February 15, 2016
From the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA
Your hosts are Byron Saxton, JBL, and Michael Cole
We get a video package from last week, where Brock Lesnar repeatedly destroyed Dean Ambrose, who refused to stay down.
The live show starts with Dean Ambrose coming out to the ring. He gets a good reaction from the crowd. He mentions the main event at Fastlane, as the crowd boos the mention of Reigns and somewhat cheers the name of Lesnar. Ambrose then switches focus to tonight and feels that the “beast” is out for revenge. Ambrose said that he checked the weather and an F5 is in the forecast. Ambrose calls Lesnar a “gorilla” and challenges him to come out. However, we get Stephanie McMahon. She then questions Ambrose’s manhood and what would have happened if Reigns did not help him out last week. Stephanie then plugs the main event at Fastlane before giving Ambrose his F5 for tonight, which is a Fatal Five-Way Match for the Intercontinental Title. Before leaving, Stephanie tells Ambrose if Reigns helps him out tonight, he will not only be disqualified from the match but also out of the Fastlane main event. The segment was fine and accomplished the goal of finally having Ambrose do something with his Intercontinental Title.
Intercontinental Title Fatal Five Way Match: Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Kevin Owens vs. Stardust vs. Tyler Breeze vs. Dolph Ziggler
This is a one-fall match. The match starts with everyone mixing it up. Owens and Ziggler end up brawling outside while Ambrose tosses Breeze before beating on Stardust. Owens attacks Ambrose from behind then taunts the crowd. Ambrose fights back and beats on Owens in the corner. Owens regains control until Ambrose pulls the ropes down on him. Ambrose sets up for a tope but runs into a super kick courtesy of Ziggler for a nearfall. Ambrose tosses him shortly after that before getting tossed himself. Owens powerbombs Breeze to the floor on top of Ziggler and Breeze. Inside, Ambrose boots Owens and gets two with an elbow drop as we head to break. The action returns with Ambrose heading up top and he fights off Stardust and Breeze until Ziggler takes him off with a facebuster. The match breaks down as Owens gets a two count then he delivers a cannonball to everyone until Breeze meets him with a super kick. Breeze gets a nearfall as everyone is down then a “this is awesome” chant breaks out. I cannot believe they bought a Tyler Breeze nearfall. The match breaks down again and after Breeze tosses Ziggler he walks into a Pop-Up Powerbomb from Owens as that gets the win (12:34) ***1/4. Owens celebrates on the ramp as the announcers wonder what this will do to Ambrose’s momentum.
Thoughts: I thought the match started off too formulaic but after the break it was one hot move after the other. I have no clue what Breeze and Stardust did to deserve title shots here but they were fine. Transitioning the belt off of Ambrose is designed to make you think he has a chance this Sunday and having Owens with the title makes sense as he was a good champion who has many face challengers he can feud with going forward, including Ziggler.
Tonight, AJ Styles vs. Miz plus an exclusive interview with Brie Bella
Backstage, Renee Young walks into Ambrose, who tells us that the Authority can think they have taken everything from him but have only given him motivation to beat both Reigns and Lesnar at Fastlane before going onto WrestleMania and winning the title. We cut immediately back to Owens, who tells Renee he told everyone this was his title and wants Renee to tell everyone how this is true. However, Ziggler comes in slowly clapping while Owens wants him out of his spotlight. Ziggler tells Owens he has beaten him twice and wants Owens himself to say how he is worthy of a title shot. Owens simply says “nah” before walking off, leaving Ziggler pissed. This segment showed us two things: Ambrose is more pissed off and motivated to win at Fastlane after losing while the Ziggler/Owens feud is not ending anytime soon.
We get a clip of the New Day/Edge & Christian segment on RAW from this past September as the New Day head to the ring. Back to the ring as the New Day reference this, with Kofi saying “you never bring a kazoo to a trombone fight” before they list off other dated instruments. The New Day inform us they will be guests on the “Peep Show” at Fastlane before they run down Mark Henry for walking out on them last week with a few booty-related insults. Henry’s music hits just before the break.
Big E w/ New Day vs. Mark Henry
Henry catches Big E with a slam then lands a few headbutts, even using the JYD crawling headbutt. Big E rolls outside and Henry follows. Kofi distracts Henry, allowing Big E to attack him. Big E yells at Henry before rolling him inside where he stomps a mudhole in the corner. Big E gets two off of a splash as the rest of New Day cheer for him. Big E hits another splash that fails to put Henry away. Henry escapes from an abdominal stretch but Big E sidesteps a charge and sets Henry up for the Big Ending but Henry just falls off and Big E covers for the win as the announcers speculate whether or not he was hurt from receiving two splashes earlier (4:41) 1/2*.
