How is everyone enjoying their free one week trial of Peacock? Watching a lot of Night Court? WWE quietly laid the Network to rest this weekend, airing Fastlane on their new streaming BFF. Was it worthy of ushering in a new era for how people legally pay to watch WWE? It was Fastlane, so no, it wasn’t. But the night wasn’t a total bust, despite us already knowing that nothing important was going to happen.
United States Championship: Riddle def Mustafa Ali (Kickoff)
Retribution accompanied their leader as per usual, standing menacingly at ringside. Riddle had control to start, until Ali was able to target his neck. Some really fast action between the two with a powerbomb from Riddle, but Ali got his knees up for the Floating Bro. They traded counters and Ali locked in a submission that seemed to almost get him a tap out, but Riddle just escaped. He hit Bro Derek to retain. Ali tried to tell of Retribution for their failings once more, but Slapjack and Reckoning hit the road. Mace and T-Bar choke slammed Ali, effectively ending the group. I guess it’s a bummer Retribution never amounted to anything, especially with someone as talented as Ali at the helm, but I can’t be surprised they finally called it quits on those anarchists. After about week two it seemed like the writing team had already stopped taking the group seriously; I can’t name a single significant match they won?
Women’s Tag Team Championships: Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler (c) def Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks
Thank God Reginald was well rested from his spa day and able to accompany Shayna and Nia to the ring. Baszler and Banks started out, with Sasha and Bianca nailing the Queen of Spades with kicks in the corner. Quick tags between Banks and Belair lead to a standing moonsault and a two count on Shayna. Baszler landed a knee to the face to halt Belair in her tracks, then started to target her elbow. Nia tagged herself in much to Shayna’s displeasure. She missed an elbow drop on Banks and got hit with a drop kick from Bianca for a quick one count. Another tag to Baszler grounded Bianca, but the heels couldn’t put her away. Nia landed a huge slam and tried for an ode to the WWE Champ with a full Nelson, but couldn’t quite get it in all the way. Sasha finally got the tag and wiped out both Baszler and Jax, getting a two count on Shayna. A 450 from Belair onto Baszler should have got the win, but Reginald hopped up on the apron for the distraction. Bianca nailed him with a right hand as Sasha got Baszler in the Bank Statement. Nia Jax shoved Belair backwards into the pair to break the hold, leading to a Sasha/Bianca argument. Baszler rolled up Banks to retain, and the good guys take a big L for egos. Post match, Sasha smacked Bianca for her rookie mistake, and we are on for fists to fly at Mania.
Not an upsetting result, but man, am I tired of Reginald already. Can’t wait til the day we get Baszler and Belair one on one on the main roster.
Intercontinental Championship: Big E (c) def Apollo Crews
This was a great look at someone we don’t see very often: a very brutal Big E. He speared Apollo straight through the ropes to start, knocking them both to the ground outside. E stomped away on the apron and followed it with two big splashes, crushing Crews. Apollo crawled inside the ring but wasn’t able to get much offense before E tossed him with a belly to belly. Crews got a drop kick to Big E’s knee to finally turn the tide, then hit a few suplexes of his own. He climbed up top to hit a splash, but E kicked out. Apollo wanted the powerbomb, but E countered and the two traded roll ups until Big E got a sudden three count. Crews was outraged and threw the powerhouse of positivity around the ring, slapping him in the face and promising things weren’t over. This was a weirdly quick ending, but it certainly doesn’t seem like things are over for these guys.
Braun Strowman def Elias
Shane McMahon treated us all to an Elias concert, featuring shirtless Jaxson Ryker standing there and doing nothing. Shane then let Elias know that he was stepping in for McMahon in the match against Strowman, which is only slightly better than Shane himself wrestling, and only because Elias was rocking a rose print tank top and he looked great. Strowman backed Elias into the corner and tossed him clear across the ring, then ran him into two ring posts. He ran Elias down on the outside, but Ryker made the distraction and gave Elias some brief offense. Strowman kicked out of the elbow drop to land a powerslam and win. Would that anyone cared. Shane/Braun at WM is almost certainly gonna be terrible, but I suppose we’ll all sit and watch it anyway.
