WWE Fastlane 2018 Review and Repercussions – Triple Threat POV | Smark Out Moment

WWE Fastlane 2018 Review and Repercussions – Triple Threat POV

Posted by Jonathan Maldonado Thursday, March 15, 2018
Welcome to another edition of Triple Threat from Smark Out Moment, where three of us get together to discuss three questions based on one big topic going down in the week of professional wrestling.

This week, Jonathan Maldonado, Callum Wiggins and Cayden Parkhurst will be giving their opinions on this past Sunday's Fastlane.

Let's discuss...

Question 1: Out of nowhere, Randy Orton is United States Champion. Give us your reactions to the match and the WrestleMania outlook for the title.

MALDONADO: I really enjoyed this match-up. Orton and Roode wrestle with similar styles and it was nice to see the two avoid rest holds for long periods of the bout. I'd love to see a series between these two, but with Jinder Mahal in the mix for the United States title, it’s unlikely we’ll get a true singles feud for this title right now.

It was surprising to see the WWE take the belt off of Roode so quickly. Here's a guy with a few years of upper mid-card to main event potential, in his first year on the main roster and in his first title run, did he really need to drop it to Randy Orton just before WrestleMania? This would've been a great run for Roode to topple a future hall of famer and the ever annoying Mahal. Orton doesn't need another WrestleMania moment and no one is clamoring for Mahal to even be on the card.

My sense is Roode will regain the title at Mania, although I would have much preferred him to run straight through the event as champ. The imminent, glorious pop is too good for the WWE to pass up.

WIGGINS: The match was good, if unspectacular, which pretty much describes Randy Orton's in-ring career up until the last move of every match. Orton and Bobby Roode are two of the most sound wrestlers on SmackDown Live, but their match was more of an acquired taste. Sometimes when you get two of the best in the ring things don't click like you'd expect them to - maybe they're too similar overall and are better off battling someone less crisp and more chaotic. Don't get me wrong, it was good, but I'll have forgotten it by the end of the week.

The post-match angle was the most interesting aspect, as it appears we're heading towards another Triple Threat match at WrestleMania 34. (Clearly, someone in the WWE hierarchy is reading these articles for inspiration.) Adding Jinder Mahal to the mix is unlikely to raise the quality any higher, but the three-way feud could be an effective catalyst for turning Bobby Roode heel, the alignment he has been crying out for since joining SmackDown Live.

PARKHURST: I was definitely surprised. I expected Roode to have a much longer first title reign in WWE. However, Orton deserved a Grand Slam honor, so I am not upset in the slightest. The match itself was nothing super special, but it wasn't bad either. I think it could have been much better than it ending up being, but sometimes two guys just don't flow as well as they should. Maybe they just need more time to get the match out of them than I expected. Regardless, the finish was surprising.

As for the Mania outlook for the US Championship; we're heading for another triple threat. Jinder Mahal will be added in here, but I really thought that was going to be here at Fastlane. I am one of the few guys that like Mahal and appreciate the real heat he can get. I do not expect Mahal to win the belt, and I do expect Orton to keep it at least until Backlash or whatever SmackDown Live pay-per-view is next.

Question 2: Ruby Riott came up short against Charlotte Flair for the SmackDown Live Women's Championship; does she look like a future champion? And bonus: how excited are you for Charlotte vs. Asuka?

MALDONADO: Ruby Riott was very impressive in her match-up with Charlotte Flair at Fastlane. Her pacing with the champ was spot on, her biggest struggles coming in some botches here and there, especially when she set up too far to the side for the Charlotte moonsault off the barricade. She's still green on this roster but I see lots of potential for a future championship run.

While Riott mulls over her loss and the future, the undefeated Asuka has stepped up to use her Royal Rumble victory choice and challenge Charlotte for the SmackDown Live Women's Championship. How can you not be excited for this match? Both are transcendent superstars who could arguably close out WrestleMania with their bout. It'll be interesting to see how these two work in their first ever match together on the biggest stage of all, but I don't doubt they'll deliver an instant classic.

WIGGINS: Before the match, Ruby Riott was never on my radar as a future champion. Now, I'm having second thoughts. I personally enjoyed this match very much, despite a few botched moments. Riott was very aggressive and matched Charlotte move-for-move, which is no easy feat. I think over time, when we hopefully get to explore her alternative character and backstory a little more in-depth, she'll be a great choice for a scrappy babyface champion.

Now, we all know which match involving women is most likely to main event WrestleMania, but this is the "real" main event. Charlotte vs. Asuka resembles AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura in a number of ways, but this has the added intrigue that we've never seen this match before. Both women are fearless, strong, and Charlotte in particular has a fervent passion to show that she can outperform any man or woman on any given night. If both enter WrestleMania with that fire and intensity, this will be a match that is brought up time and again in the context of the Women's Evolution.

PARKHURST: Like I said on the last Triple Threat, yes she is a future champ. She just needed that match that validated her in the eyes of the fans. She has the unique look, the mic skills, and now she has validated her in-ring work so that she can be a believable champ. Yes, there were a couple botch spot but that happens. I think she has a long future ahead of her in the WWE and a multiple championship career.

