Sunday night, the WWE Universe saw Roman Reigns defeat Daniel Bryan in a clinic, Bray Wyatt call out The Undertaker, Stng and Triple H confirming a Wrestlemania match and Rusev dominating John Cena. Here are our thoughts on Fastlane overall.
The event for the most part was solid although some of the finishes were awkward (Goldust vs. Stardust, Dean Ambrose vs. Wade Barrett) due to some clumsy officiating.
Randy Orton’s return was much needed as it gave Fastlane the much needed jump start to pump the crowd for the rest of the evening. Orton RKOing everyone in sight was a great touch that people sorely missed. Ziggler and Rollins told a great story in the ring with all the big men playing their babyface and hell personas well, ending with a clever heel finish no one saw coming.
Cesaro and Tyson Kidd taking the Tag Team titles from The Usos was a pleasant surprise as the story was built to look like The Usos would come out on top as they usually do. Hopefully a promising run will follow for the new team as they delivered some solid in-ring action with the flying Samoans. With the way things went on Raw, this angle is definitely not over.
Nikki Bella succeeded in defending her Divas Championship against Paige which was the right way to go. Paige needs to pull off the big win at Wrestlemania for the true payoff.
Goldust and Stardust put on a solid encounter relying heavily on psychology. The match had an old look to it as it was slow paced with short bursts of action thrown in. The finish however, was very awkward as the referee not only hesitated the final count but may not have actually hit the three before he called the match. If Fastlane was the warm-up, Wrestlemania had better contain round two for the Dust brothers.
Dean Ambrose and Wade Barrett also had a decent showdown built around psychology, but it too suffered an odd finish due to officiating. While the disqualification rule was accurate, no five count was given by the referee which may have had many scratching their heads. Ambrose stealing the Intercontinental title was a nice touch and a slick reference to Stone Cold and The Rock’s 1997/1998 feud over the coveted championship. The Fatal Four Way (teased on Raw) would be a great addition to the title hunt scenario.
Rusev asserted dominance and brute force in his victory over John Cena in his United States Championship defense. Cena sold well for Rusev and made him look like a million bucks. The two told a great story though it was slightly soured with the low blow. It looked like there would be more to Lana’s involvement but the right man went over in this case. Cena defeating Rusev at Wrestlemania would not damage the Bulgarian Brute because its purpose would be to give the crowd one of the many “feel good moments” Wrestlemania is known for.
Before we get to Bryan and Reigns, there were two excellent segments between Bray Wyatt, Sting and Triple H.
Wyatt mimicking The Undertaker’s classic entrance was perfect and completely unexpected. Having The Eater of Worlds deliver the best promo of his career in the casket was one of the smartest things WWE could have done to build this angle. Wyatt is on the road to a bright future with WWE if they continue to push him as a supernatural monster. Having said that, Wyatt should not defeat Undertaker at Wrestlemania. Leave the one in 21-1 alone.
Triple H cut a scathing promo on Sting, shooting on how WCW did because of people like him. This needed to be a worked shoot and it definitely was as H dug his proverbial claws into the soul of Sting, who watched with fire in his eyes. Just as it looked that the Cerebral Assassin would annihilate Sting with his trusty sledgehammer, The Vigilante had him dead to rights with the baseball bat. Utilizing his master’s degree in (in-ring) psychology, Sting issued his challenge without words in what was surely one of the finest moments in WWE history.
Finally, the main event.
Reigns and Bryan delivered a stunning performance that had the WWE Universe on the edge of their seats for the entire ride. The finish was unpredictable as the tide could have turned either way on the contenders. Bryan looks more and more like Shawn Michaels every time he laces up those boots. Reigns was pushed to the limit and looked great in what was easily the best match of his career so far. The right man won the battle with a good, clean win. Reigns will challenge Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania 31, and we can’t wait.