Tonight at WWE Fastlane, WWE Champion AJ Styles looks to survive a Six-Pack Challenge to head to WrestleMania to face Shinsuke Nakamura. Standing in front of him are John Cena, who claims to need a road to WrestleMania, Dolph Ziggler, Baron Corbin, and the on-again, off-again best friends of Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. Will Styles make the dream match come true? Plus, the WWE SmackDown women’s and tag titles on the line tonight at WWE Fastlane!
Pre-Show Results: Tye Dillinger and Breezango defeated Mojo Rawley, Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin
We are LIVE from Columbus, Ohio. Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, and Corey Graves have the call for tonight.
Aiden English raps and sings Rusev to the ring.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Rusev (w/Aiden English)
Rusev with takedowns and a front facelock. Nakamura out, but Rusev gets an armbar and side headlock to a shoulder tackle. Rusev off the ropes, but he holds on before he runs into a head kick. Nakamura comes back with a knee to the body and a knee drop. Rusev with a right hand to drop Nakamura and to a wristlock. Nakamura gets out and challenges Rusev to “come on!” Rusev rolls outside and Nakamura follows, landing knees and a knee to the head as Rusev is on the apron. Knee to the back of the neck from Nakamura, but Rusev drops him on the apron as he tries to get back in. Rusev with a nearfall and and he works Nakamura down. Nakamura drops into a heel hook and Rusev gets up with a spinning side slam for a nearfall. Chinlock in and Rusev works Nakamura down, but a single-leg dropkick buys Nakamura some time. Roundhouse kicks to the chest from Nakamura and a head kick lands. Rusev laid on the top rope and hit with a knee to the body for a Nakamura nearfall. Guillotine from Nakamura in and Rusev struggles until he can hit a fallaway slam to get out and he knocks Nakamura out. Rusev calls for the Accolade and looks for a superkick, but Nakamura sidesteps and lands strikes. Rusev with leg kicks and head kicks, but Nakamura drops him with an ax kick. Rusev sidesteps Kinshasa and sends Nakamra into the corner for a nearfall.
Accolade attempt set for Rusev, but Nakamura rolls him up for a nearfall. Head kick lays Rusev out and leaves him dazed for Kinshasa, but Nakamura runs into the Machka Kick. Rusev nearfall and he looks for the Accolade. Nakamura lands the Kinshasa to the back of the head and Rusev staggered. Another Kinshasa lands on Rusev.
Winner by pinfall: Shinsuke Nakamura
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
While it did not look to have a lot of steam opening up, these two really picked it up down the stretch and it brought out the best of the two heavy-hitters in the end, where they traded kicks and nearfalls with some prime selling from Nakamura in particular. Great opener.
Video package previews the WWE United States Championship match between champion Bobby Roode and challenger Randy Orton.
WWE United States Championship: Bobby Roode (c) vs. Randy Orton
Roode and Orton exchange go-behinds and Roode with an arm wrench. Orton with a drop toehold into a front facelock and Roode spins out. Orton with a side headlock and shoulder tackle and Roode with a tackle of his own. Roode with another shoulder tackle, but Orton with a back elbow. Orton uppercuts out of the corner on Roode and Roode chops back. Orton ducks a clothesline and nearly catches an RKO, sending Roode outside. Orton presses him back into the corner back inside, but Roode with a chop off the referee’s break. Roode looks for the Glorious DDT and Orton moves outside. Orton presses Roode against the ropes and suplexes him onto the top rope for a nearfall. Orton works him in the corners, but Roode comes out of the corner with a clothesline. Knee drop from Roode gets a nearfall and he applies a chinlock. Orton gets to his feet and lands body shots before getting dropped. Roode tries a suplex, but favors his ribs after being dropped on the top rope and Orton lands the suplex instead. Orton lands punches and Roode with clotheslines into the neckbreaker out of the corner as the crowd chants for Byron Saxton.
Roode goes up top and lands a flying clothesline. Glorious DDT blocked by Orton rolling him up for a nearfall. Orton landing clotheslines and the snap powerslam. Roode moves to the apron and Orton looks for the hangman’s DDT. Roode reverses and Orton snaps his head on the top rope. Orton runs into boots in the corner and Roode with a blockbuster for a nearfall. Roode gets sent to the apron and Orton with a kick to the head to set up the hangman’s DDT. Orton calls for the RKO, but Roode shakes him off. Glorious DDT turned into a back bodydrop for a nearfall by Orton. Orton sent outside by a clothesline. Orton sends Roode into the barricade on an Irish whip and a back suplex onto the timekeeper’s barricade. They beat the count and Orton with a nearfall. Roode sat up top, but he clubs Orton over and he lands a sunset flip into the powerbomb for a nearfall. Roode goes up top, but Orton pushes out the leg and crotches him up top. Superplex lands for Orton for a nearfall. Both men exchange strikes and Roode with a backslide nearfall. RKO blocked for a Roode spinebuster that gets a nearfall. Roode fights out of the corner, but dives into an RKO.
