For the second year in a row Roman Reigns was booked to win the main event at WWE’S Fastlane PPV. For the second year in a row, his win showed how out of touch the company can be with the fans.
Coming into the match the most predictable outcome was a Reigns win. Lesnar and Dean Ambrose, had no recent history with the reigning champion Triple H, so a smart watcher could see this coming. Despite this the hope was for something new and different, namely an Ambrose win. The rest of the PPV had went off relatively well, wins for Kalisto, Kevin Owens and AJ Styles, kept the crowd entertained with sensible storytelling and worthy winners. There were two women matches and a small section with Edge and Christian and the New Day. All very normal for the pre-Wrestlemania show.
The point of the pre-Mania PPV is to set up the storylines and matches for the 6 week series of shows leading up to the main event of the year. Last year Fastlane was arguably even worse, yet we had the spectre of Lesnar with the belt. Now with Triple H as champion, we can all see a Reigns win. Triple H will not be a long term champion, so he is almost certain to drop the belt at Mania. With no Money in the Bank winner, we just have Reigns and Triple H.
Moving forward that leaves a few options. Will there be a public Backlash , that inserts someone into the main event picture. Unfortunately the problem with this is much like the Yes movement. It’s too late and devalues the win from last night. The match itself had a horrible contrived ending. The triple threat was so predictable the crowd lost interest and HHH had to come to the ring at the end to drown out the boos. Ambrose and Reigns had double teamed Lesnar, putting him through two tables at ringside. Unlike the classic triple threat wth Cena and Rollins from last year’s Rumble, Lesnar springing back into the ring, didn’t prolong the match, this was the endgame. Reigns speared him but Lesnar hooked in the camera lock, as Reigns stood up carrying Lesnar, Ambrose came in and hit them both with chairs Here is where the problem lay. Lesnar was beat out of the ring with chair shots, yet Reigns took more and ‘no-sold’ them, spearing Ambrose for the win. The constant effort to make Reigns look strong, actually makes him look weaker. It is only a matter of time before talent start over selling their reactions to Reigns to make a point. Like Shawn Michaels did to Hulk Hogan at Summerslam.
While I had previously championed a heel Roman Reigns, the Cena 2.0 version is now alive and well, meaning older WWE fans have to face the possibility of 10 years of Reigns, like we have had with Cena. The only solution I can see, is a heel Cena turning up and beating Reigns, it really has come to the lesser of two evils and despite myself, Cena is it. Until Aj Styles, Kevin Owens, Fegal Devitt and Nakamura are the big four on top of the roster, we will be living the Cena 2.0 groundhog day.
The one great hope is last year’s Wrestlemania, somehow they pulled it around to put on a satisfying and great show. Hopefully they will do the same this year, however I just can’t see it.