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WWE Fastlane 2018 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights

WWE Lead Writer March 11, 2018 Comments Comment Bubble Icon

WWE Fastlane 2018 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights

WWE Fastlane 2018 created waves that will crash onto the shores of WrestleMania 34.

Sunday’s SmackDown pay-per-view saw AJ Styles fend off a pack of rivals in a Six-Pack Challenge for the WWE Championship. That win means The Phenomenal One will face Shinsuke Nakamura at The Show of Shows.

While much of the Fastlane card underwhelmed, most matches followed the main event’s lead in that they shaped the WrestleMania lineup.

A marquee bout now awaits Charlotte Flair after crossing paths with a visitor from Raw. An attack from The Bludgeon Brothers set the stage for what The Usos will be up to at the mega-event. And Randy Orton claimed the United States Championship to ensure his place in the spotlight at WWE’s Super Bowl.

Read on for a full breakdown of Fastlane, the final PPV before WrestleMania.

Tye Dillinger and Breezango vs. Mojo Rawley, Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin

Fastlane’s pre-show bout saw six Superstars clash in a last-minute addition to the card after a confrontation backstage.

Chad Gable wanted to mat-wrestle his foes. Breezango goofed around instead.

The heels, though, were able to take control and beat up on Tyler Breeze.

Tye Dillinger later charged in and knocked around his opponents as the match grew chaotic. The Perfect 10 kneed Mojo Rawley in the head to secure the victory.

Result

Dillinger and Breezango win via pinfall.

Memorable Moments and Quotes

  • “You’re a perfect disappointment.”—Rawley to Dillinger.
  • Dillinger dons college wrestling headgear.
  • Breeze rides Gable like a horse.
  • Gable sends Breeze face first into the mat with a monkey flip.
  • Fans chant “You can’t wrestle!” at Rawley.

Grade

Analysis

The throw-in match had some good energy in spots. Breezango offered flashes of fun. But this didn’t mean anything thanks to zero build and stakes.

All six Superstars could use a lot more to work with each week. Team Blue has failed Rawley, who has wasted his heel turn, and we haven’t seen nearly enough of Breezango of late.

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Rusev

Aiden English belted out a song to celebrate Rusev.

The Lion of Bulgaria began with a focus on the ground game, using his power advantage to overwhelm Nakamura. Smooth counters and taunts from the Royal Rumble winner led to Rusev taking an extended break outside of the ring.

To the sound of dueling chants for both men, Rusev regained control with a methodical offense.

Nakamura, though, was able to fire back with a kick-heavy rally. He withstood Rusev’s best shots until his finisher earned him a three-count.

Result

Nakamura wins via pinfall.

Memorable Moments and Quotes

  • “Trust me. No one is throwing Nakamura Day parties.”—English.
  • Rusev hits a fallaway slam on a bad leg.
  • Nakamura slips out of The Accolade to hit the Kinshasa.

Grade

Analysis

Kudos to both men for delivering this kind of match with such little build and hype. A strong heel performance from Rusev, quality chemistry and a handful of convincing near-falls made for a contest that exceeded expectations.

The result was never in question, even with the teases of Rusev pulling off the upset, however.

This was all about Nakamura warming up ahead of WrestleMania. Hopefully, he meets The Bulgarian Brute as part of a more developed story down the line.

Bobby Roode vs. Randy Orton (United States Championship)

The U.S. title clash started out with Bobby Roode and Randy Orton feeling each other out. Neither champion nor challenger could gain a sustained advantage in the early going.

Jinder Mahal watched on from backstage.

The Viper nailed Roode with strikes. The Glorious One fired back with high-risk offense. Each man was able to avoid the other’s finishing move.

Orton and Roode slugged it out until an RKO left Roode out cold.

Mahal stepped out to confront the new titleholder. Roode was able to stand tall in the melee that followed.

Result

Orton wins via pinfall to claim the United States Championship.

Memorable Moments and Quotes

  • Orton goes for an RKO early, causing the champ to retreat.
  • Fans chant “Byron Saxton!”
  • Orton smashes Roode over the security barricade.

Grade

Analysis

Both wrestlers are known for a slow pace, and their rivalry has been underwhelming to this point. Pitting them against each other led to a blase bout that left the crowd chanting for an announcer.

