Bobby Roode (c) vs. Randy Orton (WWE United States Championship)
Reactions: What we got here was the purest definition of a slow burner. The entirety of this bout wouldn’t look out of place on an old school NWA card from the 80s. Orton and Roode employed a methodical pace that built things up in an old school manner. Both men gave me vibes of Lex Luger taking on Barry Windham on a Clash of Champions special for the very same championship put up for grabs here. I had my doubts about both men’s styles meshing well with each other, but I was pleasantly surprised by how good this turned out to be. After Orton put Roode down with a Superplex, the action heated up accordingly. Roode ate a nasty mid-rope DDT, Orton got taken down to the mat with a Sunset Flip Powerbomb, and both men blasted each other with a series of nasty strikes. I’m always pleased whenever someone makes the mistake of coming off the top rope and eating an RKO for their troubles. Color me surprised here due to the quality of the bout and the shocking result. And after seeing what transpired after the final bell rung, it looks like we’re getting a Triple Threat Match for the title at ‘Mania 34.
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
AJ Styles (c) vs. Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn vs. Baron Corbin vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. John Cena (Six-Pack Challenge for the WWE Championship)
Reactions: My, my, my…Fastlane 2018’s main event may have had a convoluted buildup, but it still proved to be a thrilling affair. As soon as it started, Cena tore into a bunch of unsuspecting Superstars with AA’s! Once that hot beginning concluded, Styles and Cena gave the crowd another taste of their amazing rivalry. They kept the crowd alive during their standoff, then everyone became unglued once the rest of the pack reentered the fray. From that point forward, this match turned into an exciting barn burner. Unique situations involving finishers being dealt out took place, Sami and Owens’ war with Shane resulted in some wild shenanigans, and plenty of hardware became a part of the match’s proceedings. Cena fought hard to get a spot at ‘Mania 34 as he put Styles through an announce table and delivered an AA to Corbin onto the steel ring steps. His desperation was on full display here, which played well into the many story threads intertwined during this hot bout. The ending sequence put an exclamation point on this wild main event and kept the dream of Styles vs. Nakamura at ‘Mania 34 alive.
Rating: 3 & a Half out of 5 Stars
Match of the Night
AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn vs. Baron Corbin vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. John Cena!
I wasn’t expecting a lot from Fastlane 2018. But after watching a bunch of decent to good matches take place, I came away with a positive reaction to the show as a whole. The Women’s tag match was an eyesore, but the rest of the card was worth the (cheap) price of admission. Several post-match events gave us a clue as to what matches would be booked for ‘Mania 34 (we even got confirmation that Asuka will battle Charlotte!). A night full of good storyline development and eventful matches gave this show the spark it needed despite an unexciting build.
Final Score: 3 & a Half out of 5 Stars