Fastlane 2016: The Scenic Route To Wrestlemania

Fastlane 2016
Date: February 21, 2016
Location: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio
Commentators: Michael Cole, Byron Saxton, John Bradshaw Layfield

It’s the second pay per view of the year as we’re getting closer and closer to Wrestlemania. In this case we have a triple threat main event of Dean Ambrose vs. Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns for the #1 contendership in what should be one heck of a fight. Any of the three could win and that’s what can make this even better. Let’s get to it.

Pre-Show: US Title: Kalisto vs. Alberto Del Rio

Kalisto is defending and this is 2/3 falls. Del Rio goes right after the arm to start but Kalisto kicks away at the knees for a breather. JBL talks about how Goliath wins in real life as Kalisto hits the hurricanrana driver to set up a big dive out to the floor. Back in and Del Rio gets two off a snap suplex with Ranallo (only calling the pre-show) comparing this to a feud between rappers. Kalisto sends him into the post but Del Rio blasts him with a chair for the DQ, giving Kalisto the first fall at 4:05.

For some reason the second fall doesn’t being immediately so Del Rio whips him all around ringside as we take a break. Back with both guys in the ring and Del Rio demanding that the second fall begin. Well I mean Kalisto has only had about three and a half minutes to recover so maybe they should. Del Rio does a standing version of the double stomp in the corner for the pin at 7:35.

The third fall begins less than a minute after the second ends with Del Rio getting two off a clothesline. The full version of the top rope double stomp is countered with a hurricanrana though and Kalisto speeds things up with the corkscrew cross body. Another hurricanrana driver gets two and a running tornado DDT gets the same for the champion. Kalisto gets crotched on top and actually doesn’t counter the reverse superplex into the Salida Del Sol.

Instead Del Rio sends him out to the floor for another double stomp off the barricade. Kalisto dives back in to beat the count at nine and Del Rio is frustrated. He loads up ANOTHER top rope stomp (as in like the fifth one of the match) but Kalisto moves away. They go for what was supposed to be the Salida Del Sol but can’t quite get it, leaving Kalisto to send Del Rio into the buckle for a rollup pin at 14:30.

Rating: C-. I really wasn’t feeling this one as it felt like they were trying to showcase how many different ways Del Rio could do that one stupid move in a row. On top of that, Kalisto doesn’t even get to hit his big finishing move that made him a star in the first place and basically gets squashed until a fluke ending. I’m really not sure why this needed to be 2/3 falls and the match was a step down from their usually good stuff.

The opening video is the Eva Marie racecar theme with a focus on the main event.

Sasha Banks/Becky Lynch vs. Tamina/Naomi

Earlier today, Naomi said she and Tamina put the BAD in Team BAD. Never let her speak again. Becky tries to start but Sasha tags herself in, only to have Becky do the same thing a few seconds later. The quick legdrops nail Tamina with the spinning version getting two. Naomi comes in for her dancing kicks bug Becky throws Tamina down with a suplex and BAD gets dropped on the floor. Naomi comes back with something like a Stunner over the top rope to drop Becky. Unfortunately this means we have to hear the racecar sound effects on every replay which are already old.

Back in and Tamina clotheslines Lynch for two before it’s off to the chinlock. JBL: “Tamina could have been in the APA.” It’s off to Naomi for a legdrop and chinlock of her own before being sent back to the floor. Naomi pulls Sasha off the apron to break up a tag attempt, only to have Becky do some quick house cleaning and dive over for the hot tag to Sasha. It’s time for the knees all around until Naomi misses the double knees in the corner.

A backstabber sets up the Bank Statement but Tamina pulls Sasha out to the floor. Back in and the Rear View gets two, followed by Tamina’s superkick for the same with Becky breaking up the count. Sasha flips out of a double suplex and Becky comes in with a missile dropkick to both of them. The Bank Statement to Tamina and the Disarm-Her to Naomi are good for the double submission at 10:00.

Rating: C. This picked up a lot near the end but the first half was a lot of laying around in chinlocks and rest holds as we sat through Tamina and Naomi trying to have charisma. Naomi is one of those cases where you have to wonder what they were thinking. She’s incredibly athletic but for some reason they decide to make her a heel instead of focusing on all of her national abilities. Such is life in the Divas division.

We look back at the Intercontinental Title changing hands on Monday.

