Tag Archives: Fastlane

WWE Fastlane More Or Less Ruined WrestleMani


      After Elimination Chamber, I had hopes for WWE. I really did. John Cena was eliminated early, and the match came down to AJ Styles and Bray Wyatt. And for once, I was surprised by an outcome–WWE put the strap on the Eater of Worlds and it felt like there was a definite shift in direction. But last night, as Monday Night Raw put on the most useless pay-per-view of the year a mere four weeks from WrestleMania, Vince McMahon took a gold-plated dump in our collective mouths.

      On paper, having Bill Goldberg come back seems like a fairy tale dream. Right up there with Chris Benoit being tossed into the WWE Hall of Fame. But upon closer scrutiny you see the endless laundry list of problems with this sort of thing. Goldberg is 50 years old and he just won the biggest title in the company. And he’s headed to WrestleMania to face Brock Lesnar, whom is almost 40 years old. Why on earth have these two old men hijacked the biggest wrestling event of the year?

      The booking at Fastlane was terrible. Owens came in and out of the ring, walked around the apron, talked trash and delayed the bell ring. When the previous match of Bayley and Charlotte was still going on at 10:50, we all knew some sort of bullshit was coming. When Owens finally got in the ring after wasting our time for five minutes, Chris Jericho’s music hit, the bell rung and then one spear and a jackhammer later, Owens had lost his title.

      There was no reason for Goldberg to have a title when facing Lesnar. There was no reason why the inevitable Owens vs Jericho match at Mania couldn’t have been for a title. Instead, Owens vs Jericho is a mostly useless fight, and we now have two old-timers fighting for the Universal Title. One thing for certain that Fastlane did set up was leaving no doubt that Smackdown Live is the better brand, hands down.

      Granted, maybe ten or eleven years ago, this might have worked. When Goldberg came to WWE from WCW, this might have been the angle they should have used. But he hasn’t wrestled in 12 years. Then he comes back and “beats” the biggest monster in the company in less than two minutes. Then goes on to “beat” Kevin Owens in less than 30 seconds. Professional wrestling constantly asks us to suspend disbelief, but come on. This is getting a little ridiculous now.

      It’s the same formula WWE always desperately goes back to. They recruit gladiators from the Attitude Era and Monday Night Wars and neuter them, parading them around on a leash, and continue watering down our memories of days gone by. Let’s bring back The Undertaker for another year to be embarrassed on live TV as he’s carried through a match gasping for air and spending half the match on his back. Let’s bring back Ric Flair to put over his daughter’s opponent while standing in the middle of the ring red-faced and crying. Let’s bring back The Rock to put over his cousin only to have them both get booed out of the Royal Rumble. Rinse and repeat. And let’s not even mention the epic tragedy of Sting’s WWE “career.”

      It is utterly baffling why Vince McMahon and the WWE are so terrified of their young talent. They aren’t prepared to take a chance or push younger guys. It has been that way for a very long time. There are guys (and girls) on the roster that other promotions would kill to have as their champion just being squandered and wasting away into obscurity. We could have a fresh, revitalized WrestleMania with amazing young talent. But instead, valuable ring time is going to be stolen by HHH, Goldberg, Lesnar, and The Undertaker. These guys all had their heydays. They’ve been in the spotlight. News flash, Vince: you aren’t “Showcasing Immortals.” You are cramming the same tired crap down our throats, risking the life and limb of the athletes who should have long since retired from active competition.

      They used to call WrestleMania “The Granddaddy of Them All” and that’s never been more true than it is now. Most of these guys are old enough to have grandchildren and frankly, it’s getting a little hard to tune in every year to the same old tripe. I mean, Goldberg has a solid white goatee and white chest hair for crying out loud. Sad times.

Article by
Jamie Curtis Baker

Why The WWE Universe Might Have Ruined Daniel Bryan’s Career

          Let’s preface this by saying that Daniel Bryan is one of the best professional wrestlers in the world. His technical ability is in the top echelon of the WWE. He’s a nice guy, an apparent good husband, and has one of the catchiest, albeit generic, catchphrases of all time. He’s an exciting competitor and fun to watch in the ring. Despite all of that, though, the collective WWE Universe is getting him buried. But before we get into that, let’s rewind the clock to 2011.

          CM Punk was set to walk away at Money in the Bank, letting his contract expire. He had Vince by the balls and his future with WWE was unclear. The pay per view took place at the Allstate Arena in Illinois. Punk is from Chicago and the rabid fans were chomping at the bits to get their anti-hero the title and keep him in WWE, or at least see him leave the company as the champion. And that’s exactly what happened. The WWE Universe wanted Punk. Punk demanded to be the guy. And so he was. The result? A 434 title reign and Punk and his fans thinking they had won by besting the WWE. The ultimate end game was CM Punk coming to the sad realization that the “change” he wanted to institute in the company never came and he eventually quit. This entire storyline, whether a shoot or a work, was a slippery slope for WWE and set a dangerous precedent for the future.

