Hello Misfits! It’s the Wrestling Classic here with my Fastlane review. This is Raw’s final PPV on the Road to Wrestlemania. This was Raw’s last chance to leave an impression heading into Wrestlemania on what their brand might be bringing to the table to the big show. A lot of the card seemed predictable but the show still had potential to be great with that being a factor. I’m going to be really brief with this review because I was quite disappointed with the event. Everyone did their job to entertain us and I appreciate that, but most of issues come from the booking and creative decisions. For example, I was very confident that the plan all along was to get the belt on Goldberg and there were rumours of a squash match but I wish they did it in more creative fashion. Anyway lets just move on with the review. Oh I was 6-1-2 with my predictions. The two comes from the two matches that I wasn’t even aware were going to happen involving the Rusev/Jinder Mahal storyline. Anyway, back to the review.
WWE Fastlane 2017
Image via WWE.com
WWE Fastlane comes to us from the Bradley Centre in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
– The show opened a video package hyping up tonights show.
Samoa Joe def. Sami Zayn in 09:45 by KO I enjoyed this match and it showed off both guys characters. Joe being the dominating bully and Sami Zayn fighting with all his heart like the ultimate underdog. It wasn’t a classic or anything and it really didn’t have to be because there was no major build up to it besides that Joe said he wasn’t a Sami Zayn in an offensive way which led to a bunch of back and forth attacks. I’m sure with the proper build up or an intriguing stipulation these two could put on a classic for sure. I certainly enjoyed that this was the opening match because it would have been draining to have a bunch of the more anticipated matches happen in a row. This was basically what it needed to be. This was Joe’s debut main roster PPV match so there was no way that he was losing and Sami is the perfect babyface to work with Joe because the fans easily get behind him. It gets Joe a lot of heat for those who arent to familiar with him. I have no what the direction is for either of these guys heading into Wrestlemania. I can’t even predict what their involvement on the Wrestlemania card is going to be but I’m intrigued if they’ll still be facing each other. Considering this match was just structurally a good match but nothing to special, could that possibly mean they’re saving that for Wrestlemania. Rating – ***
Tag Team Championship
The Club (C) def. Enzo & Cass in 08:40 via pinfall This was a good match but that was it. I never really got into it and actually zoned out a handful of times. I’m a huge fan of both teams and I’m glad that The Club went over and will be heading into this years Wrestlemania as the WWE Tag Team Champions. Both teams had their time with the upper-hand but in the end The Club picked up the victory in heel fashion when Gallows knock Enzo’s foot on the rope when he was being covered by Anderson behind the referees back. I loved the finish because the heels won in heel fashion. I dig it?! Not a bad match by any means but nothing too memorable, Rating – **
Sasha Banks def. Nia Jax in 08:35 by pinfall This was better than their match at Royal Rumble by a long shot. I know a lot of people would disagree but I love their dynamic. Yes, sure it can look clunky and choppy at points but it makes sense because of their size difference. I’m show if they work house shows against each other for a couple of months they could really put together a more smooth and choreographed match. Although for a match that was thrown together for no other reasons besides maybe trying to end the rivalry, get both of them on card and build something towards Wrestlemania. It just came off weird because they weren’t involved with each other for a couple of weeks after Rumble but then just randomly were again. Anyway, I love Sasha’s scrappy style against the larger dominate Nia who basically just tosses Sasha around like a rag doll. I also enjoyed the finished that showed Sasha finding a way to get Nia in a position where she wouldn’t expect herself to be in to pick up the win. It’s exactly what I suggested should happen when this feud was first teased. Nia should annihilate Sasha Banks first which she did at the Royal Rumble and Sasha should find a way to overcome her in the rematch which she did, but there was no passion or fire behind the rivalry because of the poor creative and booking week after week. I was happy about this because I’m a Salsa Banks mark but for the casual fan, they might have just seen this as a random whatever match. I liked it and I hope it leads to something more going into Mania like Nia Jax losing her cool because she lost to The Boss. Rating – **3/4
Cesaro def. Jinder Mahal in 08:20 via pinfall There was a backstage segment I guess on the kick off in which Jinder and Rusev were both promised their own separate matches on the show in some sort of unique way to solve the issues between them. It was at this point I knew that the main event was definitely going to be a squash because there were going to be these two random filler matches booked out of nowhere. Now don’t get me wrong I’m glad Mahal, Rusev, Lana, Cesaro, Sheamus and Big Show all got on the card. They’re all quality talent but it was very clear this was filler and something you’d expect on a weekly episode of Raw. I’m also glad that Jinder Mahal was on the card overall. This wasn’t an instant classic or anything but it was a perfectly fine wrestling match. It went back and fourth, there was some drama between Rusev and Jinder Mahal before and during the match. In the end Rusev’s distraction caused Mahal the match. It was very Raw like but good to go. It was better than something you’d see on a year 2000 WCW PPV. Rating – **
