With WWE Fastlane 2019 concluded, it’s time to look back on what happened and assess the damage, praise the positives and talk about what went down.
Per usual, at the end of this post, you’ll see my regular Smack Talk Pay-Per-Viewpoint post-show podcast, which reviews the event in more detail, but for those who want a more condensed version of my thoughts, I present to you my “quicker than a hiccup” reaction to the different parts of the evening:
Kickoff: The New Day def. Rusev and Shinsuke Nakamura
I thought this was a good match for what it was worth, and I’m hoping that despite any interaction between those two teams beforehand, the fact that they interacted with each other twice at Fastlane means this was WWE’s attempt to give some foundation to the likely multi-team match that will take place, rather than just spring that up out of nowhere and rush it in the next three weeks.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: The Usos (c) def. The Miz and Shane McMahon
Very good match, particularly considering Shane McMahon was in it and those are always better when they’re No DQ.
I loved that the crowd was really into this, as they helped sell it from start to finish, including the heel turn from McMahon, which I’m also happy with. If they were going to have a match together at WrestleMania, I wanted McMahon to be the heel for sure and it seems they’ve pulled off the initial incident.
SmackDown Women’s Championship Match: Asuka (c) def. Mandy Rose
This was one of the two worst matches of the night. Something was definitely off with these two and I can’t say for certain whether it was Mandy Rose herself or if Asuka wasn’t doing the match any favors.
Whatever it was, they just didn’t click and the only thing that somewhat worked was the ending with Sonya Deville making Rose trip, but even that is something I’m sketchy about.
I really hope this doesn’t lead to a Triple Threat between Asuka, Rose and Deville at WrestleMania, or an attempt to do Rose vs. Deville on the card. I just don’t have much interest in that and I don’t see why they’d want to split them up just when Fire & Desire could finally fight for tag team titles.
Handicap Match: The Bar def. Kofi Kingston
I loved that they did this type of thing. Not only did it help boost The Bar up for the tag team standings and create another moment where Big E and Xavier Woods could fight with Shinsuke Nakamura and Rusev, it also further beat down Kofi Kingston to make the fans want to get even more behind him.
Kofi didn’t lose anything, because it was 2-on-1 and he’s getting his match at WrestleMania. All he did here was gain more momentum, even in a technical loss. Awesome addition to the card.
Raw Tag Team Championship (Triple Threat) Match: The Revival (c) def. Aleister Black and Ricochet, Chad Gable and Bobby Roode
Very good match, which wasn’t surprising, considering the talent involved. I’ve said it numerous times, but it’s great to see people who are great at wrestling get the chance to go out and put on a wrestling match without needing to hit certain quotas of stuff or following some convoluted script.
This followed the pattern I was hoping it would. Roode and Gable were the built-in losers, Ricochet and Black looked strong even while coming up short and The Revival were able to retain the titles. Wins all around, unless you were Roode or Gable.
United States Championship (Fatal 4-Way) Match: Samoa Joe (c) def. Andrade, R-Truth and Rey Mysterio
Very happy to see this change to the card. Even though I probably would have enjoyed Mysterio against Andrade as it was, the addition of the United States title instead of having it be ignored again like it’s been since 2017 was a welcome plus, as was seeing Samoa Joe and R-Truth perform.
This also further pushes the rest of these guys aside to make more room for what I’m assuming is a straight-up one-on-one match at WrestleMania between Joe and John Cena, now that Andrade and Mysterio have both lost and I’m assuming R-Truth will be next to suffer a pin or submission in the coming weeks.
Women’s Tag Team Championship Match: The Boss ‘n’ Hug Connection (c) def. Nia Jax and Tamina
This was the other worst match of the night. I’m not a big fan of David vs. Goliath matches that make me throw out all believability like the idea that Bayley and Sasha Banks would stand a chance in a fight against Nia Jax and Tamina.
Then again, I’m also not a fan of Nia Jax and Tamina, so I wasn’t even happy with the post-match brawl that saw them standing tall, as it makes me think we’re going to see more of them fighting for the tag titles at WrestleMania.
Just give me Beth Phoenix and Natalya against Bayley and Banks, which in itself is a bit of a disappointment compared to Trish Stratus and Lita getting the title shot. Maybe WWE wants to save that for SummerSlam or something, I don’t know.
In any fashion, Jax and Tamina aren’t likely to get positive reviews from me in anything unless they completely change what they bring to the table, and that’s not likely to happen, so I wasn’t fond of this.
WWE Championship (Triple Threat) Match: Daniel Bryan (c) def. Mustafa Ali and Kevin Owens
These guys had an uphill battle to climb as WWE set them up for a match that was immediately going to piss off the audience and force them to start in the negative.
Thankfully, they’re talented enough to be able to win the crowd over again by the end of the match, as tough of a task as it was.
Very glad to see the audience did give them a chance, too, as this was a great match that I enjoyed quite a bit. I’m glad Owens didn’t lose outright and I’m glad Ali came out of this looking like he put up a good fight, as that boosts his credibility without having to put a title on him just yet.
Becky Lynch def. Charlotte Flair
Having Ronda Rousey come out to cause the disqualification was the only way this could have gone down without it being ridiculous.
As a match, this was meh. As a segment, this accomplished everything it needed to, and that was the entire point.
This wasn’t supposed to be the match that they’ll have at WrestleMania, it was just supposed to be the segment that made it official that the Triple Threat was going down.