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Heel Turns: Fastlane could be sleeper show

Posted by Achilles Heel On March 10

Fastlane, the WWE’s final single-brand pay-per-view (at least for now), could be a sleeper show.

The Greek God of Wrestling doesn’t mean it will be a bad show. Fastlane – which should be two words – could be a sleeper because despite some of the matches seemingly being thrown together at the last minute, it could be a terrific wrestling show.

The main event Sunday (WWE Network, 8 p.m.) features AJ Styles defending the WWE Championship in a six-pack challenge against John Cena, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Baron Corbin and Dolph Ziggler. This match features an interesting dynamic. Styles is the only true fan favorite in the match, with Cena, at best, getting a mixed reaction.

There is also an interesting dynamic between Owens and Zayn. Zayn had promised to lay down for Owens during this match, but he nailed Owens with a helluva kick on Smackdown to win a match that included everyone from the six-pack challenge except Cena. Achilles Heel wouldn’t be shocked to see Zayn lay on the mat for Owens at the start of the Fastlane match, only to have other competitors break it up. Will Owens and Zayn work together or will they turn on each other?

The six-pack challenge should be a fun match, but Styles should emerge with the championship. That would keep the WrestleMania title match as Styles vs. Nakamura, which is the match the most fans want to see.

The Usos and the New Day have revived their tag team rivalry, with Jimmy and Jey defending the Smackdown Tag Team Championship at Fastlane. Regardless of what happens, and the Greek God of Wrestling sees the Usos retaining, this should be a terrific match.

Charlotte Flair defends the Smackdown Women’s Championship against Ruby Riott. Flair should retain the title, but the Greek God of Wrestling envisions some sort of twist at the end. Could Bobby Roode, Flair’s partner in the Mixed-Match Challenge on Facebook, come to her aid? Could Royal Rumble-winner Asuka, who has never declared which women’s title she will challenge for at WrestleMania, show up and declare herself a challenger for Flair’s title?

Bobby Roode defending the United States Championship against Randy Orton should be an entertaining match between two fan favorites. In an odd way, Orton, the challenger, should elevate the champion in this match. The only downside is that interference by Jinder Mahal seems inevitable.

Other matches include Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Rusev and a tag team match between Becky Lynch and Naomi and the team of Natalya and Carmella. Nakamura, who has a title shot at WrestleMania due to his Royal Rumble victory, should win, but Rusev should be kept strong. The women’s match, with excellent workers Natalya and Lynch involved, should be good, although fans will need a reason to care.

The bottom line is that, despite very little buildup for some of the matches, Fastlane could be a tremendous wrestling show.


ACTION-PACKED ANNIVERSARY: Ring of Honor’s 16th anniversary show from Las Vegas on Friday was certainly an eventful show. In the main event, Dalton Castle defeated Jay Lethal to retain the Ring of Honor World Championship. Marty Scurll will be Castle’s next challenger at Supercard of Honor XII in New Orleans the night before WrestleMania.

The Ring of Honor Tag Team Championship changed hands, with Jay and Mark Brisco defeating Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley. The Ring of Honor Trios Championship also changed hands, with Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky beat Adam Page and the Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson).

There were also several surprise appearances at the anniversary show. After Kenny King retained the Ring of Honor Television Championship against Silas Young, Austin Aries came out on the ramp. Aries, carrying several belts, including the Impact Wrestling World Championship, said he’s the “belt collector” and he’s coming for the Ring of Honor Television Championship, which he’s never won.

Having the Impact Wrestling champion appear on a Ring of Honor show is surprising, but equally surprising was what happened after Cody Rhodes defeated Matt Taven. Bury the Bear, who has been cheering for Rhodes, was revealed to be Kenny Omega, who attacked Rhodes. The Omega-Rhodes feud is being built up through Ring of Honor and in Japan. Rhodes will face Omega at Supercard of Honor on April 7.


ROUSEY GETS ROWDY: The introduction of Ronda Rousey into WWE has been handled extremely well. From her surprise appearance at the end of the Royal Rumble to the contract signing at Elimination Chamber to the events at Raw the past two weeks, fans have received a tease of Rousey without seeing her in a match. That is being saved for WrestleMania.

Rousey’s debut at WrestleMania is a match three years in the making. She will team with Kurt Angle, currently the Raw general manager, to face the husband-and-wife team of Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. Rousey came to the ring at the behest of The Rock at WrestleMania 31 and hip-tossed Triple H and put an arm-bar on Stephanie. Don’t expect a mat classic from this group at WrestleMania 34, but this should be an entertaining match.


