We’ve got highlights of last night’s edition of Monday Night Raw. It features a main event between former Shield brethren Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns, more shenanigans with the Intercontinental Title, Paul Heyman speaking on Brock Lesnar and much more.
WWE Fastlane emanated from Memphis Tennessee last night and was shown “free” on the WWE Network and Sky 1 in the UK / Ireland. Did WWE do enough to convince the casual viewer to subscribe to their online streaming service? I’ll go over the main talking points from the show.
If you want to watch a repeat of the show: Click here to watch on the WWE Network. Sky Sports 4 (Sky channel 404) at 10pm GMT tonight (Monday) or 11pm GMT Tuesday night.
Roman Reigns on his way to Wrestlemania (again)
The match itself was well played out. The story was an obvious one – the technician versus the powerhouse with a brawl in between. In the end, Reigns had an answer for everything Daniel Bryan had to throw at him. He kicked out of the the running knee. He broke the Yes-Lock. He basically over-powered any offence DB had. I honestly do fear for Roman when he enters the arena to face Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania. Even the handshake between Bryan and Reigns was boo’ed. That’s twice they’ve tried now to put him over, with The Rock and Bryan both failing. Fair play to Reigns though, he sure is trying his hardest. It was definitely his best WWE singles match to date.
Don’t ya know – Cena never gives up. Yet they still called this one a submission victory. We almost definitely will see the rematch at Wrestlemania given Rusev’s low-blow being the deciding factor. The really was a nice treat to see the US title contested in a match of this magnitude.
Sting & HHH booked
The “dream” match is now signed, sealed and soon to be delivered. Sting didn’t open his mouth for this one oddly enough. I liked the baseball bat vs sledgehammer routine. I really don’t get the angle they’re playing with this one. Obviously Sting isn’t there to tear down the WWE, if he was then we shouldn’t be cheering for him. The beef between these two needs more meat.
Taker -V- Wyatt
So this is pretty much confirmed for Wrestlemania. Bray is more than capable of carrying this feud on the mic until Wrestlemania. Can Taker do the business on the biggest stage? He’ll be 50 when the Show of Shows comes around but I trust the Deadman if he believes he can still go. He comes across as the type of guy that will call it a day when he knows the time is right.
The best & worst of the rest
Randy Orton returned as predicted to setup his Wrestlemana match with Seth Rollins. The Authority picked up the win over the “rebellious” team of Ziggler, Rowan and Ryback. The bigger story here is Ziggler taking the fall, which might confirm some of the rumours that he had backstage heat recently.
Tyson Kidd and Cesaro picked up the Tag Team titles in an exiting match against the Usos. The only criticism I have is the finish seemed a bit clunky and disorganised. I’m absolutely shocked that WWE pulled the trigger on these two. Here’s hoping for a lengthy reign with the self-proclaimed “Masters of the WWE Universe” showcasing their obvious talent to a wider audience.
Nikki Bella retained in a lacklustre affair. Absolutely terrible finish. Why can’t these divas pull off a basic roll-up? Nikki held the tights so I suspect this one might not be over.
Goldust fluked a win over his Star equivalent and took a beating afterwards. I suspect this will lead to a final hurrah for Goldy at Wrestlemania with Stardust being the one to finish him off once and for all.
How terrible was Ambrose -V- Barrett. Diabolical booking. Is Ambrose such a “lunatic” now that he’ll be DQ’d for stomping on someone in the corner? Somewhere Stone Cold is spitting up his Steveweiser. Nice to see him steal the IC title though. ‘Mania rematch – lazy booking.
The road to Wrestlemania rolls on tonight as WWE presents its newest Pay-Per-View event Fastlane from Memphis, Tennessee.
Except in this case it’s not exactly a PPV in the typical sense – WWE are giving it away for free to all new subscribers of the WWE Network. That decision didn’t please WWE’s UK partners Sky, who had originally planned to sell the PPV for £14.95. Sky will be showing the event for “free” on Sky 1 HD, the first time ever a WWE PPV airs live on the channel. Yes folks, you don’t even need Sky Sports.
