You Know How I Know I’m In Philly…

Here we are at the go-home edition of Raw for Fastlane and I was surprised how there were only four matches announced for Fastlane and three of them were from Smackdown Live. Of course, we would get more match announcements throughout the night to fill out the Raw side of the card for Fastlane. Let us dive in and see what the go-home for Fastlane had in store for us.

 

Roman Reigns In-Ring

It really is hard for me to imagine Roman Reigns getting booed anymore after his huge announcement last week. Philadelphia showed him plenty of love and it is much deserved. It seems like the shackles have been taken off Roman because promos are so much better now. He feels more natural on the mic and his words don’t feel forced. I loved that he called out Seth and Seth told him that he could get a shot at the Universal title any time he wants after he beats Brock Lesnar. I love that Roman wished Seth luck at Wrestlemania and that he wants to reunite the Shield one last time. Seth was against it at first but eventually relented and agreed to it. Dean Ambrose then came out and before he could answer, Elias smashed a guitar across the back of Ambrose. I love that Dean stormed off from them as well when they went to check on him and this will play out nicely throughout the evening.

 

McIntyre, Corbin & Lashley Backstage

I wasn’t sure about these three teaming back up again because it didn’t work too well last time, but they seem to have a good chemistry with one another. They kept their words short and sweet when it came to talking about their opponents. I also have to point out that during the promo, the camera angle cut out Lio Rush from the picture. A bit of foreshadowing regarding the future of Lio and Lashley as a tandem perhaps.

 

Six-Man Tag Team Match

The one constant that I have seen with WWE programming over the last few years is their obsession with six-person tag team matches. They have been more hit than miss of late and this was a fun match. I have admitted that it is hard to watch Angle in the ring now because you can see the toll this business has taken on his body and he just doesn’t move like he used to. The heels looked great here working in tandem to try and keep any advantage during this match and Finn and Angle did a good job selling for them. The real highlight of this match was when Strowman drove Lio Rush through a barricade into the timekeeper’s area because that spot looked brutal. Lashley then hit Balor with a spear to pick up the win for his team. The heels then took advantage of Strowman taking himself out by beating down Angle and Balor after the match.

 

Heavy Machinery Backstage

I have no idea where they are going with this storyline for Heavy Machinery. The jobbers of the tag division are making fun of Otis because of his looks and I just don’t buy any of it. The only reason this doesn’t get a zero is because Otis did a great job in selling how upset the comments made him.

 

Natalya vs Ruby Riott

I have no idea why WWE keep booking Natalya vs Ruby and the Riott Squad and there is nothing I can say about this match. This match is the definition of “skip!” because there is nothing here whatsoever. The only good thing is that Lacey Evans came out after the match and did her signature catwalk.

 

SNL Cast Members Backstage

Um yeah, I have no idea what the point of this was. I get that this was used as a way to say these two are going to be special correspondents for Wrestlemania but did we need this on the go-home for Fastlane?

 

Triple H In-Ring

Now do I care about a potential match between Batista and Triple H at Wrestlemania? Simply put, no I don’t, and I don’t think there can be anything they can do that would get me interested in it. Triple H did a good job in conveying how upset he was because of Batista’s actions last week but he did go too over the top with calling Ric Flair by his real name. Triple H did bring intensity to this, but I really have no interest in the potential match between these two right now.

 

Stephanie McMahon Backstage

Stephanie was interviewed backstage and she came out and said that Becky Lynch would be reinstated, and she would take on Charlotte Flair at Fastlane for the vacated Raw Women’s Championship. The caveat was that Becky would have to sign a hold harmless agreement so that WWE wouldn’t be liable for her injuries she may incur at Fastlane. Very nice segment here and I cannot wait to see how this plays out.

 

Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns Backstage

This was short and sweet, and I love how Roman really wants the Shield to reunite but Dean is apprehensive about it. Dean is hyper focused on his upcoming match with Elias and seems like nothing Roman would have told him could have an influence.

 

Heavy Machinery vs Jobber Tag Teams

I have no idea what this match does and what this whole storyline does for Heavy Machinery. I cannot take what the jobber teams say as serious because they are jobbers, so they have no standing to comment on Heavy Machinery. Otis and Tucker pretty much ran through all three teams and I just couldn’t get into this match at all.

 

SNL Cast Members Backstage Part 2

This is only slightly better than the last time these two were on the screen and that is due to EC3 just standing there and looking at them. Then when Titus wanted a picture, he continued to stand in the background without moving a muscle. No Way Jose did a drive by with his conga line and there was nothing to this segment outside of EC3’s commitment to standing in place.

 

Charlotte Flair Backstage

Charlotte really towered over Charly and it was very noticeable compared to other weeks. I enjoyed this interview here and she really sold her cockiness heading into her match with Becky at Fastlane. She has really embraced this new wrinkle to her character and it is for the better.

 

Dean & Seth Backstage

It was Seth’s turn to try and talk Dean into reuniting the Shield and Dean stood there and listened to what he had to say. Dean listened but still was unwilling to reunite with Seth and Roman. I love that you could see Dean take in what Seth had to say but it wasn’t changing his mind.

 

Dean Ambrose vs Elias

Elias has desperately needed something to do because he has been floundering over the last few months. I loved the way he took down Philadelphia and even had Corey Graves believing in his words for a change. The match itself was pretty good and probably Elias’ best match in some time. There was plenty of back and forth in the match and it looked like Dean would pick up the win, but Elias won with the Drift Away.

 

The Shield Reunite?

I had to break up this from the match because so much was told in this post-match segment to be given its own grade. I love that Seth and Roman came down to console Dean, but he still isn’t having any of it. Then Baron, McIntyre and Lashley came down to the ring to attack Roman and Seth and all eyes were on Dean to see if he would help out his former Shield brothers. Seth and Roman held their own for a bit but the numbers game was too much for them. That was until Dean finally decided to go help Seth and Roman and the three cleared the ring. Roman held out his fist, then was joined by Seth and then Dean complete the Shield fist and the three are reunited for one final time. If Dean is indeed leaving after Wrestlemania, it only makes sense to give us the Shield one final time.

 

Tamina vs Sasha Banks

What surprised me about this match was that Tamina came out to her own theme and not Nia’s and Tamina looked pretty good in the ring. Tamina hasn’t had much of a chance to shine on her own so it was good to see her in the ring with someone as good as Sasha. Fairly good match with Tamina playing the role of trying to use her size and power against the speed of Sasha. The biggest surprise was that Tamina actually picked up the win here because it seems like that never happens.

 

SNL Cast Members Backstage Part 3

This was a running theme throughout the night and this was just as forgettable as all the other ones. The whole asking Braun “if wrestling is real” came off forced and the whole thing was just a big “skip!” to me. No idea why they decided the go-home episode was the time for this, but it certainly wasn’t needed.

 

Ricochet & Aleister Black vs The Revival

It has been said by anyone who see Ricochet in the ring, but that man moves ever so smoothly in the ring and makes it look effortless. I had wondered if Olympic Glory (Roode & Gable) would get involved somehow in this match because they have been watching Ricochet and Black’s previous matches backstage in recent weeks. That would end up coming true as they came down to the ring during the match. The match itself was a lot of fun and I wish it was given more time. I think if these two teams were given 15-20 minutes, they could put on a stellar match. As I said, Olympic Glory came down to the ring during the match and they attacked the Revival, so they could retain the tag titles. This obviously was done because they want those titles back before a new team can claim them. Roode and Gable came off very heelish here and I wonder if this may lead to the long-awaited heel turn we have wanted for Roode.

 

Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair and Stephanie McMahon In-Ring

I had wondered why they started this segment with so much time left but that would all be made clear in a few minutes. Becky signed the agreement, so she could get a shot at the title and Charlotte just relished at the thought of taking on an injured Becky Lynch. It looked like that was the end of it until it was shown that Ronda was quickly walking into the arena and she looked like she wasn’t there for fun and games. Ronda came out to the ring and demanded her title back because she said she just wanted Becky in the match, not to have her title stripped. Stephanie gave her back the title and then Ronda went off on the WWE Universe and effectively turned heel. Well she went heel but she sped through her lines so quickly that it wasn’t as effective as it should have been. She made up for that by attacking Charlotte and Becky and giving Becky a beating. Charlotte looked to get into the ring but ran off and let Ronda soften up Becky for their match at Fastlane. This is the Ronda Rousey I have wanted from the start and I hope she can pull this heel turn off and be a heel like her Four Horsewomen of MMA stalwart Shayna Baszler.

 

Final Statement

This go-home episode for Fastlane was very hit and miss for me. When it hit, it hit at all the right angles but when it missed, boy did it miss. The highlights for the episode were the segments involving the Shield and the closing segment. The six-man tag match was also another highlight of note as well. The low points were the Natalya/Ruby match, the SNL segments and the whole Heavy Machinery storyline that happened tonight. I would say this was a middle of the road go-home for Raw but not a horrible episode by any means. Make sure to join us this Sunday for a Dignified Discussion for Fastlane and I will see you all next week for another Sovereign Statement.