Fastlane is here, so why don’t I give you guys a quick review of women’s matches from the PPV which only debuted in 2015?! Thus there’s only three to go over, a simple write-up for me and an easy read for you.
WWE Divas Championship: Nikki Bella (c) vs. PaigeFastlane 2015
It’s so weird seeing the Divas Championship now when I watch this stuff back, I got so used to seeing it, and now it’s like I completely forgot it ever existed. I also really miss Lilian Garcia doing ring announcing. I’m so used to hearing her introduce everyone that now when I hear JoJo or whoever they use, a small part of my childhood dies, although, she does manage to call the Divas Championship the Women’s Championship, which was either an awful mess up, or some pretty brilliant foreshadowing and telepathy. Alright, so we’ve got Paige out first, remember when she was a big deal in the division? It feels like a long time ago. One thing I don’t miss at all is Lawler’s subtle sexism on commentary; I will never understand why that man was kept on TV during the transitional period for women when he’s a constant reminder of everything wrong with their women’s content of the past. At first, I was certain that this was my first time watching this match, but once we got to the finish, it all came back to me. Can someone please create a never-ending loop of Brie saying “come on Nikki” to perhaps the beat of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song? Make sure it’s played at my funeral so that I can go straight to hell happy. Paige comes into the match just swinging her fists at Nikki who rolls or rather falls out of the ring to get away from her. They do the chase me around the ring spot until Paige attempts some knees to Nikki’s face but is shoved onto the ring apron and to the floor. There’s a camera cut to Brie who is fixing her collar for no reason. The match is slow, like, my grandma moves faster slow. I don’t like that. The women struggled for a lot of years to get crowds on their side, this kind of match does not help whatsoever, there’s zero reaction from anyone throughout. To make things even worse, rather than give it an actual finish, we just got a roll-up with Nikki grabbing Paige’s shorts, after throwing Paige into the second turnbuckle instead. I recall at the time thinking this finish was dumb, and I still do. It managed to make both women look incredibly weak. Not a fan.
Sasha Banks & Becky Lynch vs. Naomi & TaminaFastlane 2016
While writing the review for this match, it’s also my first time viewing it. After Night of Champions 2015 I stopped watching wrestling until Royal Rumble 2016, so anything that happened in between that, I’ve never watched. In fact, I didn’t even know this match happened at all until I started watching the PPV since it’s the opening match. Team BAD was so unfortunate in that whole team vs. team storyline, not only were they cursed with having Sasha on their team, which meant people only wanted to see her and not Naomi and Tamina, but it also got dropped after both got hurt after WrestleMania. Sad face. Becky also had a rough time of it at first having to play second fiddle to her two team members, despite her being the best out of the three and now in 2017 arguably of both divisions. It’s weird how much has changed in the last two or three years. As soon as the match begins, it’s clear that Becky and Sasha are not meant to be a cohesive unit as they argue over Sasha tagging herself into the match. Naomi, who is wearing her weird bandana gear, takes advantage of this and smashes Sasha’s face into the top turnbuckle. I promise I didn’t laugh. Watching this back made me realize that although she’s not the best talent, the SmackDown division could do with someone like her around, a real threat to all of the women if they decide to give her that kind of build somewhat like they did in 2012. Becky eventually tags herself into the match, she and Sasha manage to work together briefly to take down Tamina. The more I watch Becky, the more I realize that she truly is the complete package, capable of switching up her style to fit her opponent, which she does here to benefit Tamina. She knows when to quicken the match but also when to slow things down. It’s so pleasing to watch. Naomi gets tagged into the match, but after a flurry of kicks, she’s suplexed and rolls out of the ring. I will say, Naomi’s style being a little bit more unorthodox and more like a scrap, during this time felt like a breath of fresh air for her. I was somewhat sad to see her go back to being her regular old self once this whole glow in the dark thing started, but nothing we can do about that I guess. This match began to lose it’s charm on me towards the end as it was starting to tire and feel like they’d gone on too long, not to say that it made the match weak per se, just could have done with being shorter. Becky came off the top rope with a missile dropkick to both Naomi and Tamina, with Sasha locking in the Bank Statement on Tamina, Becky puts Naomi in the dis-arm-her, and both women tap out at the same time, although only Tamina’s counts. Not the best women’s tag match to ever happen, but relatively okay. The only bad point is that it dragged on too long making certain portions of it slightly dull. The finish was also far too predictable.
