The final PPV stop on the Road To WrestleMania took place at the newly named Fastlane. Some people mourned the loss of the Elimination Chamber but to be honest the WWE had run that gimmick into the ground (like they do with most gimmicks) by presenting it to us on a specific month, rather than when the storylines necessitated it.
The main, or if you are being particularly unkind ONLY, issue of note going into the card was the match between Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan to decide which of them would tackle Brock Lesnar in the WrestleMania main event. Of course with Bryan having been eliminated early on in the Rumble there wasn’t any real storyline reason to have the match as there was no controversy surrounding that. The “controversy” came about because fans seemingly didn’t want Reigns to win the Rumble, they wanted Bryan. If anyone watched this show on the basis that Bryan would reclaim that spot then they were always likely to be disappointed but the match itself was very good indeed and was the highlight of the night. Bryan will no doubt get the lions share of the credit, but Reigns proved here that he can hang with the best. This was a great back and forth match which did at least inject some drama into proceedings and on certain occasions may have almost fooled you that either Bryan could win or some sort of ending enabling a Mania three way could happen. Both men’s performances and the all-round booking/set up of the match did all they could to push Reigns as the man deserving of the Mania main event spot. The intensity of the pair meant that this was a match that you could truly believe meant something in terms of what was at stake. They could do no more with what they were given.
The rest of the card was a very hit and miss affair. The opening six man match pitting Big Show, Kane and Seth Rollins against Dolph Ziggler, Erick Rowan and Ryback was an entertaining enough start to proceedings but it seemed more focused on the “wrong men” in the match. With Kane and Big Show attempting to get heat on Erick Rowan for the majority of the match it just seemed the wrong way of doing things. The over-the-hill veterans stomping on the least over of the babyfaces was not exactly conducive to a white hot atmosphere. Randy Orton returning AFTER the match just made the whole thing seem pointless.
The match between Goldust and Stardust had been years in the making for both men and whilst it seemed a little odd that they would meet here rather than at WrestleMania, it seemed as if this would set up for a big grudge match there. That it was so dull and boring probably meant that that idea was nixed before they’d even got back through the curtain. I kid, of course, because a post match altercation backstage involving the two and Dusty Rhodes showed that there was clearly meant to be more to the feud. Maybe if they’d showed the intensity they had shown in the segment in the match they might have got their WrestleMania moment. The Tag Team Title match between The Usos and Cesaro & Kidd was much better, even if the double date shenanigans to set it up had been almost comically bad. The fact that the challengers worked the knee of an Uso and then got the win because of targeting that made me think that there might be a future for wrestlers selling moves in the WWE after all.
That the Women’s Title match brought things back down again was no surprise but it did stand out for a few reasons, thanks to Paige. She aggressive from the start (effectively showing that she was annoyed with the way she’d been treated by the Bella’s in the build up) and actually showed emotion after the match that highlighted how upset she was with the loss. Regardless of the mediocrity of the bout itself, Paige was able to briefly make it mean something. It’ll probably never catch on. The Intercontinental Title match between Bad News Barrett and Dean Ambrose was another disappointment that was made worse by a pathetic finish. The United States Title match was better, as Rusev and John Cena assembled a good match that showed the best sides of both men. Although it was a “set-up” match for the WrestleMania rematch, it was a good effort in it’s own right and did all it needed to do.
The PPV had two segments; the confrontation between Triple H and Sting was fine for what it was, but the commentators insistence that this was the dream match we all wanted to see was fooling no-one. Bray Wyatt’s teasing of an Undertaker return before issuing a challenge, of sorts, for Mania was fine and was a sign of things to come knowing as we do now that Taker wouldn’t actually turn up on TV until we got to Mania.
With only one match really coming across as having any importance in terms of Mania, Fastlane was not the best of ways to build excitement for Mania. Only Reigns and Bryan really delivered in the ring, with good support from Cena and Rusev. There were too many “creative” finishes designed to eek out feuds until the biggest show of the year and whilst this was a relatively entertaining show, it is far from “must see”.
The DVD extras are limited to a Miz TV segment with Paul Heyman and an exclusive Bella’s segment. The Blu-Ray adds a Rusev and Cena “square off”, some more of the Sting and HHH build up and two Daniel Bryan matches.
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