I was in attendance at Nationwide Arena for WWE Fastlane, and overall I give it a thumbs up. It was my first PPV, and I went in not sure what to expect, but left feeling it was money well spent. It was really well-attended, especially across the upper bowl and behind hard cam.
My vote for best match was actually Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Rusev. While I am not sure how this translated on TV, the arena was white hot for this match and made for a very fun atmosphere. It perfectly set the tone for the night.
The worst match was probably the tag team titles. This had so much potential to steal the show, and the idea of using the Bludgeon Brothers to interfere really took steam out of the crowd.
The US Title match seemed down, but following the opener, it was expected. The Women's Title match was saved by Asuka's post-match appearance and challenge to Charlotte, which stirred the arena into a frenzy.
The women's tag match was nothing special, other than to strengthen Carmella as the MITB winner, although Naomi's entrance is awesome in person. On the preshow, Tye Dillinger had an extremely strong crowd following, to the point you wonder why WWE is not capitalizing on this charisma.
John Cena got a nuclear reaction as the main event festivities started, and AJ Styles was incredibly over. The match was intriguing, but I am tiring of the Shane McMahon angle with Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. After the PPV appeared to have gone off air, Cena stayed in the corner while Styles celebrated his win. Cena then got up, the music cut, and he stared at Styles, before a handshake and exit up the ramp. Styles' music started back up, and then he celebrated more before leaving himself.
This may have been the last of the single-brand PPVs, and they did need to go, but at least this one bucked the trend of sub-par shows.
- Devin Shultz
Considering that this card on paper was a pretty much near 100% superfluous show, I enjoyed most of the card and thought they had some pretty nice highlights.
Best Match: Six Pack Challenge Main Event - Million miles per minute sprint/schmoz which had some really great showings.
Tag titles and opener were very entertaining too. I didn't mind Roode/Orton per se, but felt the babyface/babyface dynamic was a bit bland and Roode excels as a heel (as does Randy for that matter lol) and think they're capable of a much better singles bout.
I'm not a huge Corbin fan by any stretch but I thought he acquitted himself nicely when it was his turn to hit his highspots and his major moves looked really cool and smooth.
Worst Match: Charlotte/Ruby Riott - Felt sloppy in spots, felt too lame duck even by the standards of this show.
- Jeff Parker
Thumbs Up. Some good performances, which outweighed the things that were less good.
BEST MATCH: Six Pack Challenge, essentially by default. There were a lot of good moments here. I think we will NOT see Owens v. Zayn at WM, which I see as a plus. Zayn is SO, SO much better as a heel companion to Owens than he ever was as a babyface. For me, Nakamura's WWE Career peaked with his first match against Zayn, and has coasted slowly downhill ever since. I am optimistic that he will put on a great show with AJS at WM, to earn his reputation in WWE. Even though I have heard one too many out-of-character interviews with AJS to say I "like" him, I have to admit he is the best in-ring performer in WWE right now.
BEST NON MATCH MOMENTS: Asuka's challenge to Charlotte. Alfred Hitchcock is reputed to have said that suspense is greatest when we know exactly what is going to happen. The build to this match has been pitch perfect in every way. This match has a chance to be the Steamboat-Savage show-stealer this year.
Randy Orton also gave a terrific interview on Talking Smack after the show. Terrific. It was not easy to play off Sam Roberts dumb questions, but he pulled it off. He walked the line between a real and in-character interview in a very likeable way.
And I don't at all like this build to Cena's match with Undertaker, but I did like him pushing away the cameraman, and the fact that the announcers didn't acknowledge it happened.
WORST MATCH: Charlotte v. Ruby Riott. I think Charlotte did some decent work here. She didn't need to try any moonsaults for this match, this close to WM. The main problem is that Ruby Riott does not yet have the gravitas to make this a competitive match. Hopefully, some day she will.
WORST NON MATCH MOMENTS: The first time I heard the announcers say that throwing a wrestler into the crowd was getting "thrown into the WWE Universe" I thought it was clever, but once was enough. This phrase should now be retired.
And why is Aiden English insulting the great city of Columbus, and seconds later, cheering along with the crowd for Rusev Day? PICK A SIDE.
If there is some glimmer that Shane McMahon is going to be wrestling at WM, that is also not a good sign. This should be Hunter's last WM in the ring as a wrestler, and Shane should never do it again.
- Richard Orloski
Best match: Six-Pack Challenge
Worst match: Natalya/Carmella vs Naomi/Becky Lynch
Decent "holding pattern" show with no real surprises except for Orton winning the US title clean without interference from Jinder Mahal. The predominance of three-way matches is distressing however, since it goes up and down the WM card from Shane McMahon/Kevin Owens/Sami Zayn to Orton/Mahal/Roode.
- Jeff Cohen
Best match: Roode vs Orton
Worst Match: women's tag (they didn't really do much wrong, but it was just a nothing match)
How refreshing to see a PPV with a crowd who actually wanted to be there. Rusev v Nakamura was a good opener. Orton and Roode was very good. I don't mind Orton winning the belt as I suspect he's dropoing it straight back to Roode at Mania. Women's tag was ok but was impossible to get innvested in.
Usos and New Day was good for what it was and the beatdown at the end was fun. The women's title match was the reverse of the tag match. Mostly bad, but I cared about what happened. Asuka coming out at the end was a good moment. 6 pack match was fun and effective in continuing the never ending Shane/ Zayn/ Owens stuff, though that wasn't what I was looking for. Ziggler did nothing. Styles and Cena only really featured at the start and at the very end.
Couldn't care less about Cena vs Undertaker. A dream match 7 years past it's time where the result means absolutely nothing. I'd much rather see Undertaker hang em up and Cena wrestle just about anyone else.
- Brett Hosking
Thumbs in the Middle
Best Match: Styles vs. Zayn vs. Owens vs. Corbin vs. Cena vs. Ziggler
Worst Match: Charlotte Flair vs. Ruby Riott
These multi-person "first fall wins" matches are the worst, especially where the champion can lost his or her title without losing the fall.
In reading your review, you seemed to like the show much more than I did. There was nothing overtly terrible, but very little resonated with me. At least they didn't overthink it with Styles vs. Nakamura at WM34.
Time now to catch up on the New Japan Cup...
- Lou Pickney
Very pleasantly surprised with this ppv! I thought the opening match was exactly what it needed to be. It was probably the 1st best match on the show. I think wwe is making a big mistake not capitalizing on the whole rusev day chants the man is super over. The tag titles match was obviously a way to set up the mania match and get the bludgeon brothers over. The U.S title match was a bit of a shocker i didnt think Roode would lose esp after winning a tournament to win the title in the 1st place.
The womens tag team match was there in my opinion and i think Carmella really shouldnt be holding the money in the bank briefcase. She seems very green and seems like she stil needs a lot of work. The womens champion's match i thought was good not great but good, i think it showed just how much of a difference there is between Charlotte and Ruby however i thought Ruby was able to hold her own for who she was in there with. The six pack challenge i thought was good again not great.I thought the beginning where Cena AA's everyone was a good start, everyone got their spots in as usual and until the kick Shane took from Owens was the spot of the match and it was a nice way to get the heat on that part of the match.
Overall B- as a PPV show. Was ok to watch and nowhere near the PPV's that Smackdown was holding when Jinder was world champion. What a difference when Jinder is Champ vs when Styles is Champion now.
- Sevan Varvar