Intercontinental Title: Dolph Ziggler vs. Kevin Owens

Owens is defending and Dolph’s hair is…..odd. They fight up against the ropes to start and Ziggler eats a headbutt. Owens’ chinlock is countered into something like a rear naked choke as we hear again about Ziggler’s amateur background which he almost never uses. Back up and Ziggler throws him HARD into the buckle for an awkward looking landing. You can tell it’s awkward as they show four replays of the thing.

We hit the chinlock from the champion until Ziggler avoids a charge, sending Owens shoulder first into the post. The rapid fire elbow drops get two for Dolph and Owens crotches him on the ropes to break up the running DDT. The Cannonball gets two, causing the champion to yell at Cole for talking bad about him. Now the DDT connects for two and Dolph loads up a superplex, only to have Kevin reverse into that spinning fisherman’s superplex.

Both guys roll outside with Ziggler superkicking him down for a near ten count. Back in and they trade more superkicks with Owens having to kick out at two and a half. JBL: “We’re at a superkick party!” They go outside again with the apron powerbomb being countered into a hurricanrana to send Owens into the steps. Back in again and Ziggler tunes up the band (which apparently is paying homage to Shawn Michaels because everything has to be), only to nearly kick the referee, allowing the Pop Up Powerbomb to retain Owens’ title at 15:02.

Rating: B-. Just a longer version of any given match they’ve had on Raw in recent months (and by recent I mean several because these guys fight like once every few weeks) with the obvious and logical ending. They tried to pump up the idea of Ziggler in front of his hometown but even then people stopped caring a long time ago. Could it be because Ziggler has been the same guy for years now?

We recap the Wyatts being all evil and attacking the old guys, which of course includes that old rascal Ryback.

Wyatt Family vs. Kane/Big Show/Ryback

Bray is on the floor, sitting in Byron Saxton’s chair. Ryback and Rowan get things going with the bearded one missing a charge in the corner. It’s off to Big Show for the loud chops on Erick’s exposed chest with Ryback coming in again for some of his own. Rowan elbows Ryback down and the tag brings in Harper for a dropkick of all things.

We get the Strowman appearance as the announcers hit all of their standard lines about how big and strong he really is. Like, really, really strong. Braun throws Ryback around and brings Rowan back in, allowing Ryback to hit a quick suplex. The hot tag brings in Kane as Cole brings up the Wyatts abducting Kane a few months back. Yeah remember that? It’s still every bit as stupid. Kane cleans house for a bit until they get him down in the corner to start the slow motion exchanges.

Braun drops an elbow to the back of the head as we get a Bill Kazmeier name drop. A running boot misses in the corner and the hot tag brings in Ryback to clean house. Ryback slams Harper five times in a row (Cole: “This is incredible!” No Cole, it isn’t.) before powerslamming him for good measure. Everything breaks down and Strowman is sent to the floor with Harper being tossed on top of his partners. Show spears (kind of) Strowman and Ryback Meathooks Harper. A Shell Shock (really a Samoan Drop) is enough to pin Harper at 10:36.

Rating: C. What? No really, what? There was no reason to have the Wyatts lose here and you have a team of makeshift goons go over them here? For what? Well at least Ryback got the pin and Bray didn’t…..yeah this isn’t working for me. I mean, how in the world do you have the Wyatts lose here? I honestly do not get this and I really don’t want to imagine where they’re going next.

Roman Reigns talks about how everything changes tonight between himself and Ambrose. Dean comes in and says they’re both going to Wrestlemania but he’s tired of hitchhiking. Reigns: “I wouldn’t book that trip just yet.” Ambrose: “I already booked it! I got a great deal on Priceline!” Neither of them are worried about Lesnar either.

We recap Brie Bella vs. Charlotte, which is built around Daniel Bryan retiring and Charlotte mocking Brie for her husband having to quit. Brie pinned her in a non-title match to earn the shot tonight.

Divas Title: Brie Bella vs. Charlotte

Charlotte is defending and throws Brie (wearing Bryan’s kick pads) down face first to start. That gets us the first mock YES chant of the match as Byron talks about Brie wanting to listen to the birds chirp, sending JBL into a hilarious rant about how stupid that sounds. Brie comes back with some forearms and an armdrag, allowing her to WOO and strut because this is really about Flair.

Charlotte sends her out to the floor for a few moments before Brie counters an Alabama Slam into a sunset flip for two. Back in and Charlotte cranks on both arms but Brie tries (and horribly fails) at a YES Lock attempt, eventually settling for a crucifix for two. A Backpack Stunner breaks up Brie’s sleeper and we hit a Figure Four Neck Lock into those rolling flips. JBL: “Maybe Charlotte is just tired of the birds chirping.”

