Welcome all to the 2016 installment of WWE Fastlane. I will be providing a match by match account of the happenings. Remember to check back often as I will be updating after every match.
First up was the two out of three falls match to determine if Kalisto or ADR is going to get the hot potato known as the US Championship belt this week. ADR started off by trying to unmask Kalisto and get into his head. ADR was immediately taking control, focusing on the arm of Kalisto to set up the cross armbreaker. Del Rio ripped the runner of Kalisto’s mask and pounded for a bit, but Kalisto flew out of the ring to try to break out his high flying skills. ADR tried to plant Kalisto on the post, but he was reversed, and Kalisto also planted Del Rio into the barricade, then catwalked on top of the barricade and hit ADR with a hurricanrana to send Del Rio over the barrier. ADR had none of that, flattening Kalisto with a chair (and giving himself a DQ).
First fall: Kalisto (by DQ)
Del Rio savaged Kalisto in between the first and second falls, leading to… a gratuitous WWE Network commercial. I understand that not everyone is watching on the Network, but seeing commercials for the Network ON the Network never gets old, plus it is fun to watch Twitter explode in anger. Second fall in effect, both are in the ring and Kalisto can barely stand. ADR comes charging like a matador, but is blocked by Kalisto. ADR hits a back breaker for a super fast pin.
Second fall: Alberto Del Rio
Fall three (and start of the match if you want to really get down to it) started with ADR having clear control and advantage, with Kalisto in obvious pain. A clothesline leveled Kalisto, who gets his mask peeled back but not quite removed. ADR had Kalisto in the tree of woe, but Kalisto was able to hurricanrana ADR off the top of the rope, hit a springboard for a seated swanton, short rana to plant ADR solidly on his face. Kalisto claimed up to the ropes, but ADR clubbed his legs to trip him, getting Kalisto in the tree of woe again, then flipped Kalisto with an inverted superplex, shooting him out of the ring. ADR double stomped Kalisto after draping him over the outside barricades. Kalisto is barely able to make it back in the ring by 9. ADR missed a tree of woe footstomp , and Kalisto is able to take advantage. He attempted a Salido Del Sol, and while not fully pulling it off, he did manage to send ADR to the ropes for a quick rollup pin to retain the belt.
AJ Styles In The Social Media Lounge
AJ Styles Social stepped into the Media Lounge to answer a few quick questions next. He was asked how it felt to be in the WWE & stand in the ring, & said that his mind was blown. He also mentioned that he had a football player who inspired him to be a wrestler since he wasn’t the biggest guy. He admits Sting may have been the wrestler he was most inspired by. When asked how WWE is compared to other promotions, & he compared WWE to the MLB, saying he played in the minor leagues, but WWE was the major leagues.
Becky was eager to start for her team, but was tagged by Sasha before the first blow. Some obvious egos at play, and Team BAD are working well as a team. “Unity!!!!!” & all. Becky tagged herself in the first chance she got, and Sasha gave her the stink eye. Tamina attempted to attack, but Becky and Sasha got on the same page, taking out Tamina with a drop kick, then flying out of the ring together to level Team BAD. Becky was bounced off the top turnbuckle by Tamina, and got pummeled by Naomi coming in. Naomi tagged in Tamina who dropped Becky again with a huge lariat. She is so great at playing the heavy. Naomi was tagged back in, yanking Becky’s hair & planting her foot on Becky’s back while doing so. Tamina was tagged in again, unloading on Becky. Becky was so close to tagging Sasha, when Naomi snatched the leg of Sasha to make her crash to the floor.
Tamina threw Becky out of the ring and she went sailing. Naomi ran by to stomp her from the outside. Becky was able to take out both Tamina and Naomi and barely crawled to the corner to tag in Sasha, who ran in with a head of steam. She did an incredible jumping double knee to Naomi, threw her to the ring post, hit a backstabber, then tried to pin Naomi. Tamina grabbed Sasha, allowing Naomi to hit a rear view. Tamina ran back in and superkicked Sasha for a pin, but Becky was able to run in to break it. A double team by Team BAD on Sasha led to Becky getting a double missile dropkick while they were distracted. Finally, Becky and Sasha were able to get Team BAD in a stereo bank statement/disarmer leading to a double tap out.
Winners: Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks
This match has the potential to be a decent one, and Kevin Owens clubbing Ziggler at the very second the bell rings makes me think they were going for it. KO screamed at Dolph that his hometown liked him more than Dolph. Commentary notes that Dolph’s wrestling coach from Kent State was in attendance, which meant that he wanted to make sure he looked good in the match. Dolph tried to ground Owens, utilizing his amateur wrestling skills. A standing dropkick from Dolph gave him advantage, but KO threw Dolph to the turnbuckle hard, looking like it hit his left shoulder. Owens stepped on Dolph’s chest, stomping and stretching him. Owens then hit a senton bomb on Dolph’s chest.
