By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Another year, another chance for Roman Reigns to get into the WrestleMania main event and another year where he wins said chance.
Last year, it was against a heavy fan favorite in Daniel Bryan to take on the WWE World Heavyweight Champion at the time, Brock Lesnar. Fans were so into Bryan’s return that they actually forced Mania plans to change again, with Reigns needing to beat him to get to Mania and be bought as a “main-eventer.”
This year, we have Reigns (who already had a World Title run) gunning for the same position, only Triple H is Champion, Lesnar’s in his way as is his “brother” Dean Ambrose, the heavy fan favorite.
Predictable booking squandered all a great main event could offer and despite some good matches, an odd final few segments/matches won’t leave Fastlane 2016 in the “classic shows” conversations.
“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on recent television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post.
Seth Freakin’ Rollins
– WWE World Heavyweight and United States Champion Seth Rollins’ in-ring promo did drag on, but it was cool to see him soak up all the heat as he used the “boring” chants to help his ego boost and talked about how great he was. Sting interrupting to show he had the statue in his possession was funny, but maybe WWE should’ve gone more for a serious approach. Sheamus coming out to confront Rollins was entertaining to see and set up a potential outcome for Night Of Champions. Rollins didn’t hold back either, also resorting to insulting Sheamus’ look, which the crowd seemed to dig.
Boy, That Really Turned The Tables…
Welcome to the first “Notes in Observance,” which will feature random thoughts and analysis of recent television shows. You can find quick results of the show at the top of the post.
– Bray Wyatt def. Erick Rowan via pinfall.
– R-Truth/The Usos def. Adam Rose/Goldust/Stardust (w/Rosebuds) via pinfall
– Big Show def. Ryback via countout
– Tyson Kidd/Antonio Cesaro (w/Natalya) def. Los Matadores (w/El Torito) via pinfall
– Dean Ambrose and Curtis Axel to a no-contest
– The Ascension def. Two Local Jobbers via pinfall
– Non-Title – Roman Reigns def. Rusev (w/Lana) via DQ
– It almost felt natural to see Edge on Smackdown television. It was good to see him back on the show he once made “must-see television.” That said, the first segment pretty much just reminded everyone that The Authority was in power and that Joey Mercury and Jamie Noble, or J & J Security, were pushovers who would tattletale on what Edge and Christian did on the show to Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. Couldn’t Trips & Steph have just watched the show themselves like everyone else? Oy.
– Watching Bray Wyatt’s entrance was just a weird reminder of how stale his character is. The Wyatt we see now is the exact same as the one in 2013, just minus the family; a hillbilly hypnotizer who cuts strange promos. He was better as a stable leader. On his own, his character struggles. However, his feud with Dean Ambrose has been enjoyable, but it’s definitely Ambrose who is the star of it.
– The Bray Wyatt-Erick Rowan match was what it was, despite no hype, although fans won’t take to Rowan if he isn’t a “full rebel.” The finish pretty much showed that Rowan was open to accepting Wyatt again, just to fall victim to Sister Abigail again.
– Ryback and The Big Show just didn’t sound like a good match to begin with.
– Edge sporting an Antonio Cesaro shirt was interesting in itself. Don’t forget he wore a Sami Zayn shirt on Raw. It was obvious WWE sees Edge as a big name and while he hasn’t verbally endorsed Cesaro or Zayn, him wearing their shirts does say a lot.
– If only R-Truth could be a heel just one more time. If only.
– The big focus of the six-man tag between Adam Rose/Stardust/Goldust and R-Truth/The Usos was essentially that Rose doesn’t like The Bunny, R-Truth is a pandering follower, The Usos remain an exciting team and The Dusty Brothers do their own thing. Nothing special to it.
– Obviously, they had to show highlights of Daniel Bryan’s promo from Raw, but it might had been more effective to just play the whole thing in its entirety. Playing parts of Ryback’s “I’m human after all!” promo from Raw worked for Ryback because he was on the show about to wrestle, but Bryan didn’t appear on this show. Why not reap the full benefits of that epic promo?
– The Ryback-Big Show match ended up decent since there was a story being told of Show targeting the leg and that let the broadcast team remind everyone of just what adversities Ryback has overcome. The ending seemed lame in retrospect, but allowed Show to win, Ryback to look tough and let the Ryback-Rusev feud progress.
– It should be pretty easy for Tyson Kidd/Antonio Cesaro to rise through the tag team ranks. They also have a solid valet in Natalya. Pretty much the new “cool heels” and that entails no complaints. Los Matadores are jokes compared to them, which made the purpose of their match seemingly to showcase Kidd/Cesaro. Their finisher is sick and even their theme is badass. Not sure if they will surpass The Usos at this point, but that should at least provide an exciting feud for a few months.
– The Dean Ambrose-Curtis Axel match was made to make Ambrose look tough and Axel is someone just legitimate enough where it’s not a complete squash. Actually, it was more of a squash/promo. There was something “HBK”-esque about his “Happy New Year Hell” promo. They’ve been selling this match hard. Good for them.
– Time for Road Warriors 2015… Er, The Ascension. Their music and look would be cool if past teams didn’t own it before. Obvious squash match aside, it’s good to see that WWE has a big playlist of tag team players on the roster that can only get bigger and better with time. The key is to build everyone as much as possible and put them all against each other.
– It would have been cool to actually see a “greatest moments in Smackdown history” two-hour version of the show from SyFy, what with their “Throwback Thursday” social media campaign. Just throwing that out there.
– Uh-oh… E & C defaced the Trips & Steph fitness magazine cover… This probably won’t have repercussions later on in the future…
– Yeah, Roman Reigns was really going to decisively beat Rusev on the first WWE show of 2015. The match did show that Reigns is capable of being great when he turns the offense up a notch, but this was done mainly to put over Big Show as a threat, before turning the momentum back to Reigns. That would also be the second time a Smackdown episode has ended with the announce table flipped on top of Big Show. He should just stay out of that area…