by Pedro Martinez
Follow Pedro on IG: @bfg215
The road to “WRESTLEMANIA” made a stop at last night’s event WWE Fastlane. The city of Cleveland was in full force ready to see “The Shield” one last time, their hometown WWE Superstar The Miz and the hopes of seeing Kofi Kingston wrestle for the WWE Championship. The event as a whole, served its purpose leading to Wrestlemania. While there were some memorable moments throughout the night, the rest of the night just had solid matches that had a beginning and an ending.
MEMORABLE MOMENT #1:
Shane McMahon & The Miz vs The Usos for the Smackdown Tag Titles.
For obvious reasons this was memorable only because of what transpired after The Miz and Shane lost to The Usos. You saw Miz’s dad front row, rooting for Shane and his son. Throughout the entire match you saw Miz trying to take control of the match while Jimmy and Jey were working as the great tag team they are. That left Shane in the corner for most of the time. Shane and Jey did pull off an amazing high spot where Shane dropped kick Jey in midair while Jey was trying to do a splash to Miz. Despite that maneuver it wasn’t enough because Jey did pickup the victory to retain the tag team titles. After the match Miz said sorry countless times to his father and Shane. Miz walking ahead Shane attacked him from behind in front of his dad and kept taunting him while having Miz in a submission hold. Shane walked to deafening boos.
MEMORABLE MOMENT #2:
Kofi Kingston WWE Championship?
Kofi Kingston has been the hottest male WWE Superstar for roughly a month now and that was in part of his amazing performance at the go home Smackdown Live show before Elimination Chamber and the Elimination Chamber match itself. He was then given an opportunity by Stephanie and Shane McMahon only to be taken away by Vince McMahon and inserting Kevin Owens into the match. Kevin Owens who was back from injury came back as a babyface and felt bad for Kofi. Vince McMahon earlier in the evening said to Kofi there was going to be a triple threat match for the WWE Championship and New Day were not allowed at ringside. Kofi along with his New Day teammates Xavier Woods and Big E assumed Kofi would be added to the match.
Kofi enters by himself and then the announcer says that it would be a handicap match versus The Bar. The Cleveland crowd was extremely dissatisfied at the treatment towards Kofi and they let it be known. The Bar dominated and pinned Kofi who wrestle valiantly but was not enough.
MEMORABLE MOMENT #3:
Cleveland Crowd during the WWE Championship Triple Threat Match
The third man added was Mustafa Ali, which in my opinion was unfortunate for Ali as the crowd was neither behind him nor Kevin Owens in the match. The crowd kept chanting “WE WANT KOFI”, Kevin Owens and Mustafa Ali tried their hardest to get the Cleveland Crowd behind them but to no avail. Bryan retains the title in a solid triple threat match by kneeing Ali in midair.
MEMORABLE MOMENT #4:
The Man came to town to face The Queen with “No More Mrs. Nice Bitch” interfering.
Becky Lynch versus Charlotte Flair is a rivalry that no matter how many times they may wrestle, there is always a new story to add to their feud. This time around was due to Becky getting suspended and then Ronda vacating her title. Stephanie McMahon made a match for the RAW Women’s title between Becky and Charlotte only to have Ronda reclaim her title. Steph modified the match stating if Becky wins, she will be added to the match at Wrestlemania. (Side note: Becky should’ve been automatically in the title match as she won the royal rumble match but of course it doesn’t happen like that.) This match did not last long as Becky’s knee injury was the main target for Charlotte. Ronda Rousey races down the ring cost Charlotte Flair the match making Becky the winner and was added to RAW Women’s Championship at Wrestlemania. The crowd booed Rousey and Becky’s grin told the whole story. Becky Lynch is in Ronda’s head and in Charlotte’s way.
