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411’s WWE Fastlane 2023 Preview

October 7, 2023 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
WWE Fastlane Image Credit: WWE

Hello 411 guys, gals, enbies, and everyone else! Welcome to 411’s WWE Fastlane preview! I’m Jeremy Thomas and tonight WWE’s latest PPV heads to Indianapolis for a (for now) surprisingly light show. We have only five matches at the time of this writing (before Smackdown ends), the fewest since WWE Elimination Chamber in February — and that one had to save time for the raising and lowering of the Chamber. I expect at last one, maybe two matches to be added by the time of the show but in the meantime we have a few matches with intriguing potential to get into. So without further ado, let’s hop to to it!

The LWO vs. Bobby Lashley & The Street Profits

Image Credit: WWE

First up we have a six-man battle that has been brewing for a few weeks since midway through last month. The alliance of Lashley and the Street Profits has been a nice one to reinvigorate all involved, and they’ve been targeting the LWO since Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins beat Cruz Del Toro & Joaquin Wilde, then beat down the LWO. They also assaulted the stable after Rey Mysterio and Santos Escobar’s US Title match, which led to this match being made. It’s not the most complex or nuanced feud we’ve ever seen, but it has been a decent enough introductory feud for Lashley and the Profits as a trio with the LWO making good sympathetic babyfaces.

There’s a lot of potential for this match to deliver. All the known men in this match can obviously go; we don’t know if the LWO’s third member will be Del Toro, Wilde or some mystery person. If WWE wants to finally bring Carlito in, this would be a good way to do it but it would also put WWE in a tough booking situation where you don’t want to have a new return/arrival lose, and yet Lashley and the Profits really could use the win to establish themselves. In the end, it makes more sense for Lashley and the Profits to come out ahead because the LWO can take a loss without hurting them too badly and any potential debut doesn’t have to take the pin.

WINNER: Bobby Lashley & The Street Profits

Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship Match
Finn Bálor & Damian Priest vs. Cody Rhodes & Jey Uso

Image Credit: WWE

The Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships have cooled off every so slightly lately, as they’ve been used as props for the Judgment Day’s constantly bubbling tensions between them. I’m not complaining about that by any stretch; a title should be a prop to help build storylines, after all. They haven’t particularly been the focus of those tensions, but that also works for me because the storylines around Jey Uso and the Judgment Day’s issues are more compelling than one that sees Jey and Cody randomly teaming up for the titles.

There are a lot of ways that WWE could go with this one because of the number of moving pieces here. The question of trust around Jey Uso could easily lead to miscommunication between Rhodes and Jey, while Jey has also had some growing problems with Drew McIntyre who has been teasing a heel turn. On the other hand, there are those problems between Balor and Priest. WWE needs to pull the trigger on Balor and Priest’s problems coming to a head, as they’ve been teased out for about three months now. Judgment Day could absolutely capitalize on the amount of interference they can bring between Dom, Rhea and their ally JD McDonagh, but that would feel like running the same finish that they’ve been running for months now. I’m predicting that the tag champs finally implode, which allows Cody and Jey to pick up the win. There are far more storyline options they can build out of that than if they just rinse, lather, repeat with the “Judgment Day cheats to win” option.

WINNER: Cody Rhodes & Jey Uso (NEW Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions)

John Cena & LA Knight vs. Jimmy Uso & Solo Sikoa

Image Credit: WWE

John Cena’s return to WWE for this current run has done a fair amount of good, even if it hasn’t been jaw-droppingly impactful. Cena has been able to have interactions with some of the newer blood of WWE stars and he’s provided a decent enough stand-in feud for The Bloodline while Roman Reigns is gone. Adding LA Knight to the whole situation is just icing on the cake, as it sets Knight up to have his breakout moment where he rises toward the top of the card. Knight also notably had an interaction with Paul Heyman where he implied a future feud with Roman Reigns, something I don’t think they’re ready for yet but which could absolutely happen down the line.

