Courtesy of WWE Home Video, Matthew Roberts takes a look at their latest release, the two-disc Fastlane 2019.
Back in the days of VHS, the WWE had to cut certain things out of PPV releases to ensure that the cost of putting a show across two tapes was avoided. Whether or not Fastlane 2019 needed to be big enough to warrant two DVD’s being required for the release is open to question; either way we can be thankful that at least we do get the entire show on WWE Home Video’s latest release.
The show suffered from the usual problem that TWO pay-per-view shows between Royal Rumble and WrestleMania is generally overkill. Whilst Elimination Chamber has the built in device (the Chamber match itself) to further storylines on the Road to Mania, whatever follows does not really suit the way the WWE book. Having largely set in stone the main Mania matches weeks in advance, there usually can be little on paper that can be successfully dragged out in March. At least on this occasion, by hook or by crook, the WWE did manage to give Fastlane some relevance…even if the execution was poor.
Becky Lynch is popular enough to have largely avoided the terrible booking of the Charlotte/Ronda Rousey situation hurting her too much (I’m not even taking into consideration the views of those lovely people on the Internet who seemingly hate the WWE – despite talking of little else – and rubbish everything they do) but her match here with Charlotte, that she had to win to take her place in the Mania main event, did her no favours. If not even for the see-through way the whole feud had gone, the match itself shot through any claims that the WWE were portraying Becky as Stone Cold Mark II: Austin would never have been on the defensive as long as this, not would he ever have had to rely on someone else to “get the job done”. The match was forgettable even if it did eventually conspire to give the fans what they wanted.
Similarly, the route Kofi Kingston took on this show almost served to undermine him rather than push him. Yes the “underdog” story is all well and good, but his battering by The Bar here was counter-productive and a lesser man than Kofi might have been destroyed by it.
Luckily the rest of the show had enough action to make up for it; although fans were deflated by the Kofi swerve meaning that the WWE Title Match included Daniel Bryan, Kevin Owens and the returning Mustafa Ali the action was so good that fans had little option but to get on board. For all the people claiming they’ve waited 11 years for Kofi to get his main event chance few were saying it publicly before Ali’s unfortunate injury meant Kofi got his spot at Elimination Chamber. And as talented as Ali is, you can’t help feel that his own moment has now passed. The only real downside is that anything other than a Bryan win was unthinkable so the match lacked drama.
Conversely though no-one would really have come in thinking that The Shield’s “last ever match” would have ended in anything other than a victory for them against the trio of Baron Corbin, Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre there were lashings of drama in this one and after a slow start it morphed into a high octane brawl that should have left no-one disappointed.
The undercard offered mixed fare; there is one argument that The Revival and Samoa Joe’s successful title defences in multi-man matches were nothing more than you might have seen on a good episode of Raw or Smackdown but they were both highly entertaining matches that provided much to enjoy. Similarly, despite my utter contempt for the mere idea of Shane McMahon in a wrestling match, his match with Miz against The Uso’s did what it had to do to move that storyline along and get to my WrestleMania bathroom break.
Less successful were the two women’s title matches. Asuka’s Smackdown Title defence against Mandy Rose was never going to be great (as improved as Mandy is recently, she’s still not in the position to carry her half of a title match) and the slightly botched ending didn’t help matters. Sasha Banks and Bayley tried to make something of their Tag Team title defence against Nia Jax and Tamina but had no chance of overcoming the terribleness of their opponents who, if we’re being kind, were having somewhat of an off-night.
No-one will be claiming that Fastlane will be up there at the end of the year when people discuss the best WWE cards of the year; but an entertaining main event and three good undercard title matches at least means that there was enough on here to make this an enjoyable, if ultimately inconsequential watch.
Extras come in the form of the reasonably enjoyable kickoff match between the New Day and Shinsuke Nakamura & Rusev and Kofi Kingston and Ronda Rousey segments from TV.
Format Reviewed; DVD
Photographs courtesy of Fetch and WWE
Thank you to our partners, WWEDVD.co.uk and Fetch for providing our review copy of Fastlane 2019 which is out NOW on DVD. You can buy your copy from WWEDVD.co.uk by clicking here
You can find me on Twitter @IWFICON.