WKPWP - Flagship w/Keller & Powell talking Super Showdown, AEW PPV Preview, WrestleMania line-up, 10 Years of NXT
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It’s the final PPV stop on the Road to WrestleMania with Fast Lane set to determine the #1 contender to the WWE World Title held by Triple H…
WWE Fast Lane PPV Report
February 21, 2016
Live in Cleveland, Ohio
Report by James Caldwell (@JCTorch), PWTorch assistant editor
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Fast Lane PPV Pre-Show
– The scheduled pre-show match is Kalisto vs. Alberto Del Rio in a 2/3 Falls match for the U.S. Title.
– This month’s pre-show panel is Renee Young with Booker T, Jerry Lawler, and Corey Graves. In the social media lounge is Rich Brennan, scheduled to interview A.J. Styles.
– About 20 minutes into the pre-show, Paul Heyman joined the panel to discuss Brock Lesnar’s preparation for the main event #1 contender match to the WWE Title. Heyman got tired of questions about Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns, jumping ahead to Lesnar main-eventing WrestleMania against Triple H. Booker was concerned about Heyman looking ahead to the big money and over-looking tonight’s match. Jerry Lawler, who was sitting next to Heyman, complimented Heyman by calling him a scumbag, then said he agrees with Heyman’s strategy. Time froze as the enemies from 20 years ago acknowledged each other.
– Backstage, Dolph Ziggler was interviewed about facing Kevin Owens for the Intercontinental Title. Ziggler, in his hometown, talked about wanting to win the IC Title so he can go to WrestleMania with a big spotlight on him.
– Time for the pre-show match. Mauro Ranallo was on the call along with JBL and Byron Saxton. Alberto Del Rio was out first, followed by defending U.S. champion Kalisto in a tight PPV-worthy costume.
A — U.S. champion KALISTO vs. ALBERTO DEL RIO — 2/3 Falls match for the U.S. Title
Quick start to the match with each wrestler going for an early decision hoping to get the upper hand. The match spilled out of the ring, where Kalisto whipped Del Rio over the barricade into the timekeeper’s area. Suddenly, Del Rio picked up a chair and smashed Kalisto right in the mid-section. The ref called for the bell for a DQ decision. Del Rio continued to punish Kalisto in-between falls heading to a break.
FALL #1: Kalisto via DQ at 4:31
Back from break, ref John Cone refused to call for the second bell because of Del Rio’s attack. The referee was finally satisfied with Kalisto’s ability to continue, so he allowed the second fall to begin. Del Rio quickly smashed Kalisto in the corner, then nailed his corner foot smash finisher for the pin.
FALL #2: Del Rio at 7:55
Kalisto rolled to the outside trying to recover from Del Rio’s attack as JBL talked up Del Rio’s strategy sacrificing the first fall to win the second and third falls. Kalisto eventually made it back into the ring, where Del Rio smashed him with a clothesline for a nearfall. Del Rio tried to follow with a backbreaker, but Kalisto spun on Del Rio like a top, nailing a DDT for a close two count.
Kalisto wanted a top-rope move, but Del Rio cut him off. Del Rio wanted his corner foot stomp, but Kalisto blocked. Del Rio shook him off, then landed an overhead press facebuster. But, Kalisto rolled out of the ring before Del Rio could pin him. On the floor, Del Rio contemplated using the chair again, but that would cost him the match. Del Rio then hung up Kalisto on the guardrail and delivered his big double foot stomp to Kalisto’s chest, sending Kalisto hard into the floor. The ref started a ten count, Kalisto showed life at eight, and he dove back into the ring at nine.
The match continued with Del Rio hanging up Kalisto in the corner again. Del Rio wanted his double foot stomp again, but Kalisto moved just in time. Del Rio sold injuring his knee in the provess. Kalisto capitalized with a quick roll-up pin, and it was good for a surprise three count. On commentary, JBL said he has to admit that Kalisto might have Del Rio’s number in this match-up.