Big Show def. Rusev w/Lana in 08:45 via pinfall This match immediately followed the last match. It was great to see Big Show again who has been in the best shape of his entire career in my mind. The match was just fine similar to the last match. Once again, it kind of just felt like filler and like a Raw match. In complete honestly this match felt like it was a lot longer than eight minutes and felt like it dragged on for at least 20. Its kind of sad how far Rusev has fallen again since he lost the title to Reigns at Hell in the Cell. Lana was also heavily featured in the rivalry with Enzo Amore and now is pretty much an after thought too. I had to double check to see if she was even out there for this match. Three chokeslams and KO punch after Big Show defeated Rusev. I guess its safe to say Vince was more impressed of Shows physique rather than Rusev’s new haircut. This was an okay bout but it really made the show drag and it kind of fell apart during this last two matches because they were really random and underwhelming. Rating – **
Neville (C) def. Jack Gallagher in 12:30 by pinfall If those last two matches slowed down the show this match brought it back to life. “The Extraordinary Gentleman” Jack Gallagher vs. “The King of the Cruiserweight’s” Neville put on the best cruiserweight match on a PPV and maybe all of the Raws since the resurrection of the division. They’re both two very developed characters and talented wrestlers. They told a story in this match and they sucked you into it. This match actually felt different compared to every other match on the card, it felt like you were watching a different division. It’s the problem you get on Raw where the Cruiserweight matches sort of blend in with the rest of the show whereas in this match the cruiserweight’s seemed to move at a different pace and wrestled more in their unique style. It stared slow, built up some great intensity and then delivered a great back and forth homestretch. I also loved how this looked like Neville’s hardest bout yet like he couldn’t figure out Gallaghers unique style to beat him that he started pulling out moves out of desperation. For example he ended the match by using the Red Arrow, a move he hasn’t used much since it would get him more of a babyface pop while he’s a heel. I think the idea of him using it out desperation when things get really tough like a secret weapon makes the move even more special and creates an exciting spot in the match. I really dig it and to me this was the best match on the card top to bottom. Rating – ***3/4
– The New Day came out to promote the fact they are the hosts of Wrestlemania and they’re getting their Ice Cream Bars. I usually don’t cover the backstage or random segments on PPV’s but this was actually really funny. I honestly like the New Day and them as an act is still a cash cow. They just have the best chemistry with each other and always find ways to stay fresh. Last year was Booty-O’s and this year it’s going to be Ice Cream, which shows that they’re always finding ways to stay over and sell merchandise. I wasn’t a fan of how long their tag title reign was because I feel other people got hurt by booking over the period they were waiting for The New Day to break the record but I never stopped liking them as a team. It was complete filler but it was entertaining. It was also more obvious now that the main event was going to be a squash if you were watching the clock.
Roman Reigns def. Braun Strowman in 17:20 via pinfall This match was exactly what I expected to be. Two big talented guys just fighting and brawling with each other. I knew that with Roman Reigns book to face Undertaker at Wrestlemania that there was no way Roman Reigns was going to lose this match. I feel that they did their best to protect BRAUN, who even in loss looked really good, repeatedly surviving Reigns’ best shots. I loved how Roman showed with his facial and body expressions how frustrated and shocked he was with Strowman’s resiliency. It makes sense that Roman has to slay the monster before facing the Deadman but they did it in a way where it looked like it only happened because Roman found the right spot to try to finish him after Braun made a mistake trying to do something he’s never done before by leaping off the top rope with a splash and missing. Once again, though the match went way too long. I do remember one point Braun had Reigns in like a shoulder clutch submission move and it felt like he had him in it for like 10 minutes. I was expecting a more destructive brawl but the biggest spot we got in destructive form was Reign getting tossed through the table. The match was good. I’m not one of those Roman haters that hate everything he does. I like Roman and I think once again he showed us he can put on a good match which he did here. I just dislike the way Roman is booked and with him going into a program with The Undertaker there is no way he is going to be portrayed as the babyface there so maybe we’ll finally get to see the more heelish Roman that we’ve wanted. As for Braun this was one of his first really good matches where he wasn’t just dominate the entire time but it was competitive. I really enjoyed this match. Rating – ***
Women’s Championship Bayley (C) def. Charlotte Flair in 16:50 via pinfall The match was good. I enjoyed it. There were some questionable and botched spots but it was what you would expect from these two women. The finish is what confused the living shit out of me. Earlier in the night Bayley challenged Charlotte to leave Dana Brooke backstage and to fight her one on one which Charlotte did, yet the babyface’s do the heelish thing and screw Charlotte out of beating Bayley? In theory this could lead to a great story leading to the rumored Mania four-way, as Bayley should be upset and accuse Banks of thinking that she can’t win on her own and that she isn’t a deserving champion. I really have no desire to see the four-way, because the Bayley/Banks angle is way more interesting, but they aren’t keeping Charlotte out of the title picture anytime soon. I also wish they had the match end in DQ or a count out because I think Charlotte’s PPV streak could have been an angle they carried forward or had get conquered