WWE Fastlane 2018 live review: AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn vs. Baron Corbin vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. John Cena in a six-way for the WWE Championship, The Usos vs. New Day for the Smackdown Tag Titles, Charlotte Flair vs. Ruby Riott for the Smackdown Women’s Championship

By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

WWE Fastlane 2018
Aired March 11, 2018 live on WWE Network and pay-per-view
Columbus, Ohio at Nationwide Arena

A video opened the show… Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton were on commentary. The ring announcer was Greg Hamilton…

1. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Rusev (w/Aiden English). Nakamura received a strong reaction during his entrance. English came out and sang while taking a shot at the host city. Then he paused and let the crowd fill in a “Rusev Day” at one point, which felt a little counter productive. There were dueling chants of “Nakamura” and “Rusev Day” that seemed split fairly evenly. Rusev stalled a lot and got some boos. Nakamura went after him on the floor and threw a few knees before placing him on the apron and then dropping knees on the back of his head and neck.

Rusev caught Nakamura trying to reenter the ring. Rusev worked him over at ringside and then rolled him back in where he covered him for two at 6:00. AT 9:30, Nakamura caught Rusev with a kick to the head. He placed Rusev on the top rope and then delivered a running knee before covering him for two. Rusev came back with a nice fallaway slam. Rusev caught Nakamura with a nice kick for a two count. Rusev went for a kick, but Nakamura avoided it. They traded strikes with Nakamura getting the better of it. Nakamura went for his finisher, but Rusev dodged that. Rusev tried to apply his finisher, but Nakamura avoided it. Nakamura went for his finisher again, but Rusev caught him with a kick and got a good two count. Nakamura slipped away from an Accolade attempt and delivered a knee to the back of Rusev’s head and then a Kinshasa for the win…

Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Rusev in 14:50.

Powell’s POV: There was zero drama regarding the outcome of the match simply because of Nakamura’s status as the number one contender. It’s a shame because some of those Rusev near falls were really well done. Rusev’s popularity made him a strange choice as an opponent for Nakamura in a match that should have been all about establishing Nakamura. It was a nice competitive win for Nakamura and Rusev actually felt like he gained something in defeat. Hopefully the company will do something that plays into Rusev’s fan support soon.

The WrestleMania video aired. We’re still 28 days away (they aired this on the pre-show too)… The broadcast team set up a video package for the U.S. Title match…

2. Bobby Roode vs. Randy Orton for the U.S. Championship. Hamilton delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Jinder Mahal and Sunil Singh were shown watching on a backstage monitor. Orton went for an early RKO, but Roode blocked it and headed to ringside to regroup. The crowd was quiet as the pace slowed. Roode got them to yell “Glorious” before he went for his finisher, but Orton countered out of it. Orton performed nice powerslam.

At 11:30, Orton performed a draping DDT. Orton looked to the crowd and fired them up before striking the Viper’s Pose.Orton went for the RKO, but Roode avoided it and went for his finisher again, which Orton also stuffed. Roode clotheslined Orton to ringside. At 15:00, both men fought for position on the ropes. Roode got the better of it and powerbombed Orton for a two count. At 16:40, Orton superplexed Roode. Late in the match, Roode performed a spinebuster for a two count. Roode ended up leaping off the second rope and Orton caught him with an RKO on the way down for the win…

Randy Orton defeated Bobby Roode in 19:15 to win the U.S. Championship.

After the match, Jinder Mahal came out attacked Orton. Roode kicked Mahal and gave him a Glorious DDT. Roode picked up Orton and gave him the same move…

Powell’s POV: The outcome is surprising if only because we never saw Mahal get involved during the actual match. This struck me as the least predictable match on the show and while I would have held off on the title change until WrestleMania, it’s possible they have a good storyline reason or they just thought it would be overshadowed by everything else happening on that show. The post match angle certainly seems to point toward a Triple Threat at WrestleMania. By the way, the broadcast team also played up the win meaning Orton had held every major title in WWE.

