Julian Connelly looks at latest WWE and Wrestling releases in his regular review column: The Turnbuckle.
I feel rather bad for WWE. The February pay-per-view is always one that is set to be overlooked in the grand scheme of things because it’s just the connection between The Royal Rumble and WrestleMania.
This year’s inaugural Fastlane event was just that, WWE knew they couldn’t push the pay-per-view to far because they needed to have something left for WrestleMania, but after The Royal Rumble they had to deliver on a bigger scale.
For me, Fastlane delivered. First off, WWE did the amazing thing of giving away the pay-per-view for free in every country including the UK and I think this took some of the sting out of the event.
Without doubt the stand-out performance from Fast Lane would have to be Bray Wyatt. Where he gets the confidence to call out The Undertaker by using his own theme song and a casket, I think even he is pushing it. Will the Deadman respond on Raw? Will The Undertaker even be fit to compete? If not I’m sure I would be satisfied with a war of words if it goes the same way as this show. Either way, the challenge has been laid down… so now we wait.
Triple H and Sting finally stood face-to-face in a WWE ring, Triple H was dressed for business and after a cheap shot from him, Sting took out his baseball bat and used it to goad the COO into a match at WrestleMania, which he duly accepted. Sting kept to his whole Crow character and didn’t say a word, but that bat pointing at the sign was enough to make it official. Sting is finally booked in a WWE match.
Another match that was made official was Roman Reigns facing Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
In their match to decide the Mania main event, Daniel Bryan looked solid and Reigns looked as focused as ever.
A thunderous spear secured the win for Reigns and now sees him in the exact same place he was four weeks ago, looking up at the WrestleMania sign and knowing that in his first ever singles ‘Mania match he will be competing for the biggest prize in WWE.
Daniel Bryan had words with Roman after the match to inform him that he “better kick his ass” referring to Lesnar, before the two parted ways with a handshake.
Talking about the biggest prize in WWE; while Seth Rollins will always have a claim to it while he carries that briefcase, he may have a few other things on his mind at the moment. The Authority again completely dominated the team lead by Dolph Ziggler, and after the win Rollins tried to curb stomp all participants, but an old adversary had other ideas. Randy Orton ran out to make the save and The Viper well and truly struck. RKO out of nowhere was trending on Twitter and finally Seth may have a career-defining rivalry heading into the biggest event of the year.
Dean Ambrose looks to have set up a No DQ match with Bad News Barrett at next month’s grand event after he refused to stop beating the British Superstar in the corner and was disqualified so he promptly hit Dirty Deeds and exited with Barrett’s championship.
Another title that was defended and retained was the US title, this match was a hard one to predict, how do you keep John Cena looking strong for WrestleMania while also allowing him to lose to Rusev?
Easy, allow Cena to put up a decent fight before passing out to The Accolade. Rusev was built up like a monster, but for me the low blow prior to the pass-out wasn’t needed – it made him look rather weak.
Talking of weak, Nikki Bella continued her attempt at a Divas title reign as she successfully defended against two-time champion Paige. An AJ Lee return was hinted at beforehand but sadly I don’t think even she can save the division now. Nikki got the win with a handful of tights while Brie watched on from ringside.
The Usos reign was finally over as Cesaro and Tyson Kidd finally reached the mountain top and picked up the gold. The two seem to be the best team in WWE at the moment and it will be interesting to see what route WWE take with the tag titles heading into WrestleMania. The match itself was a great showing from both parties even though Natalya did look like she’d stolen Seth Rollins ring attire. But none the less, a great performance.
I leave the sour note until last as we look at Stardust vs Goldust. The match was rather sloppy and not what you expect from the brothers. The finish wasn’t even a finish, the ref didn’t count it. No one knows what happened there but throughout an entire event for that to be the only downfall, I think WWE did well.
Seeds have been planted and rivalries have been defined. We are officially on the Road to WrestleMania…Strap in, it’s about to hit a sharp corner.
Author: Julian Connelly