By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Fastlane 2019 Kickoff Show
Aired live March 10, 2019 on WWE Network and social media
Cleveland, Ohio at Quicken Loans Arena
-Jonathan Coachman hosted the show along with the panel of Beth Phoenix, Sam Roberts, and David Otunga. Coachman noted that Phoenix will also be on the pay-per-view. Phoenix said she would be calling the WWE Women’s Tag Title match.
-A video package attempted to make sense of the Becky Lynch, Ronda Rousey, and Charlotte Flair storyline. Coachman said that Lynch’s dream of main eventing WrestleMania will end tonight if she loses to Flair.
-The focus shifted to the WWE Women’s Tag Title match. “The Iiconics” Peyton Royce and Billie Kay crashed the set and complained that Sasha Banks and Bayley claimed they would defend the titles on all three brands and yet they have not shown up on Smackdown yet. Royce and Kay predicted that Banks and Bayley will retain the tag titles over Nia Jax and Tamina.
-Coachman walked viewers through highlights of the Asuka and Mandy Rose feud (there were two clips). Kayla Braxton interviewed Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville backstage. Rose noted that Asuka attacked them both on Smackdown and pointed to it as a sign that she’s in Asuka’s head. Deville said Rose has the mental edge. EC3 showed up and said, “Man.” Deville noted that he speaks. He said he does a lot of things except properly introduce himself. He said he resides between Raw and Smackdown and he’s a hot commodity. He said Rose knows a little bit about that. Deville said they waited months to hear him speak and it was a lame opener. He said there was more where that came from. Deville called EC3 a human tanning bed. She said Rose has her eye on the prize and it’s not EC3.
-Footage aired from “earlier today” of Carmella starting a petition to get R-Truth a rematch at the U.S. Championship. Zelina Vega said it was a no from her. Vega said that unlike his hero John Cena, Truth should just give up. She said Andrade is next in line. Carmella pointed out that Joe pinned Andrade to win the title. They bickered until Samoa Joe showed up and said that if Truth, Andrade, or Rey Mysterio have a problem with him continuing to be U.S. Champion then he has no problem putting the problem to sleep. Joe signed Carmella’s petition and then walked away.
-Coachman announced Joe vs. Mysterio vs. Truth vs. Andrade in a four-way for the U.S. Championship has been added to the main card.
-The panel spoke about the Smackdown Tag Title match. Christian replaced Beth Phoenix on the panel. Roberts said Miz is like 40 years old and questioned why he’s still looking for his father’s approval.
-Ricochet and Aleister Black delivered a backstage promo. Ricochet said lives are defined by moments. He said he’ll never forget when he realized he loves flying high above the ring or when he found out he was coming to WWE. Ricochet said he grew up dreaming of being a champion and he will make the dream come true. Black said people fear the unknown. He said that with each win they pick up, the fear manifests within the other wrestlers in the locker room. He said destiny is choosing them to win the Raw Tag Titles.
-A video package focused on Kevin Owens replacing Kofi Kingston as the challenger to Daniel Bryan’s WWE Championship.
-AJ Styles took Otunga’s spot on the panel and was asked about Vince McMahon taking Kingston’s title match away. Styles said it was a mistake because Kofi earned the right to challenge Bryan. Roberts asked Styles what’s happened to him in that he was commenting on a title match instead of being in the title match. Styles spoke about how you can’t always be on top.
-Braxton interviewed Kevin Owens, who said he doesn’t like what happened to Kingston, but he wasn’t going to turn down a title match. He also spoke about wanting to get his hands on Daniel Bryan. New Day showed up. Kingston said he had no problem with Owens and wished him luck in the match. A man showed up and told Kingston that the McMahon family wanted to talk with him about the WWE Championship match. The New Day members were excited.
1. Big E and Xavier Woods vs. Shinsuke Nakamura and Rusev (w/Lana). The broadcast team of Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton called the match. Woods got the better of Nakamura to start. Rusev provided a distraction and Nakamura caught Woods with a kick. Rusev tagged in going into a split screen commercial break.
As Rusev and Nakamura isolated Woods, they cut to another split screen shot with The Miz telling his dad (Miz’s Dad!!!) how happy he was to have him there. Miz said he just hopes Miz brings the title home. Miz told him he better get to his front row seat because their match is opening Fastlane. Shane showed up and greeted Miz and his father.
Big E took a hot tag at 5:55 and worked over Nakamura with suplexes, which drew a nice pop from the crowd. E gyrated before running the ropes and performing a big splash. Nakamura caught Big E in a submission hold briefly, but Big E powered out of it. Nakamura fired back with kicks and wrenched the arm of Big E over the ropes. Nakamura went to the middle rope and performed a flying knee for a two count.
Woods tagged back in and ended up taking a running knee from Nakamura for a two count. Nakamura went for a Kinshasa, but Woods rolled him up for a two count and tagged out. Big E performed a uranage on Nakamura into a Backstabber from Woods. The New Day duo set up for their finisher, but Lana pulled Woods down from the ropes. There was some confusion between Rusev and Nakamura over a spot (it looked like Nakamura forgot his part), but eventually Nakamura charged Big E, who cleared him from the ring and then turned into a kick from Rusev.
A short time later, Woods went for a flip dive, but Rusev and Nakamura caught him and powerbombed him on the floor. Rusev rolled him back inside the ring and covered him for a good near fall. Rusev ended up putting Woods in the Accolade and Nakamura held the bottom rope out to prevent Woods from reaching it, but Big E broke it up. In the end, Big E and Woods teamed up for Up Up/Down Down for the win…
Big E and Xavier Woods defeated Shinsuke Nakamura and Rusev in 13:20.
The broadcast team delivered some predictions to close out the Kickoff Show…
Powell’s POV: It was hard not to be disappointed that they pulled the Mysterio vs. Andrade match from the Kickoff Show (they are now in the four-way on the main card), but this turned out to be an entertaining tag match with plenty of near falls. Check the main page for my review of the main show.
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