With Wrestlemania 2019 just weeks away our King of the Ring Andy Spoors wraps up the Fastlane action.
WWE Fastlane 2019
Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio
The name of WWE’s Sunday night PPV couldn’t have been more apt, as storylines and Superstars found themselves hurtling towards next month’s Wrestlemania.
A highly enjoyable night of action raced out of the gates and the usually paint-by-numbers kick off show became unpredictable and integral to two of the night’s best matches.
WWE has slowly been putting together a string of underrated PPVs, arguably starting with last year’s Evolution. Fastlane was no exception. Kofi Kingston’s story of finally earning a one on one WWE Championship match after 11 years quickly became the story of the night. After being replaced by Kevin Owens in his match against Daniel Bryan, the Kofi was summoned to Vince McMahon’s office, teasing a potential last-minute addition to the championship match.
A raucous crowd added to the chaotic feel of the night. The first match saw home town favourite The Miz team with Shane McMahon for The Uso’s Smackdown Tag Team Titles. The team of Miz and Shane has long been rumoured to end in tears. Few would have suspected the betrayal to come from McMahon and the reaction from the fans in Cleveland was deafening, creating a level of intrigue this storyline desperately needed.
Asuka and The Revival ground out successful title defences, with both now looking odds-on to feature somewhere on the Wrestlemania card. After changing hands on the last edition of Smackdown, the United States Championship was not originally slated for an appearance at Fastlane. A hasty shuffle of the deck, however, saw Samoa Joe defend his title for the first time in a fatal four way match against R-Truth, Andrade and Rey Mysterio. In one of the standout matches of the night, the four men were able to put on an impressive exhibition of fast paced and brutal action. The champion ultimately retained but each of the quartet involved could leave with his head held high.
Bayley and Sasha Banks walked out with their Tag Team Championships after a slightly bizarre finish to the match as hall of famer Beth Phoenix interrupted the match from her position on commentary. It was certainly a night for title retentions as Bryan somehow escaped an adjusted triple threat match.
The third man in the match was not, however, Kofi Kingston, but a returning Mustafa Ali. Kingston, duped into thinking he would be part of the WWE Championship match was instead destroyed in a handicap match against both Sheamus and Cesaro.
The beat down did not stop the partizan crowd chanting “We want Kofi” from start to finish of the triple threat title match. The New Day member didn’t appear again but a fantastic match up between Ali, KO and Daniel Bryan was a welcome distraction. A simply astonishing Bryan knee to the face of an inverted Mustafi Ali was difficult to watch and incredible in equal measure. Say what you want about the vegan preaching character of Bryan but there are few in the world that can work a crowd and put on modern day classics with each passing show.
The momentum of the night stalled when Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair went head to head to determine Becky’s Wrestlemania destiny. Fans have started to grow tired of the bizarre booking of what was one of the hottest stories of recent months. The stifling interference in what could have been a simple underdog story continued here, as Ronda Rousey deliberately disqualified Charlotte, adding Lynch to the main event in the process. Leaving this one to a social media war of words, with occasional in-ring promos ,may salvage what should still be a great match up.
The PPV closed with The Shield’s final match together, facing off against the makeshift team of Baron Corbin, Drew McIntyre and Bobby Lashley. There may not have been any betrayals here, but a fun throwback to The Shield’s heydays of fights around the arena was a welcome return to competitive action from Reigns.
With a mere four weeks between Fastlane and Wrestlemania, the picture is beginning to come into focus. Momentum has built, matches are set but there is still work to be done – kaking the next few weeks of Raw and Smackdown compelling and unmissable.
ROR prediction results:
Reese Burrows: 7
John Burrows: 8
Andy Spoors: 8