Reverse Hipster's scores
Daniel vs Roman 8.8/10 B+
This was easily the best match of the night. It was the match I was looking forward to the most and the one that delivered the most. I liked the story they told in the ring of Daniel trying to make Roman tap. He kept throwing on submission after submission, and he showed off the fact that he is a threat when it comes to technical wrestling. Roman did his part, too, when he got the chance to show off his power and thrashed Daniel, but Daniel actually made Roman tap. Unfortunately, the ref and Edge were knocked out due to Jey Uso/Bryan.
The negatives I have for this match are that I did not love Edges turn because it seemed too grey. He feels like he has some justification for snapping on Daniel because Daniel hit him with a chair(accidentally). I am not mad at the move. In fact, I predicted it in our Smackdown rundown, but I wish Edge would have been more heelish. Lastly, I do not like that Edge strikes both Roman and Bryan with chair shots, but only Roman is able to get up to make the pin. It does not make sense. It would have made more sense to have Edge or Jey put Roman's arm over Daniel for the pin.
2. Ali vs Riddle 8.5/10 B
I expected this match to be on the pre-show. I also expected Retribution to dump Ali. I predicted it on the Rundown after Ali's first encounter with Riddle. However, I did not predict that this would be the second-best match of the night. Ali and Riddle topped themselves. They were fast-paced, creative with their moves, and surprising with their counters. Ali truly made me believe he could win it with a couple of false finishes, and when Riddle made his comeback to win, he made sure it was a comeback that was worthy of all the things Ali had done to put him away so neither guy walked away looking weak. This match deserved to be on the main card.
3.Sheamus vs Drew 7.8/10 C+
I thought this match was okay. They had some cool spots like the explosion and the table spot, but I felt this match was too slow-paced and did not surpass the matches they had on Raw.
4. Seth Rollins vs Nakamura 7.7/10 C
This match was not bad, and they had a few cool moments, but it did not take my breath away. I expected way more from these two. I think the right man won, but this should have been a show-stealer.
5.Alexa vs Orton Final Grade 7.5 C
This match was difficult to rate because of how different it was. Ultimately I felt it served its purpose. It brought The Fiend back, which I am super excited about. Also, it provided some noteworthy moments, like when Alexa tried to kill Randy falling piano style. However, while I appreciate the theatrics, I think WWE could have delivered more in-ring action between Bliss and Randy.
6. Big E vs Apollo 7.3/10 C
The physicality was there, but they did not have enough time, in my opinion, and the finish was a real stinker. Apollo and Big E pinned each other, and at the last second Big, E got the pin and the leverage. Then Apollo screamed, this is not over and disrespectfully beat up Big E after an attack from behind. This finish is a loss for both competitors and the audience. It is a loss for Apollo cause now he lost clean to E three times. Why should he get another shot? He looks like he just cannot cut it. It is a loss for Big E cause he looked weak as hell. I know Apollo struck him from behind but was it so bad he could not recover at all? Also, as fans its dampened what was a great feud. They should have beat each up so severely that there was a no-contest leading to a stipulation match at mania. That way, Wrestlemania would feel more like an escalation instead of a do-over.
7. Sasha & Bianca vs Nia & Shayna 6.8/10 D+
The in-ring action was off. Everyone except Sasha seemed a little slow and not as fluid. I am Glad Shayna and Nia won, but the finish was poor. It seemed very contrived to me. I do not think Sasha and Bianca would argue so long their opponents would have time to rest and gain the upper hand. Also, Sasha was a fool to blame Bianca when she saw Nia push Bianca onto her. It just seemed like fake drama. After the match, when Sasha pokes Bianca and slaps her in the face, there is zero part of me that believes Bianca would let Sasha walk out of that ring untouched it was incredibly unrealistic. Then they jaw back in forth from afar when it was clearly time to throw hands.
8. Braun vs Elias 6/10 D-
They kept showing Shane's injury as if it was a massive development, but I could not care less. This was just a way to prolong a feud that nobody asked for. This match did absolutely nothing for either wrestler. It does not redeem Braun from his loss and sliming from the best wrestler in the world Shane Mcmahon. This match also does not help Elias, who was last seen losing to Damien Priest. Also, Elias was a terrible choice for Braun. He can be good but needs a good partner, and Braun is not that guy. Nothing about their styles clashing is exciting. I never believed Elias was a threat to Braun, but the match was not unwatchable.
