Fastlane is the last PPV on the road to WrestleMania, and is meant to play a huge part in setting up what we will see at WWE’s biggest event of the year. Being a fairly new PPV, it has seen its share of hiccups in the past, but with Triple H our reigning WWE World Heavyweight Champ, I expect to see a big improvement from last year. Let’s take a look at the match card and make some predictions.
Kickoff Show: US Title 2 Out Of 3 Falls Match – Kalisto (c) vs Alberto Del Rio
A two out of three falls match for the US title is exactly what we need to see. Del Rio has the obvious size advantage, plus the rest of the League Of Nations on his side. Kalisto has speed and agility in his corner, but is still the clear underdog in this fight. If Kalisto is to win this time, he is going to have to beat Del Rio twice, which will greatly work to prove that his victories weren’t flukes or strokes of luck.
AJ Styles vs Chris Jericho
Styles was so well received into the WWE that the Royal Rumble match was rewritten at the last minute to keep him from being eliminated by another fan favorite. Styles was immediately thrown into competition with veteran, Chris Jericho, and their short feud has featured constant reminders that Styles is a “rookie” as far as the WWE is concerned. If the WWE is to have their way, us fans would forget that Styles ever had a career before January 2016. This will likely be the last match between these two men for a long while, and will prove whether or not Styles is cut out for the “big leagues” as they keep saying.
WINNER: AJ Styles
Divas Title Match – Charlotte (c) vs Brie Bella
I hate to say it, but I suspect that the only reason Brie is getting a title shot right now Is because Daniel Bryan retired and Creative is trying to use that to put her over and make Charlotte into the ultimate villain. She hasn’t been a part of the title scene and has shown no interest in the title until a few days ago. I’m disappointed in this decision, and even moreso in the decision to have Ric Flair present at Charlotte’s side for every step.
Intercontinental Title Match – Kevin Owens (c) vs Dolph Ziggler
I was thrilled to see Owens win back the IC title. I love Dean Ambrose, but he obviously has other things on his plate, so losing the title actually works to help him right now. Owens and Ziggler are two of the best the WWE currently has, and Owens is the greatest, most well-rounded heel we’ve seen in a long time. This match will say a lot about what we will see at WrestleMania, so I’m curious to see whether or not we have other IC title hopefuls come out to the ring during the fight.
WINNER: Kevin Owens
Sasha Banks & Becky Lynch vs Naomi and Tamina
If we’re being honest, we all have to admit that Sasha Banks deserved the title shot tonight. She’s dominant, fearless, confident, and the crowd loves her. She can carry any match single handedly and has busted her ass to get where she is. I am glad to see her and Lynch teaming up, and I hope putting them against Naomi and Tamina puts this childish feud to rest. Having the divas fight like middle school girls isn’t doing them any favors.
WINNERS: Sasha Banks & Becky Lynch
The Wyatt Family vs Kane, Big Show & Ryback
This marks Big Show’s 85,674,275th heel/face turn, if my math is correct. This is basically giants versus giants for no other reason than it looks fantastic to see men pushing seven feet tall flying around the ring. Ryback has recently gotten a bit of a makeover, which unfortunately resulted in the Goldberg chants making a comeback. To be honest, I’m not sure what this match has to do with what is coming at WrestleMania, but I’m eager to find out.
WINNERS: The Wyatt Family
WWE World Heavyweight Title #1 Contender’s Match – Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns vs Dean Ambrose
Three fan favorites in one match. I know WWE wants us all to back Roman Reigns 110% and to back him over all others, but that isn’t reality. Ambrose and Lesnar are equally, if not more, popular than Cena 2.0 and have even more to gain with a victory tonight. Ambrose has been teasing a turn lately, so I definitely expect to see Reigns and Ambrose turn on each other and break up the brotherhood. Reigns would have more to gain as a heel, especially if he has a mouthpiece to help him out with his promos. Lesnar is obviously going to dominate this match, so the main focus will be about what happens with Reigns and Ambrose. The two definitely need to square off, and it would be a perfect WrestleMania match. Having them broken will make Rollins’ return even more interesting.
