It’s time to take the most useless show on the WWE calendar to the junkyard and stop convoluting stories.
By Michael Melchor, Executive Editor
Can we run Fastlane into the ditch, and leave it there already?
At best, it’s a show of varying quality that no one really gives a damn about. At worst, it’s an unnecessary complication in stories that don’t need it on the “Road to WrestleMania.”
Yes, that’s where the name comes from. See what they did there? What they did is to make a mess where there shouldn’t have been one and create a 10-car pile-up instead of cruising to New York in April.
There couldn’t be a more perfect example than last night. There is absolutely no good reason that Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch should be fighting for the title that they’re already fighting for at WrestleMania that was vacated when Ronda Rousey pitched a fit but then really wasn’t so it became an opportunity for Becky Lynch to be in the match that Charlotte was randomly inserted into despite the fact that Lynch won the Royal Rumble which should have guaranteed her the title shot that may or may not main event the biggest show of the year so now we have a triple threat because Rousey ruined the match and made sure Lynch was in the match that should have been hers in the first place because, Fastlane.
Seriously, why did we have to go through all this just to get to the match everyone wanted to see between Lynch and Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania? Nothing against Charlotte whatsoever – she deserves that spot as well after all she’s done – but the way over complicated way we got there has just as much to do with this filler show than it does someone up top not knowing what they want to do with their characters and stories week-to-week. Pull over to a rest area already and let’s figure out how to do this right.
Looking at the show top-to-bottom, there were so many changes made it felt like a NASCAR pit stop gone horribly wrong. Andrade and Rey were moved from the kickoff show to the US Title match, which became another multi-man mach. Instead, the New Day were slotted on the Kickoff show in an unadvertised match.
Kofi Kingston and the WWE World Championship is another story that could have been an easy win but have hit an oil slick and are now sliding all over the road. Everyone now wants to see Kingston in a top spot because of his recent world-class performances. But instead, we have to have Mr. McMahon come out and continuously screw with him.
So we have a bait-and-switch opportunity that turns into a random handicap match designed to put heat on Kingston that just served to bore fans who’ve already seen this movie. Meanwhile, the advertised Championship match became a triple-threat from out of nowhere just because they said they’d have one to needlessly jerk Kingston around.
The Elimination Chamber is the perfect time to determine a #1 Contender for WrestleMania for whichever brand didn’t win the Rumble. So why have an actual title defense on that show and a whole bunch of swerves and detours leading to WrestleMania?
When McMahon fought with Austin, we understood why – because Austin was anti-authority and McMahon was the ultimate authority. What are McMahon’s views nowadays? To needlessly pick on a guy who’s just gotten noticed that doesn’t conflict with his views at all? Because it worked so well with Austin 20 years ago why not do it again despite the fact that it makes no sense now?
There’s absolutely no reason or motivation to do the same with Kingston, so why even go off the beaten path instead of pulling over and checking the map?
Right. Because, Fastlane.
By the time we get to WrestleMania, all of the momentum leading toward next month is blown out and a lot of stories the fans care about seem to be sitting on the shoulder of the road with a flat tire rather than speeding toward the finish. Or worse, careening into a brick wall.
This pattern of convoluting stories for the sake of building a show that doesn’t even need to exist goes all the walt back to the beginning. The very first Fastlane in 2015 featured a main event of Roman Reigns – who had also won the Royal Rumble that year, thus guaranteeing him a World Title match at WrestleMania – facing Daniel Bryan for a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania 31. That Roman Reigns had already been guaranteed.
None of this has anything to do with the performers themselves. There was some great action last night and everyone in that ring put in a hell of an effort. They’re just as much victims of this “dead man’s curve” form of storytelling as anyone else. Their motivations and story arcs change so fast and so often that they burn out their clutch trying to remember what they want, who they’re mad at and why. And there’s no reason for it other than to just have another pay-per-view on the calendar.
For their sake and ours, it’s time to impound that car and get it off the road. Fastlane 2019 was a pretty good show as far as in-ring action but many of the bigger storylines heading into WrestleMania are still stuck in the mud because of having this roadblock in the way.
A suggestion for WWE: If you really want to speed toward WrestleMania with the momentum of a runaway semi? Have a plan and stick to it. Build your stories over a period of time instead of impatiently changing lanes week in and week out.
And get rid of that giant pothole in the road known as Fastlane. It’s completely unnecessary and all it does is help convolute stories that shouldn’t be convoluted in the first place. Drive this show off a cliff once and for all and give the fans simple, effective stories they can sink their teeth instead of putting your money into this lemon.