Solid action in the final act wasn’t enough to make this worth rewatching.

A Mahal vs. Roode vs. Orton Triple Threat match clearly looks to be in the works. That’s an odd move with how often Orton and Mahal collided last year. The U.S. title scene continues to have minimal spark.

Becky Lynch and Naomi vs. Natalya and Carmella

Becky Lynch went right after Carmella’s arm. Naomi’s high-energy offense had the babyfaces on top.

Carmella and Natalya, though, were able to slow things down and pound on Naomi.

When Lynch later tagged in, she left her opponents reeling. Things broke down, and everyone got involved. The Money in the Bank briefcase became a key diversion as Lynch turned her back to Carmella, a mistake she paid for by eating the pinfall.

Result

Carmella and Natalya win via pinfall.

Memorable Moments and Quotes

  • Naomi spikes Natalya’s head on the mat with a hurricanrana.
  • Natalya yells at fans to shut up.
  • Carmella yanks on Naomi’s hair from the outside of the ring.

Grade

Analysis

For a bit of filler, this was pretty entertaining. Carmella looked good as a nasty heel with a big mouth. The babyfaces got their moments in the spotlight.

This contest didn’t feel like it meant anything, though. SmackDown’s strategy of late seems to be throw the members of its women’s division in a series of tag team matches while it tries to figure out something substantive to do with them.

The Usos vs. The New Day (SmackDown Tag Team Championship)

The New Day went with its speed lineup—Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston. That didn’t pay off right away as The Usos were all over Woods.

Kingston rallied back for the challengers. A superkick frenzy followed as each team struck hard.

The Bludgeon Brothers interrupted the contest, laying out everyone in sight.

Result

The match ends in a no-contest. The Usos retain the SmackDown Tag Team Championship as a result.

Memorable Moments and Quotes

  • “It’s about pride. It’s about championships. It’s about WrestleMania.”—Corey Graves.
  • The Usos hit The New Day’s Unicorn Stampede and Midnight Hour.
  • The New Day delivers The Usos ‘ splash.
  • The Usos dive over the top rope to knock out all three members of The New Day.
  • Rowan hits a running splash on both Usos .
  • The Bludgeon Brothers powerbomb Woods on the ring steps.

Grade

Analysis

The Usos and The New Day were well on their way to another classic before the beatdown from The Bludgeon Brothers. Their chemistry provided the foundation for another stirring chapter in their rivalry even if it ended early.

They were especially chippy with each other. The fact that they resorted to each other’s moves added a fresh dimension to a long rivalry.

The Bludgeon Brothers’ inserting themselves may have cut the action short, but it hinted at some exciting prospects. Both The New Day and The Usos have reason to seek payback from the monsters. Watching them try to do so is going to be excellent.

Charlotte Flair vs. Ruby Riott (SmackDown Women’s Championship)

The match moved outside of the ring as Flair knocked around Ruby Riott. Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan’s presence distracted the champ, allowing Riott to seize the momentum.

Lynch and Naomi charged in to make sure The Riott Squad didn’t further impact the action.

Riott remained on top as she wailed on Flair with punishing offense. She was able to snuff out The Queen’s moves for a long stretch. A brawl outside turned things in Flair’s favor.

A defiant Flair fought back even after The Riott Squad wailed on her and used the Figure Eight to keep the title in her hand.

Asuka appeared after the bell and pointed at the WrestleMania sign in, seemingly, a challenge to Flair.

Result

Flair wins via submission to retain the SmackDown Women’s Championship.

Memorable Moments and Quotes

  • Riott goes for the Riott Kick as soon as the opening bell rings.
  • “They’re going to see you fail.”— Riott .
  • Riott pushes Flair off the top rope to the outside of the ring.
  • Flair hits a moonsault off the security barricade.
  • Flair whips Riott ‘s face into the turnbuckle with an Alabama Slam-like move.

Grade

Analysis

Columbus witnessed a star-making performance from Riott. She looked every bit like a legit contender and a star SmackDown can build around.

She provided a major test for the champion ahead of WrestleMania, which proved to be a smart way to build toward that PPV.

And WWE made the right choice with the SmackDown women’s title bout for The Show of Shows. Asuka vs. Flair is going to be scintillating.

