As any wrestling fan can tell you, the last stretch of the road to Wrestlemania is the Fastlane!
Sure, the relatively new event isn’t known for memorable moments in wrestling history, but it certainly serves its purpose as the set up to many of the matches headlining WWE’s biggest show of the year. In my opinion, this year’s edition of Fastlane was a shining example of the show doing exactly what it should. Several of the upcoming matches scheduled for Mania were successfully fleshed out on Sunday night, which means we were finally given answers to questions we’ve had leading into the “Grandaddy of Them All”. So, my task once again is to give you fine folks five things we learned from this year’s Fastlane. Without further ado, let’s jump right into it!
5. Shane Finally Goes Heel
We all knew it was only a matter of time, right? This is what happens when people criticize WWE for not being able to pull long term booking. Shane McMahon won the WWE’s bastardized variation of a pro wrestling World Cup at Crown Jewel in November, and only now are we finally getting the answer to why he did! So, what’s more frustrating? WWE using a legitimate great tournament concept to ensure Shane O’Mac having an opponent at Wrestlemania, or the simple fact that we all saw it coming as soon as Shane starting teaming with the Miz? When it comes to WWE, always be careful what you ask for.
4. NXT Finally Correctly Showcased?
It’s always been tough to be a fan of WWE’s developmental brands when it comes to talent call ups. Even during the days of OVW, fans were heartbroken to see stars such as Nick Dinsmore portraying the special needs character of Eugene upon his arrival to Monday Night Raw, the consensus being that WWE doesn’t know what to do with fresh talent once it’s considered developed enough for the main roster. And with recent examples like Tye Dillinger, The Revival, and No Way Jośe, it’s really hard to argue that widly held assumption. So imagine my shock when I realize that everyone competing in Raw’s Tag Team Championship match are NXT call ups! But the surprises don’t stop there, because it would seem creative finally remembered that putting titles on recent call ups tends to legitimize them to the members of the WWE universe who may not necessarily watch NXT. Hopefully this is a sign of the times finally changing.
3. WWE Finally Losing In House Talent Favoritism?
Now, this one may be a slight stretch, but try to keep up with me. Similar to the aforementioned developmental stigma, WWE has always had difficulties pushing talent that they didn’t create themselves. Be it Sting, Hideo Itami, or even CM Punk to a lesser extent, the WWE just can’t seem to muster a worthy get over opportunity for anyone that may be known for something other than working for them. But then, we fans are presented with the line-up for Sunday’s United States Championship Fatal Four-Way. Former NWA World’s Heavyweight Champion R-Truth, ECW and WCW alumnus Rey Mysterio, Founder of the infamous Los Ingobernables stable Andrade, all seeking the chance to dethrone Champion and TNA mainstay Samoa Joe. No matter what the outcome could’ve been in this match, the United States Title was leaving with someone who hasn’t always been known for working for WWE. Could this be more of the powers that be giving up their old ways? We shall see…
2. Beth Coming Out Of Retirement
Can you really have a women’s tag team division without a team involving Beth and Natalya?! Fastlane answered that question with an emphatic “No”. Now, I know im not the only fan who did a little fantasy booking when the women’s tag titles were announced, trying to determine which female roster members would work well together as teams, but Beth and Natalya always seemed like a pipe dream due to Beth’s early retirement. Sunday night, the seed for the Glamazon’s return was planted, and I don’t think it’ll be long before she and the Queen of Harts are wearing tag gold.
1. When In Doubt, Make It Triple Threat
You’ll always hear the more progressive pro wrestling fans talk about how one day in the near future, the women’s division is going to headline WrestleMania. I’ll be the first to admit that this is an admirable and attainable goal for the ladies to set fire themselves. However, creative is never going to get to a place where that’s possible if they keep reusing the women’s triple threat match every two to three years at WrestleMania. Now, in the case of Becky, Charlotte, and Ronda, it’s easy to understand why you’d opt for the triple threat angle once again. A triple threat match allows all three women a chance to shine on the greatest stage of them all while also hiding some of Rhonda’s inexperience. This year can be labelled as excusable, but if the ladies truly want that main event spot in the future, then the path needs to make a dramatic turn away from the triple threat angle.