Welcome to the Bell2Bell recap and review of WWE Fastlane!
Well this PPV turned out to be a glorified Raw. Right down to the obvious filler, impromptu matchmaking, lackluster matches and nonsensical booking decisions. You have to wonder how they could make so many bad decisions in one night… Well, let’s get into this soul crushingly, disappointing event.
Pre-Show Match – Tozawa/Swann VS Kendrick/Dar
Not a bad match by pre-show standards. Each man got in some decent offense with Tozawa standing out amongst the pack. Tozawa hit his amazing snap suplex and Swann was able to get the pin.
Sami Zayn VS Samoa Joe
This was one of the better matches of the night. Fast, hard hitting and stiff. Joe and Sami had excellent chemistry (as we all knew they would). Joe hit a couple of nasty pele kicks throughout the match that Sami sold like a master.
I really need to hand it to Sami who managed to get some decent offense in, while not overshadowing Joe or failing to make him look like an absolute monster. It was a delicate balance and he pulled it off.
The finish was also solid with Joe looking dominant. After catching Sami in an attempted “Helluva Kick”, Joe nails him with his uranage suplex. He then gets the win by using the Coquina Clutch to put Sami out. While I would have liked to see something more similar to their brawl on Raw, this was still a good, solid opener.
Winner: Samoa Joe
Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson (c) VS Enzo and Cass
Well this match… happened. I would’t say anything stood out too much. Gallows and Anderson were the perfect workers they usually are. Enzo got his butt kicked for most of the match. Cass had to come in and clean house. The match was serviceable but nothing we hadn’t already seen on Raw multiple times.
There were a couple of good spots including Enzo taking a flying calf kick in mid-air from Anderson which looked particularly brutal. Anderson was able to get the pin on Enzo to win the match. Enzo did get his foot on the rope, but Gallows was able to push it off before the ref noticed. This allowed them to steal a win and move the feud forward.
Winners and STILL Raw Tag Team Champions: Gallows and Anderson
Sasha Banks VS Nia Jax
Oh man this match… this match was bad… like… really bad both from a technical standpoint and a entertainment standpoint. I don’t blame Sasha. She did the best she could with what she had to work with. But she might as well have been wrestling an inflatable clown filled with sand and disappointment. It would have, at least, had more mobility.
Jax dominated for most of the match. We’ve seen it all before and it was incredibly boring. Jax was exceptionally sloppy here, even dangerous at times, almost dropping Sasha directly on her head at one point. Banks managed to get a bit of offense in, even locking Jax in the “Bank Statement” for a few seconds. But any bursts of offense were quickly cut short.
There were several botches throughout the match and most can be attributed to Jax’s lack of mobility. The finish as also botched with Banks obviously going for a roll up pin, but Jax was unable to physically perform her part of the move. Banks, being a pro, was able to adjust mid move and still pull off a half-way convincing pin to win the match. But, the botch was obvious and clearly the fault of Jax.
It was nice to see Banks squeeze out a win here, even if it was by the skin of her teeth. I’m sure the feud will continue from here and guess what…
Winner: Sasha Banks
So now we come to some of the filler of the show. Our first tip off as to what we could expect from the “main event”. Earlier in the night Rusev and Mahal were in Foley’s office arguing. Foley said that if they wanted to fight so bad they could do it in singles matches and he’d find them opponents. Why Foley didn’t just have them wrestle each other is beyond me…
Impromptu Match: Cesaro VS Jindar Mahal
So this match is another match that just kind of… happened and only added to the feelings of this PPV just being another episode of Raw. Cesaro was good as always, hitting his usual spots (Swiss-1-9, etc), but sold his back for the majority of the match which slowed the pace. Mahal played his part, was a good foil for Cesaro and lost relatively quickly in what was ultimately a pretty boring match.
Impromptu Match: Big Show VS Rusev
After the Cesaro/Mahal match, Rusev hopped into the ring and the Big Show came down to the ring. These two had a pretty decent match with Big Show looking like a monster and Rusev still managing to look strong in a losing effort. Rusev got some good kicks in and looked at least a little competitive. The match ended after Big Show delivered not 1, not 2, but 3 chokeslams to Rusev.
Winner: Big Show
These last minute added matches with Mahal and Rusev brought the entire show to screeching halt. Why we got this instead of giving a match like Zayn/Joe more than 9 minutes is beyond me. We could have had a 20 minute knock down, show stealer of a match between Sami Zayn and Samoa Joe… instead we get two throw away matches that mean nothing. Sigh… Luckily business was about to pick up, as JR would say.
