Do you know I almost didn’t watch Fastlane, the WWE’s final pay-per-view event before Wrestlemania? Well, I totally thought it was scheduled for next week but it turns out it was this Sunday. I only found out about it when Alexa Bliss “congratulated” Asuka for deciding to go after Charlotte Flair’s Smackdown Women’s Championship and I thought, “when did that happen?” It turns out it happened last Sunday during Fastlane! Well, I then promptly checked the WWE Network and, sure enough, Fastlane is over with! So I hunkered down and went on to watch the pay-per-view event.
Now, I usually put this kind of thing in the I’ll Review Anything section but there’s already a review scheduled for this week. With that, I decided to switch things around a bit and put my “review” of Fastlane in my post for the week. As this isn’t a review, I won’t be giving the show the traditional ratings and all. Instead, I’ll be putting my general thoughts into sections: good, bad and, just to close out the trio, ugly. To quote Sami Zayn’s theme song: Let’s go!
The best match of the night was the Six-Pack Challenge for the WWE Heavyweight Championship. I honestly thought this wasn’t going to be all that good because the match just had too many competitors. Also, it was obvious that AJ Styles was going to win as it would be an incredible downer if we didn’t get to see The Phenomenal One go toe-to-toe against The King of Strong Style Shinusuke Nakamura. So color me surprised that this was a hoot and a half!
As with other matches that have multiple competitors, things were generally kept to a one-on-one affair for the most part. Some guys would get dumped to the outside to focus on a couple or trio of Superstars and this Six-Pack Challenge was no different. Even so, the overall flow of the match was really good. There was a lot of mayhem and some really brilliant spots sprinkled throughout.
What made this Six-Pack Challenge is that they even squeezed in some storytelling elements that will no doubt become a factor on the Road to Wrestlemania. We got the continuing story of the feud between Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn and Shane McMahon. We got John Cena now in a quandary as he still doesn’t have a match for Wrestlemania. And we, of course, got finality of AJ Styles vs Shinusuke Nakamura. This was just a fun and exciting match all around. I kind of feel that Dolph Ziggler and Baron Corbin didn’t need to be in it but, as they did pull off some good spots and they were there to transition in-between the one-on-one spots, they were necessary to add some spice to the match.
Another highlight of Fastlane was The Usos vs. The New Day for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship. These two teams have had humdinger matches together in the past and this one was no different. There were a few surprises to keep things fresh, though. For one, it was odd to see The New Day use Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston as the two members competing and not use Big E, but this set up worked really well. It was also enjoyable to see The New Day and The Usos trade their signature moves, trying to upstage and humiliate their foes by using their own attacks against them.
Unfortunately, neither team was able to get the victory as the Bludgeon Brothers interfered and laid waste to everyone in the match. I usually detest screwjob finishes like this but not in this case. This did make The Bludgeon Brothers look like the scariest tag team in the Smackdown roster, which was the idea. This does potentially set up a future match in Wrestlemania, hopefully, some kind of Triple Threat Tag Team match? One can hope!
Finally, the last really good match in Fastlane was Charlotte vs. Ruby Riott for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. However, there are a few caveats to the “goodness” of this match. Ruby Riott got to really show her in-ring skills here, even demonstrating some incredibly unique moves that does compliment her overall aesthetic and personality. Charlotte was as hard-hitting as ever, lending to some great looking back and forth moments with Ruby Riott. The entire thing was a grand spectacle.
But, like I said, there are some things that didn’t really work here. There were definitely some spots that looked iffy, such as in the clip above. That suicide dive just looked silly. I understand why as Charlotte had to catch her but it looked plain awkward. The weird Alamaba Slamma during the closing moments of the match looked incredibly fake. Also, why did the referee throw out Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan out as well? These things did make the match not as awesome as it should have been but it was still pretty good.
The Shinusuke Nakamura vs (Happy) Rusev (Day) match was kind of a bust. There wasn’t anything functionally wrong with the match per se. It just wasn’t something that was really worth being in a pay-per-view. This was just a filler match to tide Shinusuke Nakamura until Wrestlemania and to also capitalize on the overwhelming popularity of (Happy) Rusev (Day). This wasn’t a total disaster of a match, though. It took quite a while for the action to heat up and the closing minutes hooked me in. I just wish that things picked up a little earlier and some spots were spread out a little more evenly.
The match for the United States Championship with Bobby Roode going against Randy Orton was also pretty bad. Like the match before it, it was functional but really slow. The action didn’t really flow all together in a fluid manner. The spots were decent but hardly anything you would call pay-per-view worthy. Even the match’s best spot, which involved Randy Orton delivering a superplex to Glorious Bobby Roode was just above average. It was generally a safe looking match with hardly any drama. I guess it was surprising to see The Viper snatch victory from another RKO out of nowhere to become the United States Champion this close to Wrestlemania. But the thing is, the match lacked any intensity to really get me hyped up for the shocking win.
Oh, and was it really necessary to have Jinder Mahal come out and try to challenge Orton for the match, only for Roode to slide in and deliver two Glorious DDTs on both The Modern Day Maharajah and The Apex Predator? It’s a Wrestlemania tease that plain didn’t work to get me excited for a possible Triple Threat involving these three.
The Women’s Tag Team Match between Naomi and Becky Lynch vs. Carmella and Natayla was just… ugh!
This match had no drama and the action was sloppy overall. There was very little heat in the action and between the competitors, leading to a lackluster match. The closing minutes looked clumsy, with everyone seemingly bumbling to the planned closing spot. It was very obvious they weren’t sure where everyone was supposed to be positioned and this threw off everyone’s timing.
I will say in closing that WWE’s Fastlane was rather good this year. There were three really good matches and even the bad ones that I mentioned weren’t stinkers. The only stinker was the Women’s Tag Team match. One bad match out of six is definitely nothing to be sneezed at.
What did you think of this year’s Fastlane? Let me know in the comments section below!