WWE Fastlane kicked its show off in Cleveland, Ohio at the Quicken Loans Arena. Fastlane is the last PPV on the Road to WrestleMania, and the last real chance for WWE superstars to build momentum heading into the grandest stage of them all.
Read below for a full recap of WWE Fastlane.
New Day def. Rusev and Shinsuke Nakamura.
The first match of the night kicked off with about 20 minutes left in the pre-show, and it was a tag team match with Big E and Xavier Woods vs Rusev and Nakamura. To my surprise, they gave this match the full 20 minutes. The prelims unfortunately have a “skip-able” stigma attached to them which is a shame, because this was a really good match. It’s no secret that The New Day is one of the best tag teams in modern history, but Rusev and Nakamura are very new as a team. That being said, all four men had very good chemistry and from bell-to-bell was just a really fun match to get the crowd hyped.
Kofi was not involved in this because on the prior segment, he was sent to Mr. McMahon’s office regarding the WWE title match. For a match that had no real story leading into it, I thoroughly enjoyed this match.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship: The Usos (C) def. Shane McMahon and The Miz.
This match was better than it had any right to be. The match started with Miz and Shane coming out, and Miz got a huge pop from the crowd because they were in his hometown of Cleveland. The match itself was solid, and told a good story throughout, with Miz and Shane generally playing the role of the underdogs. There was one spot in the match where, I believe Jimmy, was in position for a coast-to-coast and Shane was set up for it. When Shane got to the top turnbuckle, Jey climbed the opposite turnbuckle where Jimmy was set to take the move. After a brief stare down, Jey jumped off. I’m assuming to do a splash on Miz who was down, and 49-year-old Shane McMahon dropkicked him in mid-air. As I said the match itself was solid, but what happened after the match is what really progressed the story and stole the show.
At the end, George Mizanin (Miz’s father) advised his son to do a move off the top rope. Miz listened to his father but Jimmy Uso got his knees up and rolled up Miz to retain their championships. After the match Miz and Shane licked their wounds together and went over to hug George Miz. After they did this for a couple minutes Miz started to walk towards the ramp, and as soon as he turned his back he was attacked by Shane. Shane beat him down with the best strikes I’ve ever seen him land, then choked out Miz right in front of his dad. Now I always assumed we were heading towards Miz vs Shane at WrestleMania, but I was expecting this turn to come from Miz.
This adds a very interesting wrinkle to the story because Shane is solid as a heel, and it’ll be refreshing for Miz to have a babyface run heading into Mania. This was a good match and had story progression to end the match, good stuff here.
SmackDown Women’s Championship: Asuka (C) def. Mandy Rose.
We go from two extremely solid matches, to a weird one. The match was decent as it started. Mandy is a solid wrestler, much better than she gets credit for. The match was fine but the ending was sudden, and it was weird. Asuka was generally dominating the match, and near the end, Sonya puts the apron up to get out a kendo stick which left the apron sitting on the ring mat. Asuka irish whipped Mandy into the ropes and she slipped on the apron, and Asuka almost kicked her head off to get the win. I think it’s weird that Asuka needed Mandy slipping on the apron to get the win because Auska is generally a dominant wrestler. Out of all the titles one month out of WrestleMania, the Women’s Smackdown Championship Match is the cloudiest of them all.
I don’t even think the title will be defended at WrestleMania and that absolutely stinks.
New Day Confronts Mr. McMahon, Kofi Get’s Swerved.
We then go backstage where Kofi is still waiting outside the McMahon office. Big E and Xavier approach him selling injuries from their earlier match. They then ask Kofi why he’s still waiting and remind him it’s been almost an hour. So as a faction, they walk into the office to see Vince on his phone, and asks Kofi where he’s been and plays it like he’s been the one waiting for Kofi. Big E then gives a speech about how Kofi has been waiting 11 years for this and points out how behind him the crowd is. Vince then agrees and says the WWE Championship match will now be a triple threat, and that it’s starting right now. New Day excitedly leave the office, and it sets up the next match.
Obviously New Day thrive in these kinds of segments and Vince certainly has not lost his touch. This was a solid and short segment to set up a couple story points throughout the night. This accomplished the goal of the segment in progressing the story along.
Coming out of that Kofi made his way to the ring for this WWE Championship match. However, when he get’s to the ring it is announced as a handicap match against The Bar. Even though Kofi got some offense in, he had no chance. At the end, The New Day come out to help but get taken care of by Rusev and Nakamura, who had just faced each other in the pre-show. Meanwhile The Bar wins. This is obviously feeding into the bigger story of Kofi winning the title at Mania, and I think they’re booking this perfectly.
When WWE wants to, they are really good at booking underdogs.
Raw Tag Team Championship: The Revival (C) def. Aleister Black & Ricochet + Chad Gable & Bobby Roode.
Going into this PPV I had a feeling this would be one of the best matches of the night, and I was right. The show really picked up here, and before this match the show was a little up and down. We had two good matches, Asuka vs Mandy which wasn’t much of a match, and neither was Kofi vs The Bar. I think if the PPV started here it would be contender for show of the year because from this point on the show really delivered (besides one low point, which I will get to). As for the match itself, the action here was proof that all six men in this match are on another level.
I am not even going to try and talk about the action in this match because I would be here all night, so If you haven’t seen it, I strongly encourage that you go out of your way to watch it. I love how strong WWE is booking Aleister Black and Ricochet, having this be a triple threat match was perfect for them. This way you can establish them as contenders and give them super strong performances without having to eat a pin. Ricochet was far and away the star of this match putting on an aerial display. I was kind of worried about how Ricochet’s style would translate to the main roster, but I think it has done so without losing a step.
