McNEILL’s Slow Blog In the Fastlane!

By Pat McNeill, PWTorch columnist


SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

We are LIVE at the McNeill North American Command Center for this on-demand blog of Fastlane 2016 on the WWE Network.

Another dollar, another 13-hour shift, then another WWE pay-per-view.  We have to stop meeting like this.

Welcome to myyyyyy house.  I’m sick of thiiiiis song.

Mauro Ranallo is on play-by-play for the Kickoff show match!  What in Megan Kelly’s America is happening here?  JBL calls him “Mario.”  Mauro calls Byron Saxton “omnipresent.”  That’s a nice way to put it, Mauro.

I like Mauro, but I can picture him taking hits of pure oxygen after he finishes each paragraph.  Kalisto vs. Alberto Del Rio.  Alberto makes a spinning motion with his figure after his introduction, which is the way I usually feel about Alberto’s matches.  I like Del Rio’s new haircut, though.

JBL calls this a David and Goliath match-up.  He takes the scenic route to get there.  Del Rio is mocking the Daniel Bryan “Yes!” chant.  Mauro references the Drake-McMillan feud and, no, I have no idea why a rapper would be feuding with the late Rock Hudson’s TV character.

The announcers are talking about the “hubris” of Alberto Del Rio.  Seriously, am I on Earth-2?  And if I am, is Trump about to win the White House here,too?

Del Rio whacks Kalisto with a chair.  The champ wins the first fall by DQ, and Del Rio uses the between falls interval to beat the crap out of Kalisto.  Commercial break.

“I’m Triple H’s dad, Quadruple H.”  Somebody’s stealing Bruce Mitchell’s old material.  And seriously, you think people who haven’t bought WWE Network are going to be swayed by clips of wrestlers riding around in cars?

We’re back from break, and Del Rio puts Kalisto down with a double stomp to even things up at one fall each.  Good strategy.  JBL puts over that Del Rio knows all about two out of three falls matches. How has Kalisto not heard about two out of three falls matches?  I blame our public education system.

Kalisto uses a power-up and is back to full strength for the third fall.  Mauro is calling moves by their proper names.  This is going to take some getting used to.  Del Rio hits an…um…dragon superplex, but that’s not the finish.  El Patron follows up with a double stomp on the barricades.  The title can change hands on a count-out.  Um, since when?  Kalisto beats the count.

Del Rio misses another double stomp, and Kalisto wins with a roll-up.  Okay, if you’re going to have a two out of three falls match end in 20 minutes, why don’t you just do on television?

Oh, wait, this IS television.  More or less.

Joey Styles Junior is standing by in the Social Media Lounge with his cousin, A.J. Styles.  They’re taking Twitter questions.  The first question is from me.  A.J., what’s with the hair?  Have you been too busy to swing by Great Clips, or is that the look you’re going for?  Styles lists his inspirations as Barry Sanders and Sting.  I can imagine Mr. McMahon’s face when he hears this.  A.J. does put WWE over strong, though.

I’d listen to commentary from our Great Great Great American Panel, but life is too short.  Let’s cut to the main card.

Stay tuned for “Edge & Christian’s Wayback Playback Show,” immediately following Fastlane on the WWE Network.

Remember, when we took all this video of Eva Marie in her track suit, we thought she’d have cracked the main roster by now.

Tapout presents Life In The Fast Lane.  R.I.P. Glenn Frey, you belong to the city.

The show opens with Sasha Banks & Steampunk Red against Team B.A.D. (Beautiful & Dull).  Oh, good, Michael Cole is announcing the main show.  I was worried I wouldn’t have any material.  Three nights ago on Smackdown, Sasha and Becky had a heavily scripted bonding session.

Cut to the Spanish announce table.  I translated this bit on Babelfish, and they’re talking about how thrilled they are that Mr. McMahon doesn’t understand Spanish.

Earlier today, on the WWE Facebook page, Naomi & Tamina interviewed themselves while Jo-Jo held the microphone for them.  Sasha ain’t no boss of us.  Unity!   

Cut to the German announcers.  I translated this, too, but it didn’t make much sense.  Something about there being no Syrian refugees in Cleveland.

Sasha and Becky do their bickering tag team act.  It feels like 1997 all over again, except with women who can work.  Becky hits Naomi with the Becksploder (trademarked by JBL.  Good one, by the way.).  The Bad girls drop Lynch over the top turnbuckle and take charge.

JBL tells Byron Saxton he’s the Christian Laettner of the group.  Actually, Saxton is the Tim Tebow of the group.  Which is still better than being, say, the Johnny Manziel of the group.  They need to keep talking, because when they don’t, you can hear Naomi calling spots.  Becky and Sasha take some bumps.  Finally, Sasha gets the hot tag, Naomi gets posted, but that’s not the win.  Naomi hits the Rear View, but that’s not the pin.  Becky’s missile dropkick and Sasha’s Bank Statement finish off Tamina.  Good enough.

