AUTHOR’S NOTE: I started writing this post WEEKS ago and I’m just getting around to finishing it. I still need to write my WrestleMania 35 recap but I’m writing this from the perspective that I haven’t seen Mania.
Last Sunday night the WWE held its fifth annual Fastlane event right here in my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio at the Quicken Loans Arena. I had no intention of actually going to the event but my brother scored some amazing loge seats so he and I took my two older boys to the event to watch it live!
This last PPV on the Road to WrestleMania is typically just sort of a filler show where they set up angles for the big show to come and further other storylines. Fastlane was no different this year but being there live in the arena, with my boys and brother really was something special.
We got ten matches on the card including one match on the pre-show. Normally we don’t watch the preshow stuff but since we were there we did and it was actually pretty good.
Overall I’ve got to say this was a better show than I expected. Last year’s pre-Mania PPV was Elimination Chamber and it was super slow which is sort of what I was thinking we’d get. It didn’t feel like a super long show and I’ve not gone back and re-watched it on the Network yet so I can’t speak for the commentary either. I’m really looking forward to revisiting this one on TV. Let’s get into it.
(All photos courtesy WWE.com)
The New Day Defeated Shinsuke Nakamura and Rusev
Surprisingly good to kick off the night. Nakamura and Rusev got more offense than I thought they would have and even though the outcome was never really in doubt in my mind all the guys worked hard and delivered a quality opener.
The Usos Defeated The Miz and Shane McMahon to Retain the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship
The Miz in Cleveland is always a site to see and he didn’t let us down. He came out repping the Cleveland Browns with a Miz shirt specifically designed for the event. I’m not a huge fan of tag wrestling but this was pretty satisfying. The huge spot in the match was when Shane went to the top for a coast to coast splash and Jey was in his corner getting ready to splash the Miz in the middle of the ring. The two guys leaped at the same time and Shane caught him with a dropkick to the knee in mid air. Talk about a great looking spot. The home town Miz wasn’t able to get the victory though and was pinned at the 14 minute mark.
After the match we got what I’ve been expecting for months now when Shane turned on Miz and beat the holy hell out of him (and his dad) setting up a WrestleMania confrontation. It’ll be interesting to see if the Miz plays the babyface in this feud but I’d guess that’ll be the case with Shane turning on him. Decent opener to the PPV.
Asuka Defeated Mandy Rose to Retain WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship
This was pretty weak. I’m not a huge Asuka fan and Mandy Rose just sort of looked like she was in over her head in a match that goes just shy of seven minutes. Not sure how it came off on TV or if the announcers even mentioned it, but it totally looked like a blown spot on the outside. Sonya Deville spent the better part of the match looking around under the ring for something which turned out to be a kendo stick. During the finish it looked like she was supposed to turn on Rose and missed the spot? Will have to reserve judgement until after I watch this back but seemed like sort of a mess.
The Bar Defeated Kofi Kingston in a Handicap Match
Kofi Kingston believed he was heading to the ring for a WWE Championship match only to be met with a Handicap match against Sheamus and Cesaro. This is 100% building to a Kofi Kingston win at WrestleMania similar to what Daniel Bryan did at WrestleMania 30. If it doesn’t it was a complete waste of time and a complete waste of talent. Kingston being repeatedly screwed over by Vince McMahon will only make him a MEGA star.
The Revival Defeated Aleister Black and Ricochet, and Bobby Roode and Chad Gable to Retain the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship
This had a little bit of something for everyone even if you’re a guy like me that doesn’t get super pumped about tag team wrestling. This one put The Revival over as legit champs in a match that lasted just shy of 11 minutes. It was the best thing we’d seen so far tonight.
Samoa Joe Defeated Andrade, R-Truth and Rey Mysterio to Retain WWE United States Championship
This was sort of a spot fest but it was actually way more enjoyable than I thought it would be. If I’m being honest I thought Rey was going to walk out with the title here for a late career run into Mania. I’m not upset with Joe holding onto the title here cause I really enjoy his work and feel that he’s been under utilized to this point in his time in WWE. Good stuff.
The Boss ‘n’ Hug Connection (Bayley and Sasha Banks) Defeated Nia Jax and Tamina to Retain the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship
Can we talk for a minute about just how stupid the name “Boss ‘n’ Hug Connection” is? Gimme a break. This was sort of a mess for me full of sloppy spots that felt sort of rushed. There was some nice post-match action where Beth Phoenix got involved clearly setting up a WrestleMania moment which I won’t care about. She’s an awesome physical specimen to be sure and she’s Edge’s wife but I just won’t care.
Daniel Bryan Defeated Kevin Owens and Mustafa Ali to Retain the WWE Championship
I’m not sure who lost a bet to Mustafa Ali but he finds himself added to the championship math here. Chants of “we want Kofi” filled the arena proving just how hot that angle is going to be going into WrestleMania. That said, to my great surprise Ali managed to not be a third wheel here and came out looking like a superstar despite being an afterthought.
It was pretty clear to me that Daniel was going to retain as a title switch a month out from Mania just doesn’t make sense. It’s sort of a bummer that we won’t get programs between these three in the future as I can only assume it’ll be Kofi / Daniel for the next couple of months. Wonder if Owens / Ali is compelling enough without a title on the line for anyone to care?
Side note: The Daniel Bryan vegan asshole character is amazing. I hate him… which means he’s doing his job. Bravo.
Becky Lynch Defeated Charlotte Flair
This was meh. Which is a real bummer seeing as I love both women involved. It’s been pretty clear to me for a while that we’re getting a triple threat at Mania for the women and we got that here when Rousey came out and kicked Lynch giving her a DQ win and a spot at WrestleMania. Will be interesting to see where these three go heading into Mania and if Becky will continue to milk the injured leg angle.
The Shield Defeated Baron Corbin, Bobby Lashley, and Drew McIntyre
For as bad as the ladies match was, this was just plain awesome. It’s tough to tell what’s a work and what’s a shoot when it comes to Dean Ambrose’s contract situation. If this really was the last time The Shield will be together they gave us what we wanted… a good old fashion brawl. In just under 25 minutes everyone here was able to get their spots in and no one really got lost (even when they were outside the ring).
Side note… this is where being there in person sort of sucks. Without the commentary and multiple camera angles I’m sure I missed some of the action going on as there were spread all over the arena.
I’ve always been a Reigns fan so it was really nice to see him back in the ring after he announced his leukemia was in remission. I don’t care how bad you hate that guy, hearing him say, “I’m in remission y’all” was a goosebump inducing moment. The expected Shield celebration that ended the night was a great way to close the show. I’m sincerely hoping it wasn’t the last time we saw these guys together.
Overall this was a good show and I was pumped to be able to be in attendance with my boys and brother. I’m very much looking forward to where they go over the next several weeks. It’s WrestleMania season so now is the best time of year to be a wrestling fan.
Time to point at that Mania sign!
Upcoming WWE PPV Schedule
Here’s a look at the PPV schedule.
- WrestleMania 35 – 4.7.2019
- Backlash – May 2019
- Money in the Bank – June 2019
- Extreme Rules – July 2019
- SummerSlam – 8.11.2019
Did you watch Fast Lane? Let me know what you thought in the comments below!