From Memphis, Tennessee
February 22, 2015 (Twitter @johnreport)
The Fastlane Kickoff show started with host Renee Young firing off some car sayings. I really hope that doesn’t happen all night. She’s joined on the panel by Raw announcer Booker T, Smackdown announcer Byron Saxon and Corey Graves from NXT. They discussed some of the big matches.
Tom Phillips is in the social media lounge reading tweets because they have an hour to fill with pointless junk.
There was a video package for the Triple H/Sting confrontation still to come. The panel talked about it.
They did a video package of Jon Stewart’s war of words with Seth Rollins. It’s nice for WWE to be able to work with Stewart in some capacity. He’s a very popular comedian with a lot of influence. His son is a big WWE fan and he’s gone to events in the past, so looks like he’ll have some involvement at WrestleMania or before that.
There was an interview with Dolph Ziggler, Ryback and Erick Rowan that was done by Eden. Ziggler said they’re not going to take it anymore from The Authority, Ryback called himself the master of the Feed Me More (whatever that means) and Rowan said the agents of The Authority will be expunged tonight. Ryback: “Yeah, what he said.” The panel talked about that.
A Dean Ambrose video aired followed by an interview with Renee Young. She said he was a difficult man to track down. Ambrose talked about how the IC Title was held by some of the best wrestlers ever and it was the workhorse championship. He said he was the kind of guy that should be holding the IC Title. He said it will be nice to be in position to win a title at Fastlane. Ambrose wanted to fight Barrett anywhere right now because he’s ready. He added that it’s the time of year where it’s like the playoffs and you don’t want to make mistakes. Ambrose ended it by saying he’s going to beat Barrett, win the IC Title, bring the title back to prominence, take it to WrestleMania and take it to heights it has never been.
The panel talked about the IC Title situation. Booker said that Barrett is injury prone, which is sort of true although they usually don’t say those kinds of things during WWE events.
Analysis: Good promo to put over the IC Title. That kind of thing should air on TV to try to get people excited for these matches. Ambrose is such a gifted talker. He needs more promo time every week. I originally picked Barrett to win, but I think Ambrose will win it. (Later edit: Or not.)
The PPV panel talked about the tag title match as well as the Divas Title match. Byron Saxton interviewed the Bella Twins earlier. They called Paige a loser that was pale. Please get better writers for diva promos, WWE.
There was a video package for the Cena/Rusev match and of course the panel talked about that too.
The Usos answered questions from the fans that tweeted them questions. They’re proud about their dad Rikishi going into the WWE Hall of Fame. There was other stuff, but it’s not that important.
It was mentioned that Eva Marie and Cameron are at the Oscars. To do what exactly? I’m not sure why either is even employed by WWE.
The promo for the return of Sheamus aired.
Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield and Jerry Lawler were at ringside. Memphis is Lawler’s hometown.
Miz TV With Paul Heyman
The Miz entered with Damien Mizdow. The crowd wanted Mizdow, so Miz told him to sit in the corner. He rambled on for a bit and then brought out the advocate for Brock Lesnar, it’s Paul Heyman.
Miz asked if Lesnar would be at Fastlane. It took a while for Heyman to say that Lesnar was not there. Miz reminded Heyman that he won a main event at WrestleMania before. I was there and that show sucked. Heyman talked about the Reigns/Bryan match and said that if Bryan wins then Lesnar is not going to be concerned. Heyman said he didn’t like the way Mizdow was looking at him. Fans chanted for Mizdow, so Miz yelled at him. Miz told Mizdow to turn around and face the turnbuckle. Heyman said Reigns is a bad dude from a violent island from Samoa. Heyman tried saying that Reigns would lose to Lesnar as the fans chanted for Mizdow. Heyman said he will start over again. He got around to the point saying that Bryan or Reigns would lose to Lesnar. He shook the hand of The Miz and left.
Analysis: As much as I like Heyman, that was pretty average. It’s just the same stuff as always to continue the story that Lesnar isn’t worried about who might challenge him at WrestleMania.