WWE Championship Six-Pack Challenge

AJ Styles vs. Baron Corbin vs. Kevin Owens vs. John Cena vs. Sami Zayn vs. Dolph Ziggler

SmackDown commissioner Shane McMahon watched the action from ringside.

Once the match began, Cena cleared the ring to lock up with Styles. The 16-time world champ soon found himself at the bottom of a dogpile thanks to all the men he attacked.

Brawls broke out all over the ring area. Styles went on a rapid-fire flurry before Owens slowed him down. Corbin went on a tear that led him into the stands.

Zayn tried to lie down to give Owens the easy win, but KO attacked him. They bashed each other until McMahon got hurt as collateral damage. The commish cost KO and Zayn the title afterward.

Everyone seemed inches away from victory, but Styles leaped in just in time to seize the match courtesy of a Phenomenal Forearm.

Result

Styles wins via pinfall to retain the WWE Championship.

Memorable Moments and Quotes

  • Cena hits Attitude Adjustments on Zayn , Owens, Ziggler and Corbin.
  • Cena delivers the Five-Knuckle Shuffle on both Zayn and Ziggler .
  • Ziggler counters the Attitude Adjustment with a Fameasser .
  • “What are you willing to do to be immortalized?”—Tom Phillips.
  • Corbin smashes Ziggler through the wall used for hockey games.
  • Cena sends Styles into the announce table with Attitude Adjustment.
  • Owens accidentally superkicks McMahon.
  • Corbin nails foe after foe with the ring steps.

Grade

Analysis

A wild energy and electric pace made for a thriller of a main event. The stage was crowded, but the action flowed well and it often zeroed in on stories within the match.

Owens’ and Zayn’s rivalry/alliance got more intriguing thanks to how things unfolded. Whatever they have ahead of them with McMahon is unclear, but they seem destined for major spotlight come WrestleMania.

As for Styles, his victory made sure his dream match against Nakamura was still on. Any other result would have been a major disappointment.

WWE Fastlane 2018 created waves that will crash onto the shores of WrestleMania 34. Sunday's SmackDown pay-per-view saw AJ Styles fend off a pack of rivals in a Six-Pack Challenge for the WWE Championship…

WWE Fastlane 2019 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights

Featured Columnist March 10, 2019 Comments Comment Bubble Icon

WWE Fastlane 2019 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights

The Road to WrestleMania 35 rolled through Cleveland Sunday night as WWE presented Fastlane, a pay-per-view headlined by Kevin Owens challenging Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship and the reunited Shield battling Baron Corbin, Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre in a six-man tag team match.

With WrestleMania implications up and down the card, including Becky Lynch’s last chance to ensure the grandest women’s title match of them all does not go down without her, Sunday’s extravaganza had a ton of potential to be one of the most significant and newsworthy shows of the year.

This, despite what appeared to be a predictable card on paper.

Who emerged victoriously from the evening’s highest-profile bouts, and how did the results of the night’s in-ring action affect the build to WrestleMania’s top feuds and its most prominent stars?

Find out with this recap of the March 10 pay-per-view spectacular.

Kickoff Show: The New Day vs. Rusev and Shinsuke Nakamura

The in-ring portion of Sunday’s show began during the Kickoff Show with a late-addition tag match pitting The New Day’s Big E and Xavier Woods against Shinsuke Nakamura and Rusev.

The crowd was strongly behind the babyfaces, who were not accompanied by Kofi Kingston after the surging Superstar was summoned to the McMahon family offices moments before the contest.

Rusev and Nakamura thwarted an early flurry with a nasty kick from The Bulgarian Brute that grounded Woods. The heels would spend several minutes working over the smallest member of the popular trio before a hot tag to Big E turned the tide in the former tag champions’ favor.

Later in the match, Woods avoided a Kinshasa and tagged Big E into the match. Lana got involved and nearly cost the popular tandem the match, but the resilient babyfaces continued to fight.

Despite continuously finding themselves out-wrestled by the opposition, and Woods repeatedly on the receiving end of a punishing assault, they remained alive in the match.

When Woods found himself trapped in the Accolade, Big E appeared and tossed Nakamura into the timekeeper’s position. With The Artist neutralized, New Day delivered Up Up, Down Down to score the hard-fought victory.

