WWE Fastlane 2016 Review and Results
WWE Fastlane happened. We can’t ignore it and with Wrestlemania looming over proceedings like a long shadow – it was time for WWE to begin placing the pieces that will take the fans into the biggest pay-per-view of the year. The big question though, where the matches any good and which ones should you be skipping?
Sasha Banks & Becky Lynch (w) vs. Naomi & Tamina
A decent opening match filled with lots of effort and enough time to get the crowd on board. The crowd reacted well to the introduction of Sasha Banks and seemed to buy into the general flow. By the end it was painfully obvious who was winning but props to Naomi and Tamina who worked hard and managed to put in a strong showing. Both should fit in nicely with the overall picture of the division post-Wrestlemania. As for Banks/Lynch, there was less animosity than I was expecting – with the two settling down quickly to get through the matches. Was a solid opener.
Kevin Owens (w) vs. Dolph Ziggler (Intercontinental Championship)
The beginning of something of a trend throughout this PPV – matches that were fine in themselves but had already been done better on free TV. Both guys worked their asses off and there were a sequence of offences outside the ring that did little to bring the crowd out of their daze – but overall was a good outing. Have to say that Owens offence is becoming slightly predictable.
Wyatt Family vs. Kane & Big Show & Ryback (w)
Awkward match with an exceedingly awkward finish. Never really moved out of first gear as all the 6-man tropes fell into place – including the sequence of finishers being rattled off. Only big surprise was that the Wyatt family lost. Match itself was slow and plodding – no real excitment and lame grapple moves sapping what little enthusiasm the audience tried to muster up. Extra amusement from the Ryback botch at the end of the match that WWE’s editing suite quickly switched around.
Charlotte (w) vs. Brie Bella (Divas Championship)
Kindly I’ll say this could have been a lot worse. Was given ample time (just over 12 minutes). Brie’s awkward use of Bryan’s move set meant that the crowd got insanely behind her – right up until Charlotte locked her in the figure-8 – at which stage the audience swung back behind Charlotte. Wasn’t a terribly impressive outing for either – Brie in particular looking rough in spots and didn’t get any flow in her moves. If this is one of her last matches I suspect she won’t look back happily. Charlotte meanwhile didn’t carry the match or make much of an impact.
AJ Styles (w) vs. Chris Jericho
A great match that was spoiled by some awkward flow issues. Not sure who made the decision to have the drop kick reversal on the ropes but it was ugly. Both put in a lot of effort and the story of the match came over well. Lots of good back and forth with Styles getting an impressive win while Jericho looked strong in defeat. Will argue that this was the weakest of their three matches.
R-Truth vs. Curtis Axel (w)
A complete disaster. No story and no real match – only existed to further the Goldust/Truth angle which sort of happened but then didn’t happen. Could have been done on an episode of Superstars but looked painfully out of place on a WWE PPV right before Wrestlemania and basically killed 10 minutes until the main event.
Reigns (w) vs. Ambrose vs. Lesnar
The match itself was perfectly fine. Lesnar did his rough-housing thing while Reigns and Ambrose teased a complete meltdown. In it didn’t really happen – Reigns got the pin over Ambrose but not before some good table spots and some excellent brawling outside the ring. The end result is questionable if you’re not a Reigns fan – but ultimately it was good for what it was.
Overview: A bizarre PPV with some decent matches littered with awful ones. The main event was great until the ending while the lower-card matches did their jobs admirably. Ultimately not a bad PPV but not a great one either.