The Kickoff Show match was Tye Dillinger, Tyler Breeze and Fandango winning a match against Mojo Rawley, Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin. I don't plan to review it.
March 11, 2018
Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio
The opening video package aired focusing on the Six Pack Challenge main event match for the WWE Championship. It also focused on the US Title, Women’s Title and Tag Team Title matches, but mostly on the WWE Championship match.
There was a shot of the crowd in Columbus with Tom Phillips saying it was a sold out crowd with over 15,000 fans there.
Shinsuke Nakamura made his entrance to a thunderous ovation like usual. The sign pointing started with him as he pointed at the WrestleMania.
The announce team of Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton and Corey Graves welcomed us to the show.
Aiden English appeared on the stage holding a “Happy Rusev Day” microphone. English did a song about Rusev Day and he ripped on Columbus. Later in the promo, he paused to let the crowd sing “Rusev Day” so it was heelish and a face promo playing into the crowd. Rusev made his entrance with a “Happy Rusev Day” shirt.
Analysis: Interesting choice for an opener, but I think it’s the right choice because the crowd is going to be hot for a match like this.
The Spanish announce team was shown at ringside along with the German announce team. They both told you to check out TJRWrestling.net every day. You’re welcome for the translation.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Rusev (w/Aiden English)
The crowd was chanting “Nakamura” and “Rusev Day” as the dueling chants began. Rusev with a running shoulder tackle, Nakamura tried a kick and Rusev held onto the ropes to avoid it. Nakamura came back with a knee drop. They were posturing, Nakamura stepped away, did his “come on” taunt and Rusev bailed to the floor. Rusev went back in the ring and then he left to the floor again. Nakamura followed Rusev out of the ring leading to a knee lift on the apron followed by a knee to the back of Rusev. The dueling chants were back as Rusev knocked down Nakamura while he was on the apron. Rusev whipped Nakamura into the barricade and back first into the side of the ring apron. Rusev drove Nakamura into the barricade again. Nakamura countered a headlock by slapping in a heel hook/ankle lock, but Rusev got to the ropes. Nakamura went for a kick, Rusev caught him and Rusev hit a spinning slam for a two count. Rusev slapped on another headlock. Nakamura came back with a jumping kick to the chest. Nakamura with the chest kicks followed by the kick to the head. Nakamura with a running knee in the corner followed by the running knee lift to the gut for a two count. Nakamura slapped on a front facelock. Rusev countered with a fallaway slam. Nice counter to that hold. Rusev with a knee to the gut followed by a roundhouse kick to the head for a two count. Nakamura avoided a kick with a punch to the throat, Nakamura avoided another kick and hit a kick to the back of the neck. Nakamura charged in, Rusev avoided it and got a rollup for two. Nakamura went for the Accolade submission, but Nakamura countered into a rollup for two. Nakamura hit the lefty spin kick. Nakamura went for the Kinshasa, but Rusev recovered and hit he Machka Kick for a two count. What a great sell by Nakamura flipping over and landing right on his head. Rusev was frustrated that he couldn’t put Nakamura away. Nakamura avoided an Accolade submission attempt and hit a running knee to the back of the head. Nakamura hit the Kinshasa running knee strike to a huge ovation and Nakamura covered for the win after 14 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Shinsuke Nakamura
Analysis: ***1/2 It was a competitive, hard hitting match that was done to put Nakamura over as expected. Rusev got in a lot of offense and looked like he belonged in there with the Royal Rumble winner Nakamura. I’m glad it went as long as it did because it showed how Rusev was good enough to nearly the win the match. We knew Nakamura would go over and if it went only 10 minutes that would have been acceptable, but they got more than that. That was a good decision. I loved the spot where Nakamura was going for the Kinshasa, but Rusev was ready for it and hit the Machka Kick for the best nearfall of the match. Nakamura coming back to win was the right decision because it gives him momentum as the Royal Rumble winner.
Post match, Nakamura celebrated the win by pointing at the WrestleMania sign since that’s where he’s getting his WWE Title match.
