wrestling / Columns

The Super Terrific Wrestling Hour – WWE Fastlane 2018

March 20, 2018 | Posted by Caliber Winfield
AJ Styles WWE Fastlane WWE Smackdown

Greetings, all.

Your pal Cal here. For those new to the column, here’s how it goes….

Caliber does the preamble, and before the main event there’s a match that’s looked that that also has something in common with the main article. After that, if it’s a PPV like today, Sebastian will do the main review, and I’ll jump in here and there with a few notes and offer my thoughts for each match as well. Alright, let’s get it going, mi compadres….

Kane vs Daniel Bryan vs CM Punk [C] – WWE Championship – No Way Out 2012
I seriously didn’t see the problem with running Punk vs Bryan for a year straight. Cool moment that reminds me of Joe vs AJ vs Daniels where Bryan & Punk take turns kicking Kane, as Bryan screams “Yes!” and Punk screams “No!”. I’ve still got 10 minutes left, and this may be the best triple threat I’ve ever seen. It’s so fluid, there’s never an extended period where a guy lays out side, and two others brawl. Wow. I didn’t type much, because I was completely involved in this match. One of the most exciting title matches I’ve ever seen. When it was announced that Kane was involved, I remember
being really annoyed, thinking he’d drag them down. But I’m more than happy to admit I was wrong. His power based offense mixed seamlessly with Punk & Bryan’s technical wrestling. Absolutely fantastic. Too bad that couldn’t carry on when 6 years later he’s STILL in the main event scene
Punk hits the GTS on Kane for the pin at 18:18 | ****3/4

And now, some Fastlane 2018 review. From here on out, it’ll be Sebastian unless you see the “NFC”, which means Note From Caliber, with my words in bold. Enjoy…

The Only Review Of Fastlane 2018 That You’ll Ever Need.
So if you read Cal and I, our last review for Elimination Chamber you’ll know exactly how I feel about these ppvs between Rumble and Mania. They’re useless, predictable and just a cynical and easy way to make money. They also make you lose excitement for the build to Mania by putting on these extremely lackluster shows that don’t matter as much. The main difference between EC and Fastlane is that with EC we knew what was going to be the end result, Reigns/Lesnar at Mania and were hoping against hope that someone, ANYONE other than Reigns would win that match and take the spot. Here it was the opposite as we actually wanted to see Styles/Nakamura [NFC: Ha, that’s a good point. I didn’t think about that] so the only excitement from this show came from hoping that WWE wouldn’t be stupid enough to fuck up a dream match that people were axtally excited for. The rest of this show… there was nothing on this show that I was excited to see except for Usos/New Day and even that ended up getting ruined. Lets jump in….

1st Match: Rusev w/ Aiden English vs Shinskue Nakamura

This was a decent match that the crowd was into and Rusev looked strong against Shinskue…. of course he lost but it was still a pretty solid match for the most part, if a bit subdued. There’s still tons of problems with the booking though, for the first thing there were no stakes in this match. If Shinskue wins, he’s going to WM to face the champ… if he loses he’s to WM to face the champ. If you had at least put up his WM match there would of been a level of importance here that was severly lacking. I’m not saying that you HAD to put Shinskue’s chance of winning the rumble on the line here or that any Rumble winner should have to do it for a hackeyed story but you need SOMETHING! [NFC: Yeah, I thought it was a very odd thing to do. If anything, you need to have him on to kill a guy in 30 seconds flat, really build him up for ‘Mania]There was no personal feud here, nothing interesting from a story perspective, just ‘oh these two guys have nothing to do so lets stick em in the opener.’ Secondly, this really highlights how Shinskue is really only marginally over in WWE compared to Rusev who is the most over guy in WWE right now and has no feud or story or ANYTHING heading into Wrestlemania.