          Fast forward to 2014, and Daniel Bryan is one of the hottest commodities of the PG Era. But WWE didn’t care. They brought Dave Bautista (Batista) in to be the next champion. He won the Royal Rumble, and the plan was to have him grab the title at WrestleMania. Batista was supposed to be booked as a babyface but due to a negative reaction and his own ignorant behavior after a live show interacting with the fans, Batista became the guy everyone loved to hate. Daniel Bryan, who wasn’t even in the Royal Rumble match, lost on that pay per view to Bray Wyatt. And poor Rey Mysterio was practically booed out of the building when he came out at the number 30 spot.

          Over the next two months, the WWE Universe berated the WWE, voiced their opinion on social media, and vowed to stop watching wrestling if Daniel Bryan was not pushed to the top. There was fervor, there was passion, there was anger. And WWE’s original plan to give Batista the title was shelved in order to give Daniel Bryan and the so-called ‘YES! Movement’ a push. This was not the intention. This is not what Vince wanted. But the outcry was so loud, that WWE gave in and allowed the WWE Universe to win.

          The result is Daniel Bryan has literally one of the best storylines of all time, wins the title at WrestleMania 30, and then gets severely injured. Soon after, he was forced to vacate the title because he couldn’t defend it. So instead of Batista getting the title, carrying it through all the Guardians of the Galaxy promotions, and then doing the job for Lesnar at SummerSlam, we instead got a vacated title won by, now, 15-time champion John Cena and an even more “entitled” WWE Universe who thought they controlled the show. Since that moment, the fans think they know how to book and have never taken their foot off the gas trying to drive the WWE vehicle where they want it to go.

          Because of all this, we now have a very under-appreciated Roman Reigns trying desperately to keep his head above water. He won the Royal Rumble because WWE wants him to take the title from Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. And the WWE Universe hated it because they wanted to see the same Comeback Story of the Year we saw with Daniel Bryan last year. And since fans were able to bitch and moan to get their way in the past, they don’t understand why it isn’t working again this year. Vince isn’t going to do repeat business, especially less than a year later. And he certainly isn’t going to be backed into a corner again. The more fans chant YES! and boo anybody that isn’t Daniel Bryan, the less WWE is going to want to use him. Not because he sucks, but just to let the Universe know they are not steering this ship.

          Unfortunately, the WWE Universe has a loud voice. So because of the backlash after the fallout of the Royal Rumble, WWE had to rebook the next month. And that’s why we spent most of February with a useless angle of pitting Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns against each other. The result of that “feud” was weeks of Bryan/Reigns tag matches and a completely wasted inaugural Fastlane pay per view. It was a dull month of WWE forcing Daniel Bryan to not only give Roman Reigns a thumbs up but to have Bryan ask the WWE Universe to back him as well.

          What should have happened last year was Batista gets the title at WrestleMania 30, drops it to Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam, and we have almost the exact same end to 2014. Then we get the Daniel Bryan Cinderella story this year at Mania and Roman Reigns has another year to develop before he’s ready to be “the guy.” Wouldn’t it have been much bigger for Daniel Bryan if he won the title from The Beast, Brock Lesnar, the man who broke The Streak last year and held the title hostage for the past six months? Instead, Bryan went through old timer Triple H, near old timer Randy Orton, and part-timer Batista, and at Extreme Rules defended the title against old timer Kane. That’s right. The big follow up to Bryan overcoming incredible odds at WreslteMania 30 was to have him fight Kane at the next pay per view. That isn’t a happy ending, that’s bad booking because the Universe forced Creative’s hand. Whereas, if Bryan had beaten Lesnar this year, and then lost the title to a Seth Rollins cash-in, we get a great couple of months leading up to SummerSlam with fantastic Rollins vs Bryan matches. Then the fans are more accepting of Roman Reigns when he beats super-heel Rollins and takes the title at WrestleMania 32.

          None of that happened though, and now we’re in a position where everyone is mad and pouting and thinks they know better. Regardless, Roman Reigns will win the title at WrestleMania and get booed and treated poorly by the Universe. It will be unfair to him, a guy who was actually voted Superstar of the Year BY THE FANS at the Slammy Awards, but now, because he doesn’t have a long beard is suddenly not good enough. People complain about John Cena, but he was crammed down our throats the past year because fans demanded to see Daniel Bryan and when he got injured, WWE had no other choice. People complain about Batista, still, even though he did the job for Daniel Bryan and then took the pinfall losses when Evolution faced The Shield.

