnar, but it seems doubtful that the WWE will go in that direction.

Still, Ambrose deserves a big WrestleMania match, and especially if Jericho turns heel like has been teased, this could be one of the bigger and better matches on the card. Y2J may not quite have the star power he once did, but a feud with Ambrose could be really good and could be used as a way to get Ambrose back on the winning side of things after he lost yet another big match at WWE Fastlane.

There’s a history between these two going back to Night of Champions last year, so perhaps the WWE plays that up to ignite this feud, which is really one of the few realistic options left for either guy if you look at the way the WrestleMania dominoes are continuing to fall.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Triple H vs. Roman Reigns

Though there was hope that Ambrose would throw a wrench into creative’s plans, we all saw Triple H vs. Reigns coming from a mile away.

It’s been obvious that, despite resistance to Reigns and his monstrous push, the WWE has remained steadfast in its desire to push Reigns to the top of the mountain and to do so by having him beat Triple H for the WWE title at WrestleMania. It may not be what the hardcore WWE fan wants, but that doesn’t seem to matter.

Despite Reigns receiving heel reactions and the likelihood that the main event of ‘Mania will be booed out of the building, this is the only confirmed match for WrestleMania 32 so far. Will it be the draw that WWE wants it to be?

Most fans who are going to WrestleMania have probably already bought their tickets, but anyone on the fence about doing so will no longer be inclined to given that HHH vs. Reigns is shaping up to be one of the most poorly received main events in recent WrestleMania history.

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