WWE Fastlane 3/11/2018
WWE United States Champion Bobby Roode defends against Randy Orton. WWE Champion AJ Styles defends the title against five challengers.
World Wrestling Entertainment presents Fastlane
From: Columbus, OH
Opening Contest: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Rusev: Early on, Rusev takes Nakamura down to the mat with a hip toss and tries for a cover. Rusev avoids a kick by hanging onto the ropes moments later. Nakamura gets a one count after a knee drop. Rusev knee lifts Nakamura followed by a right hand. Nakamura ducks a right hand and does some taunting. Rusev decides to bail to the floor to regroup. Nakamura nails Rusev with a couple of knee shots across the apron. Rusev is able to knock Nakamura down with a running body strike and kicks Nakamura to the floor. Rusev tosses Nakamura into the guard railing shoulder first. Rusev continues to drive Nakamura back first into the apron and railing again. Rusev goes for a cover but only manages a two count. Nakamura is able to get a heel hook on Rusev but can’t get a submission. Rusev catches a kick and plants Nakamura with a spinning slam for a two count. Rusev keeps control with a few elbow drops. Rusev knee lifts Nakamura several times but Nakamura comes off the ropes with a kick. Nakamura continues with a few kicks to a kneeling Rusev. Nakamura lays Rusev over the top turnbuckle and delivers a running knee for a near fall. Rusev tries to get out of a choke but his leg gives out on him. Rusev tosses Nakamura with a fallaway slam. Rusev knee lifts Nakamura and drops Nakamura with another kick to the head for a two count.
Nakamura battles back with a few strikes a kick to knock Rusev down to the mat. Rusev gets a rollup out of the corner and goes for the Accolade but Nakamura counters with a rollup for a near fall. Nakamura drops Rusev with a spinning kick. Nakamura runs right into a superkick from Rusev, but kicks out at two.
Rusev stomps on Nakamura and goes for the Accolade but Nakamura delivers a running knee to the back of Rusev’s head and delivers the running kick for the win. (***. That was a fine match, but it’s so obvious to me that Rusev needs to be used in a much bigger role. They seemed to be heavy on strikes, which I normally don’t enjoy that much, but this was a fine opener for the PPV.)
Second Contest: WWE United States Champion Bobby Roode vs. Randy Orton: Roode works over the left arm of Orton in the opening moments of the match. They are trading some mat holds before a standoff occurs. Roode shoulder blocks Orton and we get another standoff. Orton elbows Roode following a leapfrog to get control of the match. Orton uppercuts Roode to stagger him out of the corner. Roode backs Orton into the corner but has to avoid the RKO by bailing the floor. Roode goes for a DDT but Orton bails to the floor to regroup. Jinder Mahal is watching the match backstage. Orton drops Roode gut first over the top rope and gets a two count. Roode pops out of the corner to clothesline Orton managing a two count. Roode gets another near fall with a knee drop. Roode controls Orton with a sleeper hold but Orton fights out of the hold. Orton takes Roode over with a vertical suplex. Roode comes off the ropes with a forearm and clothesline. Roode connects with a swinging neckbreaker. Roode comes off the top with a clothesline to drop Orton. Orton nearly wins with a rollup.
Orton plants Roode with a snap powerslam and Roode rolls to the apron. Orton goes for the elevated DDT, but Roode counters. Orton is able to drop Roode over the top rope. Roode hits a blockbuster off the middle rope for a two count. Roode attempts a shoulder block but Orton kicks the champ and hits the elevated DDT over the middle rope. Orton signals that he’s going for the RKO. Orton almost wins with a rollup. Roode clotheslines Orton over the top to the floor to keep control of the match. Orton sends Roode back first into the guard railing and then delivers a back suplex over the railing. Orton goes for a cover but Roode kicks out at two. Orton sits Roode onto the top turnbuckle and delivers a few right hands. Orton attempts a superplex but Roode counters and connects with a sunset flip powerbomb. Roode goes for a cover but Orton kicks out at two. Roode heads to the top rope but is crotched by Orton. Orton attempts a superplex and takes Roode down to the mat leading to a near fall. They begin to trade right hands in the middle of the ring. Roode almost wins with a backslide. They counter their finishers leading to Roode hitting a spinebuster for a near fall. Roode boots a charging Orton in the corner and leaps off the middle rope but is met with the RKO in midair giving Orton the win. (**1/2. Did this really have to go nearly 20-minutes? It’s a fine match, but the bigger match appears to be an eventual triple threat involving the three men. Orton becomes a Grand Slam champion in WWE. We’ll be hearing about that forever now.)
Jinder Mahal makes his way down to the ring to confront Orton. Mahal just kicks Orton in the midsection but Roode comes in and plants Mahal with a DDT. Roode does the same to Orton. That right there certainly sets up a triple threat match for Mania. It was kind of funny how Mahal just kicked Orton in the midsection when Orton had a minute to just attack Mahal first. Also, I got a vibe from Roode that he might turn heel soon in this segment.
Backstage, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens are talking about the main event tonight. Well, Owens is pissed about Zayn kicking him in the face on Smackdown and pinning him. Zayn was talking about tonight that he’d lay down for Owens. Zayn promises that he won’t let Owens down. Owens walks off and Zayn has an evil smirk on his face.
