Wrestling Review: WWE Fastlane (2018)

It’s the last stop on the road to Wrestlemania, but unfortunately for AJ Styles, it is also his biggest challenge yet. WWE Fastlane speeds through Colombus, Ohio, for a night where the WWE Championship will be defended in a six-pack challenge: AJ Styles defends against Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Baron Corbin, Dolph Ziggler and a determined John Cena. The winner will be moving on to Wrestlemania to go face-to-face with Shinsuke Nakamura, who has his hands full with a match against Rusev on the show. Three other title matches will take place – The Usos versus The New Day for the Smackdown Tag Team Championships, Bobby Roode defends the United States Championship against Randy Orton, and Charlotte Flair does battle with Ruby Riott for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. All of this, plus a tag team grudge match between Becky Lynch & Naomi versus Natalya & Carmella at WWE Fastlane.

+ AJ Styles (c) vs John Cena vs Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn vs Baron Corbin vs Dolph Ziggler (Six Pack Challenge for the WWE Championship): this was a mad sprint from literally the opening move, with only brief moments of respite throughout. Frustrating shenanigans overshadowed the great match going on in the ring, several times, but overall this was a really great multi-man main event. The main event of Wrestlemania should be interesting
+ Charlotte Flair (c) vs Ruby Riott (WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship Match): I don’t think anyone gave Riott a chance here, which in many ways is what killed it before it started, which I don’t think is fair for the match as a whole (despite the frustrating ending). Riott is a really solid performer, and I wish the WWE had more faith in her, and Charlotte has become a bonafide mega star in the women’s division. This wasn’t great, but it was better than I thought it would be
+ Becky Lynch & Naomi vs Natalya & Carmella: these four must be four of the most attractive in the whole company, what a treat. It doesn’t hurt that three of them are also fantastic wrestlers – unfortunately, Carmella is not quite at the level of the others. This was a classic good versus bad story, and when it was done I had enjoyed myself immensely
+ Bobby Roode (c) vs Randy Orton (WWE United States Championship): it is hard to believe that Roode is actually three years older than Orton, but both men are still able to work without showing their age. Orton can flick a switch and put on a great amtch when he wants to, and it seems like Roode is still in the ‘proving himself’ stage, which made for a very entertaining contest. This was another good match on a show of good matches
+ Shinsuke Nakamura vs Rusev (w/ Aiden English): surprisingly (or maybe not), this was as evenly split a crowd you could ask for. These two put on a fantastic hard-hitting contest, and set a great precedent for the remainder of the show
+ Tye Dillinger & Breezango (Tyler Breeze & Fandango) vs Mojo Rawley, Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin: this is essentially the same as every single pre-show tag match in history, helped tremendously by a fantastic crowd. You know the deal: Breezango are funny, Gable and Benjamin are technical masters and Dillinger and Mojo are character the crowd loves or hates respectively. This was a lot of fun

– The Usos (Jey & Jimmy Uso) (c) vs The New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) (w/ Big E) (WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championships): it is hard to get into why this was disappointing without spoiling too much, but I just didn’t like the way this went. The Usos and the New Day are two of the best teams, and their matches are always incredible, but this was just not one of those matches
– everything about Shane McMahon/Daniel Bryan/Sami Zayn/Kevin Owens needs to stop. It has more than run it’s course, and the fact is that it is a huge detriment to every other aspect of the show at this point

Should you watch this event: I had very low expectations going into this, which meant I was left very pleasantly surprised. Every match (except the stupid tag team title match) was easy to watch, with at least one really good moment within to keep things interesting. None of the matches were absolute ‘must see’ affair, but everything was perfectly acceptable.

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