It’s the final pay per view before Wrestlemania, and it’s brought to us tonight by the Raw brand. From the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, WI, WWE presents the FastLane event. Tonight, Goldberg challenges Kevin Owens for his Universal Championship. Does the iconic Goldberg have one more title run left in him? Will Chris Jericho screw his former best friend Kevin Owens out of his title to set up a Wrestlemania match? Will Brock Lesnar try and screw Goldberg over, or wait for Wrestlemania and take the title from him there? Bayley walks in tonight as Raw Women’s Champion, but Charlotte is undefeated on pay per view. Will Bayley take that away too? Will Sasha Banks cost Bayley, setting up some sort of multi-woman match down the road? And will Roman Reigns be able to take down the monstrous Braun Strowman, or will they fight to a no finish?
The full card is as follows:
- Noam Dar and Brian Kendrick vs. Akira Tozawa and Rich Swann (pre-show match)
- Nia Jax vs. Sasha Banks
- Samoa Joe vs. Sami Zayn
- Neville (c) vs. Jack Gallagher, WWE Cruiserweight Championship
- Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman
- Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson (c) vs. Enzo Amore and Big Cass; Raw Tag Team Championship
- Bayley (c) vs. Charlotte; Raw Women’s Championship
- Kevin Owens (c) vs. Goldberg; WWE Universal Championship
They focused on the Wrestlemania sign in the opening shot. The panel was Renee Young, Booker T, and Peter Rosenberg. Charly Caruso was in the social media lounge and noted she would be asking Samoa Joe fan submitted questions later in the pre-show.
Renee hyped up WWE Network and told viewers that if they got the free 30-day trial subscription that Wrestlemania would be included. She fed it to a video package on the Roman Reigns/Braun Strowman feud. Rosenberg called this matchup the biggest of Strowman’s career and that Reigns is no pushover.
Backstage, Brian Kendrick spoke with Noam Dar and Alicia Fox, and told Dar he has a golden opportunity by tagging with him. He said he hoped Dar wouldn’t make the same mistake Akira Tozawa made when Kendrick offered to mentor him. Kendrick said he had an extra special lesson for Tozawa. Dar said they’d make a fantastic team, and he will do whatever it takes to win for Fox. Kendrick said he hoped no one has a meltdown. Fox didn’t like that. Dar said they would win then celebrate together. “I don’t do crazy,” Kendrick said.
Renee hyped up the tag team championship match, then welcomed Cesaro and Sheamus to the panel. Sheamus said they were robbed of the tag titles, then Enzo and Cass cost them again in the rematch. Cesaro played to the fans, who were receptive, then Sheamus did the same and got booed. Young asked them who they would like to see leave with the titles and Sheamus said it didn’t matter. The panel all picked Gallows and Anderson to retain.
Mick Foley and Steph McMahon talked on a speaker phone, and she said her plane was late. She was frustrated and asked if he knew how important the show was. Foley said he needed to put her on hold be cause Jinder Mahal entered. Jinder said that he and Rusev are no longer a team.
Rusev and Lana entered, and Jinder said he wanted to prove himself in singles competition. Rusev said that’s what he is looking for. Foley said he had an idea and wanted to book them in a best of seven series. They both said no, so Foley booked them in a match against each other. Everyone left the room, and Stephanie was left on hold.
They recapped the Sami Zayn and Samoa Joe story with a video package. Booker talked about Joe telling Zayn to put some respect on his name. “You know all about that,” Booker said to Rosenberg. “I do,” he answered. From what? Anyhow, Booker hyped the Network again, then they showed a shot of Joe getting ready to answer questions in the social media lounge.
In the social media lounge, Caruso asked Joe questions. One asked why he aligned with Triple H and attacked Seth Rollins. Joe recapped the previous explanation he gave. One asked how he planned to beat Zayn. Joe said he did it before and will do it over and over again. Joe said Zayn will learn how destructive he can be when motivated. Someone asked what his plan for Wrestlemania was, and Joe said whatever he does his presence will be felt full force. He said what he does remains to be seen but will be revealed soon enough.
