Wrestler of the Week – Tyson Kidd
Kidd won his first Tag Team Title almost five years ago. Since then, his career to a severe downward turn to the point that he was off of WWE TV almost entirely. He swallowed his pride and went to NXT, where he refined his heel character to be more theatrically obnoxious. The change worked wonders and made it easier for fans to develop strong feelings toward him. That improvement, coupled with a fortuitous pairing with Cesaro, has let his in-ring ability shine.
Kidd has always had the technical ability to lap just about any wrestler in the world, but without much to speak of in terms of size, look, or mic skills, it was easy to imagine him topping out as a simple mechanic. The arrogance he and Cesaro convey has helped to get him over that hump. The way he and Natalya have embellished their reality show storylines from Total Divas has been another layer of personality for both of them. When Kidd recaptured the Tag Team Titles over the Usos at Fastlane, it felt like a recognition of how far he has come rather than a cheap gimmick to make him temporarily more appealing.
Match of the Week – Roman Reigns def. Daniel Bryan at Fastlane
Bryan had one job at Fastlane- to rehabilitate Reigns’s image in and out of the ring. Their friends-turned-rivals story played out almost perfect on Raw and Smackdown. It was a strong enough story that the fans blew the roof off of the arena when they finally came to blows.
With some good work on Reigns’s persona in the bag, Bryan turned to his adversary’s wrestling style. Incredibly, he coaxed the first really good singles match out of Reigns that was longer than a few minutes. Both wrestlers sold for each other and there were no major hiccups. Most importantly, Reigns took part in a match that told an interesting story. Bryan’s technical expertise conflicted with Reigns’s sheer physical power. Those qualities went head-to-head throughout the match until Reigns kicked out of a running knee strike and got the win with a spear of his own.
The match does not guarantee that Reigns is beyond garbage performances in the ring and it does not ensure a quality Wrestlemania main event. Even so, it demonstrates that Reigns is capable of a PPV main even that engages the fans and delivers in the ring. Up until this point, there was not enough evidence to say that he could do so.
Quote of the Week – Ryback
“As long as we’re here in Music City, why doesn’t the Big Guy take the Axe Man to Smashville,” to Curtis Axel, before their match on Raw.
Must See Wrestling
- Jay Lethal and Alberto El Patron Bring out Each Other’s Best
Lethal and El Patron have done the near-impossible in the build toward ROH’s 13th Anniversary Show- they have made the TV Title feel as important as TNA’s World Title. It helps that a star as big as El Patron sought the secondary belt as soon as he debuted. It also helps that Lethal never skips an opportunity to talk about its importance. The most important factor has been the quality of work. Both wrestlers have wrestled fun, competitive matches week after week. When the competitors for a title feel important, the title feels important by extension.
- Kevin Owens def. Adrian Neville
How does Owens follow a match like his TKO title win over Sami Zayn? He goes in an entirely different direction. This time out, Owens wrestled from the bottom for most of his match while Neville stayed in control. He still managed to polish off his opponent with a pop-up powerbomb, but the display of resilience is a new look for Owens in NXT and it enhances his reputation a few more degrees.
- Randy Orton Makes Long-Awaited Return
Four months after he last appeared on TV and nearly two months after he started making the rounds on house shows, Orton finally came back to WWE TV with an attack on The Authority at Fastlane. Orton’s anger was primarily directed at Seth Rollins, but Stephanie McMahon was able to get them on the same page, at least temporarily. The future still appears to include a Wrestlemania match between these two, and the slight hesitation should only heighten the anticipation for a very promising matchup.