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Review: WWE Fastlane 2019 – The Final Ride for the SHIELD, Swerves & Switcheroos

This turned out to be a better PPV than I thought. I will admit, there was a lot of skepticism on my part going in, as I genuinely have not been impressed with WWE’s shows. They’ll have a good segment here and there on either RAW or SmackDown, but I can’t give an entire show a good grade based on just a segment or two. The build for both Kofi Kingston and Becky Lynch have been well executed, but the overall storylines haven’t felt very gripping. Let’s take a look at tonight’s lineup and see if my opinion changes.

I have to admit, I keep forgetting the event starts at 7pm eastern. I’m still used to the 8pm start time with a 7pm pre-show. We know this changed with the big PPVs, WrestleMania, Survivor Series, SummerSlam, and the Royal Rumble, with a 7pm start. I missed it when suddenly all PPVs began earlier.

Pre-show featured The New Day members Big E. and Xavier Woods defeating Rusev and Shinsuke Nakamura. I feel bad for the heels here, this is a prime example of having nothing in the singles department and creative needs to do something with them. This keeps New Day on a roll. Before the match is on Kofi is told he has a title match coming up… After the opening contest on the main show of…

The Usos defeat Shane McMahon & The Miz to retain the SmackDown Tag Team Championships.

Great match. Strike me with lightening if you want. But The Miz will always impress me and will always deliver. He may not be labelled as “the workhorse” as often as Seth Rollins, but the guy deserves the title of it. He gives his all, whether face or heel. Match ends when Miz uncharacteristically goes for a frog splash of his own, but is caught on landing and rolled up for the pinfall. I wasn’t shocked when it was Shane who turned. Miz Sr. was in the crowd, got throttled by Shane too. Uber heel move. Miz played the guy who really wanted Shane as his bud. Miz turning heel wouldn’t have been much of surprise, since he’s been heel so often. Shane taking the turn was the right call going into their inevitable match at WrestleMania.

Really cool spot, Shane is ready for a coast-to-coast while an Uso is ready for a Samoan Splash… they both leap and CRASH IN MID-AIR. Good grief.

Next, Asuka defeats Mandy Rose after some miscommunication with Sonya Deville. Not a bad match, but possibly a tease to WrestleMania? Not sure who else would face Asuka.

Now, wait a second, we’re having the WWE Championship Match now? Kofi out first… and then we find out Vince McMahon pulls the ol’ switcheroo and it is a two-on-one against The Bar. In typical underdog hero form, Kofi fights valiantly, and his stablemates try to help, but are intercepted by Rusev and Nakamura. Kofi falls to the Bar.

The tease continues. The hype for the new hero continues.

The Revival retain the RAW Tag Team Championships against Aleister Black & Ricochet, and Glorious.

I knew the outcome before the bell rang. Team NXT Call Up wouldn’t get pinned, so that job fell to Roode and Gable to eat the loss so Revival could stay somewhat strong. Ricochet and Black dominated the match, Gable and Roode had some good moments, notably Gable’s rolling deadlift german suplex. Good lord I love seeing that move. Lots of great high spots and this is a time to remember just how good Chad Gable can be. In the end, he eats the Shatter Machine and the Revival, despite losing every single match since winning the tag titles, now retained. I really wonder how both the tag team championship title pictures will form for WrestleMania.

Samoa Joe defeats Rey Mysterio, R-Truth, and Andrade Cien Almas to retain the United States Championship

Hot damn was this a good match. Truth even put on a good show. Carmella, ah well. She still exists. Andrade and Joe could have a singles match which could steal the show. Joe retaining was the right call. Rumor has it he may face John Cena at WrestleMania, so hopefully the rest don’t get buried too far down. Joe wins by putting Rey to sleep.

I forgot to mention, all throughout the show, Elias puts on a number of performances without interruption. Until later that is…

Bayley & Sasha Banks defeated Nia Jax & Tamina to retain the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships

Decent match. I usually try to be nice to Nia Jax, but boy were she and Tamina very botchy tonight. Easily going to take up half of Botchamania’s highlight reel. Really disappointed. I like Jax, but lately her matches are cringeworthy and I worry for someone getting hurt. Tamina isn’t much better. I wish she could develop a better personality, but if she hasn’t done so in all her years with WWE, then it’s just not going to happen. Bayley hit a slow hurricanrana roll-up for the pinfall victory.

