Rubbernecking on the Road to ‘WrestleMania:’ The Day After ‘Fastlane’

WWE Fastlane is in the books for 2019, and it’s all downhill to WrestleMania from here. Two of our resident wrestling nerds, Jeffery X Martin and Richard Kirwin, collaborated the day after to discuss everything that went down in Cleveland last night. Spoilers, armchair booking, and excessive usage of the word, “uncle,” abound in the following conversation. You have been warned!

JXM: Did you catch the one pre-show match?

RK: I did. Well, I watched it fast forward, but it was alright for what it was. Nakamura Day is a weird tag team, but sure, I guess.

JXM: It IS weird, isn’t it?

RK: Very thrown together. Which is also how I would describe most tag team booking on the main roster anyway.

JXM: The whole show felt thrown together to me. Almost like they were writing it on the fly.

RK: So, it fits! I actually really liked it overall, though. Still, on the preshow, somebody needs to smarten Sam Roberts up about that beard. I was glad to see Captain Charisma get a payday.

JXM: I feel like people slept on that US Championship match but it was probably my favorite match of the night.

RK: All the hurricanranas!

JXM: It was amazing. Everybody got to shine in that match.

RK: Excellent match, lots of fun spots. Carmella is an odd looking human, though

JXM: We got that Shane McMahon turn last night. Is it about time or were you surprised?

RK: Not surprised, it was well executed. But I have to ask: is a Miz vs Shane Mania match really worth a spot on the card?

JXM: Um… no. But we’ll see how they build it over the next month.

RK: Can they build it to a point where Shane isn’t in the match?

JXM: Maybe he’ll get gassed walking down that long Mania ramp.

RK: I get that he’s the cool uncle of WWE at this point, but I don’t need to see his spots anymore. I just don’t.

JXM: Why so many triple threat matches last night? I feel like there were few singles matches last night and lots of multiple performer matches. It was like going on a first date and ending up at an orgy.

RK: Yeah… it’s a trend I’m not a fan of. Although, it worked for me last night. The Raw tag was fun. US title was fun, and SmackDown world title was also a good show.

JXM: It really got under my skin. We know Mania is coming up, but do we have to see everyone on the show? Was there any point to the Orton/Styles spot? It was less a wrestling show and more like The Paul Lynde Halloween Special.

RK: Its funny, I had been talking with a buddy and noted the guys not on the card as a positive… and then they all showed up. Going to be tough to get interest in Orton vs Styles. I mean, why are they fighting?

JXM: Why is Orton anything?

RK: I actually really like Orton. I just think the challenge is booking him as a guy that has won everything and is still on the roster.

JXM: He seems like the most condescending investment counselor on the block.

RK: I like his as a guy that just likes to show up and take someone out from time to time.

JXM: All right. Let’s jump a little. We get that, again, triple threat at Mania between Charlotte, Ronda, and The Man. They’ve been leading up to this match for weeks. Why?

RK: Because Vince thinks Charlotte is more $$ than Becky would be my guess. That match had the worst ending, if Becks is a badass… let her win! And, for goodness sake, enough with the crutch. Charlotte Flair is fantastic as a heel, though.

JXM: Oh, yeah. She’s such a Flair. But… Ronda!

RK: Ronda… the baddest actress on the planet. So, in that sense, if a woman is going to be the first woman to main event Mania, she deserves it. Her and Becky would have been great, but obviously the investment in Rousey is there. Maybe she can tribute the Piper tribute act now?

JXM: Maybe she’ll trip on the ring apron like Mandy Rose did.

RK: Sigh.. yeah… cause Asuka needs people to trip to beat them. Cool she finished with Black Mass, though.

JXM: That was such a convoluted ending and they’re turning Sonya DeVille into Dana Brooke. Atrocious. The final Shield match. Yay?

RK: First of all, it’s not the final one, those guys are only thirty-something, it will happen again. Second, it was a lot of fun. But, it cost them their three top (and I use the word loosely with Corbin) heels on the Raw brand.

JXM: You think will Dean will come back in a couple of years?

RK: Of course, he will. He’s going to pull a Jericho and come back with monster heat. Why not take a break? He knows that the Shield is a for-life meal ticket. Roman’s goodwill is only going to last so long. It took four Superman punches before I hated that move again.

JXM: That’s not much! The Shield is my second favorite faction of all time, right under the Four Horsemen.

RK: I actually can’t believe you just typed that. DX? NWO?

JXM: Nope. Well, you know I don’t like DX because of Uncle Concussion. NWO was great for about a year.

RK: I’d take The Corporation over the Shield. But, I didn’t see their early stuff together, so maybe I don’t get it for that reason. Side, DX to me is the post-HBK version.

JXM: That’s the only acceptable version. How long before Aleister Black and Ricochet turn on each other?

RK: I hope never. Both of those guys are babyface gold.

JXM: But don’t you want to see them wrestle each other again?

RK: Not right now. Black Mass is the best strike finish in years. Which, regarding Black Mass, makes it so weird that Asuka finished with it! I know protecting moves is old fashioned, but last night was a superkick party.

JXM: It was a triple threat superkick party, for sure.

RK: I’m kind of cool with the Ricochet and Black connection at this point. Two badasses that are teaming up.

JXM: I don’t think they’ve gelled as a team yet, but I think they’re getting better.

RK: They are making the most of it, working together in the Dusty Cup as well. I really hope to see them vs. Mustache Mountain in the final.

JXM: I can’t agree with that, but okay.

RK: You’d rather Forgotten Sons? Or #DIY?

JXM: I would rather Undisputed Era.

RK: Well, they got eliminated so they’re out.

JXM: I said I would rather, not gonna get. Okay. We’re WAY off track here. Just two more questions. Are you with me in calling Beth and Nattie vs. Nia and Tamina for Mania?

RK: Oh, no. I hope that’s a Raw match.

JXM: It’s Beth Phoenix. No way that’s a Raw match.

RK: WrestleMania is a seven-hour show, I guess.

JXM: But the main card doesn’t start till seven that night. Looks like I’ll be drinking coffee instead of beer that night. On a scale of one to John Tenta, where do you put Fastlane 2019?

RK: I would give it a very solid Naked Mideon. Enjoyable pre-Mania filler.

JXM: I’ll give it a good Eric Bugenhagen. That might be too obscure. Lots of flash, lots of exposition and more triple threats than a Charlie’s Angels marathon.

RK: His NXT debut was excellent! Dude is money… until they No Way José him on the main roster.

JXM: My gods, we’re cynical.

RK: It’s not cynical if you’re José. It’s life.


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