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This weekend marks the final bump on the road to Wrestlemania, in the shape of Fastlane. Many may see this as an unnecessary stop, but this years card certainly gives us a lot to be intrigued by, that could have big implications on the looming show of shows.

WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs Daniel Bryan

Since his short but exciting title shot, immediately after his Elimination Chamber victory, it has felt like Bryan should get a fair rematch further down the line. Despite his best efforts to prevent it, Reigns will have to defend his title just 3 weeks before a potential Wrestlemania showdown with Edge.

In a tightly fought steel cage match, a win over Jey Uso earned Bryan the opportunity at the gold. Jey would try and weasel his way into the title match again by making himself the special enforcer, however a loss to Edge this past Friday gave the ultimate opportunist the role instead.

With all eyes on the tribal chief and his associates, is Bryan perhaps distracted from another threat? Perhaps Sunday we’ll see how much Edge wants the title opportunity all for himself.

My Prediction: It’s always looked as if we were going to get Reigns vs Edge at Wrestlemania, but in recent weeks Bryan has really put a spanner in the works. His recent passionate promos have really sold the idea of him being involved in a triple threat at Wrestlemania to me. However if he is to get there, I don’t see it via winning this Sunday. I think Reigns will end up retaining.

Drew McIntyre vs Sheamus (No Disqualification)

With a world title match on the horizon, McIntyre must go through one final battle with his former friend, Sheamus. And that’s exactly what it will be. A battle. The two haven’t held back in their recent clashes on Raw, and Fastlane shouldn’t be any different.

Sheamus turned on Drew several weeks ago, in a hunt to go after (at that point) Drew’s title and the feuds been building ever since. They would meet in the chamber however not one-on-one, although it is interesting to note Drew was the man to eliminate Sheamus from the match.

The animosity between the two has been heightened by the fact these two have been good friends for a long time. They both came over to the US with each other to chase their wrestling dream. With this real life background, the feud has become extremely personal.

My Prediction: Going into Wrestlemania Drew needs to look strong and another win over Sheamus here will help build him momentum, so I’ve got to go for him.

Women’s Tag Team Championship: Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax (c) vs Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair

The build to Bianca and Sasha’s Wrestlemania match has been a weird one, with the focus being on the classic ‘how will they coexist’ troupe, rather than the match itself. In fact you’d be forgiven for thinking Reginald was Sasha’s opponent at Wrestlemania, with the heavy involvement he has had in the build.

This will be the second attempt at the titles for Sasha and Bianca, the last being at Elimination Chamber where Banks took the loss for her team.

A close eye will have to be kept on Reginald, who seems to have aligned himself with Nia in recent weeks. After being rejected countless times by Banks, he could play a key role on the outside.

My Prediction: Although neither Sasha or Bianca should really be eating a pinfall on the road to their big title match, I think Nia and Shayna are going to retain. Hopefully that would take the feud away from the tag title scene for the remainder of the build.

Intercontinental Championship: Big E (c) vs Apollo Crews

Apollo has had a number of failed opportunities at the title as of late, which has left Big E hungry for a new challenge. However a change of attitude from Apollo has seen him go to new lengths to get another shot at the belt.

Big E was out injured for a couple of weeks after an attack from Apollo, ending in him dropping the steel steps onto his head. Since then we have seen a huge transformation in Crews, embracing his roots of Nigerian royalty. A change perhaps prompted by his interactions with Reigns at the start of the year.

My Prediction: For me this is the hardest match to call on the card. Big E has been a strong champion, and perhaps deserves to hold it for a bit longer. However this is the fifth go at the title Apollo has had this year, and with this newly found character I think he’ll be the man walking out as champion.

Shane McMahon vs Braun Strowman

Well. The match you never knew you didn’t want.

Shane and Braun have had issue with one another since just before Elimination Chamber, when Braun was left out of the World title match. Since then Shane has looked to outsmart Braun to make him look stupid.

At this moment in time it’s now unknown whether the match will even take place. The match was announced this past week on Raw, but since then it’s been quietly taken off the official card on the Website. I guess we will have to wait and see whether it will feature on Sundays show.

My Prediction: If the match does indeed take place, I’m predicting a no contest. It looks like this is building to a blow off match at Wrestlemania, so I think they may go with an inconclusive ending to then set up a rematch. Who Knows, maybe Shane took the match off the website himself, to outsmart Braun, so he wouldn’t show up.

Alexa Bliss vs Randy Orton

A rare intergender contest here, although it’s very likely this won’t be an ordinary match. We have seen through the pandemic era the rise of cinematic matches and the story of this one would probably lend itself more to that setting.

Since Orton set The Fiend on fire at TLC, we’ve seen a slow shift in character for the viper. Alexa’s tormenting mind games have been ongoing for months, taunting Orton that The Fiend is coming back for him.

Now there has been a whole lot of spooky shenanigans to get to this point, but this meeting is certainly intriguing. The Fiend has been absent since late December and there is certainly a good chance we could see his return, in some form, this Sunday. Perhaps sporting a new look.

My Prediction: I wouldn’t be surprised if The Fiend plays a role in this match, whether that be in person or another way. I think because of this Alexa will come away with a victory, to add to the build of what appears to be a build to an Orton vs Fiend showdown at Wrestlemania.

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July 2022