Third Contest: Becky Lynch & Naomi vs. Carmella & Natalya: I’m really not sure as to why this match is on pay per view. Is it just to get four women on pay per view? It goes nearly nine minutes and I’m not inclined to really focus too much on a match that doesn’t exactly warrant it. I should probably do that more often and save myself some frustration. Carmella wins the match following a superkick to Lynch.
Fourth Contest: Smackdown Tag Team Champions The Usos vs. Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston: Woods and Jey kick off the title match by talking smack to each other. Woods hammers away on Jey before getting cutoff by Jey. Jey ducks a clothesline and Woods is met with a superkick from Jimmy. Jey continues to work over Woods in the corner with stomps. Jimmy splashes Woods in the corner for a two count. Woods tags in Kingston and he comes off the top with a strike and dropkicks to the champions. Kingston clotheslines Jimmy and delivers a leg drop. Jimmy goes for a backdrop but Kingston blocks it and is met with a spinning kick. Kingston stomps Jimmy and knocks Jey off the apron. Kingston splashes Jimmy in the corner but Jey comes in to drop Kingston with a few clotheslines. Jey plants Woods with an Angle Slam and clotheslines Kingston. Jey legdrops Kofi and plays to the crowd. Kingston misses a spin kick. Usos hit the slam/DDT combo but Kingston kicks out at two. Kingston avoids a splash and Jey hits the post face first. Kingston tags out to Woods and Woods is almost pinned quickly. Jey superkicks Woods but Woods comes back with a forearm and kick of his own. Woods superkicks both Usos before tagging in Kingston, who hits a splash onto Jimmy for a near fall. Kingston gets shoved off the apron and Woods is backdropped to the floor. Usos dive over the top and take out the New Day.
Here come the Bludgeon Brothers, who were left out of the title match. They don’t look to be very happy about it, either. They proceed to destroy both teams. Harper hits a swinging side slam on the floor on Jey Uso. Woods is met with a double big boot while laying on the apron. Bludgeon Brothers destroy the Usos on the floor with several splashes. Woods is powerbombed onto the ring steps, as well. (**1/2. The match was clearly designed to set up a three-way tag match. The aftermath was done very well to get some heat on Rowan and Harper. This kind of made me want to see Harper and Rowan. I’m a big Harper fan, but this is great usage of Rowan.)
Backstage, WWE Champion AJ Styles talks about being use to the odds being against him and he’s overcome the odds each time. Styles believes he’ll do it again tonight. Shinsuke Nakamura enters the scene and wants Styles to win so he can beat him for the title. However, Styles cuts him off and says that Nakamura will be the one to lose.
Fifth Contest: Smackdown Women’s Champion Charlotte vs. Ruby Riott: Riott tries to hit the Riott Kick within the first five-seconds of the match but Charlotte avoids it. Charlotte does the obvious figure four attempt and tells Riott she was close to getting it locked in. Charlotte tosses Riott with a fallaway slam but is met with a kick to the chest in the corner. Charlotte and Riott crash through the middle rope to the floor and Charlotte drives Riott back first into the railing. Charlotte sees the Riott Squad at ringside and is attacked by Riott from behind. Riott nails Charlotte with the Riott Kick but can’t get a three count. Charlotte is dumped to the floor but here comes Naomi and Becky Lynch to protect their friend. Riott pummels Charlotte with right hands and taunts the crowd. Riott takes Charlotte over with a few snap suplexs. Charlotte counters with a slingshot suplex. Riott kicks Charlotte and drives the champ face first into the middle turnbuckle. Riott hits a stage dive senton for a two count. Riott continues to drive Charlotte face first on the canvas. Riott chokes Charlotte with a straight jacket choke.
Riott drops Charlotte with an STO for a two count. Riott goes for another stage dive senton but Charlotte got her knees up. Charlotte hits an elevated neckbreaker over the middle rope. Charlotte goes to the top rope but Riott shoves her off and Charlotte hits the guard railing chest first. Riott goes for a slow motion suicide dive to the floor and Charlotte overhead tosses Riott into the railing. Charlotte leaps off the railing with a moonsault.
Charlotte gets a two count back in the ring. Charlotte drops Riott with a knee strike. Charlotte kicks Riott in the corner and is met with a forearm as she sat on the top turnbuckle. Riott takes Charlotte over with a hurricanrana off the top for a near fall. They begin to trade slaps and chops. Charlotte gets the better of the exchange. Charlotte goes for a Flatliner, but Riott sells it oddly and ends up over the middle rope. Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan act like they’re going to get in the ring causing Naomi and Lynch to get in the ring. They get ejected as Charlotte is worked over in the corner. The referee senses something is up and tosses them too. Charlotte chops Riott followed by a back suplex and big boot. Riott counters the figure four with an inside cradle for a two count. Charlotte counters a reverse hurricanrana and drops Riott over the top turnbuckle. Charlotte hits a spear and locks in the figure four for the win. (**3/4. I’d say this was better than most women matches. Riott had some bad moments in there, but Charlotte did her best to carry her to a respectable showing.)
