February 21, 2016
There was a match on the Kickoff Show so let’s get to that. I’m not going to review anything else on the Kickoff Show because it’s just talking about the matches for the most part.
The announcers for the first match are Mauro Ranallo, John Bradshaw Layfield and Byron Saxton. I’m glad Ranallo gets to call the Kickoff match.
A 2/3 Falls Match for the United States Title: Kalisto vs. Alberto Del Rio
Del Rio ripped off a piece of Kalisto’s mask early on. Kalisto hit a snap hurricanrana for a nearfall. Kalisto with a plancha outside the ring to take out Del Rio. Back in the ring, Del Rio was back in control after he sent Kalisto into the steel steps. Del Rio with a snap suplex that sent Kalisto to the floor again. Del Rio slammed Kalisto into the ring post, the barricade and another post attempt failed because Kalisto sent Del Rio into the post. Back to the floor again with Kalisto sending Del Rio into the barricade. Kalisto did a hurricanrana off the barricade that took down Del Rio outside the ring. Kalisto went for another attack, but Del Rio nailed him with a chair. The referee called for the bell for the disqualification. That was around the five-minute mark.
Winner of first fall by disqualification: Kalisto
Del Rio aggressively went after Kalisto by tossing him into the barricade several times. Quick break to plug WWE Network shows.
They were back in the ring with Kalisto struggling to get to his feet. The second fall began. Del Rio nailed a double foot stomp to win the second fall less than a minute after it began.
Winner of the second fall by pinfall: Alberto Del Rio
It’s 1-1 going into the third fall. A clothesline by Del Rio got a two count. Del Rio went to rip off the mask again. Del Rio had Kalisto set up for his finisher, but Kalisto did a hurricanrana to take him down. Kalisto with a seated senton, a corkscrew body press and a short hurricanrana for a two count. Del Rio with a backbreaker. Kalisto came back with a spinning DDT for two. Nice nearfall there. Del Rio nailed an inverted superplex leading to Kalisto rolling out to the floor. Del Rio set up his double foot stomp on the barricade and he connected with it. They were outside the ring. The ref counted Kalisto down, but he got back into the ring before the count of ten. Kalisto went for the Salida del Sol, Del Rio fought it off, so Kalisto sent Del Rio face first into the turnbuckle and then Kalisto did the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! for the pinfall win after 15 minutes.
Winner of the match 2 falls to 1: Kalisto
Analysis: *** A pretty good match just like the others they have had to start the year. They have developed some awesome chemistry. It was nice to see them get that much time on the Kickoff Show. I’m not sure if I want to see the match again because they’ve done it so many times, but they did a great job of telling an entertaining story with the title on the line. Del Rio was the veteran that was used to put over the younger wrestler with a bright future. That’s the way you’re supposed to book veterans with younger guys.
That’s it for the Kickoff Show in terms of matches.
WWE Fastlane Main PPV Lineup
The opening video aired showing cars while Eva Marie was featured in the commercial with a flag. Then it focused on the competitors in the main event match.
There’s no elaborate set like usual. Only WrestleMania gets an elaborate set. The crowd looked mostly full in Cleveland.
Sasha Banks entered first. The announce team of Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield and Byron Saxton welcomed us to the show. There were also Spanish announcers and German announcers at ringside.
Sasha Banks & Becky Lynch vs. Naomi & Tamina
It’s Team Hair Dye vs. Team Bad. Lynch started for her team with Cole trying to put over the storyline here. Lynch nailed Naomi with a Lass Plex. Becky and Sasha nailed double dropkicks to take out the heels. The heels worked together to trip up Lynch with Naomi knocking her down when she was on the top rope. That led to a few minutes where the heels were on offense against Lynch. A big legdrop by Naomi got a two count for her. Tamina drove Lynch to the corner to prevent a tag. When it looked like Lynch was about to make the tag, Naomi yanked Banks off the apron. Naomi nailed Lynch with a clothesline outside the ring. Lynch finally broke free and made the hot tag to Banks. Huge kick by Banks on Naomi followed by a double knee attack. Banks with a double knee attack in the corner. Banks sent Naomi into the turnbuckle and hit a Backstabber. Tamina yanked Banks out of the ring. Naomi hit the Rear View (aka The Flying Ass) for a two count. Banks sent Naomi shoulder first into the steel post. Tag to Tamina, who nailed a superkick for two. Naomi sent Lynch out of the ring. Banks avoided a double suplex and Lynch hit a missile dropkick to knock down the heels. Banks took down Tamina with an armbar in to the Banks Statement. Lynch trapped Naomi in the Disarmer arm bar. Tamina tapped out to give the faces the win after 10 minutes.