Neville (c) VS Jack Gallagher for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship
Here we have our second great match of the night. These two guys put on a fantastic match with excellent pacing, good storytelling, some exciting spots and a great finish. Gallagher pulled out some new moves including a great dive to ringside and a superplex from the top rope. Neville also nailed Gallagher with one of the most brutal looking release german suplexes I’ve seen.
Both of these guys looked like a million bucks. Gallagher gave Neville a run for his money and made him look like a hard fighting champion. Neville hit an amazing middle rope phoenix splash on Gallagher. Gallagher nailed Neville with some of those patented headbutts. Just great stuff all around. After a fantastic match, Neville hit the “Red Arrow” on Gallagher to score the pinfall.
Finally we got a cruiserweight match worthy of the CWC and this was easily match of the night.
Winner and STILL Cruiserweight Champion: Neville
So now we have some filler with the New Day. And here it became painfully obvious that the main event was going to be a typical Goldberg match. So with a 45 second main event planned, WWE was desperately trying to fill time with nonsense that had no business being on a PPV.
So New Day came out with an ice cream cart and made a bunch of cringe worthy sexual innuendos. And we all had to suffer through it.
Roman Reigns VS Braun Strowman
This match. UGH THIS MATCH.
This match… was really quite good. But the finish killed any happiness I had gained and, by the end, I literally felt like I had been punched in the gut. These guys had a hard hitting match with some decent spots including Strowman hitting a running powerslam on Reigns through the announcer’s table. The two brawled all over the place at ringside. The highlight of the match was definitely Strowman climbing to the top rope and attempting a massive splash. Props to him for even trying it. As an almost 400 pounder, that takes guts.
So Reigns pins Strowman… clean after two spears. Bulldozing the man and stopping his momentum dead. No Undertaker appearance. No gong. No double count out to protect BOTH wrestlers. Just a straight up match with zero surprises that saw “superman” Reigns “overcome the odds”, yet again. It was boring, predictable and jaw-droppingly tone deaf. In my predictions I said Vince couldn’t be this stupid, well he is. He’s a moron that is either so disconnected from his audience that he doesn’t have a clue what they want or he just plain doesn’t care.
Winner: Roman Reigns
Bayley (c) VS Charlotte Flair for the Raw Women’s Championship
Sadly, this is another match that was ok but had a truly horrid finish. There were a few botches here and there and a relatively slow pace. We’ve seen much better from both women and despite a few good moves and a top rope hurricanrana from Bayley, this match wasn’t really anything we hadn’t seen before.
Now the finish… So Sasha Banks comes down the ramp and FLAT-OUT attacks Charlotte right in full view of the ref. But for some reason this doesn’t get a disqualification call? So what the hell?
So Sasha attacks Charlotte but Charlotte is able to get away, walking right into a “Bayely to Belly” at ringside. Charlotte and Bayley then roll back into the ring where Bayley is eventually able to hit another “Bayley to Belly” for the pin. So after heel Charlotte does the honorable thing by leaving Dana Brooke backstage, babyface Banks and Bayley essentially double team her like a couple of heels to get the win. Makes total sense…
So they kill the PPV streak at friggin’ Fastlane? FASTLANE? How pathetically generic. I knew the streak was going to end, but it would have been more impactful to do it anywhere else. This match could have ended in a DQ or a countout to keep Charlotte’s streak alive but keep the belt on Bayley. But here we have this whimper of a finish to the streak with a garbage ending to a “just ok” match.
Winner and STILL Raw Women’s Champion: Bayley
Kevin Owens (c) VS Goldberg
21 seconds… 21 friggin’ seconds…
So before the bell can even ring, Kevin Owens ducks out of the ring and paces around ringside, eyeing Goldberg. He then teases getting back in the ring, before ducking out again… then again…
Kevin Owens finally gets into the ring. He pumps himself up and yells at the ref to ring the bell. As he does, Jericho’s music hits and he appears on the ramp.
This distracts Owens as the bell is rung. Goldberg hits a spear… a jackhammer… and pins Owens.
21 seconds… bell to bell.
So now our main event at Wrestlemania is a Universal Title match between two part timers, one of which can’t have a match longer than 45 seconds or it all falls apart due to his lack of in-ring ability.
Winner and NEW WWE Universal Champion: Goldberg