For many, including myself, Fastlane was a massive disappointment. Granted, I’m not totally sure what I expected from RAW. Since Finn’s injury months ago, RAW has been floundering. It made since for the first month, since I’m sure his injury put a wrench in some plans, but it’s felt like they have been in recovery mode the whole time, which has led to some half-baked ideas.
Let’s start from the beginning shall we?
Samoa Joe/Sami Zayn
Fastlane started off alright with Samoa Joe brutalizing Sami Zayn. I always enjoy seeing Joe do what he does best, and Sami always puts on a good show. Sami is the perfect babyface, and his matches reflect that. Overall, I enjoyed this match, and am totally down for this feud. They are two of my favorite wrestlers, and I can watch them wrestle all day. Of course, imagine how much more fun this could be if Sami, I don’ know, had the US Title. Just a thought.
The Club/Enzo and Cass
On to some tag team action for the tag titles. It surprises me how over Enzo and Cass still are considering how badly booked they’ve been lately. Sadly, I wasn’t invested in this match going in, it wasn’t a very well setup feud since Gallows and Anderson were busy being forced to job to Roman. For…reasons. Despite this, I wanted Gallows and Anderson to retain their titles. I generally enjoy their matches, so I’m looking forward to seeing them more often in a none jobber capacity. The match itself was good. Enzo gets thrown around well, and the shenanigans at the end bode well for some future feuding.
And then it went downhill. Nia versus Sasha. The match no on asked for. I wish Nia were better. I enjoy watching larger wrestlers throwing around smaller ones. And I’m totally down for a woman to be booked as an indestructible force of nature. But Nia is not that woman. She’s not very good on the mic which they insist on her doing, and every match is the same. Nothing she does seems particularly brutal which defeats the purpose of her being there. I think it’s her reliance on submission moves that look more like she’s doing partner stretches before a workout. Needless to say, I was rather bored through this one. Also, I can only watch Nia forcing her way out of guillotines and sleeper holds so many times before I just roll my eyes and wonder why people even try anymore. Cool that Sasha won, I guess.
Jinder Mahal/Cesaro & Rusev/Big Show
Oh, goodness. Jinder Mahal and Rusev. Oh, dear. I was very confused the whole time. This story line isn’t on the Hulu versions which are the ones that I generally watch since I don’t have TV. I was mostly just left with questions. Why is Jinder Mahal here? Why did they not decide who was going first before hand? Why does it matter who goes first? Why is it that a lazily placed knee knocks Rusev down for most of a match? Why is any of this happening? Actually that last question works for most of Fastlane.
The crowd is dead during this match with brief moments of life when Cesaro did something. Because it’s Cesaro, and he’s great. He just gets placed into to stupid stories, like this one.
And then Rusev and Big Show which…God, I don’t care. The crowd is just as dead, if not more so. And I went to make some dip. Rewatching isn’t any better. Rusev deserves better. Cesaro deserves better. Next match, please.
Now this match was good. In fact, it was the best match of the night. Gallagher is immensely entertaining, and Neville is brutal. It’s a great combination. Neville being a part of the cruiserweight division has breathed new life into it, and I absolutely love heel Neville. This match gave us some pretty terrifying and awesome spots. Gallagher’s headbutts look painful, and Neville pulled off a Phoenix Splash and a Red Arrow. Yay! They even managed to revive a dead crowd and get a, “This is awesome” chant. Gallagher looked destroyed afterward (he had some scrapes and cuts) and Neville walked off like the badass he it. Well done, guys.
New Day Promo
In which New Day comes out to promote their ice cream (to the slight annoyance of CM Punk fans), Big E acts like a drunk with a more than normal love of ice cream as Xavier and Kofi say some not so subtle adult jokes. So basically, normal New Day stuff. Entertaining, if not strange.
The one thing that RAW has been doing right is booking Braun. He is a perfectly booked monster, and I love it. I never thought that Braun would be able to work as a singles wrestler, but I’m glad I was proven wrong. I was really enjoying watching Braun beat up people. I loved seeing Braun get up after a spear through a barricade and then take a superman punch like it was a slap in the face. And then they ruined it.
First, Roman was wearing the wrong shoes. Did he forget his boots? Is he going for a new look? Who knows.
Second, the fans hate him. The crowd was on Braun’s side. Least we forget who the face is supposed to be in this, it’s Roman. But not really, cause here’s the thing. Roman came out ahead in the beginning (heel), with Braun getting in some offense from time to time (face). Then Braun gets some offense which was what I wanted and it begins to look more like a Braun Strowman match. But then it started to look more like a typical Roman match, which never bodes well. The superman punches begin, and then what happens next kills me. In a rather face move, Strowman gets up to the top rope in a last ditch effort to win the match, doesn’t get to land it, and then then is undone by a spear…Wait. Really?