WINNER: Brock Lesnar
Tonight is the last WWE PPV of 2015; Tables, Ladders and Chairs. Follow the link below to visit FaceToHeel.com and to get a rundown of the card and see my predictions. Please leave your own predictions and thoughts on the FaceToHeel comments section.
We did have a late addition that is not reflected in the article on FaceToHeel. Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks will face off on the TLC Kickoff show. Considering the talent of both women, this will be a match you won’t want to miss. Sasha will have the support of Tamina and Naomi, while Becky may be on her own. I see Becky coming out on top.
Another possible late addition is Tyler Breeze vs Dolph Ziggler. I am over the moon about Breeze coming up to the main roster and see big things for him in the future. I would love for he and Dolph to put the bad blood aside and become a tag team. Only time will tell.
I wrote the following article for FaceToHeel.com prior to finding out that Daniel Bryan was out. He was unfortunately not medically cleared for competition due to a shoulder injury. Bryan overcame all odds at WrestleMania XXX to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in a Triple Threat match. His WrestleMania moment was without a doubt a once in a lifetime experience. WWE tried to replicate it in a smaller fashion this year by having him win the Intercontinental Title, but it didn’t come close.
Now, thanks to Bryan pushing himself past his limits, his career may be over. We don’t know the extent of the original injuries and we don’t know if he was truly ready to come back. Once he was back, he acted recklessly and obviously put his body on the line just so we were entertained. I hope that this new injury is just a minor setback, but my gut tells me that our days of Bryan as our hero are over and done with.
Last night’s WrestleMania definitely had its ups and downs. Check out the best and worst the show had to offer, via FaceToHeel.com.
Happy WrestleMania weekend! FaceToHeel.com will be flooding the internet with WM coverage leading up to the main event. Please check out my latest article discussing the return of Sheamus and his possible WM involvement.
I am a senior writer for FaceToHeel.com, a newly launched site that covers all things wrestling. Over the past couple months, we’ve covered some amazing topics, met some great people via Twitter at @facetoheel, and learned a hell of a lot along the way. We’ve live tweeted PPVs, posted instant feedback after matches, and have found new ways of looking at the business of wrestling entertainment. Little by little, we are growing and expanding in our efforts to cover and discuss more about what is going on currently, what’s happened in the past, and what the future might bring.
In an effort to get to know our readers better, I have a challenge for all of you. When a wrestler debuts, there are a couple of things that can immediately determine their success; what they are wearing and what music they walk out to. I’m not all that interested in fashion at the moment, but I have always been fascinated at how a song can influence the way the audience views a wrestler. Just like we tend to judge people based on the music they listen to, we judge a wrestler by the music they enter the arena to. WWE’s Dean Ambrose becomes even more unstable and manic, Jack Swagger turns into the ultimate patriot, Adam Rose is a wacky joke, and The Miz is a conceited prick. TNA’s Angelina Love and Velvet Sky are the ultimate drama queens, Mr. Anderson is a man on a mission, and Chris Melendez is an American hero.
Eventually, certain songs become iconic. The car crash before Mick Foley’s song hits, the breaking glass signaling the entrance of Stone Cold, the ringing of the bells welcoming Undertaker; we all instantly and almost uncontrollably react. When Real American starts to play, thousands of fans promise to take their vitamins as they cheer for Hulk Hogan. If CM Punk’s opening riff ever rings out again, half of the world will entirely lose their minds. We may not always realize it, but entrance music is vital to a wrestler’s success and their lasting power.
On that note, have you ever thought about what your entrance music would be? Imagine you’re about to debut on Impact Wrestling or on Monday Night Raw. You’re in your full gear and ready to go. You stretch a bit, staring ahead at the curtain, just waiting to break through into that massive arena filled with screaming fans. Finally, you hear your music hit. What song would it be?
