And some underrated wrestling.Fast Lane 2015
Date: February 22, 2015
Location: FedEx Forum, Memphis, Tennessee
Commentators: Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield, Jerry Lawler
It’s the final major show before Wrestlemania XXXI and I’ve yet to find someone who really wants to see this show. The big story tonight is finding out who is going to be in the main event against Brock Lesnar, as well as if Sting is going to accept HHH’s likely challenge for a match at the biggest show of the year. Gee I wonder what his answer is going to be. Let’s get to it.
There’s no pre-show match this month but we do have MizTV with special guest Paul Heyman. Before Heyman comes out though, Miz tells Mizdow to go sit in the corner. Miz was supposed to be at the Oscars but the Academy got Dwayne Johnson to fill in for him. He explains Reigns vs. Bryan for later tonight and here’s Heyman. Paul suggests that Miz is terrified of Lesnar being here because he’s not a good enough actor to hide that fear.
Brock is NOT here tonight, but Miz can’t get off that insult to his acting abilities. He brings up his win in the main event of Wrestlemania (he’s going to catch Jericho’s “I beat Rock and Austin in one night” at this pace) as a qualification for being able to ask who Lesnar wants to face this year. Miz talks up Bryan’s wins last year and Heyman understands how hot Bryan is right now, but he doesn’t think Brock would be worried.
Heyman gets freaked out by Mizdow sitting in the corner so Miz makes his employee face the corner. This gets Mizdow on his feet but Miz shouts him down again. Now we get back to the main event of Wrestlemania with Heyman repeating all of his lines about Reigns from the last few weeks.
The fans cut him off with a Mizdow chant so Heyman actually starts all over again. That’s one way to get some heat. Heyman talks about the YES chants at Wrestlemania that will be silenced by Brock Lesnar, and you can believe that Reigns will go down as well. Paul rolls his eyes as he leaves. This felt like total filler since there aren’t enough matches to go around.
The opening video has a computerized car theme, talking about speed and velocity while focusing on the two main events.
Dolph Ziggler/Erick Rowan/Ryback vs. Seth Rollins/Kane/Big Show
This was announced on WWE.com earlier in the week. Rowan now has a big R on his coveralls. Ziggler and Rollins get things going as the fans chant for Ryback. Dolph escapes a headlock and counters a powerbomb into a sunset flip. Cole brings up Rollins bringing up the Daily Show and Jon Stewart actually responding to him. A nice dropkick staggers Rollins and it’s off to Rowan to work on the arm.
That’s not enough for Rowan so he hooks a pumphandle backbreaker for two. I’ve always liked pumphandle moves and could go for more of them. Kane comes in for the battle of boring big men and Rowan slams him down, followed by a legdrop for no cover. A nice jumping middle rope back elbow gets two on Kane but he drives Rowan into the corner for the tag to Big Show.
The villains take Rowan to the floor where he spinwheel kicks the post by mistake. Another FEED ME MORE chant starts up as Lawler makes easy bald jokes about Big Show. Back in and Kane stomps Rowan in the corner before it’s off to Rollins to stomp on the leg. A Blockbuster gets two more and Big Show comes back in to keep control. He hooks the Lasso From El Paso to actually show some psychology but just lets go for some reason. Rowan counters a chokeslam and plants Show with a DDT but Rollins breaks up the tag attempt.
Erick gets up though and spinwheel kicks Seth down with the bad leg. The hot tag brings in Ryback as things speed up but Rollins avoids the Warrior splash. The Curb Stomp is countered into a powerbomb but Kane takes the Meathook. There’s the low superkick for two on Ryback but another Blockbuster is countered into Shell Shock but Big Show makes the save. It’s off to Ziggler for a jumping DDT on Kane for two but Rollins interference allows Big Show to knock Ziggler cold, giving Kane the pin at 13:00.
Rating: B. The man is Mr. Money in the Bank and possibly the future of the company and he’s now running interference for Big Show and Kane to get the glory as they pin one of the most popular guys in this company. This was your basic Smackdown main event, meaning it was entertaining enough and a good choice for a PPV opener. I’m totally sick of this story, but at least it’s a good enough match.
The beating continues post match (picture any Smackdown……if anyone actually watches that show) but Orton FINALLY returns and cleans house, sending Rollins running away. He goes all the way into the parking lot and presumably drives away though we don’t see him get in a car.
We recap Stardust vs. Goldust, which is due to their issues as a tag team. Their father Dusty Rhodes tried to settle things on Monday but Stardust attacked his brother, setting up this match.