There was one final video package for the Bryan/Reigns match. The panel talked about that match. That was it for the Kickoff show.
Analysis: They should always put a match or two on these Kickoff shows. It’s better than just listening to promos.
WWE FASTLANE 2015
There were more car references in the video package to set up the big matches for the show.
During the intros of the opening match, we saw Cole, Lawler & JBL along with the Spanish announce team and their table that is often broken.
Dolph Ziggler, Erick Rowan & Ryback vs. Seth Rollins, Big Show & Kane (w/Jamie Noble & Joey Mercury)
Ziggler and Rollins started it off while I wonder if they can work the whole match without tagging anybody in. Ziggler sent Rollins to the floor, Rollins came back in and Ziggler ended up nailing a dropkick followed by a tag to Rowan. JBL is the only commentator that makes sense when he mentioned that if the faces were really punished they wouldn’t be on a PPV. Rowan ended up getting worked over by the heels with Show sending him outside the ring. Rowan went for a spin kick like a dumbass, Show moved and Rowan hit the ring post. Big body slam by Show on Rowan and then he brought in Kane. The heels did a lot of quick tags to work over the leg of Rowan. Show applied a leg submission on Rowan, but Rowan avoided tapping out and hit a DDT. This match has been very slow for about eight minutes. Rollins hit a dropkick on Ziggler, so Rowan hit a spin kick to knock down Rollins and he tagged in Ryback.
Ryback was on fire after he got the hot tag and he was looking like a Ninja Turtle in the green outfit. Ryback hit a huge Powerbomb on Rollins, then J&J interfered and Rollins was able to come back with a superkick to the head for a two count. Rollins to the top, Ryback avoided it and then Ryback was able to connect with Shell Shock. Show nailed Ryback with a splash. Both guys were down as Ziggler tagged in and so did Kane. Ziggler shoved Kane into Show to knock Show off the apron and then Ziggler hit a DDT on Kane for two. Superkick by Ziggler on Kane and a Fameasser to Rollins since he was sneaking into the ring. Ziggler was punching Kane in the corner, the ref was dealing with Rollins and Show nailed Ziggler in the head with a KO Punch. Kane hit a Chokeslam on Ziggler for the pinfall win after 14 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Kane, Big Show & Seth Rollins
Analysis: ** That was a slow paced match that would have been better if it was just Rollins vs. Ziggler in singles, but I get why they included the others. Kane rarely wins on PPVs anymore, so that was a bit of a surprise. It also throws the “look strong on TV, lose on PPV” theory out the window because the heels ended Smackdown looking strong and still won here.
Post match, Rollins hit a Curb Stomp on Ryback and also Rowan. Randy Orton’s music started up and he ran down to the ring looking in great shape. Huge reaction for him. He hit the RKO on J&J as well as Kane and then went after Rollins. When Orton was about to hit the draping DDT, Show pulled Rollins away. Rollins was able to get out of there and he ran out of the arena (they showed him in the parking garage) while Orton stood tall in the ring.
Analysis: That return was well done with Orton going right after Rollins and Seth getting out of there like the good heel that he is. Orton has been ready to come back for about a month or more, so it made sense that he would come back here. I think we can pencil in Orton vs. Rollins at WrestleMania.
There was a video package for Goldust vs. Stardust.
In the locker room, Goldust was getting ready and his dad Dusty Rhodes was there. Goldust said tonight he’s not facing Cody, he’s going to face Stardust. Goldust said he has to beat Stardust back so that Cody stops putting the face paint on. Dusty told him that nobody needs to get hurt and that both of them mean the world to him.
Analysis: Nice promo from two great promo men.
