Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D and occasional guests write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Sunday, February 21, 2016

WWE Fastlane 2016 Live-ish Blog

1. 2/3 Falls: Alberto Del Rio vs. Kalisto

ER: Wow, the U.S. Title match is on the pre-show?? The main card is filled with such important stuff that the 2/3 falls match just can't squeeze in. That must mean the main card is stacked, right? I really haven't loved how these two have matched up in their previous 19 matches over the last month, but it's possible they'll turn it on when the lights are at their brightest (which is the pre-show of the PPV wedged in between their two important PPVs). But guess what, this completely rules. ADR went after the arm at the bell, Kalisto countered with leg kicks and tried to game him with fast roll-ups, and then ADR awesomely ended the 1st fall by braining Kalisto with a chair after taking a rana into the timekeeper's stall. I loved the psych, like Rude/Steamboat iron man of taking a step back to take a few forward. Right after getting DQ'd ADR just pounced on him and starting tossing him into every barrier, really punishing him before getting the inevitable 2nd fall. ADR hits his double stomp off the barrier into the ground and it looked really good, just stomping right through Kalisto. But Kalisto's little hope spots and headscissors were nice, loved ADR flinging himself into the mat on the short rana, loved him getting spiked on a tornado DDT, loved the snap on ADR's spinning backbreaker, loved little things like Kalisto able to roll to the floor to avoid potential pinfalls, just really thought they clicked in a way that I think has been missing from all of their many prior matches. Finish was cool with ADR setting up Kalisto for the stomp and Kalisto fighting back while on the buckles. It would have looked too ADR just lifting himself into the move) so I loved the direction they took, with him doing a lucha head drag to toss ADR into the buckles and then getting that flash pin he had been trying for early. Really fun stuff here.

2. Sasha Banks & Becky Lynch vs. Naomi & Tamina

ER: Wow Tamina is still really bad. How long has she been on the roster? 5 years? Stunned her last name has allowed her to last this long while still looking this terrible. Watch her whiff on a lariat, then admire her limp chinlock, then admire her awkwardly dragging Lynch away from the ropes to pin her even though Lynch wasn't near the ropes. You also are not shocked that she punches worse than Michael Shane. Everybody else looked really good though, but damn Tamina was in so much of this. Lynch takes a wild bump to the floor, really launching herself off a Tamina throw. I loved how they filmed Lynch trying to tag in Sasha, as at first it looked like Sasha jumped out of the way of the tag, before they revealed that Naomi had yanked her down. Loved the Sasha/Naomi segment as Naomi was great feeding Sasha, and they set up the Rear View perfectly with Sasha chasing Tamina around and back into the ring while Naomi laid in wait. Tamina for her part even hit a nice superkick down the stretch, so even she wasn't an entire waste. I really liked this, thought the ladies who normally looked good, looked good.

3. Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler

ER: Ziggler's hair immediately makes me want to watch him take a stomping. Man what an asshole. Half-mast cornrows. Wow. Either go all the way and have tons of beads, or just turn heel already. This haircut would be majestic on a heel. Imagine Rush showing up at Arena Mexico with this haircut. It would be amazing. But a guy I'm supposed to be backing? Ehhhhhh. Owens does politely grant me my wish right out of the gate, by ambushing Ziggler with a thrust headbutt and commencing the beating. I dig all of Owens' sentons, with that one to a on-all-fours Ziggler being especially mean. Both guys see who can take a bump into the buckles better, and it's a tough call between Ziggler violently running shoulder first into it (looked so painful in slo-mo) or Owens flying into the post and crashing to the floor. Ziggler's comeback is hot and his jumping elbows looked so good. We eventually break down into big moves nearfall territory, but I actually kept digging it the whole way through. Ziggler's HBK tribute act is confusing and strange. But all their shit looked good, and even though Owens seems to have taken some shit online lately I thought he was good here. Crazy that his twisting superplex is not a finisher, but I loved him scrambling behind the ref to dodge the superkick,  dug the rana into the ring steps, loved Owens mocking a fan's "Ohio Hearts Ziggler" sign and ripping it out of his hands postmatch. Yeah this mostly devolved into overkill, but it never really bugged me. Sometimes overkill immediately makes me zone out, and other times it doesn't. I am an inconsistent, infuriating human being. But I liked this. 

4. The Wyatt Family vs. Big Show, Ryback & Kane

ER: If Kane has to be around, I'd rather have him lumped in a 6 man. And Ryback with a nice missile dropkick. That looked really cool. I liked Harper/Ryback (those Harper palm strikes!!!), actually liked Ryback/Braun as Braun looks dangerous in a slightly untrained way, but still threw some really nice kicks to the stomach....but then Kane/Rowan look several miles off during their exchanges. And I just noticed Saxton is just standing there behind the announce desk. What a shithead. There are no other chairs we can get this guy? Is this one of those jackoff punishments because Saxton took the large piece of chicken breast from catering? Ryback's "Big Guy" tights are really embarrassing. That's like something you'd see on a dog sweater, or a newborn baby onesie, or something you'd wear to leather night at the White Swallow. Rowan has the pinfall break-up of the night with a massive splash out of nowhere to crush Ryback, and Big Show does a killer press slam on Harper to the floor. Love press slams and that one was huge. Love Show's running shoulder tackle on Braun too. Even Kane looked good booting Bray, who went down like a shot. Holy shit this got good right before it ended. This is a really fun night of wrestling so far.

ER: What in the hell is this Vince MacMahon Legacy Award for Ultimate Big Dick Excellence nonsense? This can't be legit, right? Is it just something for HHH and Steph to trade wins on every year? I can picture JBL now "Mahgul you're looking at the 7 time Vince MacMahon Excellence of the Universe Award winner, the Game!!"

