Recap by Corey Freedman
Top Newsworthy Items
– Austin and Keller thought Fastlane was a slightly above-average PPV overall. They both particularly praised the Styles-Jericho match and the main event with Lesnar-Ambrose-Reigns.
– Austin and Wade could not speak highly enough of the job Jericho did selling the submission to finish his match with A.J.
– Wade talks about how Dolph Ziggler never had to carry the burden of being the moneymaker for a company (like Owens, Balor, A.J., etc.) so that might be a reason he never truly feels like a main event player.
– Austin and Wade agreed that the no-selling of the chair shots by Reigns in the main event was not a good finish.
– Like Jericho, the two couldn’t praise Brock Lesnar’s performance in the main event enough. Wade said he came off like a true “star” in that match.
– Wade thinks the WWE is in trouble as we head towards WM32, but he notes that is usually the situation where Vince comes through.
Subjects Covered (w/timestamps)
0:00 – Sponsor Ads
2:10 – Introduction
6:55 – Sponsor Ads
8:30 – Wade Keller introduction/Initial Fastlane thoughts
20:50 – Sasha/Becky vs. Naomi/Tamina
26:35 – Owens vs. Ziggler
38:30 – Wyatts vs. Titans
46:00 – Vincent J. McMahon Award
48:25 – Backstage segment with Dean and Roman
50:15 – PWTorch information
53:15 – Sponsor Ads
54:50 – Charlotte vs. Brie
59:05 – Interview w/Jericho
1:06:20 – E&C/New Day/League of Nations
1:09:30 – Axel vs. R Truth
1:13:30 – Main Event (Lesnar vs. Ambrose vs. Reigns)
1:32:30 – Concluding thoughts w/Wade
1:34:25 – End of interview w/Wade & Conclusion
1:40:24 – Show ends
Introduction: Steve thought Fastlane was a decent show but thought it could have been better. He gives it an average rating. He thought the main event was the best match, and he also enjoyed A.J. Styles vs. Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler. Austin talks about the Broken Skull Challenge which airs on CMT. He also mentions Redneck Island on CMT. Don’t forget about Broken Skull IPA from the El Segundo Brewing Company as well.
Fastlane intro w/Wade Keller: The first thing Austin brings up is that many people tweeted at him about the no-selling, particularly in the main event, during the show (e.g. Reigns took several chair shots and they didn’t seem to affect him at all). Wade says this PPV didn’t seem different than other shows in terms of not selling. Wade notes that he wasn’t a big fan of that portion of the main event, as he doesn’t understand why someone should take several chair shots and not be hurt by them. Wade thought this was a slightly above-average show, but there were enough good and bad items to warrant any overall opinion of the show.
Austin notes that you can see the high level of micromanagement that goes into each match. Austin praises the overall effort of the talent but didn’t think there were many great matches on this card. Wade says there weren’t any matches that he thinks the wrestlers would look back and call there best match of the year or anything like that. The hosts discuss the mostly thumbs down response from fans via various polls. Wade notes that he thinks the WWE has a problem. He says these polls don’t just reflect the “IWC.” Everyone is on the Internet and comes across the information that is out there. Wade says they can’t book/write in a way that angers such a large, ardent fanbase. He specifically points to the fact that the WWE schedule heads to some cities on the road to WM32 that have the most hardcore fan bases, so if you are not pleasing those fans to some degree, you are going to hear about it at the live shows.
Wade said he hopes Vince is aware of the reaction towards Reigns and will embrace it towards some larger purpose at WM32. He hopes Vince isn’t just being stubborn. Wade says that he feels like the WWE needs to see this story through (even though he would have preferred Ambrose win last night and have Reigns turn heel) because it is too close to WM to completely change course. He says that if they are still booking Reigns as the top face while he continues to be booed come April/May, then we can start getting really angry/upset with their stubbornness.
