As we board the final PPV stop before Wrestlemania, we head to the Raw exclusive Fastlane. With 28 days until the main show, there’s still a lot of potential to shape and define the card. Will Kevin Owens overcome Goldberg? Can Braun Strowman knock down the Roman Empire? Let’s take a look at all the goings on at WWE Fastlane.
Samoa Joe def. Sami Zayn
Gallows & Anderson def. Enzo & Cass (WWE Raw Tag Titles)
Sasha Banks def. Nia Jax
Cesaro def. Jinder Mahal
Big Show def. Rusev
Neville def. Gallagher (WWE Cruiserweight Title)
Reigns def. Strowman
Bayley def. Charlotte
Goldberg def. Kevin Owens (WWE Universal Championship)
Sami Zayn vs. Samoa Joe
A great opening match. Zayn’s ability to sell rivals that of Ziggler – who made Joe look like a million bucks here. Joe is an amazingly quick wrestler for someone weighing in at 280 pounds – the guys a freak. The audience ate up every move from the pair, with Zayn managing to get some moments of offence between Joe’s relentless assault. Joe winning is the best for everyone, it’s just a shame that Zayn will likely be left behind now.
Enzo & Cass vs. Gallows & Anderson (WWE Raw Tag-Team Championship)
At this stage, you can call all the spots in an Enzo and Cass match like a game of Connect 4. Enzo gets wailed on by the opponents, fails a few times to change the tide of the match before Enzo makes his big entrance. Except once again, the heels managed to outwit the challengers and retain the Championship (Despite Enzo having his foot on the rope). Whatever, I don’t think anyone expected them to pick up their first WWE Raw Tag Team Championship this close to Wrestlemania.
Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax
To the credit of the women, this wasn’t a bad match. I suspect the live audience didn’t care enough to invest themselves in proceedings – meaning the entire thing felt slower than it was. Sasha did most of the selling, with Nia ultimately coming undone thanks to a rollup and (rather amazingly bad) attempt to grab the ring ropes by Sasha. Not one for Sasha Banks career DVD it must be said.
Cesaro vs. Jinder Mahal
Well this was…. something. I know WWE need to pad their PPV’s, but this match legit had no reason to be out there in the ring together. The live audience hated it, with “Boring” chants peppering the entire thing. Cesaro won but really we all lost. The match had some decent moments but it was such a typical Cesaro match that we could be forgiven for saying we’d seen it all before. Thre really was no need for this to be happening on a PPV. Speaking of losing….
Big Show vs. Rusev
…I’d love to be in the WWE Creative meeting that decided Rusev should job to Big Show right before Wrestlemania. Not only was it a poor match (Big Show lumbers round like a plank of wood) but the live audience were audibly bored by the entire thing. Rusev got next to no offense before being squashed under the thumb of Big Show’s offence – which is one of the saddest things I’ve had to write. What a waste of everyone’s time.
Gallagher vs. Neville (WWE Cruiserweight Championship)
God bless these two. After the stinkers that preceded them, the audience were in no mood for more of the same. So it was nice to see these two go out there and have a great wrestling match. With lots of nearfalls and even some impressive moves – it didn’t take long for the audience to really get into the match. Gallagher looked strong throughout, but Neville just had that extra momentum as he hit the Red Arrow. Great match from the pair, easily the best match of the night.
Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman
It’s a testament to how far Braun has grown in the past nine months that he’s being held up as an equal to Roman Reigns. The match was fairly forgettable – typical big men put each other into tables but the audience seemed to be into it throughout. That being said, the ending to this match was laughably ill-advised. Roman winning does nothing for him, while Braun has lost his undefeated streak (Something Cole was playing up before the match). It’s a terrible shame, and makes me wonder what they have planned for Reigns now that he’s overcme Strowman. No Undertaker also, which was a huge disappointment.
Bayley vs. Charlotte (WWE Raw Women’s Championship)
To the credit of these two women, this match was miles better than their Royal Rumble encounter. The two told a more cohesive story and while Bayley was on the back foot throughout, the live crowd were willing her back into proceedings. The use of Sasha Banks was clever, and sets up what will inevitably be a heel turn from Sasha as she attempts to claim Bayley’s Championship.
Kevin Owens vs. Goldberg (WWE Universal Championship)
What can we say really? Owens lay down for a 50 year old part-timer and that was the end of that one. Sure Jericho came out and distracted him as the bell rang – but that doesn’t really make anything that happened feel better to fans. What a waste and such a sour note to end Fastlane on.
What a mess Fastlane was. As if the copious amounts of padding didn’t give away how short the main event was going to be – it turns out the matches across the board lacked genuine excitement.
The high point for sure was the Cruiserweight match – which worked to underline just how much talent is in the division and served to showcase how bright the future is there. Sadly this optimism didn’t extend to the rest of the card, where bad decisions and seemingly silly decision making rained supreme. Why did Roman Reigns need the win? Why have two filler matches back to back in the middle of the card?
Fastlane was a mess from top to bottom, and that’s putting it nicely.