The BRIE MODE running knee sets up a Nikki Bella forearm for two. Charlotte comes back with chops (because neither of them can do anything but tribute moves) but the Figure Eight is broken up. A dropkick knocks Charlotte outside, followed by a missile dropkick back inside. As is so often the case in a Flair match though, Brie comes up holding her knee.

That doesn’t stop her from firing off the YES Kicks (of course), followed by a Bella Buster for two. The Figure Eight is countered into the YES Lock but Brie swaps that for a half crab to prevent Ric from interfering. Charlotte finally kicks her off and a quick Figure Eight makes Brie tap at 12:14.

Rating: C+. The match was better than it had any right to be but amazingly enough, the combined forces of Daniel Bryan and Nikki Bella weren’t enough to make me care about Brie. That kind of shortcut booking rarely works for me, especially when you have someone like Brie who has been a loser and such a horrible in ring worker for so long. You can’t just forget about that kind of stuff, no matter which of her relatives are hurt. But at least Charlotte got pinned clean, which of course no one is going to remember.

We recap AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho, which is basically Sami Zayn vs. Cesaro from NXT minus the 2/3 falls stipulation because Kalisto vs. Del Rio needed to go six or seven falls. They split the first two matches and AJ convinced Jericho to do it again here tonight. This is almost guaranteed to be one of the better matches on the card.

Jericho talks about how you’re only as good as your last match, which he promises to prove to AJ tonight.

AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho

Feeling out process to start and AJ has to fight out of an early Walls attempt. Jericho has to do the same to avoid the Calf Crusher, which starts the dueling chants. AJ drops a knee for two and it’s time to slug it out. A top rope ax handle drops AJ, who pops right back up with a dropkick. The chants start up again as the fans are definitely more into this than anything else all night.

They head outside with Jericho sending him hard into the barricade before slapping on a chinlock. JBL compares AJ coming over here to Kobashi or Hansen coming over from Japan in their primes. AJ fights up and sends Jericho to the floor, only to dive into a dropkick to the chest. Another chinlock doesn’t get Chris very far as AJ fights back and hits a running forearm to a seated Jericho.

They mess up the moonsault into the reverse DDT (to be fair that’s a really hard move to pull off) and Jericho scores with the enziguri for two. A Tesshocker (belly to back suplex into a faceplant) gets two more for AJ, only to have Jericho come back with a bulldog and Lionsault for another near fall. AJ comes back and tries the springboard forearm but Jericho springboards into the dropkick to break it up. The Pele stuns Jericho on the top and AJ loads up a super hurricanrana which is countered into the Walls.

AJ gets the break so Jericho throws him outside and puts him in the Walls on the floor. A Codebreaker brings AJ back in but he’s way too close to the ropes. AJ’s striking sequence is countered into a tiger bomb which is countered into the Styles Clash for a very close near fall. Now it’s back to the Calf Crusher and Jericho finally taps at 16:28.

Rating: B. Were you expecting anything else here? They’ve had good matches the previous two times and this worked as well, though I liked their Smackdown match a little bit better. Jericho tapping clean in the middle of the ring is the right ending because you can quickly build him up for whatever you want him to do at Wrestlemania while AJ can move on to a feud he might actually lose.

Post match Jericho does the false heel turn into the handshake.

Kickoff recap.

We look back at New Day dancing a lot on Smackdown.

It’s time for the Cutting Edge Peep Show (as hosted by Edge and Christian of course) with special guests the New Day. Edge plugs their new show (Christian: “Watch it. It’s awesome.”) but asks if we can be serious for a minute (Edge: “Lance Storm just got real mad.”) because it’s really nice to be here. This is where the first tag team ladder match took place and it’s where they received their very first standing ovation…..and here’s New Day.

They immediately ask who (WHO WHO WHO) cares about what Edge and Christian did back in the day. It’s time to be out with the old and in with the new, the New Day that is of course. Christian wants to talk about New Day’s history, which started with the power of positivity, which was brutal and lead to indifference. Edge: “I’ve never seen so much chocolate act so vanilla.” Then something happened even faster than Kofi dropped his fake Jamaican accent. Edge: “It’s like if we had a threesome with his Beyonce, you would be our love child.”

New Day is accused of ripping on local sports teams before doing just that. There’s nothing wrong with an old classic. Kofi doesn’t like the idea that New Day is called Edge and Christian ripoffs before going into a rant about how lame the current tag team division really is. Apparently the League of Nations doesn’t think much of New Day (and apparently WWE doesn’t think much of the League as they can’t get onto a show with six matches). Woods says New Day has already cooked the deal and now the League of Nations is hot garbage. Edge: “I’m starting to like you guys.”

