Roman Reigns wins at Fastlane, sending him to WrestleMania

For The Baltimore Sun
Who was standing tall at the end of the WWE's Fastlane?

As many expected, Fastlane ended with Roman Reigns standing tall and on his way to WrestleMania.

In the main event, Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Brock Lesnar put on a very strong match. It featured some great creativity with combination moves, especially on some of Lesnar's suplexes, and also had many tributes to the days of The Shield. The match itself was good for the most part. However, the ending wasn't necessarily up to everyone's satisfaction. Ambrose, using the No DQ aspect of Triple Threat matches, ended up bringing a chair into the ring and laying into Lesnar and Reigns. As he hit Lesnar enough to roll him out of the ring, he turned right into a spear from Reigns. Reigns picked up the pin, and the show ended with Triple H coming down to confront him, and pose with the title.

The response has been instantly negative. It's understandable to an extent. The crowd reaction for Reigns again wasn't good. People were hoping that Ambrose was being built up for maybe a title match. Fans now realize they probably aren't getting that with Ambrose (though that door hasn't closed yet). Ambrose could likely move into a feud with Lesnar here, after blasting him with a chair enough to take him out of the match. I will admit, the finish felt a bit off. Why was Reigns able to jump right up after he got hit several times with a steel chair? That was poorly handled. But that doesn't seem to be the reason why people are reacting so viciously against this pay-per-view.

The match itself was solid. In fact, the pay-per-view itself was solid. So why is this show being received so poorly? Why is #CancelWWENetwork trending on Twitter once again? It doesn't quite make sense. This wasn't a situation like the recent Royal Rumbles where there was a clearly obvious choice to win. Ambrose, quite frankly, had no business being in this match based on where he was being booked a month ago. There's no obvious mistake being made by WWE here. Yes, if you aren't a Roman Reigns fan, it can be frustrating. Though I feel like that frustration should have been let out months ago. This feels like a weird tipping point for some.

WWE fans need to take a breath. We've been at this point before. We were at this point last year. It didn't turn out too badly. However, with shows coming up in Chicago, Philadelphia and Brooklyn, it will be a fascinating Road to WrestleMania. Without sounding too cheesy, it all started here, and I think that the fallout from Fastlane is going to set up a lot more than we might think.

The rest of Fastlane:

-AJ Styles beat Chris Jericho to seemingly conclude their series of matches. This was another great match between the two. If I had to nitpick, I'd question why Chris Jericho was kicking out of the Styles Clash so early into Styles' WWE career. Are they doing away with the Styles Clash as a finisher? If not, why have someone kick out of it so quickly? It's establishing it as a lesser finisher. So that was a bit weird. Otherwise, it was an excellent match. The two shook hands after the match, though it wouldn't surprise me to see them continue to interact in multi-man matches as we move through the Road to WrestleMania.

-Speaking of Styles, Kevin Owens beat Ziggler in another good match. He ended up winning with a short-arm pop-up powerbomb, which just worked to perfection. I hope he uses this variation more, because in my mind, it's better than the normal powerbomb after the rebound off the ropes. After the match, Owens called out AJ Styles on Twitter, saying that he would take him out in less time than it took him to throw him out at the Rumble. I don't think we'll get a singles match at WrestleMania for the IC title, but if we do, look for it to be that one.

-Charlotte beat Brie Bella to retain her Divas title. Brie put up a fight, but it wasn't enough at the end. It was a nice touch for Brie to be wearing boots that looked like Daniel Bryan's during the match. Brie looked OK during this match, but you could tell that she didn't quite fit after Charlotte had some strong matches with the likes of Paige and Becky Lynch. It will be interesting to see where Brie goes from here, and it may be into retirement.

-Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch seem to be next in line for the Divas title. They beat Naomi and Tamina in yet another good match. The two really got to show off, and even Naomi got in some good ring time. I think Naomi is on the outside looking in, but this match reminded everyone that she can be a contributor when it comes to the Divas division. Sasha and Becky did tease some issues, which I'm sure will be addressed in the coming weeks as they move toward WrestleMania.

-In easily the most illogical bit of booking of the night, Kane, Big Show and Ryback beat The Wyatt Family. This makes absolutely no sense. I'm not even sure where the Wyatts go at this point. If they can't beat this thrown-together group, who can they beat? It's weird. We had heard names like Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker thrown around as possible opponents of Wyatt Family members. Now they can't even beat this team? This was a mistake, plain and simple, and it's hard to see a great choice for a WrestleMania opponent for them.

-Kalisto beat Alberto Del Rio to retain the US title. I love the use of the DQ early on for Alberto Del Rio. It's something that heels should use more often in Iron Man and multi-fall matches. Great piece of psychology that added to the match. Kalisto hopefully will go on to actually have a reign, as opposed to just going back and forth with Del Rio.

-The segment between New Day and Edge and Christian was a bit of a bust. There was some decent comedy as Edge and Christian ran down The New Day's history, and pointed out how vanilla they were when they debuted. This all led to a confrontation with the League of Nations, and presumably the start of a face turn for The New Day. If they're going to do a face turn, then the League of Nations is the right choice, because some people might cheer for the heel Dudleys. My guess is the two teams don't end up going one-on-one at WrestleMania though, and the Dudleys and Usos end up getting involved with that match.

-There was a filler match where Curtis Axel beat R-Truth. Goldust came out to try to help with the odds, and inadvertently cost Truth the match.

Thoughts? Questions? Leave them in the comment section, email me or find me on Twitter: @TheAOster. You can also find my podcast, Jobbing Out, at https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/jobbing-out/id998790026?mt=2

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