If you have a great answer and you would like to be featured in a FaceToHeel.com article, please contact me immediately at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @_CutePoison. Your answer will be used in an upcoming article and you will be credited by your Twitter handle, your Facebook page, or another social media outlet of your choosing. Depending on the response, there is an opportunity for the best answer to get their own feature article. Please reach out as soon as possible for details and questions. We at F2H have been doing a lot of talking lately; now it’s your turn to speak!
My husband and I were lucky enough to not only score great seats for the June 2nd Raw in our hometown, but to also get tickets to Payback the night before in Chicago, IL. One of the perks of being in the live audience is the opportunity to get yourself noticed on TV by either geeking out to the point that the cameras can’t stay away from you or by creating a good enough sign to grab attention. I like to keep my fangirling as private as possible, but I do tend to go a bit overboard with my sign preparation. For Payback, I went with the Wyatt Family.
Not my best work, but I was proud of it. I don’t know if it made it onto the Payback PPV at all, as we have yet to hop on the network and check it out, but I hope I got a second or two of screen time. For Raw the next evening, I decided to go with Dolph Ziggler after this happened:
Had no choice but to do it after getting a nod from the man himself. I went in search of the loudest colored markers I could find and got to work:
My arms were about to fall off at this point.
This one I was damn proud of. It could not be more obnoxious looking. Sadly, it decided to rain before Raw, and my trash bag didn’t quite keep it completely dry, so the ink ran a bit. My husband and I spent the better part of Raw glued to our seats, just waiting for Ziggler’s music to hit. And finally, he comes out, we lose our minds, and he POINTS RIGHT AT US! Excited doesn’t begin to describe it. The first thing we did when we got home afterwards was check the DVR to see if that brilliant moment was captured on TV.
My husband is pointing at Ziggler there. Immediately afterwards, the camera cuts back to Ziggler and you can see him pointing back at us. We have the gif at home; I’ll try to add it later on. It was such a cool moment!
Three rows in front of us, we had a guy with a “BLUETISTA” sign and one that said “DANIEL BRYAN SUCKS.” They spent the majority of Raw holding their poorly made creations up and blocking the view of myself and quite a few others. Eventually, security intervened and ended up ripping the Bryan sign out of the guy’s hands. Those two are the perfect examples of what not to do. The people around you don’t want to have to spend their evening leaning left and right and left again to see around you because you’re only worried about getting on TV as much as possible. The cameras aren’t going to focus on you for more than a moment or two, so it’s pointless to be obnoxious. The audience at home is going to get more and more bored seeing you if you insist on trying to get on-screen during every single match. It’s beyond annoying.
What you should do is put some effort into what you decide to make. Hold it up when it’s relevant, throw it up a time or two when it’s not just in case, and then sit back to enjoy the show. Trust me, actually getting the direct attention of one of our favorite superstars was INFINITELY cooler than seeing my sign pop up here and there during a match. That is a moment that we’ll keep with us forever. (Also, the Team Foley sign I made for the 2012 Survivor Series will live forever on the DVD, which is another awesome moment) Aim for that. Plus, I don’t want to be the only one with arm cramps after spending far too much of my weekends making WWE signs.
Last Sunday brought us the WWE Extreme Rules Pay Per View, the second PPV to be shown on the WWE Network. I signed up for the network with little hesitation. At $9.99 a month, I get every single PPV for the year, which cost $55 a piece through U-Verse. I also get a ton of exclusive programming and enough historic events to keep me busy for a lifetime. While the issues with lag and choppy images seemed more notable on Sunday than they were for Wrestlemania, I’m happy with my purchase and definitely appreciate the amount of cash I’m saving.
