The Shield rejoined punctually to Fastlane … but as with almost any farewell tour, "something to get the band back together" lacked some of the magic that made the group special.
Roman Reigns opened the show to ask Seth Rollins for a favor. And no, no shot at the Universal Championship – he wanted to reform the shield one last time. I liked that very well at first; Reigns mentioned that after his invasion of Leukemia he had a new perspective on his place in the world, and this was consistent and the first real evidence of his claim. He is more than just championships after moments and friendships at this time.
Rollins was careful, to say the least, and understandable. He's as scarred by Ambrose's recent run as we are. If you allow me a complaint, I thought Rollins would be too fat with his response to Reigns. He repeated a series of keywords that Reigns used as "brothers" and "tomorrow is not guaranteed" ̵
Roman unsuccessfully tried to talk to him backstage. Rollins called Ambrose his "wrestling soulmate" before he was also rejected. They watched as Ambrose struggled and lost to Elias alone. Once again. They tried again to convince Ambrose, but he stormed up the stairs that used to be the entrance to the shield.
The trio of Lashley, McIntyre and Corbin chose this moment for an attack. And when the words were out of the way and it was just a fight, Ambrose finally fell back into the trap. The Shield kicked out the crooks and plunged them into their pose.
Well … that sounds like fun – and that's it! However, there are still some issues that I'm not really sure WWE can do anything about. For starters, Ambrose's exit from the company is in the air, and this thing feels like a "one last time" tour. It feels bittersweet. And if you consider that fact … is the racket of Corbin, McIntyre and Lashley the best you could get?
That sounds really callous, I know. But I'm serious too. Which of these three have any impulses at this point? Damn, they fought the Finn Balor, Braun Strowman and Kurt Angle team three weeks ago – a game we saw again on this show – and they lost.
I do not know. Fastlane will be fun. I just wish we could do that before it's gone.
Ronda is Rogue
Ronda Rousey, why do you have to monologize all the time ? Feet last week, Rousey came into the arena at the end of the show and looked back.
Stephanie had accepted the gesture to signify that Rousey was giving up the championship and already had plans. Becky Lynch was removed from the suspension and, assuming she signed an agreement to free WWE from any liability, rewarded a championship match for the empty title in Fastlane.
Not on Rousey's watch. After the agreement was signed, Rousey stepped into Stephanie's face and began to romp and romp. Everything that interested the McMahons was money. She had broken her back to respect the business. We all booed her anyway. Blah blah blah.
I'm having trouble understanding where I stand on Rousey's heel. I was very upset with her words here, and when you mix her Twitter antics with her, it's so easy not to like her. And even though I do not think Rousey is the strongest promo, she's currently making me feel strong, despite her story, which was sometimes … hectic.
Can we call that a success? I honestly have no idea.
Stephanie retired Rousey, but changed Lynch's provisions against Charlotte at Fastlane. If Lynch wins, she will be added to the WrestleMania match. Neither Rousey nor Charlotte loved the idea too much and Rousey claimed she could do anything she wanted and the McMahons would not stop her. So she did and beat Lynch to the pulp.
It was a strange road to this triple-threat match, man.
Batista made waves last week when he beat Ric Flair Animal was not in the building for this show. In his own words we play the game on his terms.
That meant, of course, that we had a Triple H promo. And you guys, I have to be honest – I do not like that beyond the look glass. Triple H called Ric Flair by his real name and talked about how he got to know the streets up and down and the man behind the character and … I just do not like this storytelling mechanism. It's supposed to be a stronger emotional appeal, but is it really ? It worked for Reigns because he had cancer. The part "my name is Joe" worked there because he literally panicked, an emotion that Reigns never portrayed in his character.
But with that statement, Triple H's emotional appeals and acting were on the point. He was suffocated when talking about Ric Flair and the crowd broke the silence with Woos, which was a really cool moment. He accused Batista of being a cheat all his life and of being more in tune with what I would like to see moving forward.
Ricochet and Aleister Black def. The Revival via DQ – Okay … I really like that a lot. Chad Gable and Bobby Roode were hellishly salty as the NXT rookies got a quick shot at the Tag Team Championships. So they did what all salty people do: they trolled.
Just as the NXT guys got the upper hand in this match, Roode and Gable appeared on the ring and put the boots on The Revival. The intention here was pretty clear; They just wanted to screw up the new guys. These three teams are clearly the best choice for this brand, and I am in a Triple Threat title match for WrestleMania .
Lashley / McIntyre / Corbin def. Balor / Strowman / Angle – I said it in the opening, but we saw this game less than a month ago. At the time, I blasted the match as unhelpful for everyone involved.
This time it served at least two purposes. It was a quick attempt to bring credibility to the rogue trio, but it should also promote the story of Lio Rush / Lashley.
Rush did everything to help Lashley this time and beat Balor at every turn. Balor had taken a safe victory when Rush tore him from cover, and Rush fell for Lashley when Strowman pushed him through a barricade. It allowed Lashley and Co. to ally on Balor and win the victory. It looks like we would Lashley Vs. Get Balor at WrestleMania, which I'm fine with … as long as we get a Demon Vision.
Heavy Machinery Leads the Glove – The Veterans in the Tag Team Locker The room broke a few youthful jokes about Otis and Heavy Machinery vowed to go over them all.
They did. Not really much to add. They beat B-Team, Ascension and Ryder / Hawkins.
Natalya def. Ruby Riott – What's wrong with Riott, who has been recently destroyed? Can we bring Riott to a crazy decent match?
Lacey Evans went – That does not work. Come to the point where somebody calls them for stupidity.
Tamina def. Sasha Banks – Fastlane? Rather like a god, it's rush hour and I have to cross three lanes before the next exit. Will you take me out of here, Amirite? Hahaha … I did it.
This show felt long and about half of the show was not great. However, I really liked the scene around the Tag Team Championships. Give me a lot more of it.
Grade: C +
Did this show feel weird to you too, Cageside?