The SmarK Rant for WWE Fastlane 2015 – 02.22.15
Live from Memphis, TN
Your hosts are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler & JBL
This show is presented by the WWE Network itself. WE’RE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, PEOPLE.
Dolph Ziggler, Ryback & Erick Rowan v. Big Show, Kane & Seth Rollins
Poor Rowan doesn’t even get a babyface pop for his entrance. This would be a good time for a total repackage. Or, you know, just build a time machine and not split up the Wyatts in the first place. Rollins starts with Ziggler and quickly bails off a sunset flip, but walks into a dropkick back in the ring. Rowan comes in and works on the arm, but it’s over to Kane to really ramp up the action. Back elbow gets two for Rowan after some basic stuff, but Big Show comes in and dumps him to take over. Rowan tries a spinkick on the floor, but he is unable to counter the lightning speed of Big Show, and he kicks the post like a total dork instead. Back in, Show works Rowan over while the announcers tell the story of how the babyfaces are constantly abused and beaten up by the Authority and then wonder why they don’t get over as a stars. Rollins comes in and goes after the leg for a bit, and Buff Blockbuster gets two. Big Show with a leglock that goes nowhere, and Rollins walks into a Rowan spinkick to set up the hot tag to Ryback. He reverses the curb stomp into a powerbomb and tries for the Shellshock, but gets distracted by the stooges and Rollins rolls him up for two. Superkick gets two for Rollins. Another Shellshock, but Big Show comes in with a splash and everyone is out. Hot tag to Ziggler and he DDTs Kane for two. And then Show punches him out like a geek and Kane pins him at 12:55. Well, you gotta keep those two strong. Gotta love how everyone in the crowd wants to see Ziggler so they make sure to pin him clean in the middle. **1/4 The Authority beatdown follows, but Randy Orton finally returns and lays them all out with RKOs. Because he’s the real star and Ziggler clearly is not.
Stardust v. Goldust
Dusty and Dustin cut a hell of a promo backstage, as Dustin promises to beat his brother so badly he’ll never want to be Stardust again. I wish he was at that point already because it’s a stupid fucking gimmick. They trade armdrags to start and hit a stalemate, which results in Stardust bailing. Back in, Goldust clotheslines him out again. Back in, Goldust goes for the Shattered Nuts, but Stardust runs away again before getting a foot up on a flying Goldust to take over. He goes to a bodyscissors as the announcers discuss the hot rumor of Cody wearing the makeup even when he’s at home. So…boo? Apparently he’s “living the gimmick”, because we’re just watching a show, you see. Cody keeps working on the midsection while yet another brother v. brother match dies before our eyes. And then Goldust pins him with a crucifix out of nowhere at 8:52. Well that was quite the beating delivered. Ridiculously boring, no action to speak of. DUD I’m assuming they just told the ref to send them home because it was such a shit match, but maybe that really was the finish they came up with, who knows. I’m thinking they’re not gonna get their Wrestlemania match now.
Meanwhile, we get clips of Seth Rollins v. Jon Stewart.
Meanwhile, Stardust attacks his brother and hisses a lot. So yeah, this continues.
WWE tag titles: The Usos v. Tyson Kidd & Cesaro
The Usos dominate Kidd to start, but Cesaro clips Jimmy and works the knee to take over. Kidd’s gear, celebrating both cats and facts, is wonderfully awful. Cesaro with a one-legged swing into a half-crab, and Kidd slingshots in with a legdrop for two. Over to Jey as the crowd is randomly booing something. Cesaro rolls him up for two, but Jey gets the running butt splash in the corner for two. To the top, but Cesaro brings him in with the superplex into Kidd’s flying elbow for two. Kidd with a rollup, but the Usos double-team him and everyone ends up on the floor. Back in, Kidd blocks a flying splash and rolls up Jimmy for two, and the Sharpshooter follows. Jey saves with a superkick and Jimmy gets two off that. And then Kidd hits the fisherman’s neckbreaker and pins Jey to win the titles at 9:45. Well deserved. Unfortunately the match never really got going and there was no real heat segment. Do the agents just not know how to build heat and lead to a climax anymore? **1/2 Although Tyson Kidd lifting the Finn Balor splash counter from NXT is pretty great.
Face To Face Confrontation: HHH v. Sting
I hope we get the highspot of two old guys discussing stuff from 16 years ago that goes over the heads of everyone watching! I love when they do that. And indeed, HHH immediately brings up how Sting went down with the WCW ship and how he helped to sink it. That is certainly a unique interpretation of history. So HHH offers to keep Sting’s legacy alive via the WWE Network and Hall of Fame, as long as he walks away and quits being such a vigilante. Sting wants none of this deal and they fight, and of course HHH immediately kicks his ass. But Sting grabs his bat and, instead of beating on him, points to the Wrestlemania sign instead. And then finally lays him out. This isn’t doing much for me. “Old guys fighting for their legacy” isn’t exactly a compelling storyline, except in WWE-world where getting to the Hall of Fame is the only real goal.
