2/21/16 – Andrew Berg – @WrestleRosters
Roman Reigns def. Brock Lesnar and Dean Ambrose to Become #1 Contender
After a month of speculation about whether WWE would once again steer away from Reigns as Wrestlemania’s main attraction, the Fastlane main event stayed on the anticipated track. All three of Reigns, Ambrose, and Lesnar took crazy amounts of punishment in the match. It made it hard to feel anything but respect for Reigns, even if many fans are still lukewarm on him as a main event babyface.
Lesnar’s incredulity over Ambrose’s inability to be intimidated was a very fun storyline from the start of the match. Lesnar delivered numerous suplexes to both Ambrose and Reigns, including one outside the ring that landed Ambrose on his head. Reigns took an early F5, but Ambrose made the save. When Ambrose slapped Lesnar, he set Ambrose up for his own F5 and Reigns caught him with a spear. Lesnar kicked out and the match moved outside, where Ambrose gave Lesnar a low blow and then helped Reigns powerbomb him through a table, Shield-style.
With Lesnar grounded, Ambrose and Reigns finally squared off against one another. Ambrose got the better of him with an elbow drop and rebound clothesline before Lesnar started to stir. They teamed together to powerbomb Lesnar through another announce table and keep him out of the match even longer. This time, Reigns had more luck in isolation with Ambrose. He hit a Superman Punch before Ambrose side stepped a spear. He hit Dirty Deeds and Reigns kicked out at two.
Reigns lifted Ambrose onto his shoulders and Lesnar reentered the ring to German suplex both of them. As soon as Reigns hit him with a spear, Lesnar put Reigns in a Kimura Lock. Ambrose brought a chair into the ring and ravaged Lesnar with it. He gave Reigns a couple of shots with it, but remained focused on Lesnar. Reigns made it to his feet and hit Ambrose with a spear. It kept Ambrose down for three and Reigns got the win. Following the win, HHH joined Reigns in the ring and they stared one another down to set the stage for their Wrestlemania match.
AJ Styles def. Chris Jericho
Styles and Jericho were the favorites to have the match of the night going into the show and they lived up to expectations. The two veterans put together a very good match in which they took their time to build a story and tension between major spots. Eventually, Jericho got Styles in the Walls of Jericho. Styles got to the ropes, but Jericho took him outside and locked him in a Lion Tamer on the floor. On the way back into the ring, Jericho hit a Codebreaker, but Styles got his hand under the bottom rope. Styles rebounded and hit a Styles Clash, and Jericho kicked out. He then applied the Calf Crusher and slowly forced Jericho to tap out. After the match, a conflicted Jericho nearly attacked Styles but eventually shook his hand. Jericho did a great job of making Styles look like a star as he came into WWE.
Kevin Owens def. Dolph Ziggler to Remain Intercontinental Champion
Owens and Ziggler continued their run of great matches with a PPV match to top those that came before it. Ziggler took an awkward shoulder bump on the turnbuckle early and Owens targeted the joint for the rest of the match. Ziggler’s eventual comeback was built around superkicks, but Owens hit a couple of superkicks of his own to keep Ziggler from taking over completely. When Ziggler tuned up the band, Owens ducked another superkick that almost landed on the referee. The miss gave Owens an opening and he hit a Pop-Up Powerbomb to win. I was slightly surprised to see Ziggler lose cleanly, but the quality of the match keeps him looking quite strong.
Sasha Banks and Becky def. Team BAD
Sasha’s entrance to open the PPV got a good reaction and the match followed suit. Initial dissension between Becky and Sasha gave Team BAD a protracted advantage over Becky. The eventual hot tag to Sasha happened at just the right time and she got Naomi in the Banks Statement. Tamina interfered to break up the move and set up a Rear View that got Naomi a two count. Sasha fought back and put Tamina in the Banks Statement. Becky intercepted Naomi and put her in the Disarmer. Tamina tapped out and Becky and Sasha held their alliance together long enough to get the victory.
Charlotte def. Brie Bella to Remain Divas Champion
Charlotte did everything she could to carry Brie to a serviceable match, but there was too much clumsiness that distracted from the story they tried to tell. Every time Brie awkwardly attempted a pin or hesitated to delay a spot, it took me out of the moment. Brie got a near fall off of a missile dropkick, Yes Kicks, and a facebuster. She countered a Figure Four into a Yes Lock and turned that into a Half Boston Crab. Charlotte escaped and locked in the Figure Eight to get the win.
Kane, Big Show, and Ryback def. The Wyatt Family
There was nothing wrong with this match, but there was no obvious reason for it to happen and the crowd responded as such. The most memorable segment saw Ryback deliver five consecutive bodyslams to Luke Harper. Shortly thereafter, he delivered an awkward Shell Shocked that might have injured Harper. It got him the pin for a very strange outcome. Why create a stay-busy match for the Wyatts and then have them lose it?
Curtis Axel def. R-Truth
The popcorn match before the main event would have been a better fit on the show Main Event. Goldust tried to interfere to help R-Truth, but it backfired and Axel got the pin. Goldust apologized after the finish. I would prefer if the Golden Truth storyline never made it on TV.
New Day Appears on Cutting Edge Peep Show
Edge and Christian invited New Day onto their show. After they disagreed at first, they formed a type of mutual respect. New Day started to list tag teams they have beaten and insulted League of Nations. All of League of Nations joined them in the ring and New Day walked away. Edge and Christian also insulted League of Nation on their way out of the ring. They called them the International House of Dumbasses and New Day reacted wildly. Despite the strange fit of the two heel teams, the absurdity of New Day contrasted with the dire seriousness of the League of Nations is strangely appealing.
Kalisto def. Alberto Del Rio in a 2-out-of-3 Falls Match to Remain US Champion
Although the match was relegated to the pre-show, Del Rio had one of the better matches in his recent WWE run and one of the few pre-show matches that was truly worth watching. Del Rio sacrificed the first fall to a DQ when he hit Kalisto with a chair. That gave him enough of an advantage to hit a rope-hung stomp to even up the match. He repeatedly tried for another stomp, but Kalisto always found his way out of trouble. Finally, he audibled out of an SDS, threw Del Rio into the turnbuckle, and pinned him with a schoolboy. Del Rio has been largely irrelevant since his return, but matches like this one can only help him get back on track.