Stardust vs. Goldust
Stardust is wrestling in tights and no shirt. When he was with Goldust he had a full body suit type outfit. The crowd was chanting Cody, which upset Stardust. Slow start to this one. They did a sequence early on where they were countering signature spots to show that they know each other very well. A clothesline by Goldust sent Stardust over the top to the floor. Stardust hit a boot to the ribs when Goldust was jumping off the middle rope, so that gave Stardust the advantage. Front suplex by Stardust, a cocky pin and a cartwheel. Stardust focused his attack on the ribs of Goldust. The crowd isn’t that into the match. Goldust did a snapmare, then rolled him up by hooking his arms and that was enough to win the match after 9 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Goldust
Post match, Goldust tried to encourage his brother to talk to him. Stardust just left. Dusty was shown watching in the back. The replay showed that the ref didn’t hit the mat a third time and the announcers even mentioned it. He did end up calling for the bell, but it was weird that the ref didn’t hit the mat three times.
Analysis: * I like both guys, but that match was very below average. I think I’m too nice to say poor. I expected something better from them. The crowd rejected it from the beginning too. They were doing a cool bit of psychology in the early part of the match, but the fans just didn’t seem to care. The problem is that this team lost so many matches in the past couple of months that the fans saw them as losers.
They covered the Seth Rollins/Jon Stewart deal. We’ll probably see Stewart at WrestleMania or somewhere soon.
Backstage, Goldust told Dusty he didn’t try to hurt Cody. That was why it was a weak finish. Stardust went up to them and tossed Goldust into a crate beside them. Stardust said that Dusty killed Cody when he sent the bag of bones Goldust to be there with him.
Analysis: It’s probably going to lead to a Goldust/Stardust match at WrestleMania that could be the end of Goldust’s careers. Let’s hope that is a better match.
Backstage, Goldust told Dusty he didn’t try to hurt him. That was why it was a weak finish. Stardust went up to them and tossed Goldust into a crate beside them. Stardust said that Dusty killed Cody when he sent the bag of bones Goldust to be there with him.
Analysis: It’s probably going to lead to a Goldust/Stardust match at WrestleMania that could be the end of Goldust’s career. Let’s hope that is a better match.
Tag titles up next. The challengers came out to Cesaro’s music. Both wives are at ringside for this.
Tag Team Titles: The Usos (w/Naomi) vs. Tyson Kidd & Cesaro (w/Natalya)
The heels took advantage early on by focusing on Jimmy in their corner. They worked over the left leg of Jimmy when he draped it over the middle rope. Plenty of quick tags from the challengers with Cesaro jumping onto the leg with both of his feet. Cesaro applied a single leg crab and Kidd tagged in with a legdrop onto the leg of Jimmy. Jey was able to get the tag. He got a nearfall after a running butt splash. Cesaro tripped up Jey when he was on the top rope, then Cesaro hit a suplex and Kidd hit a springboard elbow drop. Kidd went for a rollup, but Jey tagged in Jimmy and Jimmy hit a Samoan Drop for a two count with Cesaro making the save. Kidd hit a kick to the head on Jimmy, Jey took out Cesaro with a dive and Jimmy drove Kidd back first into the barricade at ringside. Back in the ring, Kidd got his knees up to break up a top rope splash and then Kidd applied the Sharpshooter in the middle of the ring. Jey made the save with a kick to the head of Kidd. Cesaro brawled with Jey out of the ring. Jimmy nearfall on Kidd. Things were pretty hectic towards the finish, but Kidd hit a spinning neckbreaker on Jimmy and was able to cover him for the win. The match went 12 minutes.
Winners by pinfall and New Tag Team Champions: Tyson Kidd & Cesaro
Post match, the new champs were very happy about their win with Natalya kissing her husband Kidd to celebrate.
Analysis: *** It was a pretty good tag match, but it also left me wanting more because I was hoping they could get 17-20 minutes and really have a classic tag match. They weren’t allowed to have that show stealing match. What they did was make the most of the time they were given and told a good story. Kidd & Cesaro were great on offense. The Usos comebacks were fine, but again we’ve seen better from them when they get more time in longer matches. The finish was a bit out of nowhere, but I liked that Kidd was able to win clean instead of in a cheap manner. I actually picked The Usos to win because I thought their reign is still pretty new, so it would be a bit early to take the titles off them. I was wrong and have no problem being wrong about it because the new champs are my favorite team.
