After the disastrous Royal Rumble finish and #CancelWWENetwork trending worldwide, it looked like the WWE was going for a mulligan at the brand new PPV WWE Fastlane. Sadly, I don’t think that happened as a very harsh audience made it clear they weren’t too happy with the results of this latest PPV.
Match 1: Six-Man Tag – Dolph Ziggler, Eric Rowan and Ryback vs. Kane, Big Show and Seth Rollins (w/ J&J Security)
We start this off with Mr. Money in the Bank against the Showoff. Rowan tags in but suffers the wrath of the extended beatdown as all five members of the Authority (J&J get a few cheap shots in) take Big Red to task, focusing on his knee that Big Show wraps around the ring post for good measure.
The crowd wants Ryback for the hot tag. Rollins takes out Ziggler for some reason which allows Eric to finally tag in the Big Guy. Ryback holds his own, hitting Kane with the Meathook Clothesline and sets up Rollins for the Shellshock. J&J distract Ryback but this just delays the inevitable as the Big Guy counters a Rollins aerial move into a vertical suplex and from there into a Shell Shock.
However, Big Show hits Ryback with a big splash allowing Kane to tag in. Rollins tries to interfere but gets knocked down for his trouble. This forces the ref to try to move Seth out of the ring. While the ref is occupied, Kane and Ryback get stuck in the corner, allowing Big Show to hit a “flying” KO punch. Kane then hits his Chokeslam for the three-count.
Winners by pinfall…The Authority
Match Rating: 3/5
The Authority isn’t done yet. Rollins hits both Dolph Ziggler and Eric Rowan with a curb stomp. A familiar entrance song hits and out comes Randy Orton! Orton cleans house, hitting RKO’s “outta nowhere” (this trends on Twitter just a few minutes later). Rollins avoids Orton’s midrope DDT and runs off without his MITB case. The camera follows Seth as he continues to run into the parking lot. Orton throws the case out of the ring and then poses for the crowd. I think it’s safe to say Rollins and Orton will be locking up at ‘Mania.
Match 2: Singles – Stardust vs. Goldust
Before the match we go backstage to see “Dustin” preparing for the match. Dusty shows up and reminds his son that at the end of the night, the most important thing is that all three Rhodes remain a family. Goldy agrees but tells Dream that his goal tonight is to beat Cody so badly that he’ll never want to wear the Stardust paint again.
Stardust has gone through another costume change. Rather than the full body suit, he has full length pants in blue and white. The match itself is tough to describe because this match is more about the emotional battle Stardust has throughout. The fans chant “Cody” he hates it and constantly asks “Who’s the favorite?” This could be a question to the WWE Universe or his father, but it’s unclear.
At the end, Goldust gets the win in a very controversial way (just like I predicted earlier this week). He goes for a crucifix pin. Cody doesn’t kick out, but the ref stops his hand before the three-count but still calls for the bell to ring anyway. This definitely doesn’t end the feud.
Winner by “pinfall”…Goldust
Rating: 1/5 … because of the botched three-count but I will revisit the rating if this plays into the story
Backstage we see Dusty and Goldust talking. Stardust comes up and unloads on Goldust. Dusty tells his son to stop but doesn’t physically do anything. Stardust gets up and tells Dusty that the father is responsible for all of this by bringing back Goldust. Stardust believes that once his brother came back into the picture Cody Rhodes (he lists all of his previous incarnations) ceased to exist. Stardust says that his father is now living in Stardust’s shadow, not the other way around. Stardust delivers an extra kick to Goldust for good measure before.
Your new WWE tag team champions, Cesaro and Tyson Kidd.
Match 3: Tag Team Championship – (c) Usos (w/ Naomi) vs. Tyson Kidd and Cesaro w/ (Natalya)
Decent overall match but nothing really special. I liked the Usos hitting the “Alley-Us” Samoan Drop and Cesaro doing a modified Cesaro Swing using just one leg. Tyson Kidd gets the victory pinning Jimmy Uso following a fisherman’s neckbreaker. Very nice touch at the end was Kidd using his own legs to add more legal leverage to his pinning attempt. Glad that Kidd and Cesaro have the gold.
Winners by pinfall and NEW Tag Team Champions…Tyson Kidd and Antonio Cesaro
Sting points to the WrestleMania sign.
Triple H/Sting Confrontation
Since Fastlane was free to basically the entire Internet-having population, this’ll be quick. Hunter offers Sting a job with the Authority and in return Trips will protect Sting’s legacy. Stinger declines and after Hunter gets his signature sledgehammer the Icon literally backs the COO into a corner with his own signature black baseball bat. The men non-verbally agree to a match at ‘Mania and Sting ducks a Triple H cheap shot and lands the Scorpion Death Drop.
Match 4: Divas Championship – (c) Nikki Bella (w/ Brie) vs. Paige
After watching the spectacular performance by the Divas on NXT: Rival, I had high hopes for this match. Sadly they were not met. Nikki retains after Paige runs into the middle turnbuckle with her head. Nikki grabs the tights and the ref doesn’t see it.
Winner by pinfall and STILL Divas Champion…Nikki Bella
Rating: 1/5 … because of the ring post camera
So why does the ring post have a camera in it if the ref is never going to use it for situations just like this? It’s definitely a stupid thing to do just to show how one match ends because the ref doesn’t see Nikki Bella kind of grab Paige’s tights.
