Here’s my final thoughts on WWE SmackDown Live’s Fastlane 2018!
Tye Dillinger and Breezango (Fandango and Tyler Breeze) vs. Mojo Rawley, Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin (Six-Man Tag Team Match)
Reactions: 10! 10! 10! 10! It feels like it’s been eons since Tye Dillinger has competed on my TV screen. Side note – I’d fully support an Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal victory for “The Perfect 10.” He popped out of the hole he’s been hiding in for the past couple months for this fun six-man tag team match. Fandango’s amateur wrestling helmet antics made me snicker a bit, plus I got a kick out of the fast-paced action put on display here. It never slowed down, it featured a bunch of talented guys, and it didn’t overstay its welcome. It served its purpose as your usual PPV Kickoff Match. Thankfully, it featured a group of guys worth tuning into the Kickoff Show to see.
Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars
Becky Lynch and Naomi vs. Natalya and Carmella
Reactions: Meh…just mediocre as a whole. This contest was nothing but filler and was the type of bout that would have been better served as a Kickoff Match. It came off more like a showcase for Carmella more than anything else since she was a major focus of the action. Which makes sense since she still has the MITB briefcase in her possession. Yeah, I didn’t really derive too much satisfaction from this one.
Rating: 1 & a Half out of 5 Stars
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Rusev (with Aiden English)
Reactions: When are we getting that Aiden English “RUSEV DAY!” LP? The man is pure gold on the mic! So this match went about as well as I expected it to go. You had your portion of the match where Rusev used his power to throw Nakamura off his game. Then Nakamura got extra cocky and employed a mix of mind games and swift maneuvering to outmaneuver his bigger foe. Rusev ruled the middle of this bout by keeping Nakamura grounded, but Nakamura eventually got back into the fight. The final moments of this contest saw a bunch of cool counters occur and one of the sickest Superkicks I’ve ever seen (Nakamura’s ability to sell that move is unmatched). And to the surprise of no one, Nakamura woke himself back up in time to KO Rusev with a Kinshasa. The match as a whole was solid and inoffensive, but not exactly great and worth a rewatch.
Rating: 2 & a Half out of 5 Stars
Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Ruby Riott (with Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan) (WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship)
Reactions: While I’m not the biggest fan of Charlotte, I’ve always respected her in-ring prowess. She got a fresh opponent in Ruby Riott, someone I’ve enjoyed watching ever since I first laid eyes on her in CHIKARA. Watching these ladies weave in some unique offense and stable warfare into their matchup was interesting to see. The start of this bout started hot as both women tried getting the early victory with their respective finishers. After Charlotte threw herself and Ruby onto the ring apron, Lynch and Naomi came out to even the odds with Morgan and Logan. Ruby looked good during her moments of control and I shockingly wasn’t annoyed at the usage of everyone featured on the outside. It played out pretty well and added to the match instead of taking anything away from it. Charlotte’s final fiery comeback provided this bout with a hot finish. Adding onto that fun ending was Asuka’s sudden appearance and desire to take on Charlotte at ‘Mania 34. I love being surprised by a match I really didn’t envision being anything but serviceable. This was actually pretty good.
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
The Usos (Jey and Jimmy Uso) (c) vs. The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston, and/or Xavier Woods) (WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship)
Reactions: I’m always game for a match between The Usos and The New Day. Every time they meet, they change up the formula to their previous bout and slip in a few things that freshen up the entertaining mayhem they usually dish out. That was the theme of this rematch as both teams screwed with each other by stealing each other’s signature moves. Along with all the balls to the wall action they always give an appreciate crowd, they surprised everyone by copying their rivals’ most recognizable moves. They were on their way to another MOTY candidate…until The Bludgeon Brothers arrived. Harper and Rowan laid waste to both teams in a pretty lethal manner. They used steel steps, the ring apron, the floor mats, and their oversized hammers to bring this match to a close. Even though this went to a no contest, I still enjoyed the match itself. The entire segment breaking down into a Bludgeon Brothers destruction derby added more fuel to the fire both teams ignited before their arrival. I’m envisioning another Triple Threat Match for a SD Live championship at ‘Mania 34…
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars