We're truly in the Fastlane on the Road to WrestleMania. Yes, that was terrible, but we can't control WWE's PPV names and the terrible jokes they force upon us. While many are likely not overly excited about this stopgap between the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania, and you can read about the struggling ticket sales here, there is plenty to get excited about when looking at this card. We get AJ Styles first singles match at a WWE PPV and you just know that he and Chris Jericho are going to tear the house down. We get another edition of Ziggler vs. Owens. We have TWO Divas matches, though we'd prefer a singles match between Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks than a match involving Tamina, but that would be nit-picking at this point. We also get to see Brock Lesnar in a match with Dean Ambrose....and his brother, but again, let's not nit-pick. This event has the potential to be terrific and let's have a quick look at the card (in no particular order)!
- Kalisto (c) vs. Alberto Del Rio for the United States Championship - 2 out of 3 falls match (Pre-Show)
- Becky Lynch & Sasha Banks vs. Naomi & Tamina
- Ryback, Big Show & Kane vs. The Wyatt Family
- New Day/Christian and Edge segment
- AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho
- Kevin Owens (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler for the Intercontinental Championship
- Charlotte (c) vs. Brie Bella for the Divas Championship
- Curtis Axel vs. R-Truth
- Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar vs. Dean Ambrose for the right to face Triple H for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 32.
Without further adieu, let's break down the action!
Look, before we get started, this match should've been on the main card and they should've pushed that bland Wyatt/Boring big guys match to the pre-show. But we digress... At least we got to see Mauro Ranallo call a solid match.
On top of the terrific commentary, these two put on a solid match that genuinely had us interested in the pre-show (that might be the first time we've ever said that). The match started off with some great heel work from Del Rio, as he ripped off a portion of Kalisto's mask to show his intentions. Then, Del Rio used a chair on Kalisto to lose the first fall of the match by DQ, in a terrific heel move, before manhandling Kalisto outside of the ring to easily win the second fall. In third fall, both wrestler displayed dynamic and varied offense to make this a memorable pre-show match that Kalisto won by a quick roll-up after del Rio jammed his leg.
Unless, we're losing it, that was the first we've seen of the German announce team, right? Someone is going to go through that table, right?
Anyway, the PPV started with the Divas tag match and it got off to a rocky start, as there was some sloppy execution and a weird tag between Namoi and Tamina, where it looked like Naomi tagged in, but just didn't get into the match. All in all, it was a bland, generic tag match, that only really picked up when Sasha Banks finally got into the match. The match didn't adequately showcase Becky Lynch and proved that Tamina isn't a particularly strong worker. The match ended when Sasha and Becky put both Tamina and Naomi in the Bank Statement. Again, we we would've been better off with a singles match or a triple threat between Sasha, Becky and Naomi.
Winner: Sasha Banks & Becky Lynch
Look, we love Dean Ambrose. We really do. But it's really nice to see Kevin Owens with a championship.
We applauded Del Rio's heel work in his pre-show match, but there's no better heel in the WWE than Kevin Owens and it was on full display in this match. The match took place in Dolph Ziggler's hometown of Cleveland and Owens used that to his advantage. Meanwhile. Ziggler continued to teach the WWE Universe how to properly sell moves, again showing how terrific a worker he is. We also got a classic Owens screaming at Cole moment, so there was really nothing to complain about here. The fans often chant "This is Awesome!" but this time they were absolutely not exaggerating.
The match ended when Owens hit a Pop-up Powerbomb after Ziggler was distracted by almost superkicing the ref and we're fully on the road to #KOMania.
Winner: Kevin Owens
After having Bray Wyatt lose every program he entered, the WWE decided to have The Wyatt Family face off against boring foes to give easy wins to Bray Wyatt. After beating up on The Dudley Boyz, he's turned his attention to Big Show, Kane and Ryback and we couldn't be less enthused. With a plethora of injuries, Bray Wyatt could've been used in a high profile feud. Instead...well, we have this. Not even Kane emerging from beneath the ring could save this match. Well, that never actually saves anything. Also, in case you were curious, Big Show is a face in this situation, but that could change a couple more times before the end of the night.
In the end, it was actually a decent match, with the big spot coming when Big Show picked up Luke Harper over his head and threw him out of the ring into the rest of The Wyatts. Strangely, The Wyatt Family actually lost this match, which explains why Bray Wyatt wasn't included in this match. Hopefully this doesn't lead to a WrestleMania program with Bray Wyatt and any of Big Show, Ryback or Kane intended to give him an easy win as revenge for this loss.
At least we got to see The Wyatt's entrance...
Winner: Big Show, Kane & Ryback
Charlotte and Brie Bella have gotten a lot of flack from the WWE Universe, but the build to this match has actually been terrific. Brie is underrated and Charlotte has improved substantially as a heel, instead of non-selling moves as a face. With Nikki injured and her husband retiring, WWE has used those real-life events to make this feud feel real and the fans seem to actually be getting behind Brie Mode.
In terms of the match, it was solid. While there were a few sloppy moments, like Brie selling too soon in the corner or kicking out too soon, these two Divas told an interesting story in the ring and Charlotte demonstrated her extremely creative brand of offense. The end came when Charlotte locked in the figure-eight and Brie tapped rather quickly.
Both men have terrific entrances. Both are terrific in-ring workers. The two of them have already given us two terrific matches. So, there was plenty to be excited about going into this one.
Look, Jericho may have a dad bod, but he's still a terrific competitor. The fans were electric during this match, split down the middle for both stars and gave this a big match feel. These two stars brought their A-game here and used creative offensive maneuvers to make this feel like nothing we'd ever seen before.
We're not gonna say anything else about this one. Go watch it on the WWE Network and don't complain when you see Y2J return.
Winner: AJ Styles
Look, we weren't going to review this, but Tony Chimel did the ring announcing for this one, so we just wanted to point that out. Also, they made a Lance Storm joke, so we also enjoyed that a bunch.
Hey @EdgeRatedR, thanks for blowing up my Twitter buddy😀👍— Lance Storm (@LanceStorm) February 22, 2016
Not much was expected of this, but Edge and Christian really did a pretty good job and New Day is always terrific. Edge and Christian ripped them with some incredible (and truthful) jokes, including a hilarious jab at Kofi's terrible fake Jamaican accent.
Then The League of Nations came out to give Edge and Christian some more fodder to work with, which also wasn't half bad.
We really had no idea this match was supposed to take place tonight, but it was an interesting surprise, as the Social Outcasts have taken the New Day approach and become mildly entertaining.
This was a pure filler match that featured an appearance from Goldust in his quest to become a tag team with R-Truth, but was a decent way to cleanse our palettes in-between Styles/Jericho and the main event. The ending was a little sloppy, but it didn't make a huge difference, as Curtis Axel pinned R-Truth with a quick roll-up for the win.
Winner: Curtis Axel
This was the match to set up the main event at WrestleMania 32 and it was pretty damn good. It followed a similar theme to other Lesnar triple-thrate matches. where Lesnar dominates early, then re-emerges towards the end. Regardless of that, we got two Shield Power-bombs dealt to Lesnar, along with a German suplex to both Ambrose and Reigns from Lesnar, so there was a lot to get excited about.
The end came when Ambrose beat down both Reigns and Lesnar with a chair, before getting speared by Reigns when focusing on Lesnar, who got the three count. It was a little strange to see Reigns get beaten down with a chair and quickly get up, but we'll look passed it. Predictable, but thoroughly entertaining match.
Winner: Roman Reigns
Match Rating: 7.5/10
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