The requisite “prize fighter” script was spewed by Cole and JBL. Owens locked in the chinlock, keeping Ziggler grounded. Ziggler turned things up flying across the ring to land on KO, then dropped 4 massive standing elbow drops on him. Owens was able to persevere, getting a popup powerbomb. When you thought Ziggler was finished, he was able to get a flying DDT om KO. Owens hit a suplex buster off the top rope on Ziggler, and Dolph slid out of the ring immediately to keep from getting pinned. Owens chased Ziggler out of the ring, but was met with a superkick.
Things came back into the ring, and Owens was able to deliver his own superkick to lay out Ziggler. KO approached Ziggler & Dolph popped up with a quickness to superkick Owens out of the ring. Owens yanked Dolph out of the ring and set him up for a powerbomb, but Dolph was able to reverse it to do a rana on Owens that sent him flying to the steps. Ziggler hit a famouser on Owens , which should have been enough, but Owens was able to dig deep and kick out. The crowd exploded in a “This is awesome” chant afterward. Dolph tried to hit the Sweet Chin Music, but Owens pushed the ref into Dolph, which distracted him momentarily, allowing him to hit a pop up powerbomb to finish off Dolph. KO Mania is running wild!
Winner: Kevin Owens
If there is a match that screams “skip me”, this may just be it. Hoping I get proven wrong, because I’m always happy to eat my words. Ryberg started off against Rowan, Dropkick to a cover attempt. Big Show came in to manhandle Rowan, ripping his jumpsuit open and slapping Rowan with those “frying pan hands” I keep hearing about. Show tagged Ryback in again, and Harper is tagged in for his team. Ryback splashed Harper, but he was able to elbow him to stop him. Strowman was tagged in and he spent his time throwing Ryback to the corner and stomping him. He tagged Rowan back in, who had a big smile across his face as Ryback struggled to get up. He found something inside as he blocked a suplex attempt from Rowan to drop him. Kane was tagged in for his team and he threw Rowan around a while before the big boot to Rowan’s head. Kane also took out Strowman, but when he tried to run back in he was kicked by Rowan and knocked back out the ring. Strowman is brought in, kneeing Kane to the stomach & hitting Kane with elbows. Harper is tagged back in, uppercutting Kane back and forth.
Ryback ran back in, just completely on fire, hitting repeated flying knees on Harper in the corner, followed by 6 slams back to back. Seriously, he was just full of fire. Kane came in for a chokeslam, met by Strowman, who was thrown out of the ring by Big Show. Harper attacked, but Show also discarded him out of the ring like trash. Show then ran out of the ring and flew off his feet with a shoulder block to Harper, while Kane took out Bray Wyatt with a big boot for good measure. In the ring, Ryback hit a meathook lariat on Rowan for a pin attempt, Harper attempted to reverse, Ryback hit a huge shellshock on Harper’s shoulder and I begin to eat my words now. Thanks for over-delivering when I expected very little.
(Side note: it appeared that Harper may have sustained an actual shoulder injury at the finish. Hope he is OK.)
Winners: Ryback, Big Show and Kane
This match has deeper meaning than most Divas matches, as it may (or may not) mark the final in-ring appearance of Brie Bella if one was inclined to believe what is reported in the dirt sheets. Much is made of the fact that Brie was wearing the kick pads that her husband, Daniel Bryan, wore in WrestleMania 30, which adds more fuel to the rumor.
Charlotte and Brie get into things quickly. Brie got a Fireman’s carry to an armbar, but Charlotte returns the favor with a running knee. Brie is able to survive, landing an armdrag on Charlotte then busting out a Flair Strut that pisses off Charlotte and her papa. Brie hit a couple Yes kicks on Charlotte. Charlotte is able to pull Brie out of the ring with her legs, then hits the Yes pose to try to poke her own jab. Charlotte then began driving knees into the back of Brie, then pulled her arms back in a chickenwing stretch. She then pulled her hair to send Brie back down to the ring, leading to a pin attempt. Brie tried to get the Yes lock on Charlotte, but Charlotte’s strength allowed her to resist. Brie continued to hold on with a sleeper, but Charlotte dropped down to break the hold, Charlotte went to the neck, wrapping her legs around Brie and rolling her around the ring by holding onto Brie with her strong legs.
