Pro Wrestling

10 Desperate Attempts Raw Made To Sell Fastlane Source:

On the final Raw before the Fastlane Pay Per View, WWE found itself in a bit of an odd situation. Their main event looked like a foregone conclusion while fans flocked to get behind the two Superstars who aren’t supposed to win, everyone else is hurt, the tag team division is in a shambles, and oh yeah, one of their biggest fan favorites had to retire last week and plunged wrestling fans into a deep depression. So, convincing people that Fastlane is going to be worth watching would seem like a monumental task with only one week to go. WWE did their best, but a lot of what happened on Raw seemed to reek of some sort of quiet desperation to prove that Fastlane could be just as important as WrestleMania. And while they may have succeeded in some places, in others, things went terribly, terrible wrong.

10. Kevin Owens Wins Back What He Never Should Have Lost

WWE probably shouldn’t have taken the Intercontinental title off of Kevin Owens, or at least not put it on Dean Ambrose, because they ended up in this situation where they had to get the title off of Ambrose before Fastlane in order to make people believe that he might actually become #1 contender to the WWE World Heavyweight title rather than telegraph Ambrose losing because he already has a title he can fall back on afterwards. At least by putting the title back on Kevin Owens they add value to the Owens-Ziggler feud (good matches are good matches, but at least now there’s a point), keep Owens in the spotlight that he deserves, and reignite the hope that we might see Owens-Zayn at WrestleMania for the Intercontinental title after all. Okay, that last one probably won’t happen, because it looks like Zayn might have his hands full at NXT TakeOver: Dallas that same weekend (we won’t spoil Sami’s not-yet-announced match here, but it makes us so happy), but at least good things are happening to Kevin Owens, who by all rights shouldn’t even have to defend his title at Fastlane. He clearly said “Nah” when Ziggler asked for a match, this whole thing is a gross miscarriage of justice!;jsessionid=31EFC086F89FA5ACAB10F1A0EDDB61D0?r30_r1_r1:page=32 Source:

9. The New Day Wept, For There Are No More Teams To Conquer

So, The New Day, who have just carried the load for the tag division (and WWE in general) for over a year, get a promo segment to set up a nothing match against Mark Henry (which ended poorly when Henry appeared to get injured prior to the finish), and will appear on Fastlane in another promo segment to promote Edge and Christian’s WWE Network show that will debut after the PPV (and screw the haters, it looks great). That would, of course, be the WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day, who will not be defending the belt at Fastlane for the pure and simple reason of…there aren’t any tag teams left to challenge them. They’ve beaten every team on the roster repeatedly over the past year, and short of Golden Truth somehow becoming a big deal, we’re hard pressed to suggest who they should face at WrestleMania. It would be a damned shame for The New Day to end up in the Andre The Giant Battle Royal after the year they’ve had, so hopefully this fluff segment at Fastlane is a way to introduce some new challengers to their dominance? We don’t have any inside information as to who that might be, but perhaps we could spell it out for you… Source:

8. Daniel Bryan Tries To Get The Divas Division Over

Honestly, it’s not the worst idea to use Daniel Bryan’s sad retirement to try and get his wife Brie Bella over as a challenger for the Divas title. Badmouthing Bryan is a gold mine of heel heat, and sympathy from his situation could easily transfer to Brie, and using retiring wrestlers to put over new wrestlers is one of the foundations of the business. That said, it nearly fell flat because even with all the sympathy in the world, Brie Bella is fairly weak on promos, and although she was trying last night, she still couldn’t use gift of a tragic backstory to get the crowd invested in her. However, the whole situation massively helped Charlotte, who is just owning her role as WWE’s mean girl who’s better than everyone right down to the genetic level. The false sympathy act was as heelish as it gets, and the underlying insinuation that Charlotte was trying to avoid a title match in any way possible, even one where she’s a massive favorite to win, is pure Flair at its very best. The idea of a women’s match as the main event of WrestleMania is almost certainly years away from becoming a possibility, but with Charlotte rounding into form as the top star she seemed destined to be, women’s wrestling could easily continue the rise that began in NXT over the last couple of years. Source:

7. Your Weekly Reminder That AJ Styles Is Pretty Awesome

To the shock of very few people, we’re getting AJ Styles vs Chris Jericho at Fastlane in a rubber match of their unofficial Best of Three. But in the meantime, AJ Styles wrestled The Miz on Raw and continued to show why he’s one of the best wrestlers in the world. We love the character of The Miz, he’s a great heel, but he’s not much better than an average in-ring competitor, and somehow, AJ Styles made him look like a million bucks in a long match that was probably Miz’s best since before he was WWE Champion. One wonders if WWE isn’t kicking themselves for not discovering Styles years ago when he was languishing in TNA, but Styles himself has said that it took going to Japan to turn him into the excellent wrestler that he is at such a relatively advanced age (by wrestling standards), so maybe it was destined to turn out like this. Apparently Styles’ merchandise is flying off shelves, and if WWE plays their cards right, they might actually have found themselves someone who can actually be a fresh new star for them, for a few years at least. Hopefully the third Styles-Jericho match continues the trend of being better than the previous effort, because that could actually steal the show. Source:

