As is the case after each PPV event, let’s take a look back at my match predictions.
The WWE powers that be made quite a few changes to the Fastlane card after I had already published my predictions, but I’ll do my best sort out a fair score for the event. There were 10 matches Sunday night, but 3 of them were either added or significantly altered on Sunday. Of the 7 matches known last week I correctly predicted all 7 outcomes. Do I have to fault myself for the company changing plans or can I take the big win here? If I only count the 7 previewed matches then my record for 2019 is now 21-5-3.
Luke Harper made a surprise return at a house show in his hometown over the weekend. It’s been 6 months since Harper has been seen on TV. This live appearance doesn’t guarantee that he’ll be back on TV any time soon, but it’s still good to hear that the man is healthy again and ready for action.
Although she’s been working live events for a few months now, Chelsea Green made her Full Sail debut at this week’s NXT tapings. Unfortunately, she broke her wrist somewhere in the middle of the match. Reports indicate that she kept going and finished the match then went to the hospital after. Both Chelsea and her boyfriend Zack Ryder were sharing photos from the hospital and reporting that the injury was going to require surgery. Hopefully she’ll recover quickly and be able to return sooner rather than later.
This week’s NXT TV saw the semi-finals of the Dusty Rhodes Classic. In the first semi-final match the Forgotten Sons pulled off what I see as a major upset when outside interference from their 3rd man helped them defeat former NXT tag champs Mustache Mountain. In the second match Ricochet & Aleister Black defeated DIY. The two remaining teams will now face each other for the Dusty Cuo and the right to face War Raiders at TakeOver.
Io Shirai and Bianca Belair were in the midst of a number one contender match this week when NXT Womens Champion Shayna Baszler interfered and took out both women. Kairi Sane tried to make the save, but in the end all 3 women had been put to sleep by the champ. In a backstage segment Cathy Kelly revealed that as a result of Shayna’s actions she would now have to defend the title against Belair, Shirai and Sane in a fatal fourway at TakeOver.
Former Ring of Honor standout ACH made his NXT debut at this week’s Full Sail tapings. He’s currently using his real name Albert Hardie Jr.
The semifinals of the latest Cruiserweight tournament were held this week. Cedric Alexander defeated Oney Lorcan and Tony Nese defeated Drew Gulak. One final match between Alexander and Nese will determine who goes on to face Buddy Murphy for the title at Wrestlemania.
Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson have reportedly turned down new WWE contracts. Their current contracts don’t expire until September, and the former Bullet Club members intend to leave at that time. Considering the reputations and star power they brought with them to WWE back in 2016 the duo have been woefully underutilized during their 3 year stint with the company. Anderson seemingly took aim at these rumors via social media by simply saying “Don’t believe everything you read.” Then again, nearly every SDL tag team was featured on TV this week except for them. A lot can change between now and September, but I fully expect to see them leave and join their former New Japan friends in AEW.
Assorted News and Notes
Although they continue pulling double duty on both NXT and the main roster (Triple duty since they’re on both Raw and Smackdown perhaps), Ricochet and Aleister Black are considered to be officially “called up” to the main roster. I expect they’ll wrap up their existing business in NXT at TakeOver and then be assigned full-time roster spots on either Raw or Smackdown after Mania. Reports from this week’s Full Sail taping indicate that they gave a farewell address to the live crowd at the end of the night.
Meanwhile, the Ciampa injury situation seems to have left Johnny Gargano’s status a bit less clear. He’s a prime candidate to take over (no pun intended) the NXT Championship and may need to stick around there a while longer.
PPV Event Plans
NXT TakeOver: New York, Apr. 5
NXT Title: Due to Ciampa’s medical situation a new champion will need to be crowned. No word yet on how they will set that up or who will be in contention.