The WrestleMania video aired noting it was 28 days away.
A video package aired to set up Bobby Roode vs. Randy Orton for the US Title. It’s not like the story for this feud has been that good that it needs a video, but they got it anyway.
Randy Orton made his entrance first to a good response. Bobby Roode’s glorious entrance was well received like usual. They waited in the ring for the in-ring intros since it’s a championship match.
United States Championship: Bobby Roode vs. Randy Orton
It’s a matchup between two faces. It was a slow start to the match. Roode with a running shoulder tackle and Orton came back with a back elbow. Roode went for the RKO, but Roode shoved him off and Roode left the ring to take a break. Roode went for the Glorious DDT, so Orton bailed to the floor for a break. Jinder Mahal and Sunil Singh was shown watching the match backstage. Back in the ring, Orton took control with a suplex where he sent Roode’s waist into the top rope. Orton whipped Roode hard into the turnbuckle and Roode came back with a clothesline. They were working at a slow pace as Orton hit a suplex. Running forearm by Roode, a clothesline, a corner clothesline and a neckbreaker. Roode went up top with a clothesline. Roode wanted the Glorious DDT, but Orton countered with two clotheslines followed by a powerslam. Roode avoided the DDT off the ropes, he sent Orton to the apron and Orton drove Roode’s throat into the top rope. Roode came back with the Blockbuster neckbreaker for a two count. Orton came back with the draping DDT off the ropes. Orton with a back body drop counter to the DDT leading to a pin for two. Roode with a clothesline that sent Orton over the top to the floor. They battled on the floor with Orton sending Roode into the barricade and a back suplex onto the barricade. Orton sent Roode into the ring for a two count.
Orton set up Roode for a superplex. Roode countered by hitting Orton in the back and Roode hit a Powerbomb out of the corner for a two count. That was a good spot. Roode sat up against the ropes looking frustrated that he couldn’t put Orton away. Roode went up top, Orton tripped him up and Orton hit the patented superplex off the top rope. That drew a big reaction. Both guys sold it well. Orton slowly crawled over for a cover for a two count. They exchanged strikes. Roode managed to hit a spinebuster for a two count. Roode was favoring the ribs while Orton was favoring the back. Orton charged at Roode in the corner, Roode got a boot up and Roode went to the middle rope. Roode jumped off the ropes and Orton countered with a RKO for the pinfall win after 19 minutes. The RKO off the ropes drew a huge ovation for the crowd.
Winner by pinfall and New United States Champion: Randy Orton
Analysis: *** Good match with a hot ending due to that incredible RKO that really did come out of nowhere. It was a long match with a slow pace. If they shaved off a few minutes it probably would have helped the match because I don’t think they needed to go nearly 20 minutes. The timing of a match is so important because it can hurt it sometimes, which it did in this case. I didn’t expect a title change, but it’s fine because it tells the story of Orton winning a title he’s never won before. Roode did a good job of showing emotion through the match by selling frustration about how he couldn’t beat Orton, which added to the match. The pop for that ending by Orton was really loud, which shows how credible the RKO finish is.
Orton celebrated with the United States Title while replays showed what happened in the match. The story is that Orton is now a Grand Slam Champion in WWE: World Champion, Intercontinental Champion, Tag Team Champion and US Champion.
Jinder Mahal’s entrance music played and Mahal went down to the ring.
Mahal stomped away on Orton. Roode snuck up behind Mahal, he kicked him in the gut and hit a Glorious DDT on Mahal. Roode picked up a fallen Orton and hit a Glorious DDT on Orton as well. Orton and Mahal were down in the ring while Roode left as his music played.
Analysis: The attack from Mahal was no surprise because this is clearly going to lead to 3-Way feud with these three guys. I hope this leads to a heel turn from Roode. Roode can turn heel because he’s frustrated that he lost a big match to Orton. He has been miscast as a face. I know the “glorious” chant entrance is fun to watch, but Roode has always been better as a heel. The heel turn may not happen because Mahal’s involved in this feud as a heel. I just think it would be better for Roode if he was a heel.
