Livin’ life in the fast lane

How'd it get burned?

So let me preface this post by saying that, these days, I wouldn’t really consider myself a real ‘fan’ of anything in particular.
Sure, I have strong opinions about things – and specific tastes – but I don’t think I’ve been a real, rabid fan of anything since, well… probably My Chemical Romance in 2008. Keep that to yourself though. (Forgive me Gerard)

That said, this is my blog, and I’ll write about whatever I want. And tonight, dear friends, that’s last night’s Fastlane.

Over the last couple of years I’ve been tricked into watching and enjoying WWE wrestling. I can’t remember how it started, but I know my love of trash tv was exploited through Total Divas and Total Bellas. Then, before I knew it, I was booking the day after the Royal Rumble off work so I could try to catch the action before spoilers inundated Imgur. This year I also partook in my first ever sports gambling endeavour. I don’t know who I am anymore.

The WWE has been going for a decade longer than I’ve been on this earth, has a rich history and mythos that I know next to nothing about. That said, it’s still super fun to watch and the fact that I’ve formed opinions about different wrestlers and storylines despite having very little background knowledge (or frankly, emotional investment) is a testament to how bored I am their storytelling. It also means you should definitely take all my WWE-related thoughts with a huge pinch of naiveté-flavoured salt.

Anyway… last night was WWE’s Fastlane, which – I was repeatedly told by the announcers – is the final stop to WrestleMania. Here’s a run-down of my thoughts now that the sun has risen and set in the UK and I’ve had the chance to catch up! As I said, my knowledge of the WWE universe is pretty limited, so I probably have more questions than opinions…

United States Championship- Riddle vs. Mustafa Ali:
Yeah, no… I wasn’t really paying attention to this one. I have no strong feelings towards either of these people.
Why on earth is Riddle’s finisher called ‘Bro Derek’? Yes, I get that it sounds like ‘Bo Derek’ but… what? Am I missing something? I’m sure Reddit will sort me out.

Women’s Tag Team Championship- Nia Jax/Shayna Baszler vs. Bianca Belair/Sasha Banks:
Remember how I said I have strong opinions? I hate Nia and Shayna. I don’t find either of them particularly compelling to watch. I can appreciate Shayna’s near-animalistic, sadistic style might appeal to some, but it feels a little dirty to me and just leaves me a little uninspired.
Bianca and Sasha, on the other hand, I highly rate. It was great to see what felt like a very natural switch flick between these two in preparation for their face-off at WrestleMania. I really loved them as a tag team though – powerful, acrobatic, lots of attitude… just a wee shame their rift doesn’t quite pass the Bechdel test for me…

Intercontinental Championship- Big E vs. Apollo Crews
Sorry – what? When did this match end? Where’s the replay? I didn’t buy this finisher.

Braun Strowman vs. Shane McMahon Elias
This was pretty weak, I’m not a fan of Elias in the slightest, and have no idea about the Strowman/McMahon feud and I don’t feel like I’ve come away any wiser about it.

Seth Rollins vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Okay! This was more interesting. I was hoping to see more from Shinsuke in particular. Overall I was just really amused to hear Seth referencing Cesaro swinging him around 22 times recently. I don’t actually watch regular weekly episodes of SmackDown so I’ve not actually seen that, but the mental image I cultivated during the less-impressive parts of this match were more than enough to get me through.

No Holds Barred match- Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus
Throwback photos and the discovery of McIntyre’s old emo haircut and the wee jaunt around the Thunderdome (and through some LED screens) were my highlights for this match.

Randy Orton vs. Alexa Bliss
This had heavy 80’s horror movie vibes for me and while I absolutely loved that as a one-off, I don’t want to see that melted Fiend week after week. Possessed Alexa is probably my favourite Alexa. Her upwards glance and the crashing of the stage lights was a really nice effect. I’m surprised Randy is up for gimmicky displays like this (so much goo) and it did feel rushed at times. I think I’d have liked for them to have drawn it out a little more, with more subtle elements of The Fiend preceding his reappearance through the mat – I wanted to see that hand tear out from under the canvas terrify Orton just a little more before The Fiend was fully risen.

Universal Championship- Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan
What’s an enforcer? Why is there only ever one ref on hand when clearly you need a back-up waiting in the wings?
(For the sake of tv, obviously, but… you know what I mean.)
I really enjoyed this match. I’ve never seen Bryan so playful, taunting, mischievous – a great contrast to Reigns’ solemnity and self-importance. Brilliant chemistry between the two and Edge, the tension was palpable between all three and ultimately I was sad to see Bryan’s hopes for a WrestleMania miracle dashed.
That said, I’m really sick of the over-utilised Uso-interference (someone please send Jey away alongside Reginald). R has put forward that we could end up with a triple-threat for Mania as Bryan definitely has some pretty legitimate complaints about not getting a rightful shot at the title now – and I’d love to see that happen.

Some other questions that I came away with:
– When can we stop talking about Bad Bunny?
– What’s The Fiend been up to for the last 3 months irl?
– What’s the longest period R-Truth has been 24/7 Champion for?
– What was with that song tonight? It sounded like a cheap 2007-Timbaland knock-off and I hated it.
– Did anyone else have this song stuck in their head through the entire programme?