The video package for Sting showing up to face off with Triple H aired.
Face to Face: Triple H and Sting
Triple H entered in a leather jacket, jeans, a t-shirt and he had his fists taped up like he was ready for a fight. Hunter said he entered as the guy that represents WWE, not just the COO. He called out Sting and said he was waiting for him. Sting’s entrance music started up and Sting walked to the ring. He was wearing his usual black & white face paint along with a long black overcoat. There was a decent pop, but the crowd has been quiet all night.
Hunter talked about how Sting was a loyal soldier to WCW and he represented that company. Hunter said Sting went down with the WCW ship while guys like Hunter built a legacy on putting Sting’s legacy out of business. Hunter said that Sting did what he did at Survivor Series to put Hunter and his wife out of WWE because if the family is gone then WWE dies. Hunter told Sting that he failed. Hunter: “Failure is what you do.”
Sting was just staring during all of this as Hunter told Sting to just walk away while telling him his legacy can live through WWE Network, DVDs, merchandise, action figures and all of it. There was a guy in the crowd saying that Hunter made a great point while Hunter added that one day he’ll put Sting in the Hall of Fame. Hunter asked if that sounded pretty good, but still no reaction from Sting. Hunter took off his jacket and said that he can beat the rest of Sting’s legacy right here and now. Hunter said the choice is Sting’s to either accept the first thing or get his ass kicked.
Hunter tried to cheapshot Sting, but Sting blocked him and hit him with a back fist as well as a punch. Hunter came back. He pounded Sting with fists. Hunter grabbed a sledgehammer from under the ring. Sting grabbed his black bat and he placed the bat on the throat of Hunter, which led to Hunter backing up as well as dropping the sledgehammer. Sting pointed the bat at the WrestleMania sign. No words. Then he put the bat on the throat of Hunter again. He pointed at the sign one more. Hunter nodded as if to say the match is on. When Sting walked away, Hunter charged in, then Sting hit him in the stomach with the bat. Sting hit the Scorpion Death Drop to end the segment. He walked away. The crowd reaction has been poor all night, but they did react a bit to that.
Analysis: That was the obvious outcome for that segment. Not having Sting talk is a bit different, but pointing at the WrestleMania sign is enough. They were able to get the point across while setting up the match. We knew they were going in that direction and it was an easy setup that they did well. It would have been an even better segment in front of a louder crowd.
Daniel Bryan was shown stretching in the locker room.
The announcers talked about WWE Network while thanking the subscribers and users who signed up for free.
Divas Title: Nikki Bella (w/Brie Bella) vs. Paige
Nikki tripped up Paige on the apron so she went face first into the mat. Nikki was aggressive early while Brie was making mean faces at ringside. As Nikki applied a chinlock, the crowd was really quiet. Nikki hit a nice Alabama Slam for two. Paige made a comeback with a clothesline and then dropkick for two. Nikki rollup, then Paige hit a standing sidekick and JBL mentioned that Paige won a title from her mother earlier in her career. Nikki rammed Paige’s face against her knee, but Paige came back with another superkick. They battled on the top rope with Nikki hitting a sunset flip into a Powerbomb for two. Paige went for the Paige Tap Out submission, but Nikki was able to crawl to the ropes to avoid it. Nikki sent Paige into the middle turnbuckle, then Nikki got the rollup and grabbed the tights for the win after 6 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Nikki Bella
They replayed the finish to show that Nikki cheated. She celebrated with Brie, who did nothing during the whole match.
Analysis: *3/4 Good effort by the ladies although the crowd was quiet just like they have been all night. I expected Nikki to retain. The cheap victory is fine because it can lead to a rematch between them although it might be AJ Lee as the next challenger if she comes back. WWE usually does multi-divas matches at WrestleMania, so perhaps that’s the plan.
They plugged the Vince McMahon issue of Muscle & Fitness magazine. Lawler: “When they said exercise I thought they said extra fries.” Me too.