A commercial aired for Tapout body spray with John Cena.
There was a long video package about the WrestleMania match from the Raw brand with Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle wrestling against Stephanie McMahon and Triple H. The video ran about five minutes. Way to promote Raw on a Smackdown show.
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn were backstage. Owens was mad with Zayn about kicking him and pinning him to win the 5-Way match on Smackdown.
The women entered for the tag team match.
The international announcers were shown in the arena: Portuguese, Russian, Japanese (hey Funaki), Hindi, French and Mandarin.
Natalya and Carmella vs. Becky Lynch and Naomi
There is not much of a story for this match other than some small trash talk last week on Smackdown and of course social media chatter.
There was a nice stunner like move by Naomi on Natalya early in the match. Natalya took over for the heel side. Carmella tagged in as the heels took control. Carmella had on some pink and black gear to try to match with her partner Natalya. Naomi tried to fight back, but Carmella pulled her down by the hair. Natalya slapped on a chinlock. Naomi nearly tagged out, but Natalya drove Naomi into the corner. Carmella did a handstand against the ropes where she had her legs around Naomi’s throat. Carmella with a running knee lift. Naomi fought out of the corner, avoided a suplex from Natalya and Lynch got the hot tag. Lynch with two clotheslines, a leg lariat, kick to the gut and an overhead suplex on Natalya. Lynch with a missile dropkick off the top sent Natalya into the corner and Carmella tagged in. Carmella with a jawbreaker on Lynch. Naomi with a sunset flip on Carmella. Naomi with a kick to the head. Lynch tagged in with a leg drop off the top rope. Natalya broke up the pin. Natalya sent Naomi out of the ring. Lynch with a back elbow on Carmella. Natalya distracted and Carmella hit a headscissors to take Lynch down off the ropes. Naomi saved Lynch. The ref was distracted by Naomi, Natalya was on the apron with the briefcase, Lynch was distracted by that and Carmella hit a superkick on Lynch to win the match. It went about 10 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Natalya and Carmella
Analysis: **1/4 It was a standard tag match with heels outsmarting the faces to get the win. I thought they might put Lynch and Naomi over, but I’m glad that Carmella got the win for her team because she needs it from a credibility standpoint as the Money in the Bank holder. The women worked well together. The problem was no story and the crowd was dead for a lot of it, so that hurt the match too.
There was a video with The New Day talking about how they wanted to host the Kids Choice Awards next year since John Cena is hosting this year. I’m too old for this show sometimes.
The video package aired to set up The Usos vs. The New Day.
The New Day made their entrance with the pancakes. The Usos entered with the Smackdown Tag Team Titles.
Smackdown Tag Team Champions: The Usos (Jimmy & Jey) vs. The New Day – Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods (w/Big E)
The Usos were in control against Woods early on. Kingston got the tag with a leaping clothesline followed by a boom drop. Jey Uso with a leaping kick on Kingston. Jey charged, Kingston avoided it and hit a double stomp. Kingston did a running butt splash in the corner. The Usos did a unicorn stampede earlier. Jimmy was the legal Uso, he hit a popup Samoan Drop and a boom drop. Jey got the blind tag, Jimmy picked up Kingston and The Usos hid the Midnight Hour (a New Day move) for a two count. Lots of move stealing early on in this match. Jey charged at Kingston, who moved and Jey hit a leaping attack that saw him hit the ring post. Woods tagged in with a knee for Jimmy and Jey rolled him up for two. Jey with a superkick, Woods with a forearm and a superkick. Woods with a superkick on Jimmy and another superkick on Jey. Kingston tagged in, Woods with a superkick on Jey and Kingston hit an Uso-like Superfly Splash for a two count. Woods went up top, so did Kingston and Jimmy sent Kingston to the floor. Jimmy with a back body drop on Woods to send him out of the ring. The Usos ran the ropes and hit dives over the top rope to take out all three members of The New Day.
