The first match was the six-man tag team match pitting Dolph Ziggler, Erick Rowan and Ryback against Big Show, Kane and Seth Rollins. This match was ok, but it was more like something that would typically be on SmackDown rather than a pay-per-view match. The main reason for the match was to set up the return of Randy Orton. This landed with a bit of a thud as Orton is not someone who gets people excited. I do not think anyone missed him. In fact, if he went away forever, never to wrestle again, I don't think many people would even notice. He has been champion nearly a dozen times and has achieved everything that there is to achieve. There is not a lot more to see with him. He can put on good matches, but he is bland to the extreme.
The next match was Goldust vs. Stardust. I really liked the build up to this match and I like both of these guys. I think that the Stardust character is by far the best thing to ever happen to Cody Rhodes. It has made him interesting, whereas before, he was anything but. I thought the match was pretty good overall. The only negative that I see is the brother vs. brother storyline. This is a storyline that we have seen dozens of times over the years. It has become repetitive and predictable. The same ground is rehashed over and over again. The whole family storyline is something that WWE seem to feel really resonates with fans, but in this day and age, fans know that it is a storyline. Making it seem like the end of the world just seems a bit tacky. These two made it work, though, and that is a credit to them, not the writing or the storyline in itself.
The tag team championships were then put on the line as The Usos took on Tyson Kidd and Cesaro. The outcome was quite unexpected—I never thought that The Usos would have lost to a team that basically seems thrown together. This match is the first of two that seem to be stemming from Total Divas. I am not sure that having matches and feuds that are driven by a reality based television show is the best way to go. I also want to say that I feel sorry for Cesaro. He has fallen so far, so quickly. A year ago, he was winning a huge battle royal at WrestleMania, he had Paul Heyman in his corner and was rising through the ranks of WWE rapidly. Now, just a few short months later, he is in a tag team in which the most interesting aspect of the team is his partner's wife. It is really sad.
The next segment was an encounter between Sting and Triple H. This segment was effective and it was brilliant to just see Sting. I would have liked to hear from him, but I realize they are going for a "less is more" approach here. The only troubling thing is what came out of Triple H's mouth. It is not what he says, but the fact that he seems to truly believe the nonsense that he spouts. He said that he was the WWE. This is true, in the sense that he is a shining example of everything that is wrong with WWE. He really believes that he is on the level of Sting. Sting has taken on Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart and Kevin Nash just to name a few. He faced them when they were in their prime. Triple H has beaten people like Shawn Michaels and The Rock, but only through rampant cheating, outside interference, and using foreign objects. Part of the reason he is where he is is through making friends with the right people. Triple H seems to believe that he is on the level of a Steve Austin, Rock or Undertaker. He is not. He is not even on the level of Mick Foley, Shawn Michaels or Kevin Nash. I don't believe anyone outside WWE sees Triple H the way that they see him. During the segment, I also realized something that is terrifying to me: Triple H is never going to go away. He is going to be in WWE for the rest of his life. That is a scary thought. He has power now as well. On the other hand, maybe he is just amazing at being a heel and incredibly effective at making people hate him. He definitely does a good job of it. The segment was effective as a means to lead on to a WrestleMania match, but I can't help thinking that this is another segment that could have been done on television.
The next match was Nikki Bella vs. Paige. This is another match in which the result really annoyed me. Nikki Bella seems to be the champion for two reasons and neither is her ability in the ring. Paige is far and away the best thing about the Divas division. She actually has people who cheer for her and who will buy her merchandise. She is the main reason people are interested in the division at all. I have to think that Total Divas was a major driving force behind this match as well. The really annoying thing about this match was the fact that the main spot of the match was Nikki winning by pulling Paige's tights, but the spot was either botched or not done correctly on purpose. It did not appear that Nikki was pulling Paige's tights, from my vantage point. Hopefully, the outcome means there will be a rematch at WrestleMania and Paige will win. I sincerely hope WWE does not plan to keep the belt where it is for long. It would be a foolish decision.
The next match was Dean Ambrose against Bad News Barrett. I thought this was a pretty solid match. Both of these guys are solid workers who deserve a decent push. Ambrose plays his character well and is interesting with the things that he does. The ending was a bit strange though—the match was just stopped. There wasn't really a reason for Ambrose to be disqualified, but he was. I suppose the reasoning is to set up a rematch, but it was slightly unsatisfying.
There was a segment where the lights were turned down and a casket emerged from the back. This seemed to indicate the return of the Undertaker. However, when the casket opened, Bray Wyatt emerged. Wyatt then did an excellent promo where he challenged the Undertaker. The way he delivers the words he speaks gives them a deeper level of credibility. There are subtle things that he does, such as the way he moves his hands at times. When he speaks it makes his promos seem more real. Many in WWE seem as if they are reading scripted writing from cue cards. Bray is a world apart when it comes to this. Bray versus the Undertaker will be amazing. I hope they do more than just a run of the mill wrestling match. I hope they do something really special using effects and things. It would be amazing to see a scenario where Undertaker, somehow, transfers his powers over to Bray as a sort of passing of the torch sort of moment. The Undertaker is apparently limited physically, but I believe they can work around that to produce something unforgettable.
I was pretty surprised at the ending to the second to last match with John Cena facing Rusev. This is a rare example of a match that weakened both the competitors. It made Rusev look like he needed to rely on interference to win and it made Cena look weak by losing to Rusev, even with a low blow. I give it to Cena for actually putting Rusev over, but clearly there will be a rematch and Cena will almost certainly prevail. I do wonder though, if Rusev does lose to Cena, where does he go from there? If he loses his streak and the United States title, it would basically undo all the work that they have done building him up all these months. I have to say though, this match did not really entice my interest in seeing a rematch between these two. They probably should have waited until WrestleMania to have the match. They could have had Rusev against Ryback or Ziggler here. He could have cheated to beat them and then Cena could have come to their rescue or something.
The final match was Daniel Bryan against Roman Reigns for the right to face Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. This match was a pretty solid match overall. I have to say though, with all of the injuries that Bryan has had, there were many times when I cringed at the bumps that he was taking. He did not seem to be taking it easy at all. I was actually worried for his well-being at several points in the match. Bryan carried this match. He was clearly the reason that it was what it was. The outcome was not a good one, though. Reigns winning basically made the match a pointless exercise. In retrospect, it sort of feels like it was a big middle finger to the fans. Once again, WWE is blindly doing what they want and ignoring what common sense is telling them. I have to be honest, I believed until now that Reigns winning the Rumble was a work. I never actually believed that WWE would make the same mistake again after last year. It looks like it is Reigns vs. Lesnar at WrestleMania. We will have to see what happens then.
Looking back, Fastlane appears to have been nothing but a commercial for WrestleMania. That is not a good thing, especially for those who paid to see it. Overall, I thought the match quality was solid, but the booking was terrible. Some of the decisions that were made defy logic for me. I was also saddened at the burying of people like Ziggler, Ambrose, Cesaro, Bryan and Paige. WWE has a wealth of talent right now. I believe it could be used much better than the way it is at the moment. I was quite surprised that the crowd reaction was not a lot more hostile than it was. It will be interesting to see where we go from here.