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Mr. Tito's PHAT WWE Fastlane Pay Per View Review with Match Ratings & Show Grade
By Mr. Tito
Mar 5, 2017 - 11:05:47 PM
Welcome back to the EXCELLENCE IN COLUMN WRITING exclusively here at LordsofPain.net / WrestlingHeadlines.com. No need for foreplay, heading straight into the review. I've got some Zelda to play...
Mr. Tito's PHAT WWE Fastlane Review
Didn't watch the Pre-Game Show, no time for love Dr. Jones.
Opening match was "meh" with Samoa Joe having an extended squash match against Sami Zayn. I know that it's Joe's first match and I fully understand him winning, but Zayn's booking over the past year has been a JOKE. He is legitimately the "Dolph Ziggler of the RAW roster" and possibly worse. At least Dolph had a big win over the last year (Miz for the IC Title) whereas Zayn has done nothing but jobbed. WWE has worn me out on defending Zayn to the point where I don't care. Congrats, WWE. What WWE is starving for right now is babyface stars and they keep throwing away guys who have potential while pushing guys who don't (Reigns). Felt like a televised RAW match, what a shame. [ *1/2 ] Hey, at least RAW has been taking Joe's call-up seriously so far... Is it me or does he look shorter over the last 5-6 years? Seems like the leaner version we saw during the 2000s appeared taller but then again, he wrestled much smaller wrestlers then.
Backstage, Bayley continues to lack confidence in her promos (what happened between NXT and WWE?) and Nia Jax appears to assure you that Nia owns her.
Next, we had Anderson/Gallows (c) versus Big Cass/Enzo. Champions come out first but probably due to Enzo getting to cut a promo. Just feels like the balloon that was Enzo & Cass has been deflated... Then again, Anderson/Gallows haven't been setting the world on fire like their New Japan signing buddy, AJ Styles. They should have stayed as his muscle on Smackdown, in my opinion. Match picked up once Big Cass, of course, received the HOT TAG. Match ended abruptly when Anderson hit a knee strike and pinned Enzo while Enzo's foot was on the ropes (Gallows held it, too). Blind referee... OK match, but it seemed to end quickly just as it was getting momentum. Doing the formulaic "hot tag" style tends to stifle excitement if it's done repeatedly with the SAME TEAM (Enzo tagging in Cass). [ **1/4 ]
Backstage, Mick Foley is talking to Stephanie McMahon on speakerphone as Stephanie was having flight problems. Oh darn... Funny how there's no Commissioner/General Manager drama on Smackdown and that show appears to be far more entertaining... Imagine that?
Nia Jax vs. Sasha Banks is up next... Good booking to start, as Sasha goes for strikes to the head and legs of Nia Jax. But then the fact that Nia is probably twice Sasha's weight (not a comment on Nia's weight but also for how small Sasha is) sets in. Crowd is dead silent for Nia's offense here as I believe WWE is at fault for poorly introducing her on the WWE main roster. Should have been Charlotte's bodyguard and muscle, period. Then, when the timing is right, push her as a singles wrestler. Instead, she's manhandling both Sasha and Bayley and making BOTH look weak heading into Women's Title matches against Charlotte. Match wasn't bad... Slow start but improved flow as time went on. Nia kept pounding Sasha with power moves but here and there, Sasha fought back and did well with counters. Nice roll-up finish with a bridge form Sasha. [ **3/4 ]
Jesus, Jinder Mahal is RIPPED. I was putting the kids to bed when they had some sort of backstage argument as apparently Rusev & Jinder Mahal have a match tonight? They start off brawling but then it appears that we're getting Cesaro vs. Jinder Mahal tonight? Man, I don't know anymore... Just killing the time before we get the REAL matches of the night, I suppose. I still wonder how WWE doesn't see MAIN EVENT money in Cesaro, but then again, they've been pushing Roman Reigns as a Main Event like star for the past 3 years. What do I know? I'm amused as this event is sponsored by JC Penney, the company set to close 130 stores or more nationwide. I actually used to buy all of my Jeans (Arizona, Levi) and dress shirts at my local store... But then one day, all of their prices doubled. GEE, why are they having problems besides online competition? Silent crowd here as they are probably stunned like me to see Jinder Mahal actually on Pay Per View. Match had Mahal dominating for much of the contest and then Cesaro pulls out the win. Huh? [ * ] Afterward, Rusev stomps a mudhole into Jinder Mahal and then the Big Show arrives...