Winners by submission: Sasha Banks & Becky Lynch
Analysis: **1/2 It was a solid match with an easy to follow story and a satisfying ending that was predictable. The match was a bit longer than I expected. I feel like they could have shaved off a few minutes and it would have helped them. There were a few minutes in there with the heels on offense that were really boring. The ending was really well done, though. This result should set up Lynch and Banks as the contenders for the Divas Title at WrestleMania. A triple threat is likely there.
A commercial aired for WrestleMania 32 at AT&T Stadium in the Dallas area on April 3.
They showed hip hop artist Machine Gun Kelly at ringside. Remember when Kevin Owens gave him a powerbomb off the stage? That was my favorite moment of MGK’s career.
There was a clip of Kevin Owens winning the Intercontinental Title on Raw last week.
Intercontinental Title: Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler
Owens hit a headbutt on Ziggler to start it off. Ziggler had a headlock on, but Owens was able to fight out of it. Ziggler has "Cleveland" on the back of his trunks since he's from the area. Ziggler nailed a splash in the corner, but Owens came back with a hard whip into the turnbuckle where Ziggler took the bump sternum first. The ref checked on Ziggler quickly because it looked pretty bad, but Ziggler is okay. A replay showed it was a pretty vicious bump with Ziggler's left shoulder taking most of the blow. Another replay of that spot as Owens continued to work over Ziggler. Ziggler started his comeback with a neckbreaker, but he missed the elbow drop and Owens hit a senton splash on Ziggler's back for a two count. With Owens continuing the offense, Ziggler moved and Owens hit the steel post. Corner splash by Ziggler, then another splash and a neckbreaker by Ziggler. Four elbows by Ziggler gets two. Ziggler wanted a DDT, but Owens crotched him on the top rope. Owens came back with a cannonball for a nearfall. Owens did more trash talking to Cole and Ziggler came back with a DDT. They battled on the turnbuckle and Owens countered Ziggler with a cradle suplex out of the corner. That’s always a great looking spot.
Ziggler rolled out to the floor. Owens slowly went after him. Ziggler nailed a superkick on the floor. Back in the ring, Ziggler wanted a Zig Zag, but Owens held onto the ropes. Owens came back with a superkick to knock Ziggler down. Both guys were selling fatigue with Owens getting to his feet first. Ziggler popped back up to his feet and nailed another superkick. Owens rolled to the floor. Ziggler went after him, Owens went for a Powerbomb, but Ziggler turned it into a headscissors that drove Owens into the steps at ringside. Back in the ring, Ziggler with a Fameasser gets two. Ziggler wanted another superkick, Owens avoided it, Ziggler almost hit the ref, Owens capitalized with a quick Popup Powerbomb for the win after about 15 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Kevin Owens
Post match, Owens grabbed the title and went over to Cole to stare at him with the title. I enjoy when he taunts Cole. Ziggler was grabbing his left shoulder. Owens yanked a “Ohio (heart) Dolph” sign from a fan at ringside.
Analysis: ***3/4 It’s no surprise that they had a great match when they got over 10 minutes in the ring. That’s their third awesome matchup in the last month and this was better than the other two. Ziggler did a great job of fighting back from Owens’ power offense and he got a lot of believable offense in there. The crowd hasn’t been hot the whole night, but they certainly made a lot of noise by the end. Owens is outstanding as a bullying type heel against a smaller wrestler. Owens winning made sense because he just won it back last Monday. As I’ve written for weeks now, my hope is that Owens faces AJ Styles at WrestleMania. I have no idea if that’s going to happen, but I think it would be an outstanding match. Owens has been tweeting about #KOMania for weeks and the announcers put it over too. I hope he gets a singles match at the biggest show of the year. He deserves the spotlight. Ziggler’s been in WWE for about ten years and deserves it too, but he probably won’t get a singles match at WrestleMania.
Commercials aired for the Tapout clothing brand and the Edge & Christian show debuting after Fastlane.
