Six of Smackdown Live’s best fight to enter Wrestlemania as WWE Champion at this Sunday’s Fastlane PPV
January 28 – At the Royal Rumble, A.J. Styles successfully defended the championship against both Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn in a handicap match. However, there was controversy as WWE senior official Mike Chioda counted a pinfall for a tag that didn’t happen. Despite a legitimate gripe from both Owens and Zayn, General Manager Daniel Bryan scheduled the both of them to face off on the February 6th edition of Smackdown Live. That match would end in a double disqualification resulting into Bryan declaring a Triple threat match at Fastlane.
Commissioner Shane McMahon would announce on Twitter that the winner of the Dolph Ziggler/Baron Corbin match on the following week’s Smackdown Live would be added to the match, making it a Fatal 4-Way. Both Owens and Zayn would interfere by attacking the competitors to assure their match wasn’t a Fatal-4-Way. McMahon would interject, giving Owens and Zayn singles matches against Corbin and Ziggler respectively. Both Corbin and Ziggler would win their matches and would be added to the match making it a Fatal-5-Way.
On the February 27th edition of Smackdown Live, free agent John Cena after unsuccessfully winning the Elimination Chamber, came to McMahon with a chance to be added to the WWE Championship match. Bryan would agree to giving Cena an opportunity as he would have to defeat Styles in a non-title match. Cena would go on to defeat the champion, thus being added to the championship match making it a Six-Pack challenge.
This match is being contested between the most reliable workers on the brand. A.J. Styles since winning the WWE Championship, has been putting on solid outings and it doesn’t seem like it is going to stop. Although, this match is supposed to give the champion a sense of danger in losing the title, on paper, it doesn’t seem to be one of those situations where Styles is going to lose the championship.
The key with this match is between the rivals. Styles has a score to settle with Cena as he lost their last two matches against each other. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn at this point are dealing with friction in their friendship given what happened on the March 6th edition of Smackdown Live, as Zayn got a pinfall victory over Owens. Overall, this match is Styles’ to lose despite the odds that are stacked against him.
Winner: A.J. Styles via Pinfall on John Cena
WWE’s booking of this match has been a solid one. Styles enters as the champion, wanting to meet the man that he lost to at Wrestle Kingdom 10 in Shinsuke Nakamura. In addition, Styles has to go through five of WWE’s most reliable and top workers on Smackdown Live making for an interesting dynamic for the match to be an exciting one.
Despite the curveballs Fastlane as a show is supposed to be, it is unlikely any champion (especially Styles) would lose their respected championships as they are prominent names entering WrestleMania 34. This match should be an exciting and solid paced match with Cena doing the job and furthering his downward spiral with his Wrestlemania plans being in limbo for the first time.