03rd May2015

‘WWE Fastlane 2015’ Blu-ray Review

by Chris Cummings


The Road to WrestleMania continues with the first WWE Fastlane PPV. By the end of this pay per view we should have a clearer view of what Wrestlemania will have in store for us, and hopefully we’ll have seen some interesting and entertaining matches and angles too. On paper it looks like it could be a decent PPV, but it all depends on the booking decisions and where the path leads after it is all over. So, let’s get on with this, shall we?

The opening match of the inaugural Fastlane PPV sees Ziggler, Rowan and Ryback take on Seth Rollins, Kane and Big Show in six man tag team action. The match, to me, felt like a typical RAW main event. It didn’t feel big, the fans were into it no more or less than they would be on a television show and the lack of video packages on WWE PPV’s make the matches seem less important than they did years back. Ziggler and Rollins had the best part of the match for obvious reasons. Ryback got a good response from the Memphis fans too, and had a decent showing. Still, the match was missing that big match feel even if it was an enjoyable tag encounter. After a solid showing, Ziggler was nailed from the outside of the ring by Big Show and his crappy “K.O Punch”, allowing Kane to cover Ziggs for the victory. After the match the six men continued to brawl with the heels taking control. Randy Orton made his WWE return, saving the babyfaces and taking out the heels, nailing J&J Security and Kane with RKO’s and going for Rollins. Seth gets saved and takes off, hyping their likely match at WrestleMania. Fans chanted for Orton and we see footage of Rollins leaving the arena in fear of The Viper.

Kane, Big Show & Seth Rollins defeated Ziggler, Rowan & Ryback

The second match of the pay per view is the grudge match between the Brothers Rhodes. Stardust and Goldust. This has been a match that both Cody and Dustin have been requesting for years, and we’re getting it here at Fastlane. I would have liked to have seen this at WrestleMania, and who knows, we still might, but I’m happy to see them go through with this feud finally. The angle leading up to the match has been pretty well done, and it appears Stardust will be playing the heel. The two men showed good ring psychology and had a good chemistry together, something brothers and tag team partners tend to exhibit once they eventually feud with one another. The fans chanted “Cody” at Stardust during the match, causing him to get irate. They wrestled, brawled around the ring, and wrestled some more in an enjoyable contest. The ending of the match seemed to be botched by the referee who only counted to two with the pinfall but then raised Goldie’s hand as the winner. Goldust won with a rollup out of nowhere. This might have been on purpose to continue the feud, but it seemed messy. Goldust offered his hand to Stardust after the match, but Stardust refused and left the ring. I think it’s likely we will see the blow-off to this feud at ‘Mania.

Goldust pinned Stardust.

After the Gold/Stardust match comes clips covering the Jon Stewart/Seth Rollins flame-war which will likely result in some sort of Stewart appearance on RAW or at a PPV. Daft.

Goldust, Stardust and Dusty are backstage and Stardust attacks his older brother while Dusty asks him to stop. Stardust blames Dusty for “killing Cody Rhodes” because he “sent” him Goldust as his partner. He hisses at his father, kicks Goldie in the head, and walks away. The feud continues.

Random thought: The Memphis crowd for this show seem dead, and are one of those crowds who seem intent of booing everybody and sitting on their hands. It sucks when a crowd makes a show seem less exciting by refusing to react to the product that they paid to see. A shame.

The Tag Team Titles are on the line next. The Usos, along with Naomi, come to the ring for their match with Tyson Kidd & Cesaro, who are accompanied by Natalya. The two best tag teams in WWE right now, this is one of the matches that made me interested in this PPV. The match had some great fast-paced action and some cool mat wrestling sequences. Kidd and Cesaro tied The Usos in knots with submission holds, something I enjoy seeing these two magnificent wrestlers do. The two teams have a nice chemistry together and can obviously have some top notch matches together. This was one of them. This is what tag team wrestling in WWE in 2015 should be about, and these two teams put on a great match. There was a cool spot with Kidd holding one of the Uso’s in the sharpshooter, but the crappy crowd pulled the heat out of it. The match ended when Kidd nailed Jimmy Uso with his finisher for the pinfall. Cesaro and Kidd win the tag titles for the first time, and it’s well deserved. Fantastic.

