Friday, March 15, 2019

WWE Fastlane 2019

So here's the deal... I watched this show over a span of three days because I no longer have the patience to sit through a ten-hour PPV. Wrestlemania might be the one sole exception if there is a party I can attend, but even that might be a stretch. So I watch this show and it feels like a complete waste of time. This isn't a knock of the quality of the show, but rather just the "nothing happened" atmosphere that resonated throughout the show.

Day 1
Smackdown Tag-Team Champions The Usos defeated Shane McMahon and The Miz to retain the tag titles. And then Shane beats up the Miz and pushes down Miz's dad to cement the heel turn that had been brewing since Survivor Series when he was GM of Smackdown and Smackdown lost all their matches... what? You don't remember that little factoid? I don't blame you... because THEY NEVER MENTIONED EVER AGAIN! Anyway, this was a thing that happened so we can have Shane-O-Mac take on the Miz at Wrestlemania... because sure, why not?

Smackdown Women's Champion Asuka defeated Mandy Rose to retain the title... well, this was underwhelming. It's hardly a positive sign when you have this Mandy Rose who is being pushed as the next big hotness or whatever who got a win over Asuka on Smackdown and then the only thought that comes to mind when seeing her in action is just "meh." The only highlight comes from Sonya Deville looking under the ring for an eternity because... I don't know. Not exactly a highlight.

So now we have The New Day in a meeting with Vince McMahon, where he informs them that the WWE Title match is now a three-way and that both Austin Creed and Big E are banned from ringside for Kofi's match. Kofi assumes that he's in the title match, which gets a pop from the crowd. However, it turns out to be a SWERVE, as Kofi is in a handicap match against Sheamus and Cesaro.
And so what happens? The Bar defeated Kofi Kingston... oh well.

So the idea is to give Kofi odds to overcome in order to get his eventual WWE title match with Daniel Bryan Danielson and naturally he failed here because of course he did. Hey, you know what would've been better? Maybe if Kofi had actually, you know, WON THE MATCH, then I'd take his chances more seriously. If this gets to a point where Kofi is treated like an absolute joke who can't win any matches and needs the sympathy title shot to get his match, then why am I going to care?

RAW Tag-Team Champions The Revival defeated Bobby Roode/Chad Gable and Ricochet/Aleister Black in a Triple Threat match to retain the titles. This was a thing that happened where you had MOVES and STUFF. Fair enough.

Day 2

United States Champion Samoa Joe defeated Rey Mysterio, R-Truth, and Andrades in a fatal four way match to retain the title. Funny, because I seem to recall that they had this match on Smackdown the week before. Nothing like enticing viewers to subscribe to the WWE Network by presenting them with a match you already saw on FREE TV. And then they wonder why subscription numbers haven't broken 2 million yet. They're like the TNA of On Demand.

Then again, I'm not going to complain because this was a pretty good 4-way overall. I like that Joe never got a true win over R-Truth to claim the title and it makes me look forward to the eventual rematch between the two. Andrades' hair terrifies me.

Women's Tag-Team Champions Sasha Banks and Bayley defeated Nia Jax and Tamina with a roll-up to retain the titles. The big women then beat on the champs because we can't have a happy moment, prompting former Women's champion Beth Phoenix out of the commentary booth to help out... and then she gets her ass kicked. But then that brings out Nattie who... also promptly gets her ass kicked. Why the fuck did we even bother with women's tag titles if we're just going to make the champions look like complete and utter GEEKS and AFTERTHOUGHTS?

WWE World Heavyweight Champion The NEW Daniel Bryan defeated Mustafa Ali and Kevin Owens to retain the title. For those wondering, the match was advertised as Bryan defending against KO, but Ali was added to the match at the last minute, so we end up with this... an absolutely fantastic match that not only impressed in the ring, but also - and here's the key thing - it got the crowd invested into it.

That crowd was ready to hijack this match because they were pissed Kofi wasn't in this match and there was a very audible "We Want Kofi" chant from the audience at first... but because Daniel Bryan Danielson and Kevin OwenSteen (fuck it, that's what I'm calling him now) are such great workers that people actually like and because Mustafa Ali didn't let the potential backlash of not being Kofi get to him, they were able to suck the crowd into the match and get them interested in what was going on in the ring; thus being able to enhance the match with their participation. And because the crowd was enjoying the match rather than completely shitting on it, I was able to enjoy the match even more so... even with the usual less-than-stellar commentary. See, even my dumb ass could figure out this really basic psychology. Hell, the fucking DOG could figure this shit out. Why can't anyone else in WWE?

And you know what? Even without the crowd, this was a really good match.

Day 3

The MAN Becky Lynch defeated Baby Flair via DQ when Cold Ronda shows up and kicks Becky while she was in Flair's figure four move thing. This match was Charlotte beating on Becky's bad leg for a good chunk while Becky only had a couple minor offensive bits. Look, I've said my piece on this whole feud and how it was FUBARed back on Tuesday, so I'll just say this: if WWE wanted to kill off any cool factor that Becky Lynch had, they certainly accomplished this task rather easily. So now Becky's in the main event not because she earned it (though, technically she did win the Rumble, but let's forget that), but rather because Cold Ronda got her in via DQ. And THIS is supposed to make me care about the Mania Main Event.

(Spoiler: It doesn't.)

And in the main event, the Shield (comprising Seth Rollins, the soon to be departing Dean Ambrose, and the returning Roman Reigns) defeated the team of Baron Corbin, Bobby Lashley, and Drew McIntyre in a six-man tag team match. It is the usual Shield match with the usual spots; the brawling on the outside, the triple power bomb, there's even a bit of profanity from Seth Rollins that gets bleeped. As for Roman, it looks like he hasn't lost a step, he looked perfectly fine, and the crowd was just lukewarm, not knowing whether to cheer him because he came back from this horrible real life disease or to boo him because it's fucking Roman Reigns. We'll see how this develops, I guess, but for now, this is a more that satisfying return for Roman.

WWE Fastlane 2019 is the show you want to watch if you're a fan of WWE taking this so-called "women's evolution" and shooting them with a de-evolution, resulting in the entire women roster being de-evolved into the stupid Goombas from the Super Mario Bros. live-action movie. All the women's matches on this show were AWFUL and were bordering on the "Divas Piss Break" level of quality that used to define these matches.

Alternatively, if you're a fan of happy endings and/or a reason to care about the stories moving forward, you may want to skip this one. Aside from a couple good matches and a really great WWE World championship match, this was mostly forgettable and entirely skippable; you need not watch this show to follow the story since nothing happened and I'm sure whatever you need to catch up will be brought up in video packages down the road. This wasn't a bad show per se, but the booking made it completely and utterly pointless.

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