The final pay-per-view before WrestleMania took place on Sunday with Roman Reigns leaving Fastlane as the number one contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
It was an outcome many expected, and although the build-up to the event as a whole hadn’t been great, fans were still excited because the WWE could have pulled something special out of the bag in time for April.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get anything of the sort. Let’s take a look at some of the good and bad points from the show.
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THE GOOD – MAURO RANALLO
One of the better changes the WWE made when SmackDown moved to the USA Network was that they shook up the announcer’s team, bringing in Jerry Lawler and turning him heel but the bright star of it all has been Mauro Ranallo.
Ranallo is everything you want from a wrestling commentator, and it comes as no surprise that fans want to see him call matches on pay-per-views. At Fastlane Ranallo called the kick-off match where Kalisto retained his United States Championship against Alberto Del Rio, and it was a great decision to make.
He felt like he belonged there, he kept the audience engaged, and you could argue that
fans would have preferred it if Michael Cole didn’t come out for the main show.
EDGE & CHRISTIAN AND THE NEW DAY
We all know why Edge and Christian were going to appear on Fastlane, they needed to promote their WWE Network Show, which was aired after the event and what better way than to include the legendary, talented duo with the hottest team in the WWE today.
It was a great comedic segment which is exactly what we expected. They all had fantastic chemistry throughout and the below the belt jokes – including Big E saying LeBooty James won’t win an NBA Championship in Cleveland – felt natural.
The only downside to this was that it felt like the League of Nations were out of their depth in the comedy skit, but it was great to see Edge and Christian unite with The New Day which is something we didn’t expect to see.
SASHA BANKS AND BECKY LYNCH
It’s widely assumed that both Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch will be featured in the Diva’s Championship match at WrestleMania so they’re expected to put on solid showings every single week and it was no different at Fastlane.
There’s always pressure on when you’re opening the show with some huge names on the card, but Sasha and Becky excelled in showing the world that they’re more than ready for anything. Their performances were fantastic, but it was also good to see that women were opening the show as opposed to the norm in the WWE.
AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho was one of the matches I was most looking forward to, it’s still strange seeing Styles in a WWE ring, but you can’t complain at how he’s being booked as he already has two victories over Chris Jericho.
You can’t fault the match – like a handful of matches on the night – it was a great back and forth encounter with the fans torn between the two. The good thing about this match is that the WWE are keeping us waiting for the Styles Clash to finally hit, it’s what helps make Styles unique.
They’re doing it with Hideo Itami and the GTS, and they’re doing the same with Styles, we should expect to see him hit it at WrestleMania.
THE BAD – THE WINNERS
Although there were some good points to take away from the event, there were also some negatives that came with it and based on the backlash as well as the ‘#CancelWWENetwork’ trending worldwide, fans weren’t too happy.
It’s clear to see why they’re upset, first off the WWE continue to shoot themselves in the foot by having The Wyatt Family lose. This time, Luke Harper ate the pin as they lost to Ryback, The Big Show and Kane. When they’re picking up losses like these then how can the WWE expect them to be taken seriously when they target more superstars?
At one stage we were discussing Brock Lesnar as a potential opponent for Bray Wyatt, but can we seriously think Wyatt stands a chance when they continue to pick up harmful loss after harmful loss? The booking makes no sense, and it’s no surprise that the fans are lashing out.
Reigns winning was common knowledge, yet fans had the glimmer of hope that with Dean Ambrose dropping the Intercontinental Championship he could be in with a shout of winning the match. It was the same old story with Reigns winning and heading to WrestleMania.
Understandably, the WWE can’t listen to every single demand the fans make otherwise the product would become too predictable. However, there were changes that could have been made to make Reigns – or someone else – a worthy winner.
BRIE BELLA SUPPORT
I understand that the WWE want to sympathise with Brie Bella after the whole Daniel Bryan retirement, but the support on the night felt really flat.
She didn’t look like a genuine contender in the match, and she hasn’t done nearly enough in the ring over the past few years to prove she deserves to hold the championship. You can’t give her a chance with the championship because her popular husband has retired, and it was a good decision to keep the title on Charlotte.
The fans weren’t too interested in what she was doing other than her starting a YES! Chant and the trademark Bryan kicks, I for one cannot wait to see Sasha and Becky show why the rest of the division needs to step up.
NO GENUINE SURPRISES
I felt that Fastlane lacked a certain edge, something like a surprise we would be talking about today but the WWE didn’t give us anything of that sort.
The Undertaker could have made an appearance as was reported heading into the event, Enzo and Big Cass could have fit into The Cutting Edge Peep Show segment perfectly as well.
We didn’t even get a heel turn or an attack of some sort which made the event feel like an extended version of Monday Night Raw.
QUALITY OF EVENT
All in all, the quality of the event wasn’t great. As I said, it felt like a glorified edition of Monday Night Raw with Lesnar appearing on the card.
There was nothing unique about it other than Edge and Christian, and the show didn’t do much to build up to WrestleMania. I feel it was an underwhelming event, and the WWE need to step up in the next six weeks or so to get us all excited for WrestleMania.
WWE FANS – WHAT DID YOU MAKE OF FASTLANE? LET US KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS IN THE COMMENTS SECTION BELOW.