Thoughts: A bad match. I like Henry but he has no business belonging in a ring right now. He can barely move or do anything at all for that matter. The finish here was extremely awkward and even Big E seemed surprised as to what happen. Also, this shows us there is no Tag Title match at Fastlane, or even challengers for that matter. Maybe the Peep Show segment will feature a new team making their WWE debut?
Byron Saxton is in the ring. He welcomes out Brie Bella as we see a clip from Daniel Bryan’s retirement speech where he talks about wanting to start a family and have kids soon. Brie is about to tell us about how much her husband appreciated the fans support when Ric Flair and Charlotte interrupted. Brie takes offense to Charlotte saying her husband “was” great, reminding her he still is great, as Charlotte tries to get Brie to go home to her husband. Brie says her husband supports her as Charlotte believes they need the money. Charlotte then tells Brie to go home and be “good little sister and wife” she knows she can be because her and the fans do not need her. Brie then calls Charlotte out for trying to play head games and that she is not going to be a pushover. Charlotte then wants Brie to remember this moment, where she gave her the opportunity to walk away and to think what her “goat-faced vegan babies” will look like, prompting Brie to take her down then hit the Yes kicks until Flair pulled her daughter outside. They tried really hard in transferring all of the cheers from Bryan last week onto his wife this week but the performances were not that great tonight and the verbiage was odd at times. At least they tried to make this seem important one week before the match, which has barely been promoted.
A video package on the Wyatt Family airs. It focuses on their attack of Kane.
Chris Jericho is introduced as he will be joining the announcers table for the AJ Styles vs. Miz match. We get a shot of Gerard Butler sitting in the crowd. Jericho talks about AJ Styles as Cole asks him why he turned on him. Jericho said he wanted to give AJ a message.
Miz vs. AJ Styles
Miz attacks AJ as soon as he entered the ring. He slugs away in the corner until the referee backs him off. The bell finally rings as Miz runs into an elbow. Miz catches him with a knee then hits some mounted punches as Jericho talks about nothing what you did in Japan matters when you step into a WWE ring. Miz gauges AJ’s face then applies a chinlock as Miz is determined to knock out AJ’s teeth. Miz gets two with a neckbreaker but AJ counters a second attempt with a backslide. AJ comes back with some punches but Miz sidesteps a charge as AJ Spills outside. Miz boots AJ into the barricade then goes out to jaw with Jericho, allowing AJ to come back with a forearm smash as we head to break. The action returns with AJ in control. He gets two with a pumphandle gutbuster as Jericho puts over AJ’s innovation while saying he does not like his personality and ego. Miz comes back with a DDT but AJ comes back with a pair of rollups. AJ gets two with the Pele Kick then heads up top. Miz cuts him off and tries a superplex but AJ slides underneath and cuts him off. AJ then hits a springboard forearm smash for two and sets up for another forearm but Miz catches him with the Skull Crushing Finale. AJ just barely kicks out of that as the Miz is pissed. Miz charges but AJ catches him in the Calf Crusher and that gets the win (11:50) ***. After the match, Jericho congratulates AJ, who cuts him off. AJ tells Jericho the fact he beat him in his debut eats him up inside. AJ then issues a challenge that everyone wants as they can have their third match at Fastlane. Jericho lets AJ know that is a “phenomenal” idea and that the fans might want to see it but he’s not sure if he wants another match and will let him know this Thursday on Smackdown.
Thoughts: Good match. The fans were really into AJ here. And I feel that the Miz has been wrestling the best he has been in quite some time. However, the AJ/Jericho feud continues with Jericho making us wait until Smackdown for his decision. AJ also continues to come off awkwardly on the mic. However, he continues to connect with the fans.
The Dudley Boyz are in the ring. Before that, they teased bringing a table into the ring before sliding it back underneath. Bubba calls out the Usos but doesn’t think they will make it as we see clips of the Dudleys turning on them last week on RAW. D-Von said the Usos are just like the fans, who thought their return would mean a nostalgia act that would ride off into the sunset. However, they are wrong as D-Von tells us whether we like it or not they are the baddest team on the planet. Bubba then tells us that the tables are gone forever but on the bright side, they can watch their table matches on the WWE Network. Bubba said their legacy will be determined by the fact they are 9-Time Champions, not by a “piece of furniture” and that the “we want tables” chants will fall on deaf ears as they no longer care what they chant. They leave as the announcers call this the “transformation”of the Dudleys. Good mic work from these two. I am fine with them turning heel but the problem is there are no face teams that are over at all in the company. The Usos barely get cheered anymore as their act has worn thin among the fans.