There was a backstage segment with Big Show, Kane and Ryback getting ready for their match with the Wyatt Family. Show talked about how it was about kill or be killed. Ryback said the Wyatt Family bit off a little more than they can chew. Kane said they will send the Wyatts straight back to hell. That six man tag is next.
A video package aired to set up the Wyatt Family vs. Show, Kane & Ryback match.
The Wyatt Family foursome made their entrance first followed by Big Show, Ryback and Kane in that order.
Big Show, Ryback & Kane vs. Erick Rowan, Luke Harper & Braun Strowman (w/Bray Wyatt)
I’m a little surprised that Bray isn’t in the match, but it’s okay. Rowan started with Ryback and then Show was in there with Rowan with some massive chops to the chest. Ryback was in there, but he fell victim to a dropkick from Harper. When Strowman tagged in, Cole got really excited about it because they are on a mission to put him over as a big deal. They say that nobody has been able to stop Strowman even though Lesnar eliminated him pretty easily at the Royal Rumble last month. Ryback hit a suplex on Rowan and tagged in Kane, who got in a seated dropkick on Kane. Kane went after all three Wyatt Family guys. When he gave Strowman a boot outside the ring, Rowan capitalized while Kane was on the apron with a boot to the face. Strowman tagged in to work over Kane. Harper grounded Kane with a chinlock. The crowd was mildly into this, so Show and Ryback tried hard to get the crowd into it more. Strowman missed a charge, so Kane tagged in Ryback against Harper. Ryback nailed the running knees in the corner four times in a row. Ryback hit four body slams in a row. There’s a fifth body slam and then a running powerslam for two. Rowan broke up the pin. Kane with a Chokeslam on Rowan. Strowman took down Kane with a clothesline. Show sent Strowman out of the ring by grabbing his throat. Show tossed Harper onto the others outside the ring. Show nailed a running shoulder tackle on Strowman. Huge clothesline by Ryback on Harper in the ring. Harper with a rollup on Ryback for two after Wyatt distracted. Superkick by Harper on Ryback. Ryback came back with Shellshock on Harper and covered for the win after 12 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Big Show, Ryback & Kane
Analysis: *1/2 A yawner. It was a decent match with a bunch of power spots. At least the finish was pretty good. I’m surprised by the result because I figured the heels needed the win a lot more. Aren’t they trying to put over the Wyatt Family as this unbeatable group? They just lost to a bunch of midcarders teaming for the first time that have lost more matches in the last six months than they’ve won. Isn’t Wyatt going to be pushed against Brock Lesnar? Apparently not. I just don’t get the booking decision at all. Perhaps it will make sense in time, but right now I’m confused by it.
There was a commercial for tomorrow on Raw where they will hand out the Vincent J. McMahon Legacy Of Excellence Award. It says the ceremony kicks off Raw. It's probably going to Triple H as a way to boost his ego and make him more of a heel for the fans to hate.
A commercial aired for the new WWE.com look.
Roman Reigns was interviewed by Jojo. Reigns talked about how things will change between he and Dean Ambrose, so then Ambrose walked up to him. They talked about the Road to WrestleMania. Ambrose threw in a travel joke about Priceline. Jojo reminded them Brock Lesnar is standing in their way. They didn’t say much else and it ended.
There was a video package for the Divas Title match.
Divas Title: Charlotte (w/Ric Flair) vs. Brie Bella
Brie is wearing the kickpads that her husband Daniel Bryan wore at WrestleMania 30. Charlotte quickly got into the “yes” chants to taunt Brie. They were working at a slow pace in the first few minutes with Brie hitting an arm drag. Brie hit a face to the knee move that Nikki does. Charlotte ended up sending Brie to the floor using her legs to send her to the floor. Back in the ring, Charlotte took control with shoulder tackles. I could hear the girls talking with Charlotte going for an Alabama Slam, but Brie fought it off and Charlotte nailed a clothesline. The ref put on the white gloves because there was some blood on the arm of Charlotte. There was more ground work from Charlotte having Brie in a chinlock, then Brie grabbed a sleeper and Charlotte dropped to her butt to break it up with a jawbreaker. Leg lock by Charlotte. The crowd is pretty dead for this match. They did a spot where Brie was supposed to trip her up, but it didn’t look great. Brie nailed a running knee attack against the ropes followed by a forearm to the face for two. The announcers put over the forearm as a tribute to Nikki. Charlotte nailed some Flair-like chops, then a neckbreaker and Brie hit a sloppy rollup for two. Charlotte came back with a boot to the face.