          At the end of the day, maybe the fans aren’t as smart as they think they are. Maybe we don’t know what’s best. Maybe we should leave the booking of matches to the professionals. If WWE allowed fans to hijack the programming, heels would become obsolete because the majority of the Universe doesn’t root for bad guys. Can you imagine an entire roster filled with John Cena copycats? Maybe, and yes this is asking a lot, we stop threatening to cancel our Network subscriptions and turn the channel, because we won’t. Maybe we stop comparing the PG and Attitude Eras, two vastly different periods of time, both for professional wrestling and the world culture. Maybe we stop thinking Twitter and Facebook are vital tools to voice our dislike with a company that reaches millions of people and has the impossible task of trying to please them all. Maybe we stop trying to vehemently push guys we like because when they get their big break, maybe it’s too soon or they aren’t ready.

          When the smoke clears, instead of being vindicated in getting what we what, maybe we’re actually shooting ourselves in the foot for future entertainment. Nothing echoes that more than the current Daniel Bryan story. How does he top 2014? What’s a bigger story than what he went through? He peaked at a time when he should have just been gearing up for his first big push. Now, any angle WWE comes up with is going to fall flat compared to his big WrestleMania moment. The fans  may have forced Bryan to hit his ceiling too fast and too soon.

          In a digital age where we are spoiled with more access and instant feedback than ever before, we all feel entitled to think we have the next great idea. But a million dollar company doesn’t answer to us. They have board members and investors, sponsors and shareholders. If we knew better, we’d be doing it ourselves instead of buying their product. The YES! Movement has never been about Daniel Bryan. It’s about the WWE Universe wanting to be heard and feel in control. And the only person that hurts is Bryan himself. Consider this: after all the hoopla last year, and all the vocal aggression the past couple of months, does Daniel Bryan even have a storyline for this year’s WrestleMania yet? Sometimes pushing a guy to the top is a good way to watch him fall to the bottom.


Article by Jamie Curtis Baker FotoFlexer_Photo

Silence From The Deadman

          To the dismay of many fans, it seems that WWE plans to keep The Undertaker off of TV and away from house shows between now and WrestleMania.  We recently learned that Taker was indeed the person who Bray Wyatt had been calling out in his promos week after week.  The reveal was done perfectly, with Wyatt coming to the ring amidst Taker’s music, complete with fire and smoke and all the theatrics, while hidden in a coffin.  Wyatt popped up from his resting place and proposed a clear challenge to the dead man for WrestleMania next month.  It confirmed the suspicions of most fans and quite honestly was one of the few bright spots from the dismal Fastlane PPV.

          In the past few years, The Undertaker has used the weeks before WrestleMania to make appearances on Raw in order to build excitement and tension for the upcoming battle.  This year, we look to be breaking from the norm, which leaves Wyatt alone to continue to build this match.  Wyatt is masterful on the mic, making him the perfect person to single-handedly raise the stakes while Taker remains hidden.  He can continue to hurl threats at the dead man while bolstering himself up even more as the new face of fear.  Wyatt is one of those rare people who can carry a story on his own, so a direct response from Taker is unnecessary.

          Leaving The Undertaker off of TV is the only move WWE can make.  He was broken and beaten at WrestleMania 30 by Brock Lesnar, who proved him to be mortal and not this mythical creature we once viewed him as.  The Streak ending last year was such a shock, I had my doubts that we would ever see Taker in the ring again.  Photos were released online of him looking old and frail in an airport, lending to the rumors that his career was over.  Now that we know that isn’t the case, we’re left wondering what kind of shape he is in, what he’s been doing over the past year, and how he performs in the ring.

          Taker showing up at Raw or Smackdown prior to WrestleMania could ruin this match.  We need Wyatt at the front of this all while The Undertaker remains in the shadows.  If we get any response from him, it needs to be in a video package that does not show him whatsoever in order to keep the mystery alive.  When he finally reveals himself at WrestleMania, we should expect to see someone completely different than what we saw last year against Lesnar.  Taker is now a man with nothing to lose.

          As far as who will win this match, it could go either way.  We could get a ruthless Undertaker who destroys Wyatt and redeems himself for last year’s loss.  We could also have Wyatt win in an effort to put him over.  Personally, I don’t see Taker losing this match.  I didn’t see him losing last year either, but after suffering the worst loss of his career, it doesn’t make sense for him to return only to lose again.  Wyatt also doesn’t need a win in order to come out of this match a winner.  Having the opportunity to work with Taker on the grandest stage of them all is big, and Wyatt will definitely take advantage of this match.  I’m pulling for a Taker win, but last year definitely taught me to expect anything.

          From the little bit Fastlane did to build up WrestleMania, I can honestly say that Wyatt vs Undertaker will be the match of the evening.  It’s high above the main event of Lesnar vs Reigns, towers over the Battle Royal, and the matches that will likely be added don’t compare at all.  Fastlane missed the mark on most of what it tried to do, but it scored big for Wyatt and Taker.  A hell of a lot can happen in a month, especially with two theatrical men involved.  Leave your opinions and predictions in the comments below.


Article by Mrs Jamie Baker IMG_20140926_193145