WINNER: Kalisto 2-1 at 15:02 to retain the U.S. Title. Nice win for Kalisto while protecting Del Rio, who only lost two falls because he got himself DQ’ed and lost via roll-up. Solid opener. (***)
Social Media Lounge: Rich Brennan was standing by with A.J. Styles for a Q&A. Decent questions from Twitter folks. Styles talked about starting his legacy in WWE, being inspired by NFL great Barry Sanders and Sting pre-wrestling, and coming to the “major leagues” of WWE after being in the “minor leagues” and Japan.
Pre-Show Panel: Jerry Lawler “ate his words” from a red Solo cup after picking Del Rio to beat Kalisto. Renee wrapped up the pre-show by noting the Vince McMahon, Sr. Award on Raw tomorrow night, plus the three-way #1 contender match on Fast Lane tonight.
Fast Lane Main PPV Line-up
- Main Event: Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar vs. Dean Ambrose in a three-way #1 contender match to the WWE World Title.
- A.J. Styles vs. Chris Jericho III
- IC Title match: Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler.
- The Wyatts (Erick Rowan & Luke Harper & Braun Strowman w/Bray Wyatt) vs. Ryback & Kane & Big Show in a six-man tag match.
- Divas Title match: Charlotte (w/Ric Flair) vs. Brie Bella.
- Sasha Banks & Becky Lynch vs. Tamina & Naomi.
- Cutting Edge Peep Show segment: Edge & Christian with special guests WWE tag champions New Day (Big E. & Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods)
- Announce Team: Michael Cole, Byron Saxton, and JBL
The February PPV opened with a video package documenting the Road to WrestleMania, focusing on Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns vs. Dean Ambrose to determine who faces Triple H for the WWE Title at WrestleMania.
In the arena, full pyro and fireworks kicked off the broadcast. Sasha Banks’s music opened the show, then Becky Lynch was introduced as her tag partner. The Divas tag match is being tasked with “setting the tone” for the night. After a review of Sasha and Banks having a tense alliance, Team B.A.D.’s Tamina and Naomi were introduced as the opposition.
1 — SASHA BANKS & BECKY LYNCH vs. TEAM B.A.D. (NAOMI & TAMINA)
The match started with a few words from the Spanish and German announce teams also positioned at ringside. Becky wanted to start the match, but Sasha decided she wanted to start the match. They argued, allowing Team B.A.D. to get the early upper hand. Becky and Sasha regrouped on the outside and took control, but Naomi smashed Becky stomach-first across the ringpost to cut her off.
Team B.A.D. worked over Becky for a while back in the ring, including Naomi jumped to the other side of the ring to smash Sasha to prevent a tag. Becky finally made a tag to Sasha, exciting the crowd. Sasha had Naomi in the Bank Statement, but Tamina yanked Sasha out of the ring. Chaos broke out, then Sasha trapped Tamina in a Crossface. Naomi tried to break it up, but Becky grabbed her in-time to apply Dis-Arm-Her. Tamina had to tap out to Sasha. Afterward, Becky and Sasha showed unity.
WINNERS: Sasha & Becky via submission at 9:50. Solid start to the show with good energy and the crowd firmly behind Sasha and Becky. (**1/2)
WM32 Video: The biggest event of the year comes to AT&T Stadium in Texas in April.
Ringside: Machine Gun Kelly was down at ringside, apparently recovered from Kevin Owens powerbombing him off the stage a while ago.
In-ring: Lilian Garcia introduced the next title match of the show – for the Intercontinental Title. On cue, Kevin Owens was introduced first as the defending IC champion. Dolph Ziggler was introduced next in his hometown, but from Hollywood, Florida in a bit of a LeBron James moment.
2 — IC champion KEVIN OWENS vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER — Intercontinental Title match
The crowd was hot early on as Owens took control. The crowd broke into a loud “Let’s Go Ziggler / Fight Owens Fight” chant, which Owens used to taunt Ziggler about his hometown crowd appearing to be more into him than Ziggler. Owens continued to just punish Ziggler with high-impact offense, with Ziggler not having much offense early on.
Owens finally lost control airballing a corner attack, causing Owens to go flying into the ringpost, then spilling to the floor. Owens sold a shoulder injury, then made it back into the ring before a ten count. Ziggler capitalized with four consecutive elbow drops to the chest, but Owens kicked out of a pin attempt. Owens responded with a big cannonball splash in the corner, but Ziggler kicked out of a pin.
