Fastlane 2016 Review

Well, that was disappointing wasn’t it. No swerves, no heel turns, no surprises and average quality matches. It was everything we expected it to be, a nothing show with a disappointing conclusion. I’ll get to the main event in due time, but the man we all thought would win (the wrong man) did win.

US Championship: Kalisto (c) defeated Alberto Del Rio

The US Championship is on the line during the Fastlane pre show. I wouldn’t normally watch the pre show, they tend to be incredibly boring filler with a throw away match. However considering it’s a 2 out of 3 falls match and that Smackdown announcer Mauro Ranallo is on commentary, I’d say that’s a good enough reason.

A few minutes into the match Alberto Del Rio uses a chair to inflict damage to Kalisto before repeatedly throwing him into the baracades. As a result Del Rio suffers an early disqualification, first fall to Kalisto but a lot of damage has been done. He immediately levels the score with his double foot stomp, but for once he doesn’t take 10 minutes setting it up. It looked really good and much for impactful than normal. Most importantly Kalisto didn’t have to hang there waiting like a mug.

Amazingly despite the attack, Kalisto doesn’t seem to be suffering in anyway. So much for selling your injuries. The match features some awesome moves, including a brutal double stomp on the barricade. Annoyingly, Kalisto does have to hang there a little bit for this one though. Del Rio is in fact obsessed with doing that move, he tries it four time in total and doesn’t once using his cross armbar!

The match ends with a surprise roll up grabbing the 3rd fall. So much for a decisive victory to end this feud right? Kalisto looked like he got lucky again, surely that’s not what WWE were going for? Oh well, onto the main show I guess!

Tamina & Naomi defeated Becky Lynch & Sasha Banks

This tag team match has always felt like just a way of keeping Becky and more specifically Sasha busy until Wrestemania. In honesty, it was a nothing match. Tamina and Naomi kept Becky Lynch down for the most part before a hot tag. After a Rear View from Naomi it looked like the two remaining member of Team B.A.D were about to grab the victory.

I’d been expecting Tamina and Naomi to go over, mainly due to them losing all of the singles matches in this feud. That’s how it normally works, not this time. Lynch and Banks got the victory. With them both having momentum going into Wrestlemania maybe we’ll get the triple threat I’d predicted after the Royal Rumble after all.

IC Title: Kevin Owens (c) defeated Dolph Ziggler

Kevin Owens comes out first. I really hate it when the champion comes out first, it just doesn’t feel right. Also I don’t know why, but I’ve just noticed how out of date Dolph Ziggler’s TitanTron is. He’s got shorter blonde hair and trunks not tights. It’s not like he changed his look last week after all!

There are two ways to look at this match. Firstly, yes we have seen it a lot recently so you could be slightly bored of these two wrestling each other. However, secondly, they always put on a good match and that’s exactly what we got at Fastlane.

I will criticise the fact that we got three superkicks within a minute though. Not one can put someone down for a three count. I remember when that move ended matches in an instant. Now it’s as over used as the suicide dive. Everyone and their Nan’s are doing them.

Despite being a decent performance, I can’t get too excited about the match, as we have seen most of it before but it’s still enjoyable. Mainly due to Kevin Owens talking trash as always. Especially to Michael Cole. A Pop Up Powebomb wins the match for Owens and hopefully puts this feud to bed for a while.

Big Show, Ryback & Kane defeated The Wyatt Family

I’ve got several questions I need to ask for this match. 1. How in anyway is Ryback a ‘titan of WWE’? 2. When will Braun Strowman get a new pair of trousers that don’t look like he’s wet himself. 3. Why am I supposed to be excited for this match?

Big Show and Kane are two legends who both peaked few years ago. Ryback is, Ryback. How are these guys a threat to The Wyatt’s? As you’d expect the match is slow and plodding. The Wyatt’s dominate most of the early bout, it’s rather boring though. The criwd aren’t really into it either, other than the odd ‘Feed Me More’ chant, yet even that doesn’t have much gusto.

Amazingly and equally terrible, the ‘Titans’ win. Proving once again that The Wyatt Family will never be a main event team, they just lost to a team of old men and a meat head. If they’re truly going after Brock Lesnar, wouldn’t a dominate victory be better for everyone involved?!

Divas Championship: Charlotte (c) defeated Brie Bella

It’s at this point during the PPV that I realised that the crowd were dead. It must be combination of uninspiring match ups, predictable finishes and in the case of this match. Sloppy work rate. Charlotte and Brie worked a slow pace, with plenty of rest holds. Too many references to Daniel Bryan and Nikki Bella, as we expected. You can’t have somebody lose for months on end and then after one victory give them a title shot. I don’t care what is going on behind the scenes!