After some advertising, the broadcast team set up a video that recapped Ronda Rousey’s arrival in WWE…

Backstage, Sami Zayn entered Kevin Owens’ locker room. He acted like everything was fine. Owens was hot about Zayn kicking him and pinning him on Smackdown. Zayn said that was something different and he’s still a friend. He told Owens that he would not let him down. Owens walked away before he could finish the sentence…

3. Naomi and Becky Lynch vs. Natalya and Carmella. Phillips noted that Carmella won the Money in the Bank contract 266 days ago. The various international broadcast teams checked in and said horribly insulting things about women and women’s wrestling (wait, I only speak English, so that’s probably not true). Naomi set up for a moonsault on Natalya, but Naomi distracted her. Natalya took advantage of it and performed a powerbomb. The heel duo isolated Naomi.

Lynch checked in and performed a missile dropkick on Natalya, but the truck missed it by cutting to a camera that was set up behind Carmella on the floor. Both women tagged out and then Naomi hit Carmella with a kick before tagging in Lynch, who performed a leg drop for a two count. Lynch went to the ropes and was distracted by Natalya, allowing Carmella to perform a huracanrana and go for a pin that was broken up by Naomi. With the referee distracted, Natalya tried to pass Carmella the MITB briefcase, but Lynch stopped her. Lynch turned into a kick from Carmella, who then pinned her…

Natalya and Carmella defeated Naomi and Becky Lynch in 8:55.

Powell’s POV: If you read my preview then you know I’m now expecting this to lead to a Smackdown rematch that the babyface duo will win. The women worked hard, but this came off as filler involving four women who deserve better creative.

New Day was featured in an ad for the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards. They noted that John Cena is the host this year and they want to be considered for the role this year. They aired some silly audition skits… A video package recapped the build for the WWE Tag Title match…

4. Jimmy and Jey Uso vs. Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods (w/Big E) for the Smackdown Tag Titles. New Day threw pancakes to the crowd before the match. Both teams performed some of the other team’s signature moves. At one point, the Usos performed Midnight Hour on Kingston for a two count. At 6:25, Woods superkicked Jey and then Kingston performed a top rope splash for a two count. Woods and Kingston set up for opposite corner Uso splashes, but Jimmy broke it up before they could perform the move. The Usos performed dives over the top rope and onto all three New Day members at 7:55.

The Bludgeon Brothers’ music played and they made their entrance. They headed to ringside with their giant Thor hammers. Luke Harper kicked Big E and the referee called for the bell to end the match, which was booed by the crowd.

The Usos fought New Day to a no-contest in 9:00.

After the match, the Bludgeon Brothers worked over both teams on the floor. They rolled Big E and Woods into the ring. They hit Woods with simultaneous kicks and suplexed him on the floor. They scooped up the Usos at ringside, slammed them together, then Harper slammed one Usos, Rowan slammed the other Uso onto his brother, and then they both took turns diving onto them. The fans called for tables. Rowan picked up the giant Thor hammers and gave one to Harper. Rowan tried to hit one of the Usos with a hammer, but the Uso moved only to have Harper shove him over the barricade. The Bludgeon Brothers teased leaving, but then dropped their hammers and tore the ring steps apart. They powerbombed Woods onto the bottom piece of the ring steps and then stood over him.

Powell’s POV: The match was fun while it lasted with the teams taking turns performing the other team’s signature spots. It was a disappointing, yet hardly unexpected finish. The post match attack by Bludgeon Brothers was really strong and helped soften the blow. It looks like we’ll be getting the expected Triple Threat match between these teams at WrestleMania.

Graves hyped Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar going face-to-face on Raw and then set up a video package on Reigns…

Backstage, Renee Young interviewed WWE Champion AJ Styles and asked him about the odds of him facing Shinsuke Nakamura at WrestleMania. He said the odds are against him in a six-way, but he’s taken things that seem impossible and turned them into phenomenal. Shinsuke Nakamura showed up and wished Styles luck and said he hopes he wins so he can… Styles cut him off and said it will be Nakamura who gets beat at WrestleMania…

Powell’s POV: AJ is Woody. Shinsuke is Henri. The title belt is Kelly. “I’m going to steal your girlfriend, Woody.” You can find the entire “Cheers” series on Netflix, kids.

The Usos and New Day were shown being helped to the back… A video package set up the Smackdown Women’s Championship match…

5. Charlotte Flair vs. Ruby Riott for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. Hamilton delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Phillips said Riott was making a statement by showing up without Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan. It didn’t last long as the duo showed up less than three minutes into the match. Naomi and Becky Lynch ran out to counter them. Charlotte performed a slingshot suplex. The broadcast team said she learned that move from “Uncle Tully”.