Result

The New Day defeated Nakamura and Rusev

Grade

Analysis

This was a damn fine match to kick off the night.

Nakamura and Rusev got a surprising amount of offense in and really set the pace of the match. Woods was fantastic as the babyface-in-peril, and Big E is such an explosive big man that every hot tag, save or high-impact maneuver added a sense of urgency to the bout.

The outcome was never really in doubt, but that did not stop the performers involved from delivering a few quality near-falls that had fans on the edge of their seats.

Not quite up to the level of the cruiserweight matches we have seen in recent months, but this was definitely a Kickoff Show match that set the bar high for the rest of the card to try to eclipse.

SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: The Miz and Shane McMahon vs. The Usos

The final pay-per-view remaining on the Road to WrestleMania kicked off, officially, with the SmackDown Tag Team Championships up for grabs as The Usos defended against Shane McMahon and Cleveland’s own The Miz.

The former champions were cheered on by Miz’s friends, family and fellow Clevelanders, while the champions entered to a more mixed reaction than usual.

The challengers dominated early, feeding off the emotion of the crowd, until a nasty clothesline grounded McMahon and allowed The Usos to take control of the bout. They isolated and grounded the prodigal son as Miz watched on, frustration mounting, in the corner.

A big DDT from McMahon allowed him to create separation and make the hot tag to Miz, who exploded into the match with a flurry of offense, including a springboard double ax handle. He even scaled the ropes and delivered a top-rope high cross body block that wiped both champions out at ringside.

The action broke down late, and Miz delivered the Skull-Crushing Finale to Jey Uso. The referee, though, was caught up with getting McMahon out of the ring and missed the count initially, leading to a disappointing two-count instead of the title-winning fall.

Miz continued to fight, seeking a monumental victory in front of his hometown fans. Down in the center of the ring, though, he had no choice but to watch as Jey Uso climbed the ropes and dared McMahon to go Coast to Coast. He did, catching Uso with a dropkick to the knees that disrupted a splash.

Recovered, Miz listened to his father at ringside and tried for a frog splash but landed on Uso’s knees and was rolled up for three.

After the match, McMahon feigned support of his partner, even pausing to acknowledge his father, before turning on Miz. He beat the hell out of his now former partner, ripped the “Cleveland Is Awesome” shirt off him and bullied Mr. Miz.

He applied a triangle choke to close out the beating. Mr. Miz checked on his son as the crowd booed McMahon’s exit.

Result

The Usos defeated Miz and McMahon

Grade

Analysis

This was much improved over their last match, thanks to the crowd heat and the amount of people genuinely invested in Miz winning.

It was the investment that made the post-match beatdown that much more effective.

A total swerve, McMahon’s heel turn was the first truly interesting development in the story and one that will provide the WWE Universe a fresh take on The Miz’s character and a new dynamic to a WrestleMania match they have expected for months.

McMahon was spectacular, Miz was sympathetic for the first time since he caught an ass-whooping in Cleveland at the hands of Randy Orton in 2013 and the result was a red-hot angle to start a show that many pegged as ultimately predictable.

SmackDown Women’s Championship Match: Asuka vs. Mandy Rose

Mandy Rose’s first opportunity to win singles gold in WWE came Sunday night as she challenged Asuka for the SmackDown Women’s Championship in a match she had no chance of actually winning.

At least on the surface.

A distraction from Sonya Deville at ringside allowed Rose to deliver a jumping knee to the face, though, and take control of the match. She followed up with an abdominal stretch, working the midsection of her opponent.

Rose continued to take the fight to Asuka, but her trash-talking infuriated The Empress of Tomorrow. Asuka fired off a second-rope dropkick, a series of kicks and a corner hip attack. A German release suplex followed, as did a running knee to the face that earned her a two-count.

Rose fought back and scored a near-fall, then tried for her finisher, but Asuka fought out and delivered a big kick to the face. At ringside, Deville lifted the ring apron to retrieve a weapon from underneath the squared circle.

Rose, running the ropes, slipped on the apron, and Asuka finished her with another wicked kick.

After the match, Deville attempted to apologize to her friend, but she would have none of it.