All five guys were out on the floor and The Bludgeon Brothers music hit. Harper and Rowan attacked both teams outside the ring. The crowd booed while the ref called for the bell. It went around ten minutes.
Match Result: No Contest
Analysis: **1/2 It was fun while it lasted. The story of the match was that they were so familiar with eachother that they could do the other team’s moves. I liked the way they set up those spots.
Harper and Rowan used their mallets as weapons, which is a bit silly since they are really just toy mallets. They sent one of the Usos into the ring steps. Harper nailed a spinning slam on the other Uso. Harper and Rowan with kicks to the head of Woods followed by a double suplex on Woods on the floor. Rowan with a back body drop on Kingston on the floor. Rowan with a running cross body block on Big E on the floor. Harper slammed Jimmy on the floor and Rowan slammed Jey onto Jimmy. Rowan slammed Harper onto both Usos. Rowan with a running splash on both Usos. Rowan swung the mallet, one of the Usos moved and Harper sent him over the barricade with a clothesline. Harper and Rowan got the bottom of the steel steps. Harper with a Powerbomb on Woods on the bottom half of the steps. Ouch. That looked like a rough landing. The Bludgeon Brothers music played to end it.
There were some EMTs that went to ringside with a stretcher for Xavier Woods. The other wrestlers were down around ringside. Woods was selling it by convulsing.
Analysis: This is what I saw coming, which I wrote in my preview because of the way the segment ended two weeks ago. The Bludgeon Brothers destroying both teams sets up a possible three team or four team (if they add Gable and Benjamin) match at WrestleMania that could be a Ladder Match. It was a vicious beating by the Bludgeon Brothers that made them look like badasses that will be hard to beat.
A video package aired about Roman Reigns’ road to WrestleMania against Brock Lesnar. It focused on the Reigns promo from two weeks ago when he said he didn’t fear that bitch (Lesnar).
The injured Usos and New Day were shown at ringside getting helped to the back.
AJ Styles, the WWE Champion, was interviewed by Renee Young. Styles said he’s been dealing with this stuff his whole life and he turns the impossible into the possible. Styles talked about what will happen when he wins. Shinsuke Nakamura showed up with a towel around his neck. Nakamura said he wants Styles to win and Styles said he’ll defend his WWE Title tonight as well as when he beats Nakamura at WrestleMania.
Analysis: I’m ready for that match at WrestleMania. It will be a highlight of the show for sure.
Replays were shown of The Bludgeon Brothers vicious attack on The New Day and The Usos.
Woods was shown getting rolled away on a stretcher while Big E, Kofi Kingston, Jimmy Usos and Jey Uso were all helped to the back. The crowd cheered them.
A video package aired about Smackdown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair and the challenger Ruby Riott.
Ruby Riott made her entrance alone. Normally she has her buddies Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan with her, but not tonight.
Charlotte, the Smackdown Women’s Champion, made her entrance to a good ovation.
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair vs. Ruby Riott
Riott went for her leaping kick early on, but Charlotte was ready for it. Charlotte went for the Figure Four and Riott kicked her away. Charlotte hit a fallaway slam. Riott jumped on Charlotte’s back, so Charlotte ran to the floor and it was a rough landing for both women. Logan and Morgan showed up at ringside. Riott with a kick to the back of the head when Charlotte was distracted by the women on the floor. Riott hit her Riott Kick to the head for a two count. Riott sent Charlotte to the floor, Morgan and Logan tried to attack, but Becky Lynch and Naomi went to ringside in support of Charlotte. Riott with a vertical suplex. Charlotte came back with a slingshot suplex like Tully Blanchard used to do. Riott sent Charlotte face first into the turnbuckle. Riott dove off the ropes back first onto Charlotte for a two count. Riott pulled back on Charlotte’s arms to keep her grounded. This lasted for a few minutes. The fans were not very interested in this. Riott with a STO on Charlotte to take her down again. Riott went for her back splash off the ropes again, but Charlotte got her knees into the back of Riott. Charlotte hit a neckbreaker off the ropes. Charlotte went up top, Riott got back up and shoved Charlotte off the top rope sending Charlotte crashing into the barricade. Riott went for a dive out of the ring, Charlotte caught her and Charlotte hit an overhead suplex on Riott. Charlotte hit a moonsault off the barricade on Riott although it was just her arm that connected. That got a two count by Charlotte. Running knee to the face by Charlotte on Riott. Charlotte went up top, Riott with a forearm and Graves mentioned how impressive Riott looked. Riott went up top with a hurricanrana for a two count.
