Hello everyone and welcome to the WWE Fastlane 2016 review! A testament to how excited I am for this show is that before about 20 minutes ago, I forgot this was happening tonight. While, overall, I have exceptionally low hopes for the show, the main event looks stacked and any match with AJ Styles in WWE excites me. Hopefully this show isn’t god-awful. Lets get the review underway!
The show starts off with a pretty cool race car themed video package. It hypes the main storyline and actually makes it look exciting. That is very impressive! After being greeted by the announcers, our first match begins…
Sasha Banks & Becky Lynch vs. Naomi & Tamina
This match was a perfectly competent way to start off the show. It isn’t anything I haven’t seen before or done better, but its definitely pretty good. This was the basic formula tag match, with the early back and forth, then the heat, and finally the comeback and finish. While the early goings was solid and nothing spectacular, about midway through the heat onward was very good. There was one very good near hot tag with Sasha being pulled off the apron, and, also, Becky bumped like a boss. One insane bump she took was, when she got thrown out of the ring, she essentially did a suicide dive with no one catching her. Wow. On top of that, once Sasha made the hot tag, her offense got progressively better, and she showed personality. Not only did she string together some cool sequences, but she also showed a cockier side and got the crowd very engaged. The way the crowd reacted to her shows that she has that audience in the palm of her hand. The near falls down the stretch were good, the finish itself was really fun, and, overall, the second part of this match was pretty great. However, the first half drags this down a tad, as it was less than exceptional. The early going was solid, and the back and forth was good, but everything before the heat segment was entirely forgettable. Also, while both Becky and Sasha put in great performances, Tamina and Naomi were merely competent and just there. They never offended me, but overall it felt like they could have been anyone. Flaws aside, this was a very fun match carried by two of the best female performers in WWE
An ad plays for Wrestlemania 32 in Dallas. A rapper is shown in the audience, and a video plays showing Kevin Owens winning the Intercontinental Title. The finish of that match was really awesome looking, but hot-potato-ing the title right back to Owens is stupid. The commentators hype our next match, which is…
Kevin Owens (c.) vs. Dolph Ziggler – Intercontinental Championship Match
This is a perfectly good undercard match that was a boatload of fun. This match was simple, and never really went too overboard with insane sequences or absurdly complex stories, but with two guys as talented as Owens and Ziggler, this has to be good. Owens shows just how good he is in the first minute or two, where, by only using punches and a head-butt, he establishes the story of the match. Owens dominates the majority of the match, which is good, as it forces Ziggler to sell and make multiple spirited comebacks. The comebacks just got better and more spirited as Owens’ counters always got more and more desperate. The only real issue with this segment of the match is that Owens abused a rear chin lock multiple times, but that flaw is negated tenfold by Owens’ amazing personality in this match. He shined as the ultimate cocky douchebag, taunting Ziggler, the crowd and the announcers. Then after Ziggler’s final comeback, they both go all out with back and forth offense. It never goes too crazy, but the back and forth is rock solid and at the high quality expected from these two stars. After a great barrage of offense, the finish puts a nice bow on top of the match. Overall, Owens and Ziggler told a competent story with great action to cap it off.
Another ad plays, this time for a WWE network show. Then, we see Big Show standing backstage talking to no one. Ryback then enters and cuts a really generic promo about the Wyatts. Then Kane says the Wyatts are going to get sent to hell, and they walk out single file. This promo was so campy and goofy it must be watched. Man that sucked ass. A video package (O_o) plays us into our next match, which is…
Big Show, Ryback, & Kane vs. The Wyatt Family (Erik Rowen, Luke Harper, & Braun Strowman)
This match got a video package! WHAT!!! Also, they used AJ Styles’ indie theme. That was very odd.
