Wrestling Review: WWE Fastlane (2019)

[Please note: a lot changed for this show as the show was happening (because apparently the WWE is incapable of sticking to their own plans. I’ve tried to avoid spoilers, so some matches, as written, are not what actually happened.]

Cleveland, Ohio, is the site of the final stop on the Road to Wrestlemania, as the WWE presents Fastlane, which will be headlined by a huge WWE Championship match, as the New Daniel Bryan defends against the returning Kevin Owens. Speaking of returns, the WWE Universe was ecstatic to learn that Roman Reigns’ leukaemia was in remission, and he was ready to get back in the ring. After a few weeks of planning, Reigns was able to hook back up with Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose to reform the Shield. But the Shield will have a tough first night back as they must face off against the massive threesome of Baron Corbin, Drew McIntyre and Bobby Lashley. These two matches will be joined by three separate tag team championship matches, for both the men of Raw and Smackdown, as well as the Women’s Tag Team Championships.

+ The Shield (Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose) vs Baron Corbin, Drew McIntyre and Bobby Lashley: I can’t say I’m thrilled this was the final match on the show, but it was certainly good enough for what they were going for. Corbin and Reigns were the weakest links for their respective teams, but thankfully the point of teamwork is that there are more people to support you. McIntyre and Rollins are both so good, but everybody was given a chance to shine in this match. If this truly is the last time the Shield are together, then it was a great send off
+ Daniel Bryan (c) vs Kevin Owens (WWE Championship): this was really, really good, but the WWE seems intent on shooting themselves in the foot. These competitors seemed willing to kill each other, and while I can’t say I didn’t see the ending coming, the way it happened was just fantastic
+ Samoa Joe (c) vs R-Truth (w/ Carmella) vs Rey Mysterio vs Andrade (w/ Zelina Vega) (Fatal 4-Way for the United States Championship): the match these four had a week or two ago on Smackdown was great, and this was just as good. I was dreading Mysterio/Andrade as a pre-show match, so I am thrilled they were allowed onto this meain show, even if it had to be in a four way match. The two of them should be feuding over a title at Wrestlemania, or a much talked about Mask vs Hair match. And while Joe is great, I don’t know if these multi-man matches are the best way to get him over as a monster
+ The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder) (c) vs Chade Gable & Bobby Roode vs Ricochet & Aleister Black (Raw Tag Team Championships): this was probably the best match on paper, and it was easily one of the better matches on the show. Gable is still the most underutilised guy on the roster, and while I’m not a fan of Richochet/Black as a team, as individuals they are fantastic. This was a really good match, once the crowd got into it, and it’s hard to argue with the outcome either
+ The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) (c) vs Shane McMahon & The Miz (WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championships): another good-to-okay match, but I am well and truly over this story. However this match may have ended, I hope this is the end for this rivalry, and the Usos can move on to bigger and better things. The addition of MizDad in the crowd was fun, and actually added to the match in a meaningful way, but I’m still just not feeling this any more.

Becky Lynch vs Charlotte Flair: as seems to be a running theme on this show, this match was going so, so well, before falling off a cliff due to some stupid decisions. Charlotte is a fantastic bad-guy, as she should have been all along when it comes to Becky, and Becky is the only good anti-hero the WWE have had in years, so you can only imagine how they managed to mess this one up. I had this listed as a positive until the ridiculous ending forced me to change it
The Boss N Hug Connection (Sasha Banks & Bayley) vs Nia Jax & Tamina (WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships): this was not a god match, and in my opinion it was a bad idea to make this the first title defence, because Nia Jax is just so bad (and Tamina is only, perhaps, the tiniest bit better). I really hope the aftermath here means that these teams can get away from each other
Kofi Kingston in action: this was ridiculous, both in-story and in the real world. The WWE is seemingly unable to build up underdogs. This just makes me not want to see any more of Kofi, which I feel is not the desired effect
Asuka (c) vs Mandy Rose (SmackDown Women’s Championship): this was stupid, and the WWE deserves every bad thing that happens to them because of hwo they have wasted Asuka
The New Day (Big E & Xavier Woods) vs Shinsuke Nakamura & Rusev (w/ Lana): fine, but absolutely nothing special. The New Day have reached pinnacle status as a tag team, and Rusev/Nakamura have been being beaten by NXT stars who were just thrown together, so there was no drama here at all

> there was no Lesnar (obviously), no Rousey, no Finn Balor, no AJ Styles, no Randy Orton, no JOhnny Gargano, no Heavy Machinery, no Braun Strowman, no Elias, no Nikki Cross, and until the match was changed, no Samoa Joe or R-Truth, the current and most recent US Champion. I truly hope that Reigns return was not the reason so many other were pushed away

Should you watch this event: The WWE, these days, it at its best when they let their wrestlers wrestle without the stupid swerves or poor attempts at long-term booking (because due to injury or incompetence, they just manage to make everything words). Therefore, it’s no surprise that the best matches on this show were the simple matches with the best workers.

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