Tuesday, January 21, 2020

WWE Fastlane 2019 has happened and it was certainly less predictable then people feared. Maybe the results were slightly obvious but the way they went about it was certainly interesting and fun for the most part! So, as Tom Cochrane once said, Life is a highway and we’re gonna ride it until we get to Wrestlemania in the #WWEFastlane.

The Pre-show happened and it was the same usual stuff; Sam Roberts kept burying people, David Otunga added nothing of substance and Beth Phoenix was there which is always nice. The iiconics made an appearance and were as hilarious as always and it was great to see Christian there adding some personality to a rather boring set of panellists. We learn on the preshow also that the planned match between Rey Mysterio & Andrade is off and that both men were now part of a fatal four way rematch for the US title with R Truth and new champion Samoa Joe on the main card. We had a weird segment with Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville discussing Mandy’s match with Asuka before EC3 interrupted. He didn’t really say much but part of me hopes they become a team for some strange reason. We also saw KO getting interviewed and discussing his WWE title match before the New Day came up and Kofi explained there are no hard feelings about KO taking his title match before a random man came and told Kofi that Vince McMahon was wanting to see him in his office regarding the WWE Championship! 

The one match we did get on the preshow was Xavier Woods and Big E vs Shinsuke Nakamura and Rusev (w/ Lana). This was a decent match for the most part with everyone getting highlighted at some point. The crowd didn’t seem too into it at the start and to be honest neither was I but it certainly picked up at the end with some good near falls! Big E and Xavier Woods picked up the win when Woods pinned Rusev after the Midnight Hour. (Also Lana is still selling that ankle injury from the Rumble).

Winner: The New Day (Big E and Xavier Woods)

Grade: C+

Great video package opens the main card and the Cleveland, Ohio crowd are right up for this. Shane Mcmahon is the first to come out to a nice pop as he welcomes Clevelands own The Miz wearing a very cool “Cleveland is Awesome” vest under his Miz and Mac shirt. Miz’s dad George is front row also. 

Smackdown Tag Team Championship Match – The Usos (c) vs The Miz and Shane Mcmahon

This was a great opener, Miz was super over as a babyface and he really had a strong showing, Shane played his part well and there were some great near falls and one excellent spot where the Miz was down and one of the Usos (I cant remember which) was about to go for the splash but Shane was about to go for a Coast to Coast on the other Uso they locked eyes for a moment before Shane hit a diving front drop kick on the Uso as he went to splash the Miz, was beautiful. Match ends with the Miz attempting a frog splash after Georges encouragement Uso gets his knees up and one small package later its over. 

After the match Shane and Miz had a little hug and went over to George who raises their arms, Miz hugs his dad again but Shane Mcmahon cruelly turns on the Miz, laying him out with a strike from behind, Shane goes full heel grabbing Miz’s dad by his throat and shoving him down, hits the Miz again and again and finally chokes him out with a triangle hold to a chorus of boos. Great turn with genuine heat behind it. Bring on the promos. 

Winners: The Usos

Grade: C

Smackdown Womens Championship Match – Asuka (c) vs Mandy Rose

I’m really enjoying Sonya Deville’s Chyna vibe looking like a badass enforcer as of late! Asuka looked awesome an got a great reaction as she came out followed by “MANDY”. Must mention how gross Corey Graves is on commentary when Mandy Rose is about, it really takes away from Mandy Rose’s act for me. He acts like I did when I was 13 watching Trish Stratus walk to the ring. This match was ok for the most part, you can tell Mandy isn’t the finished article and in ring she doesn’t seem ready for these occasions, she got some decent offence in but the story was no matter what she did Asuka came back and hit harder. The match ended when Sonya got a kendo stick out but had folded the ring apron up so it was in the ring Mandy slipped on that and Asuka hit a brutal spinning back heel kick (go watch the slow mo Mandy takes it straight to the jaw) for the clean win. Time for Asuka to get a genuine opponent I think. 

Winner – Asuka

Grade: D

Raw Tag Team Championship Match – The Revival (c) vs Ricochet & Alistair Black vs Chad Gable & Bobby Roode 

Everyone got great reactions here but I was surprised at how over Black and Ricochet are already, there entrances are also very cool. This match was a triple threat tag and it was excellent, all three teams got highlighted very well all getting time to show what they can do! There was a fantastic spot with Gable hitting his rolling German before a splash from Wilder on him and a shooting star press from Ricochet on Wilder. The finish came when Ricochet was legal and did his insane leap from in the ring over a turnbuckle to the outside but as he leapt Gable tagged in and after some great near falls with Scott Dawson took the shatter machine and was pinned by Dash Wilder. Fantastic match. 

Winner – The Revival

Grade: B

US Championship Match – Samoa Joe (c) vs R Truth vs Andrade Vs Rey Mysterio 

It baffles me how over R Truth is still, he is seemingly timeless. Andrade got a nice reaction and obviously Rey and Joe did as well. This was match of the night for me. It was excellent. Took a moment for the crowd to forget about Kofi and get into this but they did. All four played there part to perfection and led to some great inventive spots. Carmella and Zelina Vega played a great part in a spot on the outside which led to a fantastic near fall with Joe and Rey in the ring and Andrade and Truth distracted by a Carmella/Vega brawl. Spot of the match has to go to Reys leaping hurricarana on Andrade who was on Truths shoulders. Match ended with Andrade and Truth out of the way Mysterio hit a 619 on Joe went for the frog splash but Joe moved and locked in the clutch for the submission win. It could be argued that Rey passed out a bit too quickly but other then that this was great. 