Winner by pinfall and NEW WWE United States Champion: Randy Orton
Rating: 1.25 out of 5 stars
The crowd really wanted to like this, but the build up would be to mid-tier spots like suplexes or clotheslines. It picked up a little at the end after the Roode powerbomb, but this was essentially a way overlong TV match that had the crowd sitting on their hands for most of it when they showed they wanted to get into it at some points. Roode and Orton really do not have chemistry as it looks like they go through the motions together for two otherwise decent workers. In short, this one will be pretty polarizing.
Post-match, Jinder Mahal comes to the ring to confront Orton, but Roode lays both out with Glorious DDTs.
Video package recaps the arrival of Ronda Rousey in the WWE.
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn have an argument in the locker room and Owens storms off.
Naomi & Becky Lynch vs. Carmella & Natayla
Lynch starts with Carmella and rolls her up for a nearfall. Lynch catches a slap and looks for a Dis-arm-her. Carmella gets the bottom rope and kicks Lynch away to tag in Natalya. Natalya with slams and she steps on Lynch, but Lynch comes back in brings in Naomi. Sliding slap gets a nearfall on Nattie and Naomi with leg kicks and a spike hurricanrana. Modified stunner drops Nattie and a split-legged moonsault blocked by a Carmella distraction, allowing a Nattie powerbomb for a nearfall. Carmella stomps Naomi in the corner and lands a Bronco Buster for a nearfall. Carmella locks in a rear chinlock and she pulls Naomi down by her hair. Nattie in with a chinlock of her own and Naomi arm drags out. Naomi dives for the tag, but Nattie catches her and drives her to the corner. Carmella with a headscissors choke over the ropes and she pulls the hair of Naomi outside. Carmella clubs Naomi on the apron and lands a knee to the head for a nearfall. Nattie in and Naomi flips out of a back suplex to bring in Lynch on the hot tag against Nattie. Bexploder on Nattie and a forearm from the apron set up a missile dropkick.
Carmella sneaks a tag after Nattie rolls to the corner. Jawbreaker from Carmella lands and Naomi gets a tag. Head kick lands and a sunset flip gets a nearfall. Naomi with a head kick and Lynch in with a leg drop off the top for a nearfall. Nattie breaks it and Nattie and Naomi sent out. Lynch elbows out of the corner on Carmella, but gets distracted. Carmella with a handstand Frankensteiner for a nearfall that is broken by Naomi. Carmella calls for the Money in the Bank briefcase, but Nattie is too slow and Lynch knocks her off. Lynch turns into a Superkick from Carmella.
Winners by pinfall: Carmella & Natalya
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
It was a bit sloppy at points, but they kept it moving throughout and the hot tag to Lynch was built well. Run of the mill tag, but not too bad either.
Video package for John Cena hosting the Kids Choice Awards featuring The New Day.
Video package for the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championships between champions The Usos and challengers The New Day.
WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championships: The Usos (c) vs. The New Day (w/Big E)
Jimmy Uso starts with Xavier Woods and they exchange punches. Uppercut from Jimmy, but Jey sneaks a tag and slides in with a superkick that sideswipes Woods. Woods stomped down in the corner and Jimmy and Jey exchange tags to work Woods down. Woods escapes to make the hot tag to Kingston and Kingston with chops and dropkicks. Clothesline lands on Jey and a Boom Drop lands. Trouble in Paradise blocked for an enzuigiri by Jey. Double stomp lands on Jey and Jimmy sent outside on a clothesline after tagging in. Kingston with a running hip attack in the corner like the Usos and Jimmy in like a house of fire. Boom Drop on Kingston lands and Jimmy looks for Trouble in Paradise. Kingston ducks, but runs into the Midnight Hour from the Usos for a nearfall. Jey the legal man now and he misses a corner splash into the top of the ring post. Kingston with the hot tag to Woods and Woods in with a knee on Jimmy on the apron. Jey catches Woods with a superkick and Woods with a superkick of his own. Woods with superkicks for both Usos and Kingston up top. Superkick from Woods followed by Kingston landing an Uso Splash for a nearfall on Jey. The New Day look for Double Uce, but Jimmy saves Jey and sends New Day out. The Usos land dives over the top to take out The New Day.
The Bludgeon Brothers make their way out with their iron mallets and take it to The Usos and The New Day.