Here’s where it got interesting. WWE Hall of Famer Beth Phoenix was on commentary, but post match Bayley gets lobbed over the table and into her lap. Phoenix steps into the face of Tamina and decks her, but is then clobbered by Jax. Natalya attempted to make the save, but was also splattered on the mat. I would like to see a four-team match at Mania for the Women’s Tag Belts. Bayley & Banks vs. Jax & Tamina vs. Iconics vs. Phoenix & Natalya.

The WWE Championship match is up next and is announced as a Triple Threat. At first I thought the ring announcer botched. But no, this was for real and Mustafa Ali is out as a challenger, much to the crowds displeasure. Ouch, even the commentary team acknowledge Ali is now being booed despite having been a fan favorite, also acknowledging the fans want Kofi. Feels like when Daniel Bryan was chasing the title and the Yes! Movement was running wild. However, Mustafa Ali did the impossible, and put on one hell of a show, not only proving he could be main event material, but he won the crowd over in what should have been an unwinnable predicament. Erick Rowan also had some interference, right out of the Jax playbook of botching his own signature moves. Painful to watch. Ali scored some awesome offensive spots, and even took some serious hard hitting and hard landing bumps. Finish was insane, Ali goes off the top and Bryan cracks him MID-AIR in the skull with the running knee. Three count, match over. Kudos to Ali. Let’s not forget Kevin Owens. Right now seems to be between the face/heel status, not sure where he will fall going forward. Also stepped up his game and has not lost a step since being out with an injury. Glad to have him back.

Becky Lynch defeats Charlotte to gain entry into the WWE Women’s Championship match at WrestleMania… But not how you think. 

Bill and I envisioned Ronda Rousey coming out and beating the hell out of both Charlotte and Lynch to mess up the match and ultimately forcing a McMahon to order the triple threat. Instead, we got a mostly one-sided match in Charlotte’s favor, even locking in the figure-four, until Rousey runs down to the ring, stands over them, and delivers…

… A single punch. One. Punch. Ref calls for the bell, Rousey looks like she don’t give a damn. Charlotte in disbelief. Lynch smiling. She’s in, thanks to Rousey doing the cheapest possible move to do it. We got the “Rousey says she can beat them both” while looking like she doesn’t care at all. Congrats, she’s now female Brock Lesnar. While it was the desired result, and it did protect Charlotte from a loss, it did feel a bit anticlimactic and even the lack of aftermath felt a bit off.

I mentioned earlier Elias was performing. In his final performance, his curtain call was interrupted by Lacey Evans, only for an “out of nowhere” RKO from Randy Orton to floor him. Orton then gets dropped by a flying AJ Styles. Confuses me how Orton is being booked, and I’ve noticed Evans has interrupted or at least appeared in most segments involving Elias. Hmmm…

In the final match of the night, The Shield defeated Bacon Rorbin, Drew McIntyre, and Bobby Lashley.

Good match, what started out as an in-ring contest, broke down into a pier-six brawl all over the arena. Into the stage area, the crowd, the balcony, all over. Typical classic Shield match. Throughout the night, there was HUGE hype on this being the very last time we will ever see The Shield together as Dean Ambrose did not re-sign with WWE. This was stated repeatedly throughout the broadcast. Makes you wonder if this is a work. In the end, McIntyre is plowed through an announce table, and to everyone’s delight, Bacon Bits Rorbin is destroyed in the middle of the ring with the Triple Powerbomb. My disappointment, I thought it would have been classy for Ambrose to get the pin, but instead, went to Roman Reigns. End of the match, there was no “curtain call” moment to celebrate Dean Ambrose, just ended with the fistbump and that was it. Satisfying finish, although again, anti-climactic.

Overall, not bad. A ton of story being worked in to kick off the final month before WrestleMania. The obvious story will be if Kofi makes it to WrestleMania and will finally win the WWE Championship. Will Becky “All my bones are broken” Lynch win at ‘Mania also? If so, this mania will definitely be the year of the forced underdog hero tale.

Michael Dworkis
Michael Dworkis
Michael Dworkis has been a writer for The Pop Break since 2010. For over a decade he has contributed columns featuring Anime, Comics, Transformers, Television, Movies, and most notably, Professional Wrestling. Additionally, one of the key players in the original Angry Nerds column and a guest on one of Bill's various podcasts. When he is not grinding away at his next feature, or shouting expletives at the television while playing video games or watching wrestling, Michael actually has a full-time job,as a Mental Health Professional, working at a medical practice in New Jersey, and runs his own telehealth private practice. A family man through-and-through, requiring his three children to memorize all the Autobots and Decepticons on the collection shelves while also educating them in all things Marvel and Star Wars. You know, the stuff Disney owns.


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