So I guess we have a second "bonus" match here with Rusev vs. Big Show. By the way, I feel bad for Big Show that his Shaq match reportedly isn't happening. Shame considering how much Big Show has legitimately slimmed down. He does seem more flexible in the ring but then again, Rusev is a very athletic worker... If only Rusev and Lana would have just SHUT UP about their engagement to TMZ, things could be different right now for both. Unless Hulu has cut the hell out of my RAW coverage, have you noticed how Rusev says NOTHING about recent Russian headlines? Yeah, we know why... Check the WWE Hall of Fame's Celebrity wing and also the President's Cabinet... Pretty obvious. Rusev is legitimately going after the Big Show which is cool. He's a fearless worker with a strong motor who can work without anybody. Big Show counters Rusev's submission hold and hits THREE straight chokeslams... Wow. Then places Rusev in the corner and hits the Knockout punch. Good finish for Big Show. I'm OK with that finish because if you're serious about pushing Big Show now that he's in decent shape, why not? [ *** ]
And WWE is still hawking products here with KFC. Anybody else find it funny how KENTUCKY Fried Chicken has a product called "Georgia Gold"?
Backstage interview again... Kevin Owens is such a good speaker... Great in-ring wrestler, too... Just a shame that the WWE won't truly push him as a dominant Main Eventer. He's been pinned repeatedly in non-title matches by Roman Reigns. Again, did Ric Flair, Honky Tonk Man, the Rock, or Triple H lose any non-title matches or at least often? NO THEY DIDN'T.
And we're killing time to let the WWE ring crew put up purple ropes... Sigh. Jack Gallagher vs. Neville (c) for the Cruiserweight Title is up next. Austin Aries on commentary, by the way. WWE shows all of the foreign commentary teams and Corey Graves replies "I don't know what any of those fools just said", LOL! The differences in looks between Neville and Gallagher is striking, as Neville has the look Vince McMahon likes and Gallagher won't have to worry about any Wellness Policy violations ever. Ever. Won't lie, though... Gallagher has some talent. Jack lands on his head/neck as he's tossed into the guardrail. Oops. WHAT IS WITH THIS PURPLE COLOR EVERYWHERE for Cruiserweights?!? I'm seriously ready to lose my mind over it. Beautiful top-rope suplex by Gallagher on Neville. Match must be selling Gallagher taking repeat headshots including a hard slam by Neville and then kicks to the head. Then, those headbutts... The headbutt to Neville while he rested on the top rope was awesome! However, Gallagher cannot capitalize and gets thrown off the top rope and Neville hits his Red Arrow finisher for the win. [ **** ] That was REALLY good and has been the BEST WWE-esque Cruiserweight match we've seen yet. Gallagher is damn good although he needs to protect himself better on the bumping. Too many head/neck shots tonight.
New Day come out with an ice cream bar dispenser on a bike... By the way, did you know that New Day scored the record for longest Tag Team Champions ever in WWE history last year? Yeah, I believe that they forgot about it too... BEST SIGN of the night suddenly appears... "Totally Buff Beat Goldberg". Ha! And then the second best sign appears "When it Reigns, it Bores!". Oh damn! Signs were more interesting than New Day selling that Big E was high or drunk on something or selling ice cream.
Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman is up next. Want to know why Strowman is growing in his feud with Reigns? Because unlike every opponent of Reigns, Strowman doesn't back down... The other opponents sell fear as if Roman is the greatest wrestler in the world and what's Strowman do? Beats him up with confidence! Roman has more white added to his uniform tonight including the tread of his shoes. nWo Roman? After some initial brawling on the outside, Strowman goes to work with various chokeholds and slams in the ring. The chokes are good because it keeps the normally tired Roman rested throughout the match... I'm sure that there is someone PISSED in the WWE Production Truck regarding that "When it Reigns, it Bores" sign that the fan keeps holding up during certain camera angles. Because it's a Roman Reigns match, we go to the announcer's tables! Certainty in life, folks... Death, taxes, and Announcer Table Action in Roman Reigns matches! Strowman dives into the ring post and that creates the opening for Roman to attack... Fans are booing as he mounts some offense. Strowman did a Powerbomb like move where he held Roman up and then slammed him to the side. Testing out a new finisher? Strowman then tries to charge at the corner, AGAIN, and completely goes over the top rope. "Drive By", as I wonder how that's OK but Seth Rollins's Curb Stomp is not OK. Roman through the announcers' table next and the fans in attendance who have never seen that before chant "holy s**t". Must be their first Roman Reigns match? Strowman tosses Reigns back in and then suddenly eats a Spear by Reigns. What, did that table not hurt? Strowman runs into the corner hard for a THIRD time (is he that stupid?) and before Roman could capitalize, he fends off Roman and goes to the Top Rope. Must be his first time or he's nervous... Arms/legs are shaking. Misses body splash and Reigns hits the spear. [ ***1/2 ] Match was good, but I'd say this looks better on Strowman than Reigns. Strowman had plenty of gas left in the tank while Roman did his usual sucking wind and waiting to hit his 2 main trademark moves (Superman Punch, Spear).