What was the point of this? Why would you build up something like this only to have Roman win the first match? Wouldn’t the true face thing be losing the first match and then finally getting your comeuppance at, I don’t, Wrestlemania? How is Roman a face! Just take a freaking lose for once. Take a page from the Sami Zayn playbook, and lose. Build the underdog angle so that when you win, we cheer, not groan. So, are they going to wrestle at Mania? And what would be the point? Roman already won. It’s a pointless feud now. Boo.
RAW’s booking for the women has been sub par at best, which is extremely disappointing considering the talent they have. The Women’s Title has been treated like a hot potato, being passed back and forth between Charlotte and whoever. The Sasha/Charlotte feud became so dull that once Sasha lost her rematch, Bayley just came out and said, “It’s my turn now.” Cue feud. *sigh* It doesn’t help that Bayley isn’t very good on the mic, and they insist that she be on it all the time. She’s a great wrestler, but her promos don’t inspire a lot of excitement, especially when compared to Charlotte who is a great heel.
That being said, the match was alright. Not a fan of Sasha helping in the end as this makes Bayley look weak. I would prefer Charlotte be beaten clean if she’s not going to be in contention for the belt for a while. It also doesn’t help that they missed a golden opportunity.
Sasha should have turned on Bayley. I’m bored by face Sasha, and this was a perfect moment to make her heel again. She beat Nia earlier in the night, and turning on Bayley and challenging her for the title would have been perfect, momentum wise. Also, she could go monster heel by pointing out on RAW that she helped Bayley win because she knows it will be easy to beat her. Thus, we get heel Sasha back, and all is right in the world. But that would have made things interesting, and we can’t have that.
Oh, boy. I have many feelings about this. I’m a huge Kevin Owens fan. He’s basically the only reason I’ve been watching RAW since Finn was injured. Jericho and Kevin have been doing great work. Granted, I have a couple issues with that story as well, but overall, I enjoyed it. I loved the betrayal at “Festival of Friendship” and I’ve been looking forward to the Prizefighter coming back to his full kickass self. And then Goldberg happened.
I have nothing against Goldberg. He’s a good face. I liked seeing Brock taken down, since I’m not a Brock fan. It’s been fun, until Fastlane. Basically, it went something like this. RAW dug themselves a hole early on (more on this hole later) and so now they are going to take the Universal Title away from the man who has been carrying the company on his back for the past six months in a “match” in which Kevin does nothing but job to Goldberg, therefore giving a man who just came out of retirement, has only beat up Brock a couple times, and is a part-time wrestler the title that Kevin has worked his ass off for. All in the name of ratings. Yeah…sounds like a plan.
Goldberg doesn’t even need the title. He was going to face Brock anyway at Wrestlemania, which is going to become a title match, in which Brock is going to win, cause that’s how this story goes. *sigh*
Meanwhile, Kevin and Jericho are going to have a match at Wrestlemania, probably for the US Title. Oh, yeah. Jericho has that. A fact that I forgot until last night, because they have managed to make the US Title basically obsolete. Thank you, Roman.
It should be Jericho and Kevin at Wrestlemania for the Universal Title. The Title that ended up destroying their friendship. And that match could have gone either way, and I would be fine with it. KO could have done some shenanigan to win and thus solidified him as a monster heel. Or Jericho could have won and it would be the payback that so many feel Jericho deserves. But, there is a problem, and this is where the hole comes in.
The hole started with Roman taking the US Title off of Rusev. Suddenly, this title doesn’t matter. Roman did nothing with it until Jericho decided to fight him for it, because…reasons. So Jericho has the US Title, which caused a rather thrown in story line with Sami Zayn just so they can show Jericho defend it (Sami deserves better). Since then, it barely comes up. That is how insignificant that title is now. Rusev made it interesting, Roman shat on it, as is tradition, and now no one cares. What has ended up happening is that Jericho holds this title that hasn’t mattered for some time, which meant that a Universal Title match would lose some of its mystique as they are not going to give Jericho two titles at once, and they’re not going to give Kevin two titles. Hole. Deep, gaping hole. I’m not sure long-term planning is their strongest trait.
Now, this means that Kevin and Jericho will probably fight for the US Title, but it doesn’t have the same level of anticipation considering it was the Universal Title that tore the friends apart. It will probably still be a great match, but some of the drama is taken out of it by the Universal Title not being between them anymore. They could have made it so someone else fought Rusev, like, I don’t know, Sami, who would have still given the US Title some legitimacy, but instead, they have destroyed all interest in it. All because Roman just has to be fighting for a title at. all. times.
If I sound bitter, it’s because I am.
Overall, the only good parts were Samoa/Zayn, Neville/Gallagher, and the Finn fan in the front row. Not totally sure what I expected.