Seth Rollins def. Dolph Ziggler by pinfall (Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury were banned from ringside)
In the show’s main event, Rollins opened up with a shoulder tackle. Ziggler fought back with a hip toss and a dropkick. During the commercial break, Kane, Big Show, Ryback and Erick Rowan entered to watch the match from ringside. Certainly this cannot be foreshadowing of shenanigans…
Rollins hit a clothesline, but Ziggler responded with a neckbreaker and an elbow drop for a near-fall. Ziggler came up empty on a Famouser, but rolled Rollins up in an inside cradle, then a backslide, for consecutive two-counts.
Ziggler tried for a DDT, which Rollins tried to reverse into a buckle bomb. Ziggler rolled through in a sunset flip for a near-fall, then hit a Famouser for another two-count. That was a great sequence. Ziggler dropkicked Rollins off the apron, then rolled him back into the ring.
Ziggler hit a second-rope thrust kick, but Rollins responded with a buckle bomb and a Curb Stomp for the victory. After the match, Noble and Mercury joined Rollins, Kane and Show. They realized they had the numbers advantage, and commenced a beatdown of Rowan and Ryback. Rollins Curb Stomped both Rowan and Ryback to end the show.
(Just as Smackdown was about to go off the air, Joey Mercury pointed at the WrestleMania sign, which gave me a good laugh.)
Scott’s Thoughts: I could watch Ziggler and Rollins wrestle each other for hours on end. They have such great chemistry that they have wrestled match after match, for months on end, and still leave the impression of a fresh, exciting encounter. They were only given about 11 minutes this time, but as always, they made the most of it.
R-Truth def. Bad News Barrett by pinfall
On guest commentary, Ambrose put over the Intercontinental Championship as the “workhorse title,” saying that Barrett doesn’t live up to that moniker. When R-Truth did his ridiculous “Whoop there it is” call and response, Ambrose said, “What on earth is Truth doing, that’s from like 1993?”
Barrett hit an early big boot, as the announce team asked Ambrose how his forced-signing contract with Barrett would be honored by WWE. Ambrose responded that he had checked WWE.com, and there was an article about Sunday’s Barrett vs. Ambrose Intercontinental Title match. “Everything you read on the internet is true.”
Truth fought back with clotheslines and a spinning heel kick for a near-fall. Truth came up empty on a scissor kick, and Barrett countered into Winds of Change. Barrett set up for the Bullhammer, demanding that Ambrose watch him. Ambrose turned his back to Barrett, and Truth came up from behind, rolling Barrett up with a schoolboy for the pinfall victory.
Scott’s Thoughts: Holy hell, it’s been a looooooong time since the IC Title was booked *this* poorly. During his title reign, Barrett has now lost cleanly in the middle of the ring to both Truth and Sin Cara. Barrett is such a joke right now that it would be embarrassing for Ambrose to fail in his quest for the Intercontinental Championship at Fast Lane.
On the bright side, Ambrose was brilliant on commentary, and Truth got a rare opportunity to remind people that he really is an above-average worker in the ring.
Roman Reigns def. Luke Harper by pinfall
Reigns used a side slam to earn an early two-count. The action spilled outside, where Harper drove Reigns into the ring steps, following up with a big boot. Back in the ring, Harper hit a springboard senton for a near-fall.
Reigns fought back with a pumphandle suplex that didn’t look particularly smooth. Reigns hit a running clothesline for another two, but Harper responded with a spinning side slam for two of his own. Reigns hit a Samoan drop, but Harper nailed a superkick.
Reigns no-sold the superkick and immediately hit a spear for the win.
Scott’s Thoughts: Is this the night of out-of-nowhere rushed finishes or what? Both Ryback and Reigns won their matches “out of nowhere,” but Reigns completely no-selling the superkick left a bad taste in my mouth.
Daniel Bryan def. The Miz (w/Damien Mizdow) by submission
Miz called back to his mentorship of Bryan on Season One of NXT, pointing out that Mizdow could follow in Bryan’s footsteps, if he only sticks with Miz’s leadership. Bryan opened the match with uppercuts and a clothesline, followed by a corner dropkick.