Seth Rollins def Shinsuke Nakamura
Shinsuke Nakamura has kind of my dream job, where he’s so goddamn good that even if he phones it in 70% of the time, everybody still loves him. And he gets to hang out in Florida and surf. And he looks fantastic in jumpsuits. The man has it all figured out. Early on here, Nakamura flattened Rollins with a knee to the midsection and taunted him back into the ring. Rollins came back with a knee to Shinsuke’s face on the outside, then hit a series of knees to the gut for a one count. Seth was getting real mouthy as he rammed his shoulder into Nakamura’s chest in the corner. Rollins grounded the Artist in the center of the ring, then dunked him into the ropes to shout a message to Cesaro. Rollins wanted to try the Swing, but Nakamura caught him in the armbar, forcing him to grab the ropes. Shinsuke dropped a knee on Seth’s neck on the apron, but Rollins fought out of the exploder with some elbows to the nose. Shinsuke went up top and Rollins dumped him to the outside and followed it up with a suicide dive. A sling blade got him a two count, and the two traded blows until Rollins his an enziguri. A sliding German suplex set Seth up for the Kinshasa, but Rollins countered into a buckle bomb and a Falcon Arrow. Still, Nakamura kicked out, much to Seth’s very loud groans. Another Kinshasa attempt was blocked, leading to a wild leg drop and the Stomp to score the Messiah a win. Rollins really looked great here, and his Mania match up with Cesaro should be top notch.
No Holds Barred Match: Drew McIntyre def Sheamus
Ireland vs Scotland, a tale as old as time. McIntyre went full Braveheart for this one, blue and white face paint and everything. Sheamus did not paint his body orange and green, but I guess you gotta save something for the Coppers grand re-opening. Drew teed off first, landing two huge suplexes and sending Sheamus over the ropes. He backed Sheamus into commentary with chops and cleared the table, going under the ring for kendo sticks. Sheamus stole the weapon and got one shot in before he was dunked with another suplex and slid right into the stairs. McIntyre grabbed the kendo, but Sheamus nailed him with a knee and laid in with shots of his own. McIntyre made a comeback with a big boot and used the kendo to go after Sheamus’ eye. Sheamus grabbed the stairs and ran down McIntyre on the outside, then tried to drop him on the commentary table. McIntyre reversed to send Sheamus into the barricade, and the two fought into the award winning and critically acclaimed WWE ThunderDome.
Sheamus landed a suplex onto the floor, and ran Drew up into the virtual audience. Great view for the CGI fans as McIntyre threw Sheamus through one of the screens, sparks flying. Drew popped his former friend on a crate and rolled it towards the ring to deliver another suplex right on the floor. Somehow, the Celtic Warrior managed to land a Brogue Kick to send McIntyre over the barricade and reverse the momentum. Sheamus landed White Boise through the table, and was clearly in a cover for like 5-7 seconds, but nobody counted. Sheamus grabbed a fallen section of the announce desk, but Drew still had some life in him. He hit the Futureshock DDT and Claymore to win a brutal match. Incredible work from both here; a little long for my tastes, but again, I can say that about everything WWE ever does.
Alexa Bliss (and Fiend) def Randy Orton
This wasn’t a wrestling match, but we knew that going in. Pre-match, Randy coughed up some more bile, but at this point, he shouldn’t be super phased by that. Bliss spooked Orton with her pyrokenesis, forcing the Viper to run straight into a ring of fire just after the bell. The ref dipped out, which felt like a fair assessment of the situation. Bliss dodged again and sent Randy running into the ring post, slamming his shoulder. Bliss taunted Orton to follow on the outside, but as he did, lights began to fall to the floor. Alexa sent another fireball, but Randy had learned from his mistakes and got his hands up. A hand grabbed at Orton from through the ring as another fireball burst and… a very well done Fiend appeared. Burnt to a crisp and sporting some new threads, he delivered Sister Abigail and let Bliss get the pin. I got nothing, honestly.
