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.

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. Check out the podcast replay of the FM radio shows www.nerdthugradio.com!

If it feels like we're sprinting into another pay per view almost on top of the last one, it's because we basically are. Extreme Rules is this coming Sunday only three weeks after Stomping Grounds. The seeming break neck speed of event after event after event is annoying and honestly seems to be designed to force people to pick up the WWE network. If they just bought the occasional pay per view there is no longer an incentive to spend the $40 bucks for one because well for $10 a month you get one a month and every few months there will be a second one snuck into the long months, so the value is in your favor. It's annoying for fans though because suddenly wrestlers are cutting promos from event to event and sometimes yelling at a guy about a fight in three weeks while they have a fight with someone else that weekend. Say what?

This past week Raw had a few interesting bits, perhaps most interesting was the behind the scenes moves of putting Paul Heyman mostly in charge of Raw and him upping the shock factor up a level or two. As that continued you saw the rise of The AJ Styles and his boys Gallows and Anderson, I'm not big fans of them but it's fun for those guys to get back together and a heel turn is in an interesting choice for AJ Styles, because I'm not sure it was needed. The other big thing is the Seth Rollins, Becky Lynch mixed tag match against Corbin and Evans for both their titles is a cool match idea and these two matches should be exciting at Extreme Rules.

Smackdown delivered what was a rather underwhelming go home show for Extreme Rules, although Otis of Heavy Machinery looked great in the three-way match, that guy is just incredibly impressive physically for such an oddly shaped athlete. The Kevin Owens face turn continues as he seemed to go "off script" but it was probably a bit and it's trying to set him up as an antihero, the problem with that is that his buddy Samy is in the middle of a great heel run. The Roman Reigns/Undertaker tag match has built up to exciting levels as Shane McMahon has continued his rise to top villain in the WWE and deserving of a beating from the Deadman and the Big Dog. He's assembling a nice collection of B players to help push his agenda as good muscle and as a result they're elevating themselves as well. This match may either save or finally end Undertaker's part time career and the Extreme Rules event overall.

Feel free to check out my digital short story The Wilson House or buy a shirt from Side Hustle Ts where some proceeds help fight cancer or listen to Nerd Thug Radio. Thoughts, complaints, events and comments can be sent to corydlg@gmail.com.

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