This was boring. Can I end the review here? No? Okay. So, this was a super basic tag team match, with the same story as in the opener, but unlike the opener, where the execution was very good, this match had very poor, very bland, very generic execution. The heat segment was torture, with the Wyatts just lumbering around and doing just about nothing. All I remember is clubbing blows. Then, Ryback makes a hot tag to his partner, which gets cut off and the heat continues. JESUS! The heat segment was so long! Finally, once Ryback gets tagged in again, he cleans house in compelling fashion. However, his CM Punk knees in the corner are shit. They are sloppy and only call attention to a man who is ostracized by WWE and bashed the man who just used them. Why Ryback uses them is beyond me! Then, the match devolves into some decent action with Harper getting thrown onto everyone, but a shit finish negates all that action. There are multiple parts I hate, so I’m going to make a list:
- Ryback Samoan drooped Harper sloppily onto his head. That was unsafe, and unsafe is the worst thing to call a wrestler, especially one who has been wrestling for 12 years.
- Ryback won with a Samoan drop! It was supposed to be a Shellshock, but he botched it to the point where it was unrecognizable.
- The Wyatts lost when they are about to feud with Brock Lesnar. Way to make them look strong WWE!
So, this match was not horrible, but it is totally forgettable and pretty poor.
An ad plays for an award ceremony that will be on the Raw after this show. Then, another fucking ad plays of this paid program for the WWE’s website. THEN, Roman Reigns cuts a pretty bland promo essentially saying that the main event is every man for themselves and Roman will win. Then. Ambrose enters and cuts a promo sassing the hell out of Roman. YES! FUCK YES! SASSY AMBROSE MAKES ME POP! Then, Ambrose puts over Lesnar, but says he won’t win. Ambrose is my favorite thing right now. Fastlane’s theme music is credited and a promo plays for the next match…
Charlotte (c.) (w/ Ric Flair) vs. Brie Bella – WWE Divas Championship Match
There isn’t anything really wrong with this match, but the average execution of a match structured the exact same as the previous 3 matches is irritating. This match had some good, but most of this match was either okay or not very good. The early action was decent enough, but never reached a point to where I got invested or entertained. Also, you think the taunting and mocking early would anger these two, but instead they just cordially wrestled. Charlotte was being a huge prick mocking Daniel Bryan, and Brie, in return, mocks her once, then wrestles like she would every other match. That is an example of the overall mundaneness of this match. To make matters worse, the heat segment was painfully slow, with Charlotte doing little to nothing to engage the crowd. My complaint last month applies tenfold here, as Charlotte did nothing other than a rest hold. On top of that, she didn’t even mouth off like last month. It was just head scissors city. Then, post comeback, the match got sloppy and awkward, with some sequences seeming very rough and sloppy. While there were no outright botches, they worked slow and executed moves far from crisply. While there are some pros here, this was boring, due to both the repetitive format of the match and the lack of quality wrestling throughout.
My feed freaks out a bit, and the show skipped to the package for the next match. I tried to skip back, but I couldn’t. I guess our next match is…
AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho
While this had the potential to be much better, this was still very fun and a great upper midcard match. This match was a way to showcase Styles on PPV, and, because of that, Jericho let Styles do most of his signature moves. Styles looked like a star and introduced the WWE audience to his moveset, while also establishing that he is a world-class talent. Jericho, not to be outdone, got plenty of offense in his own right and played the grumpy veteran. Multiple times, especially as he got more frustrated down the stretch, Jericho began to trash talk, disrespect, and slap Styles, showing how he underestimates the new talent. Also, the match was structured differently than the other four here, as these two traded control instead of resorting to a heat segment. While this is good, especially for diversity’s sake on the card, it must be noted that about halfway through the match felt really choppy, as it just felt like big moves or sequences independent of one another. While this isn’t a huge issue, as the beginning and finishing stretch did not suffer from this, it did put a damper on the match as it was beginning to get dramatic. Also, these two do not have the best chemistry, and, while their talent covered the lack of natural chemistry, some sequences looked somewhat awkward or sloppy. Another smaller issue is that, while building drama is great, Jericho kicking out of the Styles Clash kills the move when it needs to be established. While Styles can build it back up, the aura of it being a one hit kill like on the indies and in Japan is gone. However, all these flaws are rather small and don’t significantly damage an ultimately decently booked, fun match.