Its really frustrating as a fan just watching all these wrestlers who have gotten themselves over HARD with the fans and Creative’s just sitting there fumbling their hands going oh sorry we don’t have anything for you, maybe we’ll stick you in the Andre Battle Royal. Just fucking terrible, the amount of people who have nothing to do heading into Wrestlemania who are extremely talented and over…. its fucking frustrating and perplexing. Sometimes you just want to take Creative behind the shed and blow their faces off with a shotgun… Jesus. [NFC: It’s just always blown my mind that we keep allowing a man almost in his 80s to book the whole show. He’s old as hell, and out of touch, especially some of the more insane things he’s done]

3.0/5.0 Decent match here with a hot crowd but no stakes and no story really makes it hard to care about. Wrestling for wrestling sakes… didn’t Vince say he never wanted to do that a few years ago? Yeah okay….

[NFC: Yeah, asolutely a solid outting. There was just zero reason for it. In the end, hard to argue Shin v Rusen on anyday. ]

Randy Orton vs Bobby Rhoode (C) for the US Championship

The battle of two guys who are far better off as heels. This match went on for a while and was okay but never really seemed to hit that next level. Also their styles were so similar that it kind of made the match feel bland… the dead crowd didn’t help. This was also a case of not having enough matches to fill the brand specific shows so this went 20 minutes when I think 12-15 would’ve been fine. Randy won out of nowhere with an RKO making him a Grand Slam Champion. After the match Jinder ran out, attacked Randy but they both ate DDTs from Rhoode. I’m kind of surprised they gave Orton the title here because he just does not give a fuck lately. He seems like he’s just in auto pilot all the time and couldn’t care less about what he’s doing or holding a title or anything. [NFC: Gotta remember, Orton is the super golden-boy, has been since 2003]
I mean its not like I can blame him since he’s been probably the worst booked main event wrestler of the last year (the Mania bug match, House of Horrors, losing the title to Jinder and then losing to Jinder twice after that one in a Punjabi Prison match! and then being regulated to the midcard) but goddamn man….its neat that he’s a grand slam champ and all but its hard to care when Randy doesn’t look like he gives a shit. This is clearly leading to a triple threat match at Mania that doesn’t drum up any excitement for me what so ever. Best case, Rhoode wins the title which we’ve already seen and was extremely forgettable…. the only way this would be interesting is if Rhoode turned heel which I doubt Smackdown’s going to do because just about everyone in the main event scene is a heel right now. Then you have Orton winning which no one, even Orton, cares about. Then you have the possibility of Jinder winning at Mania bringing down another, at least, half a year push of Jinder which again no one, except for people who think the Signhs worshiping Jinder is hilarious, wants to see. You know what would be a good idea? Have Orton/Cena at Mania for the US Title, have Orton turn super heel and have a match that has never taken place at Mania. You’d get a motivated Orton and Cena finally would have something to do. Turn Rhoode heel and stick Ziggler face and have them have a one on one at Mania… maybe make it a number one contenders for the US Title, that way you can stop Dolph from bitching about how he’s never had a 1 on 1 match at Mania before and make the US Title look relevant again. And throw Jinder in a barrel and send it back to Canada. [NFC: That sounds all good and well, only one problem; We’d have to see Cena vs Orton again. No fucking thank you]

Of course we’re not getting any of that as it looks like they’re setting up for Cena/Taker at Mania which is an exciting, dream match but doesn’t solve any of the SERIOUS problems on Smackdown.

3.0/5.0 Another decent match but this one was hurt by lack of crowd reaction and being too long as well the wrestlers having very similar styles.
Caliber’s Take: A decent match, but that’s about it. The crowd, as Sebastian said were dead. It’s annoying how little effort they put into booking this. They could have really pushed the Grand Slam angle of it all, seemingly being the thing to fix Orton, and snap him out of his boring-match funk he’s been in for a year. That would have made Orton’s chase and win so much more better. I also would have held off till WM. 2.5/5
Okay at this point I had to leave the house to go get some food…. there was NOTHING to eat at my house and the next match coming up was the women’s tag so I figured I could do it really fast and not end up missing anything. Well I ended up being gone for an hour and missing half the show so I’m just going to talk about the results.

