The 2018 Fastlane pay-per-view is scheduled for this upcoming Sunday night and it appears as though the card has been finalized outside of any last-minute additions, which means it’s time for another look at the superstars on the roster who have been skipped over.
For whatever reason, these men and women from the brand weren’t deemed important enough to find a spot for at the event—at least as far as it’s currently being advertised. Some of those omissions might be justified, while others below are a bit more questionable. Let’s take a look at who will be sitting this show out.
Considering his level of involvement in the United States Championship match between Bobby Roode and Randy Orton, it’s very surprising to see that Jinder Mahal is not on this card in any fashion whatsoever.
There’s a chance this is because the plan for WrestleMania is to have all three face off in a Triple Threat match, but I’m more suspicious of the idea that WWE probably didn’t have a Six-Pack Challenge originally planned and then realized it would be overkill for both a six-man match and a three-man match to be on the same card.
I do expect to see Jinder Mahal make an appearance at Fastlane somehow, even without him being in an official match capacity, but his screen time might be relegated to a pre-show panel guest spot or a backstage interview promo. Then again, he may cause some sort of interference during the title match, inserting himself in the fray to make a statement that he should be fighting for the championship.
Where has The Perfect 10 been, lately? Nowhere, it seems, as the last thing I can remember him doing was fighting Baron Corbin over the idea that he was ranked #10 in the SmackDown LIVE Top Ten list—a list which has never been updated, nor explained.
If the 10th highest ranked person on the whole roster has spent a month off television and he isn’t even injured, it brings into question what the purpose of this whole list is and why Tye Dillinger can’t seem to get any kind of lasting momentum, despite having his supporters.
It’s unlikely this will change any time soon, so if you’re looking for The Perfect 10 to get a big push for WrestleMania season, you’ll be disappointed. Place your bets that he’ll be in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal instead of doing anything more notable, as he can’t even get a few matches leading up to Fastlane, sadly.
We’re coming up to just about a year since Mojo Rawley won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal and all he’s accomplished has been a tag title shot that went nowhere (admittedly, not his fault) and a heel turn that quickly dissolved into nothingness.
A year ago, looking into the future of March 2018 and seeing him not even remotely in contention to be added to this card would seem crazy, but within the current time frame, no one will bat an eye.
His former partner Zack Ryder has had even less success, since he was the loser of that split between The Hype Bros and has not had any bit of momentum to flip it around and undo those losses.
A few months ago, Sin Cara was randomly hanging in the United States Championship hunt right around the time he was signing a new deal with the company. Coincidentally, soon after he signed that multi-year deal, he stopped making appearances, almost as if WWE were buttering him up to stay and then said “never mind” about pushing him.
As Maria Kanellis is still out with her pregnancy, Mike Kanellis has been put on the backburner with absolutely no mentions of his character even existing on television in a long, long time. The good news is when he’s brought back into the mix, he’ll be in better shape than he’s been in a long while. The bad news for his fans is that there’s no indication of when that will be.
From the Women’s Division
As it stands, the women’s division will be represented through the SmackDown Women’s Championship match between Charlotte Flair and Ruby Riott and a random throwaway tag team match between Natalya and Carmella against Becky Lynch and Naomi.
The title match automatically implies an appearance by the other two members of The Riott Squad, Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan, so those two can be checked off the list, despite how they aren’t officially performing.
This lineup leaves three women on the outs: Lana, Nikki Bella and Tamina.
With regards to Tamina Snuka, she is dealing with a torn rotator cuff, so the likelihood of her returning any time soon is negligible. For all we know, she could be out for the entire rest of 2018, but she’s at least on the shelf for a few months or so.
Nikki Bella is no longer dealing with her injuries, as she was able to return for the Royal Rumble, but she’s still someone I feel you can bet on not popping up here at all. She is still seemingly in limbo between working other aspects of her career and wanting to stick around WWE, while not fully committing to either side. At least for now, I expect nothing to change compared to what it has been for the past year and she’ll probably stay on the sidelines (by which I mean, she may not even be backstage for this show, but she definitely stands less of a chance of competing).
Lana actually could have been booked, but there isn’t anyone left on the roster for her to fight, so she’s a sacrifice of the numbers game. If there were another babyface, she probably would have been teaming with Natalya and Carmella while Becky Lynch and Naomi would be joined by whoever that third face would be. As it stands, that’s not a thing, so Lana will remain on the sidelines.
From the Tag Team Division
Two tag teams are out because one of their members is dealing with an injury: The Colons and The Singh Brothers — although Sunil Singh is expected to always be by Jinder Mahal’s side, so if The Modern Day Maharaja shows up, Sunil Singh will, too. The same can’t be said for Epico and Primo.
Ever since The Fashion Files became a YouTube-only show, the segments featuring Breezango and The Ascension haven’t been focused on pretty much at all, pushing those four out of the limelight quite a bit. Neither team has a match here, and unless they’re being fed to The Bludgeon Brothers or Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin on the kickoff show or something like that, we can expect to see all four teams accomplishing nothing.
Those two last mentioned teams are the biggest omissions from the tag team side of things, but I wouldn’t count out the idea of Harper and Rowan making their presence known in the SmackDown Tag Team Championship match by interfering and causing a no-contest.
Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin, on the other hand, I think just might have been skipped over with no plans to correct that. Not everyone gets to compete on every show, and this will get even harder after WrestleMania, when Raw and SmackDown LIVE share the time.