Universal Championship: Roman Reigns def Daniel Bryan (with Edge as special ringside enforcer)
Special enforcer Edge was out first, sweet leather jacket displaying just how psyched he was for this match. The two guys circled each other until Reigns backed Bryan back into the corner and nailed him with a chop. He promised to “take [Bryan’s] ass home right now,” but Daniel immediately went for the ankle and Roman had to crawl to the ropes to break it. Bryan was down on the mat and twisted Reigns shoulder until all my joints hurt, but Roman powered out. He nailed Bryan with some right hands as Edge and Paul Heyman stared on, looking angry and very excited, respectively.
Reigns wanted a clothesline but Bryan caught him with a drop kick. He held control for just a few minutes before Roman hit him with a slam and got him in a side headlock. The virtual crowd clapped for Daniel to break out, so Roman nailed him in the stomach. He and Edge shared a longing glance before Reigns tossed Bryan right into the barricade. He fought back with an attempt at the Yes Kicks, but Reigns cut that short by throwing him into the ring post. Bryan kicked out at two, then got Reigns with a cannonball in the corner. Roman blocked a hurricanrana and dropped into a Boston Crab. Daniel countered into a roll up and forced Roman to his feet, hitting him with an elbow. The two went back and forth on the outside until Bryan shoved the champ into the ring post and landed a jumping knee off the apron. He went up top and delivered a drop kick to lay Roman out flat, but took a minute for the cover, and Reigns kicked out. Bryan delivered the Yes Kicks until Reigns caught his leg and delivered a huge right hand. Bryan tried to take things back to the mat, stomping on Roman’s neck and getting him in the Yes Lock. Reigns just managed to break Bryan’s hold and leaned in with punches, hitting a powerbomb for a two count. Bryan tried to hit the running knee but accidentally took out the official, and Roman hit a spear. Edge counted but Bryan just kicked out at two.
Roman and Edge exchanged heated words about the Rated R Superstar’s ability to count to three, before Bryan secured Reigns in the triangle. He moved to the Yes Lock again, but just as Reigns was about to tap, Jey Uso ran in and delivered Superkicks all around (except to his cousin). He ran Edge into the post but was dropped by Bryan, who picked up the chair himself. He laid into Uso and tried to go for Reigns, but accidentally nailed Edge. Roman tried for a spear but got caught in the Yes Lock for the third time tonight—Roman tapped, but Edge, who doesn’t understand accidents, slammed Bryan with the chair. He hit Roman to even things out, then stormed backstage. A new ref ran down as Roman dragged himself into the cover to retain.
The wrestling here was incredible—I could have done without the extra convoluted way for Roman to win—of course he can (and should) win by cheating, but the ref bump, Uso, Edge bump, and a half dozen chair shots was just a lot to keep up with at 10 PM.
At this point, I can't really handle having just one women's match on a 3 hour show anymore. I can't do it, guys.
- Banks and Belair are finally able to build their feud and I am SO ready
- The concept of Edge/Roman/Bryan at WM is already rocking my world
- Rollins has some good momentum and solid story going into Mania.... Wish I could say the same for Nakamura
- Big E and Apollo was far more intense than any previous match we've seen between the two, even if the finish fell flat
- Sheamus and McIntyre managed to top any of their Raw matches, an impressive feat
- Who was clamoring for the Braun/Shane match??? Who wanted that? I guess even Mania needs a snack break.
- I have zero thoughts on the deep fried Fiend. If I devote anytime to thinking about it my brain is going to be burnt to a crisp as well.
- Reginald go home, please