Final Grade 7.5
I think they should get rid of Fastlane and just put their energy into producing great feuds and tv the last weeks before mania. None of these matches were too big for tv, and some of these feuds were actively hindered by trying to pretend something was going to happen here at Fastlane.
Riddle vs. Mustafa Ali (US Championship)
This was a good overall match, but I don’t think it quite lived up to the promise of the chemistry shown in their Raw match. I also have gripes that it was on the preshow. There weren’t a lot of matches on the main show, and it would have benefited everyone to have the US Title on the main show. Still, the in-ring work was solid, and the finish was big and creative. One has to wonder where Mustafa Ali goes after this match. The in-ring work is as good as ever, but Retribution is an absolute joke as a stable, and the whole group can’t seem to buy a win. With that in mind, Riddle was the right person to win. He is on a roll, having great matches along the way and making the mid-card title interesting.
Grade: 6/10 Above Average
Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax vs. Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair (Women’s Tag Team Championship)
For as much as I rag on the Women’s Tag Division, they absolutely deliver in-ring when they get time on PPVs. Everyone involved in this match is a good wrestler in the right circumstances, and they showed it here. For as good as the wrestling was, the result was predictable, and we have now seen this match in multiple ways over the weeks. For that reason, this stays at a good grade. Here’s hoping that the SmackDown Women’s Championship feud continues to evolve in an interesting way and the Women’s Tag Division gives actual teams a chance to shine at WrestleMania.
Grade: 6/10 Above Average
Big E vs. Apollo Crews (Intercontinental Championship)
I absolutely love this feud, and the build to this match. This is the strongest Big E and Apollo Crews have both ever looked in my opinion. With that said, this match absolutely did not deliver on the promise of the feud. It was brutal in the beginning, but Big E dominated, and it killed some of the momentum Crews has built up over the past few weeks. Obviously, this was all a way to hold the feud over until WrestleMania, but I think this match was a mistake. After Crews injured Big E, we wanted to see these two guys beat the hell out of each other. Now, we’ve seen them get physical, which ruins what we wanted to see so bad. Crews retaliated toward the middle of the match, but then the botched finish at the end left a sour taste in my mouth. Hopefully, some segments on SmackDown get me reinvested in the feud, but right now, I’m feeling like this match killed what I thought was a great feud going in. They should have either waited until WrestleMania or went all out in this match.
Grade: 4/10 Below Average
Braun Strowman vs. Elias
I was hopeful going into this show that we would settle Braun Strowman vs. Shane McMahon here and save space on the WrestleMania card for more important feuds involving full-time wrestlers. I did not get my wish. I was wondering throughout the match why this felt so familiar and was reminded that Strowman and Elias faced off numerous times in a past feud culminating in the symphony of destruction match. This was a glorified squash match. On a PPV, sometimes it’s nice to have these to break up the show, but tonight, the Strowman/McMahon feud is so ice cold that I can’t possibly fight for this.
Grade: 3/10 Bad
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Seth Rollins
This was one of the matches I was most looking forward to from a pure wrestling perspective. In my opinion, it didn’t need any build. I just wanted to see these guys wrestle. Even with those lofty expectations, this match delivered in my opinion. Shinsuke Nakamura showed that he can still have a great match in WWE. He had great chemistry with Seth Rollins. The whole match proved that two guys can both look better coming out of a match. It made the most sense for Rollins to win, presumably going on to challenge Cesaro at WrestleMania. But Nakamura pushed Rollins to the absolute limits, building his own credibility in the process. I can’t wait to see Rollins vs. Cesaro at WrestleMania, and I hope Nakamura is rewarded with a match at WrestleMania or championship opportunity down the line.
