The final stop on the way to WrestleMania is in the books and as predicted it featured a few surprises. With the events of the subsequent Raw and Smackdown also giving us some fantastic moments, this year’s Mania could be a special night. But first things first, lets recap this past Sundays action.
The show began with the final Blue Brand tag title encounter between The Usos and former champions Miz and Shane McMahon. Without a doubt, this was the best battle between the four in their feud with The Usos once again proving why they are the best team in WWE and also unique for the reactions the crowd were giving Miz. Surely now Miz deserves another run on top with the WWE title? Something this writer never thought he would write! The aftermath of Shane turning on Miz and involving his Father was both surprising and unsurprising at the same time. A Heel Shane run fills this writer with a sense of dread but his showdown with Miz at Mania could be a tidy scrap, thanks to what will be a strong showing from Miz.
Asuka then successfully defended the Smackdown Women’s title against the slowly improving Mandy Rose. The action was decent while it lasted but one cannot once again worry that Asuka’s momentum has reached its pinnacle and that isn’t a good thing in our eyes. As good as she is in the ring, she seems to be getting lost in the shuffle and the mystique she built in NXT is fading away quicker than that of Shinsuke Nakamura!
We then saw the latest on the road to what is now becoming KofiMania as The Bar battled Kingston in an impromptu handicap match. The result was never in doubt here from a storyline standpoint as The Bar took the win. What was interesting was the reaction Kofi received once again. I never thought I would say this but it looks like the next WWE Champion will be Kofi Kingston! Who would have ever thought that was a possible scenario. 2009 maybe but in 2019? Crazy!
Up next was The Revival defending the Raw tag titles against the teams of Bobby Roode and Chad Gable and Ricochet and Aleister Black. As predicted this was a fantastic contest and proved to be chaotic at times, which added to the feel of the match and definitely had the crowd on its feet at various points. The Revival retaining was nice to see and with Mania under a month away, perhaps a multi-team match is on the cards?
Then, what was initially a pre-show match between Andrade and Rey Mysterio, become a US title four-way with former champ R Truth and new title holder Samoa Joe. Great action here with the crowd really into it and Rey once again showing at even after nearly 30 years in the ring, he still shows no sign of slowing down. Joe retaining seems to be setting him up for a Titanic and in some respects, a long overdue encounter with John Cena at Mania. Where this leaves Andrade, Rey and Truth, this writer worries it could be the Andre battle royal!
Bayley and Sasha Banks then retained the Women’s tag titles against Tamina and Nia Jax. The action was average at best here, furthering this writers opinion that the Women’s tag title division has a tremendous amount of work to do to truly make this title relevant and even noteworthy. The fact that Beth Phoenix’s potential return overshadowed this says it all really.
Daniel Bryan vs Kevin Owens for the WWE title then became a triple threat match with the returning Mustafa Ali. Seeing Ali win over the at first hostile crowd was a testament to his ability and whilst the action here was good, one could say it should have been better with the 3 men who were involved. With the focus now clearly being on Kofi Kingston, this match felt like an afterthought. Owens already seems to be fading back into obscurity and the fantastic heelwork from Bryan over the last few months is now coming across as second fiddle to Kingston which, considering he is the Champion, is poor at best.
It was then time for the one most of the crowd came to see. Charlotte Flair vs Becky Lynch. Both women came with their working boots on here and gave us another choice battle in their underrated series of matches. The finish was a pleasant surprise. Seeing Ronda Rousey purposely cost Flair the match to guarantee Lynch’s inclusion at Mania was a nice touch and furthers what is already becoming one of WWE’s best angles in years.
Following another good tease for an AJ Styles vs Randy Orton match at Mania, see this week’s Smackdown for a gripping segment between the two, The Shield suited up one final time to face off with Baron Corbin, Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre. The main event delivered here as it was tremendous 6-man war with the result never being doubted by anyone watching. Seeing Reigns back in action was emotional in many ways. His presence was definitely missed during his absence, whether the so-called ‘Smart Fans’ will admit it or not. If this indeed was the final ride for The Shield, they indeed went out in style.
All in all, Fastlane was a surprisingly good night of action in the end, This year’s Mania is already shaping up to be a corker and could over deliver in some respects.
That’s all for now guys and girls. Mania week means we will be back soon with special previews for Mania and NXT Takeover and then recaps from both nights. We may even bring you reaction from this years Hall of Fame. Stay tuned and see you all soon!