WWE Fastlane was this past Sunday. Despite being the final pay-per-view before the “Grandest Stage of Them All,” Fastlane wasn’t really much of an on-ramp to the I-10 towards Wrestlemania… it felt more like a speed bump. Fastlane was yet another in a long line of WWE PPV’s with subpar build and wedged in matches for the sake of filling a card.
Shinsuke Nakamura def. Rusev
The show kicked off pretty hot. This match had zero build. It was made the week prior with Rusev confronting Nakamura about him supposedly hurting Aiden English’s vocal chords. Lame build aside, the crowd was super into this match and the competitors did not disappoint.
This match was physical. Rusev looked like a million bucks in defeat. It took a Kinsasha to the back of the head and to the face for Nakamura to finally take Rusev out… on Rusev Day of all days.
United States Championship: Randy Orton def. Bobby Roode (c)
This one bummed me out. I am not an Orton fan and I really wanted Roode to have a lengthy run with the US Title. If mid card titles are going to change hands so quickly, they need to bring back the TV Title. The build for this was weak. It originated with the popularity contest list created by Daniel Bryan and voted on by the superstars. The feud also was kind of orchestrated by Jinder, of all people. I get it. Someone had to let go of their title and Roode was the odd man out. Still stings, though.
The crowd didn’t seem all that interested in this match. Both guys tried to get their finisher on each other early. At the end Roode missed a blockbuster and was met with an RKO (outta nowhere). Mahal came out after the match. Roode hits both with his Glorious DDT and now we have all 3 going to Mania for the US Title.
Natalya & Carmella def. Becky Lynch & Naomi
Why is this on the main show? Well, to remind everyone that Carmella still has the Money in the Bank briefcase. That’s why. Feel bad for Becky Lynch. Not sure why she keeps getting booked on these nonsense matches and keeps taking the pins. Carmella shrieked at Natalya telling her to grab the briefcase. As Carmella went to grab the briefcase, Becky knocked Natalya off the apron. Carmella seized on the distraction, hit Becky with a super kick and pinned her.
This was a throwaway TV match.
Tag Team Championship: The Usos (c) vs. The New Day – No Contest
These two teams always put on a show and I feel cheated. The match started hot. It was fast paced. They hit each other’s signature moves and finishes. The crowd was so into this. And then… ruined. The Bludgeon Brothers come out and beat everyone down. Woods ends up leaving on a stretcher. The match is ruled a no contest.
Look, I get it. You have story to build for Wrestlemania, but do that on TV time… not during a PPV. This could have been a great match. It was a great match until the backwoods boys showed up and put a beat down on the 2 squads. Here’s to hoping this somehow leads to a AOP or Sanity debut.
Oh, what should have been. Sigh.
Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair (c) def. Ruby Riott
This match surprised me a bit. Ruby didn’t do anything for me in NXT. Didn’t know why she was in the title picture there. Don’t quite get why she’s in the title picture here. I guess she’s taking Paige’s spot in some ways since Paige can no longer compete. That said, Ruby cut a hell of a promo the week prior even with that weird cut off by Roode on SD Live. She showed the people what she’s capable of. She looked great in the ring. I didn’t mind her tapping out to Charlotte. I do feel like she tapped out way too quick, though.
Really ready for these stables to be done with. No one is doing it right. Not one of them is a Heenan Family or even a Million Dollar Corporation. Stables are a lost art, man.
And, of course, at the end Asuka came out to challenge Flair, which thank goodness. There isn’t a woman on the roster that would make me care about a Women’s Championship match as much as I would with Asuka as the challenger. Makes me a little worried about her streak now. I don’t want Carmella to cash in Mania and be the one who breaks the streak.
WWE Championship: AJ Styles (c) def. Kevin Owens, John Cena, Sami Zayn, Dolph Ziggler and Baron Corbin
So. Many. People. Good God. Can we just have a simple one-on-one match? Do we need a Six Pack Challenge? There were times when the optics confused me. I had to remind myself that this match wasn’t a Battle Royal.
The match was madness. Loads of no-selling from Cena. Ziggler flying all over the place. Corbin’s skullet popping up every now and then. (Deep Six is still one of my favorite signature moves.) It had a lot of layers. It told stories and set Shane up for Mania. Which, what’s a Wrestlemania without a McMahon or 2 involved? All of this could’ve been done without the likes of Corbin, Ziggler or Mr. Hustle, Loyalty, Respect, but I concede it would’ve just been a rehash of everything we’ve seen for the past year. Here’s to hoping this Shane v. the “Indie Guys” angle finally ends at Wrestlemania. Glad to see AJ win.
Fastlane is over. We’re onto Mania and we finally get to see the match we’ve all wanted to see ever since Nakamura and Styles signed with the company.
WWE Fastlane 2018
Overall, it was a good show. The Women’s Championship surprised me quite a bit. The writers worked real hard to screw it up, but Charlotte and Ruby put on a good show. Rusev should’ve been feuding with Roode, not Orton. Hope they can write out Mahal and put Rusev in for Wrestlemania. The Bludgeon Brothers is a bust. The gimmick is stupid and the music is trash. WWE needs to let that go unless it’s a set up for Sanity and/or Authors of Pain. Fastlane was nothing but a speed bump.