There were highlights of Cameron and Eva Marie on the Oscars pre-show on the red carpet. As I said earlier, why are they even employed? Eva still can’t wrestle very much and she’s been there for a couple of years.
It’s official for WrestleMania 31: Triple H vs. Sting. It was known since Survivor Series. JBL was saying that Triple H was some icon in WWE. He’s not Austin or Rock. Don’t suck up. He just lasted longer.
Intercontinental Title: Bad News Barrett vs. Dean Ambrose
I miss when Barrett used to deliver the bad news. Why did that stop? Maybe because he was getting cheered for it too much. Ambrose was aggressive early, but Barrett was able to cut off his momentum. Running knee lift by Barrett in the corner. Big boot to the face by Barrett. Ambrose went outside the ring, Barrett tried to throw him back in, but Ambrose spun back around and hit a clothesline. Back in the ring, Tornado DDT by Ambrose put Barrett down. Ambrose hit a bulldog to almost no reaction because this crowd is awful. Inside cradle by Ambrose for two. Running dropkick by Ambrose and then the diving elbow attack off the top rope. Barrett nailed Wasteland for a two count. Ambrose ducked a Bull Hammer elbow with a rollup, then bounced off the ropes with a massive clothesline. The crowd woke up a bit after that. Barrett grabbed the title. Ambrose took him out with a dive outside the ring. Barrett went outside the ring again, Ambrose tossed him into the steps and rolled him back in the ring. Barrett tried to escape again. He was against the turnbuckle. Ambrose continued attacking him, so the ref called for the bell for the disqualification finish. The match went about 7 minutes. Bad finish.
Winner by disqualification: Bad News Barrett
Post match, Ambrose continued the attack and hit the Dirty Deeds. Ambrose grabbed the IC Title and left. Barrett is still the champ, but Ambrose stole it.
Analysis: ** That is the WWE way of not wanting to have a guy look weak by losing, so he got his heat back after the match by hitting his finisher and also taking the title. This will probably lead to a WrestleMania match with Ambrose winning the title there. Barrett didn’t really look good in this match. I thought he was going to win by cheating or something like that, but apparently the goal was to keep Ambrose looking like a threat. It really sucked to see how little the crowd cared for Ambrose’s awesome offense. Wake up, people.
They plugged some WWE/Flintstones movie as I remember that I’m too old for this.
Roman Reigns was shown taping up his wrists for the main event.
The purple lights filled the arena and the druids came out with lit torches. The Undertaker’s music started up. Druids brought out a casket to ringside. It was Bray Wyatt sitting inside of it. The crowd actually cheered a bit reacting to that.
Wyatt sat up in the casket with a microphone. He said the first time he saw him he feared him because his eyes had nothing but darkness. Wyatt said that now he’s just like everybody else because he’s weak, broken and a shell of what he once was. His obsession with sympathy has turned a monster into a mere mortal. “Now his soul is lost, stuck in limbo between your world and ours.” Wyatt said that it’s time for him to go home. “My mission is clear. I know you can hear me. I know that you are listening and I want you to know I don’t fear you anymore.” He said: “I am Bray Wyatt, the new face of fear. At WrestleMania I will claim the soul of The Undertaker.” Cue evil laughing.
Analysis: That feud has been rumored for months and the reason why Wyatt has won nearly every month for the last 3-4 months is to make him look as good as ever going into that match. Hopefully Undertaker is in great shape again. He looked fine in a video that Michelle McCool recently posted, so hopefully it turns out well for him. I’m happy Undertaker is still wrestling. Why not? Let’s it enjoy it while he still does it.
Cena vs. Rusev up next. They get the video package treatment.
The US Champion Rusev with Lana was out first with John Cena out right after. They got the big in-ring intros for the match.
