2/22 Fastlane: WWE delivers in February

WWE Fastlane PPV Review
February 22, 2015
By: Adam Martin of Wrestleview.com

It’s been rough five months for WWE creatively, really rough. Tag on that we are officially “on the road to WrestleMania” and it has left many wrestling fans wondering, are we really?

Tonight renewed my interest in a product that quite frankly has been in auto-pilot and just not all that interesting. Tonight was a reminder that yes, the biggest show of the year is 35 days away and it is time to start kicking things into gear.

WWE sticking with Roman Reigns for WrestleMania

Just a few weeks ago, the outrage among wrestling fans with having Roman Reigns win the 2015 Royal Rumble was alarming. #CancelWWENetwork was trending and the booking of the Rumble for the second year in a row was brought into question.

Fast forward a few weeks later and you will see (almost) polar opposite feedback.

@the_haan: “Solid show, the last 2 matches were really good. Roman’s best singles match to date but a lot of that had to do with Bryan”

‏@MNMRobinson: “Overall not a bad ppv, Reigns vs Bryan better than expected, but the whole Sting not speaking is kind of annoying at this point”

‏@thedjmic316: “Match of the night went to Roman and Bryan with Cena v Rusev being a close second. I guarantee we will see half of these at WM”

While this isn’t necessarily evidence that the WWE audience has fully embraced Reigns, it’s a good sign that him winning tonight didn’t incite World War 3 like it did just a short few weeks ago following the Royal Rumble. WWE seemed intent on sticking with Reigns and was able to have a little bit of fun with the negative reactions over the last few weeks to build toward what was a very well executed match. 

You can’t help but notice that the Bryan “YES!” chants are starting to loose a bit of steam. While still very fun from a crowd interaction presentation, getting a repeat of the same story for the second year in a row didn’t appear to be something WWE was interested in rolling the dice with again. No question that a match between Brock Lesnar and Daniel Bryan would be fun. Yet, this is the direction they want and we’ll see how it turns out.

Rusev remains undefeated

The build for Rusev on WWE television has remained one of the most promising aspects of creative in the last year. A showdown with Cena was inevitable and oh boy did it deliver. Between the ring presence of Rusev, the visuals of Lana at ringside and the “never die” Cena presentation, it had all the ingredients for the perfect pro wrestling match. This was another one of those matches where you often wonder what goes through the minds of the average Cena boo bird determined to tell you how “bad” Cena is. Sorry, you lose. Oh and Cena lost a match – on a WWE Pay Per View – to a new star.

Bray Wyatt wants The Undertaker at WrestleMania

Wow! If you missed this segment, stop reading this now and go out of your way to see it. The cheap heel heat of utilizing the usual Undertaker visuals of the druids with torches and the casket was extremely well done with Bray Wyatt. As always, Wyatt continues to show what an amazing character he is for WWE and Sunday night proved that once again. Spare me the “but we wanted The Undertaker vs. Sting” nonsense. This was the right call.

Dean Ambrose steals a title

Much like Rusev vs. Cena, this felt like another continuation most likely getting a part two at WrestleMania unless they decide to bring back the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Nothing was bad or overly great about this match. Both guys worked hard. Bad News Barrett’s return to WWE from injury has been pretty underwhelming and Ambrose is just a guy doing goofy stuff on the roster at this point. Make us care, please.

Nikki Bella steps it up against Paige

One of my favorite narratives among the internet wrestling community is that The Bella Twins still can’t wrestle. After tonight, I simply give up trying to figure out what everyone is watching. Both have made amazing improvements in the ring the last year and Nikki showed that with some really fun in-ring offense with Paige. Paige’s character also feels like it has taken a positive turn from where we were with her a year ago.

Sting makes his intentions clear for WrestleMania

I personally have loved the on-air jabs to the WCW fans by Triple H on WWE television. It’s the perfect way to generate interest for a match with a character that is just now being introduced to WWE for the first time in 2015…which feels really weird. Most fans want Sting to speak. I for one like the silence presentation and felt tonight was executed very well. Triple H was a good choice, especially with questions about Sting in the ring at age 55.

Cesaro and Tyson Kidd rejuvenated in 2015

What a difference a year makes for both Cesaro and Tyson Kidd in WWE. It’s been even rougher for Kidd to find an indentity. This tag team works well and it felt like the right time to give them the tag title straps. While fans have been pretty upset with Cesaro’s lack of trajectory since WrestleMania last year, he comes from a tag team background in ROH and seems to slide back into that nicely. Just change the theme song, please.

Stardust vs. The Rhodes Family

For years we’ve heard how Goldust vs. Cody Rhodes has been pitched for WrestleMania and turned down. The transformation of Cody Rhodes to Stardust since last summer left me scratching my head many times, but it started to really gel as it got time. The fans chanting “CODY” is really fun for the character presentation and tossing in Dusty Rhodes helps even more. WrestleMania match looming or not, this has some potential.

Fun finish for a six man tag

I’ll be the first to openly admit that I’m getting pretty tapped out on the presentations of Big Show and Kane on WWE television as of late. However, that finish of Kane setting up a KO punch by Big Show on Dolph Ziggler was creative and very well executed. The popularity of Ryback in Memphis was also really fun to watch. I’m curious where things go with Big Show and Kane from here. A fun finish doesn’t erase rather boring matches before this.

Overall impression

WrestleMania is 35 days away and I felt WWE did a great job getting that train rolling on Sunday night in Memphis. They needed a good show on Sunday night and we got one.

Agree? Disagree? You’re in luck. We now have a new comments area down below where you can share your thoughts about Fastlane.

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