I have recently started writing for FaceToHeel.com, a wrestling site that has dreams of becoming bigger than Bleacher Report. Since I am writing there, most (if not all) of my WWE nonsense will be off of this site and onto that one. Please go visit and read my Extreme Rules predictions! I’m quite happy to say that I was nearly 100% accurate in my guesses, meaning I am either partially psychic or the WWE is getting more predictable. There are a ton of great articles hanging around there for you, so I hope you not only indulge my attempt to pimp myself out, but you look at the other amazing contributions from our writers.
Happy reading, WWE fans!!
I am very excited to announce that I have recently signed on to be a writer for a collaborative blog covering all things wrestling! This will include WWE, TNA, past and present Superstars, future predictions, and much more. It will feature reports on events, editorial pieces, and will cover every topic you can imagine. The site, Face To Heel, currently has four contributors including myself, but hope to add more once we begin posting articles. We seek to showcase writers who have different opinions, are fans of different people, and have different experiences with wrestling. There will be plenty of information in our first article, so please visit the site now and sign up to follow so you can be among the first to know when things start rolling out. You can follow on Twitter as well at @FaceToHeel.
Hell In A Cell aired last night, WWE’s second Pay Per View of the month of October. After two previous lackluster events, I had high hopes for this PPV and expected to be blown away. WWE owed the fans that much after giving us two of the worst PPV events that I’ve ever seen. The scheduled preshow was going to be Big E Langston against Curtis Axel for the Intercontinental Championship, but was changed due to an injury suffered by Axel; unsure if this is legit or storyline. Instead, we got Damien Sandow versus Kofi Kingston. The match was about ten minutes long and was pretty solid, giving fans high hopes for a great PPV. Sandow won over Kofi and made me expect to see him cash in his Money In The Bank contract later on in the night. (All photos are courtesy of Bleacher Report)
The PPV began with a triple threat match for the Tag Team Championship. Reigning champs Cody Rhodes and Goldust went up against The Usos and two members of the Shield, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins. As a triple threat match, I had expected to see three men in the ring at all times. Instead, it was one on one with competitors able to tag in members of other teams if they so chose. I was let down by that, but the six men put on a hell of a show. I was jumping off the couch at some points when it looked like the Shield and the Usos were close to victory. At the end, Cody hit Rollins with a beautiful Cross Rhodes and scored a victory. This was without a doubt my favorite match of the evening.
Next up, The Miz came out to run a promo regarding the attack on him by the Wyatt Family. Miz dared Bray Wyatt to come at him and Wyatt responded by sending Luke Harper and Eric Rowan out into the ring. I was a bit confused as to why this made the PPV until Kane’s music hit, fire flared, and the big red monster made his return. Kane threw the two Wyatt family giants out of the ring to save Miz, but then surprised Miz with a chokeslam. Kane is back with a vengeance and it seems that he is returning to his heel status. Very happy to see him back.
Following Kane’s return, we get a tag team match between The Great Khali and Natalya versus Fandango and Summer Rae. On a PPV. Fantastic. This match belongs on Smackdown, or as a preshow match; it is ridiculous to put this on a PPV, although it is great for Summer to have her in-ring debut on Hell In A Cell. Other than the silver lining for Summer, this match was garbage. Natalya was the only redeeming part of this, as she is an incredible talent and put Summer through the ringer. However, in spite of her efforts, the scrawny Summer pinned her for the win. What. A. Waste. I’m incredibly tired of seeing these kind of matches, where a tiny girl does the impossible for a win. It takes credibility out of an already weak Diva’s division.
After that nonsense match, Big E Langston got a match against United States Champion Dean Ambrose in a championship match. This was a pretty solid match and I’m really starting to get behind Big E. The competitors got very physical and Big E suffered a cut underneath his eye. Ambrose definitely made him work during this match, but it was clear that there was no way he could cleanly defeat the big man. Unfortunately, in what is becoming a typical Shield move, Ambrose allowed himself to be counted out and Big E picked up the victory, but not the title. I would like to see this revisited and have Big E get a second swing at the title. He’d make a great champ, especially with his recent face turn, and it’s high time that Ambrose drops the title to someone else.