Winner – Samoa Joe

Grade: B+

WWE Womens Tag Team Championship Match – Bayley and Sasha Banks vs Nia Jax and Tamina 

Beth Phoenix was on guest commentary for this (important detail for later). Sasha Banks got a great reaction and her new gear looks awesome! Nia Jax still gets a bit of heat but her heat magnet status is all but gone now that she’s not doing anything with the whole Becky thing anymore and Tamina i’m not convinced the crowd even knew who she was. Now, I am no wrestler myself and have never done it before but Nia Jax and Tamina were terrible in this match from what I could tell. They kept dropping Bayley and in particular Sasha and just looked all over the place, Nia seemed to fall over when trying to pick up Sasha at one point, also was a Banks dive where Nia and Tamina were meant to catch Sasha but Tamina just dropped her. This wasn’t good and they lost the crowd badly, Bayley pinned Nia with a hurricarana into pinfall. Sasha and Bayley are both great but even they couldn’t do anything to make this work. I don’t know what was up with Nia and Tamina but this was dreadful from them and killed the crowd. 

After the match Nia Jax and Tamina beat down Bayley and Sasha and Nia screamed at Beth Phoenix, who confronted Tamina and attacked her, Nia then beat down Beth before Natalya ran out to do nothing but also get beaten down. I like Beth but if this is leading to a tag team thing WWE have so many fresh female teams on NXT and NXT UK before I even mention the Iiconics, they really don’t need to be putting Natalya and Phoenix together in my opinion. 

Winners – Sasha Banks & Bayley

Grade: D-

WWE Championship Match – Daniel Bryan vs Kevin Owens vs Mustafa Ali

So with the crowd chanting for Kofi they get poor Mustafa Ali who doesn’t get a terrible reaction, he just isn’t who the crowd wanted and I even found myself a bit deflated by this and I love Mustafa! The crowd was flat after the reveal but these guys still had a great match. Ali took an incredible bump off the top to the outside slamming into the barricade after a Bryan drop kick. Kofi chants kept breaking out and commentary even kept bringing up the Kofi chants so this must have been their plan. Some more great spots with an Ali 450 onto the ring apron to Bryan and Kevin Owens getting some great dominance in as well. Ending came when Rowan attacked Kevin Owens on the outside and threw him into the time keepers area leading to a phenomenal near fall on Ali in the ring which won the crowd round for the finish Ali leaping to the top rope and going for a cross body but Bryan catches him with a running knee for the win. 

Winner – Daniel Bryan

Grade: B-

Charlotte Flair vs Becky Lynch

This was weird, Charlotte looks fantastic as she makes her way to the ring with a nice amount of heat for her obviously, Becky gets a huge pop and comes down on her crutch and this just wasn’t what it should have been. They basically have a normal match but Becky limps a lot, if ever a match needed a no DQ stipulation or something it really should have been this. Charlotte is relentless in her attack on Becky’s knee and eventually gets a figure 8 in before Mrs Popularity Ronda Rousey comes down, stomps on Becky and then just chills in a corner as Becky is declared the winner and will go to Wrestlemania. Was this Becky’s plan? The follow up to this needs to be good because this fell very flat for me, crowd seemed half into it because it’s Becky but I don’t know really why they need the whole knee injury thing, it really hurt the match and the angle is suffering for it.

Winner – Becky Lynch

Grade: D+

The Shield vs Baron Corbin, Drew Mcintyre and Bobby Lashley

They kept bringing up Dean not resigning with WWE which makes me think he’ll do a Di Caprio Wolf of Wallstreet “I’m not leaving” speech and resign. This was wonderful chaos. The crowd were super into The Shield and seeing the big dog back in a ring (who looked great), was exactly what this show needed after the last few matches fell a bit flat, Everyone had a chance to shine and it was fast paced luckily. Corbin and Roman ended up in the ring alone whilst the other four brawled into the crowd for some good action there, was a nasty looking miss communication as Corbin went for his slide under the ropes and round the post thing but Roman looked like he went for a boot so Corbin took it straight to the mouth as he slid but that was never going to stop Big Banter Baron Corbin. Fantastic near fall off the end of days with Dean and Seth breaking it up at the last second after the four of them were back from the crowd and then it was Shield time. Lashley was taken out with a curb stomp and Drew was triple powerbombed through an announce table leading to one for Corbin in the ring for the win. I wouldn’t call this one for the tag wrestling psychologists as the ref definitely just gave up on rules but it was fun and a great end to the show. 

Winners – The Shield

Grade: B+

Overall this was a decent show. The Kofi storyline, whilst we all know where it’ll go and that’ll be great, did hurt it at times but I guess it was a risk worth taking to make sure Kofi is over for his seemingly inevitable Mania match. The action for the most part made up for it and they did win the crowd around. Sadly this felt like a misfire for the Ronda/ Charlotte/ Becky thing and they need a hell of a follow up to pull this back. Other then those points and the Womens Tag Team Championship mess i’d say this show was pretty good and an easy watch. Final stop has been made now onto Wrestlemania.  

Overall Grade: C

By Nathan Greenaway

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