Welcome one and all to another edition of Flashback Friday here on WrestlingNewsSource.com! Sorry for my absence, I have been in and out of hospital recently so this will be a shorter review. The dust is settling from Elimination Chamber but it seems Fastlane is right around the corner on this road to Wrestlemania. Raw’s pay per view is shaping up to be quite the interesting event but I am here to take you back to Fastlane 2015 where the WWE did their damnedest to solidify Roman Reign as the top babyface by having Daniel Bryan endorse The Guy. Also, Rusev battles John Cena with Rusev’s United States Championship on the line. Let’s get this show on the road!
(6 Man Tag Match) Dolph Ziggler, Erick Rowan & Ryback vs Big Show, Kane & Seth Rollins
Dolph Ziggler was able to defeat Seth Rollins and end The Authority with the help of Sting at Survivor Series, the angle and potential would be squandered as two weeks later, The Authority were back on our screens and to make Cena feel bad, Rowan, Ryback and Ziggler were fired from the WWE. However, our babyfaces were not too keen on losing out on money and not feeding their families, Ziggler, Rowan and Ryback banded together to take on the hired guns of The Authority Corporate Kane and Big Show and the prodigal son Seth Rollins.
Match starts off slow with Rowan taking the heat from Team Authority, Rollins is excellent in his role as the cocky full of himself heel who hides behind his big buddies, reminds me a lot of Syxx with Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. Anyways, the match continues until a Ryback hot tag, all hell breaks loose and we are down to The Survivor Series Hero Dolph Ziggler and Kane, it would not be Ziggler’s night as a KO Punch from Show and a Chokeslam put away Ziggler.
Following the match, Curb Stomps all around, I miss that move so much and The Authority lay out the babyfaces until Randy Orton comes out and makes short work of J&J Security and Corporate Kane.
Decent match, nothing special. Rollins plays his role well and the wheels are set in motion for the Wrestlemania match between Orton and Rollins. Disappointing for the babyfaces, Ryback was dead in the water by this point, I do not feel Rowan ever had a fair go at being a babyface and Ziggler, despite shining, always seemed to hit a glass ceiling and never rise any higher.
Winners: Team Authority over Team Babyface via Chokeslam!
Stardust vs Goldust
Brother vs Brother, the match that we all wanted to see so does it live up to our expectations? Stardust enters without his full body suit. Goldust has been on fire in the ring ever since he returned in 2013 to try and win back Cody's job. He looks healthy and wrestles better than half of the roster. Goldust has the upper hand on Stardust, being the most experienced wrestler and knowing his brother inside out.
Stardust zeroes in on Goldust's ribs after a top rope dive goes wrong for the bizarre one leaving him open to Stardust's attacks. Stardust maintains control before we get a messed up finish as Stardust kicks out at 2 with the referee not counting the three before signalling for a three count and the match ends with Stardust exclaims "What?". It is unfortunate but that's how it goes sometimes, Goldust extends his arm to Stardust who shakes his hand before leaving the ring.
It is hard to rate this match because it had been teased for so long, they teamed with one another, there was dissension but they worked it out until the eventual heel turn. The match happened and I was not blown away and the finish was so abrupt, it sucked the life out of the feud for me.
Winner: Goldust over Stardust via botched roll-up!
The Usos ©vs Cesaro & Tyson Kidd (Tag Team Title Match)
Cesaro & Kidd were like a breath of fresh air once they began teaming with one another on the main roster. Kidd was a regular on TV for the first time in years, the work that man had put in down in NXT was paying off. Kidd hits a rope assisted dragon screw as they work the leg of Jimmy. One-legged swing and a half crab by Cesaro as they wear down Jimmy Uso who is in dire straits, Nice combination moves by Cesaro and Kidd before The Usos dive over the rope on their opponents.
