WWE’s Fastlane crashed Saturday night, promising big names, exciting finishes and long-term story developments.
Only big names like John Cena and LA Knight were removed from the list by the end of the night, cementing their jackpot win. Worst PLE of 2023 It will be difficult to beat him.
The pace of the match was good, with five matches and a fast running time. But if ever there was a pay-per-view that screams “WWE is out of season,” this bad boy is it.
Starting right at the top, Cody Rhodes and Jey Uso grabbed the WWE Undisputed Tag Team Titles from The Judgment Day (Finn Balor and Damian Priest) in a surprise finish.
Rhodes and Jey are very popular with the fans, but it would be mind-bogglingly strange to see WWE break up The Usos, only to have Jey move brands to become a solo star – focusing on the main music – and then win the tag titles during a filler PPV.
WWE now has to navigate these messy waters that involve somehow keeping Rhodes and Jey with the fans while eventually causing them to lose the championships, all before they ignore The American Nightmare. Which I’m off to challenge Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 40. Maybe this is just a way to get these guys on both Raw and SmackDown on a weekly basis (maybe that would ununify them as well?), but let’s not pretend the brand split really matters.
Carlito and Latino World Order beating Bobby Lashley and The Street Profits in a 10-minute match was good, and it’s hard to complain either way. It was nice to see Io Sky avoid losing the WWE Women’s Championship in a filler event.
Cena and Knight vs. The Bloodline, consisting of Jimmy Uso and Solo Sikoa, was what fans thought would go into things.
It’s a blessing to see Cena still clearly having some fuel left. Knight has had a lot of success and is getting tremendous feedback from the fans, so him getting this spot is a good sign that WWE will continue to let him rise.
As a match, though, she did not submit a Moment. It was a headline event that the company knew couldn’t be a headline event, and it didn’t do much for the bad guys either.
Which brings us to the main event, where Seth Rollins retained the heavyweight title at the expense of Shinsuke Nakamura. This does not do justice to the match in itself, because it was great and fun, but the result in the long run will not help it.
Rollins was absolutely brutalized after coming in with well-understood back issues. He’s fallen through a table with a dive, off a ladder, through a table after a nice blindfold, landed back on concrete and stairs, and even had a final meal through a table.
And he still won.
It almost felt like Rollins and WWE were going the opposite way from his criticized matches with Bray Wyatt years ago, making Nakamura look great in the loss. The problem is that a lot of spectators will be disappointed by the artist’s loss, especially because it probably means he’s just returned to the mid-card.
And hey, for now, this was at least somewhat acceptable because surely the effort in storytelling meant that Priest would go out and get paid on his Money in the Bank contract, take the title from The Visionary, and put together some amazing stories for Judgment Day and a new main event scene.
Now there’s the priest’s problem too: he looks like a huge idiot. At a recent PLE event, he made a point that he wouldn’t be available after Rollins’ main event for cash because he’d be out partying.
This time, nothing but a knee injury left his match which couldn’t be worse than Rollins’ back. He just didn’t show up. As with Rollins taking this beating, he’s just asking the fans to raise that level of disbelief considerably.
Just How weak he is Does he have to be the hero before the priest decides it’s safe to take advantage of him? When, by the way, he has four people who can help him win a world title?
At this point, after seeing the amount of damage Rollins has taken without cash, one can be convinced that Priest might just let the contract expire and never speak of it again.
Given how hot pro wrestling is right now, and given all the things going on, one would think the show might have hinted at some of it.
Jade Cargill was mentioned, but there were no hints of CM Punk, and there were no hints of Roman Reigns, which is the kind of thing that would say to fans, “Hey, don’t skip events that seem skippable.” All this while All Elite Wrestling has some big things going on, which WWE has blatantly acknowledged with their massive counter-programming stuffing big names like Cena into NXT on Tuesday, pretty much. Undertaker might be there.
See, these are unintentional errors. But bad performances will happen. To WWE’s credit, it was heated In 2023. Very excited. This won’t kill the show, but it does present some weird storytelling issues. Which is why Fastlane easily ranks as the most forgettable event of the year in a stacked lineup.
But hey, at least it went quickly.
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