A drop toehold took Charlotte down, giving her a chance to land a flying knee on Charlotte and a forearm took Flair down. Brie has been watching her Best of Nikkisawa Vols 1-9 VHS tapes for strong style inspiration.
Brie climbed to the top rope and hit a dropkick on Charlotte, but she landed wrong and hurt her knee. She still powered through it, hitting a series of Yes kicks that got the crowd going, and she almost pulled off the pin. A Figure Four by Charlotte was reversed by Brie, who threw her into a yes lock, then a single leg crab, Ric losing his mind from outside. Brie tried with all her might to rip off Charlotte’s leg, but Charlotte was able to push her off. Charlotte took advantage of the weakened knee of Brie, reversing the crab into a Figure Four, then transition to a Figure Eight. Brie had no choice but to tap out. There were some sloppy spots and even a couple of botches, but overall nothing to complain about. If this was truly Brie’s last match, it was a pretty good one.
50/50 booking can’t kill AJ Styles. The people are ready for this one. There were huge dueling “AJ Styles!” / “Y2J!” chants. They started off chopping and throwing forearms, then exchanging standing dropkicks. AJ hit a snap suplex, but Jericho took things outside after a back body drop, slamming AJ to the canvas. Jericho flew off the ropes to flatten AJ out. JBL with a Japanese wrestler name dump, talking about Tenryu, Kawada, Kobashi and other greats, which is always a weird thing. Knowing that JBL is a huge fan of “Puro In The Rough” puts all of the name dropping into context though.
A splash off the ropes from AJ is met with a hang time heavy kick by Jericho, who killed him then and there. The men poured back into the ring, where Styles hit a flying clothesline and splash to Jericho, pulled him out of the corner to the center of the ring, then flew to hit Jericho with a flying elbow. Styles monkey flipped onto Jericho, then tried to get Jericho in a Styles Clash. Jericho reversed, trying for a Walls of Jericho, but Styles was also able to sneak out of it. This has been one hell of a match so far.
Jericho hit a lionsault, but was unable to get a pin out of it. He pulled AJ up by the hair, chopped him & whipped him to the corner . He attempted a superplex, but AJ slipped out and tripped Jericho. Styles springboarded to the ropes, but Jericho hit a springboard dropkick off the top rope to knock AJ off. Styles then stunned Jericho, trying to turn momentum, but Jericho powerbombed AJ off the ropes and stepped over to apply the Walls Of Jericho in the middle of the ring. AJ screamed and almost tapped, but was able to persevere and get to the ropes for the break.
Jericho pulled AJ out of the ring by his legs, whipping him to the outside barricade. Jericho continued to punish AJ outside the ring, hoping to get a count out victory, but AJ was able to reach the ring by 9. Jericho hit a codebreaker immediately as AJ crawled in, but AJ was too close to the ropes. Jericho screamed that AJ was a stupid man, saying he should quit while he still can. AJ was able to get Jericho into a Styles Clash and hit it, but Jericho got out in time. AJ wouldn’t let up, getting Jericho into the Calf Crusher. As much as Jericho didn’t want to, he was forced to tap or snap.
Mini-rant: Please, WWE, for the love of all that is right in the world, why would you have AJ hit a Styles Clash, only to have someone kick out of it like it meant nothing? Seems foolish to undersell the impact of the move so soon after AJ debuted, but that being said, no one has ever accused WWE booking of making sense.
Post-match: AJ shook Jericho’s hand and asked if he wanted another round of this feud. Guess this isn’t the rubber match after all.
Winner: AJ Styles
Edge and Christian came out to hype up their new show, appearing on the WWE Network after Fastlane goes off the air. They are interrupted by New Day. E&C claim that for being chocolate, they act so vanilla, and that if they had a threesome with Beyonce, New Day would be their love children. They also claimed that New Day was ripping them off, trading big goofy sunglasses and a kazoo for unicorn horns and a trombone. The New Day starts to talk trash about the League of Nations, calling them “hot garbage”, and as if they were on a cue, the League arrives to make sure that if New Day wanted to say anything bad about them, they do i to their faces. New Day took a powder, deciding today was not the day to throw down. This left E&C in the ring against Del Rio, Sheamus, Barrett and Rusev. Del Rio brings up how he forced Edge to retire, but Edge said that he still managed to accomplish more being retired than ADR did while being active. Edge and Christian followed the lead of the New Day, rolling out of the ring to leave the League standing tall. They then told the League that they were originally going to do a five second pose, but let the League strike one instead. After the 5 second pose, E&C revealed that the League’s name should actually be the “International House of Dumbasses”. New Day then did a booty dance for the league of Nations, singing “Watch our show” set to the New Day theme. Pretty horrible sub-Raw quality segment. Not sure why this was needed on a PPV.
