Since I’ve been running this blog, Fastlane 2016 was the oddest event I’ve covered. There were plenty of matches that I disliked, yet I was bothered with the quality once the show ended. It’s one of those things that’s tough to explain.
Sasha Banks & Becky Lynch vs Tamina & Naomi
Once the show started, I was taken back by the decision to replace Mauro Ranallo with Michael Cole. At the end of the day, Cole will always be the voice of the WWE, but I thought a change for this show would have been nice.
Through and through, this match was worked well. The work rate was good along with the psychology. Each competitor sold the feud as if it were real. Even though the match was formulaic (like most tag matches), the four knew how to make the most of it. More than most competitors on the roster, Becky plays the babyface in distress perfectly. That helped Sasha, because it was smart to hold her back so she could receive the big pop on the hot tag. I don’t understand why Tamina and Naomi weren’t selling after they lost. The finish they worked was very effective, but the two losers shouldn’t have gotten up and walked out right away.
Kevin Owens vs Dolph Ziggler
The thought of this feud ending after this match made me smile. That was probably the only reason I was excited to see this contest. Considering that Dolph was wrestling in front of his hometown, the crowd didn’t seem to care. It says a lot when the crowd doesn’t even bother to cheer on the hometown boy. That also turned me off the match. The in ring action wasn’t bad, but it’s tough care when I’m bored out of my mind. This should tell the writers that nonsensical feuds hardly pay off.
The Wyatt Family vs Big Show, Kane, & Ryback
I always try to find the silver lining in the worst of situations. Of course, there’s a million other things worse than watching a bad wrestling match. My silver lining for this part of the show was that they got the two least built feuds out of the way. Was this match boring? Yes, it was, but knowing that I only had to look forward to the good stuff gave me joy. It’s worth noting that Ryback was excellent, and was definitely the stand out performer. Thankfully Bray wasn’t involved, because I thought this loss was devastating for the Wyatts. What were they thinking?
Charlotte vs Brie Bella
It wasn’t until last night that I realized how outdated Charlotte’s titantron video was. How hard would it be to make a new video? For those that didn’t notice, Brie was wearing ring gear similar to Nikki’s, while wearing the boots of her husband, Daniel Bryan. I thought it was a neat way to pay tribute to her loved ones. Also, Bella looked fairly decent in the ring. She was able to keep up with Charlotte, which I didn’t think she could do. Charlotte’s presence didn’t feel as grand, and made Bella feel more important. I need to point out that Flair absolutely failed at selling the kicks. For a match that was decent, the finish was full of botches that took me out of it. The half boston crab was terrible, and so what the counter. Also, Brie looked so strong, and she tapped out to the figure 8 right away. Why?
AJ Styles vs Chris Jericho
The video package shown before the match was brilliant. If I wasn’t already excited, that video would have done the trick.
This wasn’t the main event, but both Styles and Jericho made it feel like it was. With each of them taking their time on offense, they showed how crucial the early part was. Jericho’s drop kick counter on AJ’s dive looked amazing. It marked out when I first saw it, and I was in more awe when it was shown in slow motion. It’s fair to say Y2J was the stand out in this match. Styles was good as usual, however it was great to see Jericho bring his A game. Apart from the in ring action, I was impressed with the announce team. They perfectly told the story of each competitor and their business in this feud. I didn’t agree Chris kicking out of the Styles Clash, although it made the Calf Crusher spot look a lot more intense.
The Cutting Edge Peep Show
Wow. This segment was pure gold. It’s a shame that we’ll never get to see Edge & Christian vs the New Day. The promo chemistry was evident. Everything was going well until this promo became confusing. When the League of Nation’s came out, I thought they made a babyface turn. Well, they didn’t, because they quickly showed there heel side, while the New Day became babyface. I didn’t know what to think, but the last part gave me a good laugh.
Curtis Axel vs R-Truth
For some reason, I expected something else better for the R-Truth/Goldust program. Based on how funny their other skits have been, this one was flat.
Roman Reigns vs Dean Ambrose vs Brock Lesnar
Right off the bat, these men set the tempo high. I don’t care how limited Brock’s moveset is, I love watching him suplex his competitors all over the ring. It was actually the suplexes that made this first half of the match entertaining. Lesnar and Ambrose had the best chemistry, by far. Dean’s willingness to fight Lesnar translated so well in the ring. It also verified that he is indeed a “lunatic”. Roman’s crowd reaction had me worried. Nobody in that arena wanted to see the big dog win. I thought after Lesnar went through the table that the pace would slow down, I was wrong. The action never died in this match. I know that some fans may be opposed to the finish, but I liked how it was done. It was simple and clean. It also fits the narrative of the past few months.
I gave many of the matches a low score, but for some reason I didn’t hate this show. In fact, I was completely content with most of the results. I’m actually happy that there wasn’t a big set up for Mania, because it gives them a clean slate for Raw. With that being said, many of the matches suffered from a lack of build or work rate. The low point of the show was Ziggler vs Owens, while the high point was the main event. Overall, I give this show a 6/10.