Divas tag match: Austin thought this was a pretty good match. However, he felt it was too micromanaged, as far as the flow of the match was concerned. He says he has seen better performances from these women, especially on NXT. Wade thought they did a good job telling the story they were trying to convey (Becky and Sasha had some trust issues to start the match, but eventual figured out how to work together). Wade thought this was a good way to start the show as they accomplished their storytelling goals with a solid 10-minute match. Austin wonders if Sasha is still a heel. Austin feels like Sasha should be given her own time and not be thrown into tag situations. Wade hopes they are working towards Charlotte vs. Sasha.
Owens vs. Ziggler: Wade talks about how this match has been done a lot leading up to this event. He also wonders if it’s a good idea for the heel to point out that the face’s hometown crowd is booing him. Wade thought this was a pretty good match and thought that Owens was the right guy to get the win. Austin brings up the string of superkicks in the match and compares it to the DDT in that it’s a move that has slowly been devalued as far as its effectiveness. They discuss Owens getting cheers for being a heel. Wade notes that picking on Michael Cole is certain not a heel move in the eyes of the fans. The two talk about Ziggler feeling stale in 2016. They talk about Ziggler not really having a developed character/personality. Wade says he doesn’t have a strong enough connection beyond his in-ring work. Wade talks about Ziggler not having wrestling experience outside of the WWE because he entered their system right out of school. They praise a ton about Ziggler, so this is not a negative conversation towards him, but they are trying to figure out why he doesn’t feel like a main eventer. Wade talks about how guys like Owens, Balor, etc. had to perform as the guy drawing money for other companies, and Ziggler has never had to carry that burden.
Wyatts vs. Titans: Austin starts by saying he thinks Strowman is improving. Wade talks about how Strowman is benefitting from working with other big guys that know how to work. He feels like his facial expressions could use some work as he doesn’t have a menacing type look. Austin feels like he will develop the instinct to act menacing with time. Austin asks what Wade thinks about the Wyatt Family’s booking. Wade says he didn’t think anyone saw that finish coming (e.g. the Wyatts losing). He doesn’t know what the purpose of them losing to a team of people with no momentum was. Both Austin and Wade praise Luke Harper for his ring work. Austin says the Wyatt Family does not mean what they should to the WWE. The two agree that even though Bray wasn’t in the match, he loses luster by his family losing. Wade says that Bray picking losers as his family members doesn’t reflect well on him. He says if it leads to a bigger storyline than it would be okay, but them just losing for no reason doesn’t serve them at all.
VJM Award: This podcast was recorded before Raw. They speculate on who might be receiving the award. Wade suggested Bret Hart as a good choice (if the award was legitimate and not part of a storyline).
Backstage w/Dean and Roman: Austin praises the promo work of Dean Ambrose. Wade thought it felt a little too scripted with cute lines, but he enjoyed the promo as well. Austin says the writers are getting too cute, but Ambrose’s delivery of the cute lines are great. Wade agrees that Dean was better than the material he was given.
PWTorch Info: Wade offers a discount code for PWTorch VIP membership for listeners “Austin2016” is the code.
Charlotte vs. Brie: The two start by discussing whether the Championship should be called Diva’s or Women’s. Austin thought that this match was okay, but there were some communication problems and it could have had better flow than it did. Wade thought it was a passable match.
A.J. vs. Y2J: Austin praises Jericho’s promo work during this segment. He encourages all WWE talent to watch and learn. He says it wasn’t his best promo, but it set the tone for the match and was great work by Y2J. They talk about the current character Jericho is portraying and praise how he is leaving it somewhat to interpretation (i.e. he’s trying not to be petty but he also realizes A.J. is better than him). They talk about Jericho perhaps losing a step but still putting on a really good match. Austin praises the way Jericho sold whether or not he was going to tap out at the end of the match. Austin says “swig of beer to Chris Jericho for executing a perfect submission.” Wade called the finish to this match “exemplary.” Wade talks about how Jericho sold the fact that tapping out is obviously a big deal for a veteran like Jericho.