They got into a slapfest that Charlotte won followed by several chops from Charlotte to Riott’s chest. Flair with a backbreaker and sent Riott into the ropes although that looked sloppy. I’m not sure if that was the intent. Riott kicked the knee of Charlotte and Riott sent Charlotte into the turnbuckle. Logan and Morgan teased going into the ring, so Lynch and Naomi went into the ring. The ref sent Lynch and Naomi to the back, which allowed Logan and Morgan to punch Charlotte. Ref Mike Chioda sent Logan and Morgan to the back as well. Charlotte recovered with a chop and a back suplex. Riott with an inside cradle for two. Riott tried a reverse hurricanrana type move and Charlotte whipped her face first into the turnbuckle. That was a unique spot. Charlotte hit a running Spear. Charlotte slapped on the Figure Eight submission. Riott tapped out on the leg of Charlotte and Charlotte won by submission after 14 minutes.
Winner by submission: Charlotte Flair
Analysis: ***1/4 That was a really good match with Riott getting in plenty of offense from start to finish. The problem with it is that the fans didn’t really buy into the idea that Riott would win. When Riott hit her finisher and got a nearfall, there was no reaction. The action got better as it went on, though, so credit both women for having a good match. I loved the spot where Charlotte countered a reverse hurricanrana into a move where she sent Riott face first into the turnbuckle. It would be nice if Charlotte actually worked on the legs a bit to set up her finisher because it would help from a psychology standpoint. Charlotte winning was no surprise. I don’t think anybody believed Riott might win.
After the match was over, Asuka’s music hit and the Royal Rumble winner entered in her wrestling gear. Asuka got a good reaction from the crowd.
Asuka had a staredown with Charlotte Flair. Fans chanted “yes” for it. Asuka pointed at the WrestleMania sign, which is all you really need to do. Asuka’s music played and that ended the segment. Charlotte had a smile on her face while the announcers freaked out about this dream match at WrestleMania.
Analysis: This was expected since Asuka won the Royal Rumble. I think it’s a dream match as well because they are arguably the two best women on the WWE roster right now, so I’m excited to see what they can do at WrestleMania. It has the potential to be one of the best women’s matches in WWE history. Moving Asuka to Smackdown makes sense to keep her away from Ronda Rousey until a potential match at next year’s WrestleMania.
A trailer aired for the Andre the Giant documentary on HBO on April 10.
Analysis: That’s going to be great. I’m looking forward to it.
The announcers talked about the Bludgeon Brothers attack on The New Day and The Usos. Phillips claimed that Woods had a “thoracic spine contusion” or something like that. They love contusions with their fake injuries.
A video package aired for the Six Pack Challenge for the WWE Championship.
Shane McMahon, the Smackdown Commissioner, made his entrance to watch the main event at ringside. No sign of General Manager Daniel Bryan.
John Cena was the first man introduced for the Six Pack Challenge. It was a mixed reaction as usual for Cena, but there were a lot of cheers for him.
Baron Corbin was up next. There wasn’t much of a reaction for him. Corbin tried to get in Cena’s face, but the ref kept him back.
Dolph Ziggler was up next with his no music entrance and then his music started to play as he walked down to the ring. Ziggler had on pink tights.
