Saturday, April 23, 2016

WWE Fastlane 2015 Review

Roman Reigns & Daniel Bryan battle over the right to face Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania!

WWE Fastlane 2015
Memphis, Tennessee 2/22/15

1.) The Authority (Seth Rollins, Kane, & The Big Show with J & J Security) vs. Dolph Ziggler, Erick Rowan, & Ryback: **1/4

For our opening match, we have The Authority going up against the three men who had been fired for being part of Team Cena at Survivor Series 2014, but who were later rehired (thanks to John Cena & Sting). This was an ok opener. It had its moments, but for the most part, it really didn’t do anything for me. Corporate Kane, of all people, got the win here for his team. A weird opener with an odd result.

After the match, The Authority continued beating up Ziggler, Rowan, & Ryback until Randy Orton made his return! He threw plenty of RKO’s, and in the end, would stand tall after sending The Authority packing.

2.) Goldust vs. Stardust: *1/2

So this is a match that had been “rumored” for some time. A battle between the two Rhodes Brothers. It’s finally here. The story here (from what I can recall) is that Goldust is fearful that Cody Rhodes has become too enamored/obsessed with this Stardust persona, and he’s wants to bring back his brother. This was easily the worst match on the show. It was worked at a pretty slow pace, and the crowd wasn’t into it at all. Goldust won with a rollup, and the ref had a “BotchaMania Moment” when he made the count. Just bad the whole way round. The less said about this, the better.

After the match, Goldust tries to get through to his brother, but he bolted. There was later a confrontation backstage where Stardust attacked Goldust and berated his father, Dusty Rhodes.

3.) WWE Tag Team Titles - The Usos (with Naomi) vs. Cesaro & Tyson Kidd (with Natalya): ***¼

So the setup for this match involved a double date with Tyson Kidd/Natalya and Naomi/whichever Uso she’s dating. A weird way to build up to a WWE Tag Team Title Match, but hey, both teams are very good, and they proved a fine match here. Easily the best match on the card up to this point. The Usos are obviously a great team, while Cesaro & Tyson Kidd have really started to come into their own as a duo. Very solid stuff from both teams here. In the end, Cesaro & Tyson Kidd would pick up the win, capturing the WWE Tag Team Titles!

Up next, we have a segment with Triple H. He came out wearing jeans and a leather jacket, with his fists taped. He’s clearly ready for a fight. The Game had called out Sting, and soon enough, he appeared! Triple H said the WCW & Sting were both failures, and that if he walked away now, he could have a secure future with merchandise, footage of him on the WWE Network, and of course, a WWE Hall of Fame Induction…..or he could just kick Sting’s ass right now and erase him from existence. Triple H then attacked Sting, and went to use his sledgehammer, before Sting brought out his black baseball ball and disarmed The Game. He then pointed to the WrestleMania sign, signaling that he wanted a match with Triple H, who agreed to it. Sting then hit the Scorpion Death Drop, and pointed to the WrestleMania sign again. I would have prefered to see Sting wrestle The Undertaker, but hey, Sting’s having a match in WWE, so that’s all that counts. I’m sure his match with Triple H will be fine (more on that in a later review).

4.) WWE Diva’s Title - Nikki Bella (with Brie Bella) vs. Paige: **1/4

I don’t have that much to say about this match. It was fine, and totally inoffensive. These two seemed to work decently well together. Plus, I’m a fan of Paige, so it was easier for me to get into it. Eventually, Nikki is able to get a rollup on Paige for the win. Paige showed some emotion after the match, so it’s good to see a wrestle actually care about losing a title match.

5.) WWE Intercontinental Title - Bad News Barrett vs. Dean Ambrose: **

I really don’t remember what the build was to this match, but at the time, I figured it’d be pretty solid, since both guys are pretty good. To my displeasure, the match actually wasn’t that good. It looked like it was going along well enough, and they were telling a fine story with Barrett constantly trying to get away from Ambrose, but then Ambrose gets disqualified for….kicking too much ass. Dumb, stupid finish. This PPV has been very frustrated up to this point, and that finish didn’t help matters.

After the match, Ambrose hits the Dirty Deeds on Bad News Barrett, and walks about with Barrett’s Intercontinental Title for…...reasons, I guess?

Before the next match, we hear The Undertaker’s famous “gong”, and the lights go out. Druids come out with torches, and a casket is wheeled out to ringside. The casket opens up, and Bray Wyatt pops out. Wyatt cuts a promo saying that he used to fear The Undertaker, but after seeing what happened to him last year at WrestleMania, he’s realized that “The Deadman” is a shell of his former self. Wyatt claims to the be the new Face of Fear, and promises to take The Undertaker’s soul at WrestleMania. Well, I like the fact that they incorporated what happened in the match with Brock Lesnar (and The Undertaker’s subsequent absence) into the build for this match. We’ll see what happens in San Jose...

6.) WWE United States Title - Rusev (with Lana) vs. John Cena: ***3/4

At this point, this PPV has been a disaster, and we need turn it around. Fortunately, this match does just that. The build for this began when John Cena & Rusev had a backstage pull-apart brawl at Royal Rumble. It’s a natural feud/storyline to do, with Rusev, who’s crushed every American that’s gotten in his way thus far, going against The Marine himself, the ultimate American Hero….John Cena. This was a really good match. Until the Main Event happened, it was easily the best match on the show. There was some very solid back & forth action throughout this one. I might have saved their first encounter until WrestleMania, but this was still a really good match. Towards the end of the match, Rusev had Cena in The Accolade, and it looked like Cena was going to fight out of it, but then Lana distracted the referee, which allowed Rusev to hit Cena with a low blow. He then reapplied The Accolade, which then caused Cena to pass out. Rusev retains his United State Title. Aside from the finish, this was pretty good. Sadly, this would be the highpoint of their feud, in terms of match quality (more on that in later reviews).

7.) #1 Contender’s Match - Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan: ****½

After the outcry that came when Daniel Bryan was eliminated from the Royal Rumble Match, this match was made with the winner of the Royal Rumble, Roman Reigns, taking on the ultimate fan favorite in Daniel Bryan. Even with the Cena/Rusev U.S. Title Match, this PPV still need something amazing to redeem it. This match, without question, did keep this show from being an absolute disaster. It was absolutely fantastic!! A lot of the credit here has to go to Daniel Bryan. He looked like “The American Dragon” that we all know & love. He showed a ton of fire in this match, and he definitely delivered. At the same time, Reigns looked good here as well. He showed a lot of aggression (as did Daniel Bryan), which really helped to make the match seem important, as it should have been, with a WWE World Title Match in the Main Event of WrestleMania on the line. A lot for great action in this match. It was simply amazing to watch. In the end, Roman Reigns was able to hit the spear to score the victory, keeping his title shot. It sucked that Bryan didn’t win, or at least cause a draw to force a Triple Threat at WrestleMania, but we knew that wasn’t going to happen. On the bright side, his job was to make Roman Reigns look good, and he made him look GREAT, with easily the best singles match that Roman Reigns has ever had.

After the match, Bryan tells Reigns that he better beat Lesnar at WrestleMania, and the two shook hands to close the show.

Overall: 6.0/10

So this PPV was a REAL shitshow up until the last two matches. Things just weren’t working for the majority of this show. The undercard was BAD, plain & simple. The only reasons to go back and watch this show are the two promo segments (Triple H/Sting and Bray Wyatt), if you want to watch the stuff that built up to the those WrestleMania matches, and the two top matches of Cena/Rusev and Bryan/Reigns (and maybe the WWE Tag Title Match, which was perfectly fine). Otherwise, stay FAR away from this one.

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