Brie sent Charlotte out of the ring as we hit the ten-minute mark. Brie with a running dropkick to send Charlotte down. Brie sent Charlotte back in. Brie to the top rope and she hit a missile dropkick. After she hit the move, Brie was holding her left leg to sell an injury. Brie hit some “yes” kicks and then a facebuster get a two count. Good nearfall there. Charlotte went for the Figure Four, but Brie applied the Yes Lock. Flair grabbed Charlotte’s legs to help her out of the hold. Brie turned it into a single leg crab. Brie had her right foot on the back of Charlotte instead of the mat, which isn’t right. Charlotte kicked Brie into the ropes and Brie sold it like a big deal. Charlotte applied the Figure Eight and Brie tapped out even though she was pretty close to the ropes. The match went about 13 minutes.
Winner by submission: Charlotte
Analysis: **1/2 That was a lengthy match with a good effort by both women. There were some believable nearfalls by Brie as well as the near submission spots. I thought the first half of the match was just too slow. It was as if they didn’t know how to get to the 13-minute mark without it. That’s partly a Brie thing because she’s never been that great in the longer matches. Charlotte’s more capable. I’m not saying Brie is bad because I appreciated the effort. I just think Charlotte’s on another level. It was the right call to keep the title on Charlotte. As for the future, this likely sets up a WrestleMania triple threat for the Divas Title with Charlotte against Sasha and Becky. That will be awesome.
A WrestleMania 32 commercial aired telling us it’s 42 days away. I’m probably not going this year.
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AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho is next. Here’s a video package.
AJ Styles entered first. There was a nice reaction for his music and entrance. It’s his first singles match on WWE PPV. Chris Jericho was up next. This match has a big match feel to it.
AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho
Jericho went for the Walls of Jericho early, Styles fought out of it, Styles went for the Calf Crusher and Jericho went out of the ring to escape from it. The crowd was doing “AJ Styles/Y2J” chants at the same time as they got back into it in the ring. Styles with a running knee drop. Jericho came back with a chop off the top rope. Styles with a quick dropkick to regain control and then a snap suplex. Another dueling chant from the crowd. Jericho with a back body drop followed by a clothesline to send Styles to the floor. Jericho whipped Styles into the barricade. Back in the ring, Jericho hit a cross body block to take out Styles. JBL was talking about how greats in Japan like Kobashi and Misawa didn’t come to WWE, but Styles did. Jericho was sent to the floor. Styles went after him with a dive over the top, but Jericho nailed a dropkick to counter. Jericho was in control in the ring with a headlock to ground Styles. Clotheslines by Styles and then a leaping clothesline. Styles with a running forearm smash as JBL said “that’s impact.” A nod to TNA or just a comment on a move? You decide. Styles did a flip off the ropes and slammed Jericho down. It didn’t look like it hit perfectly, but it was good enough. Jericho came back with an enziguri for two. Styles countered a Jericho move with a face first slam into the mat. Jericho came back with a Lionsault. Jericho nailed some slaps and set up Jericho on the top rope, but Styles slipped out of it to send Jericho into the top turnbuckle. Styles went for a springboard attack, so Jericho nailed his springboard dropkick that knocked Styles off the top, which earned Jericho a two count.
They exchanged some strikes while on their feet. Styles set up Jericho on the turnbuckle, Jericho slapped him and then Styles hit a Pele Kick while Jericho was on the top rope. Styles wanted a hurricanrana off the top, but Jericho countered it into the Walls of Jericho. Styles teased tapping out, but then he crawled to the ropes to break the hold. The crowd cheered that as Jericho slammed Styles’ head against the apron and then he sent Styles into the barricade head first. Jericho gave Styles a Liontamer submission outside the ring. The ref counted Styles out, but Styles got back in before the count of ten. With Styles going back into the ring, Jericho hit a Codebreaker. Styles’ arm was under the rope to break up the pin. Jericho said Styles is a “stupid son of a bitch” and called him stupid again. Styles came back with strikes including the spinning back fist. Jericho went for a rollup. Styles countered that with a Styles Clash. Jericho kicked out at two. I thought that was it. Styles applied the Calf Crusher submission. Jericho fought it as best he could, teased tapping out and then did tap out after 16 minutes.