2018 Women’s Royal Rumble winner Asuka makes her way out and confronts Charlotte. Asuka makes it clear that she’ll be challenging Charlotte at WrestleMania for the Smackdown Live Women’s Championship. Asuka didn’t say a word but rather pointed at the WrestleMania banner. They sure do love to point, don’t they?
Main Event: WWE Champion AJ Styles vs. John Cena vs. Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin: Zayn goes right after Cena and is met with an AA. Cena proceeds to hit the AA on everyone but Styles. Styles just stood in the corner clearly being the only smart one in the match. Cena shoulder blocks Styles and they trade right hands. Cena attempts the AA but Styles lands on his feet and kicks Cena. Styles is dumped to the apron and they have a standoff. The other guys stand on the apron as well and Cena realizes that he’s screwed. Cena tries to calm them down but they don’t seem interested. Cena is pummeled by everyone in the middle ring. Owens and Styles go to the floor while the other four are on the opposite side of the ring. Corbin decks Styles on the outside. Corbin sends Owens into the guard railing. Styles dumps Corbin over the top to the floor. Styles has a rollup on Zayn but only gets a two count. Owens is nearly pinned by AJ with a rollup. Styles drops Owens gut first onto the mat. Styles kicks Corbin and comes off the ropes with a forearm smash. Styles drops Ziggler over his knee. Styles plants Zayn with a springboard reverse DDT for a two count as Owens breaks up the cover. Owens is stopped by Styles on the top rope as AJ delivers right hands.
Styles hooks Owens for a superplex but Owens headbutts Styles to the mat. Corbin tosses AJ to the floor and trades big boots with Zayn. Cena runs over Corbin with a clothesline. Ziggler plants Cena with a DDT. Owens nearly pins Ziggler with a frog splash off the top as AJ breaks up the cover. Owens and Styles trade strikes in the middle of the ring. Styles drops Owens with a kick and goes for the Styles Clash. Owens backdrops Styles to the floor and elbows Corbin. Corbin hits a backbreaker on Owens and Ziggler hits a Zig Zag. Cena shoulder blocks Ziggler followed by a slam. Cena does the same to Zayn and proceeds to hit a double Five Knuckle Shuffle. Ziggler counters the AA with a Fame-Asser for a two count.
Ziggler misses a superkick and Cena locks in the STF. Styles slides into the ring and forearms Cena to break the hold. Styles attempts the Styles Clash and plants Cena with it! Styles has the cover but Zayn breaks up the cover. Zayn hammers away on Styles with right hands. Zayn and Corbin trade strikes with Zayn driving Corbin face first onto the turnbuckle. Corbin decks Zayn off the apron with a right hand. Corbin turns Owens inside out with a lariat. Corbin plants Styles with a swinging slam and drops Ziggler gut first to the canvas. Ziggler counters End of Days and they go to the floor where Corbin tosses Ziggler into the crowd. Corbin drives Ziggler gut first into the wall and they collide into a hockey bench area. Owens puts Styles on the announcers table but is met with a kick. Styles clotheslines himself and Zayn over the railing into the crowd. Cena grabs Owens on the announcers table but Owens elbows out. Cena puts Styles through a table with the AA!
Owens begs off from Cena in the corner and Zayn clotheslines Cena knocking him to the floor. Zayn is in the ring with Owens and Owens wants to fight Zayn. Zayn tells Owens he is a man of his word to lay down for him. Owens pulls Zayn up but Zayn nearly wins with an inside cradle. They proceed to beat the crap out of each other with Zayn knocking Owens to the floor. Owens sends Zayn hard into the railing back first. Owens attempts to powerbomb Zayn on the apron but Zayn avoids it with a backdrop on the apron! Zayn confronts Shane McMahon, who has been at ringside all match long. Owens misses a superkick and nails McMahon instead of Zayn. Zayn plants Owens with a tornado DDT on the floor. Owens superkicks Zayn and Ziggler tries the Zig Zag but Owens plants Ziggler with a pop-up powerbomb! McMahon pulls the referee out of the ring! Owens is pissed and McMahon points at Kevin for kicking him. Zayn nails Owens with a running boot. McMahon pulls Zayn out of the ring on the cover attempt.
Corbin nails Cena with the ring steps. Corbin proceeds to hit everyone with the steps. Cena comes back in and nails Corbin with the steps. Cena goes for the AA and slams Corbin onto the steps for a two count. Cena misses a steps shot on Ziggler and is met with a superkick. Cena plants Ziggler with the AA. Owens gets in the ring and hits the pop-up powerbomb on Cena. Styles nails Owens with the springboard forearm for the win. (***1/2. It’s a good main event as they were able to hold my interest even if it was set up as a formula six-man match. I’m glad Cena didn’t win the match. I’d assume this is leading to another Owens/Shane match at Mania or something? Regardless, this main event delivered a quality match.)
While Smackdown Live seems to suffer from poor writing for the TV show, the pay per view this month was actually pretty decent. The main delivered and the undercard wasn’t too bad. I was surprised how much I enjoyed this considering the TV show hasn’t been very entertaining.
Thanks for reading.