Kevin Owens got a mix of cheers and boos as he wore a red KO shirt. Owens was fired up. Sami Zayn’s music hit before Owens even got to the ring, so Zayn skipped out to the ring and walked right past Owens.
AJ Styles, the WWE Champion, was up last. Huge ovation for him as usual.
All six guys stood in the ring as ring announcer Greg Hamilton introduced them individually since that’s what they do for championship matches in WWE.
WWE Championship Six-Pack Challenge: AJ Styles vs. John Cena vs. Baron Corbin vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn
First fall wins the match and the WWE Championship. No disqualifications or countouts in a multi-man match like this. It’s going to be tough to get all the action in this match, but as always I’ll do my best.
Cena hit Zayn, Owens, Corbin and Ziggler with the Attitude Adjustment all in a row. They all bumped to the floor. Styles didn’t charge at Cena, so they had a face off. Cena and Styles exchanged punches. Styles avoided the Attitude Adjustment, he kicked Cena in the legs and Cena put Styles on the apron. The five guys surrounded Cena, who was alone in the ring. All five guys stomped away on Cena in a 5 on 1 beatdown and they dumped Cena out of the ring. Owens and Styles brawled on the floor, so Corbin went over to beat both guys up. Corbin whipped Owens into the barricade. Back in the ring, Styles got a rollup on Corbin and sent Corbin out of the ring. Styles dumped Zayn out of the ring. Styles got a rollup on Owens for two followed by a pick up into a face first slam. Styles with a forearm on Corbin and a neckbreaker on Ziggler. Styles with a leap out of the corner followed by a reverse DDT on Zayn for a two count. Owens broke up the pin. Styles set up Owens on the top rope, but Owens fought back with a headbutt. Corbin tossed Styles out of the ring. Corbin boot on Zayn. Cena took out Corbin and Ziggler hit a DDT on Cena. Owens with a Frog Splash on Ziggler for two as Styles broke up the pin. Styles with a Pele Kick on Owens and Owens came back with a back body drop that sent Styles out of the ring. Corbin with a Chokeslam backbreaker on Owens. Ziggler with a Zig Zag on Corbin. Cena back in with shoulder tackles on Ziggler followed by the spinning slam. Cena with a spinning slam on Zayn. Cena with a Five Knuckle Shuffle on Ziggler and Zayn. Cena went for the AA on Ziggler, but Ziggler countered into a Fameasser for two. That was impressive. Cena avoided the superkick by Ziggler and slapped on the STF. Styles broke up the submission. Styles hit the Styles Clash on Cena for two as Zayn broke up the pin. Corbin with a knee to Zayn’s stomach and a punch that sent Zayn out of the ring. Corbin did his slide out of the ring and go back in clothesline on Owens. Corbin hit the Deep Six slam on Styles that looked great. Ziggler managed to send Corbin out of the ring, so Corbin tossed Ziggler over the barricade into the crowd. Corbin charged at Ziggler in the area in the crowd where the hockey boards were and Corbin drove Ziggler into the boards. That looked nasty.
Back at ringside, Owens cleared off two announce tables. Owens picked up Styles, but Styles came back with an enziguri kick. Styles with a clothesline on Zayn that sent both of them over the barricade. Cena took advantage of a staggered Owens going for the AA, but Owens fought out of it. Styles went after Cena and Cena hit an Attitude Adjustment on Styles that sent him through the English announce table. Back in the ring, Owens boot on Cena and Zayn clothesline on Cena. Zayn and Owens were the only two men left in the ring, so they had a big showdown. Zayn told Owens he said he was going to do it, so he’s going to do it. Zayn laid down in the ring. Owens slowly went to cover and he went to pick Zayn up, but Zayn got an inside cradle for two. Owens and Zayn got into a slugfest. They left the ring with Owens whipping Zayn into the barricade. They fought on the apron with Zayn hitting a back body drop on Owens on the side of the ring apron. Ouch. That looked nasty. Zayn yelled at Shane, so Shane stood up to stare at him. Owens went for a superkick on Zayn, but Zayn moved and Owens nailed Shane with a superkick. Zayn hit his incredible leaping DDT on the floor on Owens through the ropes. Fans chanted “this is awesome” for them and I agree. Owens with a superkick on Zayn. Ziggler went back in the ring and Owens hit a Popup Powerbomb on him. The ref counted two, so Shane pulled the ref out of the ring to break up the pin. Zayn with a Helluva Kick on Owens. The ref counted two, so Shane pulled Zayn out of the ring. Ziggler covered Owens for a two count as Zayn went into the ring to break up the pin. The match is around 20 minutes at this point.