Riott applied a straight jacket hold and arched Charlotte’s back over her knees at 5:30. Charlotte got to her feet, but Riott arched her over even without using her knees. Charlotte came back and performed a neckbreaker in the corner. Charlotte stepped on Riott and then went up top, but Riott shoved her off and Charlotte fell to ringside at 7:55.

Charlotte caught Riott going for a suicide dive and performed a fallaway slam into the barricade. Charlotte followed up with a moonsault off the barricade. Back inside the ring, Riott performed a huracanrana from the top rope for a two count at 9:55. Riott threw three chops at Charlotte, who slapped her across the face and then threw chops of her own. There was an odd spot where Charlotte seemed to be going for a backbreaker and instead flung Ruby face first into the ropes.

Morgan and Logan teased entering the ring. Lynch and Naomi ran in and blocked their path. Referee Mike Chioda ejected Lynch and Naomi. Morgan and Logan worked over Charlotte. The ref turned and saw them and then ejected them as well. Charlotte set up for a figure four, but Riott countered into an inside cradle for a two count. Riott took a face first bump into the turnbuckle. Charlotte speared Riott and then applied the Figure 8 for the win…

Charlotte Flair defeated Ruby Riott via submission in 13:45.

As Charlotte was celebrating with the title belt, Asuka made her entrance after the match. Once in the ring, Charlotte and Asuka went face to face. Asuka smiled and then pointed to the WrestleMania sign. The crowd popped big. Asuka danced her way out of the ring and Charlotte ended up flashing a smile and pointing at Asuka…

Powell’s POV: A strong match between Charlotte and Riott. There were a couple of awkward moments such as when Riott stuttered stepped before doing for a suicide dive and then whatever the spot was that resulted in her going face first into the ropes, but they worked hard and this was entertaining. Here’s hoping that Riott impressed the right people and they will showcase her well coming out of WrestleMania. The post match angle was well received and it’s nice to finally know that it will be Charlotte vs. Asuka at WrestleMania. The question now is whether we’re getting Alexa Bliss vs. Nia Jax or perhaps a four-way involving Sasha Banks and Bayley on the Raw side.

A trailer aired for the Andre the Giant documentary that will air on ESPN on April 10…

The broadcast team recapped Bludgeon Brothers attacking The Usos and New Day. They said the Usos, Kingston, and E were being treated backstage, whereas Woods was being treated at a local medical facility for a throacic spine contusion…

A video package set up the main event…

Shane McMahon made his entrance and stood at ringside. Graves noted that Shane, Charlotte, and Orton would appear on the Talking Smack post show. Cena made his entrance to a strong reaction. Baron Corbin made his entrance and didn’t get much of a reaction when he posed in the ring. Dolph Ziggler was out next and received cheers in between his record scratch and horrible entrance theme (he’s an Ohio native). Kevin Owens’s music played briefly and was then replaced by the Sami Zayn entrance music. Zayn danced right by Owens on his way to the ring and Owens appeared to express frustration. AJ Styles made the final entrance…

6. AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn vs. Baron Corbin vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. John Cena in a Six-Pack Challenge for the WWE Championship. Once everyone was in the ring, Hamilton delivered the in-ring introductions for the title match. The bell rang and Cena performed Attitude Adjustments on everyone other than Styles. Everyone stayed down while Styles and Cena played to the crowd and eventually fought. They traded punches with Styles’s shots being cheered and Cena’s being booed.

The other wrestlers hopped back onto the apron at 2:35. Everyone surrounded Cena and worked him over. Once Cena was at ringside, the wrestlers all fought amongst themselves. Around 6:30, Ziggler performed a DDT on Cena, then took a top rope splash from Owens. Styles had to break up Owens pinning Ziggler. A short time later, Cena put Ziggler and Zayn down and then performed the first ever double Five Knuckle Shuffle on two guys whose last names both start with the letter Z (well, I’m guessing it was a first). Ziggler came back with a Fameasser off of Cena’s AA attempt and got a near fall at 8:40.

