What to do during the roughly 10 weeks in between has been a conundrum for several years.
Now WWE is trotting out a new event, Fast Lane, basically an event with a name signifying nothing, and an event that is barely more than an episode of Monday Night Raw a night earlier without commercials.
Reinforcing the free TV feeling to the show, there is no world title main event, though the big match does have WrestleMania main-event implications, with Roman Reighs, the winner of the Royal Rumble, and the Rumble winner’s coveted spot in the main event at ‘Mania, putting that WM spot on the line against former WWE champion Daniel Bryan,
There has been intense speculation in the guise of unsourced news reports online that WWE honcho Vince McMahon is leaning toward another three-way main event at WrestleMania 31, meaning that somehow the Fast Lane main event would have to end in some sort of schmozz, a double-pin, a double-DQ, something, that could allow for a storyline addition to the big match.
But there is just as much intense speculation, also in the guise of unsourced news reports on the dirt sheets, that McMahon isn’t backing away from his desire to give Reigns the spot against reigning WWE champ Brock Lesnar one-on-one.
Is WWE swerving us with the dueling rumors? And then what to make of the rumor mill speculation that Lesnar, long assumed to be on his way out of WWE and back to MMA after ‘Mania, might instead sign an extension to stay in the world of sports entertainment after all?
It’s good intrigue, and thus good for wrestling fans, who too often in this day and age go into any particular big show pretty much already knowing what’s going to happen.
We have a good idea of how the rest of WrestleMania is going to shake out. The Rusev-John Cena match at Fast Lane appears to be the first in a two-match series between the two, with the payoff at WM31. We might glean from that a Rusev win, probably not clean, setting up a program culminating in a Cena comeback win at the big show.
Triple H and Sting are scheduled to meet Sunday night at Fast Lane – not in a wrestling match, just meeting. The bite-sized tastes that we’ve been getting for this brewing feud between over-the-hill superstars have been well-done to date, enough to make us look forward to a match that won’t be anything resembling a match-of-the-year candidate, but still ought to keep our interest on WrestleMania’s big stage.
There isn’t much going on storyline-wise for Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins right now, with Ambrose facing Wade Barrett for the Intercontinental title, and Rollins buried (along with Dolph Ziggler) in a six-man show opener. It’s not certain where either goes from here, though with Randy Orton expected back on TV soon (maybe a run-in Sunday night), we can probably book on a Rollins-Orton program for WrestleMania.
Bray Wyatt is once again not on the match card for Fast Lane, but it seems more and more every day that WWE is hoping to set up a Wyatt-Undertaker match for WM31, assuming that ‘Taker is healthy, and you have to assume that, given the nature of Wyatt’s rambling promos doing everything but calling Undertaker out by name of late.
Expect to see Wyatt cutting another of those promos Sunday night. Expect the schmozz finish to Reigns-Bryan, the bet here being that McMahon is going to go with the three-way main event at WrestleMania, still putting Reigns over, but now beating two of the compamy’s top stars
I’d expect a surprise Orton appearance Sunday night, a controversial Rusev win, and a lot of fluff otherwise.
Then we can turn our full attention to WrestleMania.
– Column by Chris Graham