Bill Says: Joe acted annoyed with being there and Caruso couldn’t even wrap up because Joe was demanding someone take the mic off and what not. That’s consistent with his badass character, and I thought it was done well. I think they should have advertised this a bit more ahead of time to bring in viewers for the kickoff show. Let’s be honest – Joe would draw more than the advertised tag match.
They recapped the Rollins/Triple H segment from Raw this past Monday. Renee hyped that we would get an exclusive look at Seth Rollins’ rehab on Raw. They ran a video package for Bayley vs. Charlotte and discussed the match.
Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Austin Aries checked in to call the tag match. Aries set up his own video package.
Match #1 – Rich Swann and Akira Tozawa vs. Brian Kendrick and Noam Dar (w/Alicia Fox);
Winner: Swann and Tozawa
The Reax: Swann and Dar shook hands to start. Kendrick teased facing Tozawa to start but tagged out to Dar right away. The heels isolated Swann for a stretch until he got the tag to Tozawa. Tozawa teased his finish after working strikes, but Kendrick blocked it and tagged to Dar. Late, Swann threw superkicks at the heels, then Tozawa hit the snap German and Swann followed with a Phoenix splash.
This was a good tag match that gave fans the chance to see Tozawa get to Kendrick without giving away too much of it. Dar plays his role well too.
The hosts set up a Goldberg/Owens video package. They included footage of the story between Owens and Jericho from the Festival of Friendship, and Goldberg running through Lesnar twice. The show ended on that package.
WWE “FastLane” pay per view, Live from the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, WI:
They opened with a video package focused on the major matches. Cole, Graves, and Byron Saxton checked in for the call and Cole sold it as the final pay per view before Wrestlemania. Sami Zayn’s music hit for the first match.
Match #1 – Sami Zayn vs. Samoa Joe;
Winner: Samoa Joe
The Reax: Zayn got a good reaction on his entrance. They recapped how this story got set up with Joe insulting him in an interview. Joe got some boos and some cheers as he came out. Saxton put over Joe’s accomplishments in NXT.
Joe teased early strikes, then the two stared each other down. Joe landed a kick that hobbled Zayn, and the official stopped it momentarily. Zayn worked a headlock and ran the ropes into a big kick from Joe, who followed with a knee bar attempt. Back to their feet, Joe worked strikes before blocking a hip toss. Zayn came back with a head scissor takedown.
A bit later, Joe turned Zayn into a pretzel with a bow and arrow as dueling chants for each man got started. Zayn took a stiff chop them some jabs and strikes from Joe. Zayn fired back with strikes of his own until Joe rolled under and wiped him out with the equivalent of a chop block.
Joe stretched Zayn out, and Zayn came back with a clothesline then hit the Blue Thunder Bomb for two. Zayn went top rope, and Joe followed. Zayn leaped off over Joe, who came back with an atomic drop, a kick, and a back senton for two. Joe followed with a whip to the corner and a powerslam for two.
Late in the match, Zayn went top rope and Joe met him there with an enzugiri. Joe set up a superplex, but Zayn came over with an attempt at a sunset flip. Zayn tried for the Helluva Kick, but Joe hit him with the STJoe (uranage) then locked him in the Coquina clutch for the win.
This was what I expected it would be for the most part. I thought Zayn got more offense than I expected he would, but Joe pretty much controlled the match the whole way with Zayn getting in some hope spots that the fans reacted to.
Charly interviewed Bayley about defending her title against Charlotte. Bayley noted that Charlotte is undefeated on pay per view and would likely bring Dana Brooke to ringside with her. Bayley said if Charlotte is the champion she says she is, she will leave Dana in the back and find out who the better woman is, one on one.