SOMETHING TO PROVE: If you’re reading Heel Turns on Saturday, you still have time to get to Combat Zone Wrestling’s “Proving Grounds” tonight at the Colossal Sports Academy at The Coliseum in Voorhees, N.J. The main event is a Tangled Web match between Matt Tremont and the quick-rising Brandon Kirk. In addition, the REP will defend the CZW Tag Team Championship against the Awakening, Joey Janela will battle Ace Romero and there will be a contract signing involving CZW world champion Rickey Shane Page and CZW Wired champion Maxwell Jacob Friedman for a match at Best of the Best 17.


SWANN SONG? Rich Swann will not be appearing at CZW’s “Proving Grounds. In fact, Swann has reportedly canceled all of his upcoming appearances due to fan reaction from an alleged domestic assault incident last year. The incident led to his release from WWE. There is speculation that Swann will retire from wrestling. Given all that he overcame to reach WWE – Swann was homeless and had some difficult circumstances to overcome – Achilles Heel thinks it is unfair to define Swann by one incident and hopes that he overcomes this hurdle as well and continues his wrestling career.


CHAMBER MUSIC: Roman Reigns won the first seven-man elimination chamber match at WWE’s Elimination Chamber. With the victory, Reigns earns a shot at the WWE Universal Championship at WrestleMania. That title is held, of course, by Brock Lesnar.

Braun Strowman was the star of the men’s elimination chamber match, eliminating every competitor until being eliminated by Reigns. Seth Rollins and Finn Balor were excellent during this match.

Alexa Bliss won the first women’s elimination chamber match. Bliss took advantage of Sasha Banks turning on Bayley after they had worked together for much of the match.

Other results included Cesaro and Sheamus successfully defending the Raw Tag Team Championship against Titus O’Neil and Apollo Crews, Asuka defeating Nia Jax, Matt Hardy beating Bray Wyatt, and, in the kickoff match, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson topping Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel.


HULKING UP: Hulk Hogan was a special guest at Phillies spring training in Clearwater, Fla., on Friday. In an interview at Spectrum Field, Hogan reminisced about wrestling at The Spectrum before Philly’s rabid wrestling fans. Hogan had some incredible matches at The Spectrum, including matches with Andre the Giant and then-WWF champion Bob Backlund during Hogan’s early years as a heel.


TITLE CHANGES: There were two title changes on Impact Wrestling’s “Crossroads” on Thursday. Matt Sydal, who already was the Impact Grand Champion, defeated Taiji Ishimori to capture the X Division Championship. Allie defeated Laurel Van Ness to win the Knockouts Championship.

In the main event, Austin Aries beat Johnny Impact to retain the Impact Wrestling World Championship.


AROUND THE WORLD: WWE is putting more of the “world” in its World Wrestling Entertainment. WWE announced major events in Saudi Arabia and Australia. WWE will present “the Greatest Royal Rumble” at King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Fri., April 27. This Rumble will feature 50 WWE wrestlers. Lost in the announcement of the event is that this is part of a 10-year contract between WWE and the Saudi General Sports Authority, as reported by the Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer, rather than a one-time event.

WWE also announced during Raw this past week that it will be holding a huge stadium show in Australia in October, with speculation that it will be at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, which has the capacity to hold more than 100,000 fans. Ronda Rousey, who headlined a UFC event in Melbourne, is likely to be a major part of the marketing for the Australia show.


ALL IN: The Sears Center Arena in Hoffman States, Ill., will be the site for “All In “ show on Sept. 1. This is a much-publicized show because the purpose is to prove that Ring of Honor talent can sell out a 10,000-seat arena. Cody Rhodes and the Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) are reportedly self-financing the event, a reaction to the Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer replying “not any time soon” when asked if Ring of Honor could sell out an arena with 10,000 fans.


YOUNG LIONS: CHIKARA will hold the first stage of its Young Lions Cup XIV next Saturday (3 p.m.) at The Wrestle Factory. Sixteen rookies enter the tournament to crown the next Cup champion.

CHIKARA has also announced that King of Trios, its biggest event of the year, will be held in Easton from Aug. 31-Sept. 2.


CRUISERWEIGHT TOURNAMENT: The semifinals of WWE’s 205 Live! Cruiserweight Championship Tournament will pit Cedric Alexanders against Roderick Strong in one semifinal, and Mustafa Ali vs. Drew Gulak in the other semifinal. There is enough doubt about the winner in each match to add drama to what should be outstanding action. The tournament final will be held at WrestleMania.


FISH INJURED: Bobby Fish injured his knee at a house show, reportedly suffering injuries to his ACL and MCL. With Fish sidelined, there is a question concerning what will happen to the NXT Tag Team Championship held by Fish and Kyle O’Reilly, his Undisputed Era stablemate. The winners of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic were supposed to face Fish and O’Reilly at the NXT Takeover show in New Orleans. The Greek God of Wrestling won’t spoil the news for you, but he will say that Fish’s injury has implications for both the tag team tournament and the NXT Takeover show the night before WrestleMania.

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Side angle of Cody Parkey's missed field goal