Fastlane PPV Results and Reactions

AKIRA TOZAWA & RICH SWANN VS. THE BRIAN KENDRICK & NOAM DAR

Result and match rating: Swann pins Dar after a Phoenix Splash from the top rope. ** 1/2

Reaction and payoff rating: Having Swann pin Dar kept Swann looking strong on his return from a brief injury.  Keeping Tozawa and Kendrick away from the pinfall allows them to keep building toward a singles match that will probably be a main event on 205 Live in the coming weeks. ****

SAMI ZAYN VS. SAMOA JOE

Result and match rating: Samoa Joe wins with a Coquina Clutch after Sami passes out. ***

Reaction and payoff rating: There was little payoff here.  The match accomplished what it needed to. 1) Sami looked like the never-gives-up babyface. 2) Joe and his move set were introduced to the main roster audience. 3) Joe looked strong and got over his submission maneuver.  Joe said earlier in an interview that his Wrestlemania plans would be revealed soon, so probably tomorrow night on RAW. Given the idiotic matches in the middle of the card, they could have given this another 10-15 minutes and really put over both men. ***

Clip of Zayn-Joe

WWE TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: LUKE GALLOWS AND KARL ANDERSON (c) VS. ENZO AND BIG CASS

Result and match rating: Enzo and Cass should have won the belts after a splash off the top from Enzo onto Anderson, but Gallows interferes.  Anderson gives Enzo a running knee and covers him.  Enzo gets his foot on the rope, but Gallows sees it on the outside and removes his foot.  * 1/2

Reaction and payoff rating: This match had little consequences other than the titles, and the build-up lacked for it considering Anderson and Gallows have spent the last two weeks making Roman Reigns look strong.  The tainted victory will probably lead to a three-way between these two teams and Cesaro/Sheamus at Wrestlemania. **

SASHA BANKS VS. NIA JAX

Result and match rating: Sasha pins Nia after a bridging roll-up. ***

Reaction and payoff rating: This prolongs the Nia and Sasha feud by having Sasha finally capture a victory over her overpowering nemesis.  Unfortunately, this means that we have at least another month of bad Nia promos. Now that Sasha looks strong against Nia, it puts her back in the championship hunt.  This is building towards a four-way with the only four women on the brand. *** 1/2

Clip of Banks-Jax

JINDER MAHAL VS. CESARO/”HANDSOME” RUSEV VS. THE BIG SHOW

Result and match rating:This match was adding during the preshow as Rusev and Mahal both want singles competition rather than tag team matches.  Foley said whoever got to the ring first would get a singles match.  Mahal got out first and Rusev came out next; this led to them fighting.  Mahal gets the upper hand and is left standing.  Then Cesaro and Sheamus came out so Cesaro could wrestle Mahal.  The match goes on far too long for a meaningless single match.  Cesaro scores the pin on Mahal after a Very European Uppercut.  **

After the match, Rusev returns to the ring and beats down Mahal.  The Big Show comes to the ring because presumably he’s the opponent for Rusev now.  Rusev looked strong at times in the match, but then suddenly, The Big Show choke slams Rusev three times then props his prone body against the turnbuckle and gave him The Knock Out Punch: so much for looking strong. ** 1/2

Reaction and payoff rating: After the match, Rusev returned to the ring and beat This at least looks like it is putting Rusev back in single action, which is all that matters out of this.  That payoff alone is worth five stars, but overall, this segment was meaningless and existed to kill time. *

WWE CRUISERWEIGHT TITLE MATCH: NEVILLE (c) VS. JACK GALLAGHER

Result and match rating:After the best wrestling action of the night, Neville pinned Gallagher after the Red Arrow. ****

Reaction and payoff rating: This was an appropriate end to this feud.  It had a solid consistent build to this match and the two men delivered in the time given.  Neville will probably move onto to a new opponent on the Road to Wrestlemania, but Gallagher definitely showed he belongs in the upper echelon of the cruiserweight division.  **** 1/2

Clip of Gallagher-Neville

ROMAN REIGNS VS. BRAUN STROWMAN

Result and match rating: Roman pins Braun Strowman after a Spear. *** 3/4

Reaction and payoff rating:  Given that the company still sees Roman as the face and he won, this is probably the end of this feud for the time being.  WWE deserves credit for giving this a clear finish with a clean pin.  The build for this was better than most would expect, and both Roman and Braun did well in this match.  However, most will most likely not be happy with Roman winning, especially in Super Cena fashion.  At the end of the match, he said, “This is my yard,” which Michael Cole noted.  This is meant to recall what he told The Undertaker after eliminating him at the Rumble, so expect The Undertaker to show up tomorrow night to take on Roman, The Big Dog, who just took out Braun.  Where Braun goes from here is hard to tell. ***

Clip from Reigns-Strowman

WWE RAW WOMEN’S TITLE MATCH: BAYLEY (c) VS. CHARLOTTE FLAIR

Result and match rating: Sasha Banks came down to interfere in the match, without Bayley’s knowledge.  She didn’t cause Charlotte to lose directly, but it certainly adds controversy to the finish.  Bayley ended up pinning Charlotte, and snapping her PPV win streak, after a Bayley-to-Belly. ** 3/4

Reaction and payoff rating:  The payoff is nil, but the match did its job to build toward the rumored four-way at Wrestlemania.  Sasha’s interference will lead to some dissension between her and Bayley, and in the long-term, a Sasha heel turn.  ****

WWE UNIVERSAL TITLE MATCH: KEVIN OWENS (c) VS. BILL GOLDBERG

Result and match rating: Golberg pins Owens with a spear and Jackhammer to become the new Universal Champion. NO RATING

Reaction and payoff rating:  If one can buy the premise of needing to putt the strap on a 50-year-old part-timer, this is the best they could have done given that premise.  Before the bell, Owens kept stalling by rolling out of the ring; his idea is to let Goldberg’s adrenaline wear out.  He finally gets in the ring and calls for the bell to be rung.  “Break the Walls Down” blares to a pop, and a scraggly-bearded Chris Jericho walks out.  This distraction is just enough. The bell rings, Owens turns around into a spear.  He hits the Jackhammer and gets the 1-2-3 in approximately 15 seconds.  Goldberg takes the Universal title into his match with Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania, and this heightens the feud between Owens and Jericho.  It also holds a poetic touch that Jericho helped Owens keep that strap so many times, and now he causes him to lose it.  **** 1/2

Overall PPV Reactions: The pay-per-view was mostly a slog to get through.  Strange decisions were made about who received screen time.  Understandably, the goal should be to get the brand’s wrestlers on the card if possible, but the middle of the show matches between Show and Rusev and Cesaro and Jinder felt like house show filler and not worthy of a PPV. More time could have been given to Zayn/Joe to tell that story more effectively, to Neville/Gallagher, or to Bayley/Charlotte.  This will be remembered for Reigns pinning Strowman, and the negative reaction that will surely come of it, and Goldberg winning the title from Owens, and the negative reaction that will surely come from it.  All of this should make for an interesting RAW tomorrow as the brand’s matches for ‘Mania start to get solidified.  This show though could have been three matches and thirty minutes shorter for what it was. **

 

 

 

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