Oh, good.  Skinny White Rapper is at ringside.

Let us take you back to Raw, where Kevin Owens pinned Tyler Breeze to win the Intercontinental Title.  The reason we mention it now is because the I/C Title match is on second.

Owens vs. Ziggler.  It sounds like Owens is looking past Dolph Ziggler toward WrestleMania.  I wonder why?

This is about what you’d expect.  Owens gets physical.  Dolph looks flashy and knows how to bump.  Ziggler sells a shoulder into the buckle and Big Kev goes to work.  Then Owens missed a charge into the corner and sells his shoulder.  Irony is the worst.

Don’t worry, Owens goes back at offense, and yells at Saxton.  Owens hits a superbomb.  They trade superkicks.  This is some hard-hitting stuff, which I’d be enjoying more if I had, say, skipped Raw and Smackdown last week.  Owens gets to kick out of the Fameasser, uses the ref as a human shield, then surprises Dolph with the pop-up powerbomb.  Really good stuff.  Now Styles and Jericho can try to top it later.

WWE is forcing its wrestlers to wear Tapout gear.  But you get the chance to wear it voluntarily!

Backstage, Big Show, Ryback, and Kane fire themselves up for our next match.  Cole explains that the Wyatts are the new guys.  I guess Braun Strowman’s new.  Video package where Bray Wyatt calls himself the King of the Gods.

Big Show/Kane/Ryback vs. Harper/Rowan/Strowman.  The Wyatts enter first.  As the good guys enter, Braun Strowman commandeers Byron Saxton’s chair and gives it to Bray Wyatt.  Eh.  How much worse could Bray do?

Ryback starts the match, and winds up getting the heat from all three Wyatts.  Well, Ryback is the runt of the group.  It’s not like Kane can play Ricky Morton here.  JBL points out that Kane & Big Show were once tag team champions together.  Yes, that was truly the Renaissance Era of tag team wrestling.  Layfield then declares Strowman a cross between Jeep Swenson & Bill Kazmaier.  That’s, um, high praise.

Show finally gets into the ring, throws some neckbeards around, and does a running shoulderblock into Strowman.  Ryback does the Shellshock to Harper and pins Luke.  That’s a happy ending.

On Raw, someone’s getting a Major Award from WWE.

Jo-Jo interviews Roman Reigns.  We need more short women doing wrestling interviews.  Dean Ambrose interrupts to remind Roman that he’s in the main event, too.  They both pledge that Lesnar won’t win.  Poor Brock.  Charlotte vs. Brie Bella is next.

Video package.  With Nikki and Daniel Bryan injured, Brie feels all alone in WWE.  Awwww.  We also get the Charlotte title reign count.  She’s at 153 days already.  Just sayin’.

This is okay.  Saxton talks about Brie watching birds, which opens the door for JBL to call the Bryans “tree huggers.”  Actually, that sounds more like what Daniel Bryan & Bayley would name their mixed gender tag team.

Brie gets some offense in, keeps trying for the Yes! Lock.  She can’t get that move applied, but she does hit a missile dropkick.  I think that’s now a mandatory transition move for all Diva matches.  Brie tweaks her leg on the landing, which allows Charlotte to get out of Brie’s submission hold and win with the Figure Eight.  Charlotte sells her narrow escape while Brie sells crushing disappointment.

Did you know we’re six weeks away from WrestleMania?  Did you know Cena, Orton, and Rollins weren’t shown in that WrestleMania clip.  This year’s going to be different, to say the least.

We’re going to do A.J. Styles vs. Chris Jericho.  Why couldn’t THIS match be two out of three falls?

Jericho wins the ring entrance battle.  We get dueling chants.  Saxton talks about this being a dream match.  Layfield starts free-associating about what it would be like If the All Japan crew from the 1990s came over to wrestle for WWE.  I can only imagine what sort of seizures Mr. McMahon must be having, listening to this.

Jericho slaps Styles.  Styles kicks Jericho in the head.  Saxton calls that a “receipt.”  Okay, time to turn off Byron’s microphone.

Jericho hits the quebrada, locks in the Walls of Jericho, then the Codebreaker.  No joy.  Jericho has a temper tantrum, which buys Styles time for a comeback.  Jericho kicks out of the Styles Clash.  But Y2J can’t escape the calf crusher, and A.J. Styles wins by submission.  This was something.

Jericho comes on like a tough guy, which means, of course, that he’s going to shake A.J.’s hand.  Jericho didn’t turn heel?  Hmmm.

Renee Young checks in with the Retired Wrestlers In Dark Clothing panel, as we recap the U.S. Title.  Unfortunately, Mauro Ranallo does not do the voice-over for the recap.