Asuka vs. Charlotte is the women's "unstoppable force vs. immovable object". I hate how overused that line is, but this is as close at it gets to being legitimate in women's wrestling today. Charlotte is the real deal and we have known that since NXT. Whatever is in the Flair blood, it is pro-wrestling magic. Her pay-per-view streak is incredible, and those have mostly been good to great matches, too. Asuka has an unbeaten streak of her own, the most dominate title run in NXT history alongside the likes of The Ascension. Both of these women are superstars in every sense, and this is the best match they could have given us. I am pumped. Give these women time, and let the magic happen. Less than 25-30 minutes of these two on the grandest stage of them all is not right, and it has to be a clean finish one way or another.

Question 3: The Six Pack Challenge was a barn burner of a match. What WrestleMania storylines did you see come from this showdown? And bonus again: Are you ready for AJ vs Nakamura.

MALDONADO: Ziggler and Corbin will be relegated to Kickoff/Battle Royal afterthoughts at WrestleMania.

Now that we’ve got the obvious out of the way, let's turn toward the Kevin Owens/Sami Zayn/Shane McMahon drama. McMahon is apparently taking a leave of absence following the latest SDL due to his own admitted mishandling of this entire feud. McMahon couldn't start leave fast enough however, as the often hot, often cold duo laid a brutal beat down on the commissioner before going off air. Rumors of a Triple Threat match between the three men now seems less likely, and we're yet to see how the recently absent Daniel Bryan will play into this story.

Now for John Cena. Oh John, how you continue to frustrate and deliver in equal measure week after week (that you’re on WWE television). After teasing an Undertaker match weeks ago then pulling back, the Doctor of Thugonomics has officially called out The Deadman for a showdown in New Orleans. And he's apparently showing off some workouts on Instagram. Did you ever imagine the Undertaker getting called out by anyone for something on Instagram? Yea, welcome to 2018 people. More to come on this feud next week.

And finally, we have the match everyone has been salivating for since these men started wrestling under the WWE banner. AJ Styles will take on Shinsuke Nakamura for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania. I don't need to explain how hype this match is. My only hope, and this is a stretch, is that the WWE swerve our main event expectation and put this imminent classic on to close out of the show.

WIGGINS: It was a fun, chaotic brawl between five top guys and Dolph Ziggler. The right guy in AJ Styles won in the end, and there are several directions SmackDown Live can go in when building feuds for WrestleMania. As AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura is now a lock, the most intriguing stories surround Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn and Shane McMahon on one side, and John Cena on the other.

I see the first of these scenarios either ending up in Owens vs Zayn with McMahon as the guest referee, or Owens and Zayn teaming against McMahon and a partner, who could easily be Ziggler. As for Cena, The Undertaker seems to be his path to getting onto the WrestleMania card. While I'm far from excited about the match from a quality standpoint, and kind of wish The Deadman would finally just rest in peace, it is the one and only chance we'll get to see two wrestling idols compete at WrestleMania. Plus, Cena's promo on Raw has taken this feud into uncharted territory for The Undertaker, so I'm ready to watch this play out.

Styles vs. Nakamura should be a great match, but I don't subscribe to the rhetoric of calling it "a dream match". Dream matches are those that you never expected to happen - when both were signed with WWE who didn't expect this to happen? Plus, with Nakamura's rather lackluster first year on the main roster, casual fans may not consider this the dream scenario for Styles' first WWE Championship match at WrestleMania. Still, we've seen both have an absolute classic before, and if both are in top form, they can capture that same magic in WWE.

PARKHURST: I am going to have to disagree with Mr. Wiggins above me on a couple points. The six man match was a match between four top guys, Corbin, and Ziggler. Baron Corbin has just been a disappointment to me for some time now, but has all the time in the world to prove me wrong. Which I am sure is on the top of his priority list. But the match was fun, I wasn't a huge fan of Shane getting involved but I am sure they'll make it work over the build to 'Mania, and the right guy won in AJ Styles. Somehow this should boil down to Sami vs. KO with Shane as a special referee. Corbin should just be a battle royal guy and maybe win again, and Ziggler should be there in some capacity trying to do Sweet Chin Music but not as cool.

As of writing, Cena has issued a challenge to Taker on Raw for WrestleMania. I, for one, would rather see something else. Yes, Cena vs. Taker would have been huge at, say, WrestleMania 27 or 28. Hell, even 29. Undertaker to me is tied for the greatest ever with HBK in my book (see the greatest match ever at WM25 between the two). But I will be the first to tell you it is time he stops for good. His showing at Raw 25 was sad, his last match versus Roman just wasn't him anymore. Give me Cena vs. Samoa Joe or Bobby Lashley before I see this. Just like AJ vs. Shawn, it is just too late for this dream match.

Speaking of dream matches, AJ vs. Shinsuke at WrestleMania is definitely one. This is my next disagreement with Wiggins up there. Yes, we expected them to face off at some point when they both signed, but the main event of WrestleMania? No way I thought this would happen. Asuka vs. Charlotte and AJ vs. Shinsuke are THE main events. I am already pumped for this 'Mania!

Those are our thoughts on the issue, but where do you stand?
Let us know your answers to these questions in the comments below!

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THIS POST WRITTEN BY: JONATHAN MALDONADO

Jonathan Maldonado is a lifelong wrestling fan from the Bronx, NY. He grew up during the Monday Night Wars and the Attitude Era and is a sucker for the flippy stuff and a good wrestling tee. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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