Let’s face facts. At one point Brie might have been the ‘better Bella’ but those days are long gone. There’s a reason why her sister Nikki holds the record for longest title reign and not her. She’s not very good. As a result, the match really suffers. The ending specifically is really weak. The crowd didn’t understand what was happening, the TV audience didn’t know what was happening. Poor.

AJ Styles defeated Chris Jericho

Really nice promo package before the third match between AJ Styles and Chris Jericho. WWE can still pump out good work every so often. It’s followed by a Chris Jericho interview with JoJo, no real hint of the heel turn I’d been expecting on the PPV. Would it come?

It takes a while, but after the first few opening exchanges between the two the crowd come back to life with duelling ‘AJ Syle/Y2J’ chants. Much better! It’s still really weird seeing AJ Styles in the WWE, but really awesome as well. He teases the Style Clash quite early, but it’s reversed.

It’s a good match, surprisingly there’s quite a few mistakes. Mostly from Jericho which does hinder the flow ever so slightly. Styles finally hits the Styles Clash but much to my surprise Jericho kicks out! He’s instantly locked into the Calf Crusher though and is forced to tap out. Weird match, not perfect by any means. Important victory for Styles though!

After the match Jericho wants to fight again, but eventually offers a handshake of respect. No heel turn after all, just a WWE veteran putting over a new talent. Good show.

The New Day on The Cutting Edge Peep Show

Now why would a talk show segment be placed just before the main event of a WWE PPV? Something big has got to happen right?

It’s great to see Edge and Christian back, it’s also great to give the New Day some one different to play with as well. The whole thing is really awkward, but that’s fine because it’s all leading somewhere right?

Well, yes it was. Just not anywhere good. New Day end up insulting the League of Nations who come out. New Day leave, Edge and Christian leave. League of Nations stand in the ring while everyone plugs Edge and Christians new network show and that’s it. What the hell? Why was this on a PPV? Couldn’t it have been tomorrow night on Raw?

To make matters even worse, the Social Outcast come out and we have an impromptu match between R-Truth and Curtis Axel on PPV. Why? Are WWE that desperate to fill time?!

Roman Reigns defeated Brock Lesnar & Dean Ambrose

After two random segments of pure filler we finally get to the main event. The number one contenders match for the WWE Title at Wrestlemania against Triple H between Lesnar, Ambrose and Reigns. Despite all technically being babyfaces, it’s Ambrose and Lesnar who are the crowd favourites here. Despite being cheered at TLC and Raw when he won the Title those cheers have slowly turned back to a more mixed reaction, he’s still WWEs top choice for number one babyface though. I don’t know why they’d put him in a match with the two most over talents on the roster and expect him to get cheered, it wasn’t gonna happen.

1tifrkylLesnar, as you can imagine dominates the early stages. German suplex after German suplex. He hits an F5 on Reigns and would have won the match if Ambrose hadn’t broken it up. Eventually Ambrose hits Lesnar with a low blow. When will people stop hitting this man in his junk! It would be truly amazing to have Lesnar receive a low blow at Wrestlemania, only to reveal he was wearing a cup.

Lesnar gets put through two announce tables by Ambrose and Reigns before they turn on each other. Lesnar is back up though! You can’t keep him down! Ambrose grabs a chair and takes out everyone. He beats Lesnar out of the ring but turns round into a spear. Reigns gets the 1, 2, 3. It’s over. Reigns is going to the Wrestlemania main event for the second time.

Once again WWE have booked him badly. Firstly they have him go against more popular talent, then he comes across as an undeserving winner after Ambrose takes out Lesnar. Is that really what a top babyface does? Not in my book. How will the WWE fans react to this? Is Roman Reigns going to suffer the same reactions he did last year in the build to Wrestlemania or can Triple H actually make people love him?

The most surprising thing is that the Wyatt Family didn’t cost Brock Lesnar the match. Maybe WWE aren’t going with that storyline after all, hence why they let them lose earlier in the night.

Final Thoughts

Overall it was a rather disappointing PPV. Predictable, sluggish and with quite a few mistakes during matches. The Cutting Edge Peep Show was a disaster that I’d have hated even on free TV.

The only surprises were the lack of surprises. No heel turn for Chris Jericho, Enzo and Big Cass didn’t debut just more run of the mill very safe booking from WWE.

Reigns winning was to be expected, but it’s still frustrating that WWE have a talent in Dean Ambrose who is already over with the crowd yet is never given the opportunity. Reigns will win at Wrestlemania no matter what, but will he be cheered or booed? That’s the main question.

 

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