United States Title: Rusev (w/Lana) vs. John Cena
Cena nailed Rusev with a forearm shot early. I missed a few minutes early on because I know the match is going to get decent time and I had to listen to my body. About five minutes into it, Rusev was dominating with a fallaway slam. After Rusev dominated much of it, Cena nailed him with a hard clothesline. Rusev hit a DDT for two. They have been doing a lot of spot where it looks like Cena is about to make a comeback, but then Rusev hits a move to stop it. Three splashes in the corner by Rusev for a two count. The camera got too close as you could see Cena saying something to Rusev, but I couldn’t hear it. Cena connected on some punches followed by the shoulder tackles, then the spinning suplex and the Five Knuckle Shuffle connected. Rusev avoided the Attitude Adjustment, Cena went into the ropes and Rusev nailed a perfect superkick for two.
They each went for submission moves, but Rusev caught Cena and hit a spinning slam for a two count. That was impressive. Cena got his foot up in the corner to block a Rusev charge. Tornado DDT by Cena for two. That was well done. Cena applied the STF in the middle of the ring. You could see Cena bending down and talking to Rusev although I couldn’t hear what he said there either. Be more subtle, Cena. Rusev powered out of the move and hit an Alabama Slam for a two count. Rusev dropped elbows. Cena caught the foot of Rusev and applied the STF by the ropes. Rusev got his hand on the bottom rope. Cena was able to slip out of an exchange and then hit the Attitude Adjustment. Thought that was it, but Rusev kicked out at two. Cena to the top, Rusev caught him and hit a Powerbomb. Rusev applied the Accolade in the center of the ring. Cena tried to fight it off, but Rusev kept putting Cena’s hands back in position. They did that a few times. Cena powered back to his feet with Rusev on his back. Lana stood on the apron, the ref went over to her, Rusev kicked Cena in the groin and then a standing side kick to the head. Rusev applied the Accolade, Cena sold it like he was out and the ref ran the bell for the Rusev after 19 minutes.
Winner by submission: Rusev
Post match, Rusev celebrated the win with the US Title. Referees helped Cena to his feet, but he slowly walked to the back by himself.
Analysis: ***1/4 That was a pretty good power match. They did well in terms of hitting power moves, countering out of them and doing a lot of believable falls along the way as well. They deserve credit for the effort. Rusev busted his ass too. I’m impressed by him. Great athlete and not somebody that just gets heat because he’s a foreigner. He keeps getting better in the ring. It was very noticeable that Cena was calling spots. He’s always been bad at that, but I noticed it a lot more and saw people on Twitter talking about it too. It’s no surprise that the finish wasn’t that clean and opens up the likelihood for another match at WrestleMania. They haven’t done a lot of “USA vs. Russia” in the feud, so I expect them to push that part of the story more in the next month. Cena will get the win at WrestleMania.
WrestleMania is coming in five weeks. I’m not going. I’m not sure if I’ll miss it.
The PPV Kickoff panel talked about the show with one match left.
There was a video package for the Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan match.
Reigns entered first and Bryan was last. Both got good receptions although this crowd has been poor most of the night.
#1 Contender Match: Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan
There was a duel chant for both men as Bryan applied a tight headlock. Reigns hit a shoulder tackle, Bryan came back quickly by taking him down and he went for the surfboard, but Reigns powered out. Reigns dominated with a slam followed by an attack outside the ring where he tossed Bryan into the barricade as well as the side of the ring. Bryan kicked Reigns in the back of the knee a few times and then applied a leg lock. Reigns came back with a Samoan Drop as well as a clothesline. Bryan tripped him up, which sent Reigns head first into the turnbuckle. Bryan charged in and Reigns hit a huge clothesline to knock him down, which Bryan sold by flipping around to take the bump on his stomach. Reigns hit three overhead suplexes in succession. With Bryan’s head against the ropes, Reigns hit the running dropkick to the head. Reigns set up for the Superman Punch, but Bryan kicked him in the ribs to counter it. The announcers mentioned the hernia injury that Reigns had while Bryan followed by attacking the kidney area with kicks. Bryan hit three running dropkicks in the corner while offering up a smirk. To the top rope, Bryan went for a hurricanrana, but Reigns powered out with a Powerbomb for two.