Match 5: Intercontinental Championship – (c) Wade Barrett vs. Dean Ambrose
An interesting piece of WWE trivia is that since the Shield disbanded, Dean Ambrose has yet to win a PPV singles match. That losing streak continues as he’s DQ’d for ignoring the refs repeated attempts to get him to stop stomping Barrett, which is odd because I can’t recall that move being illegal.
However, before the ending, it was a decent back and forth match. Barrett hits the Wasteland for a two-count. A little later he goes for his Bullhammer but Dean counters and gets a two count of his own. Again, the crowd really wasn’t into this match so it’s hard to properly gauge it. Following the match, Dean grabs the IC title and leaves with it anyway.
Winner by disqualification and STILL Intercontinental Champion…Bad News Barrett
Rating: 2/5 … again because of the non-finishing ending
No, it’s not The Undertaker, but instead Bray Wyatt.
The arena goes dark and I hear the familiar WM XX Driud chants of ‘Taker’s entrance. It looks like the Deadman will be making an appearance as Druids come with torches and smoke fills the arena. A casket is wheeled out once the bell tolls. Two Druids wheel the casket to the ring. It opens up. It’s not ‘Taker, but Bray Wyatt. Bray talks about the first time he saw Undertaker how impressed he was but now he simply sees the Deadman as a shell of his former self. Bray wants to take the Undertaker’s soul at WrestleMania. Will the Phenom respond or did Brock Lesnar truly end his career?
Rusev stands triumphant over John Cena.
Match 6: US Championship – (c) Rusev (w/ Lana) vs. John Cena
While the US title is on the line, the biggest question of this match is if John Cena is going to hand Rusev his first loss either by submission or pinfall.
This is really the first time the crowd has been in to any of the matches even if it’s just the “Lets go Cena/Cena sucks” chant. Rusev starts off in control. Of course Cena finally starts to fight back and starts his Five Moves of Doom but before he can even move past the Five Knuckle Shuffle, Rusev superkicks him for a two-count.
The two go back and forth for a little. Finally, Cena locks in the STF with Rusev in the middle of the ring. He breaks the hold but Cena applies it again. This time Rusev makes it to the ropes. Following two kicks Cena hits an AA but only for a two-count.
After Cena can’t hit Rusev with a flying move, Rusev locks on the Accolade. Cena is able to power out of it. Now Lana comes into the ring and does something I’ve never seen her do before: interfere in the match. The ref goes to deal with Lana, which allows Rusev to kick Cena in the crotch. He then locks on the Accolade. Cena doesn’t tap out, but passes out.
Winner by ref stoppage and STILL US Champion…Alexander Rusev
Rating: 2/5 … for Rusev cheating, which he never does
It’s not a Daniel Bryan match unless he jumps outside the ring.
Main Event: Winner Main Events WrestleMania 31 – Daniel Bryan vs. Roman Reigns
As I mentioned at the top, the crowd made it difficult to truly gauge how good or bad this PPV really was. The match goes back and forth for a while. An odd spot occurs when it looks like Roman is going for his Superman punch. Daniel counters it with a weak looking kick that appears to have sapped all of Roman’s fight out of him. The announcers can’t agree on if that was the spot Roman had his hernia or if that was a liver kick. I’m too lazy to see where exactly Roman’s herniated disk was located so I’ll just assume it’s both factors given the way Roman is selling the kick.
Bryan uses Roman’s weakened state to his advantage for a little. Roman powerbombs Bryan and now the offense for both men starts to pick up. Bryan gets the YES! Lock but Roman gets out of the ring which only leads to Daniel hitting two flying goat moves. Bryan tries his luck a third time and it’s countered into some sort of suplex. Roman goes for his spear but Bryan sidesteps it, forcing Roman to crash into the steps.
|WHAT YOU THINK|
What did you think of WWE Fastlane?
It was great – 5%
It was okay – 22%
Didn’t like it – 36%
Didn’t see it – 37%
The ref starts his 10-count. Roman makes it in the ring when the ref SHOULD have counted 10 but hesitates for a moment. Crowd doesn’t like it but I do have to agree with the idea of actually having a legit ending in a PPV main event.
Bryan readies the Running Knee and connects for a two count. According to the commentary team this is the first time anyone’s ever kicked out of that. While I’m not sure if that’s correct or not (at least in a 1-on-1 match) the match continues.
Bryan goes for the YES! Lock again but Reigns simply punches his way out of it. Bryan kicks Reigns a few times but is finally countered. Daniel goes for another submission but Roman prevents whatever it was from even being locked in.
Again, Bryan readies the running knee. Instead he runs into a spear for the three count. Crowd hates it but at least this was a legit, clean win, a nice change of pace to the other controversial finishes this night.
Winner by pinfall and Number One Contender for the WWE Heavyweight Championship…Roman Reigns
PPV Rating: 3/5
So with that the WrestleMania 31 Main Event is set: Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar. Daniel Bryan offers Roman a handshake and tells Roman he (Daniel) wants him (Roman) to “Kick his (Brock’s) ass.” The two shake hands and Bryan heads off. Roman has the unfortunate task of soaking up the mixed reaction of the crowd.
Matthew Asher is a freelance journalist currently living in Atlanta. He wants to know if the rest of you had the same reaction to this event as the live crowd in Memphis. Feel free to email Matthew your thoughts or your plans for how you would book WrestleMania 31 and follow him on Twitter @santavato.