Result

Asuka defeated Rose

Grade

Analysis

Both women worked hard, but Rose looked like a performer in a big singles spot for the first time and the result was a disjointed bout that never really clicked.

Asuka brought her in-ring game down a notch or two to help Rose out, but all that did was lower the quality.

That is not to say Rose did not work hard. She did, and her performances leading to this match were those of a performer gaining more and more confidence. Hopefully, this did nothing to curb that.

The tease of dissension among Rose and Deville should make for some entertaining television leading into WrestleMania, if nothing else.

Handicap Match: Kofi Kingston vs. The Bar

What started as excited for Kofi Kingston, who believed he was heading to the squared circle for a WWE Championship opportunity, ended in pain and agony as he was faced with a 2-on-1 Handicap match against Sheamus and Cesaro.

Worse? It was fought under Texas Tornado rules, allowing The Bar to compete at the same time rather than tagging in and out of the match. As Mr. McMahon revealed when he deceived Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods were barred from ringside.

A resilient fighter, Kingston fought back from an early onslaught but had his own flurry of offense negated by the numbers disadvantage. The heels dominated, cutting off any attempt at a comeback.

Chants of “this is boring” spilled from the fans as a disenfranchised audience watched one of their favorites obliterated by the former tag team champions.

Woods and Big E, thumbing their noses to the boss, made their way to ringside but were attacked by Rusev and Shinsuke Nakamura. Back inside the squared circle, The Bar delivered a double White Noise to put Kingston away.

Result

The Bar defeated Kingston

Grade

Analysis

The grade may not reflect the fans’ reaction to the angle in the arena, but this was superb booking that will only help Kingston’s case for a WWE Championship match and a monumental moment at WrestleMania.

Kingston being repeatedly screwed over by Vince McMahon will only make him more popular and his title win that much more desired. We have 20 years’ worth of television that dictates that. While fans may be disappointed they did not get the Kingston win Sunday night, it will be worth it when he finally hoists the title overhead to the dismay of McMahon.

This was but a chapter in a story, and much like Daniel Bryan’s run to WrestleMania 30, patience should pay off.

Triple Threat Match for the Raw Tag Team Championships

The Revival captured the Raw Tag Team Championships three weeks ago, but Sunday night, the so-called Top Guys would be faced with the unenviable task of successfully defending them against the teams of Ricochet and Aleister Black and former champions Bobby Roode and Chad Gable.

The champions, Gable and Roode all took turns working over the smaller Ricochet, looking to slow the momentum of the NXT export and partner Black early in the match.

The One and Only created separation with a somersault double knee before making the hot tag to Black. A springboard moonsault from the former NXT champion floored Roode, but Black Mass was countered by The Glorious One, who grounded Black with a spinebuster.

The pace picked up, favoring Ricochet, who answered Dash Wilder’s frog splash to Gable with a shooting star press that nearly earned him and Black the titles. Roode broke up the pin, though, to keep the match going.

Up top, Ricochet delivered an ugly, incredibly scary headscissors to Scott Dawson that sent him crashing into the other competitors in the match. At ringside, Roode sent Black into the guardrail, and Ricochet lept over the top rope and wiped him out.

Back inside, Dawson countered a cross body block from Gable, and the champions retained moments later with Shatter Machine.

After the match, the babyfaces got their heat back, first as Roode attacked The Revival and, then, when Ricochet delivered his 630 senton to Wilder.

Result

The Revival defeated Gable and Roode and Ricochet and Black

Grade

Analysis

If you came into this one expecting nearly nonstop action, awe-inspiring feats of athleticism from Ricochet and the underrated excellence of Gable, you were not disappointed.

This had a little bit of something for everyone and put The Revival over as legitimate champions capable of outlasting the best the tag division has to offer.

Would it have been nice for the champions to be able to celebrate their successful title defense without being beaten down immediately after? Of course, but management felt the need to get the babyfaces’ heat back. With that in mind, it was done about as well as possible.

Big kudos to all involved for having the best match of the night to this point.

Fatal 4-Way for the WWE United States Championship

Just days after Samoa Joe defeated Andrade, Rey Mysterio and R-Truth in a Fatal 4-Way match to win the United States Championship, The Destroyer defended his title in a late addition to Sunday’s pay-per-view card.