Cesaro & Tyson Kidd beat The Uso’s to win the WWE Tag Team Championship

Next, we get the “Face-to-Face” confrontation between Sting and Triple H. This is a segment I have little interest in. I was never a big WCW fan back in the day. I watched other promotions, including WWF. I’ve gone back, of course, and watched most of WCW’s output, but Sting has never been one of the guys I was bothered about seeing in WWE, and certainly isn’t someone I want to see in 2015, some fourteen years after WCW was purchased by WWE. This segment got a proper video package, proof that WWE only give that sort of treatment to guys like Trips, Cena, ‘Taker, Sting and the like. Triple H cuts a promo about being the “heartbeat” of WWE. He says he regrets shoving Flair on RAW. The Memphis crowd wakes from their nap and chants “woo” and “We Want Sting”. Sting comes out to his elaborate video and entrance. Sting gets in the ring and stands face to face with Triple H. Trips talks about how Sting was a loyal soldier for WCW and went down with the ship. He speaks about how it was guys like him that put WCW out of business. The Memphis fans boo, for some reason. I’m guessing there are some old WCW fans in the audience, possibly why they are so silent all night, maybe they were hoping for a Judy Bagwell on a Pole match or something.  Triple H was great on the mic here, as always. He offers Sting a chance to do business with him instead of standing against him. Triple H talks about keeping Sting’s legacy alive with the WWE Network, DVD’s and Merch, if he walks away from this situation. Triple H then offers the alternative, saying that he can beat the remainder of Sting’s legacy out of him tonight. Sting is silent through is all. Triple H goes to hit Sting but Sting hits back, and the two begin to brawl. Triple H gets the upper hand, punching and kicking Sting and screaming at him that he “gave him a chance”. Trips gets a sledgehammer from beneath the ring and tries to hit Sting with it, but Sting reveals his baseball bat, holding it against Triple H’s throat like a shotgun. Triple H backs down and drops the hammer as Sting points at the WrestleMania logo with the baseball bat. The fans chant for Sting as Triple H nods in acceptance of the challenge. Triple H gets hit in the gut with the bat and nails him with the Scorpion Deathdrop to end the segment as the fans cheer for Sting. An okay segment that sets up a big match for WrestleMania 31.

The WWE Divas Title is on the line next as challenger Paige makes her way to the ring to take on the Divas Champ Nikki Bella. This was a back and forth match in which Nikki showed off some power moves. The Bella’s have improved a lot in the ring, and while they aren’t on the same level as the excellent female wrestlers in NXT, they are a sight better than they used to be. Paige hits some of her signature offence and has the crowd on her side. Nikki rolls up Paige and grabs her tights for leverage to score the pin and retain her title.

Nikki Bella defeated Paige

The WWE Intercontinental Title is on the line next. Dean Ambrose, the challenger, gets one of the best reactions of the night as he makes his way to the ring to face the champion, Bad News Barrett. The match is mostly a brawl and the announcers put over Ambrose as unpredictable and unconventional. The fans seem more into this match than any other of the night. The match itself was an okay brawl but wasn’t incredible in any way. Ambrose goes wild, attacking Barrett and stomping on him repeatedly. Ambrose then gets disqualified for refusing to stop attacking Barrett. Ambrose then grabbed the I-C Title and posed with it before nailing the retaining champion with Dirty Deeds. The fans booed the decision loudly and cheered for Ambrose. Ambrose took the I-C belt with him after the match.

