WWE Fastlane 2015
Saturday, February 22
FedEx Forum – Memphis, Tennessee

WWE Fastlane promised some much-needed clarity to WrestleMania 31 and when all was said and done, it accomplished just that. However, between a comatose Memphis crowd, a lack of engaging finishes and some disappointing matches, WWE Fastlane will go down as one of the worst WWE PPVs of the year. If it doesn’t, well, 2015 is going to be a tough year. The last hour delievered as Rusev and John Cena put together a fantastic match that played to a totally dead crowd while Roman Reigns had perhaps his best showing against a fired up Daniel Bryan. Likewise, we have a few matches locked in for WrestleMania including Triple H and Sting and Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns. Let’s get to the review!

Six-Man Tag Team Match
Seth Rollins, Kane, and The Big Show def. Dolph Ziggler, Ryback and Erick Rowan

Bryan Rose: First half was beyond dull with the heels working over ERICK ROWAN. Yes, you choose him to work over as opposed to, like, Dolph Ziggler. Makes sense. The second half picked up after, but this was just a tediously dull match with a finish that made my eyes roll. I don’t care if you have plans for Kane and Big Show. Point of it is, they’re tired characters who are some of the most overrated (in terms of push AND work) people on the entire roster. Not that good and too long. *1/4

Rob McCarron: LOL Kane wins. Kane would have been my fifth choice had you asked me before the 6-Man, “Who will get the pinfall win?” Sixth would have been Rowan, because come on, Rowan’s the geekiest of geeks. The match was pitiful until The Ryback came in mid-way, and Ryback was the lone positive of the match. Seriously, he was great. Everyone else was just there, and this was not good. Orton returned afterwards to attack Rollins, which I assumed would have happened during the match to cost Team Authority. Oh well, at least this was out of the way by 8:30. **

Warren Taylor: Eric Rowan being a face in peril is not a good idea. The Big Show suddenly finding his inner technician by working Rowan’s knee was an even worse idea. Combine the two ideological abortions and the result is a God awful opening portion of the match. The contest appeared to be back on course after Ryback got the hot tag and obliterated Team Authority. Dolph Ziggler’s incredible energy also elevated the match from the cold beginning once the Show Off hit the ring. Then Kane won. Yes Korporate Kane, the slack wearing murder show, won the match after help from The Big Show. Bleh. ** ¼

Taylor Mitchell: The first half of this match seemed to never end. Watching team Authority work over Erick Rowan was a borefest. The match picked up with an incredible sequence that Ryback and Rollins put together after Ryback got the hot tag. Randy Orton returning during the post-match sequence to seek his inner Steve Austin as he RKO-ed everyone in sight was decent. Not quite the reaction, excitement, or effect one would expect when a top star returns. Conclusions after watching this match: Big Show and Kane still put me to sleep, Rowan is still improving, Ziggler is still overrated, and I suddenly want to watch a program between Rollins and Ryback. **



Goldust def. Stardust

Bryan Rose: I thought they were working slow, leading to a hot series of near falls. The latter part never came. Then Goldust won with a rollup out of nowhere. WWE booking, agenting, everything in 2015 everyone. *1/4

Rob McCarron: I predicted Stardust to win this one solely on the fact that I didn’t think they’d rematch at WrestleMania, so giving Cody the win on the special event made sense. In the end, Goldust won and it looks like this is continuing. The match was a mess, with no crowd response whatsoever. Rudy Charles didn’t help matters in blowing the finish with his held up count. *1/2

Warren Taylor: Cody Rhodes is such a professional. Every stupid gimmick the company gives him turns into a guilty pleasure due to the man’s dedication to his craft. The younger Rhodes’ antics and the brothers combined effort was wasted on an apathetic Memphis crowd. A lack of crowd energy and a rushed finish brought down a contest with tons of potential. ** ½