Finally, it is time for our first Hell In A Cell match; CM Punk versus Ryback and Paul Heyman. Heyman was carried to the ring on a left, driven by someone who must have never driven a left in his life. Heyman was placed on top of the cell, making the handicap match into a one on one between Ryback and Punk. The match started out strong, but quickly became very tedious and almost boring, which is unusual for a match involving Punk. We had tables, we had kendo sticks, and we had an abrupt ending with Punk picking up the victory. Punk then got on top of the cage to seek revenge on Heyman. My husband and I were waiting for Heyman to be slammed through the cage (wishful thinking), but it was a solid beat down even without that little extra. Overall, it was weak and very disappointing.
Next up we have Los Matadores versus The Real Americans; Jack Swagger and Antonio Cesaro with Zeb Colter. The second match in the PPV that belonged on Raw, Smackdown, or in the preshow. The Matadores and their little Torito are a cute gimmick, but I hardly see how they are PPV worthy. I found it very difficult to get into this match at all because I was so annoyed that creative decided to put this in the PPV. The Matadores picked up a win and no one really cared either way. I’m glad that Primo and Epico have found success in their new bullfighting characters, but this was just a silly match to have. No one cares about this rivalry and the most interesting thing is seeing how racist Colter can get. At least the Matadores finally got rid of those horrible bright pink masks.
Following the bullfighters, we have the return of John Cena in a match against Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship. To borrow words from my husband, these are the two most boring people in the WWE right now. Del Rio’s character has become stale and Cena is… well, it’s Cena. This match was exactly what you would expect; Del Rio attacked Cena’s recently healed arm and Cena did the five moves of doom while acting like a child. And yes, Cena won and got the title, because the WWE loves to hand things over to their golden boy. I expected Cena to win, but I had hoped that Sandow would swoop in on an exhausted Cena and steal the title from him. Of course, that did not happen.
After Cena cleared out, AJ Lee arrived to defend her title against Brie Bella. I adore AJ and I love that she is now paired with the powerhouse Tamina Snuka. It was clear that Brie didn’t have a chance in this match, but it was still fun to watch. With both Tamina and Nikki ringside, there was a lot going on and quite a few distractions for the competitors. Brie dominated early on, but having to keep an eye on Tamina proved to be her downfall. She attempted to attack her but ended up hitting her sister instead, allowing AJ to get her in the Black Widow submission and forcing a tap. AJ has proven to be unstoppable as of late and I’m eager to see who she goes up against next, as the feud with Brie should end now.
The final match is our second Hell In A Cell match between Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton for the WWE Championship. The title has belonged to no one because of very questionable creative choices. Triple H wants Orton as champ, the fans want Bryan. With Shawn Michaels as special guest referee, it’s hard to tell how this match will go. The pair got very physical, using the cage to their advantage and pushing each other to their limits. Triple H made an appearance to argue the Heartbreak Kid’s techniques, possibly because he feared that HBK would favor Bryan. This resulted in Michaels accidentally getting knocked out by the competitors as he was distracted. When HBK came to, he hit Bryan with Sweet Chin Music and basically handed the title back to Orton. Yes it was a good match, but they failed with the ending. When the fans know what is coming weeks before it happens, you have failed.
I haven’t a clue what WWE creative is thinking right now, or if they’re thinking at all. This PPV should have been about redemption and should have been phenomenal to make up for two very lackluster PPVs previously. It wasn’t. Cody Rhodes and Goldust were once again the only redeeming part of a very expensive three hour event. I could not be more annoyed with Cena and Orton winning the titles; we saw this coming from miles away and we all know that there were better ways to do this. Stale doesn’t being to describe what the WWE has become, and it boggles my mind that they aren’t even trying to fix things anymore. I hope tonight’s Raw does something dramatic to put a positive spin on last night’s disastrous PPV, but given what has been going on lately, I am a fan without hope.