Reset at 10:00, then Ziggler blocked a pop-up powerbomb with a swift kick. Ziggler followed with a snap DDT for a two count. Ziggler wanted a top-rope move, but Owens blocked and nailed his cradle suplex driver for another nearfall. Ziggler rolled to the floor to recover, then surprised Owens with a superkick when The Champ tried to follow up.
Back in the ring, Owens blocked Zig-Zag, then nailed a superkick to the face. Both men collapsed to the mat selling the effects of the match. Owens was the first one to his feet and staggered toward Ziggler, who suddenly went HBK on him springing to his feet and nailing a superkick for a two count. Owens rolled to the floor again, Ziggler followed out, and Ziggler sent Owens head-first into the ring steps with a head scissors.
Back in the ring, Ziggler sprung on Owens with the Fameasser, but Owens kicked out again. Another reset, then Ziggler went all-out Shawn Michaels tuning up the band, but Owens ducked a superkick and kind of moved the referee into the way, throwing off Ziggler. Owens smashed Ziggler into the mat with a pop-up powerbomb, then got the pin and the win.
Post-match, Owens rolled out of the ring and threw down the IC Title belt in front of Michael Cole. Cole congratulated him on being the champ, then Owens walked away satisfied with his victory. On the way out, Owens ripped away a pro-Ziggler sign and proclaimed himself the champ.
WINNER: Owens at 15:10 to retain the IC Title. Very good PPV match. The crowd was definitely more into the heel champ Owens than Ziggler, since Ziggler has essentially become a non-threat gatekeeper for the NXT guys to come through and make a name for themselves. Owens is being built for something big at WrestleMania. (***1/2)
Backstage: Andre Shot on Big Show, who rubbed his fists and talked about the law of the jungle. Ryback walked into the shot to echo Big Show’s thoughts. Kane walked into the shot and vowed to end The Wyatts. The match is next.
In-ring: Bray Wyatt’s music played to bring out Bray and his henchmen for the big six-man tag match. No pre-match promo. Big Show was introduced first for the face trio in jolly green giant mode. Meanwhile, Braun Strowman successfully completed his basic assignment removing Byron Saxton’s announce chair so that Bray could sit and watch the match. Ryback was out next for the face trio, followed by Kane with full pyro. JBL said this is going be ugly (but fun) to watch.
3 — THE WYATTS (BRAUN STROWMAN & ERICK ROWAN & LUKE HARPER w/Bray Wyatt) vs. BIG SHOW & KANE & RYBACK — six-man tag match
Ryback started against Rowan, delivering a dropkick that brought in Big Show to manhandle Rowan. Show ripped open Rowan’s jumper suit with a chop, then landed another chop to Rowan’s exposed skin. Ryback tagged back in and lost control of the match. Strowman tagged in, grunted, and landed rudimentary offense. Show played cheerleader for Ryback, who eventually tagged out to Kane. The Wyatts cut off Kane, though, and isolated him in their corner.
Ryback took a tag and went nuts on the Wyatts with power offense as Cole mustered enthusiasm for the sequence of events. Chaos broke out, bringing in all of the big men. Suddenly, Show hoisted Harper into the air and powerlifted him over the top rope onto the heels down at ringside, exciting the crowd. Show then ran around the ring to tackle Strowman to the floor.
Back in the ring, Ryback smashed Harper with the Meathook clothesline. Bray distracted Ryback, though, allowing Harper to kick Ryback. Harper wanted a big powerbomb, but Ryback blocked and lifted Harper into the air for Shell-Shock. Ryback did not execute it properly, sending Harper elbow-first into the mat. Ryback covered Harper, who sold an arm injury as he took the pin.
WINNERS: Ryback & Show & Kane at 10:37. Clunky start and better ending. Where does this leave the Wyatts heading into WrestleMania? Another promo/sneak-attack trying to save face after another big loss? Overall, an interesting result since the Wyatts were the betting favorites going into Sunday and through to the start of the PPV. (**1/4)
Tomorrow Night: The Vince McMahon, Sr. Award is handed out. The voice-over man said it will be an “emotional Raw” tomorrow.