At 9:45, Styles hit the Styles Clash on Cena and had him pinned, but Zayn broke up the pin. Corbin had his moment to shine with his slide under the ropes, return to the ring, and clothesline on Owens. He also took out Styles and then tossed Ziggler into the air and dropped him. Corbin went for End of Days, but Ziggler avoided it. They both went to ringside where Corbin tossed Ziggler over the barricade and then followed him. Graves wisely questioned why Corbin would follow, then said it was because Corbin wanted to eliminate Ziggler completely. However, Corbin charged at Ziggler and crashed into plexiglass used for the Columbus Blue Jackets hockey games.

Styles clotheslined Zayn into the timekeeper’s area while Shane watched. Cena hoisted up Owens on his shoulder on a broadcast table. Owens broke free. Styles charged Cena, who gave him an AA through another broadcast table. At 14:05, Owens and Zayn ended up in the ring together. Owens called for a fight, but Zayn told him he’s a man of his word. Zayn got down on his knees and then laid down flat on his back. Owens hesitated, but eventually knelt down and grabbed Zayn, who hooked him with an inside cradle for a two count. Owens and Zayn traded punches and ended up at ringside, where Owens threw Zayn into the barricade. Owens tried to powerbomb Zayn on the apron, but Zayn backdropped him on the apron instead.

Zayn turned his focus to Shane, who was sitting on a chair. Zayn jawed at Shane and asked if this is what he wanted. Shane stood up. Owens went for a superkick on Zayn, who moved, causing Owens to superkick Shane instead. Zayn performed his through the ropes DDT on Owens. Zayn rolled Owens back inside the ring and went for his Helluva Kick. Owens caught Zayn with a superkick instead and then performed a Popup Powerbomb on Ziggler. However, Shane pulled the referee from the ring to break up the three count. Graves said Shane had completely overstepped his bounds.

Owens was livid, but ended up eating a Helluva Kick from Zayn. When Zayn covered Owens, Shane pulled Zayn to ringside to break the count. Ziggler covered Owens. Zayn, who was bickering with Shane, raced back to the ring to break up the pin. Graves said the referee should send Shane backstage and questioned what other chaos he would cause. Corbin struck several wrestlers with the top piece of the ring steps while Graves complained that the match should be over and either Owens or Zayn should be going to WrestleMania.

Cena took the steps away from Corbin and struck him with the steps a couple of times. Cena performed an AA on the steps and then covered him on the steps, but Ziggler broke up the pin at 20:55. Cena picked up the steps again and ran toward Ziggler, who moved. Ziggler ended up superkicking Cena, who came right back with an AA. Cena hoisted up Ziggler again, but Owens broke it up and gave Cena a Popup Powerbomb. Styles returned with a Phenomenal Forearm on Owens and pinned him to win the match…

AJ Styles defeated Kevin Owens, John Cena, Sami Zayn, Baron Corbin, and Dolph Ziggler in 21:55 to retain the WWE Championship.

Styles celebrated after the match while Cena sat in a corner of the ring dejected and even pushed a camera away. A graphic showed Styles vs. Nakamura for WrestleMania. Phillips said the dream match is on. Styles continued to celebrate as his music played. Phillips hyped Talking Smack for after Fastlane and added that Shane McMahon would appear along with the previously advertised guests. Styles stood on one of the broadcast tables and held up the belt while fans cheered to close the pay-per-view…

Powell’s POV: A hell of a main event. The story of Owens and Zayn was really fun, and Shane preventing both men from winning was a nice touch. I’m curious to see where it all leads as far as WrestleMania is concerned. This show needed the main event to deliver and it really did. The women’s match was also very good so a lot of fans left with a good taste in their mouth despite the show feeling largely predictable. Jake Barnett and I will be by later tonight with the members’ exclusive audio review of WWE Fastlane. Join us on our ad-free website and enjoy a decade of written and audio content via PWMembership.net.


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Readers Comments (5)

  1. Nakamura has zero charisma and can barely speak English. Another example of Vince shoving a talent into the main event simply to attempt to reach a non-US audience.

  2. You’re either a troll or a moron. Nakamura oozes charisma and has been a home run with the crowds.

  3. That’s why you don’t write off an event just because it seems predictable. Predictable can be very, very good and it was tonight.

  4. I think Styles and Nakamura can have a great WM Match and I look forward to it. Maybe if Nakamura wins that can be a way to turn Styles heel again because I think he was a much better heel then face.

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