Nia Jax interrupted. “Poor Bayley, so much to think about tonight.” She said that she will rip Bayley’s best friend to shreds tonight, and if by some miracle Charlotte doesn’t take the title back, she will take it.
Match #2 – Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson (c) vs. Enzo Amore and Big Cass; WWE Raw Tag Team Championship
Winner: Gallows and Anderson to retain the Raw Tag Team Championship
The Reax: Enzo and Cass did their normal pre-match routine to a good reaction, then cut a promo on Gallows and Anderson in the ring, mixing in lots of Milwaukee references. Gallows and Anderson have shirts that mimick some Bullet Club traits. Cole noted that they are past IWGP Tag Team champions.
Enzo sold for a majority of the early going with some hope spots. Enzo got the hot tag and Cass hit two fallaway slams on each man and splashed Anderson. Cass hit a side slam and Empire Elbow to Anderson, then booted Gallows off the apron. Anderson rolled up Cass and got a handful of tights for two.
Cass tagged to Enzo, and they hit the Rocket Launcher. Enzo covered but Gallows reached in to pull him off. Cass went at Gallows and threw him into the barrier. Enzo dove on Gallows, then as he got back in the ring he took a kick from Anderson. Anderson covered and Enzo put his foot on the ropes, but Gallows shoved it off. Anderson and Gallows retained.
There was good work here down the stretch and they got the fans to believe that the challengers would win, with Gallows and Anderson cheating to get the win. Enzo and Cass get an out with Gallows knocking Enzo’s feet off the ropes too. I can see them going to a three-way with Sheamus and Cesaro re-joining the fray.
Mick talked to Steph on the phone again, and she’s still having plane trouble and didn’t think she would make the show. She wanted to be sure the Raw Women’s Championship and Universal Championship went off without hitches. Steph wanted to talk about Samoa Joe, and asked if she was on speaker phone. Foley picked the handset up and said she wasn’t. Foley said he knows she doesn’t want Joe involved in the main event, so that Owens can prove he can do it on his own. Steph apparently hung up.
They set up the Sasha Banks/Nia Jax match with a video package. Jax made her entrance to not a lot of reaction while Cole sent us around the globe by introducing various international announce pairings.
Match #3 – Nia Jax vs. Sasha Banks;
Winner: Sasha Banks
The Reax: Jax dominated the early going. She jawed at fans after slamming Banks, then tried a whip but Banks held on. Jax used a torture rack then did squats. Banks caught her in a guillotine then transitioned to a sleeper. Jax broke it by backing to the corner. Banks jumped from the ropes and reapplied the hold. Sasha hit a DDT then locked in the Bank Statement.
Jax picked her up on her back again, but Banks escaped and ran the ropes. Jax it a one handed slam and a leg drop. Late, Nia picked Sahsha up for the Samoan Drop, but Banks wiggled out and rolled Jax up. She bridged over and pinned Jax clean for the win. The commentary team recapped the action.
This was clunky and didn’t get out of second gear, but it was fine. The commentary team tried to sell it as a huge win for Sasha. I am wondering now if they plan to move Jax back out of the title picture at Wrestlemania?
A video package hyped WWE Network, and Cole noted there would be a special Raw Talk edition following the pay per view. They recapped Mick Foley and Jinder Mahal backstage setting up their matches.
Jinder Mahal made his entrance, then Rusev. They argued over who would have the first match, then started brawling. Jinder threw a knee off of Rusev’s face and knocked him over the barrier. Cesaro made his entrance, along with Sheamus. Sheamus was in street clothes, then exited to the back.
Match #4 – Jinder Mahal vs. Cesaro;
The Reax: The two went back and forth evenly early, then Mahal took over the offense. He focused on Cesaro’s lower back, and Cole said he was dominating the action. Cesaro sold the lower back issues throughou the early going.
Cesaro started a comeback with a suplex where he clutched his lower back, then fired up with uppercuts. He ran the Uppercut Train then called up the Swiss-1-9. Cesaro looked for the Swing, but Jinder grabbed the ropes. Jinder got distracted by Rusev, who got back to his feet at ringside. Cesaro hit him with the pop-up uppercut to score the win.