Reigns dominated with a huge uppercut punch. He went up top for something, Bryan slipped out and crotched Reigns up there. Bryan hit a back suplex off the top rope for a two count. Bryan applied the Yes Lock. Reigns got to the ropes. The crowd was barely reacting. Bryan hit a dive outside the ring and then another one. Bryan went for a third, but Reigns caught him and gave Bryan an overhead suplex on the floor. Bryan avoided a charge, so Reigns went shoulder first into the steel steps. Both guys were down outside the ring. Bryan got back in at eight while Reigns went back in at nine. Bryan went to the top, Reigns put him down and Bryan kicked out at two. Reigns set up for a Spear, but Bryan got an inside cradle for two. Kick to the face by Bryan. Bryan hit the running knee to the face and Reigns kicked out at two. Cole said that nobody has kicked out of that before.
Bryan hit Reigns with kicks to his upper body with the crowd chanting “yes” for all of them. Reigns caught him, Bryan slapped him a few times and Bryan flipped him over into an armbar followed by the Yes Lock. Reigns fought out of it and then he nailed Bryan in the head repeatedly with forearm shots. The crowd was not cheering those. They were more supportive of Bryan a few minutes earlier. Bryan tried another armbar, Reigns picked him up and dropped him with a Powerbomb-like move. Both guys were down while the ref counted them down until eight when they battled some more. Bryan got in a series of kicks to the head and a knockout kick to the head. Bryan set up for the running knee, but Reigns hit a Spear for the pinfall win after 20 minutes. And the crowd goes mild.
Winner by pinfall: Roman Reigns
When the ref raised Roman’s hand, it was a mild reaction as I said. It was a bad crowd all night anyway, so that’s no surprise.
Analysis: **** Terrific match. That result was not a surprise. Bryan was there to give Reigns the best match possible and that’s what they did. The match was really good when Bryan was the aggressor that was focusing on injury of Reigns. It seemed like every time it looked like Bryan was going to have momentum it was taken away by Reigns. That’s why the flow of the match worked too. There were high and low moments for both guys. It’s not like one guy dominated. Reigns won on a counter move. He kicked out of Bryan’s finish, which was treated like a huge deal too. They put Reigns over in a massive way by having him beat a former WWE Champion that is the best wrestler in the company in terms of having great matches. People that hate Reigns will probably continue to feel that way, but I say he deserves credit for hanging with Bryan the way he did. It was probably the best singles match of Roman’s career. Bryan’s technical wrestling skill is amazing. I’m so glad he’s back healthy and doing his thing out there. He’s the best. I hope he get to have a long feud with Rollins in the summer because they can put on a show like nobody else in WWE.
After the loss, Bryan went up to Reigns and told him to kick Lesnar’s ass. Bryan shook his hand.
Analysis: That part of it was expected. That doesn’t mean that Roman is going to get cheered at WrestleMania. It just means that Bryan put him over after Roman beat him.
Replays were shown, Reigns celebrated and looked back at the WrestleMania sign as the show went off the air right before 11pmET.
Five Stars of the Show
- Daniel Bryan
- Roman Reigns
It gets a 5 out of 10. I gave the Rumble 4 out of 10. That was a one match show. At least this one had three matches hit the three star level in my opinion.
It was just an average show that was what we expected it to be with two big matches and everything else just didn’t matter as much.
The matches were predictable for the most part. I’m not sure how many I got right, but there was nothing that was much of a surprise.
It was good to see Orton back. I think keeping him away as long as they did helped him and his match with Rollins will be fresh at WrestleMania.
Sting’s segment with Triple H was also predictable, but there was nothing wrong with it. It did what it needed to do. Wyatt calling out Undertaker sets up the stage for that big return too.
Speaking of WrestleMania, we could be getting three rematches from this show there with Ambrose/Barrett, Goldust/Stardust and Cena/Rusev happening again.
The crowd was awful. They did make more noise for the last two matches, but they were dead for much of the night. I don’t remember if the Memphis crowd is always like that or if it’s just a reflection of the current WWE product.
Check out my feature column archive that’s exclusive to WhatCulture.
Have a great week.
John Canton – [email protected]