on a bigger stage such as Wrestlemania. I mean as far as we know Fastlane may not be an annual PPV five-ten years from now. It’ll be called “High Speed” or something. It’s like they wanted to rush the angle similar to how they did with Cena winning his 16th World Title. It was just one of those things I guess they thought didn’t matter as much as it could matter and wanted to get it over with. It just bothers me because why would you build up this whole idea that Charlotte has been undefeated on PPV in singles matches and have her lose to Bayley who’s barley over with the main roster crowd and at a PPV like Fastlane. I still think Bayley shouldn’t even be champion yet and should have got over with the fans having us feel sympathetic for her failing to capture to title until she did at Wrestlemania. At this moment the only thing that has people cheering Bayley is her childish, lovable personality, her Macho Man style and her friendship with Sasha Banks. I also thought this was an also a perfect moment to have Sasha turn on her friend because she wanted a title shot…but nope. Instead we had this overbooked clusterfuck of a finish that made no sense, and did nothing for anyone. It didn’t make anyone look strong or good. In my mind nobody got over. The match was good but the booking is highly questionable. Rating – **1/2
Universal Championship Goldberg def. Kevin Owens (C) in 00:22 via pinfall What? I get it, they wanted to put the belt on Goldberg because Vince somehow thinks making Goldberg vs Brock Lesnar for the non prestigious Universal Title is going to make it a bigger draw than it already is. Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar is already a draw for those casual and old fans, it never needed the belt. I’m not saying the Jericho/Owens rivalry needs it but it would make more sense since Jericho was the only reason Owens kept retaining the belt the last 8 months. Also if I was to make a pros and cons list of who deserves a run as champion between Jericho and Goldberg, the pros list for Jericho would be way longer. In a sense they worked that angle with Jericho, the one always helped Owens retain the title was the one who distracted him to cost Owens the title which is still logical but personally I think them going to Wrestlemania for the title would make more sense. I enjoyed that Owens played the smartass card with Goldberg by going to the outside of the ring to stall the match because he believed Goldberg is all hype and if he could kill time Goldberg’s hype would die down. Also, it killed time before a squash. I didn’t realize the bell hadn’t rang yet so the match when it actually started was actually about 22-30 seconds. Which is ridiculous? Here are my issues with this match. First, since Owens turned on Jericho they started building him up as a badass champion who talked about how he was prepared for Goldberg and I honestly would have appreciated a match that went at least. I don’t know, 5-10 minutes the most? Maybe we could have seen Owens get a little offence since he was more prepared for Goldberg after seeing what he did to Lesnar, someone who took Goldberg lightly. I also wish the distraction from Jericho was more than his music hitting and him walking on the stage. It felt very lacklustre and lacking drama. Imagine his music hit and he came from the crowd though and was on the apron instead? Imagine his music hit and this distracted Owens and Jericho came out from under the ring and was the one who threw Owens in the ring feeding him to Goldberg? Don’t those just sound a tad bit better? Jericho coming out and standing on the ramp seemed very basic, like it was two minute meeting with creative and nobody really tried to go above and beyond to book it. Lastly, the squash match worked at Survivor Series because we didn’t expect it. We didn’t know what to expect at all but this time we did, so doing something different to swerve us would be great. I mean Lesnar didn’t take Goldberg seriously, but Owens did and knew what he was walking into. I do understand the logic behind if Goldberg squashed Lesnar, why wouldn’t he be able to squash Kevin Owens. I get that but the build up to their matches and the characters involved are totally different. Regardless, they accomplished what they wanted to accomplish but it was sure disappointing. I’m happy for Goldberg though and its great to see him as champion again. I’m cool with it I just wish they thought about it more creatively. Rating – NR
Final Thoughts Compared to Smackdown’s last PPV before Wrestlemania, I found this one a lot more memorable. I don’t see any reason I would come back to watch this event in its entirety. The Cruiserweight and the Roman/Braun matches were the best matches on the card. Everything else was Raw quality which isn’t bad but not PPV quality or just suffered by questionable creative/booking decisions. I found myself bored and losing focus on the show a ton of times. The Raw Women’s division feels so rushed and confusing right now but hopefully theres some sort of big payoff for all the bad creative decisions at Wrestlemania. The entire show was very predictable but like I mentioned before even when a show is predictable with the right booking and creative it can still be memorable and brilliant but this definitely wasn’t that. If you’re huge Goldberg fan, then watch the legend win the title, you’ll only have to spend about two minutes of your life and about 10 if you include the entrance. I was huge Goldberg fan as a kid, still nostalgic when he makes his entrance and have nothing but respect for him, so I am happy for him and it was a cool moment, but I don’t care to watch it again. It would be easy to pass on this event because nothing besides the outcome of the main event really shaped anything up for Wrestlemania.
Final Rating – 5.5/10
What were your final thoughts on Fastlane? What final grade would you give the event? Where would you rate it on a scale of ten? Do you agree with my review? Leave your comments, opinions and thoughts below in the comments section.