One Year Later: WWE Fastlane 2015 – Daniel Bryan vs. Roman Reigns

With the second-ever WWE Fastlane Sunday night, what better time to look at the state of WWE one year ago than by watching last year’s show? This is a read-a-long to be enjoyed while watching said WWE PPV on the WWE Network…or the DVD if you’re still buying those. 

It’s interesting to look and see the positioning of guys on the card one year ago. As you may recall, the main event was a match between Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns. It’s sad to think that the recently retired Bryan was at the top of his game just a year ago — positioned as the guy to get Reigns over for his main event at Wrestlemania 31. 

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Let’s go back to February 22nd at the FedEx Forum in Memphis, TN, and look at the main talking points from each match.

The Authority (Seth Rollins/Kane/Big Show) w/Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury vs. Dolph Ziggler, Erick Rowan, and Ryback
What a team of babyfaces. The reaction to Rowan was non-existent.
This was a fine match, but nothing special because nobody cares about anyone in this mix. Dolph got the mild tag from Ryback, and went wild until Big Show KO’d Ziggler and Kane pinned him.
Show’s punch was replayed in slow motion which showed how obviously Ziggler jumped into it. Hilarious.
Seth hit the curb stomp on Zig post match to get their heat back, until Randy Orton ran in and cleaned house. RKOs out of everywhere!
Stardust vs. Goldust
Finally the match between the Rhodes brothers nobody asked for!
Dusty was shown giving Goldust a pep talk before the match which was pretty cool.
Remember Cody’s new body from five years ago? He wrestled this match shirtless. My guess is that it was shortly after this match where big brother grabbed little brother’s ear and revealed to him the secret of longevity in wrestling: the full body suit. “It’s great, Cody. You never have to work out or tan or eat good. Sure you have to scrape paint flakes out of your eyes every morning, but look at me! I got Terri Runnels with this physique!”
This had a weird ending. Gold rolled up Star and the referee counted one, two, and then didn’t hit the mat for the three, but Star’s shoulders were definitely down for three and so the ref hopped up and said it was a three count and the match was over. I think the storyline was that the ref got paid off by Dusty to end the match early so that his sons would not get hurt. That, or they blew the finish.
Cody beat down Dustin after the match in front of the Dream.
WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos (Jey and James) w/ Naomi vs. Tyson Kidd and Cesaro w/ Natalya
Facts. Cats. Those are the words on Kidd’s kick pads, because he likes cats AND drops facts. What a gimmick.
Cesaro and Kidd were so great. What awful luck for both of these guys lately. Get well soon!
Cesaro did a one-legged swing with an Uso. That is freaky impressive.
Kidd hooked in the Sharpshooter and got superkicked. Jimmy got the visual fall on Kidd as the action spilled outside. This match is getting good.
Then, just like that, it’s over. Kidd hits an Uso with a spinning fisherman buster and gets the pin, and the belts. Your new champions Tyson Kidd and Cesaro!
Kidd’s tan was Olympic level.

HHH and Sting Face-to-Face
Remember this? Me neither. Boy, Sting dropped off the radar fast.
HHH cut a mighty promo, especially blowhardy today.
Sting came out and got face-to-face with The Game
HHH went for the cheap shot and it broke down into a brawl, leading to a sledgehammer vs. baseball bat standoff. The baseball bat won, for now.
WWE Divas Champion Nikki Bella w/ Brie vs. Paige
Paige’s outfit is completely black here. Reebok probably designed it. I like the addition of the blue these days though.
Is the Divas Revolution done? Is everyone good and revolted? I haven’t heard that used in a while. Good thing too. WWE nomenclature is infuriating.
The crowd was absolutely dead for this match, and remember, this is mid Nikki’s record-breaking title reign.
Nikki won with a roll up and a handful of tights.
WWE I-C Champion Bad News Barrett vs. Dean Ambrose
Barrett’s music is pretty cool. The League of Nations’ music suuuuuuuuuucks.
Dean Ambrose has the best gimmick. He gets to just show up and simply take off his shirt and he’s ready to wrestle. You know he wears those jeans everywhere, and he’s definitely a guy who really wears wife beater t-shirts. I’m wearing one now. It’s quite comfy. It’s pink too. #PinkLivesMatter #TeamViggity
Barrett is a good wrestler. He’s another guy who is really good but has had just terrible luck with injuries right when he was about to get pushed, along with Cesaro, Tyson Kidd, Sin Cara, etc.
Ambrose got DQ’d for using the belt. He laid Barrett out, got caught, got DQ’d, then walked off with the belt anyway. Ha!

Unannounced, the Druids enter the arena. Then the gong hits. I think Glacier is making his debut! No. It’s a casket. Maybe Glacier is in the casket. Nope. It’s Bray Wyatt. Boooooooh.

WWE US Champion Rusev w/ Lana vs. John Cena
Rusev just whipped up on old Johnny boy for a while.
Rusev should have shoes on, specifically the Iron Shiek’s shoes. That would be awesome. (I know they are different countries but who cares?)
People didn’t make a big enough deal about Cena getting away from jorts. That topic needed its own Observer issue. Why did he do it? I predict that within the next five years, jean shorts will come back in style.
They did the yay/boo spot. Rusev needs to start doing the ten punches in the corner spot and count in Russian. It would be amazing if he could get the fans to actually learn to count to ten in Russian.
Rusev and Cena exchange some submissions. Good action.
This was when Rusev was undefeated with like six losses on his record.
Rusev won by technical submission as Cena was passed out in the Accolade so lil Naitch rang the bell.
Cena did this hokey selling post match that got booed. Ha!

Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan to determine the number one contender to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
They had a dang good match.
I’m still not sure why Reigns is allowed to wear body armor. That seems like cheating.
I love JBL: “Don’t forget, I know stuff about old boxing.”
It’s a shame Bryan never did the “I’ve got til FIVE!” spot in WWE. I’ll bet Vince nixed that.
Huge belly to back off the top by Bryan into the Yes lock!
Both guys took idiotic bumps outside the ring for a long double down.
I can’t help but believe the crowd is going to be unhappy with this finish.
Bryan with the running knee!
I missed some of the match researching gambling odds on the Oscars.
Does anyone get a redder face than Mike Chioda?
Bryan did the Brie Mode kicks (wink).
Reigns hit a monster spear for the clean pin.
Bryan does the rude put over, getting in Reigns’ face and telling him he’d better kick his (Brock’s) buns.

I really don’t like the Fastlane name. It was much better when Elimination Chamber was the February show. I know the argument against doing a gimmick show for the sake of the gimmick, but the Elimination Chamber was always a draw, and Fastlane sounds like some group think garbage that’s been polished over to make it appealing to everyone. That’s a mistake. The more polished something feels, the less real it feels, and thus we find it phony. I hope WWE takes notice of the Daniel Bryan retirement speech and realizes that fans connect to realness, but they probably won’t.