There may not be any titles on the line in this match, but the stakes are pretty high from a meta standpoint. Having Knight take a loss now could hurt his ascension; at the same time, beating Cena would be huge for Jimmy and Solo. WWE could play out a situation where Reigns comes in and takes out Knight, allowing his minions to get the win over Cena; after all, WWE Crown Jewel is coming up next month so they have to set up something for Reigns to do. That said, I think we more likely get Cena and Knight taking home the win here, which maybe leads to a tag match at Crown Jewel if Cena is still available at that point. (If not, maybe a six-man tag where Cody, Jey & Knight take on The Bloodline?) Whatever the case, it seems far more likely that Cena and Knight have their hands raised here to continue the latter’s elevation.

WINNER: John Cena & LA Knight

WWE Women’s Championship Match
IYO SKY vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka

Image Credit: WWE

It wasn’t long ago that Asuka was WWE Women’s Champion and yet felt kind of like the third wheel in a feud between Bianca Belair and Charlotte Flair. Now Asuka has moved into the Belair position of that situation, with IYO SKY in the champion’s spot. I think it’s working better for SKY because she also has Damage CTRL stuff going on, which adds a bit more intrigue into this feud as Bayley accepted the match in SKY’s behalf. We’re certainly going to have some sort of developing issues with Bayley and SKY, which much like the Judgment Day tension has been on a slow burn but is going to have to heat up at some point.

SKY is one of WWE’s best in-ring talents regardless of gender, and we know what Asuka and Charlotte can do so there isn’t much concern about how this match will play out in terms of in-ring skill. It’s the booking and the storyline that will matter here. Now is definitely not the time to take the title off of SKY, who was elevated with her Money in the Bank cash-in and will do well to have an eventual feud with Bayley over the title when the inevitable jealousy-motivated turn happens. I expect that Bayley will get involved here and perhaps almost inadvertently cost SKY the match before the Genius of The Sky turns it around and picks up the win (presumably on Asuka because — well, Charlotte).

WINNER: IYO SKY (STILL WWE Women’s Champion)

World Heavyweight Championship Last Man Standing Match
Seth Rollins vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

Image Credit: WWE

While WWE has done a good job of building Shinsuke Nakamura up through his feud with Seth Rollins, it’s always felt a little like an anticlimatic rivalry to me. I love Nakamura, but he does not at all feel like the person who is going to take the title from Rollins and that hasn’t changed here. After Rollins got the win at WWE Payback, it seemed like a good time to end the feud but WWE wanted to get a little more juice out of it. To their credit, Nakamura and Rollins have given their all here and they’ve been working well together. Even so, the rematch seems more than a little like a holding pattern feud.

The storyline here — that Nakamura has been targeting Rollins’ hurt back — gives then an easy blueprint for the match and I expect nothing less than a very good contest here. The two work very well in the ring together and in another time or place, I might be convinced Nakamura has a chance to win. But here, I have little expectation to see anything other than Rollins retaining the title. The bigger question here is that Rollins will probably be in a bad spot if Nakamura spends so much time targeting his back during the match. Is this the point where Priest cashes in his briefcase? It would elevate Priest, give the Judgment Day another chance to pull the trigger on Priest’s split from the group, and set up a possible Priest/Rollins match for the title at Crown Jewel. I’m leaning toward that happening here, which also allows for the Rollins vs. Nakamura feud to end.

WINNER: Seth Rollins (STILL World Heavyweight Champion)

And that’s all we have for WWE Fastlane! I fully expect us to get at least one more match added here (if not two), but what we have should make for a fun if somewhat slight PPV — which is fine for a C-tier show. Thank you as always for reading and remember that we will have live coverage of the show courtesy of Scott Slimmer right here on 411mania.com. I’ll see you all later as I have to run — but in the meantime, here’s a GIF of WWE’s latest signee for no reason, certainly not any related to the PPV…

Image Courtesy of AEW

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WWE Fastlane, Jeremy Thomas