So we’re in the Fastlane on the road to Wrestlemania… ah, that’s why they called this show Fastlane. I get it now. Do you get it? Sorry, I had to do something to get myself even a bit excited for this show… watching Smackdown has depressed me lately, and I honestly was debating going to bed instead or staying up to watch this. The Wrestlemania card is starting to take shape on the Raw side of things, and hopefully after this show we will know what our WWE Title match is, possibly have a hint at who John Cena will face, and may know the plans for the US and Tag Team championships. Anyway, without further ado, let’s kick off the action….
FUCK THE PRESHOW! Tye Dillinger & Breezango defeated Mojo Rawley and American Alpha 2.0. Thank you Columbus crowd for chanting “You can’t wrestle” at Mojo, I enjoy when chants are factual.
We kick off the main show with the Royal Rumble winner facing off against the most over man on Smackdown, despite WWE booking him as a heel. Firstly, the fact that they are still booking him as a heel and they seemingly have nothing in the pipeline for him for Wrestlemania is a damning indictment of the WWE creative situation.
The match started with a bit of a technical exchange, with Rusev using his strength to nullify Shinsuke early on. Shinsuke does his “come on!” taunt, but Rusev rolls out of the ring, which is genius! Can’t remember anyone doing that, so it really stood out.
When the action returned to the ring it was a fairly stiff match, plenty of strikes, and both guys taking heavy shots. Shinsuke takes a Machka Kick and lands on his face, The match ends with Nakamura hitting a Kinshasa to the back of the neck, then one to the face, and he gets the pin.
Really strong opener, and both guys came out of it looking good. They need to embrace the Rusev Day popularity while it’s hot, as it could be the making of a new star. And this was the showing that Nakamura needed to remind everyone of just how good he is.
Have you ever seen a Randy Orton match? Have you seen any Bobby Roode WWE match he’s wrestled as a face? Mash them together and you can picture how this match goes. I took this match as an opportunity to order a kebab. The one moment of note was that there were “Byron Saxton” chants, that’ll tell you how good it was. Orton got the win with a midair RKO to win the US title for the first time ever.
After the match Jinder came down and attacked him, but Roode makes the save, hitting a Glorious DDT on Jinder. Then he hits the DDT on Orton too! Sweet Jesus, they better be turning Roode heel. And that sets up the Triple Threat for Wrestlemania, mirroring the IC Title match… Lazy booking!
We had a video package for the Rousey-Angle vs The Authority match. Why are Smackdown promoting a Raw match for Wrestlemania?
I was hoping my kebab would arrive during this match, so I wouldn’t miss any of the matches that I actually care about. It’s pretty much Carmella & Nattie working over Naomi for most of it, and the crowd chanting “we want Becky” repeatedly. WWE, please listen to them. I don’t give a shit if Kevin Dunn doesn’t like her accent, she’s a star, and she’s what the fans want (yes, they’re fans, not a “Universe”).
Hot tag to Becky, and she cleans house. Carmella hits a jaw breaker and Naomi tags back in. After that it all gets sloppy, there’s a few botches, nobody seems to know what move they’re doing next. Eventually Becky knocks Nattie off the apron, and turns around into a superkick from Carmella, who gets the pin. Did not see that coming! Also, a superkick winning a wrestling match in 2018? REALLY?!
Still no sign of my kebab. I’m getting fairly hungry at this stage, despite having a delicious meal at 2BitHQ Sunday evening. The text flashing up on screen during the New Day entrance is really annoying. Seeing them with pancakes is making me even hungrier… I need food!
Good start to the match, as is to be expected from the 4 guys involved. Interesting they’re using Woods & Kofi as a team more often lately…. possibly foreshadowing Big E splitting off to do more singles work?
Usos hit Midnight Hour, only get a 2 count. New Day hit the Uso Splash, also for a 2 count. The Usos hit dives to the outside to leave everyone laid out by the ramp, and the Bludgeon Brothers music hits. They come down and absolutely batter everyone, including a nasty spot involving Woods on the ring steps, which he sold like an absolute champ! So that’s another triple threat for Wrestlemania. I still think the closing shot of this segment should have been 2B pointing their hammers at the Wrestlemania sign… that was a missed opportunity.