Dusty is in the back with Goldust and asks him not to hurt Cody too badly tonight. Goldust talks about going to the shows with Cody to watch Dusty in the ring. Tonight, he’s facing Stardust though, and he has to beat him so badly that the thought of painting his face and putting on a costume will make Cody sick. He isn’t leaving without Cody tonight.
Stardust vs. Goldust
Stardust is now in star tights and no shirt. Goldust shoves him out of the corner to start and neither guy seems comfortable to be out there. They trade hiptosses and Stardust hides in the corner for some polite applause. An atomic drop and right hand have Stardust in more trouble but Stardust escapes the Curtain Call. We see a nervous Dusty watching in the back. Goldust clotheslines him out to the floor before loading up Shattered Dreams, only to have Stardust bail to the apron.
Back in and Stardust finally gets some energy into the match and stomps away, taking it back to the floor. This isn’t very interesting so far but it’s not the worst thing I’ve ever seen. Back in and we hit a bodyscissors on Goldust before a rollup gets two for Stardust. A slap to the back sets up another body vise as the fans can’t decide who to cheer for. Goldust misses a springboard elbow but counters Cross Rhodes into a bad looking crucifix for two, which is called three in what looked to be a botched ending at 10:00. The referee’s hand only hit the mat twice.
Rating: D. I think they were going for Goldust not wanting to do this, but it came off as much more boring and dull than anything else. At the end of the day, these sort of matches don’t hold up for me with neither guy wanting to do much and clearly just being there to set up another match down the line. Nothing to see here other than a good looking change of outfit for Stardust, who wound up losing.
We see Jon Stewart of the Daily Show responding to Seth Rollins. Seth has made a big mistake by coming after the Daily Show and even J and J Security can’t get him out of it. Stewart is coming for him.
Rollins says he’s not hard to find and welcomes Stewart to Fast Lane or any Raw he has time to come to.
Goldust and Dusty are in the back and hope it’s over but Stardust comes in and destroys his brother. He yells at Dusty that he was the black sheep of the family before nailing Goldust again.
Tag Team Titles: Usos vs. Tyson Kidd/Cesaro
The Usos are defending after Cesaro and Kidd beat them in a non-title match. Naomi and Natalya are here as seconds. Jey takes Kidd down to start and holds him for a top rope shot to the chest from Jimmy. It’s off to Cesaro via a blind tag and he takes out Jimmy’s knee to take over. Kidd goes after the knee and Cesaro follows suit with a one legged swing.
Back to Kidd with a slingshot legdrop for two. Notice how much they’re mixing up the offense on the leg. You don’t have to take turns doing the same holds over and over again. Jimmy gets over for the tag to speed things up but Cesaro grabs a quick rollup for two. The running Umaga attack gets two on Cesaro but he crotches Jimmy on the top. Cesaro lifts Jimmy off the apron for a superplex, setting up the top rope elbow from Kidd for two.
Jey escapes the Sharpshooter and throws Kidd into the air for a Samoan drop from Jimmy, only to have Cesaro drag Kidd outside. That’s fine with Jimmy as he hits a huge dive. A Samoan drop drives Kidd into the barricade and all four are down outside. Back in and Jimmy’s Superfly Splash hits knees and Kidd slaps on the Sharpshooter. Jey makes the save and slugs it out with Cesaro but they fall to the floor. With Jimmy still shaken up, Kidd hits a quick fisherman’s neckbreaker for the pin and the titles at 9:35.
Rating: B-. Another good match here and I’m very pleased with the results. Kidd has gotten a lot better in the last few months and it’s nice to see him get rewarded for all the hard work. The Usos can only do their thing for so long before they need a freshening up and this might be such a chance. Another good result after another good match.
We recap Sting interrupting HHH at Survivor Series and then again on Raw a few months later, setting up their confrontation tonight.
HHH comes out in his leather jacket and jeans for a change. He brings up the meeting with Flair on Raw and calls out Sting right now, so here’s Sting in person. HHH knows why he’s here and thinks Sting is backing the wrong horse. Sting may have been WCW but he went down with the ship.
It was guys like HHH that made the ship go down in the first place because his family is what keeps the WWE alive. So HHH is now taking credit for killing WCW? He wasn’t even in the Winner Take All match. If Sting just walks away now, his legacy goes on. He can continue through DVDs and merchandise, and maybe even the Hall of Fame one day.
