0 of 5
We’re three weeks away from WrestleMania 37 on April 10-11 but before we get to the biggest show of the year, we had Sunday’s WWE Fastlane pay-per-view.
Roman Reigns defended the Universal Championship against Daniel Bryan in the main event, with Edge serving as a special guest enforcer in an attempt to limit any outside interference.
Both midcard belts were up for grabs when Big E put the Intercontinental Championship on the line against Apollo Crews, and Riddle defended the United States title against Mustafa Ali.
Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks challenged Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler for the Women’s Tag Team Championships, Alexa Bliss faced Randy Orton, Seth Rollins battled Shinsuke Nakamura, and Sheamus went to war with Drew McIntyre in a No Holds Barred match.
Let’s look at each match from Sunday’s PPV to see if Fastlane was worth the price of admission.
1 of 5
The Kickoff featured Riddle defending the United States Championship against Mustafa Ali in a rematch from Monday’s Raw.
They started with a standard exchange before they picked up the pace as Riddle took control. The rest of Retribution watched as Ali berated them following a successful counter.
Ali dished out a lot of punishment as he tried to wear Riddle down. The champion eventually found the will to make a comeback, but Ali countered the Broton from the top rope with a pair of knees.
The Bro broke out of a Koji clutch and hit Bro Derek from the middle rope for the win to retain his title. Ali yelled at his followers and Reckoning walked out on him. She was soon followed by Slapjack. T-Bar and Mace ended up attacking Ali with a double chokeslam.
Riddle and Ali had a good match on Raw and this was a worthy follow-up. They had nice chemistry as opponents and paced themselves well.
This was some of the most aggressive work we have seen from Ali since he turned heel and joined Retribution. What was surprising was how little Retribution tried to help him.
The breakup of the stable is best for everyone. Mia Yim has been criminally underused during this storyline and everyone else has just been playing pawns. Seeing how everyone is used after this will give us a good idea of who will stick around and who might head back to NXT.
2 of 5
The first match on the main card saw Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax defend the women’s tag team titles against Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks.
Banks and Belair used quick tags and double-team moves to take control of Baszler right away. As soon as The Queen of Spades had the upper hand, Jax tagged herself in.
The champions isolated The EST in their corner for a few minutes while they wore her down. Reginald cheered on Jax and Baszler from ringside. The Boss tagged in and almost won with the Bank Statement on Baszler before Jax broke up the hold by shoving Belair into them.
This caused an argument between the challengers that led to Baszler winning with a rollup. Banks slapped Belair and walked away before Belair could react.
The first couple of minutes had a fast pace and it led to Belair making a couple of minor mistakes. Corey Graves even mentioned one of them and cited her inexperience as a reason for the flub.
The booking of this match was predictable. We all knew Banks and Belair would not win the titles, and it was always going to end with them at each other’s throats.
The action in the match was good but could have been better. The early slipups weren’t a huge factor in the overall grade.
3 of 5
As soon as the ref called for the bell, Big E and Apollo Crews were throwing punches. The champ put Crews on the apron and knocked him off with a huge spear through the ropes.
He hit a big splash on the apron while talking as much trash as possible. Big E threw him across the ring with a couple of belly-to-belly suplexes. Crews answered back with a trio of German suplexes.
Crews and E tried to do a pin reversal spot that ended up looking horrible and made the end of the match look sloppy and inconsistent with what we have seen from these two so far. Big E retained but it was hard to tell who won at first.
Big E and Crews have made this into one of the best feuds on SmackDown. Even with Crews’ new accent being a bit strange, they have managed to keep us invested.
The way Big E dominated the early minutes of the match made him look great, and the way Crews rebounded was just as good. The ending completely ruined everything they had built up.
Botches happen but when something is this bad, it sticks out. It’s tough to say if the blame falls more on the ref or the Superstars. Either way, what could have been the best match of the night ended with a whimper instead of a bang.
Everything leading to the finish was great. Unfortunately, the way it ended is all people will remember.
4 of 5
After suffering an injury during a training session, Shane McMahon somehow talked Elias into replacing him in his match against Braun Strowman.
Jaxson Ryker tried to protect Elias at one point but it did nothing to prevent The Monster Among Men from destroying him. The singer was able to hit a DDT and elbow drop for a two-count.
Once he got back to his feet, Strowman hit his signature powerslam for the win.
WWE.com had this match listed on Monday but removed it by Tuesday, so it was hard to tell if we would actually see Strowman on the PPV until it happened.
Putting Elias in to take the loss is a decent heel move by Shane McMahon. It just didn’t make this any better. We have seen Strowman and Elias fight several times over the past year. Strowman gained nothing from this win while Elias continues to fall into irrelevancy.
5 of 5
Shinsuke Nakamura had a quick exchange with Riddle backstage before he and Rollins met in the ring for their match. They locked up and Rollins applied a side headlock.
Nakamura countered and taunted Rollins to sucker him in for a kick to the gut. The Messiah slammed his head into the announce table to turn the tide in his favor. He scored a near-fall with a gutbuster.
Rollins ranted about Cesaro swinging him around 22 times. As the match progressed, they started to pick up steam. Rollins was victorious with a Stomp.
This lacked some of the physicality of their previous encounters but they ramped it up more as the match progressed. Up until this point in the show, this was the best bout by a mile.
Rollins is good as a heel but his character is poorly defined right now. Is he still a Messiah or is he just a cocky bad guy? We didn’t get much of an answer here.
Nakamura could use some wins but just having a singles bout on a PPV is a step in the right direction. Rollins will likely battle Cesaro at WrestleMania, leaving Nakamura to fend for himself.