3rd Match: Natalya/Carmella vs. Naomi/Becky Lynch

Well at least they let Carmella look strong, don’t know what she’s really going to do post cash in because if she succeeds in cashing in on Askua I don’t really see how she’s going to retain unless its the chickenshit heel thing where she gets counted out or dq’d. Very delicate situation there really but they need to pull the trigger on this Carmella push eventually.
Caliber’s Take: Yeah, decent stuff, nothing amazing. I’d like to see Carm get switched, and then cash in. They could do a lot with Carm vs Alexa. 2.5/5

4th Match: New Day vs Usos (C) for the Smackdown Tag Team Championships

This is one of the few matches I was looking forward to on the card and was kicking myself for missing it until I got home and saw that it turned into Angle Advancement for The Bludgeon Brothers. Really, they couldn’t have waited until AFTER the match to do this shit? Bludgeon Brothers came in nine minutes into the match and just destroyed both teams. This is to set up a triple threat tag at Mania…. who cares? I think we can all agree that Usos/New Day in ANY kind of match would be better than adding the Bludgeon Brothers in (though I do like Luke Harper). Also one of the bigger problems with the Bros is that they haven’t done anything but jobber matches and beating up Breezango. Here they looked dominant but we haven’t actually been able to see them go or do anything but squashes so we can’t even say we hate them in the ring. How the fuck do you get to do a tag title match at Mania when you haven’t even had a competitive tag match before?

Caliber’s Take: I agree with most folks frustration, as these two teams have great chemistry, producing some of the best matches of 2017. I don’t have much of an issue with the BB, I just don’t think they’re in the league with the other 2. However, I guess WM will be the time for them to make their point with the BB. 2.5/5

5th Match: Ruby Riott w/ Riott Squad vs Charlotte w/ Naomi and Becky Lynch
Another match I missed…. I was thinking that Ruby might win it here to finally pull the trigger on the Riott Squad push and to set up some kind of convoluted multi women match at Mania. Instead Charlotte retains and then Askua came out and challenged her at Mania. Okay, this where I’ve got to admit I was wrong….
I was arguing with Cal the day before Fastlane (when we finally got the goddamned EC up) and I was saying that they were setting up for Askua/Bliss at Mania because they’ve given them a lot of time and story on Raw. I mean yeah Askua never offically declared who she was going to wrestle at Mania but WWE does shit like that all the time so I figured we were just heading to Bliss/Askua without any kind of announcement. Cal, who doesn’t even watch the Raw’s or Smackdown’s but does read the results was saying that they were going to go Askua/Charlotte and do Bliss/Nia. This is one of those RARE times where Cal’s right over me (must of been a full moon) and I completely admit it. Really the fact that Askua had already beaten Alexa on Raw should’ve been a tip off but I still think that was a big enough match to do at Mania.
This does solve the major problem of what Smackdown’s going to do with their women’s division at Mania because right now they don’t have anything set up and they just burnt through the Riott Squad angle while Raw has plenty of feuds they could do with Alexa. Askua/Charotte should be a kickass match too and my early WM prediction is that we’re going to get Shinskue and Askua both winning their respective titles at Mania in a repeat of them winning their respective Rumbles. Which, two Japanese wrestlers winning the two biggest titles they can… that’s a BIG deal for WWE who’s most notable Asian character before this was racist as fuck 1# announcer Funaki getting made fun of for not being able to speak English well.
Caliber’s Take: In the words of Heenan & Perfect, “I told you so!”. It just seemed like the natural way to go, as Bliss has been using Nia for a while. Also, Alexa isn’t really an ass beater, but a chickenshit heel. Askua needs a bad-ass, and that’s Flair. She’s the female wrestler’s wrestler. And Nia, she’s literally 2 Alexas, so its going to be really fun to watch her try and survive Nia.
As for the match, perfectly fine. Liv Morgan, yeah, she a bit of alright. 2.5/5

