It’s official! Brock Lesnar will square off with Bill Goldberg for the Universal Championship at WrestleMania.
Fast Lane by all accounts was not a great PPV, but it does mean we’re now in the stretch run to WrestleMania. What matches are set in stone this week? What shape is NXT TakeOver: Orlando beginning to take? And how would we book lead-in to the Undertaker/Roman Reigns match for WrestleMania?
1) Fast Lane was this past Sunday. Were there any surprises for you?
Corey: The majority of the outcomes were all pretty obvious seeing as not many huge changes ever really happen right before WrestleMania. I will say one of the few things that caught me off guard was Roman Reigns defeating Braun Strowman cleanly. That was odd booking to me. As I stated last week, I didn’t know how they would book the women’s championship match, but I can say I’m definitely surprised by the finish. Very odd booking choice as well. And the final surprise was that Jinder Mahal was actually given a spot on a card longer than five minutes!
Josh: Bailey winning the match and ending Charlotte’s undefeated PPV streak was the biggest shocker of the night. I’m fine with them keeping the title on Bailey, but why not have her lose via DQ due to Sasha Banks interference, which is what should have happened.
2) Bill Goldberg captured the WWE Universal Championship from Kevin Owens at Fast Lane. What were your thoughts on the match?
Corey: It went as expected. Goldberg winning the title was a forgone conclusion and I mentioned before that it would make sense to have a Chris Jericho appearance as well. Also if the rumor reports are true then it appears that WWE is afraid of Goldberg getting hurt before WrestelMania so it makes sense that this was a short one as well. I just hope that his match with Lesnar is at least 15 minutes.
Josh: What match? We all knew Goldberg was going to win the title from Kevin Owens, but I didn’t think it would be another squash. Sure the Jericho interference plays a part into this, but if the goal is to build for a Lesnar/Goldberg match at WrestleMania then I don’t really have much confidence that match will be much of anything.
3) This past Monday Night Raw we saw the feud for Undertaker/Roman Reigns kick off. How would you book the build up to this match?
Corey: Well first I’d like to say that those two stole the show in my opinion with Neville and Jack Gallagher coming in as a close second. Roman has been sprinkling teasers here and there regarding this feud. First with his elimination of Taker at the Royal Rumble but also after his win against Strowman you can hear Roman say “This is my yard”. But after this week’s chokeslam I would actually have Roman still play the respectable face and then the Raw right before Mania I would have him cut a promo that shows he’s willing to do whatever it takes to put Taker down and then during the match have him FINALLY have his heel turn and cheat to win. He’ll instantly become the biggest heel in the company and can go from there.
Josh: So there’s three weeks until WrestleMania so let’s take it week by week. Week 1: Roman cuts a promo about how he’s the big dog and this is his yard. Strowman comes out demanding a return match and Foley agrees, but it’s next week and it’s a street-fight. Week 2: Roman Reigns comes down for his match against Strowman and as he’s in the ring waiting a video package plays of Undertaker walking by tombstones of all the wrestlers who thought could challenge his yard. Final tombstone has an empty grave for Roman Reigns. The match begins and right as it looks like Reigns is going to go over Strowman again the lights go dark and Undertaker appears behind Reigns and delivers a tombstone. Strowman wins. Week 3: Undertaker comes out to close Raw with a promo about what how this will be his last ride (if it is indeed his last WrestleMania) and that he will go out proving once again the WWE ring always has and always will be his yard. Reigns jumps the barricade coming in through the crowd and jumps Undertaker. Lays him out, drags him to the top of the ramp and powerbombs him through the announcer’s table. That’s how you build to their WrestleMania match.
4) It’s also official that it will be Ember Moon vs Asuka for the NXT Women’s Championship at NXT Takeover: Orlando. What are your thoughts on this match?
Corey: I am ecstatic! I’m huge fans of both of these women to the point that I really don’t care who wins. Asuka has been an amazing champion since she won the title almost a year ago and already has the distinction of being the longest running NXT Champion, male or female, and Ember Moon can do no wrong in my eyes so regardless of who comes out the winner, we the fans are going to be entertained. Hopefully these two Main Event Takeover that weekend.
Josh: Super excited for this contest! We’re big fans of both these talents at Coast 2 Coast and it’s arguably the biggest women’s match in NXT to date.
5) On this weeks episode of NXT we got to see Shinsuke Nakamura vs TJ Perkins. What do you think of the current standing for both of these superstars?
Corey: Obviously Shinsuke is about to have a main roster call up. He’s already had two runs with the NXT Championship and doesn’t need a third. Most likely it’s going to happen either the night after WrestleMania or the night of the WWE Draft. As far as TJ Perkins, he’s slowly becoming an afterthought in my eyes. Yes, I know he was the winner of the CWC but it’s completely clear that only happened due to Kota Ibushi and Zack Sabre Jr. not signing with WWE just yet. He’s got talent but he just never fully clicked with the WWE crowd and part of that has to do with how the cruiserweights were being booked. I say have him repackaged with a new gimmick and try again. There’s definitely something there he just has to find it.
Josh: Nakamura is definitely on the upward trajectory for WWE and it’s likely he’ll be hitting the main roster in the next couple of months. For Perkins things are a little murkier. I really like Perkins and I’m constantly in awe of how easy he makes everything look. I also think that’s part of his problem. Because everything is so fluid and easy for him it sometimes doesn’t feel like we’re not getting everything we could from him. Also I think there’s a really good heel Perkins hiding in there somewhere.
– Austin Aries stepping up to challenge Neville got me beyond excited for the next cruiserweight championship feud!
– Rumor is it that WWE plans on revisiting Roman vs Lesnar sometime later this year. If that’s the case I have no problem with this at all. The last time those two met it was one of the most physical matches I’d seen in WWE in a loooong time.
– Is the cruiserweight division finally turning a corner? After the match at FastLane and Austin Aries returning to action on Tuesday it definitely looks like we might be getting a rebirth of the division.
– Finn Balor also returned to action at a house show in Buffalo. Could he make a surprise return in the lead-up to WrestleMania?