Monday, February 23, 2015

Fast Lane Review

Unlike most prior months, we didn't get a match on the Kickoff Show. We had MizTV, which won't be reviewed. Moving into the main broadcast, things started with the six man tag. Dolph Ziggler, Ryback and Erick Rowan took on Seth Rollins, Kane and Big Show. I think this was a pretty good choice to open. The crowd is hot for Ziggler and Ryback, but they make the mistake of having Rowan play the face in peril. The problem is that nobody cares about Rowan. They should have worked over Ziggler and gave Ryback the hot tag. This was decent but the finish sucked. Kane pinned Ziggler after a WMD from Show in about 13 minutes. If the Authority had to win, Rollins should have gotten the pin on Rowan. The big story though, was the return of Randy Orton. He came out, cleaned house of the Authority and is leading to what I assume is a WrestleMania match against Seth Rollins. **1/4

Our second contest took us to the Dust Brothers exploding. Stardust went one on one with Goldust. A lot of people are divided on this. You have some people who considered this to be awful and some who loved the storytelling aspect of it. I find myself somewhere in the middle. These two have wanted a WrestleMania match for so long, but couldn't really deliver a Mania caliber match tonight. Stardust is fantastic at playing his character though and it shined brightly here. They got a little over nine minutes and unfortunately, they totally botched the finish. The referee didn't even count to three but called for the bell. Goldust wins with a crucifix. It was strange to say the least. Backstage, Stardust attacked Goldust in front of their father and continued to say that Cody Rhodes, "the breakout of Legacy, Intercontinental Champion, Dashing, the Prince", is dead. **1/2

If there was one match on the card, besides the obvious Daniel Bryan main event, that I was looking forward to, it was the Tag Team Title match. It also just happened to have the most satisfying conclusion of any match for me at least. Tyson Kidd and Cesaro wisely worked the knee of Jimmy Uso. I got that this was done to set up for Kidd's Sharpshooter and that did come into play. However, it was a kick to that injured knee that helped set up Kidd hitting his finisher and giving this team the belts. I was honestly totally shocked as I saw the Usos retaining and carrying the belts into WresleMania. This was a good surprise and the match was fun. It got just under ten minutes and seeing them win the titles was a mark out moment for me. I love these guys and am glad to see them get some shine. ***1/4

You could tell that Triple H meant business tonight and you want to know how I know? He wore a leather jacket, jeans and taped fists. In other words, this wasn't the COO. It was the Cerebral Assassin. Or at least that was how we were supposed to look at it. He called out Sting, who appeared for the third time on WWE television. It's still surreal. Basically, Triple H ran down WCW and called Sting a failure for sticking with them. Sting didn't say a word again. HHH said he could keep his legacy alive with merchandise and such. How is that a valid offer when already has a TON of Sting merch and he has his own DVD. Things get physical, HHH takes him down and tries for the sledgehammer. Sting busts out the bat, backs him off and points to the WrestleMania sign. The match is made official later in the night.

The Divas Championship match was up next. Nikki Bella and Paige had a damn fine match on Main Event a while back, but that was given twelve minutes and this only got about six. I enjoyed it though. I figured Nikki would retain, but after meeting Paige at Comic-Con the night before, I was totally 100% behind her and think I will be from here on out. Yes, I somehow love her even more. Both girls did good except for a botched school girl into the turnbuckle. NIkki even busted out the Alabama Slam. She retained with a rollup and a handful of tights, making me think the feud continues. Maybe AJ Lee returns soon and we get Paige and AJ vs. the Bella Twins. I also want to commend Paige for selling the anguish of losing better than most people do. **1/2

Here's another match that I was kind of looking forward to. The Intercontinental Championship is my favorite title in the company and I love the work of both Bad News Barrett and Dean Ambrose. Ambrose hasn't won a singles match on Pay-Per-View since sometime in 2013. Unfortunately, that didn't change here as he lost via disqualification. Something about this match just screamed that it belonged on Raw or Smackdown. I feel they are capable of something more, and I assume we get that leading into WresleMania. After Ambrose lost, he picked up the IC Title and left with it. I think it says a lot about Dean that he can be booked to lose so often and still be as over as he is. The stolen belt angle has never been done by a face that I can recall, so this should be interesting. The bout went nearly eight minutes. **1/4

After weeks of cryptic promos from Bray Wyatt, seemingly alluding to the Undertaker, we get the arrival of the Deadman himself. Or so people thought. The druids, the gong, the music and the casket. It was all very well orchestrated. I had a feeling it wasn't him though and I was correct. Out of the casket comes Bray Wyatt. He cuts a promo about how he will take the Undertaker's soul at WrestleMania and that he's the new face of fear. I want to be excited for Wyatt/Taker but I don't know. With the aura of the Streak gone, I just can't. Also, anyone else think it's weird that Undertaker was obsessed with HHH after having to be carted off at WM27 and winning, but he's just perfectly accepted that Brock actually ended the streak? Strange and inconsistent if you ask me.

If there is one guy that has improved more than anyone in the past year, it's Rusev. When he debuted on the main roster, I claimed that he was far from ready and that was true. However, he has managed to turn me into a believer. This was another of those moments. He does all of the little things to make himself even better. John Cena was his usual self, which was fine. This followed a similar pattern to a fair amount of Cena matches. It started rather slowly but really got going near the end. Rusev joined the now very long list of people that have kicked out of the Attitude Adjustment. I wish that Cena would have just passed out in the Accolade, instead of having to be kicked in the groin and the face before being put back in it. Still though, this was a big win for Rusev in 18 or so minutes. ***

Ah, another match that totally divided people. Unlike the Dust Brothers bout though, this was more about the result than the match itself. Tons of people, like myself, wanted Daniel Bryan to win. Tons wanted Roman Reigns to win. The most important thing though, is that they delivered. In Reigns' first shot at a singles PPV main event, he had a great showing. Yes, part of it was because he was in there with Bryan, but he more than held his own. The match was great and they got 20 minutes. Reigns' hernia injury came into play, which was brilliant. Reigns became the first person to kick out of the running knee besides Randy Orton at WrestleMania. He wouldn't get hit a second time though as he met Bryan with a huge Spear to win. Great stuff. I still don't think that Reigns is anywhere near ready enough to main event the biggest show of the year, but this was a step in the right direction, which I believe was the whole point. ****

Overall, I thought the show was really enjoyable. It never dragged and moved along briskly. I can see what some people mean when they say that this felt like a special episode of Raw, rather than a PPV. However, no match was bad though some disappointed slightly. The main event delivered in spades and the promos from Triple H and Bray Wyatt were solid and built towards WrestleMania well. I liked this a hell of a lot more than the Royal Rumble. 6.5/10.