Rusev slid into the ring then roughed up Mahal after throwing him into the post. Rusev stomped him down then delivered shoulder blocks in the corner. He hit a big kick and Mahal slid out, then Big Show’s music hit. Rusev wasn’t happy.
This was a Raw match on the pay per view. It seems like WWE is trying to buy time for the main event that won’t be lasting all that long between Owens and Goldberg. I figured Mahal would get squashed, but clearly that wasn’t the case. They clearly have split Rusev and Mahal now.
Match #5 – Rusev (w/Lana) vs. Big Show;
Winner: Big Show
The Reax: Big Show took it to Rusev early with boots and strikes. Rusev rolled out to take a powder but Show retrieved him and kept throwing strikes and knee shots. Show continued to control Rusev, hitting a clothesline drop for a two count. Show controlled the early going until Rusev clipped his knee.
Rusev focused on the knee with a hold. Show kicked out, then hit a side slam. Show tried for a chokeslam, but Rusev escaped and clipped the knee again. Rusev hit several kicks and covered for two.
Rusev tried the Accolade, but Show shoved him out of the ring. Rusev came back in, but ate three straight chokeslams. Show dragged him to the corner, then threw the WMD Punch to score the win.
I really thought we might see Rusev get some momentum, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Show pretty much owned him from start to finish. If this were the territory days, Rusev would have been on his way out.
Charly Caruso interviewed Kevin Owens. She started about Goldberg being his biggest match to date, but he cut her off. He asked who Goldberg had beaten over the past few months, or even past ten years. He said Goldberg beat one man one time. That doesn’t impress him. Owens talked about being in the ring with the best in the business and beaten all of them. He said he would outsmart and outwrestle Goldberg, and do what he wants. Owens said he doesn’t care if it’s Lesnar, Zayn, or The Rock. “I am the best, and not even the mighty Goldberg can change that.”
Match #6 – Neville (c) vs. Jack Gallagher; WWE Cruiserweight Championship
Winner: Neville to retain the WWE Cruiserweight Championship
The Reax: Gallagher was willing to shake hands, but Neville blew him off. Gallagher did his handstand in the corners early, and got a good reaction. Neville took over the offense for the next few moments
Gallagher fought back with strikes, hit a couple drop kicks, then Neville rolled to ringside. Gallagher followed with a dive through the ropes. The commentary team put it over that Gallagher doesn’t often do that. Back in the ring, Gallagher set up Neville for a super belly-to-back suplex for two.
Later, Neville hit a snap German suplex and followed with a Phoenix splash. Good near fall. The official checked on Gallagher, then Neville just pie-faced him. Neville threw some reverse kicks and smirked at the fans. Gallagher delivered two of his big headbutts for a good near fall.
Gallagher set for his running kick but Neville avoided it and hit a superkick. Gallagher rolled to the apron. Neville set up for a superplex but Gallagher fought out and knocked Neville down. He set him up on the buckle then hit a wicked headbutt that resonated. Neville knocked Gallagher down then hit the Red Arrow to finish him off.
This was a good match that the fans started to buy into. They worked really hard, the near falls were very well received, and the storytelling was great. Gallagher sat on the ground and sold the loss very well since he was coming up short in a title match.
Charly Caruso interviewed Paul Heyman. She asked if his client was not far behind. Heyman said his client has the right to be there but whether his client decides to exercise that right is privileged information. He says no matter who wins tonight, his client is the winner. He says that if Goldberg wins, he will go on to defend, and lose the title to his client. He says if Owens wins, then he does so by exposing a weakness that his client hasn’t seen. He says Goldberg will go to Wrestlemania with an exposed weakness that Lesnar will take advantage of, and Goldberg will be victimized and defeated. Heyman closed by saying that no matter who wins, either way the winner is the Beast, Brock Lesnar.