Sharpshooter by Kidd on Jimmy which makes all the leg work come together but Jey makes the save before Cesaro takes him out of the ring. Cesaro tries to help Kidd but gets a superkick for his troubles before Kidd catches Jimmy with a spinning fisherman suplex for the win. This was a fun match with the right team going over in a clean fashion. Cesaro and Kidd were such a great team and while Cesaro could have made the most of Kidd's injury before his own injury, I would still like these two to team up once more when they have both recovered.
Winners: Kidd & Cesaro over The Usos via Spinning Fisherman Suplex!
Triple H Confrontation with Sting/Bray Wyatt & The Casket
Squeezing these two in together, Triple H comes out to the ring to talk about Sting, we have some WCW bashing as Sting is declared a failure, Sting comes out and disarms Triple H who had a sledgehammer ready to bash Sting’s brains in, point to Wrestlemania sign and Sting lays out Triple H with a Scorpion Death Drop. A fine segment for a match that made Sting look like a chump but who says Vince is bitter man am I right?
Also, Bray Wyatt emerges from a casket, claiming to be The New Face of Fear and that he will take Undertaker’s soul, a match that had a lot of intrigue behind it since it was the first after the ending of the streak and whether Bray would become the new Undertaker like character. It did not happen but at least Bray is world champion!
Nikki Bella © vs Paige (Divas' Title Match)
I do not know what annoys me more, the fact that Nikki and Brie were feuding throughout the summer and late into the year and were now back together for no reason , the fact that Brie Bella must be the most annoying woman in the world with her constant "come on Nikki" chants which are like a woodpecker drilling against my skull, the fact that Paige's character from NXT was all but forgotten when she moved up to the main roster and seems her career is going nowhere after her disappointing feud with Charlotte or the fact that I have to sit through Nikki Bella dominating the Diva's division. This match went five minutes, it felt like they were going through the motions and Nikki wins with a poor looking roll up and she is supposed to be holding the tights but she doesn't even grab the tights until the referee is counting three. I wish I could do piss breaks for reviews but sadly, I do not have this luxury).
Winner: Nikki Bella over Paige via Shenanigans!
(WWE Intercontinental Championship Match Dean Ambrose vs Bad News Barrett ©
They are talking about Manchester United and England for half of this match because Rooney dived and had a twitter confrontation with Barrett. Ah commentary never seems to amaze me from this company. It is your basic raw match with both men hitting their respective moves like the wasteland and the diving elbow etc. Barrett tries to avoid Ambrose as he knows he will tear his head off if he gets the opportunity. The referee ends up disqualifying Ambrose for his relentless attacks on Barrett. Dirty Deeds by Dean as he takes the intercontinental championship foreshadowing his reign with the title by a whole year.
I had no patience for this storyline, it was ridiculous having like seven or eight guys stealing the championship which would lead to a multi-man match at Wrestlemania which also did not do much for the title as Bryan would have to drop the title due to injuries. At least it was not as bad as having Ryder win the championship out of nowhere at the following Wrestlemania but yeah, this match and angle was really bad.
Winner: Barrett over Ambrose via DQ!
Rusev © vs John Cena (United States Title Match)
The undefeated Rusev vs the unbeatable John Cena, someone must lose and someone is walking away champion. Rusev dominates early on in the match with spinning heel kicks and submission holds. A year’s worth of build for Rusev comes down to this match, it had to be weighing heavily on his mind.
They are not great announcers by any chance especially Lawler who might just be finally turning things around on Smackdown but at least they seem to be interested in this match compared to other matches on this show. This is before Cena's reign as United States champion (say what you want about the man but he put on some good matches during his reign) so his moveset is more restricted and limited here.
Cena puts on the STF and hits an AA but it is simply not enough to take down the Bulgarian Brute. Cena tries for the leg drop from the top but Rusev reverses into a powerbomb, locking in the Accolade. Cena tries to escape, eventually powering out before Lana distracts the referee, allowing Rusev to hit the low blow and a kick to the face before Rusev applies The Accolade once more for the victory. A good match from these two.