Bad News Barrett beat Dean Ambrose via DQ

The lights go out in the Memphis arena next and a group of druids make their way down the aisle as the announcers say things like “oh my” and “it’s him”. Speaking about The Undertaker, whom we haven’t seen since his loss to Brock Lesnar at last years WrestleMania event. The Undertaker’s music then plays and the fans pop. A casket is wheeled out onto the stage area by more druids (who are likely NXT talent). The casket is then opened at ringside and Bray Wyatt emerges from inside. He then cuts a promo as the Memphis crowd boo him for not being The Undertaker. Bray talks about how “he” once made him tremble, that he once feared “him”, but that now “he” has become just like everyone else. A shell of what he used to be. Bray says that “his” soul is lost, stuck in limbo. Wyatt says it’s time for “him” to go home. Claiming himself to be the “new face of fear”, Wyatt challenges The Undertaker to a match at WrestleMania, saying he will claim his soul.

Next, we have the John Cena/Rusev match. The Face of WWE for the last decade at least, John Cena takes on a guy who has been a monster since debuting last year, who hasn’t been pinned by any WWE wrestler, and who holds the United Stated Title, Rusev. Both Cena and Rusev took control of this match, showing power and dominance over the other. Cena was booed strongly throughout this match, against an anti-USA heel who holds the US Title and insults America on a weekly basis. Oh dear, John. Oh dear. The match was typical Cena stuff, but it went longer than I expected it to. Rusev looked powerful here, and the announcers put over his strength and dominating career in WWE thus far. The two men used their signature moves and holds. Lana got in the ring, causing a distraction, which led to Rusev kicking Cena in the face and locking him in The Accolade finisher. The referee called for the bell, claiming that Cena was unconscious, and allowing Rusev to pick up the victory. Cena stayed down after the bell, selling the kick and submission hold while Lana and Rusev celebrated with the United States Championship. It looks likely that this will also be at ‘Mania too. It seems like WrestleMania 31 will have lots of rematches, sadly.

Rusev defeated John Cena via submission

Finally, we arrive at the Fastlane main event. Daniel Bryan against Roman Reigns. The winner getting a shot at Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania for the WWE World Title. Daniel Bryan gets the bigger pop of the two men, but Reigns gets some chants from a smaller portion of the crowd. The two brawled and hit power moves on each other. Many of the times when Reigns hit offensive moves he was booed. It was a decent match, and the two men looked good in the ring. Bryan carried much of the match and sold for Reigns like it was his mission to do so. Reigns went for a spear on Bryan outside the ring at one point, with Bryan moving and Reigns running into the steel steps. They reversed each other’s moves and holds, and Bryan had the Yes Lock applied at one time, pulling back as the two looked up at the WrestleMania sign. A visual which will likely see replay. Reigns broke the hold and pounded Bryan to a chorus of boo’s. Bryan hit a kick sequence on Reigns and stood in the corner to signal for the running-knee finish. The fans chanted “yes” along with Bryan, but Reigns caught Bryan with the spear and pinned him for the victory. The fans booed the decision again, though not as loudly as they did at Royal Rumble last month. After the match Reigns looked at the ‘Mania sign as Bryan looked upset. Bryan then approached Reigns and stared at him before shaking his hand and leaving the ring. Another endorsement for Reigns who continues to suffer the backlash of being pushed above other workers who the fans want to see in that position. The announcers put Reigns over on commentary, asking if they think he will be able to defeat Lesnar at WrestleMania. Of course he will. And the fans will boo again.

Roman Reigns defeated Daniel Bryan

WWE Fastlane 2015 was decent. It had some top notch moments and matches. The Triple H/Sting segment was fun despite not being a major Sting fan, the Wyatt moment was enjoyable, and there was some classy contests too. The Tag Title match was great. The Goldust/Stardust match was enjoyable, and there wasn’t really a “bad” match on the show, just some that felt less important than they should have. The result of the main event wasn’t the one I was hoping for, and leaves a big question-mark above the head of Daniel Bryan going into ‘Mania. We leave Fastlane knowing more of what to expect, officially, at WrestleMania too, which is surely the point, and WWE didn’t do a bad job of connecting some more dots on the road to their biggest event of the year.

WWE Fastlane 2015 is released on DVD and Blu-ray tomorrow, May 4th, courtesy of FremantleMedia.


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