NXT Tag Titles- War Raiders© vs Ricochet & Aleister Black OR Forgotten Sons
NXT Women’s Title-Shayna Baszler© vs Io Shirai vs Bianca Belair vs Kairi Sane
WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony, Apr. 6
-Degeneration X: Shawn Michaels, HHH, Chyna, X-Pac, Road Dogg, and Billy Gunn
-Honky Tonk Man
-Harlem Heat: Booker T becomes a two-time inductee alongside his brother Stevie Ray. One of the most dominant tag teams during WCW’s 90s heyday, Harlem Heat were 10 time WCW Tag Champions.
Wrestlemania, Apr. 7
The underdog build of the man who has the fans on fire recently continued this week as Kofi Kingston was tricked by Mr. McMahon and beaten down by the Bar at Fastlane. Then in the closing segment of Smackdown, after a phenomenal promo in the ring between McMahon and all three members of the New Day, a challenge was set forth. Next week Kofi will face a gauntlet consisting of Samoa Joe, Randy Orton, Sheamus, Cesaro, and Rowan. IF he’s successful he will get the title match against Daniel Bryan at Wrestlemania. It should be a can’t miss episode of SDL as I fully expect another star making performance from Kingston.
Host: Alexa Bliss- During a “very special” Moment of Bliss segment this week Bliss announced that she would be serving as the host of Wrestlemania this year.
Special Correspondents: Michael Che & Colin Jost of SNL
Universal Title: Brock Lesnar© vs Seth Rollins
Raw Women’s Title: Ronda Rousey© vs Charlotte Flair vs Becky Lynch- Ronda interfered at Fastlane allowing Lynch to win via DQ thus getting her spot back in this match.
Cruiserweight Title: Buddy Murphy© vs winner of current 205 tournament
No Holds Barred: Triple H vs Batista- Batista appeared on Raw this week surrounded by personal security and demanding a Wrestlemania match against Triple H. The WWE COO granted that request on the spot and upped the game to a No Holds Barred Match.
Farewell Match: Kurt Angle vs ?? – Kurt Angle announced on Raw that he would have one last match at Wrestlemania, but no opponent has yet been named. One name being tossed around as a possibility is John Cena. Cena has been rumored for several Wrestlemania matches over the last few months. At one point the talk was that a debuting Lars Sullivan would be built up as a monster to face Cena, but Lars never debuted. Most recently the talk was that the current US Title storyline might lead to Cena vs Samoa Joe, but now it seems more likely that they’ll stick with Joe defending against multiple opponents. Monday March 18 Raw will be in Chicago, the city where rookie John Cena made his television debut by answering an open challenge from Kurt Angle. What better place for Cena to answer the challenge again and offer to send his former rival into retirement.
Miz vs Shane McMahon- After attacking both Miz and his father after their Fastlane loss, Shane appeared on Smackdown this week revealing his motivations and announcing that the two former partners would face each other at Mania.
AJ Styles vs Randy Orton- The two veterans had an excellent exchange of words on Smackdown this week kicked off by Orton taking issue with Styles line about SDL being the “House that AJ Styles built.”
Rumored possible matches: Asuka vs Mandy vs Sonya, Kurt Angle vs John Cena, Sasha & Bayley vs returning stars of the past, Usos vs Hardyz, Beth Pheonix & Natalya in a tag match, Reigns vs McIntyre
- Not So Money Predictions and A Tribute to One of the Greats May 24, 2019
- More surprise returns after MITB May 21, 2019
- Rays lose to Dodgers 7-3 in series opener May 21, 2019
- Buccaneers sign veteran DT Ndamukong Suh May 21, 2019
- MITB fallout includes new feuds and a new WWE title May 21, 2019
- Buccaneers inform Gerald McCoy of releasing him after 9 seasons with team May 20, 2019
- Controversial return, titles change hands May 20, 2019
- It’s Time to Climb a Ladder and Predict What’s in the Briefcase May 17, 2019
- Rays address catching needs, acquire Kratz from Giants May 16, 2019
- Last show before WWE’s MITB May 14, 2019