Winner by submission: AJ Styles
Analysis: ***1/2 It was another excellent match in this series that they’ve had. They really booked it evenly from start to finish because they each had the advantage for brief periods of time. It’s not like one guy dominated for several minutes. There were nearfalls for each of them. I liked the way they executed the last few minutes. Jericho was able to hit the Codebreaker yet he wasn’t able to get the win with it. When Styles hit the Styles Clash he didn’t win, which was a very believable nearfall. Styles getting the win with the Calf Crusher was a smart way to end it because they need to build it up as a credible submission. I’m a little surprised that the Styles Clash didn’t end it, but that’s okay. He’ll win other matches with it. The important thing is the “new” guy Styles got the win as he should have.
Post match, Styles was celebrating on the turnbuckle. Jericho yanked him down. Jericho teased a punch, but then extended his hand. Styles shook his hand.
Analysis: That seems to be the end of the feud with no heel turn for Jericho. Bring on Styles feuding with Owens for the IC Title please. I don’t know if it’s a WrestleMania match, but I sure hope it is.
The PPV panel of Renee Young, Booker T, Jerry Lawler and Corey Graves talked about things to come as well as the Kickoff Match when Kalisto beat Alberto Del Rio.
The Cutting Edge Peep Show With The New Day
Edge and Christian made their entrance to a huge pop. They were introduced by Tony Chimel who famously did the Rated R Suuuuuuuperstar intro for him. They plugged their show on WWE Network after Fastlane. Edge said it’s great to be back. Christian noted this was the building where the first tag team ladder match took place. Yep it was No Mercy 1999 in Cleveland. They were cut off by the Tag Team Champions The New Day.
The New Day did their promo on the way to the ring. Edge and Christian mentioned that when they started their “Power of Positivity” thing it was brutal and he said he’s never seen so much chocolate act so vanilla. Christian made a joke about Kingston’s fake Jamaican accent. Edge said now they’re like if E&C had a baby with Beyonce. They said suddenly we have entertaining tag team champions again. Big E noted that they don’t rip on local sports teams even though they know that LeBooty (or LeBron) James will not win a title in this city. Kingston said they are not ripoffs of E&C – they’re better than them and better than everybody. Kingston wondered who is better than The New Day: The Ascension (“oh no”), The Usos (“oh no”), The Dudleys (“oh no”), The League of Booty (“oh no”) and so on. Edge did a Sheamus impression followed by Christian doing a Rusev impression and then a “New Day sucks” chant. Xavier Woods talked about how the League of Nations was hot garbage. He said they would say this to their face, but they’re not here.
The League of Nations foursome of Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio, Rusev & King Barrett entered the ring. Sheamus told them to talk trash to their faces. Woods said that they would love to engage in fists with them, but it’s a day of rest, so they’ll just leave. The New Day left.
Edge wondered why they left because King Barrett hasn’t stared at anybody menacingly yet. Edge said that they can’t touch them. Sheamus called them “hip replacement candidates” and Justin Bieber fans. Del Rio told Edge he forced him into retirement. Edge joked that he’s done more as a retired guy in the last five years than Del Rio has done. Edge and Christian left as the heels stayed in the ring. They called them dumbasses. The segment ended with Edge and Christian on the ramp along with The New Day playing the trumpet. Then E&C plugged their show on WWE Network.
Analysis: I had high expectations for this segment. It fell flat because they were trying to do this funny segment, yet there were moments where it was pretty bad. I didn’t expect the League of Nations in this spot. It appears as though they are turning The New Day into faces because Edge & Christian went from arguing with them at the start of that segment to dancing with them. The whole thing was pretty confusing. I’d rather see The New Day stay as heels, but I’m not surprised that WWE would turn them face since they get such a big reaction for everything they do.
There was a commercial for WWE Network.
The Social Outcasts came out for a promo. Is this Raw? Apparently R-Truth has a match with Curtis Axel.
R-Truth vs. Curtis Axel (w/Bo Dallas, Heath Slater &Adam Rose)
The heels used the numbers game to distract Truth and Axel was in control. Dallas led his team in celebrating by running around the ring. Goldust showed up at ringside to support R-Truth. Goldust tripped up Axel without the referee seeing it. Goldust tossed Slater into the barricade at ringside. Axel got a ROLLUP OF DEATH~! to beat Truth after three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Curtis Axel
Analysis: 1/2* Just a short match to fill time. The ROLLUP OF DEATH~! usage made it feel like a match on Raw. That’s not a compliment for what’s supposed to be a PPV event.
