Fastlane is the second pay-per-view of the year, and the last one before WrestleMania, right in the middle of the road to it.
I’m writing this as I watch the show go along, so I’ll just get into it.
Taking place in Cleveland, Ohio, the opening match, very surprisingly, is the Divas’ Tag Team Match between Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch, and Naomi and Tamina.
Sasha and Becky started off incoherently, and that carried on, allowing Tamina and Naomi to gain the advantage. Good storytelling. They mended though, and momentarily turned things around, but momentum shifts yet again.
The match moves back and forth, and chemistry builds between Becky and Sasha. In the end, after a fairly entertaining match, Sasha Banks gets Tamina to tap out to the Bank Statement.
Interestingly, Machine Gun Kelly is in the audience, and Kevin Owens has a match tonight. Owens had powerbombed Kelly off the entrance stage back in June, and I have a feeling that MGK will have something to do with his match tonight, for the Intercontinental Championship no less. Speaking of which, that is the second match of the night, and considering they just revealed MGK, he’s more than likely to have something to do. Owens enters first, followed by his opponent Dolph Ziggler. These two have met each other a million times over the past few weeks, but it should be a great match.
Owens assumes control, and holds onto it for quite some time. This is something that is expected in a Dolph Ziggler match. Ziggler always falls behind. It’s also worth noting that this is in his home town, so odds may well be with Ziggler. The amount of time Owens had the upper hand surprises me, it’s longer than usual. Things change finally, when Ziggler side-steps and Owens flies shoulder-first into the ring post. The match goes back and forth from here, near fall after near fall. A couple of big spots later, the crowd breaks out (deservedly) a “This is awesome” chant, and Ziggler mimics Shawn Michaels’ taunt, which would cost him, as Owens delivered a pop-up powerbomb, and picked up the win. Brilliant match. And Machine Gun Kelly had nothing to do with it.
Strong show so far.
Backstage segment with The Big Show, Ryback and Kane, talking about their upcoming match with the Wyatt Family. Cheesy. No other word to describe it.
That’s the next match.
The match begins with the Wyatts on the back foot, but when Braun Strowman comes in, he takes control. The Wyatts continue to dominate Ryback, and then Big Show starts (horrendously) a Feed Me More chant, and Ryback manages to tag in Kane. I wasn’t really invested in the match, but Ryback picked up the win for his team.
There’s a backstage interview with Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose, which did a good job of building the main event.
The next match is the Divas’ Championship match between Brie Bella and Charlotte. Both women mock each other or their family in the match, and the wrestling, sadly, seems kind of minimal. Then the match drifts into a slow pace, and drags. The crowd isn’t into it. Brie Bella locks in a sleeper hold but Charlotte gets out, and then things happen that aren’t anything special, and then Brie injured her left leg (which seems kayfabe), which would inevitably be the end of her. Charlotte’s Figure 8 would prove to be too much for her, and Charlotte would retain her Divas’ Championship.
The next match is one I’ve been looking forward to, between Chris Jericho and AJ Styles, and this should be a cracker. Essentially, this is a face-v-face rubber match, and that makes me even more excited.
From the opening bell, the technicality is obvious, and both men go back and forth in a thrilling exchange. Nobody sees to assume control , and that’s a good sign so far. One man hits, the other hits back. Eventually Jericho gains control, which is a good technique to use to get Styles over as a babyface. Styles turns it around with a running clothesline, and begins to assume control, and then the back-and-forth tone resumes. The Styles Clash is teased again, countered into a Walls Of Jericho, broken out of, but then Styles was caught by an Insiguri, kicking out at two. That explains the fast pace of the match. Styles kicked out of the Lionsault, and attempted a Springboard Forearm, and was met with a Springboard Dropkick which brought him down. Styles attempted a hurricanrana off the top, reversed into a Walls of Jericho, but Styles made it over to the bottom rope and broke the hold. A Liontamer was applied outside the ring, and Styles barely made it back into the ring, met with a Codebreaker, but Styles was at the rope for the cover. Jericho then lost his temper and started to trash-talk Styles, who began to fight back with the crowd’s support, and finally delivered a Styles Clash, to which Jericho actually kicked out, and then Styles proceeded to deliver the Calf Crusher, to which Jericho submitted.
What a brilliant match, and what an amazing ending. AJ Styles is here for good. The future is bright. Match of the night so far, without a doubt. Jericho proceeded to what looked like a backstage assault, but then simply shook Styles’ hand after he challenged him to another match immediately.
I kind of lost my mind when Edge’s music hit, but then remembered that there was a Cutting Edge Peep Show segment planned. But I still marked out when Edge and Christian entered. And considering that The New Day were the proposed guests, this should be some great fun. Both men ‘shamelessly self-promoted’ their new show on the WWE Network, and then The New Day came down. Soon enough this was just banter and it involved the League Of Nations and something, wasn’t paying attention. Nothing big really happened, so, moving on…
So the Social Outcasts came out, and things are getting a bit bland now. R-Truth came out and started a match with Curtis Axel and I just do not care. This is the finest example of filler. It shouldn’t be happening during a pay-per-view. It’s just killing time until the main event. And then Goldust came out to ringside, and some things happened that led to Curtis Axel winning.
Finally, it’s main event time. The match started out as I thought it would, with Lesnar claiming the match as his own, and Reigns and Ambrose trying to bring him down. Eventually they being him down together, putting him through the German announce table, and face each other in a back and forth fest. As Lesnar gets up, Roman and Dean unite once again, putting him through the English announce table this time. They proceed to cover him up in the remnants of the table, and move back to face each other yet again. This eventually leeds to a Dirty Deeds, which Reigns kicks out of. As Ambrose attempted for a second, Lesnar reemerged and Suplexed both men. Lesnar though, slightly dazed, was hit by a Spear, but Lesnar locked in the dangerous Kimura Lock on Roman Reigns, who managed to receive help from Ambrose with a steel chair to break the hold. Ambrose then assaulted both men with the chair, and drove Lesnar out of the ring. Turned, received a Spear, down for three: Roman Reigns is going to WrestleMania.
What a great match. Good story to it too. The result, will have mixed opinions. I understand why he would win, because of the whole saga with Triple H, but I wanted Ambrose to win it more. Anyway, the build to WrestleMania should be interesting now, and Reigns vs Triple H should be a great match.
Triple H did come out at the end of the show, The final shot, which was beautiful, showed Triple H and Roman Reigns face to face, with the WrestleMania logo in the background. Am I excited for this? Yes. Actually, very much. Would I have had Ambrose win? Yes. Does that make this a bad result? No. Honestly, this makes more sense, and this story deserves a conclusion, which we should get come WrestleMania.
As for Lesnar and Ambrose, I’m not sure. I’m pretty certain that Lesnar will meet Bray Wyatt though, which I am extremely excited for, and I do sense some big plans for Dean Ambrose.
Overall, Owens vs Ziggler was good, the main event was great, and Styles vs Jericho was, wait for it, phenomenal. But there were some really bland segments and some matches were really dull.
On a scale where M is the lowest, and R is the highest possible rating, with the highlighted letter being the rating:
WWE Fastlane 2016: MIHIR
WrestleMania 32: Here we come!