Time for the Cutting Edge Peep Show.  Recap of Smackdown, where the New Day prepared by…You know what?  Never mind how they prepared.

The ex-champs come out to Edge’s music, because Christian’s music was kind of lame.  Tony Chimel is now Edge’s personal ring announcer.  That makes sense.

“Shameless self-promotion rules.”  Can’t argue with that.  Edge and Christian start reminiscing when the current champs interrupt with their entrance.  After some witty banter, Edge & Christian stir up trouble between The New Day and The League of Boot…I mean, Nations.  Out comes the League.  New Day backs off, literally, heading up the ramp.  Edge & Christian join them.  They mock the League together from the ramp.

That’s right.  New Day’s babyface turn involves them backing down from a fight.  My takeaway from that segment?  I need one of those Run-DMC style New Day shirts.  And I have a birthday coming up.

The Social Ouitcasts are here.  It must be bonus match time!  Who is Curtis Axel’s opponent?

“You need another match?/ Don’t You Have No Fear/When a segment runs short/That’s why R-Truth is here!  What’s up?! (What’s up!)”

It’s R-Truth vs. Axel.  Goldust is at ringside to scout his potential tag team partner.  The other Outcasts are after Goldust, which distracts Truth long enough for Axel to score the fall.  Gee, I don’t think Truth will want to Goldy now.

Are you lazy?  Skip the other parts of WWE Network and go straight to Collections.

Who deserves the Vincent J. McMahon Award?  Obviously, the answer is Titus O’Neil.  Can we get on with the main event?  I mean, I’m almost finished downloading Raw.

I’m guessing this is the video package I missed when I skipped the pre-show.

Brock Lesnar vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Roman Reigns.  Look, I know some of you don’t think Reigns is the franchise player the McMahons think he is, but this should be a hell of a match.  Right?

Ambrose is out first.  We love this guy.  Reigns is second, which means the real star comes out last.  Why do it this way?  Because it would be awkward to have Ambrose and Lesnar fighting before the bell while Reigns is still making his way through the crowd.  If you want to talk about that on social media, use the hashtag #Wrestling101.

If they want this match to end on time, this match can’t go more than 20 minutes.  The three biggest babyfaces on the roster.  Heyman does Lesnar’s ring announcement, and it’s awesome.

JBL has wrestled Lesnar before, and said he’d rather let his ex-wife give him a chemical peel with hydrochloric acid than fight Brock again.  (I’m paraphrasing, of course.)

We’re underway, and it’s Lesnar in a handicap match against the former Shield members.  Lesnar’s winning.  F-5 on Reigns.  Dean makes the save.  Ambrose slaps The Beast in the face.  He’s doing the “I won’t back down” bit that worked for Roman at WrestleMania.

I would have backed down from Lesnar by now, work or no work.  Suplex, suplex, suplex, suplex, suplex.  Reigns saves Dean from an F-5.

Normally, I’d be all in favor of Brock headlining WrestleMania, but I’ve seen Hunter and Brock at WrestleMania before, and it’s nothing to write home about.

Ambrose punches Lesnar in the balls.  Saxton thinks that’s a good strategy.  For once, I’m with Byron.  Reigns and Ambrose powerbomb Brock through the announce table.  Okay, it was mostly Reigns.  Time for Reigns and Ambrose to finish the match before Brock wakes up.

Ambrose attacks Reigns.  The crowd loves this.  Ambrose hits the Terry Funk clothesline on Roman.  And Heyman has almost woken Lesnar.  Reigns and Ambrose head out of the ring and clear off a second announce table.  Another double powerbomb?

Well, I’ll be damned.

Dean and Roman pile all the debris on Brock.  Sooner or later, they’re going to notice the untouched Spanish announce table.  Back into the ring.  Time for Roman to hit his offense.  Superman Punch by Reigns, but Dean comes back.  Dirty Deeds!  Dirty Deeds!

Kickout.  Roman takes charge, but doesn’t see Lesnar coming from behind.  Brock suplexes both men at the same time.  Okay, it’s awesome.  Brock has the kimura on Reigns.  Fortunately, Ambrose is there to hit Brock with a chair.  Chairshots everyone.  Dean chases Brock from the ring, turns around, and gets speared by Roman Reigns.  One, two, three.

Roman Reigns is going to WrestleMania to fight Triple H.  Okay then.  Let’s see what WWE can do with the rest of the card.  Time to watch Raw and get up to date.  I’m not going to look at the spoilers.  I’m not going to look at the spoilers…

…I shouldn’t have looked at the spoilers.

Pat McNeill of Greenville, South Carolina has been a PWTorch columnist since 2001. Listen to him as the host of Wednesday’s PWTorch Livecast!

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