The match came to an end when The Revival hit Chad Gable with a “Shatter Machine” to retain their Raw Tag Team Championships. However it was Aleister Black and Ricochet who stood tall, laying out everyone to end the segment.
United States Championship: Samoa Joe (C) def. Rey Mysterio and Andrade vs R-Truth.
Now this was supposed to just be Rey vs Andrade on the pre-show, but it was moved and a fatal four-way for the United States Title was announced. This was another match that didn’t really have much story leading into it, but again It was absolutely fantastic. The MVP of this match was easily Rey, he is ageless. He did a bunch of super creative high flying moves that a 44-year-old man should not be doing. At one point he hit a Hurricanrana on two competitors at the same time which was nuts!
Great character work from Andrade throughout this match as well, he almost seemed distracted by wanting to take out Rey. He did “the three amigos” on Rey during the match which was of course made famous by Eddie Guerrero, which got huge heat. The funniest part of the match was R-Truth hitting a “five-knuckle shuffle” in tribute to his childhood hero, John Cena.
This was all together a fantastic match, and the US Title scene is super-hot right now, I can’t wait to see who faces Joe at WrestleMania.
Women’s Tag Team Championship: Boss N’ Hug Connection (C) def. Nia Jax and Tamina.
Next up we had the first defense of The Women’s Tag Team Championships as the Boss N’ Hug Connection faced Nia Jax and Tamina. This match is basically what you would expect it to be, Jax and Tamina playing the dominant role and Sasha and Bayley having to fight back. There is good action throughout the match and all four women told the story well enough to make it a decent match. However, once again it was what happened after the match that was most interesting.
Sasha and Bayley got the win, but Jax and Tamina attacked them afterwards. At the end of the attack Jax threw Bayley over the announce table and the commentators had to scatter. Beth punched Tamina and all hell broke loose. They threw Beth in the ring to beat her down until longtime friend and former tag team partner, Natalya came out to make the save, but it wasn’t enough. Nia and Tamina stood tall to close the segment.
This was a very good segment, Sasha has defended a title for the first time on main roster but Nia and Tamina look strong. If this also means a return for Beth Pheonix at Mania, I’m all for it!
WWE Championship: Daniel Bryan (C) def. Mustafa Ali and Kevin Owens.
When we had that Kofi swerve earlier in the night, I though this match was just going to be 1-on-1 and there was going to be no change to the match. However, Greg Hamilton announced it as a triple threat match, and I was super confused as to who the third man was going to be. It ended up being the returning Mustafa Ali!
I was super stoked about that but that crowd wanted Kofi. Mustafa was in a very tough spot. They could’ve sent out anybody on the roster and it wouldn’t have mattered that crowd was super loud with the “We Want Kofi” chants as the competitors were being announced. These three guys really had to work to make this crowd cheer because of how much the crowd wanted Kofi. By the end of this match everybody in that arena was cheering because this was 100% match of the night. In a lot of ways this was a showcase match for Ali because he had so many impressive spots during this match.
The best spot of the match was a 450 on to Kevin Owens who was laid down on the apron, that looked nasty. This match had everything you could ask for out of a WWE Championship match; it had high spots, dramatic near falls, this was an amazing match. By the end of this match the crowd was over Kofi not being in the match.
I think all of this is totally leading to Kofi vs Bryan at Mania, and WWE did a really good job pushing that story tonight.
Becky Lynch def. Charlotte Flair.
This wasn’t much of a match but it shouldn’t have been, if Becky won, and she was added to the Raw Women’s Championship match at WrestleMania. Charlotte came out for the match and when Becky came out, she was limping noticeably, and using a crutch to walk. When Becky finally limped her way to the ring, she tossed out the crutch and tried to fight, but Charlotte immediately went after Becky’s knee. At the end of the match, Charlotte had the figure 8 on Becky and it looked like she was going to tap. That is until Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey came down to the ring, and struck Becky Lynch giving her the DQ win.
I think it made a lot of sense for Becky to get barely any offense in, Ronda gets her wish of Becky being in the match, and Charlotte has a reason to be mad at Ronda. The match didn’t have any big spots and Charlotte and Ronda never touched each other.
By doing that they did not take any of the hype away from the triple threat match in the (probably) main event of WrestleMania.
The Shield def. Baron Corbin, Drew McIntyre, and Bobby Lashley.
In our main event, we saw The Shield make the walk through the WWE Universe one last time. This was very much a greatest hits type of match and as a showcase for The Shield. If that WWE Championship match was match of the night, I think this was #2. This started in the ring, but quickly spilled out into the crowd. There was not much story involved other than the possible last look at The Shield in WWE, but there were plenty of huge spots.
At one point, Dean went for a running dive off the Kickoff Show table and was caught by Drew and Bobby. Then out of nowhere Seth dove off the crowd from high above onto all three, like he did in their famous match with Evolution. The match had many near falls, but I don’t think anybody in the area thought for a second that Shield was going to lose this. The Hounds of Justice hit a triple powerbomb through the announce table, throwing Drew on the table, and it was the beginning of the end for the Three-Man Bland (credit to Maffew from Botchamania for that). The Shield gathered in the ring and as Rollins shouted “one last mother****ing time!” Then we got one last triple powerbomb on Baron Corbin, and of course The Shield picked up the win.
This was a classic chaos-filled Shield six-man tag match and I loved every second of it. If this truly is the end of The Shield it is the end of an era, and this was a fitting goodbye to one of the most dominant factions in WWE history.
Forever The Shield!