Taylor Mitchell: This match was a little too slow for what it needed, but it told a nice story of each brother knowing the other’s next move every time they attempted a move. Stardust’s character work is still great and the fans chanting “Cody! Cody!” at him is only going to help this character grow. Goldust counters the Cross Rhodes into a pin for the win. The finish was botched by the ref. This wasn’t a great match, but it was a good first chapter. This feud needs to end with Goldust coming back as the Natural Dustin Rhodes challenging his brother to a Bunkhouse Brawl. **3/4


WWE Tag Team Championship
Cesaro and Tyson Kidd def The Usos (c) 

Bryan Rose: This was pretty good, a solid bout. The problem is that the crowd was completely dead for it at the start, but at least they managed to pick it up at the end. The ending seemed to have come out of nowhere. but whatever. Don’t have much to say about it beyond that. I was hoping for something…more, I guess, because these four usually can have a match better than this, but the environment didn’t let that happen. Maybe it’s because as opposed to the opener, where people are still hot, they instead put them at the first hour, where people are not as hot. Oh well. ***1/4

Rob McCarron: The first hour of Fastlane needed these two teams to save it. For many fans watching, Tyson Kidd & Cesaro winning the tag titles might have done that. Unlike last year, when Cesaro won the Andre battle royal, I won’t get my hopes up too much that he’s on to better things just because he won here. Temper those expectations. In the near future, however, putting a belt on Kidd and Cesaro at least means we should see them more. That’s a good thing. ***1/2

Warren Taylor: The tons of teases and brawling on the floor was a bit much for me. Still, I appreciate the hard work of all four men because they injected much needed energy into a lifeless show. Given some more time and a crisper work rate I believe the coming rematch will be enjoyable viewing. ** ¾

Taylor Mitchell: There seemed to be an apparent lack of chemistry between these teams as there were a lot of blown spots and the match suffered because of it. That doesn’t make me not want to see a rematch, however. This match didn’t reach it’s potential, but the obligatory rematch could be a great match. Glad to see the Brass Ring Club win the copper belts. Sidenote: The referee in this match was slow to a few counts. The WWE referees are having an off night. Rob McCarron needs to drive his Delorean to Memphis, throw his zebra stripes on, and save this show. **3/4


Face to Face
Triple H and Sting

Taylor Mitchell: This segment was executed in a way to garner the first big reaction out of this live crowd tonight. My personal interest level in this match after Sting’s WWE debut was 1/10. Triple H and Sting have beeing in some great segments that have increased that interest level. The sledgehammer vs. baseball bat was a nice display. Sting’s mystery continues to remain in tact, as it should be. Pointing at the WrestleMania sign is tired, but Sting pointing the baseball bat at the sign was necessary to keep that mystery.


WWE Divas Championship
Nikki Bella © def. Paige

Bryan Rose: It was a match that existed. They will continue to have matches solely to exist. Life will move on. *

Rob McCarron: I wanted Paige to win. This is a bad omen, all over this card. Nikki however gets the win out of nowhere, with a handful of tights, as Paige will have to find someone…anybody…to help her keep the Bella twins off her back so she can fight for the title fairly. Or, instead, we may just get like 20 women all in one match at WrestleMania and this match won’t matter two weeks from now. **1/2

Warren Taylor: Paige’s stiff kicks were the best part of a match that was sloppy due to a lazy effort from Nikki Bella. * 3/4

Taylor Mitchell: This match should have been better than this, but simple ring psychology is non-existent in WWE’s version of Divas wrestling as opposed to NXT Divas wrestling. Nikki Bella pulls out a Power Bomb to Paige and it leads to a two count. Nikki has finished a number of Divas with the stupid Rack Attack, but a Power Bomb couldn’t do anything? Then Paige loses due to Nikki rolling her up with a handful of shorts. This is just silly. Sara Del Ray needs to be the agent for all Divas PPV matches immediately. That would go such a long way to rehabilitating the main roster’s Diva division. *1/2

WWE Intercontinental Championship
Bad News Barrett © def. Dean Ambrose by DQ

Bryan Rose: A dull match with an amazing finish that made me believe in WWE again. Just kidding, I’m pretty sure this is my last WWE review roundtable ever not called Royal Rumble or WrestleMania.  *1/4