Post match, Goldust apologized to Truth for causing a distraction around the ring. Truth just left looking frustrated.
The video package aired to set up the main event.
The order of entrance for the main event. Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar. That entrance by Reigns is so boring. Have him walk down the entrance like everybody else. Give him some pyro. Do something unique for him.
They did the big in-ring intros for the three competitors. Lilian Garcia did the introduction of Ambrose then Reigns. Then Heyman did a huge intro similar to Bruce Buffer of UFC for his client Brock Lesnar.
Number One Contender’s Match for the WWE Title: Dean Ambrose vs. Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman)
The winner of this match gets to face Triple H at WrestleMania for the WWE Title.
Lesnar hit two German Suplex on Reigns early. The crowd is loving everything that Lesnar does. Ambrose nailed a dropkick. He tried to take Ambrose down, but Lesnar blocked it and hit a belly to belly suplex on Ambrose. They went outside the ring where Lesnar took down Reigns. Lesnar with a belly to belly suplex on Ambrose on the floor. That was impressive. Crowd chanted “suplex city” as they went back in the ring and Lesnar gave Reigns a German Suplex. Lesnar hit a F5 on Reigns and went for the pin, but Ambrose broke up the pin. That was at the five-minute mark with a F5 by Lesnar. Ambrose slapped Lesnar in the face and Lesnar came back with a German Suplex on Ambrose. The crowd was going wild for Lesnar as he hit Ambrose with two German Suplexes. Lesnar wanted a F5 on Ambrose, but Reigns nailed a Spear for a two count. That’s the first good shot on Lesnar, so makes sense that Lesnar is able to kick out. Reigns nailed a Superman Punch that led to Lesnar rolling to the floor. Reigns jumped off the steps to attack Lesnar, but Lesnar caught him on his shoulders. That was impressive. Ambrose nailed a low blow to take out Lesnar. Ambrose cleared off the Spanish announce table. Reigns and Ambrose picked up Lesnar and gave him a Powerbomb through the table.
Ambrose attacked Reigns outside the ring. Ambrose nailed a bulldog in the ring. Ambrose with a flying elbow attack on a standing Reigns in the ring for two. They exchanged some punches in the ring and Ambrose nailed a clothesline to take down Reigns. Lesnar got back to his feet while Ambrose and Reigns noticed him getting back up. Ambrose and Reigns worked together to send Lesnar into the barricade. Ambrose cleared off the English announce table and Reigns gave Lesnar a Powerbomb through that table. Reigns and Ambrose put pieces of the announce table on top of Lesnar.
Back in the ring, Reigns nailed some clotheslines, an uppercut and a rollup into a slam attempt, but Ambrose fought out of it. When Ambrose jumped off the turnbuckle, Reigns countered it with a Superman Punch. Ambrose got his knee up to counter a Spear and then Reigns went shoulder first into the turnbuckle. Ambrose nailed Dirty Deeds for a two count. Reigns picked up Ambrose for a Samoan Drop, but Lesnar came back with a German Suplex on Reigns while Ambrose rolled out to the floor. Reigns hit a Spear on Lesnar. He wanted a cover, but Lesnar quickly applied the Kimura Lock. Reigns was in pain, but he didn’t tap out. Ambrose brought a steel chair into the ring and he hit the back of Lesnar several times. Then Ambrose nailed Reigns in the back with the chair a few times. Ambrose hit another chair shot to send Lesnar out of the ring. When Ambrose turned around, Reigns nailed Ambrose with a Spear. Reigns covered for the pinfall win after 18 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Roman Reigns
Analysis: **** That was a great triple threat match full of some memorable high spots, big moments for all three guys and a finish that was predictable even though I’m sure some people were angry about it. Would it have been better to have Ambrose win? Yeah, but I didn’t expect it. I liked the way Lesnar was booked in the match with him dominating early on, then the other two had to work together to put him through the tables twice to stop him and he came back to dominate again. That spot where he did a German Suplex while Reigns had Ambrose up for a Samoan Drop was pretty cool. The match actually reminded me of the Lesnar/Rollins/Cena match from Royal Rumble 2015 (my match of the year) although it was a notch below that. The only thing I really didn’t like is that Ambrose nailed Reigns with a few chair shots to the back, Reigns sold it for about five seconds before coming back with a Spear and the win. It just felt like it was too soon. It makes Reigns look like too much of a Superman. Ambrose did a great job all match. I’m not sure who he or Lesnar will face at WrestleMania. Maybe they face eachother? Since there was no Wyatt Family interference they might end up doing that. I’m not really sure. Overall, I enjoyed this match a lot.