ER: Wow the WWE Photoshop department deserves HUGE credit for making Ric Flair look like a human being in the Charlotte/Brie pre-match graphic. I mean holy shit they made him look like a god! This is beyond blending in Shawn Michaels' hair tuft, they straight gave Flair an actual person face. You see him in the hype video and his face is a bloated, stretched, toothy plastic surgery mess. But in that graphic he's got warm steely eyes, a strong jaw, actual facial definition, lush and short fashionable haircut instead of that patchy constantly wet and slick mess he's been working with for many years. Good work team, all around.

5. Brie Bella vs. Charlotte

ER: Really getting sick of Ric at ringside for every Charlotte match. It's not doing her any favors at this point. Match was better than I expected it to be. Slow pace is probably the best to avoid anything blown, though even then both of them had some sketchy moments. I liked the Alabama Slam spot with Brie hanging on through a couple attempts, and the end run got good with that nice Brie dropkick to Charlotte on the apron. Dug the Yes Lock rolled into a really sick single leg crab. Submissions in Divas matches always look so killer because they're so bendy, but I thought they made it look good. I have a feeling Charlotte will be champion for fucking ever and I'm in for a lifetime of "RESPECT HER CHAMPION BLOOD" JBL horseshit.

6. Chris Jericho vs. AJ Styles

ER: Man Byron Saxton is the worst, and that's with Michael Cole and JBL plopped around you. Oh yeah, Styles grew up admiring Jericho's Japan work? What Japan stuff is that Byron? I do like that they're pushing Styles as a teenager who tape traded for WAR tapes. If at any point your booking of any wrestler is to make them sound like teenage me, it means you fucked up. "Styles used to love tape trading and practicing the trombone and going over baseball stats on his bedroom floor!" And I'm not really sure how I feel about this match. Half of it felt like AJ slowing down his shit so Jericho could keep up. But sometimes Jericho's rustiness clicked with what Styles was doing. I loved Jericho's super quick bump over the turnbuckles to the floor, and then him catching Styles with a dropkick off a plancha right after was good enough to hold up in slo-mo. But then there was flat out painful stuff like Styles setting up the springboard spot for endless seconds as Jericho got in position, or Jericho kinda just falling off the ropes to do the Walls counter. We hilariously have the Styles Clash kicked out of, in what is like Styles third match in the company. If he kicked out of it, at least the match ended right after with the calf crusher, as I can buy using the last of your strength to kick out and having nothing left to defend the sub. Jericho on TV just doesn't work for me though. I really like old man workers, as there's this extra level of sympathy with them just being older and slower and more frail, and extra excitement when they make their comebacks. They're just easier to get behind. But Jericho doesn't work as sympathetic old man, he still works like move for move workrate star, except he's slow and sloppy. His whole thing just doesn't work for me.

ER: I saw an ad for the Edge/Christian show earlier in the program and in 20 seconds they managed to make me cringe twice with Edge comedy, so this New Day/E&C segment gets a no brainer fast forward from me. I think Christian has some comedy chops, but Edge is about as broad of a hack as you can get.

7. R-Truth vs. Curtis Axel

ER: Wow. This is on a PPV. 2/3 Falls match for the US Title? Oh that's on the pre-show. I mean, there's no real difference anymore between pre-show and PPV, except I'm still far more people still watch the PPV's and skip over the pre-shows. Maybe they're trying to get people to watch pre-shows, so they're putting title matches on there now? I don't know. Gotta advance those dead hour Raw angles I guess.

8. Dean Ambrose vs. Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar

ER: Well hot damn this was all hot damn. Wow. No bullshit, all mammoth spots and ass beating, really well laid out, just a great match. Brock is just the best. I could watch him murder dudes all damn day. Like just start up a Suplex City channel on the Network and post everything Brock has ever done, and I'm there. But the crazy thing about Brock just throwing dudes, is that Brock TAKING moves is maybe even better! I love how naturally he takes offense, how it's not just rapid fire flat back bumps, it's like a level of Kawada selling. When he gets blasted with the superman punch he just staggers back fast, drops quick spaghetti legged to a knee, rolls down to the floor. It's so much more layered than most selling, really shows how he fully understands who he is relative to his opponents. Watch him get speared by Reigns whole holding Ambrose and be impressed by him having the presence of mind to get speared, while tossing Ambrose's body PAST Reigns, instead of dangerous dropping him on Reigns' back and legs. Looked great AND was deceptively safe. The "Brock gets taken out" moments of his big matches are always big time, and I loved him getting plastered through a table and covered in the wreckage. It's a shame we usually don't get the visual of the monster emerging and roaring out of the collapsed building, but I like the surprise emergence of Brock no matter how it's shown. I liked the immediacy of Ambrose and Reigns once they had the monster buried, and I love how into Ambrose the crowd was. Ambrose going big time on everybody with a chair was great, and some of those chairshots looked gnarly. I was really hoping that Ambrose was just going to continue crushing everybody with chairshots until nobody had a chance of kicking out, but the finish still worked even if it created a match I have zero interest in seeing. But damn was this match every single thing I was hoping it would be. So damn good.

ER: Really fun show overall. I don't think I've enjoyed a WWE PPV more than this since we started doing live blogs for them. They always seem to end with BS finishes or just be plagued with bad matches, but I enjoyed almost all of the matches on this one, and fast forwarded through what I'm sure was a terrible comedy segment, and I was left overall feeling super glad I watched it. Really good show.

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