Joe picked up right where he left off Tuesday, taking the fight to his opposition with a nasty suicide dive that wiped all three of them out at ringside. With the champion at ringside, Truth, Andrade and Mysterio quickened the pace with a more athletic style that included a double headscissors from the masked icon.

The Samoan Submission Machine returned, again bulldozing the opposition as he sought to regain control of the bout. Mysterio halted his momentum and tried for a 619, but Joe countered. He hoisted the former world champion up, but Rey countered into a DDT for a near-fall.

In a cool spot, Mysterio continued to amaze with a headscissors to Andrade, who was perched atop Truth’s shoulders on the top rope. El Idolo recovered and mocked the late Eddie Guerrero as he set The Master of the 619 up for a suplex. Rey countered for a near-fall.

At ringside, Andrade wiped Joe out, only to turn right around into a headscissors. A fight between Carmella and Zelina Vega broke out, necessitating Andrade and Truth breaking them up. Back in the ring, Joe delivered a quick uranage to Mysterio, but the other two competitors broke up the pin.

Andrade delivered the hammerlock DDT to Mysterio, but Truth broke it up.

The former champion delivered the Five Knuckle Shuffle to Joe and flattened Andrade with a scissors kick. He tried for one on Joe but missed and was thrown into the corner. Mysterio caught Joe with the 619 but was caught in the clutches of Joe, who tapped him out with the Coquina Clutch for the win.

Result

Joe defeated Mysterio, Andrade and Truth

Grade

Analysis

It did not take long for the Raw Tag Team Championship match to be surpassed for Match of the Night honors to this point.

Joe, Andrade, Truth and Mysterio improved upon their SmackDown match, delivering another action-packed bout that featured several stories woven throughout and a quality title defense for the newly crowned champion.

Mysterio and Andrade continued their feud, Truth looked far better here than he did Tuesday, Joe was the dominant force, and Carmella and Vega paid off their mounting tension with a brawl at ringside. Those elements helped elevate the contest past being spot-heavy and set up a number of potential matches coming out of the show.

Women’s Tag Team Title Match: Sasha Banks and Bayley vs. Tamina and Nia Jax

For the first time on pay-per-view, Bayley and Sasha Banks defended the Women’s Tag Team Championships against Nia Jax and Tamina Snuka.

The champions started off hot, taking the fight to Snuka, but the heels turned the tide and focused their attack on Bayley.

Banks received a tag and took the fight to Snuka, delivering a cross body and a series of strikes for consecutive near-falls. Tamina sent a flying Banks into Jax, who delivered an ugly Samoan Drop to The Boss.

Bayley re-entered the match and took the fight to the heels, evading charges and unloading on both oppositions as Corey Graves labeled her a “one-woman army.”

The champions banded together to lay the challengers out at ringside, proving why they were able to win the titles in the first place.

An alert Snuka broke up a near-fall, but it was not enough to stave off defeat long as Bayley delivered a headscissors rollup to Jax for the win.

After the match, the sore losers attacked the champions. At ringside, Snuka superkicked Bayley and Jax sent Banks flying over the announce table and into the guardrail. The heels stood tall before Snuka eyed Beth Phoenix at ringside. She stared The Glamazon down as the crowd erupted into chants of “YES!”

Phoenix blasted Snuka but fell prey to a two-on-one beatdown at the hands of the unstoppable villains.

Natalya rushed the ring to make the save but found herself on the receiving end of a beating. Referees hit the ring and put an end to the beatdown.

Result

Banks and Bayley defeated Jax and Snuka

Grade

Analysis

The match was disjointed and, at times, sloppy, most likely because of time constraints.

With that said, the grade can be attributed to the intriguing post-match beatdown that restored the heel’s heat, set up a series of rematches with Banks and Bayley, and hinted at the return of Pinup Strong in time for a WrestleMania moment.

Phoenix, one of the most gifted in-ring performers of her generation and a Hall of Famer, never had the opportunity to have that true WrestleMania moment. She was often overshadowed by Playboy cover girls or an attempt to put heat on Vickie Guerrero.

Though it is unlikely her and Natalya win the titles, the chance to have a high-profile wrestling match on a WrestleMania card is a reward for her hard work and dedication during a time when in-ring quality was secondary to bikini matches and pillow fights.