HHH takes off the jacket and says we can do it another way. He goes for a cheap shot but Sting lays him out, only to eat a microphone shot to the face. It’s sledgehammer time but Sting pulls out the ball bat. HHH throws the hammer down and Sting points the bat at the Wrestlemania sign. Sting turns away but hits HHH with the bat while he’s trying a cheap shot. The Death Drop leaves HHH laying. This was exactly what people expected but it worked well enough. The hammer vs. the bat was really cool to see.
We recap the pre-show edition of MizTV.
Quick recap of the Bellas embarrassing Paige.
Divas Title: Paige vs. Nikki Bella
Paige is challenging. Lillian screws up again and calls it the Women’s Title. Paige quickly takes it to the mat and Nikki rolls to the floor. A chase gets us back inside but Nikki knocks her right back to the floor. Back in again and we hit the chinlock before an Alabama Slam gets two on Paige.
Nikki charges into a boot in the corner before Paige hits the three straight clotheslines. A dropkick gets two and Paige kicks her in the face for the same. The Rampaige is countered into a facebuster but Paige pops right back up. Nikki counters a superplex into a nice powerbomb for two but has to crawl to the ropes to escape the PTO. In a fast ending, Nikki sends her into the buckle and grabs the trunks for the pin to retain at 5:37.
Rating: D+. Believe it or not, this wasn’t horrible, but I think most of that is due to Paige holding the thing together. The Bellas (they’re the same person in my eyes anyway) know how to do some decent looking moves, but they don’t know how to work a match. That’s a very big difference and it shows badly when they’re in there against well rounded wrestlers.
Cameron and Eva Marie are at the Oscars.
Sting vs. HHH is officially announced for Wrestlemania.
Intercontinental Title: Dean Ambrose vs. Bad News Barrett
Ambrose pinned Barrett in a non-title match (join the freaking club) and literally forced him into signing a contract for a title match. Dean goes right after him to start but gets kicked off the top rope and out to the floor. A chinlock doesn’t last long and Barrett kicks him in the face again to stop Dean’s comeback. Back in and Dean scores with a tornado DDT before countering Winds of Change into a small package for two.
The standing elbow drop gets two more but Dean runs into Wasteland. They’re just trading signature moves right now. The Bull Hammer is countered into a rollup for two and Dean kicks him in the face for no cover. Barrett tries to bail but gets caught by a suicide dive. Dean pulls him back from the crowd and stomps away in the corner for the DQ at 7:46.
Rating: D. This felt like a Raw match to set up a pay per view match, reenforcing my theory that this show could have been broken up into a bunch of Raws instead of being its own pay per view. Nothing to see here and it was pretty clear about halfway through that it was going to be a screwy finish.
Dean hits Dirty Deeds and leaves with the title.
The lights go out and Undertaker’s druids come out with their torches. The gong strikes and two hooded men wheel out a casket. The casket opens up and it’s Bray Wyatt inside. He says he will never forget the first time that he saw him. He made Bray tremble with his cold eyes but now he’s just a shell of his former self. His soul is lost and it’s time to go home. Bray’s mission is clear because he doesn’t fear him anymore. At Wrestlemania, he will claim the Undertaker’s soul. Bray lays back down in the casket and the druids close it up.
The pre-show panel recap the evening so far.
We recap Cena vs. Rusev, which is based on the idea of Cena reaching the end of his career and being far weaker than he used to be. The eye injury has been forgotten in the span of a week.
US Title: Rusev vs. John Cena
Rusev is defending. They stall to start and the fans think Cena sucks. A big right hand drops Rusev so he kicks Cena in the face for two. The champ chokes him in the corner and nails a spinwheel kick for two more. A Jerry chant starts up as a fan takes pictures of Lana. Cena comes back with a dropkick for two of his own but Rusev hits a slightly worse dropkick for two more.
The fall away slam gets yet another near fall and Rusev slowly stomps away even more. Cena charges into an elbow in the corner and we hit the chinlock. A suplex puts Rusev down but the AA is countered with a DDT. Back up and Cena fires off right hands before starting his usual sequence. Another AA is countered into the jumping superkick for two. The STF doesn’t work either and Rusev hits a swinging Rock Bottom for two more.
Cena goes to the middle rope for a tornado DDT but still can’t put Rusev away. They slug it out and Rusev grabs the ropes to block another AA attempt. Cena pulls him into a Crossface (called an STF by Cole) but Rusev easily powers out and hits the second Alabama (Moscow?) Slam of the night. Some elbows to the back look to set up the Accolade but Cena blocks a stomp (it could have been the shouting of RUSEV CRUSH) and slaps on the STF.