(UPDATE: It turns out that Lesnar will face Ambrose at WrestleMania according to a report post Fastlane. Here's my story on that with some thoughts on that match as well.)
Post match, Reigns stood on the turnbuckle and stared at the WrestleMania sign. It sounded like some boos to me, but it wasn’t overwhelming. Very possible that WWE tried to drown out the response by muting the crowd. Some fireworks went off as Reigns celebrated.
Triple H walked out with the WWE Title on his shoulder. He entered the ring, stared at Reigns, stared at the sign and then they posed in front of the sign for a final image to end the night. The show ended at 10:50pmET.
Analysis: They are experienced at staring at the sign. I can’t say I’m that excited about this match, but I knew it was coming and I’m sure Hunter has no problem doing the clean job to put over Reigns. It’s an obvious match result for a match that will have six weeks to build up while the announcers try to drive home the point that Triple H is the best WWE superstar ever. He’s not, but they will certainly try to make that point.
I'm sure the Roman haters are going to be so angry about the finish that they will threaten to quit watching and all that kind of stuff. Match results never bother me that much although in this case I understand why some fans are going to be mad. The guy isn't liked the way WWE wants him to be and they are still pushing him. In WWE's eyes, it's not a big deal because WrestleMania may do the biggest gate in company history and will be the most profitable show in company history. They're going to do everything they can to credit Reigns for it even though it's the WrestleMania name that sold all those tickets months in advance. That's just how WWE is. As much as they say they listen to the fans, they're really not doing it in this case. Will it hurt business short term? Probably not. Long term? I doubt it. The company is healthy right now even with the wrong guys main eventing WrestleMania.
Five Stars of the Show
1. Brock Lesnar
2. Dean Ambrose
3. Kevin Owens
4. AJ Styles
5. Dolph Ziggler
It gets a 6 out of 10 from me.
- This was a tough show to rate because I think the top three matches were all excellent, but some booking decisions confused me. I’m giving the majority of that 6 to the in-ring performance because I think the talent did a great job in the time they were given for the most part.
- As I mentioned above there will be people hating this show just because of the result of the main event. They will ignore my opinion that it was a fantastic wrestling match simply due to their dislike of the Roman Reigns character. I felt like they could have booked the finish better. Other than that, it was pretty enjoyable.
- Really good wins for Kevin Owens and AJ Styles. I hope they’re feuding over the IC Title at WrestleMania. Since Owens mentioned Styles in a tweet about WrestleMania, maybe they are going forward with that feud.
- I love Edge and Christian, but that segment with The New Day bombed. It looks like they are using that segment to try to turn New Day into faces. I’m not sure if that will work that well. As soon as the League of Nations went out there, the crowd died. I wanted that whole thing to work. Too bad it didn’t.
- Both women's matches were pretty good. I'm really excited about Charlotte vs. Becky vs. Sasha potentially at WrestleMania.
- Why put Kane, Big Show & Ryback over? The whole point of the reunited Wyatt Family is for them to look strong as a group yet they are losing to a bunch of guys that don’t win that much. I just don’t get the logic behind it. Do the two guys in their 40s and the bald guy in the new ring gear really need wins? I don’t think so.
- I’m a little surprised by no Lesnar interaction with the Wyatt Family. I’m not sure who Lesnar might face at WrestleMania, but if it’s Dean Ambrose in a match designed to make Ambrose a bigger star then I’m all for it. Even in a face vs. face match it would do really well. Once again, here's my story on that one.
- There is a major void in the roster right now in terms of top heels. You can tell that just by looking at the shows every week. Aside from Owens, they have done a terrible job of booking heels. Too many strong babyfaces. Not enough jerks.
WWE PPV Rankings In 2016 So Far
Royal Rumble - 7.5
Fastlane - 6
Check out the Raw Deal posted on Monday at TJRWrestling and Tuesday at other sites. Have a great week.
John Canton – firstname.lastname@example.org