Baron Corbin was back in the mix with the steel steps in his hands. Corbin hit Cena with the steps on the floor. Corbin brought the steps into the ring and he hit Zayn, Ziggler and Owens with them. Cena took the steel steps from Corbin and hit Corbin with them. Cena hit the AA on Corbin on the steel steps for a two count since Ziggler went into the ring to break up the pin. Cena went for a steel steps attack on Ziggler, but Ziggler moved and Ziggler hit a superkick on Cena. Cena came back with an AA on Ziggler. Cena went for another one, but Owens was back in and Owens hit a Popup Powerbomb on Cena. Styles got back into it with a Phenomenal Forearm on Owens. Styles covered Owens to win the match after 22 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: AJ Styles
Analysis: ****1/4 That was an outstanding main event match as I expected. Styles winning was also expected. The story of the match was about how Styles was taken out by being put through the table, a lot of other crazy stuff happened and Styles managed to come back with the Phenomenal Forearm for the victory. The other big happening was when Owens accidentally hit Shane McMahon with a superkick (Owens was aiming for Zayn), which set up Shane costing Owens the win and then he cost Zayn the win. That should lead to some sort of match at WrestleMania with Shane and Owens/Zayn. A tag match would make a lot of sense. Baron Corbin and Dolph Ziggler did well in terms of getting some offense in. John Cena hit the AA so many times that I lost count. He was on fire in there. I don’t think this Cena story is that great because it’s ridiculous to think Cena has “no path to WrestleMania,” but I like how intense Cena has been in the build up in this storyline. The match was a lot of fun. Great job by everybody involved.
Replays aired of the key spots in the match showing Shane’s involvement and Styles coming back to win.
Styles celebrated with the WWE Championship. Shane McMahon applauded Styles while walking past a fallen Zayn and Owens, who had these great evil stares on their faces as they looked at Shane. Cena looked sad while sitting against the turnbuckle. When the camera closed in on Cena’s face, Cena pushed the camera. What an actor.
A graphic was shown telling us it’s AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the WWE Championship. Styles celebrated with the WWE Title some more as he stared at the WrestleMania sign and talked about how he’s going to WrestleMania. Styles posed with the WWE Title while the WrestleMania sign was visible above him. The show ended there.
Analysis: Thank you WWE for setting up AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura the right way. Styles is a champion with credibility and Nakamura is the Royal Rumble winner. First time ever in WWE. It should be an awesome match.
This event had a run time of 2 hours, 56 minutes.
Five Stars of the Show
- AJ Styles
- Sami Zayn
- Kevin Owens
- Shinsuke Nakamura
- John Cena
It gets a 7 out of 10 from me.
It was an enjoyable show with plenty of good matches including a very entertaining main event match. The opener with Nakamura beating Rusev set the tone early on as well. I enjoyed the Women’s Title match as well. Orton vs. Roode went too long, which hurt the quality of the match, but it was still good for the most part. The Bludgeon Brothers destroying both tag teams in the title match was what I expected and it sets up a potential showdown at WrestleMania.
Fastlane was a predictable show, but also an entertaining one and set the stage well for WrestleMania on the Smackdown brand.
Pay-Per-View Rankings for 2018
Royal Rumble – 8
Fastlane - 7
Thanks for reading this review. My contact info is below. I’ll be back during the week with Raw and Smackdown reviews as usual.