This was a great angle to reintroduce her to the mix and set up a tag title match people care about for the biggest show of the year.

WWE Championship Match

Earlier in Sunday’s show, Vince McMahon threw another wrench in the WWE Championship match by announcing that the originally scheduled match between Kevin Owens and Daniel Bryan would be a Triple Threat match.

Mustafa Ali joined the competitors to round out the field, making up for the opportunity he missed out on at Elimination Chamber.

Chants of “we want Kofi” rained down from the stands, proving the angle involving Kingston earlier in the night worked.

Owens and Ali disposed of Bryan early and spent the opening minutes of the match engaging in a straight-up singles bout. Bryan broke up a pin attempt, though, reintroducing an every-man-for-himself mentality.

At ringside, Ali delivered a suicide dive to Bryan, and Owens answered with a cannonball from the ring apron. Bryan recovered and, moments later, sent Ali off the ropes and into the guardrail with a sickening dropkick. He followed up with chops to the chest of Owens.

A focused, dangerous Bryan teed off on both opponents, keeping them at bay and non-threats to his title for the time being. All the while, fans continued to chant their support of Kingston.

Ali momentarily slowed Bryan’s roll, but The Planet’s Champion turned him inside out with a nasty clothesline. Owens was more successful, unloading on the champion with chops that stunned him. He tried for a superplex, but Bryan countered. Ali delivered an inverted hurricanrana to Owens and followed up with a standing Spanish Fly from the top rope to Bryan.

Ali tried for the 054, but Owens moved. The Prizefighter followed up with a stunner for a near-fall that was broken up by Bryan. The champion tried for a running knee to Owens, but the challenge delivered the pop-up powerbomb for a close two-count.

The action spilled to the apron, where Bryan backdropped Owens and Ali delivered a 450 splash to the champion. Rowan, interfering for the first time, broke up the pin and jumped on the apron. He ate three straight superkicks from the challengers.

Owens delivered a somersault senton to Rowan but ate a knee from Bryan to the face.

Ali delivered a DDT to Bryan at ringside, and Owens delivered a pop-up powerbomb on the apron. Before he could take advantage, Rowan leveled him. He rolled Bryan into the ring for what he thought would be an easy win, but Ali kicked out.

The Superstars exchanged strikes before Bryan caught Ali in midair with the knee to the face for the successful title defense.

Result

Bryan defeated Owens and Ali

Grade

Analysis

The match nearly derailed early because of the crowd’s insistence on chanting for Kingston, but as it unfolded, developed and evolved, it won over the audience.

Ali looked like a star, hanging in there with two of the most celebrated in-ring performers in today’s WWE and never looking like he did not belong. Owens shrugged off a sluggish start and was red-hot late in the match, to the point that fans probably would not have been upset had he won the title.

Bryan, though, continued his early excellence here in 2019, selling like crazy to put over his opponents before picking up a win that may have been tainted by Rowan’s interference but was just clean enough to suggest he earned it.

This was so good that it almost makes you wonder how WWE Creative can adequately follow up on Owens’ and Ali’s superb performances when all signs point to them exiting the title picture imminently.

Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair

Becky Lynch’s place in the Raw Women’s Championship match at WrestleMania 35 was on the line as she battled familiar foe Charlotte Flair Sunday night in what many thought would be the Fastlane main event. Instead, it was the penultimate match of the night and, still, the most anticipated bout on the card.

Flair withstood an early onslaught and attacked the injured knee of her opponent like a shark smelling blood in the water. “Charlotte just dissecting Becky Lynch’s knee at this point,” Corey Graves added as Flair continued to control the one-sided bout.

Lynch scored a quick near-fall, but again, Flair re-established control with a fallaway slam that sent The Man to the floor. The Queen followed up by sending her opponent into the guardrail.

Lynch nearly won via count-out and looked for her Disarm-Her, but Flair countered and applied the Figure Eight.

Ronda Rousey rushed the ring and delivered a knee to Lynch, drawing a disqualification. The Raw women’s champion smugly stood in the corner, proud of herself, as Lynch was announced the winner.

Flair flashed a look of frustration and dismay as Lynch flashed a sly smile. Shrugging off the manner in which she won, Lynch looked more than pleased that she was heading to the biggest show of the year.