This brings out the League with Sheamus agreeing that New Day does look stupid. Woods says they can’t get into a battle of fisticuffs because it’s a day of rest and they’re leaving. Edge: “But King Barrett hasn’t gotten to stare at anyone menacingly yet!” Del Rio brings up making Edge retire five years ago, though Edge thinks he’s accomplished more than Alberto in those five years. The Canadians leave and it’s time for New Day to dance in the aisle as Edge and Christian do one more plug. There were some funny lines here but this was even more filler on a show full of it already.

Here are the Social Outcasts with something to say. Bo gives us some safety tips on the Road to Wrestlemania before Rose calls the team a group of beautiful Priuses. Bo: “Can I be a Volvo? They have great safety ratings.” They go on for a bit until it’s time for an impromptu match.

R-Truth vs. Curtis Axel

Axel grabs a headlock to start but it’s time for Truth to dance and gyrate. Curtis gets in a shot and we get a victory lap, only to have Goldust come out to support Truth. Goldust trips Axel but then throws Rose inside for no logical reason, allowing Axel to grab a rollup for the pin at 2:15.

Post match Truth walks away again, as he should after that stupid move.

We recap the main event, which was made basically on a whim by Stephanie, which really doesn’t leave HHH with an easy match for Wrestlemania. They’ve teased some issues between Reigns and Ambrose and both guys want to fight Lesnar again. Lesnar has stared at HHH, at least when the champion had the time to appear on a show with the belt.

Roman Reigns vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Brock Lesnar

Winner gets the title shot at Wrestlemania so we get some Big Match Intros. Brock drives Ambrose into the corner before throwing Reigns with the first suplex. A second German suplex sends Reigns flying but Dean comes back in with a missile dropkick to stagger Brock. Dean tries a German suplex on Brock but gets a hard glare and a belly to belly for his efforts.

Ambrose gets dropped on his head and it’s back to Suplex City for Reigns. The fourth German sets up an F5 with Ambrose making the save. Lesnar chuckles at Dean, who slaps Brock in the face. That earns Dean a series of knees to the ribs and a German of his own. The fans, who seem to like Ambrose, want to see more suplexes. The F5 is broken up by a spear to give Reigns two but he Superman Punches Brock to the floor. Reigns dives into an F5, only to have Dean hit Lesnar low to make the save.

A DoubleBomb through the table (good looking one too) puts Brock through the table, leaving Reigns and Ambrose to have a fight for the title shot. Dean’s bulldog gets two and we get the BOO/YAY slugout. The Rebound Lariat drops Reigns and Brock is almost to his feet. He feels like a boss in a video game at this point. Reigns and Ambrose are smart enough to go after Brock and drive him into the barricade to keep him in trouble.

That means it’s time for a second table and a second DoubleBomb. This time they bury Brock underneath the pieces of the table but Reigns punches Dean in the jaw, drawing even more booing. Back in and Dean dives into a Superman Punch but the spear is blocked with a knee. Dirty Deeds gets a very close two and Dean POINTS TO THE SIGN.

Another Dirty Deeds is countered as Reigns lifts Dean to his shoulders…..and Brock comes back in to German suplex both of them at the same time. Brock is spent though and Reigns nails a spear, only to get caught in the Kimura. Dean finally comes in with a series of chair shots to Brock’s back, followed by some more to Reigns. Roman pops up with a spear to Ambrose for the pin and the title shot at 16:47.

Rating: B. Where’s the last five minutes of this? They were starting in on something with the chair and then Reigns just speared Dean for the win. Brock was treated better here and looked like a star but I’m still mostly over the German suplexes. At least the Wyatts didn’t interfere, which is pretty much what most people (certainly myself included) figured would happen. Good match but the ending was really sudden.

Reigns gets a lot of pyro until HHH comes out for the staredown to end the show.

Overall Rating: C+. The show had good action and the wrestling was much better than I was expecting but sweet goodness it felt long. So much of this stuff felt like it was being packed in because they NEEDED a pay per view this month. If nothing else, hopefully this teaches WWE (HA!) that airing matches over and over on TV before the pay per view isn’t a good booking method. Watchable show and even good at times but I’m never going to want to watch this again.