Rusev finally grabs a rope and escapes the AA again but misses the superkick. Now the AA connects for two (I’m as shocked as you are) and both guys are spent. The top rope Fameasser misses though and Rusev hooks the Accolade. Cena has his knees under him though and powers up, only to have Lana offer a distraction so Rusev can kick him low. Another superkick to the face sets up the Accolade and Cena passes out at 19:00.
Rating: B. Good freaking grief STOP USING PAY PER VIEW TO SET UP REMATCHES. They’re making it as clear as they can that this show is just a big preview for Wrestlemania and they can claim “you didn’t have to pay for it.” Unless you’re loyal to WWE of course and actually bought the Network before the free month. This took some time to get going but finally took off about halfway through. Of course it sets up Cena’s big win at Wrestlemania, but this is a good win for Rusev. Granted it’s on a worthless show but at least it’s there.
Cena is dazed post match.
Kickoff panel recaps again.
We recap Reigns vs. Bryan, which is all about headlining Wrestlemania against Brock Lesnar. They started off respecting each other but it’s evolved into a game of topping each other to play mind games.
Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan
The previous match got big match intros but this didn’t get anything. Good sign in the crowd: PUNCH THAT HIPPIE! Bryan keeps getting down low on the mat to avoid Roman’s power in a smart move. A headlock slows Reigns down a bit but he counters into one of his own. Daniel goes for the leg and takes Reigns down into the surfboard but Reigns easily kicks him away. Roman stomps him down in the corner without showing a lot of aggression.
A nice tilt-a-whirl slam and clothesline put Bryan on the floor but he comes back with kicks to the leg to slow Reigns down again. That’s fine with Roman who just blasts Bryan with a right hand to the jaw as they’re getting a good story going here. Back up again and Reigns hits the jumping clothesline but misses a charge into the corner. Another clothesline turns Bryan inside out and Reigns starts rolling some pumphandle suplexes. The Superman Punch is countered with a kick to the ribs.
Some knees to the ribs have Reigns in even more trouble and the running corner dropkicks stagger him again. Bryan tries a top rope hurricanrana but gets caught in a superbomb for a close two as things are starting to get good. Reigns loads up a top rope superplex but gets crotched down, setting up a belly to back superplex to stay on the weakened midsection. The YES Lock goes on but Reigns gets the rope and bails to the floor.
Bryan hits back to back Flying Goats but tries once too often and gets belly to belly suplexed. The spear hits the steps though and Reigns barely beats the count back in. Bryan dives into something resembling the Superman Punch for two. The spear is countered into a rollup but the running knee only gets a very near fall. The YES Kicks have Reigns reeling but he blocks the big one.
Bryan slaps him in the face on one leg before pulling Reigns down into a YES Lock. Reigns turns it over and hammers away right hands to stun Bryan again. He lifts Bryan up into a powerbomb and both guys are down. Bryan’s legs are over Reigns but the referee doesn’t count it as a cover. Both guys sit up and Reigns hammers away with right hands so Bryan just unloads with kicks to the head to put him down again. Another running knee is countered with the spear though to send Reigns to Wrestlemania at 20:04.
Rating: A-. I actually really like that ending because storyline wise, Bryan has very little claim to a spot in the main event at Wrestlemania. This is the big win that Reigns needed to look like a star and he certainly delivered his half. They were telling a good story out there with Bryan trying to pick Reigns apart but eventually just getting run over by raw power. Excellent main event here and it did what it was supposed to do.
Bryan pokes Reigns in the chest and tells him to take out Lesnar at Wrestlemania. They shake hands and Bryan lets Reigns celebrate to end the show.
Overall Rating: B-. This show was good in spite of itself because of some really solid wrestling. Unfortunately, the total lack of need to have this show really hurts it though as this simply didn’t need to be a pay per view. Reigns should have eliminated Bryan last from the Rumble and the exact same things could have been accomplished on TV. The wrestling carried this, but there was no way to care about a lot of the stuff on this show. Think about it like this: other than the Tag Team Titles and the Divas, every match on here (or the post match segment) seemed to be to set up a future match. That’s inexcusable for a big time show.
Kane/Big Show/Seth Rollins b. Dolph Ziggler/Ryback/Erick Rowan – Kane pinned Ziggler after a KO Punch from Big Show
Goldust b. Stardust – Crucifix
Tyson Kidd/Cesaro b. Usos – Fisherman’s neckbreaker to Jimmy
Nikki Bella b. Paige – Rollup with a handful of trunks
Bad News Barrett b. Dean Ambrose via DQ when Ambrose wouldn’t stop stomping
Rusev b. John Cena – Accolade
Roman Reigns b. Daniel Bryan – Spear
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