Social Outcasts came out next, with a surprise appearance. R Truth came out to face what turned out to be Curtis Axel, but Truth proved he could count to four, when he pointed out the number of guys representing the Outcasts. Realizing he was probably going to have to deal with interference, he said he guess that was what was up. Pretty quickly Truth’s fears were realized, as interference was in effect. Goldust came out to even the odds up a bit, even tripping Axel and beating down Slater. He rolled Adam Rose into the ring, causing Truth to leap over him, which got him off balance enough for Axel to get a pin off the distraction. Truth was upset after the fact, which doesn’t bode well for Goldust’s case that they need to be a team. Golden Truth continues to not be a thing.
Winner: Curtis Axel
(Triple threat to determine #1 contender for WWE World Heavyweight Championship)
Well, here we are at the main event. To be honest, this card has felt very lackluster overall, with the exception of the six man (which I expected to be pretty terrible) and the AJ/Jericho match, which still didn’t blow me away due to weird booking. Hopefully this match will make up for any negatives, but I have a feeling we all know how this is going to end. That said, if we get Brock murdering guys for 20-25 minutes, I’ll be all set.
The crowd made it clear that they were not pro-Reigns, a chorus of boos breaking out the second he came out. Ambrose got a huge pop, as did Brock. Brock started off like a raging bull, ramming head first into the mid sections of Dean and Roman, suplexing Roman and sending Dean flying out of the ring. While Lesnar is killing Roman, Dean climbed back in and missile dropkicked Brock. Ambrose attempted a belly to belly on Brock, but he wasn’t budging, instead putting Dean in the same move. Ambrose flew out of the ring and was caught by Lesnar, who suplexed him over his body and on to his head. He then German suplexed Reigns, who rolled into the ropes and already looked gassed. Another German to Reigns, for a count of 4. Lesnar hit Reigns with an F5 and a pin attempt, but Ambrose ran in to break it up, to the slight dismay/merriment of Brock. Ambrose slapped Lesnar, which earned him multiple knees to the ribs. Lesnar continued to suplex and brutalize Dean, who he hit with 5 German suplexes and got him up in an F5, but Reigns
Superman punch but Lesnar rolled out to break things up. Reigns pursued Lesnar, trying a Superman punch off the steps, but Lesnar caught him. Dean hit Lesnar with a low blow while he had Roman up. Dean and Roman decided that a little team work would help, so they double teamed Lesnar with a Shield style double powerbomb through the announce table. The crowd erupted in “Holy shit” chants as Lesnar laid prone on the remnants of the table.
Before they could reflect on the job well done, Dean kicked Roman and hit him with a running bulldog, climbing to the top for a flying elbow drop onto Reigns. Ambrose attempted the pin, but Reigns was able to kick out. Ambrose and Reigns exchanged hands, Ambrose eventually turning up the gas, but Reigns was able to take him off his feet after a clothesline.
Brock started to move around, so the former Shield-mates teamed up again for a powerbomb onto the second announce table. So far we have the Spanish AND German announce tables broken, so we’re left with only the main announce table. Reigns and Ambrose then begin piling fragments of the tables onto Brock to bury him.
Roman and Dean turn their attentions on each other again, punching each other until they fall, then Reigns tried to get Dean up on the ropes. Ambrose jumps off the ropes, but Reigns had that superman punch ready. Ambrose was able to hit a DDT, popping the crowd, but it wasn’t enough. He gets to his feet while Roman is still down, and points to the WrestleMania sign. He tried to get a Dirty Deeds on Reigns, but Brock ran in, lifted both mid in mid-move, and suplexed them both at the same time. This is why I never doubt the potential of a Lesnar match.
Reigns was able to get to his feet, hitting a spear on Lesnar, but he locked a kimura on Reings. Roman is able to lift Brock up, but a chair to Lesnar’s back was enough to take him to a knee. Ambrose hit Roman with a chair as well, then Brock again, sending him out of the ring. In the time Brock was getting pummeled with the chair, Reigns was able to see his opportunity, hitting Ambrose with a spear for the pin.
Winner: Roman Reigns
As expected, the main event of WrestleMania will be HHH vs Roman Reigns. Surprisingly, the crowd popped for this, despite the huge boos pre-match. Reigns was unable to enjoy his victory for long, Triple H’s “King Of Kings” theme hit and he walked out to the ring, in his corporate suit wear, stood face to face with Roman and held the belt in the air.