Becky Lynch/Sasha Banks b. Naomi/Tamina – Bank Statement to Tamina

Kevin Owens b. Dolph Ziggler – Pop Up Powerbomb

Ryback/Big Show/Kane b. Wyatt Family – Shell Shock to Harper

Charlotte b. Brie Bella – Figure Eight

AJ Styles b. Chris Jericho – Calf Crusher

Roman Reigns b. Brock Lesnar and Dean Ambrose – Spear to Ambrose

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  1. Your Eternal Reward says:

    The 20 minutes between E&C – New Day – Crowd Killers followed by Social Outcasts – R Truth – Goldust….

    What the fuck was that? At least we have NXT Dallas to look forward too…

  2. Dorian says:

    Wtf – did Ambrose forget to kick out?

  3. Dmxfury says:

    Just bad all around besides AJ v Y2J. Main event had potential then a dumb a– ending like that. People don’t want RR at this point or at least how he has been booked…why the WWE refuses to see that is beyond me. Boring and bad

  4. beckett929 says:

    Tell me a year from now Dean Ambrose is the biggest full-time star in the fucking company not named John Cena.

    Like DDP in 95-97, you don’t have to always win to get over.. and you finally do go over, its massive.

  5. Dorian says:

    Analogous to a big budget multi starrer movie – Ambrose and Lesnar were both main leads; both told a story; both brought some chutzpah and verve to the proceedings. Roman Reigns played his supporting character part pretty well. Dovetailing with leads and singing along to their tunes. Yet – WWE is the only entertainment program – that will give its supporting star top billing.

  6. Ted says:

    So reigns wins to a parade of boos. This is just sad. I knew it would happen but after a while you just start to feel bad for the guy.

  7. SamualDude says:

    So what can WWE do in regards to the main event? It’s not going to be a pretty sight at Mania.

  8. Ted says:

    I simply am stunned that this is the match they’re going with. The utter hatred for their fan base is palpable. I wonder if I should even bother hoping they do something to spice it up?

  9. Jay H (the real one) says:

    As much as I wanted Ambrose to win more I have no problem with Reigns winning either. You know why? Because its the story they have been telling since before the Survivor Series. I don’t get why people are so upset by that to be honest although I have a few ideas why.

    The rest of the PPV was fine though not quite as good as the Royal Rumble but it wasn’t terrible either.

    SamualDude Reply:

    The story they were telling was working well. Until the Royal Rumble where Triple H won. After the beating Triple H took at Roman’s hands how the storyline did it with just them staring eachother down was just weak.

    The story is fine but it has no need for it to be for the title.

    Jay H (the real one) Reply:

    So better they just had Reigns win the Rumble again and keep the Title while being crapped on for the 2nd year in a row? Yeah no.

    SamualDude Reply:

    Oh hell no. They could of put the title on someone else with Triple H interfering to eliminate Roman and beat him down.

    Greg Reply:

    Bray Wyatt should have won. Have Wyatt vs Lesnar for title. Maybe have Lesnar win then finally have Roman conquer him in a rematch at Summerslam. Or not. But Reigns/HHH doesn’t need the title.

    Ted Reply:

    Because the story is boring. Logical perhaps but boring. People wanted to believe the company would realize, this isn’t what fans want. Fool hardy but understandable.

    Warren Reply:

    Who the fuck is this guy?

    Ted Reply:

    What guy?

  10. Greg says:

    If Reigns lost, think about how bad that would make him look. Not saying anything about the quality or if I like it but if Reigns lost, it would do a lot of damage to him.

    SamualDude Reply:

    This storyline is doing damage to Reigns. In my opinion Roman and Dean should have pinned eachother leading to a triple threat at Mania. Roman Reigns is already damaged goods at this point. They were going well but screwed up.

    Heyo Reply:

    The damage done to Reigns since WM31 is irreversible at this point. What’s happening to him is what’s happening company wide: WWE doesn’t know how to make stars anymore, and when they do, they BADLY botch it.

    Greg Reply:

    I don’t think it’s irreversible. Reigns has tools to be cheered. WWE just refuses to use those damn tools.

    Dorian Reply:

    @Heyo – I agree – the last few stars WWE have made have all been organic growths – like Bryan and CM Punk. That said, WWE definitely assisted real nice by putting them into storylines that were novel and crowd pleasing.

    The problem here is that Reigns (as good as a worker he is, and to me he is NOT boring) just seems to rubbed more than 50% of WWE universe the wrong way. It has NOT been organic. Everything has been forced.

    At this point he has become a Sheamus vs Orton match; even if they push it down from main event to mid card, it’ll get booed.

    That said, was it Raw after Survivor series last year; when Roman won the title from Sheamus to vociferous applause. So maybe it can be done…