New Day came out to the ring on a bicycle cart reminiscent of the ice cream guys of the past. They were excited, as was Byron Saxton. Woods said fans made sure their voices were heard. Big E sang Randy Orton’s theme momentarily. Kingston talked about the ice cream dream and E sang again. Woods and Kingston asked if he was sipping and said that’s why he can’t drive the bike. Kingston said the fans could help them make their dreams come true again and talked about riding the bike to Orlando.
Short enough, but that’s a Raw segment. The fans reacted to it positively at least. New Day feels like they’re treading water.
They ran a video package to hype up Reigns vs. Strowman, which is next.
Match #7 – Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman;
Winner: Roman Reigns
The Reax: Worth noting Roman is wearing tennis shoes tonight, not his normal ring boots. Strowman dominated early, throwing some clubbing shots and sending Reigns to ringside. Reigns dropped him over the rope to get a momentary break, then the fight moved to ringside. Reigns avoided crashing into the steps and came back with a flying clothesline. Strowman charged moments later, but Reigns sent him into the steps.
A bit later, Strowman hit a spinebuster. Reigns tried to load a Samoan drop, but couldn’t. Strowman came back with one of his own and smiled. Strowman got the first run of sustained offense in the match. Strowman threw Reigns out and followed. He started to tear the announce position apart and grabbed Reigns, but Reigns shoved him off into the ring post.
Reigns tried the Drive By, but Strowman caught it and blocked it. The fight moved back in. Strowman tried for a chokeslam, but Reigns countered out and hit a Samoan Drop. Reigns tried for the Superman Punch but Strowman moved and blasted him with a shot to the chest.
Strowman charged for a big boot but Reigns moved, and Strowman tumbled to ringside. The commentary team noted Strowman might have hurt his knee and he did favor it. Outside the ring, Reigns hit the Drive By and tried for a spear but Strowman caught him and powerslammed him into the table in a neat spot.
Strowman dragged him back in where Reigns hit a spear for a near fall. Reigns hit two Superman punches. He ran the ropes and ducked swings from Strowman, who knocked him down. Strowman went top rope and the commentary team sold shock that he was doing it. He tried a splash but Roman rolled away, then he hit a spear to get the win.
They made an effort to protect Strowman with the missed splash, so essentially the story is that if he didn’t try the high risk move he would have won. This is a high profile loss for Strowman, and I’m not sure this was the best place to do it. It has nothing to do with Reigns either. I just think it’s too soon, and it’s a B pay per view that carries little to no weight in the big picture. I don’t think there’s irreparable damage done to him here, but it’s definitely not the best place to do something like this. The match was good though, and that splash was quite the visual.
Mick Foley caught up with Samoa Joe backstage. He told Joe that Steph wants him to stay out of the title match so that Owens can prove he is the better man. He continued that Owens wouldn’t want Joe tainting his victory either, and told Joe that this better be the last time he sees Joe tonight, or there would be hell to pay.
Bill Says: So, um, yeah hey Mick, about Chris Jericho?
They ran a video package to set up the Raw Women’s Championship. Charlotte was out first, and Dana Brooke accompanied her to the stage. Charlotte turned to her and told her to go backstage, and Brooke looked surprised. Cole sold the 16-0 pay per view streak as the longest of anyone, male or female. Bayley got her normal entrance to a decent reaction and gave hugs to fans along the way.
Match #8 – Bayley (c) vs. Charlotte; Raw Women’s Championship;
Winner: Bayley to retain the Raw Women’s Championship
The Reax: Graves tried to compare Charlotte to New England Patriots QB Tom Brady by saying he never loses in the Super Bowl (he has lost there at least twice). Charlotte controlled the early going, hitting a cross body block for two. Bayley tried for her finish but Charlott blocked it and the fight moved to ringside.
Charlotte knocked her down with a forearm out on the floor, then back inside Charlotte spun Bayley in between the ropes. She used a knee shot to drive Bayley head first to the mat. Neat spot. Charlotte controlled the next few minutes of offense.
