The Road to Wrestlemania is in full swing, but we still have one final stop before “the greatest show of all.” All hands on deck as we venture into WWE Fastlane! Here are my reactions from the show. WARNING: Spoilers abound!
PRE-SHOW: Paul Heyman on MizTV
To paraphrase the Miz, “REALLY?” Did they even need to bring in MizTV just for a Heyman promo? I mean, let’s face it: when Heyman speaks, everyone listens. Yes, that includes the time when he was attached to guys like Curtis Axel, Ryback and Cesaro. The man behind the “1 in 21-1” needs no “special ring segment,” unless of course it’s a rub. Heyman somehow managed to further the Miz-Mizdow storyline a bit just by saying that he didn’t like how Mizdow was looking at him. Other than that, it was a waste of a segment from everyone involved.
Big Show, Kane and Seth Rollins (with J&J Security) def. Dolph Ziggler, Erick Rowan and Ryback
So we kicked off the WWE Fastlane proper with the 6-man tag. Crowd was hot for both Ziggler and Rollins, but it quickly dissipated once Kane entered the fray. The finish came after a knockout punch (or, dare I say, a cheap shot) from Big Show. More importantly, this match served as the setting for the return of the Viper, Randy Orton.
Goldust def. Stardust
A bit of setup before the match between The American Dream Dusty Rhodes and Goldust, with Goldy not making any promises to not hurt Cody–err, Stardust. The match itself was reflective of the overall story, from Goldust’s hesitation to inflict major damage on his brother to Stardust’s reaction to the “Cody” chants in the crowd. If we’re scoring wrestling matches based on storytelling this easily gets either a 4 or a 5 to me; however, the very slow pace of the match itself did not resonate well with the crowd. The ref botch at the end did not help matters either, but Stardust’s reactions after the announcement of the winner played to the botch itself, which kind of covered it nicely. It was Stardust’s post-match beatdown of Goldust that made this really special. Stardust was really in his element here, and made me want to watch their impending Wrestlemania match. But the question remains: is Cody Rhodes truly dead?
Cesaro and Tyson Kidd (with Natalya) def. The Usos (with Naomi) to win the WWE Tag Titles
God, I hate Cesaro’s music. They should use Kidd’s superior music instead. This was a typical Usos match where the match starts slow and then builds up to a fast paced finish, but this time, Kidd gets the win for The Brass Ring Club via his Fisherman’s Neckbreaker. Kinda standard tag team match where no one really stood out (which kinda sucks considering we have both Kidd and Cesaro).
Triple H confronts The Vigilante Sting
So apparently the story here is that Sting is out to get the WWE for leaving his legacy behind these past 14 years (this is WWE so TNA doesn’t count). Whatever floats your boat Haitch. And no speaking lines from the Stinger? Well, in either case, Bat vs. Sledgehammer will happen in Wrestlemania. Hunter did get a Scorpion Death Drop for all his troubles though. Still not sold on the match itself, but hey, it’s Sting.
Nikki Bella (with Brie Bella) def. Paige to retain the Divas title
LOL at Lilian Garcia declaring Nikki as the Women’s champion at the intro. Another slow-paced match which was a bit hard to watch especially if you were spoiled by the NXT Divas matches. Nikki busting out those power-type moves was surely interesting and shows a bit of credence to their training. Ending was abrupt as well, with Paige having a bit of a wardrobe malfunction which forced them to call an audible.
Bad News Barrett retains his Intercontinental Title via a Dean Ambrose DQ… or did he?
Look, Renee, no one will believe you if you say that Dean Ambrose is a hard man to find. I also didn’t believe it when Maggle says that BNB is a 5-time Intercontinental Champion. It just shows how the title has devaluated over the years. NJPW’s Intercontinental title has more prestige than WWE’s for crying out loud. It’s also rare to see the crowd dead in a Dean Ambrose match. This had a somewhat old-school DQ finish with the face beating the heck of the chickenshit heel opponent and Ambrose running away with the belt. There’s nothing wrong with the finish, except that it did not really belong on PPV. They better follow it up with promos expected of two of the better talkers in the roster today, or else this’ll fall flat.
Bray Wyatt trolled everyone and called out The Undertaker for a Wrestlemania match
BRAY WYATT JUST PLAYED EVERYONE LIKE A DAMN FIDDLE!!! Words cannot express the epicness of Wyatt’s trolling, which came complete with druids and a coffin. Seriously, just watch it.
Rusev (with Lana) def. John Cena to retain his US Title
How come this match gets a “formal championship match” intro and the others don’t? Rusev pretty much dominated Old Man Cena for around 3/4ths of the match until Cena hit his Moveset of Doom sequence. In the end, Rusev struggled to get Cena to tap via The Accolade which forces Lana to come in with the distraction. Rusev makes use of the distraction and adjusts Cena’s nuts before slapping The Accolade again for the win. Completely logical booking (and none of the SuperCena stuff for once) that helps further their feud until Wrestlemania.
Roman Reigns def. Daniel Bryan
This match served as the match that could have convinced the viewers to BALEE DAT. And thanks to some Cena-level booking, it worked, kind of. I’m convinced that Reigns can hang with the best of them. I’m convinced that Daniel Bryan is such an exceptional wrestler that he was able to carry this match all throughout. I’m also convinced that Brock Lesnar will utterly destroy Roman Reigns come Wrestlemania. Now I’m interested to see if Reigns can further improve and make further BALEEVERS out of the IWC. Whatever WWE did here, it surely established Reigns as a legit presence. However, come Wrestlemania, it’s gutcheck time for Reigns (and the whole WWE as well).
WWE Fastlane surely felt like Sunday Night Raw, and I BALEE DAT we can get rid of these PPVs in between the Rumble and Mania. Whatever WWE set out to do to set the Mania card was mostly a success, but it could’ve been easily accomplished on a single Monday Night Raw as well. It also shows the discrepancy between the NXT and main roster creative teams as well.
We still have 34 days though, and that’s a lot of time. BALEE DAT.
Images from WWE, Inc.