WRESTLING REPORT

Fastlane not exactly set up for success with Wrestlemania lurking right behind

PHOTO CREDIT: WWE IMAGES

Born with a comic book in one hand and a remote control in the other, Cory DLG is the talent of Conroe's very own Nerd Thug Radio, Sports and Wrestling. Check out the podcast replay of the FM radio shows www.facebook.com/nerdthugradio!

The road to Wrestlemania hit a speedbump in the sendoff week for Fastlane.

This week on Raw there was some good - the reformation of The Shield, which is a little odd considering the unknown status of Dean Ambrose's future post Wrestlemania. There was some bad (most of the matches this week) and there was some ugly - the Ronda Rousey heel turn and the changes made to the Raw Women's title matches for both Fastlane and Wrestlemania.

The unexpected return of Roman Reigns has helped redefine the direction of Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose who seemed to be rudderless even with Rollins having a title match against Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania. It's hard to tell a story with no champion to play off of so Seth Rollins is left to feud with people who aren't holding the belt he's trying to win. Triple H cut a great promo for what was hinted at last week, a likely Wrestlemania match between Bautista and Triple H and that about wraps up the good parts of Raw this week unfortunately. A gauntlet match between Heavy Machinery and three weak tag teams went as scheduled and Ricochet and Aleister Black continued their tag team feature tour against Raw tag team champions the Revival. The big ending for this match was Ronda Rousey laying down terms and Stephanie McMahon seemingly giving in, after saying last week that she was the boss and no one tells her what to do. So now Fastlane is Charlotte Flair vs Becky Lynch, if Becky wins, she gets into a triple threat for Wrestlemania. Not sure why Charlotte is factored into any of this; Becky has cut a white hot streak through the WWE universe lately and sticking Charlotte into this mix just muddies Becky's seemingly inevitable title reign.

Smackdown wasn't much stronger overall as a send off for Fastlane, with R Truth losing a fatal four way to Samoa Joe and now he's the US Champion. The title has changed hands several times over the past few months and at this point there isn't a reign to speak of as every few weeks someone else is winning the belt. It feels a bit like a weird game of hot potato. Ricochet and Aleister Black returned yet again making this their third week in a row on both Raw and Smackdown in a tag match. Without real certainty where they will end up or what the end game is they have done a good job in their matches and seem to have won over the WWE universe. Kevin Owens return continues and he seems to have added more than just Stone Cold's stunner to his move set, including even throwing in a nod to Steve Austin during his banter with Daniel Bryan with a "that's the bottom line. Smackdown continued the trend of finishing with the women's rivalry, featuring Becky and Charlotte yet again. Becky Lynch is owning this character turn with great mic skills but Charlotte Flair in the role of spoiler hasn't quite worked out as well, but the story is where it is.

Fastlane is this weekend and after this WWE can do itself the favor of only having to focus on one big event at a time, as all the set up for Wrestlemania has gotten in the way of both Fastlane and Elimination Chamber.

Wrestling Report

WWE: The superstar shakeup

WWE IMAGES

Born with a comic book in one hand and a remote control in the other, Cory DLG is the talent of Conroe's very own Nerd Thug Radio, Sports and Wrestling. Check out the podcast replay of the FM radio shows www.nerdthugradio.com!

This week is usually one of the more fun weeks in the WWE schedule, the week of the Super Star Shake Up. Some wrestlers from each of three major brands, Raw, Smackdown and NXT shuffle around and make "debuts" on the other shows. This year was a little less exciting.

The changes to Raw weren't really all that major I feel like, moving AJ Styles, The Usos, Andrade, Rey Mysterio and The Miz over to Raw really just feels like they took the top half of Smackdown and slid it over to Raw. The call up of The Viking Experience - yes that's right another terrible gimmick tag team - didn't really make things much better. This does explain why The Usos dropped the titles to The Hardy's on the Smackdown after WrestleMania after having them keep the titles on WrestleMania, but honestly, the Raw Tag Team division is crowded and not exactly exciting. Finally revealing that Lacey Evans, Ricochet and Aleister Black are all officially on a roster is great news but adding all three to Raw is a little odd simply because they've been previewing all three on both shows and now they're just all three on Raw. Perhaps the oddest choice here though is breaking up The Riott Squad.

It was announced that Liv Morgan is now going to be on Smackdown, which means that the Riott Squad, which is the only female faction really and honestly it's a good one, is now dead. I'm a huge Liv Morgan fan. I really like her look and she wrestles well in matches but honestly I don't know how she will do in singles competition and speaking of singles competition, I think one thing the shake up did was add some clarity to the WWE's choice to combine the belts. I think you'll see most of the women's tag matches on Smackdown as now they moved two more tag teams to this show last night with Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville and pairing Asuke with the newly called up Kairi Sane and the Iconics were already a Smackdown team. Which means most of your single's women's competition will be on Raw where Becky Lynch already has a rivalry going with Lacey Evans. The addition of Finn Balor, Roman Reigns and Elias are all great additions to Smackdown; these guys need more room to breathe and letting them get more time on the now way less crowded Smackdown main roster will be for everyone's benefit.

Overall this was a solid shake up but the delivery just wasn't there as a lot of these announcements were made by the announcers due to the fact that a lot of guys had travel issues and couldn't get to Montreal in time to appear on this week's shows.

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