Tha Sports Junkies 101

Fastlane Packed with Surprises

Fastlane Tanhmien via Wikimedia Commons


Heading into one of the most anticipated Pay Per Views of the year, WWE Fastlane was chalked full of surprises. There were wrestling dirt sheets around the globe promising a variety of exciting angles and predicting outcomes, many of which did not come to fruition but that may have been what made Fastlane special.

Throughout the event, spectators watched as the event unfolded with key storylines hanging in the balance as we head into the biggest event of the year, WrestleMania. Whether it was the two impromptu matches featuring Rusev and Jindar Mahal, the surprise pinfall victory for Sasha Banks over the monster Nia Jax, or the epic battle between Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman, the event as a whole shocked even the smartest of marks.

Fastlane Kickoff:

The show opened with Rich Swann and Akira Tozawa battling THE Brian Kendrick and Noam Dar. Despite the relative carbon copy exchanges from virtually every other 205 Live Cruiserweight match between these four, this match was actually quite entertaining as the momentum for Akira Tozawa continued to grow and fans were treated to Rich Swann’s high flying trademarks. The end saw Tozawa hit a snap German suplex followed by a Phoenix Splash by Swann for the win.

Fastlane Main Card:

Samoa Joe vs. Sami Zayn

Samoa Joe and Sami Zayn put together a match that made Joe look unstoppable and generated the underdog feel for Zayn. Despite several attempted comebacks throughout the match, Joe was never in trouble and really cemented his status as a legitimate force atop the Raw roster with a thorough beat down of Sami Zayn. The finish sees Joe put Zayn in the Coquina Clutch for the referee stoppage as Zayn passed out.

Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson vs. Enzo and Cass – WWE Raw Tag Team Championship

The third match of the night saw the Raw Tag Team Champions, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson square off against Enzo and Cass in what really felt like a summation of several matches from the past several weeks on television. Gallows and Anderson looked strong, Cass hit several big spots, and, in what has become somewhat of a regularity, Enzo was the weakest link as the champs retained their titles after a Basement Dropkick from Anderson.

Nia Jax vs. Sasha Banks

Nia Jax against Sasha Banks brought out the physicality in the women’s division as Nia Jax pummeled Banks for the better part of the match. Sasha kept finding ways to battle back only to be driven back time and time again. When it seemed that match was well in hand, out of nowhere, Sasha rolled Jax up from behind and handed the monster a rare defeat. What made this so impressive was that ahead of the event, media outlets that offer odds on professional wrestling such as had Nia Jax as a -1700 favorite to win meaning you would have to bet $1700 to win $100.

Jindar Mahal vs. Cesaro

Jindar Mahal and Rusev made their respective ways to the ring for some unannounced action. This came on the heels of the Mahal/Rusev team splitting up on the Kickoff Show and Mick Foley booking each in a match later in the evening. Before an opponent could be introduced, Rusev and Mahal brawled out of the ring and Mahal got the better of Rusev by driving a knee to the head and over the ringside barricade.

In a match that was not advertised for the show, Jindar Mahal faced Cesaro in a very good match. There was a ton of back and forth action including legitimate concern for Cesaro fans that Mahal may pick up the win. Surprisingly, they were given a great deal of time for their match and it paid off. In the end, the best match in the career of Jindar Mahal still saw him fall at the hands of Cesaro.

Rusev vs. the Big Show

Immediately following the Mahal match, Rusev made his comeback by stomping a mud hole in Mahal before the introduction of the Big Show. This ended up being another relatively long match culminating with three kicks to the Big Show’s head, a tease of Rusev putting Show in the Accolade, and the Big Show making a huge comeback complete with three choke slams and a knockout punch for the win.

Neville vs. Jack Gallagher – WWE Cruiserweight Championship

Neville vs. Jack Gallagher was as physical a match as the 205 Live Cruiserweights have ever put on. At one point, Neville hit a quick belly to back suplex that almost landed Gallagher on his head. Gallagher made a comeback with ferocious headbutts, the third of which left Neville stunned laying on the corner post before Gallagher attempted a Superplex that was reversed into an insane bump that looked like it could have ended badly. Red Arrow and pin gave the win to the King of the Cruiserweights.

Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman

Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman had a tough act to follow when it comes to physicality and they delivered. The leader of the Roman Empire kept trying everything he could to try to keep the big man down just to see him make comeback after comeback. Heading into the match, Braun Strowman was an odds on favorite to win according to multiple sources. Despite the odds makers expectations, the end saw Strowman attempt an insane splash from the top rope only for Reigns to move out of the way and hit a spear for the finish. Reigns picks up the win and Strowman is handed his first major defeat. There was a lot of speculation that the Undertaker was set to appear and cause Reigns the match. had the odds at -200 that the Undertaker would make an appearance but he was nowhere to be found. Look for him to make an appearance at Raw to begin the build to the WrestleMania match with Reigns.

Bayley vs. Charlotte – WWE Raw Women’s Championship

The Raw Women’s Championship match at Fastlane had a big match feel and the expectations for a Charlotte win were high. With her being undefeated in Pay Per View appearances, it seemed to be a forgone conclusion that she would defeat Bayley. At the end of the match, Charlotte made an attempt to use the tights to pick up the win when Sasha Banks appealed to the referee leading to a kickout by Bayley and her hitting the Bayley to Belly for the pin and the first PPV loss for Charlotte.

Goldberg vs. Kevin Owens – WWE Universal Championship

This brought us to the main event of WWE Fastlane for the WWE Universal Championship. Cue the music and the Goldberg chants. The 50 year old comeback wrestler of the year made his way to the ring with no breathing smoke for a change. Kevin Owens came out and looked intense. The match couldn’t get started as Owens kept leaving the ring in an attempt to distract and psych out Goldberg. Eventually, Owens climbed into the ring asking the referee to ring the bell. As the ref signaled for the start of the match, that familiar “Break the Walls Down” music hit and Chris Jericho appeared at the top of the ramp. Owens started to freak out and then he heard the bell sound. As he turned around, Goldberg hit him with the spear followed by the jackhammer for the win and a NEW WWE UNIVERSAL CHAMPION!


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