Backstage: Roman Reigns was interviewed by Jo-Jo. The crowd was mixed in their first look at Reigns. Reigns said nothing will be the same after tonight. Dean Ambrose entered the shot and said one of them will be hitchhiking on the way to WrestleMania. Reigns cocked his fist and told his brother that he has to get past this tonight. Jo-Jo brought up Brock Lesnar as another obstacle in their way. Ambrose said Lesnar is absolutely not winning this match tonight. His crystal ball forecasts one of them. “Believe that,” Reigns said to boos in the audience.
Video Package: Divas Title feud between Charlotte and Brie Bella, with Daniel Bryan a supporting player as Brie’s retired husband.
In-ring: Brie Bella was introduced to the ring dressed in Daniel Bryan-inspired gear. Charlotte was out next with Ric Flair for her latest title defense.
4 — Divas champion CHARLOTTE (w/Ric Flair) vs. BRIE BELLA — Divas Title match
Charlotte asserted herself early on as the domineering champion. Brie finally got an opening, but Charlotte smashed her to the floor. Charlotte mockingly did “Yes!” chants to get booed, then she continued to punish Brie back in the ring. Brie finally found an opening to land offense and engage the crowd with Bryan-inspired offense. But, Brie sold injuring her knee on one of Bryan’s moves. She then landed Bryan’s Yes! kicks for a nearfall.
During this, referee Rudy Charles pulled out gloves to tend to Charlotte, who had a cut on her nose. Brie tried to continue the attack with the Yes! Lock, which drew in Ric Flair. Flair flipped out at ringside as Brie transitioned to a single-leg crab right in front of Ric. Charlotte fought the hold, then flipped Brie into the ropes. Charlotte immediately applied the figure-eight leglock and Brie was forced to tap out, sending Flair into celebration mode.
WINNER: Charlotte via submission at 12:30. Like Owens-Ziggler, another match where the audience didn’t really buy the babyface challenger having a shot to win. They went to a decent false finish with the single-leg crab in front of Flair, which got the crowd for a moment. But, overall, there was never really a sense of Charlotte in jeopardy. (**)
WM32 Teaser: Cole and Co. noted tonight is the final PPV stop on the Road to WrestleMania.
Video Package: A.J. Styles vs. Chris Jericho III. The video documented Styles’s first month in WWE going back to his Royal Rumble debut.
Backstage: Chris Jericho was shown walking down the hallway. Jericho was stopped by Jo-Jo, who asked Jericho about facing A.J. Styles again tonight. Jericho said he almost feels sorry for Styles, whose career might be derailed if he loses to him a second time. Jericho said Styles’s fate is in his hands, and he is the best in the world at what he does. Jericho said they’ll find out just how good/great/phenomenal Styles is.
In-ring: A.J. Styles’s theme played to a strong reaction. Out came Styles posing on the stage before marching down to the ring with a lot of energy. Styles posed in the ring before Chris Jericho’s theme played. Countdown clock, pyro, and light-up jacket entrance for Jericho.
5 — A.J. STYLES vs. CHRIS JERICHO — Match #3 in 1-1 Series
Back-and-forth start, prompting a loud dueling chant of “A-J-Styles/Y-2-J.” Jericho tried to outsmart Styles early on as the WWE veteran wrestler. JBL introduced a Japanese flavor to the match, saying this would be like big names from All Japan and New Japan competing against each other. Styles then dumped Jericho to the floor and went for a plancha, but Jericho intercepted with a kick to the mid-section. On commentary, JBL rolled through his story without reacting to the big sequence on the floor.
Back in the ring, Styles fought back as the crowd picked up another loud dueling chant. Styles then forearm-smashed Jericho in the corner. It was clear he was about to set up for his springboard back flip reverse DDT, but Jericho was too far away, so he improvised with a slight reverse DDT. “Wow!” Cole exclaimed. Styles then teased the Clash, but Jericho blocked.
At 10:00, Jericho took Styles to the corner looking for a superplex as the crowd picked up another dueling chant. Styles slipped underneath Jericho, though, and forearmed him in the face. Styles then went for a springboard move, but Jericho blocked with a springboard dropkick of his own, sending Styles face-first into the mat. Jericho covered for a two count.
