Profiting on the Road to WrestleMania: How to Bet WWE Fastlane
The last Smackdown-only pay-per-view takes place in Columbus, Ohio at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday: WWE Fastlane.
This show will serve as the WWE’s final attempt to get its championships on the correct wrestlers and set up storylines before the organization’s Super Bowl, WrestleMania.
As stated in last month’s Elimination Chamber preview, lines move drastically with just a little bit of money on a wrestler, so be prepared to shop and get the best number possible.
A.J. Styles (c) vs. John Cena vs. Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn vs. Baron Corbin vs. Dolph Ziggler
Fastlane is yet another pay-per-view with a main event that seems to include half the WWE roster. (OK, six competitors, but still.) The obvious choice for last month’s Elimination Chamber was Roman Reigns because of the head-to-head scripted with Brock Lesnar. The “dream match” that has been the talk of Smackdown for almost a year is Shinsuke Nakamura vs. A.J. Styles at WrestleMania for the WWE Championship. Even with a huge number of participants in this “Fatal 6 Way,” the WWE knows Styles-Nakamura will be a global event and its biggest money maker. Is there a path for any other wrestler to contend?
John Cena does bring ratings to Smackdown, but his inclusion in this match just bought Undertaker a few more weeks of gym time before he confronts Cena at WrestleMania. The WWE is overbooking Cena as a loser (same with Nia Jax) for the eventual payoff down the road. The only question is if The Deadman surfaces at Fastlane or Monday Night Raw in Detroit on March 12.
Dolph Ziggler and Baron Corbin are in a continual spiral of demonstrating great skills in the ring, but with no character or storyline juice. If you truly feel like either of these wrestlers could win this match, I would save the wager and buy a Powerball or Mega Millions ticket instead.
That brings us to the Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens angle of, “Hey, I will lay down and let you pin me so you can be champ” that recently sprung up. That immediately disqualifies them from a betting perspective. When you tell the audience you are going to purposefully cheat to win the title, you aren’t winning the title. This has all the makings of these two wrestlers (who are lifelong friends from Quebec) setting up a promo before they get their 10-minute match in New Orleans at the biggest event of the year.
A.J. Styles is the pick, so shop for the best number. From the locker room to the product in front of the camera, it has been really hard for the rest of the Smackdown roster to live up to Styles since he joined the WWE. His match with Nakamura will be fantastic.
The Pick: A.J. Styles -500
SmackDown Women’s Championship
Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Ruby Riott
Ruby Riott, the leader of the “Riott Squad,” gets her first championship match at Fastlane after debuting in Smackdown around Thanksgiving of last year. I have been ready for this storyline to end the second it got started, with the Riott Squad consistently outnumbering and ganging up on their opponents to secure victories. It’s a diluted version of Absolution on RAW and is a great point to fast forward when shuffling through your DVR.
The big story is that there is plenty of evidence to suggest that Charlotte is going to face Asuka at Wrestlemania. That match has potential to steal the biggest show of the year. Seeds have been planted on RAW, with Asuka declining to name a title of her choosing combined with an Emmy-winning performance from Nia Jax after Alexa Bliss shared some tough love with her friend.
Long story short, it’s likely that Asuka will get Charlotte at WrestleMania, making this Fastlane match a slam dunk for betting on the Queen of WWE, Charlotte, to beat Riott.
The only other possibility to consider here is Carmella. Her Money in the Bank title (which allows her to get involved in a world title match of her selection) could be cashed, but with Charlotte likely slated for a match with Asuka, Carmella probably won’t get involved at this event.
I am, however, still putting my money on Carmella, the Princess of Staten Island, to cash against a RAW opponent… maybe at WrestleMania a la Seth Rollins.
The Pick: Charlotte -700
SmackDown Tag Team Championships
The Usos (c) vs. The New Day
If you tune in Sunday night for just the wrestling aspect of the show, this is probably the match of the evening. These two tag teams have had some fantastic matches over the past year and have wonderful chemistry. From a storyline aspect, The Usos made it a point to tell the audience that they have never been on the main card at WrestleMania. This is true: In their nine years with the WWE, they have been on the pre-show card six times. With The New Day publishing their first book — which will require significant out-of-ring commitments, including appearances at multiple Barnes and Nobles locations next week — it doesn’t make sense for the title to change on this card.
The Bludgeon Brothers deserve some mention, as they have already planted the seeds for a rivalry with The Usos. The duo has been rumored to be added to this match, but WWE Creative may be holding back. A triple-threat tag team match for the Smackdown Tag Titles at WrestleMania with all parties involved makes more sense.
— WWE (@WWE) February 28, 2018
Considering RAW lacks depth in the tag team division, we should see one of these three tag teams move from Smackdown after WrestleMania. Given my pick of Carmella cashing on the RAW Women’s Title, there is a huge part of me that hopes The New Day is also shipped over. The pancake training montage to Frank Stallone’s Rocky 4 hit segment for the Mixed Match challenge may have been the most entertaining skit of the year.
— The Honorable Honorable HONORABLE Comiiiiish (@XavierWoodsPhD) January 10, 2018
As for Fastlane, I don’t envision a title change here as the WWE builds up the story between the three tag teams for a showdown at WrestleMania.
The Pick: The Usos -175
United States Championship
I’m not sure what I find less interesting: spring training baseball after the sixth inning or the United States Title. The Jinder Mahal-Randy Orton angle has been going on for the better part of nine months, and there is only so much you can do with one-dimensional angles and wrestlers that have only three moves in their arsenal. I also find Bobby Roode annoying. At first I thought it was because of the babyface character (he was a heel in NXT), but now I realize that Roode’s decision to wear the United States belt outside of his robe is the culprit. Yep, outside of his robe.
— WWE (@WWE) March 7, 2018
I spent some time researching the famous robed champions of the past to see if the title was inside or outside. Turns out Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan and Vince McMahon were on the inside. It seems Roode may want to take a cue from, you know, just legends of the industry and the owner of the promotion.
As for Fastlane, the U.S. Title match has DQ written all over it with interference from Jinder Mahal. There was slight mention that Randy Orton is only missing the U.S. Title to complete the career grand slam, meaning a victory in every title the WWE has to offer. It would make sense for Orton to win by DQ or be gifted a very short United States Title run before Roode gets the ultimate push at the biggest show.
The Pick: Orton -150