Summer Rae vs. Paige
Summer keeps taunting Paige by yelling “I told you” as she shoves her a few times. Summer follows with a pair or armdrags and some sort of a jumping DDT. Paige responds with a kick then trips Summer up as the announcers bring up “Total Divas.” Paige hits Summer with several knee strikes bur runs into a spinning heel kick for two. Summer hits a pair of leg drops then chokes Paige out with her foot. Paige escapes a chinlock then hits a few kicks. She hits a running knee strike then teases putting Summer in a submission but gets pulled down and caught in a rollup for a win (3:42) 1/4*.
Thoughts: This was ugly at times, especially the finish. It was a backdrop for the announcers to discuss “Total Divas” among other things. There was zero mention here about how during the European tour, Summer cost Paige matches as the special guest referee. Seems like they have plans for Summer, who is really good at everything but the actual in-ring part. That needs a lot of work and I’m sure she is rusty.
The announcers point out how you are a moron for paying $54.99 to see Fastlane when you can subscribe to the WWE Network for $9.99 with flashcards.
Paul Heyman is in the ring. Before that, we see an ad that Lesnar and Heyman will appear on Smackdown this Thursday. Heyman points out from the Fastlane main event, one man will go on to face HHH for the WWE World Title. Heyman then calls out “Mr. Samoan Bad Ass” Reigns, who comes out through the crowd. Heyman thanks Reigns for coming out because Heyman wants to say this to his face so others will not think he is disrespectful. Heyman tells Reigns that he cannot get past his beast, Brock Lesnar. He then talks about Reigns dreams and vision, which involve winning at Fastlane then going on to face HHH at WrestleMania, where he leaves with the WWE World Title and brings it home to show his daughter. Heyman then talks about how Ambrose also stands in his way and has a choice to make: his daughter or his friend. Heyman says he has to lose one or the other, picking either friend or family. Heyman then states that while Lesnar is his enemy this Sunday, so is Dean Ambrose. Reigns tells Heyman that he is good and thanks him for being “refreshing.” Reigns said that he likes when others say stuff to people’s face and that he has beaten Ambrose before, it wasn’t easy, but has also beaten Brock’s ass and will go on to win at Fastlane en route to winning the title at WrestleMania. They shake hands as Heyman walks away. However, the Dudley Boyz ambush Reigns from behind. Reigns fights back but is outnumbered until Ambrose runs out for the save. Several officials prevent the Dudleys from coming back to the ring. Reigns and Ambrose are about to hug but Ambrose tries for the Dirty Deeds. Reigns fights it off then tells Ambrose he is good and they bump fists, with Ambrose staring at the WrestleMania sign. They teased a turn here, despite the two stating nothing will drive them apart for the past few weeks. The fans were not into Reigns here at all and an eventual Ambrose heel turn could end up backfiring in a major way as a result. Overall, I thought this was odd.
We get a video package of the Wyatt Family destroying the Big Show, leading to tonight’s Show vs. Strowman match.
Zack Ryder vs. Heath Slater w/ Social Outcasts
The Outcasts had an insert promo before the match, comparing themselves to legendary basketball stars and teams, as Rose thinks the “Dream Team” they are talking about were the attorneys for OJ Simpson. Match starts with Slater stalling then leading his fellow Outcasts in a victory lap. Ryder catches him with a dropkick when he returns. Ryder catches Slater with a pair of knees then hits a missile dropkick. He connects with the Broski Boot for a nearfall then takes out the other Outcasts with a somersault plancha. Back inside, Rose distracts Ryder as Slater catches him with a kick then a lifting DDT for the win (2:06) 3/4*.
Thoughts: The crowd did not seem to care about this at all. Ryder looked decent here but it came across as nothing more than filler.
We see R-Truth having dinner with his woman. Goldust appears as the waiter while Truth told him this is not “Table for Three,” referencing the WWE Network show. Goldust then appears with a bottle of champagne that is on the house but Truth said this is in fact not his house. Goldust laughs and says of course not, this isn’t 1997 as he makes an “In Your House” PPV joke. Goldust then struggles in opening the champagne and puts it between his legs, accidentally spraying it all over Truth’s date. Goldust then leaves in embarrassment while Truth checks on his woman. The In Your House joke was clever but as a whole this was dumb as these segments are really starting to wear thin.