At 12:00, Styles took Jericho to the corner and nailed him with a Pele kick to the head. Styles then climbed up top and wanted a huracanrana, but Jericho blocked, nearly dropped Styles on his neck, and recovered to transition into the Walls of Jericho in the middle of the ring. Styles fought the hold, but climbed across the ring and grabbed the bottom rope for a break.
Jericho quickly entered heel mode viciously attacking Styles, including swinging him wildly off the ring apron into the barricade. Styles was slow to get back to his feet, so Jericho dropped him on the floor and put him in the Liontamer. Jericho returned to the ring looking for a count-out victory, but Styles made it back in at nine. Jericho immediately capitalized with the Codebreaker, but Styles’s arm was under the bottom rope for a break.
At 15:00, Jericho cursed Styles, then piefaced him in the corner. The crowd picked up a loud chant for Styles, who continued to fight back with forearms, punches, and kicks. But, Jericho caught him with a butterfly suplex attempt, only to have Styles counter into the Styles Clash. The crowd popped for Styles’s finisher on a big stage, but Jericho kicked out of the pin. Styles immediately went to the Calf Crusher in the middle of the ring. Jericho teased tapping out, Styles cranked the hold, and Jericho was forced to tap out.
WINNER: Styles via submission at 16:25. There were very high expectations for this match and a few slip-ups on big spots probably hurt the match in the eyes of the audience. But, they had a very strong finish with Jericho going vicious heel setting up Styles’s comeback for the win. Very good, clear story to this match helped, as well as the crowd into Styles throughout. (***1/2)
Post-match, the announcers talked about Styles being for real and impressive taking two-out-of-three from Jericho. Styles celebrated as Saxton relayed Styles’s recent quotes about betting on himself making a name for himself before coming to WWE. Styles posed around the ring with WWE getting the WM32 sign in the background. Who will he face?
Suddenly, Jericho was back in the ring. Jericho yanked Styles off the top rope and stared him down. Jericho cocked his fist, then Styles challenged him to go again. Jericho eventually dropped his fist, then extended his hand. Styles asked the crowd, then Styles shook Jericho’s hand. They held the handshake for a while in the ring as Styles’s music played. Jericho left the ring after patting Styles on the back.
[“Intermission” at the Pre-Show Panel.]
Announcers: Cole and Co. killed some time for the production crew to set up the Cutting Edge Peep Show by going to a video package on New Day.
Cutting Edge Peep Show
In-ring: Edge and Christian were re-introduced on WWE TV. Suddenly, Tony Chimel was on the mic to introduce the “Rated-R Suuuperstar” Edge and Christian. E&C entered the Cutting Edge Peep Show set to do some “shameless self-promotion” before bringing out the New Day. They plugged their show premiering tonight after the PPV on WWE Network. Edge said it’s time to get serious, which led to a Lance Storm name-drop.
Edge said it’s nice to be home back in this ring. Christian said the thing is the first-ever Tag Team Ladder match took place in this ring…in this arena…where they received their very first standing ovation. Suddenly, Big E.’s voice interrupted to bring out WWE tag champions New Day. The crowd told the champs they suck, prompting Big E. to mockingly tell them to pipe down. Big E. answered Christian’s speech that “no one cares” about the old when the New Day is here.
New Day walked past a “New Day is Sawft” sign before entering the ring. Xavier Woods, with his trombone, started a rap battle with Christian, who wanted to talk about New Day’s history. Edge noted the crowd was indifferent to them early in their run, then it seems like they suddenly started watching every Edge & Christian promo from the ’90s, started ripping local sports teams, and became entertaining. Big E. said they are not like that, definitely not rip-offs, even though they could note that LeBooty James will NEVER bring a title to Cleveland.
Kofi said they are not rip-offs of Edge & Christian, they are better! What about The Ascension? Better. Dudleys? Better. The Usos? Better. The League of Nations? Definitely better. Edge and Christian said that’s very funny because the League doesn’t think highly of New Day. Xavier said League of Nations is hot garbage. He said they would talk all this crap to their faces, but they’re not here. Apparently they forgot Del Rio wrestled on the pre-show.