Charlotte vs. Bayley (c) is out next match for the Women's Title. We've seen these two wrestle multiple times now and it was about the same match again. That's the problem with running a thin Women's roster of only 4 as RAW does with 2 heels (Charlotte, Nia) and 2 faces (Sasha, Bayley) and Charlotte being guaranteed to win every Pay Per View. Furthermore, Sasha and Bayley win in questionable fashion, Nia Jax dominates both faces, and Bayley was poorly pushed from the start. Furthermore, I've sensed some stage-fright from Bayley on the bigger WWE stage... Then again, WWE Creative poorly booked her first few months with the company. Charlotte dominated much of this match without much opposition and was able to boast "she's just a fan". I'd recommend pairing Charlotte Flair more often with Stephanie McMahon, but that would make Charlotte more dominant than she already is. Bayley gets a comeback and the crowd is SILENT. Gee, wonder why? She got her ass handed to her the entire match AND her championship was won in a very tainted way on a televised RAW. And then Bayley botches a move on the ropes not just once, but twice... Bayley recovers, however, and hits a nice top rope Frankensteiner and then an elbow. Good. Charlotte was able to forget that she just absorbed both moves and (a) tosses Bayley out of the ring and (b) hits a big boot without issue. Natural Selection is then hit but Bayley kicks out... ZERO REACTION from the crowd as Bayley kicks out of Charlotte's finisher! Charlotte attempts a moonsault on the outside but Sasha Banks runs down... Distracted Charlotte gets off the ropes and as she chases Sasha Bayley hits the Bayley to Belly. In the ring, however, Charlotte rolls up Bayley & holds the tights. Sasha points it out to the referee and Charlotte is pissed. Frustrated, she allows herself to be vulnerable to the Bayley to Belly finisher and was pinned! First Charlotte Pay Per View loss since Charlotte became Women's champion... But nobody cares. Crowd barely reacted and I agree. Awful match. [ * ] Once again, a tainted victory over Charlotte because NOBODY is allowed to get over in the Women's division but Queen Charlotte. Corey Graves said "this is garbage" of the match's finish and I couldn't agree more, but of the match AND the division.
Hype for Seth Rollins and Triple H stuff on RAW...
MAIN EVENT was Bill Goldberg vs. Kevin Owens for the WWE Universal Championship. HEAVY "Goldberg" chants and they've been loud since his return late last year. Why? No other babyfaces worth cheering and Goldberg is at least a mainstream name that everybody knows. You know, a STAR... Goldberg comes out first which is respectful of the WWE Universal Champion, which I like... Goldberg looks good for 50 years, but not overly jacked up (lots of tanning solution, though). Good mix of cheers/boos for Goldberg and Owens, as fans like both... Owens wisely starts the match by going outside of the ring. Acts like he is going to re-enter the ring but backs off... Owens leaves the ring for a third time! Just as Owens finally enters the ring to start the match, "BREAK THE WALLS DOWN" hits and as Chris Jericho arrives, Owens is distracted, EATS A SPEAR and then EATS THE JACKHAMMER. NEW WWE Universal Champion as expected. [ 1/4 * ] Not much of a match, but the expected result that hypes TWO Wrestlemania 33 matches. I'm OK with it.
LAST WORD: This event was rough to watch until Neville and Gallagher put on an actual GOOD Cruiserweight match. I enjoyed Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman and it justified my recent appreciation for Strowman as a legitimate hoss. I'm actually happy for the Big Show, too... Good moment for him, albeit at the expense of Roman Reigns. RAW Women's Title match, however, was a disaster and WWE needs to figure out how to market the OTHER women (besides Charlotte) better. It's a joke. I wasn't expecting much from Goldberg vs. Owens, so I'm not as deeply offended as the rest of the internet. [ C+ ]
SO JUST CHILL... UNTIL THE NEXT EPISODE!
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