WWE Divas Championship: Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Brie BellaFastlane 2016
I didn’t pay attention to Charlotte’s Divas Championship reign, like, at all. I do recall people finding it rather lifeless, but I was hoping for good things from this match. I always enjoyed and appreciated what Brie did in the ring, she didn’t necessarily have the most extensive arsenal of moves, nor did she try to use flashy spots for a cheap pop, two things that tend to get praised, but her style complimented everyone else and was very versatile. She’s also probably my favorite seller from all of the women, ever. She always looked like she was going to snap her neck without actually being dangerous, something some of the current women haven’t managed to figure out. It was also absolutely genius to try and move Daniel Bryan’s popularity over onto Brie by allowing her to use the YES! chants. Obviously, it wasn’t of the same magnitude, but it worked with a portion of the crowd. If it wasn’t so close to WrestleMania, the story of Brie having to fight not just for herself, but her family is a storyline worthy of her winning the title one last time before she left. But timing is everything. Ric is with Charlotte for this match. Sigh. Everything about these two being paired together just makes me feel depressed. Look at how much Charlotte has skyrocketed since they split. She should never have been her father 2.0. She didn’t deserve that. It’s almost like watching an entirely different person when you compare Charlotte in early 2016 to her later that same year. Her improvement in-ring is undeniable. There’s something very funny about watching Brie, possibly the most white woman ever, attempt to do Ric Flair’s strut. The early goings of the match is pretty slow with a lot of holds being applied. Brie does incorporate some maneuvers commonly linked with Nikki and her husband Daniel Bryan which was nice to see at the time, changing up your move-set is always a good idea, but this was done more so to tie in with her storyline. I don’t know if the crowd genuinely wanted Brie to win the title or if they just dislike Charlotte a lot, but they get firmly behind Brie during certain spots of this match. There’s a pretty decent amount of time given for this match and it didn’t feel as if it was dragging or that moments were dull. After a missile dropkick, Brie had to quickly begin to sell a leg injury in order for the finish to work, which looked rather out of place with everything else that happened due to Charlotte not working the leg at all throughout, so we just had to go off her landing badly, yet you get to see that she didn’t. Towards the finish, Brie hits a Bella Buster after some Yes Kicks which breathed new life into the crowd, everything during that little section off offense from her was done so smooth, and Charlotte made the near fall look unbelievably realistic. The use of the Yes Lock got a pop, naturally. But it was eventually Charlotte picking up the win to retain the Divas Championship after locking in the Figure Eight. I don’t why, but I feel like I probably enjoyed this way more than other people may have. The emotional investment is there all the way through the match, including the end when Brie is close to tears over the fact she had to give up. I’m probably gonna have to sit through this year just to see the full thing transpire now, it was that good or at least it was in my opinion.
Nia Jax vs. Sasha BanksFastlane 2017
I think I was part of a select few who enjoyed Nia vs. Sasha from Royal Rumble. It made Sasha look like she was headed towards a downfall of losses, which would eventually mean a heel turn. YES PLEASE. So, I went into this one thinking that I’m more than likely going to enjoy these two squaring off yet again. Boy was I wrong. I can’t say I’m a fan of Nia, because she just doesn’t wrestle the type of match I enjoy, but there is something entertaining about her throwing Sasha from one side of the ring to the other. There’s a few holds that lasted just a little bit too long and thus fell flat, something the crowd also picked up on as they went completely silent. It also lacked any form of pace whatsoever, which Sasha is used to, but Nia isn’t, so the contrast is pretty clear from the word go. Sasha eventually rolled Nia up for the win. This match went on longer than I expected, which was part of its downfall due to Nia not being used to lasting long in the ring. It also completely erased the story of Sasha being the “loser” who is trying to reclaim her spot in the division. I don’t have much hope for the RAW women’s division these days, but this just felt like a poor booking decision. It’s going to be interesting to see how WWE manage to slot Nia into the match at WrestleMania now, if that is still the plan.
RAW Women's Championship: Bayley(c) vs. Charlotte FlairFastlane 2017
Bayley’s story of being a lifelong fan is something that a lot of people can relate to, and it has been used with prior superstars. But, it’s interesting that Bayley’s storyline has the perfect opposition in Charlotte, who is just so easy to dislike. Something Charlotte has managed to hone during her time on the main roster. Even her telling Dana to get off her stage is something you’d fully expect her to do, because her character’s ego is unreal, despite them being “friends”. I was pleasantly surprised at Bayley being the aggressor in the early going of the match, I fully expected Charlotte to dominate and take control. The pace of this match during certain spots is so impressive. Charlotte just missed on connecting with her moonsault, despite commentary claiming she hit it, which kind of threw me off, but I’m glad she tried to save it with the senton. At one point while nothing was really happening, I started to feel like this had gone on too long, after Bayley missed whatever it was she was going for after putting Charlotte in a tree-of-woe situation. But, they managed to suck me right back in after the hurricanrana from the top rope, which should have received a better reaction. This time two years ago we wouldn’t have seen something like that in a women’s match. Charlotte’s reaction to Bayley kicking out of Natural Selection was so perfect, a mix of shock and confusion. Now, I have watched some pretty weird decisions happen when it comes to the women’s division, but I’m genuinely confused as to why they felt Sasha needed to interfere here. But, Bayley picks up the win after a Bayley-to-Belly. Okay, so you’re a few weeks from WrestleMania, and the plans are looking like a fatal-four-way. If we were to believe in this storyline, surely Sasha shouldn’t be rewarded with a title shot, if she continuously cheats for her friend? I’m not a genius, whatsoever, but surely that just makes no sense. It’s also disappointing to see all of the build that went into Charlotte’s PPV streak just get destroyed for a cheap win.
Hopefully Fastlane can produce something better in the future, because so far, things are not looking good for this PPV.