League of Nations’s generic music played to that indifferent reaction Edge mentioned earlier. Sheamus marched down to the ring talking a big game to Xavier, then everyone stood around in the ring yelling at each other. Xavier said they would like to engage in a fight with them, but it’s Sunday – the day of rest. So, New Day is going to turn the other cheek. Big E. waved his booty toward League of Nations, then Edge wondered where they’re going. Edge said King Barrett hasn’t even had a chance to look menacing at anyone. Barrett said he’ll threw a Bullhammer at them. Edge said they can’t touch them.
Del Rio went back to five years ago when he forced Edge to retire. Edge said somehow he’s been able to accomplish more in the ring in those five years than Del Rio has. Del Rio had to be restrained, then Christian said he gets a bad vibe from these guys. He left with Edge, then both men stood on the stage with New Day. Edge told the crowd to get flash photography on the International House of Dumbasses. New Day, now on Edge & Christian’s side?, popped for the dig. They danced to their song as the segment ended.
[ Reax: What…in…the…world? None of this made any sense from a character alignment perspective. And everyone just stood around talking to each other with no physicality. Edge & Christian did the best they could with the material, but this segment was … booty. ]
The “third hour of Raw” continued with the Social Outcasts coming out for another downer segment. Their audio cut in and out of the Network feed, saving viewers from another miserable two minutes of verbal junk. R-Truth then interrupted and came out to face Curtis Axel. Why is this match on a PPV?
6 — R-TRUTH vs. CURTIS AXEL (w/Heath Slater, Adam Rose, and Bo Dallas)
The audio continued to cut in and out of the Network feed, sounding like something from a 1997 audio file. The Social Outcasts did a victory lap after Axel landed a move, so Goldust came down looking to help out Truth. But, Goldust’s presence distracted Truth, who was rolled up from behind. Afterward, Goldust sold frustration with himself over costing Cody Rhodes … er… R-Truth his match.
WINNER: Axel at 2:23. No reason why this needed to be on the PPV, especially repeating the same Goldust/Cody Rhodes storyline from a few years ago. The PPV has gone off the rails, like a third hour of Raw.
Video Package: Raw kicks off with the Vince McMahon, Sr. award. The audio feed was completely off with the announcers shown down at ringside talking while the audio was still on the video package.
Video Package: Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns vs. Dean Ambrose in the #1 contender match for the WWE World Title.
In-ring: Dean Ambrose was introduced to the ring first for the main event. After a pause, The Shield’s music played to mainly boos. Roman Reigns emerged in the arena and walked down a flight of stairs to ringside knocking fists with fans. By contrast, Brock Lesnar’s music played to a big reaction. Lesnar emerged with Paul Heyman and marched down to the ring with eyes locked on Reigns and Ambrose.
Lilian Garcia handled formal ring introductions. Dean, introduced from Cincinnati, Ohio, got about a 75 percent positive reaction since they’re in Ohio, but in Cleveland. Reigns was nearly-universally booed. Paul Heyman then took the mic to cheers and introduced Lesnar as the “Cleveland Conqueror of the Triple Threat.” It’s main event time.
7 — BROCK LESNAR (w/Paul Heyman) vs. ROMAN REIGNS vs. DEAN AMBROSE — #1 contender match to the WWE Title
As soon as the bell sounded, Lesnar charged Ambrose and dumped him out of the ring. Lesnar then ducked a punch from Reigns and dropped Reigns with a German Suplex, popping the crowd. Another suplex to Reigns, but Ambrose suddenly flew at Lesnar with a dropkick to the back. Lesnar was stunned, but then tossed Ambrose and went back to suplexing Reigns. Lesnar wanted an early F5, and he connected. But, Ambrose broke up a pin. Lesnar got up, smiled, took a slap from Ambrose, and then punished Ambrose. Suplex City for Ambrose.
Lesnar picked up Ambrose looking for a big F5, but Reigns came out of nowhere with a big spear to Lesnar. Reigns covered Lesnar, but Lesnar kicked out. Reigns then cocked his fist for a Superman Punch to big boos, and he connected on Lesnar. But, Lesnar rolled out of the ring to avoid getting pinned. Reigns followed up on the outside, where Lesnar caught Reigns looking for a big F5, but Ambrose low-blowed Lesnar from behind. Ambrose and Reigns had a good laugh at Lesnar’s turn of events.