The Bludgeon Brothers land double big boots on Woods as he is draped on the apron and land a double brainbuster on the floor. Big E sent inside and Rowan takes out Kingston before Big E is sent out into a running crossbody by Rowan. The Usos hit with powerslams on the floor and Rowan slams Harper onto The Usos before landing a splash himself. The Bludgeon Brothers try to slam an Uso up against the steps with the mallet, but Harper crosschecks him into the crowd with the mallet. They walk off, but come back for more and powerbomb Woods on the steps.
Rating: 2.75 out of 5 stars
The match was on its way to being great, as usual between these two teams, but the more than necessary injection of the Bludgeon Brothers was the main takeaway here and they looked impressive. Both teams were stretchered off after the attack and a new force in the SmackDown tag division is here.
Video package of Roman Reigns challenging WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar on the Road to WrestleMania.
Medics still attending to The Usos and The New Day.
Renee Young backstage with WWE Champion AJ Styles backstage and she says the odds may be too great for him to face Shinsuke Nakamura at WrestleMania. Styles says they’ve been talking about the odds for weeks now and this is the hardest anyone has ever worked to get to WrestleMania. Styles has dealt with obstacles his whole life and he takes things that are impossible and turns them into something phenomenal. Shinsuke Nakamura interrupts and wishes Styles luck and tells him he hopes he wins. Styles tells him to stop and says he will win tonight and it will be Nakamura who gets beat at WrestleMania.
Medics finally getting the two tag teams up and to the back.
Video package previews the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship match between champion Charlotte Flair and challenger Ruby Riott.
WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Ruby Riott
Riott looks for the Riott Kick right out of the gate and Flair pushes her away. Flair almost gets the Figure-Four Leglock and Riott kicks away. Arm wrenches exchanged and Riott grabs the hair to push Flair in the ropes. Riott clotheslines Flair against the top rope, but Flair comes back with a fallaway slam. Riott gets a sleeper choke in and Flair falls off the apron and to the floor to break the choke. Riott sent into the barricade and into the apron.
Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan come in from the crowd and distract Flair. Riott lands a kick to the back of the head from the apron and lands a Riott Kick inside for a nearfall. Flair rolls outside and the Riott Squad circle Flair, but Becky Lynch and Naomi run them back at ringside to even the odds as Riott fakes an eye injury to the referee. Riott with ground and pound inside and suplexes. Flair counters with a slingshot suplex, but Riott with a headscissors into the second turnbuckle. Senton off the top gets a nearfall on Flair. Straitjacket surfboard by Riott and Riott moves it into a crossface position. STO from Riott drops Flair for a nearfall. Senton falls into the knees of Flair this time around and Fiair with a hanging neckbreaker off the second rope. Flair goes up top, but Riott pushes her off the top into the barricade outside. Riott looks for a dive, but Charlotte catches her for an exploder suplex. Moonsault off the barricade by Flair gets a nearfall back inside. Figure-Four blocked, but Flair with a jumping knee. Riott moves out of the corner, but Flair kicks back. Flair set up top and a hurricanrana off the top gets Riott a nearfall. Riott with chops and Flair slaps back. Flair with chops of her own and a botched drop into the second rope. Riott comes back sending Flair into the second turnbuckle.
Morgan and Logan slide into the ring and draw Lynch and Naomi inside. The referee ejects them and The Riott Squad works Flair in the corner. The referee catches them too close to Flair and ejects the Riott Squad. Flair works Riott down off the distractions, but Riott with a small package nearfall. Riott floats over in the corner and tries a reverse hurricanrana, but Flair with an inverted Alabama Slam into the top turnbuckle. Figure-Four applied after a spear by Flair and Riott stuck.
Winner by submission and STILL WWE SmackDown Women’s Champion: Charlotte Flair
Rating: 3.25 out of 5 stars
The untimely interference and the bad botch are what knocks this down below the Nakamura/Rusev match just barely, but Flair and Riott really brought it with minimal nonsense and they delivered. Flair took some crazy bumps and Riott really looked like she could win this thing throughout. It didn’t get the crowd as hot as the opener, but it was just about as good, all in all.
Post-match, Asuka makes her way to the ring and points at the WrestleMania sign in front of Charlotte.
Video trailer for the Andre the Giant documentary.
The announce team reports Xavier Woods has been taken to the hospital with a spine contusion after the powerbomb on the steps.
Video package previews the WWE Championship Six-Pack Challenge.
WWE SmackDown Commissioner Shane McMahon goes to ringside for the main event.