Result

Lynch defeated Flair via disqualification

Grade

Analysis

Well, we got the outcome we knew was coming.

From the get-go, we knew we were going to see Rousey defend against Flair and Lynch in a Triple Threat match, but the manner in which we got there was less-than-inspiring.

Lynch, who has been this gritty antihero who has fought through adversity to get where she has, was essentially gifted her win by Rousey. Yes, Rowdy wanted to get her hands on Lynch and now she can at WrestleMania, but there had to have been a better and more effective way to get there than what we were privy to Sunday.

Hopefully, it is made up to Lynch and the fans Monday with a hot angle that restores a little faith to a feud that has left audiences scratching their heads in recent weeks.

The Shield vs. Baron Corbin, Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre

For one last time, The Shield banded together on WWE pay-per-view as Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose squared off with Bobby Lashley, Drew McIntyre and Baron Corbin in the Fastlane main event.

The Shield made its trademark entrance through the crowd and wasted little time sending the heels scurrying to the floor.

Rollins and Lashley started for their respective teams, but the crowd came alive as Reigns and McIntyre entered the match. Reigns withstood the fury of The Scottish Psychopath, then joined The Architect in a two-on-one beating of McIntyre.

Unfortunately for The Hounds of Justice, Rollins found himself cut off from his partners and at the mercy of his opponents. He survived the onslaught and tagged Ambrose in, who caught McIntyre with an impressive double ax handle from the top of the ring post.

Lashley capitalized on a momentary distraction by Corbin, though, to deliver a nasty spear that returned control of the match to the heels. As the action degenerated at ringside, McIntyre delivered a Claymore Kick to The Lunatic Fringe that sent him to the floor.

Ambrose beat the count back into the ring, where the Scot was waiting for him with a flurry of rights and lefts as the former WWE champion’s beating resumed. After fighting back and blasting McIntyre with his rebound lariat, Ambrose tagged Reigns into the match.

The pace picked up as The Big Dog blasted Corbin with a big boot. The Drive-By followed while Rollins caught McIntyre with a flying forearm. Ambrose and Rollins banded together to send Lashley to the floor, then took off across the ring with a double suicide dive to the aforementioned heels.

As Reigns took off, Corbin caught him mid-flight with Deep Six for a quality near-fall.

With Rollins and Ambrose brawling with Lashley and McIntyre in the stands, Reigns and Corbin continued their battle in the squared circle.

In the stands, Ambrose dove off the Kickoff Show panel table and into the waiting arms of his opponents. Rollins flew out of the stands, wiping them all out.

Reigns set Corbin up for the Superman Punch, but Corbin caught him. Reigns fought out and delivered his trademark strike.

Moments later, an outnumbered Reigns found himself on the receiving end of End of Days from Corbin, who scored a very close two-count, interrupted at the last second by The Architect and Lunatic.

At ringside, the heels teased putting Reigns through the announce table, but The Shield recovered and fought them off. The Hounds picked each heel off one-by-one before turning their attention to McIntyre. They beat him down and delivered The Shield Bomb through the table to a thunderous ovation.

Back in the ring, Rollins delivered a superkick, Reigns a Superman Punch and Ambrose Dirty Deeds. The Shield Bomb to Corbin ended the match and earned The Shield one last pay-per-view victory.

Result

The Shield defeated Corbin, Lashley and McIntyre

Grade

Analysis

Who knows if this really was the last go-round for The Shield, but if it was, it was everything fans wanted from the storied faction.

It was the wild, chaotic brawl so many of their classic matches were. It delivered all of the greatest hits, allowed each member of the group to shine and (hopefully) brought a definitive end to the reign of terror of Corbin, Lashley and McIntyre.

Reigns looked phenomenal in his first match back, Rollins was fired up to the point that he was dropping an F-bomb late in the match and Ambrose’s face was painted with emotion in the moments immediately following the finish.

It meant something to the men involved, and just as it had so many times over the course of their run, it elevated the overall quality of the match.

On a night in which the unexpected reigned supreme, it was the expected Shield victory celebration that ended Fastlane on the highest note imaginable.

The Road to WrestleMania 35 rolled through Cleveland Sunday night as WWE presented Fastlane, a pay-per-view headlined by Kevin Owens challenging Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship … ]]>