Suddenly, Ambrose started clearing announce tables. Reigns and Ambrose measured Lesnar for an old-school Shield Powerbomb, and Reigns sent him through the Spanish announce table. Lesnar sold being knocked out as Reigns and Ambrose surveyed their work. After they took a good, long look at the carnage, Ambrose suddenly attacked Reigns. The two friends brawled into the ring, where Ambrose landed consecutive moves. Ambrose then went to the top turnbuckle for a leaping elbow for a close two count.
Reset at 9:00. Ambrose wanted a neckbreaker, but Reigns blocked and punched Dean in the face. Ambrose responded with a punch. Boo/Yay. Boo/Yay. Ambrose then walked into a big boot, but rebounded into a big lariat. Both men sold on the mat … and Brock Lesnar was alive in the background. Lesnar started to pull himself together as Dean and Roman took notice.
Dean left the ring and attacked Lesnar before Roman joined him. The Shield brothers threw Lesnar into the barricade, then Ambrose cleared the English announce table. Dean and Reigns set up for a second Shield Powerbomb, and Lesnar went through the second announce table, knocking down two out of three tables in a row. Lesnar sold the effects, then Dean and Reigns tried to “bury” Lesnar underneath a pile of announce table scraps.
Suddenly, Reigns popped Dean in the mouth and they took their fight into the ring as Heyman tried to administer care to his client. In the ring, Reigns teased a powerbomb, but Ambrose blocked by trapping himself in the corner. Ambrose tried a leaping attack from the middle rope, but Reigns intercepted with a Superman Punch. Reigns wanted the big spear to end Ambrose, but Ambrose kneed him in the head, then posted Reigns. Ambrose hit Dirty Deeds, prompting Cole to declare it’s going to be “Ambrose and Triple H,” which meant it was not, and Reigns kicked out.
Ambrose got up at 14:30 and pointed to the WM32 sign. Reigns suddenly hoisted Ambrose into the air, though. Only, Brock Lesnar came out of nowhere to grab both men and deliver a double German Suplex to Reigns and Ambrose, clearing the ring. Ambrose found himself out of the equation, then Reigns suddenly came back into the picture with a big spear to Lesnar. But, Lesnar snatched Reigns with a kimura lock in the middle of the ring. Reigns fought the hold as Lesnar wrenched on the submission. Suddenly, Reigns hoisted Lesnar into the air, and Dean jumped into the ring with a chair. Dean smashed Lesnar repeatedly in the back, then he smashed Reigns across the back with the chair. More chair shots to Brock, sending him out of the ring. Dean then turned around to take a big spear from Reigns, who covered Dean and pinned him for a three count.
The immediate reaction was shouts of exclamation from women and children, followed by loud boos from the males. WWE panned the crowd looking for reactions, which produced thumbs downs. After a replay of the finish, WWE cut back to Reigns smiling as he recovered in the ring. Loud boos were heard over Reigns’s music. Fireworks shot off as Cole said the “celebration is underway.”
WINNER: Reigns at 16:49 to become #1 contender to the WWE Title. WWE played into one of the top reasons why the audience is so against Reigns in this role – the Super Cena booking of surviving the kimura lock and taking five chair shots, then immediately hitting the spear to pin Ambrose. It’s tone-deaf booking that points to WWE just pushing forward with the same approach to Reigns on the Road to WrestleMania. There’s no sense of adjusting the presentation for a non-main-eventer masquerading in a main event role trying to put 100,000 people inside AT&T Stadium. The match itself was WWE main event-style roller-coasting with ups-and-downs and twists and turns playing off the TV, but it was inevitable Reigns was winning, taking some of the steam out of the match. (***1/2)
Triple H’s music then played to bring out WWE champion Triple H dressed in a suit. Hunter came out on-stage with the WWE Title belt over his shoulder. Hunter then walked into the ring as Cole wondered if this is what Triple H wanted all along so that he can get his hands on Reigns. Then, who is the heel and face in this equation? Cole, the corporate noise, said he cannot wait for this match at WrestleMania. The PPV signed off at 10:49 with Hunter and Reigns staring at each other with the WM32 sign hanging in the background.
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