Lucha Dragons & Neville vs Rusev & Alberto Del Rio & Sheamus w/ Wade Barrett
We learn that the Kalisto vs. Del Rio match has been moved to the Fastlane Kickoff show. Kalisto uses his speed to elude Rusev. Del Rio attacks Kalisto from behind leading to the match breaking down. Kalisto and Neville climb up top and hits stereo moonsaults as Sin Cara flew out with a tope as we head to break. The action returns with the LoN beating on Kalisto and trying to taunt the fans, who barely respond. Kalisto finally breaks free to make the tag as Sin Cara runs wild. The match breaks down again until everyone ends up outside. Barrett distracts Sin Cara on the apron as Del Rio hits an enziguiri. Sin Cara is hanging in the ropes and that allows Del Rio to hit his top rope stomp halfway across the ring for the win (9:15) **1/4.
Thoughts: The face team did some cool stuff but its another distraction finish leading to a win for the heels. The League of Nations just isn’t working as all the guys are better off by themselves. Kalisto seemed like he was getting pushed but the past few weeks he has come across the same he did prior to beating Del Rio. I’m not so sure he is retaining the U.S. Title at Fastlane. And poor Neville is just doing nothing at the moment. They need to find something for him, especially considering how poor the Tag Division is right now.
We get a video package on Booker T for African American History Month. It detailed his career and how he overcame a life of crime to succeed in wrestling. Solid piece.
Now, we are shown footage from earlier today via Facebook where Naomi & Tamina bully Becky Lynch, ending with Tamina hitting her with a super kick. This leads to a Becky vs. Naomi match tonight.
Michelle Beadle is shown sitting at ringside. I guess she is no longer boycotting RAW.
Renee Young is backstage with the League of Nations, who are all pumped up. Del Rio said tonight proves that Kalisto’s victory was a fluke. Del Rio said that he let Kalisto win and that if he wants to be more than a “little mosquito,” he will accept his challenge at Fastlane in a 2/3 Falls Match.
Becky Lynch vs. Naomi w/Tamina
Becky immediately hammers away. She hits a suplex as Naomi bails, with Becky screaming at her and her partner. Naomi re-enters then does the Speedball Mike Bailey rapid kick routine (she actually mentioned getting then move from him via Twitter) but Becky runs her into the corner. Becky backs Tamina off of the apron before countering a rollup with a Disarmer and gets the win (2:10) 1/2*. After the match, Tamina attacks Becky then Sasha Banks strolls down the ramp and takes her time getting into the ring were Becky continues to get attacked. The heels bail as the announcers harp on the fact that Becky & Sasha are an unlikely team.
Thoughts: The match was too short to mean anything but fine while it lasted. The story here was if Sasha & Becky could co-exist as a team, with Sasha not seeming to care that Becky was getting beaten down as she took her time getting into the ring. It came across as odd to me, the whole part with Sasha coming out, and the crowd was dead for most of this.
We now get a clip of the Wyatt Family destroying the Ryback.
Next week, the “Vincent J. McMahon Legacy of Excellence Award” winner will be revealed.
The Wyatt Family head down to the ring. Harper tells us tonight we will all have a choice, to awaken from our slumber or beg for mercy. Rowan says without “us” there is no hope. Bray tells us freedom awaits our embrace because our world is a slave that tweets out her status so we can feel her shame. He then asks us to see how many times we checked our followers if they share their pain. Bray says he offers us paradise and only asks that we bow to him in return. The crowd as he asks them to bow then Bray wants us to make a choice or he will make one for us, like he did with Kane and Ryback, and like Strowman will do the Big Show right now. Strowman pulls off his mask and says “wake up or run.”
Braun Strowman w/ Wyatt Family vs. Big Show
They lockup after a staredown. Strowman backs Show in the corner and hammers away. Show fights back but Strowman clotheslines him down then very slowly hammers away. Show blocks a suplex and hits one of his own then the Wyatt’s run in for the DQ (2:30) DUD. After the match, Ryback runs out for the save and has some odd exchange with Harper on the floor before running in and getting outnumbered. Kane’s music hits as he comes from out of the ring and helps clean house.
Thoughts: This entire segment was laughable. The match was atrocious and the run-ins looked terrible as well. With a PPV to hype Sunday, they chose to end the show in a way that features the guest of a podcast airing after this ends. Normally, I’d write over how stupid a decision this would be but things have changed here as this was clearly something influenced by corporate and that is how things are now and will be permanently so you just have to adapt and keep that in mind with some stuff that you see today.
Final Thoughts: The first two hours of the show had a pair of solid matches and decent segments. However, the third hour was largely abysmal with boring action and bad segments. Regarding Fastlane, I do not see anyone but Reigns winning here as if he loses, it will likely end his chance at being a main event for the near future and I do not believe they will turn him heel. The show at least gave you a glimmer of hope that Lesnar or even Ambrose has a shot this Sunday though. However, the rest of the card still needs to be built, although a few of the matches seem obvious (AJ/Jericho and Owens/Ziggler).