The name “Fastlane” comes from the “Road to Wrestlemania” metaphor that WWE goes for since 2015. What makes it a vastly more appropriate title for the penultimate PPV before Mania is that the fast lane is what you get in when you want to be out of wherever you are as quickly as possible, not a destination in itself. Watching the PPV Fastlane didn’t feel like I was in the fast lane of the Road to Wrestlemania as much as it felt like I stopped to use the bathroom and get a bag of chips on the Road to Wrestlemania at a truck stop with some cool stuff in it. Yes, there was some tremendously impressive, entertaining and exciting wrestling on this show, but just like a spicy dried elk stick and discount blu-ray of Face/Off, it wasn’t really what anyone actually wanted.
This dynamic was most apparent in the WWE World Championship match. After a tease of Kofi Kingston being added ended with him getting uncomfortably beat up by The Bar, the promise of a three-way match was fulfilled by the surprise addition of Mustafa Ali. Daniel Bryan vs. Kevin Owens vs. Mustafa Ali was exactly as awesome as it sounds on paper, but the three powerhouse performers were barely able get the crowd into the match. If the goal was just to get footage of a crowd yelling “WE WANT KOFI” while Mustafa Ali did a beautiful 450 onto Daniel Bryan on the apron of the ring, then it was a successful match. It didn’t seem to do anything else for the larger storyline, but it proved that these three could wrestle for the prize of a rubber chicken and still get me out of my seat.
That brings us to the two main stories of the night that weren’t Kofi Kingston not getting a title shot: “will Becky Lynch make it to Wrestlemania?” and “one last ride” for the Shield. At the rate Becky Lynch is getting storyline injured, she’s going to have to be rolled out to the ring at MetLife in a stretcher next month. I don’t envy WWE creative the position of having to stretch out a rivalry between a well-rounded talent as red-hot as Becky Lynch and whatever Ronda Rousey is. Making Becky surmount obstacles is the obvious way to go, and Charlotte Flair serves as a good obstacle. They’re great together, and I was disappointed when Ronda ran in and got Charlotte disqualified, even though it was my exact prediction for the best possible outcome.
The Shield match had its moments, but is heavily reliant on the real life sadness of it being a long-beloved team’s final match together and the real life joy of Roman Reigns being in remission and able to compete again. (Also it’s fun watching Baron Corbin lose. Dude looks like a smug manager of the bar at an airport Radisson.)
The rest of the matches ranged from “awesome” to “watchable.” The last minute change from Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio in the pre-show to a main show rematch of the four-way from March 5th’s Smackdown for the US Championship was a welcome surprise. Sasha Banks and Bayley proved, once again, that they are top tier talents who can get an entertaining match out of anyone. And that gear! The Macho/Sherri tribute was incredible. They’re next level right now. The three-team match for the Raw Tag Titles was a treat. Aleister and Ricochet are already extremely popular with the main roster crowd. Miz & Mac vs. The Usos was actually fun. For a filler PPV, you could do a lot worse!
TL;DR, WWE FASTLANE 2019
WORTH CHECKING OUT
- Samoa Joe vs. R-Truth vs. Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio for the US Championship
- Daniel Bryan vs. Kevin Owens vs. Mustafa Ali for the WWE World Championship
- Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair
- The Revival vs. Bobby Roode & Chad Gable vs. Aleister Black & Ricochet for the Raw Tag Team Championship
TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT
- Boss n Hug Connection vs. Nia Jax & Tamina for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship
- The Usos vs. Miz & Mac for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship
- The Shield vs. Baron Corbin, Bobby Lashley & Drew McIntyre
- Asuka vs Mandy Rose for the Smackdown Women’s Championship
- Rusev & Shinsuke Nakamura vs. The New Day
- The Bar beating up Kofi Kingston for a really long time for no reason
- AJ Styles jumping on Randy Orton jumping on Elias in the third(!!) Elias segment of the night