Fastlane is the WWE’s last stop before Wrestlemania and now I’m over the stress of watching one of my cats climbing a high garage roof in our neighborhood, I’m ready to watch Fastlane and jot down some thoughts…

Shinsuke Nakamura vs Rusev (2.5/5) opened up the show and apart from the last few minutes, I can’t say it did a lot for me. Technically solid, but plodding. I wish WWE would just let Rusev be a face – people actually want to cheer him and Aidan English. I want Aidan English to sing whenever I enter a room too.

Bobby Roode vs Randy Orton (2.5/5) was a match I was dreading. I think Roode is better against smaller wrestlers who will bump for him and I think Orton is only as good as his opponent. I was concerned this would turn into a chinlock fest. However the match was decent and there were even moments where the pace picked up. Better than I thought it would be, but I don’t want to see it again, with or without Jinder Mahal added to the mix.

I liked Becky Lynch and Naomi vs Natalya and Carmella (3/5). I get the feeling this was meant to be a ‘cool-down’ match between the US and Tag Title matches, but there were some good fast sequences here. I was surprised Carmella pinned Becky – I thought Becky and Naomi would win here. I’m not sure if it means anything going forward, but I hope not. I think Becky is one of the best women on either roster and would love to see her face Charlotte for the title or even Asuka after ‘Mania.

The Usos vs The New Day (3/5) was the second Usos match in two months that was shorter than I wanted. The match was shaping up nicely, with both teams using the other team’s moves in order to try and get the win…when the Bludgeon Brothers interfered, destroying both teams. I get why – it’s to set up a triple treat match for the Smackdown Tag Titles at Wrestlemania. I just don’t like the Bludgeon Brothers gimmick – it’s too silly. It’s kind of lazy too, just throwing Harper and Rowan back together again, with little explanation. I was enjoying Luke Harper’s rebellion against Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt this time last year, so it’s disappointing to see him back in the tag ranks, in the same team he’s been in previously.

Charlotte vs Ruby Riott for the Smackdown Women’s championship (3.5/5) was my dark horse pick for match of the night, which shows how highly I rate them both. I liked their brief interactions at Tribute To The Troops (a three way match with Carmella, that Charlotte won) and had a feeling this would be good. I wasn’t disappointed. It was a back and forth contest with Ruby getting some offence, with less interference than I thought there would be.  I wouldn’t have minded this match having a bit longer after the referee had thrown the Riott Squad out, but I’m not going to complain. Plus, I was made up to see Asuka challenge Charlotte at Wrestlemania – it’s the match I’ve wanted since Asuka joined the main roster and should be fantastic.

The six way match for the title featuring A J Styles, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, John Cena, Baron Corbin and Dolph Ziggler (3.5/5) was a good effort but it was hamstrung by 1) being a foregone conclusion (AJ Styles wasn’t going to lose) and 2) there being too many guys in the match. The result was a frantic match full of finishers, near falls and stunts, almost like a video game. Not all of it registered with me, however the Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn stuff was great. I am wondering where Zayn and Owens go now, especially given Shane’s actions…

Overall, Fastlane gets 3.0/5.0. A better than average show and a show that was more entertaining that I thought it would be. The Smackdown side of Wrestlemania is looking good – Styles vs Nakamura, Charlotte vs Asuka, New Day vs Usos vs Bludgeon Brothers, maybe Zayns vs Owens? Get Orton a decent opponent and Smackdown is certainly holding it’s own.

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