So let’s break down the card for tonight’s proceedings:
Roman Reigns -V- Daniel Bryan – Winner faces Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania 31
WWE brass pulled out the old reliable Daniel Bryan card for the second year in a row following a fan backlash to the main event plans at Wrestlemania. I’m unsure how this one will go. Reigns has been playing a slight heel role in this one given Bryan’s popularity, but I fear WWE are using Daniel Bryan to put on a great match with Reigns in attempt to put Roman over in the weeks leading to Wrestlemania. If that’s the case, the crowd for Lesnar – Reigns at ‘Mania should be an interesting one. Are they saying “Boo” or “Boo-urns”?
Rusev -V- John Cena – United States Championship You read it correctly – Cena is battling it out for WWE’s least coveted prize. The master of the “5-Knuckle Shuffle” is unlikely to walk away with the gold here. Expect a DQ finish to setup a rematch at Wrestlemania, likely one where Cena’s career is on the line and he conquers the undefeated Bulgarian.
Sting and Triple H meet face to face
Triple H called out the Stinger – and he accepted. Expect some minor physical altercation. We all know what’s coming here, they’ll end up booking their “14 Years in the Making” match at Wrestlemania. I don’t know about you, but when we all heard of Sting’s eventual signing with WWE, the last person I wanted to see him face off against was Triple H. Nevertheless, it is what it is. Will Undertaker -V- Sting be a viable option in 13 months time?
Nikki Bella -V- Paige – Divas Championship
The background to this one has been the Bella twins teasing Paige about her appearance – even going as far as spray tanning her in the middle of the ring. Compare this rubbish to the excellent booking we see for the ladies in NXT – depressing stuff. Nikki has improved enormously in the ring over the last two years and Paige is always good-to-go. I’m predicting Nikki retains with the help of Brie.
Bad News Barrett -V- Dean Ambrose – Intercontinental Championship
Not much meat to this one. Ambrose wants his face on WWE’s wall of champions and Barrett felt he was undeserving of a title shot due to being a lunatic. So Ambrose tied BNB’s hands together with cable-ties and forced him to sign the contract for the match. I just realised how ridiculous this all sounds after typing it. Sigh. Ambrose’s decline in the last 6 months has been painful to watch. Let’s hope tonight begins his road back to the top.
The Usos -V- Cesaro & Tyson Kidd – Tag Team Championship Great to see Tyson on the main card of a PPV. He deserves it after the hard work he’s put into his own character development in NXT. I’m not a fan of what they’re doing with Natalya in all this. They should push Kidd, Cesaro and Nattie as a dominant stable and let their in-ring work do the talking. Hopeful for a title change but the WWE sure do love them some Usos.
Goldust -V- Stardust
The Dust brothers finally separated after weeks of teasing. I’m surprised they didn’t save this for Wrestlemania given the brothers have been rumoured to been lobbying for a match at the Show of Shows for years.
Dolph Ziggler, Erick Rowan and Ryback vs. The Authority (Seth Rollins, Kane and Big Show) (with Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury)
We’ve more or less seen iterations of this a dozen times over the last few weeks and months. I’m expecting to see the return of Randy Orton here to even up the odds and setup a match at Wrestlemania with Seth Rollins with the Money in the Bank briefcase on the line.
Pre-Show: MizTV featuring Paul Heyman
These two are possibly the two best talkers in the company so it should be an entertaining 10 minutes.
We could potentially see the return of Randy Orton. Could Undertaker pay a visit to “find” Bray Wyatt?
How to Watch
Main show start time: 1am (Ireland & UK), 8pm (eastern US time).
In over 170 countries: Live on the WWE Network. Repeated immediately afterwards and available on demand. WWE Network is available on smartphones, tablets, laptops, Playstation, X-Box, Apple TV, Roku and certain Smart TVs. UK & Ireland: Live on Sky 1 HD (Channel 106)
Pre-show – Live on WWE Network and YouTube 30mins before the show stars. Or you can watch below.