MEMORABLE MOMENT #5:
Sierra. Hotel. India. Echo. Lima. Delta. SHIELD! One Last Time
Now with the WWE, “One last time” is often used but then there is always another “one more time”. There are very few “One last time” and I feel this could be one of those few times where they really meant it. When The Shield came out through their traditional entrance the crowd roared. As the Cleveland fans were chanting and raving you could just feel this was it, it was truly one last time. The commentary team of Renee Young, Corey Graves and Michael Cole all enforced the feeling that this was going to be the last time we will see The Shield. Reason being is because Dean Ambrose has not confirmed he will re-sign with WWE. As of right now his contract is ending in April. Roman Reigns who was able to get the guys back together just came back from his leukemia remission. Seth Rollins won the Royal Rumble and is facing Brock Lesnar for the WWE Universal Championship at Wrestlemania. The crowd was emotional, I was emotional and you could see all three members of The Shield were emotional.
The team of Baron Corbin, Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre fought hard and was a typical Shield six-man tag team match. Dean and Seth do their crazy dives and Roman just powers through. McIntyre, Corbin, and Lashley mocked The Shield trying to their signature triple powerbomb but failed. Seth Rollins did his stomp to Lashley on the commentary table. They proceed to do their signature triple powerbomb to McIntyre through another announcer table. Crowd was chanting “One more time!” The Shield in vintage (Michael Cole’s voice) fashion surrounds the ring outside with Corbin inside. Crowd chanting “This is awesome!” The Shield all give Corbin one last hit and right before they setup their move, Rollins said “One Last Time.” The Shield setup Corbin and hit the triple powerbomb. Reigns gets the pin and the “Hounds of Justice” all embraced each other. Given the way they hugged, you could sense it truly may be the very last time we see them together.
REMAINDER OF THE CARD
The RAW Tag Team Title match between Ricochet, Aliester Black versus Bobby Roode & Chad Gable versus The Revival was a solid tag team match but was never invested because two out of the three (Ricochet & Black and Roode &Gable) are not really a tag team. They all had their moments but it never flowed the way a tag team match with an actual tag team would go. The Revival picked up the win. Who they’re going to face at Wrestlemania? I don’t know.
The biggest surprise for me was the Smackdown Women’s Championship match between Asuka and Mandy Rose. Mandy has come a long way from when she first debut and she held her own with Asuka. Sonya Deville was at Mandy’s side but a costly move by her was when she lifted the ring apron, made Mandy’s feet get caught with it and Asuka hits her with a kick for the win. Mandy was upset with Sonya as she kept apologizing walking back to the locker room. I can see a Mandy versus Sonya match but it may not be at Wrestlemania.
The United States Championship match was added last minute. Newly crowned champion Samoa Joe faced R-Truth, Rey Mysterio and Andrade in a rematch of last week’s Smackdown. The match was nothing special but enforced a John Cena reference. Samoa Joe wins by applying the Coquina Clutch to Rey causing him to pass out.
Bayley and Sasha Banks defended their newly won Women’s Tag Team Championship against Tamina and Nia Jax. Match was subpar. Bayley was able to do a roll up on Nia and kept their titles. After the match, Nia and Tamina bully their way by beating Banks and Bayley, which Beth Phoenix didn’t take too kindly. Beth hits Tamina after being taunted by her. Nia and Tamina gang up on Beth until Natalya comes to Beth’s aid but was not successful.
WWE Fastlane was a solid show with key moments to further the storylines for Wrestlemania. The Tag Team matches were good but the problem is the tag team division is the least focused on RAW and Smackdown. This has been the problem for quite some time. I see Kofi wrestling for the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania. The roller coaster ride between Ronda, Charlotte and Becky has been exactly what I mentioned a roller coaster ride. I believe with less than 30 days away, they need to create something. As of right now I’m truly invested in the feud with Becky, Charlotte and Ronda especially after Ronda went full heel. Kofi, I believe deserves a WWE title shot, it’s long overdue. Miz and Shane feud seems interesting but let’s see how it plays out. As for the tag team divisions, I don’t know what are they going to do. Fastlane came and went. Now it’s on to… WRESTLEMANIA.