Six-Pack Challenge for the WWE Championship: AJ Styles (c) vs. John Cena vs. Baron Corbin vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens
Cena hits everyone with Attitude Adjustments, except Styles who doesn’t rush in and it leaves them in the ring. The crowd chants for both and they tie-up. Cena with the side headlock and shoulder tackle. Styles with a leg kick and they exchange punches. Styles lands on his feet on an AA attempt and lands a leg kick. Styles Clash blocked and Styles to the apron. Every competitor to the apron and they all circle Cena and beat him down. Cena tossed out and Owens and Styles fight outside. The field all outside now and Corbin sends Styles back in, but Owens attacks him. Corbin sends Owens into the timekeeper’s area. Styles keeps clearing the ring and Owens attacks from behind, but gets hit with a wheelbarrow facebuster. Styles keeps holding the ring and gets a nearfall on Zayn that is broken by Owens. Owens on the apron and up top, but Styles meets him. Owens headbutts him off and Corbin sends him out. Corbin clears the ring until Cena clotheslines him and Ziggler lands a DDT on Cena. Owens with a splash off the top after Ziggler hits the mat for a nearfall. Owens and Styles in the ring exchanging forearms. Pele Kick from Styles lands and a Styles Clash blocked by a back bodydrop to the outside for Owens. Corbin in with a chokebreaker on Owens. Ziggler in with a Zig-Zag and Cena in with his Five Moves of Doom. Zayn runs in and gets a side slam and Cena with the Ten Knuckle Shuffle on both. Ziggler set up for the AA, but he turns it into a Famouser for a nearfall on Cena.
Ziggler calls for the superkick on Cena, but he ducks it into the STF. Styles storms the ring to break the submission and looks for a Styles Clash. Cena turns it into an AA, but Styles slips out and connects on the Styles Clash. Zayn gets to break the pin right before the three-count. Corbin sends Zayn to the apron and Zayn tries a springboard, but Corbin with an uppercut. Corbin on fire, landing a Dream Crusher and Deep Six. Corbin pops up Ziggler sky-high and sends him out into the crowd outside. Corbin tackles Ziggler through the hockey glass in the crowd. Owens tears apart the announce tables at ringside and takes Styles on top of one. Owens says this is his show and Styles lands an enzuigiri. Styles clotheslines Zayn into the timekeeper’s area. Owens dazed on the table and Cena meets him. Owens wiggles free and Styles charges Cena, but he gets an AA off one table and through the other.
Cena charges Owens inside and Zayn clotheslines Cena out. Zayn and Owens left inside and Owens tells him to “come on.” Zayn said that he told Owens he would do this and now he will do it. Zayn lays down for Owens. Owens tries to pick him up instead and Zayn with a small package for a nearfall. They go into a hockey fight and Owens drops and rolls outside. Zayn follows and gets tossed into the barricade. Owens gets him and tries an apron powerbomb, but Zayn catches the rope. They fight on the apron and Zayn lands a back bodydrop on the apron. Zayn spots McMahon at ringside and starts asking if this is what he wanted. Zayn almost gets hit by Owens and sidesteps and Owens knocks McMahon out with a superkick. Zayn dives through the corner for a tornado DDT on Owens.
Zayn and Owens inside and Ziggler takes out Zayn. Pop-up Powerbomb on Ziggler from Owens. McMahon drags the referee out and Owens yells at him from the ring. Helluva Kick from Zayn lands on Owens and McMahon drags Zayn off the cover as well. Zayn gets in his face at ringside and barely breaks the cover by Ziggler on Owens. Corbin takes out Cena with steel steps at ringside and takes it to the competitors in the ring. Cena comes back in and catches the steps from Corbin. Cena takes the steps to Corbin and lands the AA on the steps. Ziggler barely breaks it. Cena tries to take the steps to Ziggler, but he ducks and the steps sent out. Ziggler with a superkick and Cena rebounds off the ropes to land an AA. Cena looks for another, but Owens comes in and sends him off the ropes to land the Pop-up Powerbomb. Owens turns around into a Phenomenal Forearm.
Winner by pinfall and STILL WWE Champion: AJ Styles
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars
An all-out sprint of a match that was really fun overall. The Shane McMahon booking knocks it down a peg or two as that feud has been aimlessly going on between him and Zayn & Owens for a while now, but should mercifully end at WrestleMania. Still, it didn’t drag the match down too much and the crowd really seemed to enjoy it the insanity of it all, which made for a good watch.
Overall, given the absolute dirth of creativity and fun SmackDown has become as of late, this show didn’t turn out too badly if you came in with lower expectations. It was uneven as SmackDown is prone to be these days, but you could do worse and it was a fun night of wrestling, if uneventful.