Sunday, March 19, 2017

WWE Fastlane 2016 Review

Dean Ambrose, Brock Lesnar, & Roman Reigns fight for the right to challenge for the WWE World Heavyweight Title at WrestleMania!

WWE Fastlane 2016
Cleveland, Ohio 2/21/16


1.) WWE United States Title - 2/3 Falls - Kalisto vs. Alberto Del Rio: ***1/4

These two spent the month of January trading the United States Title back & forth. It’s finally settled on Kalisto, and this is the climactic match in this rivalry. I find it odd that you would have a stipulation match, for a title, on a PPV Pre-Show, but whatever. Alberto Del Rio decided to utilize a unique strategy here, as he got disqualified in the first fall after hitting Kalisto with the chair. However, he took advantage of the damage he caused, and immediately won the second fall after hitting Kalisto with a big double stomp. That’s actually a great strategy in 2/3 Falls Match, especially if you’re a heel. Sacrifice the first fall so you could win the second fall and, potentially, the third fall. Unfortunately for Alberto Del Rio, he wasn’t able to get the job done in that third fall, and Kalisto scored the victory to retain his United States Title. A very solid match that probably could’ve been on the PPV.


1.) Becky Lynch & Sasha Banks vs. Team B.A.D. (Naomi & Tamina): ***1/4

So after making it clear that she was going after the Diva’s Title, Sasha Banks soon had issues with her Team B.A.D. stablemates Naomi & Tamina, who would end up turning on her, leading to this tag team match. In a fun little trivia note, Sasha Banks & Becky Lynch had a stable of their own in NXT for a brief period. I thought this was a fun opener. It had a nice structure to it, and there was solid action throughout. It’s cool that we’re getting to see some good women’s matches on PPV. After the initial “Diva’s Revolution”, it was right around this point that this division really started to get into that next gear, and this match was a perfect example of that. Eventually, Sasha Banks got Tamina to tap out to the Bank Statement, while Becky Lynch had Naomi trapped in the Dis-Arm-Her. Again, this was a fun opening contest.

2.) WWE Intercontinental Title - Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler: ***1/2

After losing a Last Man Standing Match to Dean Ambrose the month prior at Royal Rumble 2016, it looked like Kevin Owens was out of the Intercontinental Title picture. However, a few weeks later, Owens won back the title in a Five-Way Match on RAW. Since then, he started to have issues with Dolph Ziggler, which led us to this point. I thought this was a really good match. It wasn’t spectacular by any means, but for its spot on the card, it delivered. Kevin Owens is so awesome, and you can always count on Ziggler to do well in a PPV title match. There was some entertaining action from start to finish, but ultimately, Kevin Owens scored the victory to retain his title.

3.) Six-Man Tag - Big Show, Kane, & Ryback vs. The Wyatt Family (Luke Harper, Erick Rowan, & Braun Strowman with Bray Wyatt): **3/4

This match was essentially The Wyatt Family going up against the “giants” of WWE. It was also the first match on this show (pre-show included) that didn’t pass the *** star mark. The match wasn’t good, but I wouldn’t call it bad either. It was relatively average, but there were still a couple of enjoyable moments in there. Everyone seemed to get a chance to shine, and as a whole, it was perfectly fine for it’s spot on the card. The only questionable thing here is that the babyface side won. I would’ve given The Wyatt Family the win here, but that’s just me.

4.) WWE Diva’s Title - Charlotte (with Ric Flair) vs. Brie Bella: **1/2

Brie Bella had been going through a pretty emotional period at this point. Her husband, Daniel Bryan, had just announced his retirement from wrestling, but then, she had to switch her focus, as she was going after the Diva’s Title. I really wasn’t sure what to expect from this one, but it ended up being a decent title match. This was nowhere near as good as the women’s tag team match at the start of the show, and there were a number of botched moves throughout, but despite that, they still managed to produce a fine match. Fortunately, the second half of this match was pretty solid, and definitely lifted it up a bit. Of course, Ric Flair got involved, and in the end, Charlotte got the win to retain her title.

5.) AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho: ***3/4

The biggest news to come out of the Royal Rumble Match was the fact that AJ Styles made his WWE debut. Many were wondering what he would be doing immediately after his debut, but that soon became clear when he started a friendly rivalry with Chris Jericho. Styles won the initial singles match on RAW, while Jericho evened things up on SmackDown a few weeks later, making this the rubber match. I really enjoyed this match, and up to this point on the show, I thought it was the best match of the night. Of course, AJ Styles was great (as he always is), and Jericho was pretty solid as well. There was plenty of good back & forth action throughout this one, but it didn’t reach the levels of being a great match. Eventually, Styles scored the victory after getting Jericho to tap out to the Calf Crusher.

There was some tension after the match, but the two ultimately shook hands.

We then got a special edition of The Cutting Peep Show (a combination of The Cutting Edge & The Peep Show) with Edge & Christian. Their guests were WWE Tag Team Champions The New Days. They did some comedy, and made fun of the other tag teams in the tag team division. This brought out The League of Nations. They called out The New Day, who then left, and then they had a verbal exchange with Edge & Christian. The hosts then left the ring themselves, and celebrated with The New Day as the segment ended. The only purpose this served was to set up a program between The League of Nations & The New Days for WrestleMania. I don’t know why it was on a PPV. You could’ve done the exact same thing on RAW.

6.) Curtis Axel (with The Social Outcasts) vs. R-Truth: *

So we got a bonus match on this PPV! Unfortunately, it was a pretty worthless one. The Social Outcasts took advantage of the numbers game until Goldust came out to even the odds. I believe there was some sort of miscommunication between R-Truth & Goldust, and that allowed Curtis Axel to pick up the win via a rollup. Yeah…..I have no idea why this was on here. It was just meaningless.

7.) #1 Contender’s Triple Threat Match - Dean Ambrose vs. Brock Lesnar (with Paul Heyman) vs. Roman Reigns: ****1/4

In the aftermath of Triple H winning the WWE World Heavyweight Title in the Royal Rumble Match, there was a need to determine a challenger for WrestleMania. What we ended up getting was a Triple Threat Match between two former members of The Shield, and a beast who had never truly lost the WWE World Heavyweight Title. I thought this was a great match, and it was easily the best match on the entire show. Lesnar played his role as the monster very well (as he always does), and we saw some entertaining back & forth action between Ambrose & Reigns. There were a ton of memorable moments throughout, and as a whole, it was really enjoyable to watch. Roman Reigns winning really wasn’t a shock, as coming out of this, Triple H vs. Reigns and Lesnar vs. Ambrose were set up for WrestleMania. I guess the only real surprise here is that The Wyatt Family wasn’t involved, since they were teasing a feud with Lesnar at the time, but that never came to pass.

Triple H then came out and had a staredown with Roman Reigns as the show came to a close.

Overall: 7.5/10

I thought this was a relatively solid PPV outing from WWE. The first third of the show (which includes the pre-show) featured some pretty good matches. From there, there was a slight dip in the match quality, but that changed with AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho. The last third of the show was a mixed bag for sure, as you had a RAW segment with Edge & Christian/The New Day/The League of Nations, a nothing match with Curtis Axel & R-Truth, and then the fantastic triple threat main event. This isn’t a must-see show, and it definitely had low points, but with one great match and a number of other good matches, I think this was a (mostly) good PPV.

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