My kebab arrived during the video package for the next match…. GREAT SUCCESS!
Ruby comes out to the ring without Liv & Sarah Logan, but that was to be short lived, as they appear through the crowd to distract Charlotte a few minutes into the match. This brings Naomi & Becky out to even up the score. There’s a few nice moments where the Riott Squad goad the others to distract the ref and it’s nice to see heels being heelish. Eventually the ref ejects Becky & Naomi, then turns around and ejects the Riott Squad as well, so we’re back to how we started.
This match was a bit sloppy in parts, but they both laid in some stiff shots. Charlotte hit a fallaway slam into the barier, and hit a moonsault off it. There was a really nice spot where Charlotte managed to slingshot Ruby into the turnbuckle face first off her shoulders. This led to Charlotte hitting a spear, then locking in a Figure 8 for the win. Also kudos to Ruby for tapping out repeatedly, as if she was in pain, as opposed to how Nia Jax taps out to an armbar.
After the match Charlotte celebrates in the ring, but she’s interrupted by Asuka! The Empress of tomorrow comes to the ring, then turns and looks at the Wrestlemania sign, then smiles at Charlotte. So there’s your Wrestlemania match, and most likely get Nia Jax challenging Alexa Bliss on the Raw side of things. The worrying thing about this is that Road Dogg is now in charge of the creative for Asuka…
Last kebab update: It was delicious! Thank you Charcoal Grill! Food coma was starting to set in pretty quickly though.
Cena starts the match off strong, hitting AA’s on everyone except AJ within the first minute. Nice throwback to the days of giving yourself 5 finishers at the start of a match in WWE Here Comes The Pain.
This was a fun match, where everyone got a bit of time to shine. Corbin looked really good when he fired up and started laying everyone out, and his flurry ends with him checking Ziggler through glass in crowd. The other 4 brawl around ringside, and Cena hits an AA To Styles through the announce table to take him out for a while.
Eventually the ring empties and it leaves just Sami and Owens in the ring. Sami lays down for KO, but when Owens bends over Sami rolls him up for a near fall. They fight for a bit, end up outside, and Sami back body drops Owens onto the apron. Sami gets in Shane’s face and asks is this what Shane wanted, to drive them apart. KO goes to kick Sami from behind, but hits Shane instead. Owens gets back into the ring and hits a Pop-up Powerbomb on Cena, but Shane drags the ref out of the ring. KO eats a Helluva Kick, but Shane pulls Sami out of the ring. That’s setting up some cut of match involving those 3 at Mania anyway.
Corbin grabs the steps and lays out everyone with them. Cena blocks it and lays Corbin out, but Ziggler breaks up the pin. Ziggler with a superkick to Cena, but Cena rallies to hit an AA. Owens with a Pop-Up Powerbomb on Cena, but turns straight into a Phenomenal Forearm from Styles, who gets the win!
A really fun match, and all 6 guys looked good in it. I don’t want to see Sami vs KO vs Shane at Mania, but at this stage it might be the only logical payoff for this whole storyline if they won’t let Daniel Bryan wrestle again. And the best part of this is we will be getting Nakamura vs Styles at Wrestlemania. That should main event, but we all know it won’t.
To be fair, this wasn’t the worst pay per view I’ve ever seen. The main issue I had was there were too many matches with little to no build, or that I just couldn’t get invested in, and a lot of fans weren’t happy with the ending to the Tag Title match. However the opening match and main event saved it for me, even though they were both a bit predictable too.
Now we move forward towards Wrestlemania…. Who will face Alexa Bliss now that Asuka has moved to Smackdown? Where does this latest diversion bring John Cena on his Road to Wrestlemania? And how many triple threat matches can you fit onto one Wrestlemania card? We’ll soon know the answers to all of those questions….
While you’re here, make sure to check out ‘The Alleged Wrestling Podcast’ where we have the craic looking back over the wrestling events of the past week! (It’s also on iTunes and Stitcher and all those nice things)
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