E&C/New Day/League of Nations: Wade and Austin both agree that this segment was awful. Austin called it hard to watch. Wade said he rolled his eyes at the segment. Austin didn’t understand what the pay-off of the segment was. He says if the goal was to promote the E&C show, this mess of a segment was not the way to do it. Austin jokes about the fact that so many guys were in the ring yelling at each other instead of fighting.
Axel vs. Truth: Austin starts by noting that he liked Bo Dallas’s gimmick before the Social Outcasts and wonders what has happened to him. Wade points out that he doesn’t have the best physique and that he wasn’t that popular even when he was NXT champion. Both agree that there was not a lot here to care about. Wade remarks how awful the skits between Goldust and Truth have been on Raw the past few weeks. They talk about how they should have had the U.S. Title match on this show given some of the other segments that made it on the actual PPV.
Lesnar vs. Ambrose vs. Reigns: Austin starts by noting that Reigns got an even pop when he entered. He also talks about how hard triple threat matches are to execute and he is not generally a fan of the structure. He really enjoyed this match though. They talk about Reigns no-selling the chair shots to pop up, hit the spear, and win the match. Austin says he received a ton of emails about the no-selling. Wade agrees with Austin review of the match. Really good match but a questionable finish. Wade calls Brock a “star” in this match. He thought Brock was booked really strong and he delivered a great performance on his end. Wade isn’t the biggest fan of babyface Ambrose using the low-blow so often. He thought Dean had a great performance in this match as well, and he thinks the fans would have really enjoyed/accepted him being the one to main event WM32. Austin can’t speak highly enough of Brock’s selling. This was Austin’s favorite match of the PPV. Wade talks about the crowd booing Reigns as he entered the match, and that you could tell the WWE lowered the audio so you couldn’t hear the boos.
Wade says that Reigns getting criticism for a limited moveset is a symptom of his not connecting with the crowd, as fans would be more forgiving/not care about that if he could connect with the audience more in other ways. Wade talks about this situation being one of the big projects for Vince’s career and a fascinating one to watch it play out. Wade talks about how many opportunities he can already envision for Roman if he were a heel. He says there are a lot of babyfaces fans would enjoy cheering for against Reigns. Austin says once he goes through the process of being a heel, the fans will eventually come around and start cheering for him once he turns again. He says he has to have a heel run before he is universally loved. Wade says when Reigns was getting booed on Sunday, it reminded him of an NHL goalie being forced to start the 3rd period even though his team is down 6-0 (i.e. forcing him to suffer through a situation everyone already knows is awful).
Wade says Roman looks noticeably embarrassed during some of these segments. Austin wonders if Reigns has sought John Cena’s advice (Austin is only making a comparison in the sense that they get mixed reactions, he is not saying Reigns is on Cena’s level or that they are in the same situation). Wade talks about Cena owning the place he occupied and that Reigns doesn’t do that.
Concluding thoughts w/Wade: Wade thinks the WWE is in trouble. He doesn’t think the current line-up feels worthy of the WrestleMania name. He is worried but that also makes him excited as Vince usually comes through in the clutch.
Conclusion: Austin talks more about the no-selling. He says he received a lot of comments about the main event in that regard, but he also says that it has been a trend in the industry for a while now. He again praises Lesnar’s work in the main event. He thought Ambrose stayed strong in the main event as well. He says the main event was a great effort and he gives his respects to everyone else on the card for a solid night’s work.
Score and Review
Score (10): Steve Austin and Wade Keller might as well start a weekly podcast together. These podcasts are consistently the best reviews of major WWE events, and these two have an excellent chemistry/rapport. They waste no time before getting right into Fastlane discussion. The two discuss the show as a whole and break down every match detail for detail. In addition to breaking down the entire show, they also spend a good deal of time talking about the Reigns situation. This was an excellent podcast from start to finish, and I would certainly call this a must-listen for wrestling fans. Austin and Wade, for my money, provide the best recaps/analysis for WWE’s big events in the business.