Fastlane In A Nutshell: Next Stop, New Jersey

It's the last PPV before we hit WrestleMania, and tonight should go a good bit of the way toward finalizing a bunch of matches for NJ!

Happy Sunday folks! We have finally reached this, the last PPV before the biggest show of the year. That’s right boys and girls, next stop, New Jersey. But there’s a lot to get to between now and then of course. Fastlane is a pretty loaded show, all things considered. We have a SmackDown World title match, a bout to see whether Becky Lynch gets to be back in the RAW Women’s Title match, and of course, the reunion of The Shield, billed as their last ride. Let’s dive in and see what happens, so let’s crack open this Nutshell!

Best Match of the night:

I am going with a 1A and a 1B for this tonight.

1A, the previously unannounced triple threat for the SmackDown title. Yes, the title match was announced. Adding a third to it was not. It was a bummer that it was not Kofi, and the fans let their feelings be known…but the match was excellent all the same.

The Shield
Image Credit: provided via

1B would be the main event. Not a wrestling clinic, nor did it pretend to be. This one probably polarized the fans a bit-checking on Twitter, there were just as many fans posting how happy they were for the match, as there were people looking forward to Ambrose leaving so they wouldn’t have to see The Shield anymore. If you approached it without either view, it ended up being pretty satisfying. Lots of action, several good spots, and just the right amount of fun to be a solid main event.

Image Credit: provided via

Worst match of the night:

For me, I think I go with Becky Lynch and Charlotte. The end result was pretty predictable. How it happened, not so much…though it was very obvious all the same. Sort of felt like a cheap way to get to the triple threat, after all the suspensions and whatnot.

Becky Lynch
Image Credit: provided via

Crowd Chants of the Night:

We want Kofi




AJ Styles

One more time

This is awesome

Star of the Night

Hmm..could go a few ways here…

Kofi, for all the love he got during the SmackDown World Title match. Even though he lost otherwise..

Image Credit: provided via

Daniel Bryan for winning that match

Mustafa Ali, for stealing that match, even though he did not win.

The Shield, victorious in what could be their final match, if things hold.

Spot of the Night:

Ali had a nasty looking bump in the triple threat match. Many on Twitter were worried it was not a safe spot, and perhaps the recently returned upstart would be worse for wear..but he seemed to be OK.

That Spanish Fly from the top rope was crazy good. The inverted Huricanrana too. Ali is just fresh, in a good way.

Holy Sh** Moment of the Night:

I suppose this one is a minor one, because most of us expected a split sooner or later…but having Shane attack Miz lands here. The upside is, I have to think this means a face run for Miz, which I think is kind of exciting.

We’ve had Beth Phoenix on guest commentary for several matches over recent months. This time, during the ending of the Women’s Tag Title match, Beth Phoenix got involved. As Nia and Tamina were attacking Bayley and Sasha Banks, Beth intervened to stop it, only to get beaten down. Natalya attempted to make the save, but it didn’t work out. We could be seeing another WrestleMania match being set up though-it would seem likely.

Image Credit: provided via

The reception for everyone in the SmackDown title match. Either WWE wants to derail the face pushes of Ali and Owens…or they didn’t think that through…or they don’t care. Could be any of those answers, to be honest. And if it’s they want to derail things, someone needs to really fix that. We’ve already had flip flop booking of heel and face things, looking at Strowman and Elias in particular recently. It’s not good.

LOL Moment of the night:

I still chuckle at R Truth channeling his inner Cena.

Noteworthy Moment:

Here’s one that just hit me…Becky Lynch wins the Royal Rumble, thus is assured of that championship match at ‘Mania. Now, I get it, suspended or whatever, but at what point did WWE really “strip” her win from her? Instead of having a tantrum and all that, Lynch should have gone and found one of the old WWE made for TV lawyers and sued Vince and company for going back on what she had rightfully won. OK, fine, doesn’t make for nearly the same level of story…but sometimes WWE makes us suspend logic that is just…silly.

Overall lowlights:

OK, here’s an interesting take…but is anyone else a bit frustrated or puzzled by the allure of bringing all these Superstars out of retirement? Like, the Royal Rumble, having a couple trips down Memory Lane? Sure. But we have Jeff Jarret, Kurt Angle and now Beth Phoenix, on top of numerous others (HBK etc.). My thing there is, while I know the WWE Hall of Fame is not on the same level as a legitimate professional sports Hall of Fame…having WWE bestow that kind of honor and then have them come back and work matches kind of, I don’t know..undermines things. I think I ranted about this more for Angle or HBK…Phoenix might just be a one-off, which is less a big deal. Then again, having two very much retired women (Lita and Trish) wrestle for the Women’s Tag Titles, as has been rumored, would also be a choice worthy of some debate (like, will the retired women be serious threats, or are we just going to get a great match and leave it at that).

I also understand the idea of making Kofi work for his shot. Perhaps the rumors are true, making him like Daniel Bryan was when he gave us YestleMania…but to swerve us at the contract signing and then make the match tonight a triple threat, only to make the third spot not Kofi? Interesting, and I will leave it at that.

Overall highlights:

This show did the best it could, and that wasn’t terrible. The matches of the night were very good. It was a mostly entertaining show, which is where you need to at least start at. Some were lacking, and I think there will be some fans who feel like the show was barely better than a typical Monday Night RAW…but I think it was good enough to move things along.

After the final bell:

What more can be said other than this: Next Stop, WrestleMania. Next stop, New Jersey.


Leave a Comment