Main Event: John Cena vs. Baron Corbin vs. Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler vs AJ Styles (C) for the WWE WHC
Cute spot at the opening where Cena FU’d everyone except AJ which came back later in the match where Cena was trying to put Owens through a table, Owens escaped but AJ ended up eating the FU through the table. NFC: I dug that opening spot. John has been known to pop an AA right quick, plus it really helped get the numbers down so they could get the match going.That table spot had me a bit scared that AJ wasn’t going to retain but at the same time it was kind of a red herring because to me that almost definitely meant that AJ WAS going to end up winning. This was a really fun match that had actual suspense and importance going into it. You didn’t want WWE fucking with the Styles/Nakamura match but it was definitely possible that they would because y’know, its WWE. So this was very suspenseful in a good way. It was also extremely fast paced and breath taking… these guys didn’t let up for a second and there was constantly shit going on. [NFC: Agreed, this match flew by, and the crowd was with it 100%]The converse of that is that because the match never really let you take a breath its kind of hard to remember any kind of story the match told. There were a few things though that stuck out. Like Baron Corbin being a dumbass and taking him and Ziggler out of the match…. God I hate Baron Corbin and was pretty happy that he was out of the match for the most part.

The main meat of the match has to do with Zayn/Owens/Shane. Zayn went to lay down for Owens, Owens wanted to beat him clean so he went to pick up for a powerbomb, Zayn rolled him up for a two and then they started brawling. That, and the turn from Smackdown were a perfect reason to set up a match between them at Mania. But…. they fought to the outside and Owens went for a superkick and accidentally hit Shane because Zayn ducked. Later Owens had the match won but Shane pulled the Ref out of the ring, then Zayn had the match won but Shane pulled Zayn out of the ring. Shane is SUCH a dick heel its unbelievable…. and the bad thing about it is that they’re probably STILL GOING TO RUN HIM AS A BABYFACE DESPITE THE CROWD BOOING THE SHIT OUT OF HIM!!! Its absolutely insane…. the superkick was an ACCIDENT! There was no reason for Shane to be out there anyway EXCEPT TO COST SAMI AND OWENS! Vince pulled this shit ALL THE TIME with Steve Austin and it made sense because Vince was the evil authority heel trying to fuck over the dickish, badass face.

Here we have dickish, badass heels who are fighting with each other and trying to win the title fairly and we get a pissy authority figure who’s mad at them for something they had done MONTHS ago! The logic here is so ass backwards and any person with sense can see that Shane’s acting like a heel here but WWE keeps him as the face for whatever fucking reason. [NFC: My guess is because Stephanie is a heel on RAW, and they don’t want both of them heels at the same time.]IDK, modern WWE morals are so fucked up, like Roman Reigns tried to murder Braun Strowman after losing an ambulance match clean and he’s still a face so I highly doubt Shane’s turning heel even though he’ the biggest goddamned heel on Smackdown right now! Insane to think about and its going to be so frustrating watching Smackdown if they don’t pull the trigger on this heel turn…. which they won’t. This is like…. if they did the Authority vs Bryan angle and had Bryan as a heel. It doesn’t make a lick of fucking sense and is frustrating as fan….

Anyway, AJ retained with a forearm to Kevin to win. Of course I’m happy that we’re getting AJ/Shinskue at Mania so I’m actually happy that we got a predictable result here…. even if it makes the whole show feel like a complete waste of time because we ALREADY HAD AJ/SHINSKUE SET UP!!

4.0/5.0 Fun match here, very fast paced as well as suspenseful and exciting. AJ retaining also leaves a good taste in my mouth despite it kind of making the entire show pointless.
Caliber’s Take: Absolutely agree with Sebastian here. This match was ridiculously fast paced, with zero down time, even involvement from all wrestlers, and a crowd that was loving every moment. Say what you want about WWE, but the one thing they almost always nail is the multi-man matches. Great stuff. 4/5

Final Thoughts: This was actually a lot better than EC, I came in with VERY low expectations and was somewhat pleasantly surprised by the show. Everything on here… or at least the parts of the show I saw were decent. Most of the show was solid if unexciting in any way while the main event delivered. But honestly the only thing worth actually watching on this is the main event.

Caliber’s Final Thoughts: I thought this was better than EC too, with a main event that really delivered. Back in the day, when it was No Way Out, they would deliver some really great stuff, but the last few years these February shows have become more like Clash of the Champions. Where it’s main purpose was to feed the story of the bigger show, while still giving you at least one or two decent matches.

article topics :

WWE, WWE Fastlane, Caliber Winfield