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Fastlane 2018 Predictions Pls: Change My Mind


The card for next month’s grand spectacle may be unofficially set, but that isn't stopping SmackDown Live from delivering one hell of a pre-Mania show. Just look at the Fastlane card. Sure, it’s predictable as hell, but I’m sure we will still have a great time. If you’re an avid reader of my weekly column, you already know who my picks are. This is just for formality’s sake.

Six-Pack Challenge for the WWE Championship
John Cena vs. Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens vs. Baron Corbin vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. AJ Styles (c)
#NitPickRick’s Pick: AJ Styles



There’s no doubt in my mind. We are getting a main event hardcore fans actually want to see. It’s going to be AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura on the Grandest Stage of Them All and WWE will be the biggest idiots in the world if they let this one slide out from their fingertips. Book it already, Vince! But still, I’m still excited to see this chaotic main event. Aside from Styles winning it, there are a lot of stories to unpack in this match. We got the treacherous Sami Zayn, the vengeful Kevin Owens, the desperate John Cena, the determined Dolph Ziggler, and the hungry Baron Corbin. These volatile elements make for a great last stop for Styles before he eventually drops the title to Nakamura. So yeah, try and change my mind on this one.

SmackDown Tag Team Championship
The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston, and/or Xavier Woods) vs. The Usos (Jimmy and Jey Usos) (c)
#NitPickRick’s Pick: The Usos



I want the Usos to carry the SmackDown Tag Team Championships on their shoulders when they step foot on their first WrestleMania main card match and I want them to retain. I don’t care if it’s the New Day or the Bludgeon Brothers—have them line up in front of the champs for all I care. I have a feeling we’re getting a triple threat match for the tag titles anyway, so I’m pretty sure the Usos will retain via DQ, thanks to a Bludgeon Brothers interference. It’s a badass rivalry, but I will only accept it if the Usos will prevail in the end. Don’t even try to change my mind.

United States Championship Match
Randy Orton vs. Bobby Roode (c)
#NitPickRick’s Pick: Randy Orton



Who wants to see Bobby Roode’s reign as United States Champion end at Fastlane? Just me? Okay, I guess. I have a feeling Roode will retain, but screw it, I’m sticking with Randy Orton. Let him add a Grand Slam to his already impressive resume. And at WrestleMania when Orton, Roode, and Jinder Mahal face off in yet another triple threat match, I’ll pick Jinder to win the first title that he actually deserves and was properly built for. Basically, I just want Roode to like take a chill pill with the goody-two-shoes shtick and just be in his element already.

SmackDown Women’s Championship
Ruby Riott vs. Charlotte Flair (c)
#NitPickRick’s Pick: Charlotte Flair



Here’s another easy one. While the WrestleMania plan for the SmackDown Women’s Championship is still unclear, I’m pretty sure they’re not going to remove Charlotte Flair from the top of the food chain. Besides, Ruby Riott’s too green to win a major championship. So yeah, expect Charlotte to win this little contest she has with Riott. I’m also sensing a Carmella cash-in is imminent. It can either happen at Fastlane or at WrestleMania to make it more grandiose. I’d rather have her cash it in a la Seth Rollins. That would be a cool WrestleMania moment.

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Rusev
#NitPickRick’s Pick: Shinsuke Nakamura



Alright, alright. If we’re going to feed Rusev to Shinsuke Nakamura, can we at least make this one a grueling, hard-fought, #FightForever type of match? I understand Nakamura has to look good, but please don’t crap all over our boy Rusev. I’m still a firm believer that Rusev Day will truly flourish in 2018, so let’s not try and stop his momentum while he’s still red-hot. On the flip side, this is a great tune-up match for Nakamura. Styles is out there beating up five other guys, so they better make the number one contender sweat, too.

Becky Lynch & Naomi vs. Natalya & Carmella
#NitPickRick’s Pick: Natalya & Carmella



Better late than never. Props to Creative for still finding space for these women on the card, but I wish they didn’t have to wait for the pre-show to set the rest of the Fastlane. This has been an annoying trend on SmackDown Live lately. You guys were once good at cramming in more storylines on a weekly basis. What happened to you guys? Anyway, I’ll be picking the heels to win this one, just because. Giving Ms. MITB a W every now and then shouldn't be that bad.

Pre-Show Match
????? vs. ?????
#NitPickRick’s Pick: Mojo Rawley vs. Zack Ryder or Tye Dillinger


Can we please find something for these guys? I really don’t see why we have to write off these three every week. I’m not just saying this because I want to appease the IWC. I really believe these three are worth it, especially Mojo Rawley. How can they not capitalize on his sensational heel character? Also, I miss Breezango and the Ascension. Can we at least have a Fashion Files segment?

It’s the last stop before WrestleMania, you guys! Are you still hyped for Fastlane despite the predictability? Or do you think someone will pull a fast one on us and ruin our WrestleMania expectations? Let me know down at the comments.


*****

Ricky Jay Publico (@NitPickRick) is a wrestling fan who enjoys watching high flyers and brawlers battle it out in the ring. A known Botchamania binge-watcher, he claims to have memorized the chronological order of Royal Rumble winners, but fails to remember who won in 2004. He writes stories about life and nonsense.

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