Bryan climbed up top for a top-rope hurricanrana, but Miz fought back with a basement dropkick to Bryan’s left knee. Miz tried for a figure-four, but Bryan countered into the Yes Lock, forcing Miz to tap out.
Scott’s Thoughts: I liked the callback to NXT. WWE has suddenly discovered the ability to refer to events that happened more than a couple months ago, and they continue to reap the benefits. This was a quick — yet quite fun — match.
Goldust and Stardust to collide at Fast Lane
The announcement for Goldust vs Stardust came out of nowhere. There was no further development that led to the match’s booking. After the announcement, Goldust explained to Renee Young that Stardust had slipped too far to the dark side. Goldust said that Stardust is a cancer who is eating Cody Rhodes alive, and that he now has to do the most difficult thing he’s ever done…defeat Stardust once and for all at Fast Lane.
Stardust responded that after Fast Lane, Cody won’t be the only one wiped from the history books, adding that Goldust would be instantly forgotten.
Scott’s Thoughts: The build-up was awfully sudden, but Goldust’s promo here was very passionate, and the 90 seconds or so that he got with Renee was enough to make me invested. There’s some interesting options for a WrestleMania match following the Fast Lane match — Cody vs Goldy, Dustin vs Stardust, etc.
Ryback def. Kane by pinfall
Ryback hit a sidewalk slam to start things off, followed by a belly-to-belly. Kane fought back with a jawbreaker, a DDT and a big boot. Ryback responded with a Thesz press and a splash, following up with a spinebuster.
Ryback climbed up top, but Kane hit him with a right hand, knocking him to the floor. Back in the ring, Ryback suddenly hit Shell-Shocked to win the match.
Scott’s Thoughts: That was actually going decently well, until the ridiculously rushed finish.
I’m not sure I’ve ever voiced this opinion before, but I hate Shell-Shocked as a finisher. It’s basically just a Samoan drop with theatrics. A man as powerful as Ryback should have something more high-impact, in my opinion.
The Ascension def. Big E and Xavier Woods (w/Kofi Kingston) by pinfall
Woods landed a basement dropkick on Viktor for an early two-count. Viktor hit several uppercuts, and The Ascension hit a double shoulder-tackle on Woods. Woods finally reached Big E, who hit two overhead belly-to-belly suplexes, followed by a standard belly-to-belly.
Big E went for a splash, but Viktor got his knees up and drove Big E into the ring post. Viktor tagged in Konnor, and The Ascension hit the Fall of Man for the pinfall.
Scott’s Thoughts: This was little more than your typical Ascension jobber squash.
Paige def. Cameron by pinfall
The Bellas spent the entire match on commentary, wearing sunglasses and making jokes about how pale Paige is. Cameron hit a DDT for a two-count, followed by a facebuster for another near-fall. Paige used an inside cradle for a near-fall of her own.
Paige hit several short-arm lariats and a dropkick, following up with a superkick. Paige locked in the PTO and Cameron tapped out.
Scott’s Thoughts: For all the improvements they’ve had in the ring, the Bellas as characters personify everything that is wrong with the WWE Divas Division. I will say that this was one of Cameron’s least-botchy matches ever, and was probably better than Big Show vs Rowan.
Rusev prevents Tyson Kidd and Jimmy Uso from getting started
Jimmy hit a gorilla press slam, and suddenly Rusev came out of nowhere. Rusev got rid of Tyson, then demolished The Usos single-handedly.
Scott’s Thoughts: I understand making Rusev look strong going into Fast Lane, but on the other hand, this made the tag champs look like the tag chumps.
Big Show def. Erick Rowan by pinfall
Before the match began, Show drove Rowan into the steel steps, and then the ring post. They eventually got in the ring to start the match, and Show hit a gorilla press slam. Show hit a chokeslam for the squash win.
Scott’s Thoughts: Well, this certainly happened. There can be no doubt of that. This occurred.