Post match, Jericho shakes Styles’ hand, and AJ accepts. Then, the Kickoff panel tells me its time to skip! I return to the show with a New Day promo from Smackdown. This brings us to…
The Cutting Edge Peep Show (w/ Edge and Christian)
This segment started off okay with a decent Edge and Christian promo, got really good with the New Day, and tapered off with the League of Nations. This probably builds to a match, which is good, but everyone sans the New Day suffered from WWE’s horrid writing. Overall, though, this was tolerable, but probably not good.
ANOTHER ad plays, this time for WWE Network shows. Then, a promo from the Social Outcasts brings us to…
Curtis Axel (w/ Adam Rose, Bo Dallas, & Heath Slater) vs. R-Truth
This match actually started out with some solid enough action, even if it was basic, but the match falls to pieces due to interference. Before the match could become anything of note, the Social Outcasts cause a ruckus, Goldust comes out to help Truth, and a terrible finish occurs. Don’t watch this, even though its super short.
ANOTHER ad plays, this time for playlists on the WWE Network. ANOTHER ad plays, again for the award ceremony on Raw the next night. Finally, a video package plays and it is time for our MAIN EVENT!
Dean Ambrose vs. Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lensar – Winner is the #1 Contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
This was an incredible match, but like usual, the booking of Reigns leaves a lot to be desired. Overall, the story of this match is great and covers the revolving door three way formula really well. Brock established himself early by murdering Dean and Roman one at a time at the start. Like usual, Lesnar is awesome in the truest sense of the term, but Ambrose should also be commended for his performance. Beyond selling well, he also did what Roman did last year at ‘Mania better than Roman could ever dream. His smiling and disrespect during the beatdown put Ambrose over huge, with a slap to Lesnar making me pop. Then, Reigns and Ambrose ally to take out the beast and have this be a one on one match. While the beat down was great, this was equally as good, with Reigns and Ambrose looking strong against each other while Lesnar keeps forcing himself into the match, showing great desperation. The chemistry between Reigns and Ambrose means that their segments together are fantastic, and Lesnar’s constant interference in their one on one was really fun. The biggest issue for me is how much Reigns looked like a heel in this match. While the boos didn’t help, the fact that Ambrose showed all the fire, stuck it to Lesnar, and got screwed in the finish by his best friend makes Ambrose the face and Reigns the heel. For a guy who they are supposedly pushing as the next big face, he sure acts like a heel. Also, why they pushed a guy who got no pop and made the guy who got a huge pop eat the fall is beyond me, but I digress. WWE isn’t worth getting mad at, because that would probably cause severe anger issues. Overall, while some of the booking was poor, this was great match that overall told a good story.
Post match, Roman celebrates before Triple H enters. Reigns and Triple H stair down as the screen fades to black. Close curtain.
This was actually a really solid show! I’m shocked! Only three matches dipped below 3*, and only two matches that are actively bad. Most of the show hovered around 3*½, with the main event breaking 4*. While only the main event is must watch and the matches early are somewhat same-y, this is a solid watch and one of WWE’s best PPVs since I’ve started reviewing.
Overall Rating: ***
So that was the Royal Rumble 2016 review, only a few weeks late! If you enjoyed, like, comment, and maybe even follow my blog. If you want to keep up with this site, my contacts and social media are here or in the sidebar to the left. Also, check out my work at Free Pro Wrestling, which is a great site where a person more talented than I write about great, legal, free matches. I am currently midway through WCW Starrcade 1991, so that review should be out very soon. Then, I return to AJPW for the final part of the prologue. Also, there are a ton of matches for RMR I have lined up. These next few months should be fun! Other than that, thank you for reading and see you next time.