I feel really sad for Fastlane. It’s the WWE pay-per-view show just before Wrestlemania and, because of that, no one really gives a crap about it. You just know nothing major is going to happen here. They’ll be no major shakeups with the titles as that’ll throw the entire Wrestlemania card out of whack. But, as a dutiful WWE fan, I still have to watch it.
So, let’s get on with it and maybe the WWE will surprise me… but I’m not holding my breath.
Match #1: Shane McMahon and The Miz vs The Usos for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship
When has the hometown hero, in this case, The Miz, ever won a championship? It’s been too long! With that logic, I say The Usos will retain and The Miz will get frustrated and beat up on Shane McMahon.
I honestly wasn’t expecting much but I forgot Fastlane was being held in Cleaveland, the Miz’s hometown. So the crowd was much more hotter than I expected and I believe that factored into the why this match impressed me. We also got to see some new things, like The Miz and Shane performing a classic Hart Attack ala the Hart Foundation and Shane using the Coast to Coast to dropkick away one of the Usos attempted Samoan Splash on The Miz. It was also great to see the hometown hero make the comeback as I’m so sick and tired of Shane getting the hot tag to save the day.
The finish was rather dumb but the aftermath was rather compelling. The Miz saw Jey Uso was downed by Shane’s missile dropkick and he then looked to his dad. Miz climbed the top turnbuckle and attempted a frog splash, which he hadn’t done before, but his target got his knees up. Jey took this opportunity to lock in an inside cradle to pin Miz and retain the Smackdown Tag Team Championships.
Afterwards, it looked like everything was going to be alright between The Miz and Shane but the son of the Chairman of the WWE blindsided and assaulted the A-Lister. To add insult to injury, shove The Miz’s dad in the face before leaving.
I fully expected The Miz to turn heel in front of his hometown so I was genuinely surprised to see it was Shane to turned bad. The match itself was pretty good, thanks to a very hot crowd and a couple of fresh spots. I just didn’t like the finish as it did seem like it was Miz’s dad’s fault as his son tried to impress him, which led his team to lose. Still, good match.
Rating: 7.0 of 10.0 uncharacteristic frog splashes
Match #2: Asuka vs Mandy Rose (with Sonya Deville) for the Smackdown Women’s Championship
I know Mandy Rose is probably one of Vince McMahon’s favorites. She’s blonde and sexy, after all. But it would be foolish to have her win the title from Asuka this close to Wrestlemania.
This wasn’t a match I was looking forward to as Mandy Rose repertoire feels a little limited now. But she did impress me quite a bit here as she did much more than knee strikes this time around. Mandy did get some good offense in. That standing delayed suplex looked better than average. Overall, however, the only thing Mandy Rose is really good at doing is selling, which is what she did throughout most of the match as Asuka clearly outmatched her.
The finish was unique but I just wasn’t feeling it. Sonya Deville was searching under the ring for a weapon and she found a kendo stick. But while she was rummaging under the ring, Deville moved the ring skirt onto the top of the ring. Asuka reverses an Irish Whip and Mandy Rose slips on the ring skirt. This allowed Asuka to nail the recovering Mandy Rose with a spinning heel kick and get the pinfall victory.
I like the idea of trying something new and I with give credit that the WWE is letting this Mandy Rose-Sonya Deville thing simmer instead of trying to flash fry the storyline. But it’s kind of hard to care since both of them are losing. Also, as the storyline is focused on them, that means Asuka, the champ, doesn’t have a story? It’s stupid to have the Smackdown Women’s Champion come into Wrestlemania and defend her title without any storyline or personal stakes. Oh, and the match was just okay.
Rating: 5.0 of 10.0 slipping Mandy Roses
Match #3: Kofi Kingston vs The Bar (Sheamus and Cesaro) in a Two-on-One Handicap match
Is this really a match? Oh, well. I really hope The Bar do win even though I like Kofi Kingston a whole lot. But with the way the WWE has been booking them, I wouldn’t be surprised if the New Day member gets the surprise rollup pin from out of nowhere. In fact, that’s my official prediction.
Well, this was a little less of a match but more of a way to promote Kofi Kingston and, in effect, the New Day as the new underdogs. While Kofi Kingston did get a few licks in, he simply wasn’t a match for The Bar. Nothing much to say about it really. The Bar simply beat down on Kofi Kingston throughout the entire thing.
The finish came when the rest of the New Day tried to intervene but were intercepted by Rusev and Shinusuke Nakamura. In the ring, The Bar go for a double team version of Sheamus’ White Noise for the pinfall victory.
I get why this match was put together. It was put together to make Kofi Kingston even more sympathetic as well as capitalize on his new found popularity. I’m fine with them doing this now but they should stop while they’re ahead because if they do it too often, it’ll just hurt Kofi and diminish his current rise to stardom. For what it was, it was good storytelling but once is enough.