Charlotte hit a moonsault then followed with a senton. Bayley came back with a belly to back suplex for two. She shot Charlotte to the corner and Charlotte did the Flair Flip over the rope. With Charlotte in the tree of woe, Bayley did a springboard off the bottom into a shot that the announce team said “she didn’t get all of.”
Bayley hit a hurancanrana off the ropes, then followed with the Macho Elbow off the ropes for two. Charlotte threw Bayley out to the floor, then back in the ring she hit Natural Selection. Charlotte was shocked that she only got two. She tried for the Figure 8, but Bayley booted her through the ropes to the floor. Bayley chased, but Charlotte caught her and slammed her from the apron to the floor.
Charlotte went top rope, but Sasha Banks ran to the ring. Charlotte paid attention to her and chased. Bayley caught her and hit the Bayley to Belly on the floor. Back inside the ring, Charlotte tried a small package and a handful of tights, but Sasha called her out on it. Back to their feet, Bayley hit the Bayley to Belly and scored the win. Sasha celebrated with her as Charlotte cried at ringside.
This is a weird show. Nia lost, Strowman lost, and now Charlotte’s 16-0 streak is done. And the weird storytelling in the women’s division continues with Sasha helping Bayley even though Bayley said earlier that Charlotte should leave her buddy (Dana Brooke) backstage to find out one on one who was better. If I had to guess, they’re looking for the story of Sasha setting Bayley up because Sasha thinks she’s the easier one to defeat. Nothing about the current situation is making anyone look good here. Very weird.
They ran an ad for Wrestlemania then the commentary team hyped Raw Talk which will happen after the show is over. Sasha Banks, Bayley, Roman Reigns, and Paul Heyman are advertised guests. They rewound to Seth Rollins’ interview with Corey Graves, along with Triple H’s comments.
Match #9 – Kevin Owens (c) vs. Goldberg; WWE Universal Championship
Winner: Goldberg to win the WWE Universal Championship
The Reax: They showed Goldberg make the long walk from backstage to the ring. He got a good reaction from the fans. Owens did as well, oddly enough. Cole put over his title reign at 188 days and the stakes of the winner going to Wrestlemania as champion. Jo Jo gave the introductions.
Owens bailed to ringside before the bell, which Cole put over as mind games against Goldberg. He teased getting in but bailed again. This went on for several minutes, then Owens jumped in and yelled “Do you wanna go?” Chris Jericho’s music hit and he made his way to the stage. The distraction let Goldberg hit a spear, then he followed with a Jackhammer for the win.
Jericho smirked on the stage and walked away. Goldberg posed with the belt as Cole put over that the match between Goldberg and Lesnar will now be for the Universal Championship. Goldberg dropped to ringside to celebrate with his wife and son then posed with the belt one more time as the show ended.
Well, I guess that it would be more disappointing if Goldberg won off a distraction if Owens had been positioned better for most of his title run, but as we know there was a ton of comedy focus for him along with Jericho. Add in that the story will be Owens vs. Jericho at Wrestlemania, and this is a way to kick that story off so, I’m kind of okay with it. It is what it is. They’re trying to add some value to the Universal Championship with big legendary names holding it, or at least that’s what it seems they’re going for anyhow.
This was a really weird show. Some strange creative decisions got made on this night that I don’t immediately see a path for. It’s not that it was poorly worked, as most of the wrestling seemed pretty solid from that standpoint. The end goal with how they wanted to tell a lot of the stories though was very surreal. Nia, Braun, and Charlotte all losing didn’t seem to make sense, and the way Bayley retained the title was really strange too.
Drew and I will talk about this show a lot more later this week in audio form for sure. I’ll be back tomorrow night with WWE Raw coverage with all the fallout of this show as we make our final run to Wrestlemania in Orlando on April 2. Thanks for hanging out tonight.