Versus the World 3/6/17 — WWE Fastlane
So for a while, I’ve indicated that I had an interest in posting thoughts and blurbs about pro-wrestling. After a long bout with procrastination, my cousin finally managed to successfully talk me into setting up something on Medium.
So this is the first of what will be many pro-wrestling reviews and short-form thoughts. Don’t expect long, detailed, grandiose reviews explaining the intricacies of a headlock or an Irish whip. Just relatively short, concise reactions and criticisms in regards to shows.
With Fastlane, WWE had the unenviable position of being stuck between the proverbial rock and a hard place. With only 28 days left until Wrestlemania 33, the company had to be mindful of not producing a simple by-the-numbers pre-Wrestlemania filler event while also being weary of not unnecessarily swerving the viewer for the sake of surprise.
With a couple of Wrestlemania talking points, notably Charlotte’s 16–0 undefeated PPV streak and the unbeatable Braun Strowman, finding closure on last night’s show, I have to wonder if WWE relied too much on the latter and not the former.
If WWE’s goal for Fastlane was for it to not fall into the typical Road to Wrestlemania trap of predictability, then maybe in some ways it did achieve that. I can’t help but feel that some of the more surprising moments of the night (such as the two talking points I mentioned prior) weren’t necessary.
Sami Zayn vs. Samoa Joe
A really fun opener that adequately helped develop my interest in watching the rest of the show.
I still stand by my claim that Sami Zayn is one of the best workers in the world. I can’t think of another worker in the industry who can sell offense half as well as Sami can. The fact that Samoa Joe needs no help in looking like a million bucks and yet Sami still made Samoa Joe look like a million bucks is a true testament to Zayn’s work.
The match certainly helps Samoa Joe assert himself as the new bully on the block and keeping that in mind, WWE couldn’t pick a better opponent than they did in Sami Zayn.
Enzo & Big Cass vs. The Club
I think there’s untapped chemistry between these tag teams. I really enjoyed the six man tag they had with Cena and AJ Styles back at Battleground in July last year, and I was hoping they’d continue that program going into the brand split with both teams being on Raw.
The Club came off as looking like a well oiled machine in this match and is right behind the Royal Rumble match against Cesaro and Sheamus as being The Club’s best performance in WWE.
Pretty fun ending that hopefully sees its conclusion at Wrestlemania.
Jinder Mahal vs. Cesaro
Honestly a pretty solid match with little reaction, but that’s to be expected when A) you give us very little reason to care about Jinder Mahal and 2) it’s just fluff to fill out the card.
With that said, probably the best showing I’ve seen Mahal have during his entire WWE tenure.
I’m kind of leaning with Dizzy’s score, but also willing to be extremely generous with
Rusev vs. The Big Show
I remember a time when they used Big Show as a platform to build Rusev’s heat. Really sucks to see Rusev take such a dip in only three years time.
Big Show looks nice, but yeah…match was unnecessarily long and it didn’t do either guy any favors.
Jack Gallagher vs. Neville
Neville and Gallagher is the kind of PPV showing the Cruiserweight Division has needed since its inception. If you haven’t bought into Neville being a ruthless, aggressive heel then this should have been the match that officially sold you on him.
If the Cruiserweights had an Academy Awards system, Neville would certainly be the best leading man with a cast of extremely talented supporting actors. Not to shortchange Gallagher, who looked fantastic tonight, but Neville is just that good currently.
Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns
A match that didn’t really do anything to reinvent the wheel, which is a major issue.
The match certainly deserved to be better than what it was. And I fully expected it to be. In my opinion, the segments leading up their Fastlane encounter did a fantastic job of building up Braun Stroman as being a formidable task for Roman Reigns.
To add to that, Braun Stroman showed that he could get a crowd invested in his in-ring work during his encounter with The Big Show. Roman Reigns, meanwhile, has steadily built up a library of good to great PPV matches. Not really sure what got lost in translation here.
I think the purpose of the match was to emphasize on storytelling and building to the bigger spots as there were moments in the match that certainly brought the crowd and myself back into it. I do think the opening moments of the match dragged on a bit and it certainly hurt the match overall.
Charlotte vs. Bayley
Wasn’t really feeling this one at all. Still, though, the WWE fanbase is firmly behind Bayley and she definitely deserves to be a permanent fixture in the WWE’s bourgeoning women’s landscape. Charlotte in-ring banter and fluid movement only continues to assert as one of my favorite acts currently in the WWE
A pretty bland match with a weird ending. Gotta wonder if it’s leading to an angle on Monday Night Raw.
Bill Goldberg vs. Kevin Owens
Essentially what I expected it to be. No disappointment. No surprise. This match was exactly what it needed to be.
I am a huge Kevin Owens fan, but there are no delusions in recognizing that Bill Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar is the money match for Wrestlemania. How do you build the image of a World Championship that just debuted in August? Put it in the money match.
In addition, it’s just not very realistic to see Kevin Owens give Goldberg a competitive fight. Doing so diminishes the importance of Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series and it also helps solidify the Wrestlemania rematch as being an epic encounter. To have Kevin Owens competently go toe to toe with Goldberg undermines the bigger story: will Goldberg walk through Brock Lesnar just as easily as he already has or is Brock ready this time?