The 2015 edition of the Fastlane pay-per-view is the final event before WrestleMania 31, and the stakes for the show are through the roof for the top WWE Superstars on the roster, writes Donald Wood for Bleacher Report.
The stacked inaugural Fastlane card is headlined by Roman Reigns squaring off against Daniel Bryan for the opportunity to advance to WrestleMania's main event and stand toe-to-toe with Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
Add in several interesting undercard bouts, including John Cena vs. Rusev for the United States Championship and Dean Ambrose vs. Bad News Barrett for the Intercontinental Championship, and all wrestling fans will have something to latch on to Sunday.
Here is a match-by-match breakdown of WWE Fastlane and the predicted winners in each bout.
Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan to end in a no contest
The battle between Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan for the right to main event WrestleMania should be one of the most interesting main events in recent months.
Reigns won the 2015 Royal Rumble, but The Authority tricked him into defending his title shot at Fastlane against the winner of the Bryan vs. Seth Rollins match. Since Bryan was victorious over Mr. Money in the Bank, Reigns and Bryan have been engaged in a classic face vs. face feud.
The biggest complaint against Reigns (besides his lackluster promo skills) is his inability to put together interesting matches. Fortunately, he will not be asked to do much work against one of the most skilled all-around performers in the business.
After Bryan carries Reigns to an adequate match, WWE champion Brock Lesnar should get involved by attacking both men. Whether The Authority makes the match no disqualification or Paul Heyman distracts the ref so Lesnar can attack each man without a DQ, the best-case scenario is a no-contest finish that leads to a Triple Threat at WrestleMania.
Reigns vs. Lesnar may be interesting to WWE officials, but the fans would rather see Bryan added to the mix for WrestleMania 31.
Rusev to defeat John Cena
John Cena and Rusev have been locked in an entertaining feud since Royal Rumble, and the combatants will go to war in the ring for the United States Championship Sunday.
Cena is one of the greatest Superstars in WWE history and one of the most popular wrestlers today. On the other hand, Rusev and his manager, Lana, have emerged as top heels in the company and have made perfect antagonists for Cena.
After being built as one of the strongest forces in wrestling, Rusev deserves to earn a victory over Cena at Fastlane. While not many wrestlers amass clean wins over the face of the WWE, Rusev has serious long-term upside, and a win against Cena would legitimize his character.
Despite losing at Fastlane, Cena would bounce right back and take the victory at WrestleMania, but the win for Rusev would instantly launch him into the upper echelon of Superstars even when he goes on to lose this feud overall.
Look for Rusev to add a non-submission finisher in this match in order to pin Cena clean.
Dean Ambrose to defeat Bad News Barrett
The build to the Intercontinental Championship match between Bad News Barrett and Dean Ambrose has been porous at best, but all of the pieces are there for a very successful Fastlane match.
Ambrose is one of the most popular stars in the WWE today, and Barrett also has a very large following. Not only are both performers fan favorites, but they are also fighting for the company's top secondary title.
Despite the WWE Universe loving all of the pieces, it's still hard to get behind this bout.
Since Barrett has been losing almost every match he has been booked in since winning the belt, the hope is that Ambrose wins the title Sunday and the WWE decides it's the right time to begin booking the new champion properly.
If there was a Superstar with the fan support to go on a winning streak and bring legitimacy to the IC title, it would be the "Lunatic Fringe" Dean Ambrose. On the other hand, Ambrose could win the title and begin losing to everyone, just as so many other champions have in the past.
Paige to defeat Nikki Bella
It's hard to care about WWE's Divas division after watching NXT on Wednesdays, but the title match at Fastlane between defending champion Nikki Bella and Paige should spawn an interesting storyline heading into WrestleMania.
Paige has been excellent since coming up from NXT, and it's time for the WWE to give her another run with the division's top title. The hope for this match is that Brie Bella is the one who eventually costs Nikki the victory.
Brie and Nikki were involved in a blood feud that lasted months, but that storyline simply went away when Brie turned heel and started following her sister. The hope is that this has been a ruse all along, and just like Daniel Bryan with the Wyatt Family, Brie is biding time before she turns on her sister.
Brie costing Nikki the Divas Championship would give Paige something to do as the champion, and it would begin the Bella vs. Bella WrestleMania feud.
The Usos to defeat Tyson Kidd and Cesaro
One of the most interesting storylines of the last month is the tag team rivalry between defending champions The Usos and the pairing of Tyson Kidd and Cesaro. Add in the influence of their respective wives (Naomi and Natalya), and this has been a fun undercard build.
Kidd and Cesaro are two of the most talented performers in the company, and they deserve the titles, but they should lose at Fastlane when Natalya accidentally costs the team the victory. She has been teasing a heel turn for weeks, and after Kidd and Cesaro berate her for what she did, she can attack Naomi and go full-blown heel.
With all three members of the team heel and focused on winning the titles, Kidd and Cesaro should get a rematch at WrestleMania and steal the titles then. The Usos have been great as tag team champions, but it's almost time for a changing of the guard.
Card in full:
Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan
Rusev vs. John Cena
Dean Ambrose vs. Bad News Barrett
Paige vs. Nikki Bella
The Usos vs. Tyson Kidd and Cesaro
Goldust vs. Stardust
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