Really good match from these two men, Cena does his best to sell the offence of Rusev, you feel Cena is being worn down by the onslaught of The Bulgarian Brute, Cena could fade at any momentum but Cena has his AA, Cena has his killshot and he only has to pull that trigger once and its curtains for Rusev. Cena weathers the storm but Rusev takes the low road, knowing that Cena is the better man and cheats his way to victory, a good start to any story as the fans become invested in wanting to see Cena topple Rusev. Good stuff from the get-go, commentators pick up their game for this match (I hate saying that as I feel they should always be on their toes).
However, the future would be brighter for Cena as Rusev lost all of his momentum in his losses to Cena following this match while Cena continued to be pushed as strong as ever. Hell, he didn't even pass out to The Accolade, he was hit with a low blow and kick to the face, knocking him out before being locked in Rusev's finisher. Would it have hurt Cena to lose cleanly to the new unstoppable monster? I do not think so but it’s too late now.
Winner: Rusev over Cena via TKO!
Daniel Bryan vs Roman Reigns(Winner to headline Wrestlemania)
Let me start off by saying I hate the concept of the winner of the rumble having to put the opportunity that he already won on the line at the pay per view following the rumble. What was the point of winning the rumble if you could just get a title shot at the next event if you asked for a title shot. It really devalues the Royal Rumble and renders the whole concept pointless. Moving on, the fans wanted Bryan to win the Rumble, he had returned from injury, he had never lost the title, we wanted a good moment to start 2015. WWE had other plans, they wanted Roman, they had Bryan eliminated early in the Rumble and everything went to shit.
When The Rock can't save you from the boos, something is seriously wrong so here we have Daniel Bryan against Roman Reigns for a shot at the title at the biggest event of the year. This match came to pass as Roman won The Rumble while Bryan won a number one contender’s match against Seth Rollins. So, we are supposed to be divided on opinion of the two yet you have Roman come off like a cocky heel because he thinks he can beat Bryan no problem. Hmmm.... I really think the creative team and Vince might be insane but let's cover the match.
With Bryan you will get a good match regardless of who he is in the ring with and that is no exception here as Bryan ducks and dodges Reigns using kicks to wear Reigns down while also showing the strength of Reigns by bumping big for him and allowing Reigns to toss him around like he was as light as a feather. Bryan catches Reigns with a kick to the midsection as Reigns goes for The Superman Punch, the announcers bring up Reigns recent hernia operation. A trifecta of dropkicks in the corner leave Reigns in a heap before he hits a powerbomb from the second rope. Suicide dives from Daniel to further Reigns' injuries, Reigns goes for a spear but hits the steel steps before both men are nearly counted out.
Reigns goes for the spear again but small package by Bryan 1..2.. kickout. Bryan hits the running knee 1...2... KICKOUT again by Reigns! A Yes Lock is still not enough to put away Reigns. Repeated kicks by Bryan before he signals one last time for the running knee strike. Bryan leads the crowd in yes chants before running towards Reigns who greets with a spear for the 1...2...3. Great match between these two with Reigns showing he could hang with the best WWE has to offer even though you could argue Bryan planned much of the match and carried Reigns but I don't care you have to give credit where credit is due and Reigns earned it on this night.
Night after night, Reigns enters buildings where he is mostly booed instead of being cheered. WWE have done everything within their power to make Reigns beloved by the fans and they have failed as of this moment. Coming into this month's Fastlane, the fans know Reigns will be most likely pinning Braun and I honestly feel bad for the guy as I feel it is not going to be welcomed with loud cheers and once again, the fans won't want Roman, they will want Braun to topple The Big Dog. The same way they will want Undertaker to annihilate Reigns.
However, WWE have a situation on their hands, they could have Reigns go over Undertaker in a symbolic passing of the torch moment but imagine the chaos if Reigns was to cheat his way to victory over The Deadman, imagine the pandemonium, the dirtsheets, Meltzer and every fan in attendance gasp as Reigns batters The Deadman, cheats his way to victory and winks at the hard camera. It could be the beginning of something special but there’s a slim chance of it happening. But hey, we can dream right?