Rob McCarron: Is it too late to tell Rich I don’t want to watch this Pay Per View? Dean Ambrose kicked too much ass, was DQ’d. By the way, in a fun stat, Rudy Charles was both the referee for this match, and the Dust Brothers match with the awkward finish. Great night for him. Ambrose’s streak of not winning a singles match on PPV continues, with his last win at Night of Champions. In 2013. *

Warren Taylor: BNB attempting to run away like a coward was a nice little story. The DQ finish would have been fine on any other card but the inaugural edition of Fastlane was dragging and needed this match to succeed. Instead, a flat show starting shifting into dud territory. ** ½

WWE United States Championship
Rusev © def. John Cena

Bryan Rose: GOOD NEWS. I actually liked this match. The crowd was largely dead, but it was a great back and forth match that made Rusev looked strong. Of course, this is 2015 WWE, so there was a crappy finish. I know you need to keep this feud going until Wrestlemania, but doing the low blow finish is laaaame. It really came off like “oh, we have to make this a lame finish” sort of deal so Cena could be protected to a degree. You can’t go all the way and actually have Cena lose clean, so you go and do that. It’s not the worst finish ever, but not the finish that was needed on this card. I’m guessing we’ll see a rematch at WrestleMania. At this point, it’s the only match that has any real interest for me. ***1/2

Rob McCarron: How good would The Young Bucks vs Rusev be? Pretty good. Maybe great. These are the things I think about during WWE February PPVs. Speaking of, Fastlane! Easily the best match of the show when it ended, it only took 2 hours to get there. Rusev was at his Rusevist, and Cena wasn’t giving up as he’s prone to not do. Lana’s distraction helped secure a Rusev win, with Cena passed out, and it appears we’re headed for a Mania rematch that may disallow Lana interference. This was a fun twenty minutes. ****

Warren Taylor: Would it kill the WWE to have John Cena look human for a change. The guy takes a complete and methodical beating for most of the match and still finds a way summon his superhuman strength to break The Accolade. Cut that and the cheap win out and you have a compelling match. The AA kick out was believable and Cena failing to break Rusev’s fingers while he was in the Bulgarian’s signature hold was high drama. Dumb, dumb, dumb finish though. Argh. ***¾


#1 Contender for WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Roman Reigns def. Daniel Bryan

Bryan Rose: Match was fine. Was it the right finish? I dunno. I guess. Roman Reigns is the guy they want. I think they completely killed him off with the Rumble win, forever doomed to the same reactions Cena gets, but I guess we’ll dredge along and see what happens in the next few weeks. I’m just not feeling Reigns/Lesnar as a main event Wrestlemania match. But as for this match, it was decent. Some good back and forth near the end. A really good version of other matches we’ve seen tonight. I think this card is a testament to my overall interest in the product right now. I think the crowd reactions are a testament to that too. This match was good, but where does it all lead to? Why should I care? I have a feeling most of the matches at WrestleMania will leave me with these questions, never really answered, just sitting there while they move on to their next programs because life goes on. ***1/2

Rob McCarron: This was the hard fought match I was hoping for, with Roman delivering on his end in the bout. Roman was actually really good here fighting off small submission attempts, not letting the smaller guy have his way with him. Bryan and Roman’s intensity brought the crowd in at the end, and this was a good cap to a relatively underwhelming Pay Per View. The final hour delivered. ****

Warren Taylor: For one night The American Dragon lived again. Daniel Bryan was not in that ring tonight. BRYAN FUCKING DANIESLON was. No goofy smirks, no happy go lucky underdog. Just the technical genius who slayed giants like Morishima in ROH with strategic holds and vicious kicks.

Roman Reigns had the best match of his career tonight in Memphis. He did everything right. Reigns did not blow up thirty seconds into the ring and showed a great deal of variety in his move set. His mounted punches were brutal and need to be used in his match with Lesnar at WrestleMania.

The result of the main event will no doubt prompt ample discussion. However, look beyond that. This was everything a great wrestling match should be. Two competitors fighting down to their last to be hailed the victor. It does not get much better than this match folks. **** ½