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WWE Fastlane recap & reactions (Mar. 11, 2018): Onwards to WrestleMania (finally)


WWE Fastlane took place last night (Mar. 11), emanating from the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. You can find the results at the most glorious live blog here.

AJ Styles wins the Six Pack Challenge to retain the WWE championship

It was the outcome we all figured, but it was still the correct call. Fans want AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, and that’s what we’re getting.

The match was fun. They paced it very well, giving us plenty of fun moments with little down time between them. Like when John Cena started the match with an AA to everyone except AJ Styles. However, soon, the five other men were attacking him.

AJ Styles took a big time AA through the announce table later on, which kept him out of action until he was able to get back in and hit the Phenomenal Forearm to Kevin Owens for the win.

But the biggest moments were with Shane McMahon, Kevin Owens, and Sami Zayn. They played a backstage segment earlier in the night where Sami told Kevin that pinning him last Tuesday didn’t mean he wouldn’t keep his word and lay down for Owens in the main event. So there were still questions surrounding these guy coming into the match.

Despite Kevin showing no trust in Zayn, Sami still laid down for him. However, given last Tuesday, KO was very apprehensive. Because of that, instead of immediately going for the pin, he tried to pick up Sami for a Pop Up Powerbomb. That’s when Zayn tried to roll him up. Kevin kicked out and fighting ensued.

Their fight spilled to the outside. When Sami got in the face of Shane McMahon, who was watching at ringside, and yelled at him for driving a wedge between him and Kevin, Owens tried to superkick his friend. However, Sami moved and KO superkicked Shane. Oops.

Soon, Kevin hit a powerbomb on Ziggler in the ring and went for the cover but Shane pulled the referee out of the ring, stopping the count and preventing Owens from winning the title. Immediately after, Sami hit a Helluva Kick to KO and covered him, but Shane pulled him out of the ring too.

McMahon has meddled before, but never to this degree. This time, he actively affected the outcome of a championship match. GM Daniel Bryan wasn’t in the building to stop him.

The Bryan/Shane bit has gone on way too long, but I felt this finally pushed it to another level. They put the idea in our heads that Bryan may be biased, but tonight proves that DBry was right. Without him keeping Shane in check, McMahon was going to get too involved. I credit them for making me curious about this story after I was done with it for so long. But I’m prepared to be disappointed.

And then there’s John Cena. Listen, no one is buying he’s not going to be at WrestleMania. They literally do all they can every year to get every single person on the card. If he were coming out and saying he needs to be in a marquee match to prove he still has it, that’d be fine. But the whole idea that Cena loses this match and won’t be at WrestleMania is way too silly. We’ll find out where that goes this week.

With this match behind us, we now get to look forward to Styles/Nakamura, what’s next for Cena, and what’s going to happen with Shane after he prevented both Owens and Zayn from winning the title.

Charlotte def. Ruby Riott to retain her title, Asuka comes out to challenge her for WrestleMania

IT’S ON!!!

After Charlotte successfully defended her title against Ruby Riott (more about that in a moment), Asuka’s music played and the women’s Royal Rumble winner danced her way to the ring, stared at Charlotte, pointed at the WrestleMania sign, and left. Not a word said.


They did a great job at misdirection. I had read the rumors that it would be Asuka/Charlotte and Nia Jax/Alexa Bliss, but they way they booked Raw recently had me convinced until last Monday that it would be Bliss vs. Asuka.

This was always the money match. Alexa Bliss didn’t feel like much of a challenge for the Empress. But Charlotte - she’s been built as the top woman in the company for years now. And then comes the undefeated Asuka and it really is the unstoppable force versus the immovable object.

Those three minutes pretty much overshadowed the match, but that doesn’t mean the match wasn’t good. In fact, Riott vs. Charlotte was really good. Riott’s personality really shined through here, trash talking every step of the way. There was a bit with the Riott Squad trying to interfere and Becky and Naomi stopping them, but that thankfully didn’t dominate the bout. They should have their moments but it shouldn’t completely detract from match.

Overall, this was all fun stuff.

New Day vs. the Usos end in a no contest due to a Bludgeon Brothers attack

Look, matches that don’t have finishes are always a bit disappointing. But this is pretty much the perfect time to run it.

We’ve seen the Usos and New Day plenty and either finish would have felt a bit “been there, done that.” Not that it wouldn’t have been great. But they had seven one on one matches last year so it’s not like we were missing out on something new.

The match before Harper and Rowan interfered was predictably great. This time, after their promo from two weeks ago teased new animosity between the teams, both tried to win in the most insulting way possible: With the other team’s finishers.

But as we saw, they didn’t get to win with such an insult, or win at all. Harper and Rowan came out when both teams were down at ringside and then they BLUDGEONED. They destroyed the New Day and the Usos, and finally used the hammers to do so. It was so bad that it took a while after the beating for the doctors to get the teams moved from the scene of the crime. Xavier Woods was even taken out on a stretcher.

Now, not only can we hate the Bludgeon Brothers for ruining a good match, but for hurting our favorite teams.

I’m excited to see where this feud takes us. The Usos and New Day were getting a bit personal prior to this match, but now they may have to put those differences aside with a common enemy. Not that the New Day aren’t going to be gunning for the titles still. This will surely be a WrestleMania triple threat and one I’m already looking forward to.

Shinsuke Nakamura def. Rusev

The opening contest on the show was Rusev facing men’s Royal Rumble winner Shinsuke Nakamura. The crowd loved both these guys, who were kept off television much of the build to this PPV.

It’s odd that Rusev Day, who is cheered in almost every arena they’re in (meaning not just traditional “smark” cities), is still presented as bad guys. I wonder if we’ll see them turn more towards the side of light as these crowds continue to love them.

The match ended up being a really fun one. Of course, Nakamura got the win, but he had to work for it. Plus he had to survive this brutal Machka Kick.

Onto AJ Styles!

Randy Orton def. Bobby Roode to win the US title

Listen, this wasn’t a bad match. There were definitely parts that were entertaining and the crowd, God bless ‘em, were really into it. But unfortunately, I couldn’t get to where they were. Both men have plodding styles and that was evident as this match felt longer than it was.

With this win, Orton claimed the one title that eluded him. And honestly, Bob Roode deserved to lose. Anyone who jumps at Orton from the top rope hasn’t studied ANY tape and they have that RKO coming.

After Orton won, Jinder Mahal came out, attacked Randy, and then Bobby attacked Mahal. Looks very well like this can be a Mania match. And if you thought it was plodding before, now it has Jinder!

Natalya and Carmella def. Becky Lynch and Naomi

Once again, Becky loses on PPV. Cain’s got your numbers about the Lasskicker and Rusev never getting pay-per-view wins right here. While it was really a tag to get them some time on the show, it was weird seeing Naomi and Becky lose. Feels like they could use the win more.

This show came into the night well behind the 8-ball given a pretty terrible build, a build that ranged from lazy to baffling. Despite that, this show did a pretty good job getting us excited for WrestleMania. We have Nakamura/Styles. Asuka/Charlotte. Probably a triple threat for the tag titles between three exciting teams.

Most matches on the show delivered. The women’s tag felt like mainly filler and the Orton/Roode match was too long for my tastes, but the rest of the matches were really good and it was a pretty good 3 hours of wrestling overall.

And this crowd was excited for everything, which helps make a show.

Grade: B

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