–Satoshi Kojima, Keith Lee, Athena, and Billie Starkz vs. Shane Taylor Promotions (Shane Taylor and Lee Moriarty), Diamante, and Mercedes Martinez – 2/5
–Claudio Castagnoli vs. Josh Barnett – 3/5
–Luchasaurus vs. Nick Wayne – 2.25/5
–AEW Trios Tag Team Championships: The Acclaimed (Anthony Bowens and Max Caster) and Billy Gunn vs. TMDK (Shane Haste, Mikey Nicholls, and Bad Dude Tito) – 2.75-3/5
–ROH Tag Team Championships: Maxwell Jacob Friedman vs. The Righteous (Vincent & Dutch) – The Ross/Ollies version of The Wyatt Family had no business being put in this spot; then again, what do the ROH Tag Titles even mean anymore? MJF was fantastic. The only guy in the business who can get the crowd to care about basic moves from the 80s. – 3/5
–ROH World/NJPW Strong Openweight Championships: Eddie Kingston vs. Katsuyori Shibata – Great brawl with some old school flavor. Wasn’t fought under Pure Rules, per se, so just Eddie’s titles were on the line. Surprised at how physical this was, considering Shibata’s condition. – 3.5-3.75/5
–TBS Championship: Kris Statlander vs. Julia Hart to retain the – Good match, and Julia is so far improved! She’s becoming a star under our eyes. – 3.25/5
–The Young Bucks vs. The Gunns vs. Orange Cassidy and HOOK vs. The Lucha Brothers – Excellent “Fatal 4-Way” tag that was missing…something – perhaps Fenix, who was taken out early in the match due to a rl injury – from being next level, but the double-team action was fast and furious – 3.5/5
–Swerve Strickland vs. “Hangman” Adam Page – I LOVE LOVE LOVED this match. I’ve been begging for Swerve to get a push and, maybe, here it begins (unless he loses to Bryan on Tuesday). This was all the way fantastic and had a really strong build-up. – 4.5/5
–Ricky Starks vs. Wheeler Yuta –Good match between two heels that the crowd took a break on; hard to blame them with how epic the prior match was. Should have been saved for TV. – 3.25/5
–Bryan Danielson vs. Zack Sabre Jr. – An absolute wrestling clinic, as expected. A dream match for hardcores and fans of technical mat-wrestling; we’ve been asking ourselves who’d win between the two for a while now. I’m expected them to run it back a pair of times, in sort of an Omega/Ospreay-esque trilogy, perhaps one more in NJPW and the finale a little less than a year from now at All In – 4.75/5
–Konosuke Takeshita, Will Ospreay and Sammy Guevara vs. Chris Jericho, Kenny Omega and Kota Ibushi – Another banger! Everyone delivered, even Ibushi, who was def the weakest link but still outperformed his sluggish performances in prior AEW appearances. Just SO much talent in this match and pushing Takeshita to the moon again was far from the worst call – 4.25-4.5/4
–AEW Tag Team Championships: FTR vs. Aussie Open – Excellent match that picked up after several minutes thanks to a tired crowd that had already seen WAY too much wrestling. It was gonna be tough to top the last two in terms of heat, but these two teams still gave us a banger regardless. – 4.25/5
–TNT Championship – 2 outta 3 Falls: Christian Cage vs. Darby Allin – The best Christian match by far in AEW and Darby got destroyed a few times. This kid just won’t break. While the surprising main event overachieved, the ending was the talk of the town, with Adam Copeland aka Edge making his first appearance in AEW – 4.25/5
Matches = 3.5/5 (with Zero Hour); 4/5 (without)
Presentation = 3.75-4/5
Overall = 3.75-4/5 Whiskeys.
AEW can’t stop having great Pay-Per-Views. But does anyone care? The Rated R Superstar debuted in a premiere spot that made sense, following a great main event that would barely sound like a strong main event on Dynamite or Collision. AEW’s booking is interesting, but mostly works. Once again, it was another AEW PPV that didn’t need to be THIS long and have FOURTEEN matches, which I would have cut down to 3 on the pre-show and 7 on the main card (not to mention there was a 2.5-hour media scrum following this, too!). That said, much like All Out Chicago, the card overachieved wonderfully and gave fans of pro wrestling everything it could’ve asked for.
Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships: The Judgment Day (Finn Balor & Damian Priest) vs. Cody Rhodes & Jey Uso – Michael Cole mentioned Bullet Club. The HHH-era is crazy, y’all. This was an excellent opener. I’m sorta shocked that they’d throw the straps on Cody and Jey, and especially this soon–seeing how that following “the longest reign in WWE history” with the Usos that these Undisputed straps have been hot potatoed to extreme temperatures. That said, this was a super hot opener. – 4/5
-Bobby Lashley and The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) vs. LWO (Rey Mysterio & Santos Escobar w/Zelina Vega) – The whole Lash & Profits saga has been a peculiar one, and just as they had some momentum from SmackDown to become something.. enter a consultant from the old Netflix show GLOW to make them all look like geeks once again. At least Swole-ito looks like a physical phenom. – 3/5
–WWE Women’s Championship: IYO SKY vs. Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair – Lots of good action, and crowd was into it, but not the classic it could’ve been. I’m still waiting for the barnburner IYO/Asuka match we all know they can have, even in WWE. – 3.5/5
–LA Knight & John Cena vs. Jimmy Uso & Solo Sikoa (w/Paul Heyman) – This was the most “WWE style” WWE match of all time. You had Cena in there overselling his own persona, with all the greatest hits, while you have L.. A.. Knight(!!) doing his own greatest hits persona. It’s a sports entertainment match made in heaven, with a way over babyface team going up against a couple of guys from the hottest faction WWE’s had in the past decade. Regardless of what you think of the actual wrestling performed here — and tbh, it was solid — this was mint. Also, Knight’s confidence is through the roof and his in-ring appears to be crisper by the week. YEAH! – 3.5/5
–World Heavyweight Championship – Last Man Standing Match: Seth “Freakin” Rollins vs. Shinsuke Nakamura – Nakamura has been so hit and miss in his WWE career, but this was a hit. The build-up has been strange, yet mostly strong, especially when they decided to allow Shin to cut his promos in Japanese. The video packages leading up to this rematch have been cool. There were def moments where I thought it was finally his turn, but keeping the strap on Seth is still the right move. And keeping the World Heavy title, basically a replacement for the three other World Titles we never see on TV, strong is as important. This was also very physical for a WWE PLE match, and Last Man Standing’s have been traditionally solid. That trend continues. – 3.75-4/5
Matches = 3.5/5
Presentation = 3.75/5
Overall = 3.5-3.75/5 McAfee Mules.
Fun show! Fastlane was exactly that: under 3-hours, no pre-show match garbage, not a whole lot of stories or angles shot, but a “TakeOver” style of Premium Live Event that burns through the night in half the time an AEW show does. And, thank god, because this WWE doesn’t half the roster that its rival does, so Kudos to Trips for knowing that and not boring the WWE Universe to death. Will people remember this show at the end of the year? Hell, they probably won’t even remember it after Raw. But I’m OK with it. If you don’t need 4.25-to-5 star matches in your life and just want your squared circle action speedy and SPORTS ENTERTAINING, this was it.