Rating: 5.0 of 10.0 double White Noises
Match #4: Ricochet and Aleister Black vs Chad Gable and “Glorious” Bobby Roode vs The Revival in a Triple Thread Tag Team Match for the RAW Tag Team Championships
Isn’t it odd that the only “real” tag team here are the Revival, who just so happen to be the current RAW Tag Team Champs. No offense to the others but I prefer the challengers to be singles competitors rather than just mashed together in a tag team. So I’m going for the Revival here.
My expectations for this match were mixed. On one hand, I really like what Ricochet and Aleister Black do in the ring and I like the no-nonsense attitude of The Revival. On the other hand, I’m just iffy with the pairing of Bobby Roode and Chad Gable. I believe the WWE isn’t doing “Glorious” Bobby Roode any favors by sticking him in a tag team. And this match was kind of a mixture of those two opinions. I liked it when Riccochet, Aleister Black and The Revival were going at it. But when Chad Gable and, especially Bobby Roode were in action, things felt really slow moving. It’s not like they weren’t trying. It’s just that their styles didn’t mesh well with the other teams.
The finish came after Ricochet did an amazing running plancha to the outside. Gable tagged himself in and tried a crossbody on Scott Dawson but Dawson rolled through for the 2-count. Gable tried to rollup his opponent but Dawson kicked out. Dawson recovered and hung Gable off the top from from an electric chair position. One Shatter Machine later and The Revival are still your RAW Tag Team Champions.
I really liked this match as Ricochet and Aleister Black are phenomenal performers in the ring. I also like the rather stiff style The Revival use. It’s sad that the weak link for me are Chad Gable and, more specifically, Bobby Roode. Maybe I’m being biased here because I really want The Glorious One to shine as a singles competitor but, hey. Those are my thoughts and feelings.
Rating: 7.5 of 10.0 times I want to see “Glorious” Bobby Roode return to singles matches
Match #5: Rey Mysterio vs R-Truth (with Carmela) vs Andrade (with Zelina Vega) vs Samoa Joe in a Fatal Four match for the United States Championship
Call me crazy, but I’m predicting R-Truth to steal one here with the help of Carmela. It’s a long shot but I just have a feeling…
The biggest problem with Fatal Four matches is that they hardly use everyone at the same time. It usually boils down to two guys in the ring while the other hang outside of the ring while they wait for their cue. While it was still like this at times, it was really refreshing to see three or sometimes all four Superstars doing something at the same time. Whether is be R-Truth lifting Andrade up in the air for the Master of the 619 to connect with a hurracarana or Andrade launching Rey Mysterio into Samoa Joe for a senton, there was a lot of good interaction between all of the Superstars competing.
Because of how good the action was, I was left disappointed by the finish. Truth managed to take out Andrade with a scissors kick but, when he tried the same thing to Samoa Joe, the Samoan Submission Machine avoided it and posted Truth. Mysterio got into the action and set up Joe for the 619, which connected. Mysterio then tried for the top rope splash but Joe rolled out of the way. Joe locked in the Coquina Clutch and Mysterio falls asleep. Samoa Joe is declared the winner by submission.
While I really loved how everyone got involved, having Joe simply put Mysterio out, incredibly quickly I might add, feels anti-climactic. Still, everyone really worked hard and this was a super entertaining match I wouldn’t mind watching again.
Rating: 8.0 of 10.0 narcoleptic Rey Mysterios
Match #6: The Boss and Hug Connection (Sasha Banks and Bayley) vs Nia Jax and Tamina for the Women’s Tag Team Championship
There’s no way they’re gonna make Sasha Banks and Bayley lose their first title defense, will they? I mean, Sasha Banks may have lost most of her pay-per-view title defenses in the past… but they won’t do that here, please?
The match started out okay but got progressively worse and worse. Things were generally okay when it was Bayley in the ring but things took a turn for the worse when Sasha Banks was tagged it. I’m not really sure it’s totally her fault, though. Yes, a lot of the issues involved The Boss either rotating too much while in the air or not enough. But some of the blame should go to Tamina and Nia Jax for probably using just a little too much power to boost her into the air in the first place.
The finish and aftermath was interesting from a storytelling perspective, to say the least. Sasha Banks and Bayley toss Nia Jax back into the ring. The Boss nails Jax with double knees from the second rope and Bayley follows it up with an elbow drop from the top turnbuckle. Tamina breaks the pin but Bayley uses a stunner into the ropes to take her out. The Irresistible Force picks up The Hugger for a powerbomb but Bayley reverses it into a hurracarana rollup pin. Bayley gets the 3-count to retain the Women’s Tag Team Championship for her team.
After the match, Tamina and Jax wail on the champs. The duo get into Beth Phoenix, who was doing commentary, and The Glamazon throws the first punch! Jax and Tamina then start assaulting Beth and Natalya tries to make the save. Unfortunately, she’s overpowered and Jax and Tamina lay her out as well.
The match itself was rather ugly as they didn’t adlib the botched spots. It looked sloppy and ugly as a result, despite everything being okay for the most part. The beatdown was great as it was nice to see that Beth Phoenix can still do some stuff in the ring. Hopefully, this does lead into having her compete in one more match.