Divas title: Nikki Bella v. Paige
Apparently Paige getting spray-tanned and pranked was the worst week of her life, which means she’s had a pretty damn good life thus far. Paige attacks to start, but gets tossed around on the floor by Nikki, which gets two. Whiplash slam gets two. The racecar sound effects on the replays are REALLY getting on my nerves at this point. It’s the FASTLANE, get it? Paige comes back with clotheslines for two and a low kick for two. Nikki blocks the Rampaige but Paige boots her down for two. They head up and Nikki powerbombs her out of the corner for two. Paige comes back with the crosslock, but Nikki makes the ropes and rolls her up to retain at 5:36. Who is coming up with these shit finishes tonight? *1/2 The crowd was dead silent through the entire match, much like the rest of this show.
Intercontinental title: Bad News Barrett v. Dean Ambrose
Ambrose attacks and sends Bad News running, then pounds away in the corner before getting booted to the floor. Back in, Barrett pounds away in the corner and gets two, and we hit the chinlock. To the floor and Ambrose comes back with a clothesline and DDT back in the ring. To the top, but he misses whatever and manages a small package for two. Flying elbow gets two. Barrett with the Wasteland for two, but Ambrose rolls him up for two. Rebound lariat and Barrett runs away, so Ambrose chases him back in and beats on him in the corner until the ref disqualifies him at 8:07. COME ON. They’re just trolling us now with these terrible finishes. Although if this was NXT that would have given Ambrose the title. Because they actually give a shit about the product there. Total nothing match. **
Speaking of trolling, we get a procession of druids to tease the Undertaker, but it turns out to be Bray Wyatt. I guess that at least confirms that they’re doing the match. This would have been better served on RAW, especially if they weren’t actually delivering Undertaker.
US title: Rusev v. John Cena
Cena takes him down with a headlock, but Rusev throws kicks in the corner and chokes him down, and a leg lariat gets two. That one missed by a lot. Rusev with a corner splash for two, and Cena bails to the apron and gets sent into the railing as a result. Back in, Cena comes back with a dropkick for two, but Rusev gets his own for two. Cena tries the shoulderblocks, but Rusev puts him down with a slam for two. Cena tries to fight back, but Rusev takes him down with a chinlock. Cena comes back with a suplex, but Rusev DDTs him for two. A pair of corner splashes get two. Cena fights back with his usual, but Rusev escapes the FU and superkicks him for two. Uranage gets two. Cena comes back with a DDT for two and the crowd is just not really into this at all. Cena takes him down into a crossface, but Rusev no-sells it and slams him for two. Rusev decides to crush, but Cena counters with the STF and Rusev makes the ropes. FU gets two. Cena goes up, but lands in a powerbomb and the Accolade follows. Cena uses his goofy facials to fight out, but Rusev kicks him in the nuts behind the ref’s back and goes back to it again, and this time the ref stops the match at 18:40. This didn’t really work, but it was fine as the usual John Cena match. *** I don’t get why they didn’t just put Rusev over if that’s the way they wanted to go instead of the cheap ballshot and pass-out finish. But fear not, John Cena will regroup and train his gonads to resist the power of Russia in time to win the title at Wrestlemania.
#1 Contender match: Roman Reigns v. Daniel Bryan
Reigns throws Bryan around outside the ring, but Bryan kicks him down in the corner and goes to work on the legs with a leglock. Reigns punches out of it and blocks a blind charge with a clothesline for two. Reigns throws him around with a couple of suplexes, but Bryan blocks the superman punch with a liver kick. Bryan fires away with kicks in the corner, but Reigns powerbombs him out of there for two. Reigns fires away in the corner, but Bryan takes him down into the Yes-Lock until Reigns makes the ropes and escapes to the floor. Bryan hits him with a pair of dives, but Reigns gets another suplex on the floor and then misses a charge into the stairs. Back in, Reigns blocks a flying Bryan for two, but Bryan counters the spear into a small package for two. Running knee gets two. Bryan throws the kicks, but Reigns no-sells it, so Bryan takes him down into the Yes-Lock again. Reigns powers out of that and hammers him down, and both guys are down. Bryan comes back again with the kicks and sets up for the running knee again, but Reigns counters with the spear right down our throats at 20:05. God, they’re just not gonna give up on this, are they? Pretty rough for the most part, but Bryan worked his ass off to make it pretty good by the end. ***1/4 But that’s it for Bryan, as they’ve decided to sacrifice him once and for all to get this Reigns experiment over. And I don’t think it worked.
Not bad, just boring. Crowd was dead all night and there was nothing I’d call worth going out of your way to see. Some really bad finishes and booking didn’t help matters, but at least we know what Wrestlemania is going to be now. Thumbs in the middle, leaning down.