6. Wait A Second, Summer Rae Can Wrestle?

Count us among the number who forgot that Summer Rae used to be an active wrestler and was actually pretty good in NXT. In fact, she had a decent feud with Paige while she was down there. Of course, you’d be forgiven for not knowing all that since her most recent appearances of note were either her short-lived stint as Tyler Breeze’s completely unnecessary arm candy, or that whole thing with Rusev, Lana, and Dolph Ziggler that we all scoured from our brains the second it ended. However, with the Divas division continuing to evolve and it looking like WWE might lose both Bella Twins in the near future, there’s definitely a spot for Summer Rae to get back in the ring and assert herself. Granted, the fans didn’t particularly seem to care because like we said, Summer Rae hasn’t existed as a character worth watching for a while, but hopefully she can get back into a somewhat prominent position before long. Plus, we’re not sure how this happened, but if this thing with Paige continues, there will actually be three separate ongoing feuds in the Divas division! And two Divas division matches on Pay Per View this Sunday! When has that ever happened before? Source:

5. Pretend We Didn’t Just Render An Entire Story Line Moot

Hey, remember when Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose already faced each other in a match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Survivor Series and it didn’t damage their friendship even a little bit? Well, Roman Reigns, in a rare display of intelligence, remembered that fact and happened to mention it during his face-off with Paul Heyman (who always seems to get the call when a PPV needs someone to give a passionate speech about why fans should care about, for example, a main event that everyone already predicted the outcome of weeks ago). Well, so much for any potential intrigue WWE spent weeks trying (well, sort of) to build between Ambrose and Reigns, because it turns out, they actually have already established that they don’t have an issue with fighting each other! And that match was for the title itself, not just a chance to become #1 contender! But they’ve put themselves in this situation, so of course Ambrose fakes trying to hit his finisher on Reigns for no particular reason other than because he could, and maybe we’re wrong, but it sounded like the fans would have been more than okay with that result. Seriously, WWE, how have you screwed up making Roman Reigns into a star so badly over two years? You’ve made Ambrose look like a main event star in mere weeks with half as much effort, and that isn’t even part of the plan! Source:

4. The Irony, It Burns…

We need to take a second to recognize the Heath Slater-Zack Ryder match which filled time in the third hour. The fact that Zack Ryder lost a match to a team of Superstars who united in a stable and look to be getting more TV time centered around their presence on social media is hilariously sad for like, seven different reasons. Remember when Zack Ryder used the Internet to turn himself into a big star, only WWE didn’t like that he’d done exactly what they tell all their Superstars to do by taking his career into his own hands, and punished him repeatedly until his fan base disappeared and he went back to being a guy who occasionally wins on Main Event? If only he’d waited a few years for someone to explain to Vince McMahon what TWitter is, he’d probably be the leader of the Social Outcasts right now, instead of hoping that his frat boy tag team with Mojo Rawley is somehow his ticket back to respectability. Do you want to know why we worry about the careers of fan favorite stars like Cesaro, that get over without WWE’s help? Zack Ryder is why we worry. Source:

3. The Feud That Can’t Be Contained To PPV, For Some Reason

We’re not saying that we wanted to see more of Alberto Del Rio vs Kalisto, but if it’s going to happen, and if it’s going to be a 2/3 Falls match for the United States title, that might be the sort of thing you actually put on the PPV itself, as opposed to the pre-show. Granted, by moving it to the kickoff show it makes it extremely likely that Kalisto will retain and we can all finally move on from this feud, because nothing important happens on pre-show matches. However, we can think of at least one match that should have taken that “illustrious” pre-PPV slot instead of an actual title match, and we’ll get to it in a second. Then again, if that match intends to feature Alberto Del Rio’s new version of his ridiculous top rope stomp finisher, which he debuted on Raw and features an illogical setup, takes an unbelievable amount of time to set up, and looks like it might actually hurt somebody even when done correctly, maybe it’s better that it not be exposed to the PPV audience.–neville-vs.-the-league-of-nations-photos?r30_r1_r1:page=13 Source:

2. You Call That A Main Event?

We have to believe that there was a comical mix-up before last night’s show, leading to the pages of the show getting shuffled and switching the scripts for the second and third hours of Raw. That’s the only way we can believe that WWE decided to put their World title angle as the second hour main event, and end the show with the abomination known as Braun Strowman vs The Big Show. We’d imagine very few people want to see that match normally, let alone as the main event of the evening. The match goes on just long enough to pretty much destroy any mystique Strowman has left, as Show pretty much effortlessly throws him around the ring, and then ends, as expected, with a bunch of run ins. Oh, and of course, The Wyatt Family, despite having a numerical advantage and having two opponents subdued ahead of Kane’s final run-in, still get destroyed and run off in advance of what we’re sure will be some sort of tag team match at Fastlane which will teach us new ways to hate ourselves for watching it. Much like Roman Reigns, if they’re actually preparing Bray Wyatt to look credible against Brock Lesnar in a rumored WrestleMania match, they’re doing such a piss-poor job of it that we’d almost believe that plans have completely changed. Source:

1. The Vincent J McMahon Legacy Of Excellence Award Goes To…?

We can’t be the only one who heard the name of this mysterious award that WWE has created out of thin air and thought back to that “Greatest Superstar In Raw History” that they made up for one of their anniversary shows, which ended up being an opportunity for Vince McMahon to give himself an award and laugh at us rubes for believing they might actually honor somebody the fans wanted to see, right? Actually, that’s not entirely true, our first thought led to the picture for this entry, and frankly, that farcical awards show probably had more credibility than whatever this one will turn out to be. Since we can’t imagine that anyone that WWE would actually give such an award to would actually deserve it, we’re just going to assume that it’s an angle set up to troll the audience and lower our expectations ahead of time. We’re not saying that it’s going to be an embarrassing mess that only amuses the guy in charge of the company, but we wouldn’t bet against it, either. Also, we have good money that says it will probably be awarded to Triple H. Source:
Stephen Randle

Stephen Randle

Stephen Randle is an avid wrestling and film fan. He's been writing about WWE, movies, and video games for Goliath since 2015.