What a weird place WWE is in right now. We should be in the hype machine for Wrestlemania, but there’s a sense of dullness hanging over everything. There seems to be a deflating, which is understandable after all the injuries and the recent retirement of Daniel Bryan. Due to that, Fastlane had very little momentum going into it. Yes, the main event had Mania implications; it still seemed more like an event from September or October. Keep that in mind while checking out these matches.
Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks v. Team B.A.D (Naomi and Tamina Snuka)
I can’t remember the last time a Women’s match opened a pay per view or event. Seeing this one open made me extremely happy, and to finally get my two favorite women teaming together (Becky and Sasha), I was through the roof. The match was kind of what I expected. Becky started and, while having some good offensive moments, was eventually beaten down, giving Sasha the hot tag. While Naomi and Tamina weren’t bad, it’s hard when the other two are constantly overshadowing. The end started odd, as it looked like Sasha was getting into position to put on a crossface, Benoit style, rather than the Bank Statement, but got her submission locked in and ended it, as Becky held her opponent from breaking up the submission with her own armbar finisher. The biggest draw coming out of this match is that mania needs both Sasha and Becky challenging for the belt. That triple threat has the chance to be in the top matches on the Mania card.
Winners: Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks
Kevin Owens (Champion) v. Dolph Ziggler for the Intercontinental Title
Honestly, I’ve been out of the loop since the Daniel Bryan retirement due to work, even though I did some research before the event. Due to that, this match took me a little off guard. I was aware that Owens won back the title, but wasn’t sure where Ziggler came from. Then it hit me, Ziggler can be plugged into almost any situation and be a solid worker. That’s exactly what happened here. Owens needed an opponent for this event, the best guy available was Ziggler. The match itself was what you;d expect, really good from both guys, but not the best match either have had in WWE. Ziggler did a lot of over selling like he does. Some of those kicks he took looked like he was shot. Owens continued to be a great in ring heel, really taunting Ziggler throughout the match and having the offense to match. Also, Owens finally nailed down a perfect set up to his finisher, allowing him to hit it without the opponent having to hit the ropes. Not sure what the future holds for Dolph, but I have a pretty good guess for Owens come mania, more on that later.
Winner and Still IC Champion: Kevin Owens
The Wyatt Family (Luke Harper, Erick Rowan, and Braun Strowman) v. Kane, The Big Show, and Ryback
Unlike this match, I’ll make this quick. This was a really rough match, one which almost put me to sleep. You put three guys in the ring, 5 of which are not that mobile, and the most agile out of those five being a veteran in his 40s, it’s a recipe for disaster. That’s exactly what this was. It was a ten minute slog. On top of that, the young guys in the match aren’t really gaining much from it. Kane can still work, but I wouldn’t put him with the Wyatts. Big Show really looks like he;s struggling to move. I respect him a great deal, he’s had an excellent career, and has a place in WWE. That said, it might be time for him to consider calling it for in ring work. For the Wyatts, I have no idea what to do with the Wyatts for Wrestlemania. It seems like they’re building either Bray v. Taker, which has already been done, or Bray v. Lesnar, which I have absolutely no idea what to expect from. I would say the latter is the better choice, but it’s really questionable how they would work in the ring. Wyatt’s all about head games, and Lesnar would never fall for anything. I’m intrigued moving forward, however. You may have noticed I didn’t say much about the match… We’ll leave it there.
Winners: The Wyatt Family
Charlotte (Champion) v. Brie Bella For The Divas Championship
The emotion in this match was at an all time high for Brie, coming off the heels of D Brys retirement. They showed clips of that night, and the two of them together, and it’s still a tough watch these weeks later. Charlotte played off that really well. Any time she brought up that yes chant, you couldn’t stand her. Very good heel work from her, as she’s still shifting her way from being a tweener. Even though this match had a lot of botches, much to be expected with Brie, it was still a great match. I can look past all that when a great story is being told, and that’s exactly what these two did. Brie was fight for both Bryan and Nikki, and she refused to give in for much of the match, where many would expect the ending to be. As the match went on, the thought of Brie winning, and retiring with the belt really began to appeal to me. It’s a fairly well known rumor that Brie is probably going to retire, and even though she hasn’t always been a favorite, she’s had a solid career and deserves a nice send out. In terms of Charlotte, I’m just ready for that triple threat I alluded to earlier.
Winner and Still WWE Divas Champion: Charlotte
Chris Jericho v. AJ Styles
This is the match I was really looking forward to, and it certainly delivered. Even though Jericho is older, he still can work awesome matches, and with a guy like AJ, that match is to be expected. These two put on a great technical clinic, and the crowd, in an almost indy like fashion, were behind both guys. In my opinion, this was a nice way to introduce AJ to the WWE universe. While I’ve heard some criticism that they are planting AJ in the mid card, I’m willing to give him time. WWE never just puts someone in the main event. I know he’s going to be there, and for the sake of the company, I’m sure it’ll be sooner rather than later. Also, Mania looks like it’s going to have the match we’ve been waiting for, AJ v. Owens. After being poked at by Owens today, and Owens eliminating AJ from the Rumble, this one has been building. Expectations for that match will be high, and, if it actually happens, will be the main reason for me watching Mania, along with seeing The Undertaker. The ending of this match was interesting. I’m still shocked AJ gets to use the Styles Clash, after it almost paralyzed Roderick Strong. While Jericho kicked out of that, Styles used a submission to pull out the win, which was a very interesting knee or shin locked of some kind.
Winner: AJ Styles
Curtis Axel v. R-Truth
I’m not really sure why this match happened, other than to blow off steam before the main event. It was a 2 minute match to just further a Goldust desire to form a team with Truth, and to thoroughly confused those of us watching.
Winner: Curtis Axel
Brock Lesnar v. Dean Ambrose v. Roman Reigns in a No DQ match for a Title Match at Wrestlemania
I had zero expectations for this match. This whole angle seemed very odd. Ambrose and Reigns were de facto top guys to fight Triple H at Mania, and Lesnar was just thrown in. While the match was good, giving us moments of a Shield reunion and Lesnar just destroying them, there wasn’t much I can say I go away remembering. To me, there’s never really a reason for Lesnar to lose. He seems like he’s in another league from everyone else. Even though Reigns looked OK here, he didn’t totally stand out, and his clean win was fairly deflating. I know Lesnar wasn’t pinned, but it’s even more of a reason for him not to be in the match at all. It also draws fans even farther from Reigns. Just a perplexing move. Also, for the second year in a row, Reigns points to the Wrestlemania sign while being inundated with boos. I know this is the logical sense story wise, but WWE forcing him down people’s throats is never going to work. He really needs to turn heel. He and Ambrose can have a great feud with that. In terms of Mania for Ambrose, I, again, have no idea. The only move that’s foreseeable is fighting Lesnar, but it remains unclear if Brock will face Bray or not. Maybe Taker? I guess we’ll find out.
Winner: Roman Reigns
And that was Fastlane. With Mania approaching, it’s time to start watching, as I’m sure there will be surprises. Also, everything will be worth it to hear the gong of The Undertaker