Grade: 7/10 Good
Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus
It’s really hard for me to grade this match because it has so much going against it for me. For starters, we’ve seen it multiple times this month, and it’s never good for a PPV match to be overexposed going in. I’ve also admitted that it’s not my style of match. Drew McIntyre and Sheamus are two heavyweight bruisers, and my preferred wrestling is more based on agility, technical wrestling, and high flying. It continued the trend of the night to have great matches with predictable finishes, which makes it hard to stay invested in long matches. Even with all of that against it, I have to admit this was a great match. McIntyre has been a triumphant babyface and standout in the COVID era of wrestling. It was absolutely the right choice for him to win headed toward his titanic matchup with Bobby Lashley for the WWE Championship. Like the match before, Sheamus played the same role as Shinsuke Nakamura. It’s clear that Sheamus has amazing chemistry with McIntyre. I’d like to see them face off down the line in a match with more stakes or maybe work together as a tag team. Sheamus has really proven that he can still be a main eventer in 2021. He should be rewarded with a featured spot at WrestleMania or feud down the line.
Grade: 7/10 Good
Alexa Bliss vs. Randy Orton
This was a tremendously weird match to be on any card, and it was a tremendously weird match from start to finish too. I’ve been mostly not on-board for this feud, but I was absolutely on-board for this match as a cinematic feature. It tied everything together about the feud between Randy Orton and Alexa Bliss. Bliss showed off her unique ability to take creative risks and get anything over. Her character is unsettling and believable as a force of chaos. I loved the spot where Bliss telekinetically crashed the lights from above in front of Orton, Looney Tune style. Bliss’s body language throughout the match was perfect, and her reactions made me believe in the action. Orton, as a veteran sports entertainer, played his part perfectly too. His acting as the straight guy in this chaotic atmosphere went from ready to fight to slightly unsettled to realizing he was the victim in a horror film at the perfect pace. The return of the Fiend was perfect. I’m a sucker for a spooky character returning from the ring. I guess the area beneath the ring is canonically a portal to hell? The new ring gear is sick, and it proves that Bray Wyatt is the king of evolving his gimmick to match the stories. I’m not sold on the continuation of the Wyatt and Orton feud, but as a contained segment, I could absolutely not take my eyes off this match.
Grade: 8/10 Great
Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan (Universal Championship)
This was the match of the night for me easy. This has been one of the best feuds of the COVID era, so it’s no surprise the match had me on my feet. Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan have great chemistry, and they both played their role perfectly. Reigns was the cocky heel champion who had Bryan beat easily in the power department, but Bryan was the scrappy ever-underdog whose technical ability is so high that he’s a threat to anyone any time. Edge’s presence as the enforcer added to this match too, as he’s been an intriguing tweener in this whole feud. Bryan’s promise on SmackDown to tap out Reigns added so much to this match. There were multiple times in the match where Bryan had Reigns in a submission that had me on my feet, wondering if we were seeing Bryan break into the WrestleMania main event again. Paul Heyman’s facial expressions on the outside added so much to the belief that Bryan could win at any moment. We know that Heyman believes in Reigns unequivocally, so the genuine worry on his face when Bryan wrapped him up in a Yes Lock added to the stakes of the match even without a crowd. Reigns hit cool power moves on Bryan too, who continued to kick out with pure determination. The end felt slightly overbooked to me, but it was still damn entertaining. Reigns dodged a running knee from Bryan that knocked out the ref, and Edge had to get involved as the enforcer. Edge was an absolutely garbage enforcer, but it added to the match that Jey Uso ran in and broke up a submission attempt from Bryan. Uso got a steel chair involved, but it turned on him as Bryan attacked him with the steel chair removing him from the match. Then, Bryan hit Edge with the chair by mistake. When Bryan had Reigns in a submission again, Reigns finally tapped out, but it didn’t matter. Edge hit both of them with the chair and left. I’m not really sure what his motivations are, but it’s clear he is absolutely frustrated with the both of them and just wants his match at WrestleMania. Reigns ended up pinning Bryan, but Bryan absolutely has a case to be added to the match at WrestleMania with everything that went on. I think it’s clear that Edge wants to fight both of them too with that finish.
Grade: 9/10 Excellent
Overall, this PPV was really good in-ring with a few roadblocks in the middle of the card on the Fastlane to WrestleMania. It was characterized by its predictable finishes, but sometimes, the predictable thing is the right booking, especially going into the biggest event of the year. The card was well-constructed, ending with the best match and hottest feud WWE has going. At the end of the day, good work from the roster top to bottom gets a good grade.
Grade: 7/10 Good
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