Rating: 4.0 of 10.0 Beth Phoenix return matches–
Match #7: Kevin Owens vs Mustafa Ali vs The “New” Daniel Bryan (with Rowan) for the WWE World Championship
Didn’t I just mention at the start that there’s no way a major title will change hands prior to Wrestlemania? The “New” Daniel Bryan has this in the bag.
This couldn’t have been a good match for Mustafa Ali at the start. While he was supposed to be one of the guys in the Elimination Chamber, he got injured and Kofi Kingston took his place, leading to Kingston’s new found fame. Now, even though the WWE is just reverting back to their original plan, the WWE Universe now want Kofi and not Mustafa Ali! But, as The “New” Daniel Bryan says, the crowd is “fickle” and they were behind Ali, thanks to some really brilliant action on his part.
That’s not to say that Kevin Owens didn’t do his part. He and Rowan were integral to this match. It was really nice to see KO back in the ring although it does feel strange to see him as a good guy. But at least he still doing the trash talking like he did as a heel. Rowan was also necessary to the success of this match as he made his presence felt at just the right moments.
The finish came after Rowan took out Owens with a spin kick and Ali kicked out while being pinned by Bryan. Bryan starts slapping Ali around but Ali fights back. Ali attempts a moonsault but The Planet’s Champion counters with a devastating running knee in mid-air. It’s enough for Bryan to get the pinfall and retain his World Championship.
This was an extremely good match with everyone involved making it something special. I was especially impressed with Mustafa Ali’s performance as he had to block out the Kofi Kingston chants throughout the match. I would’ve liked the final moments to have Ali make a longer comeback but, well, you can’t have it all.
Rating: 9.0 of 10.0 Kofi Kingston chants in a match without Kofi Kingston
Match #8: Becky Lynch vs Charlotte with the stipulation that, if Becky Lynch wins, she will go to Wrestlemania against Ronda Rousey and Charlotte for the RAW Women’s Championship
Let’s see… who’s the most popular draw in the WWE right now? It’s Becky Lynch, right?
As a match, this wasn’t going to be good by any stretch of the imagination. Even though the match itself was going to be a wash, the drama was top-notch. You know Charlotte was going to mock Becky Lynch’s “injury” and dominate by targeting the leg. I actually like this new heel Charlotte and her loudmouth taunts were fantastic and The Man trying to fight back despite being hurt. This is classic good guy vs bad guy storytelling in wrestling at it’s best.
The finish was rather disappointing, though. Becky Lynch dumped Charlotte while The Queen was setting up for a moonsault. Charlotte managed to get in just before the 10-count. Lynch tried to lock in the Dis-Arm-Her but Charlotte reversed it into a figure-four. While trying to bridge it into the Figure Eight, Ronda Rousey rushed in an assaulted Lynch, giving The Man the DQ victory and making the match for the RAW Women’s Championship a Triple Threat.
The match itself was not good but I didn’t expect it to be good. I did like all the drama, though. What I did want was Becky Lynch to win it by herself and not have Ronda Rousey rush in. In fact, I would’ve loved it if Becky Lynch managed to injure Charlotte during the match, causing it to just be The Man vs Ronda Rousey at Wrestlemania!
Rating: 3.5 of 10.0 calls to remove Charlotte from the Triple Threat match at Wrestlemania
Match #9: The SHIELD (Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns) vs Baron Corbin, Drew McIntyre and Bobby Lashley (with Lio Rush)
With this being Roman Reigns glorious return to pay-per-views, there’s no way the WWE will make his comeback match a losing one.
In a way, I wasn’t really expecting all that much from this. I was expecting them to take it a bit easy as Reigns still had to shake off the ring rust. Glad I was wrong! I definitely like Reigns more when he’s with the SHIELD rather than not. There was a lot of back-and-forth between the two teams but it was when the SHIELD took control thing really got good.
The finish came after the heels attempted their version of the triple powerbomb on Reigns. Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose interrupted it. Seth performed a curb stomp on Lashley into the announce table. Roman connected with a spear to Corbin. The SHIELD then did a triple powerbomb to Drew through another announce table. The trio then set their sights on Corbin and drilled him with a triple powerbomb to take the match.
This was a good match and a great way to close the show. The SHIELD looked like they never broke up and they certainly played the hits they’re known for. The heels did their job well of getting the crowd invested. It’s probably not going to be remembered as one of the greatest matches ever but, boy, was it entertaining!
Rating: 7.0 of 10.0 SHIELD reunions
Overall rating for WWE Fastlane (2019):
Color me surprised but I really liked this year’s Fastlane. Sure, there weren’t any titles changing hands but most of the matches were really exciting and great. I do wish there were at least one or two surprises but, with everything being this close to Wrestlemania, the WWE played it safe and didn’t want to rock the boat. Still, Fastlane was fun.
Rating: 7.0 of 10.0 moments before Wrestlemania!
What did you think of this year’s Fastlane? Let me know in the comments section below!