WWE FAST LANE RESULTS: Plots Thicken in Wisconsin (March, 5th 2017)

This Past Sunday, WWE Hosted its final RAW Pay Per View, and final Pay Per View overall before WrestleMania 33, the roadblock to the major event, WWE Fast Lane, in the place of what was Elimination Chamber back in the day. Its one last chance at a positive showing for the RAW Brand, as the brands babyfaces push ahead with hopeful momentum with hopes to ascend to the Grandest Stage of them all. Looking to head to Orlando as the RAW Women’s Champion is Bayley, defending the championship for the first time against an opponent who has never taken a fall on Pay Per View in singles matches, the former champion Charlotte. Sasha Banks also gets a rehash of her brutal Royal Rumble encounter with Nia Jax, facing the fellow NXT Alumni in a match evilly booked by Stephanie McMahon to prove a possible roadblock for Banks in her hopes to cheer on her best friend Bayley in her title match.

The first of the two matches is expectedly Sasha’s second pay per view match of the year, against her repeat opponent of Nia Jax, with a neat package highlighting the rivalry beforehand and the damage Nia has inflicted to the once dominant competitor of the RAW brand. Following on from that is the match itself, and out come Nia and Sasha for the scheduled rematch. Once the competitors are face to face in the ring, the bell is rung, and Sasha’s hopeful redemption against Jax begins. She runs in with smarts of course, because despite being set up for a flapjack right away, Sasha makes a perfect landing on her feet, aiming forearms fearlessly at the more dominant opponent. Sasha is shoved to the ropes, but Sasha doesn’t let this shove off her focus, as she heads back and continues her forearms after avoiding a clothesline. Nia retaliates with a headbutt, leading to Sasha stumbling into a corner. Sasha recovers in time to avoid Nia’s corner splash, and after some forearms, Sasha raises herself up on the turnbuckles, aiming some more before Nia diverts the offense by pushing Sasha to the mat, though Sasha lands on her feet. Sasha continues on, dropkicking Nia, though this barely knocks her. Sasha goes for a whip, but struggles to even move Nia, who launches her chest first into the corners turnbuckle, following with aan elbow to the right shoulder. Nia reverses the momentum wholly with a backbreaker.

Nia executes another backbreaker to Sasha, right into a stretch hold afterward. Sasha aims knees to the side of Nia’s head to try create eventual separation but Nia releases her instead. She goes back to offense, attempting to clothesline Sasha, who tries to reverse into a roll up. Nia stays put, and after raising her up, she takes her to the ropes and takes her down with an axe handle. Nia tries to capitalize on her current dominance with a pin attempt, only to watch “The Bo$$” kick out at two, resulting in a near fall. A Soured Nia kicks Sasha around the ring, looking at her in disgust before stretching the hurt opponent against the ropes. Nia then throws off any attempt for Sasha to retaliate, executing a quick hip attack in the corner and after dragging her with ease to the center, she applies a second stretch hold. After some time struggling, Sasha eventually breaks herself away from Nia with kicks to the head, but shes nowhere near a comeback, as Nia moves back to Sasha, clenching her then tossing her to another side of the ring. Nia mocks her fallen state before applying yet another stretch hold, this time near the ropes. Nia goes to cover for a second time, and its only the same as before as Sasha kicks out at two.

Nia comes back with another submission, also managing to counter Sasha’s potential counter strike into a slam. After easily chucking Sasha into a corner, Nia tries to whip her to an opposite, but Sasha hangs on, striking with a boot to the face before Nia hits back, running her face first into the corners top turnbuckle. Nia spends some time methodically targeting the back of Sasha with a torture rack, Unfortunately for Nia, Sasha has a way to counter, soon seizing Nia in a guillotine. Nia tries to power out on occasions but reversals follow, one leading to Sasha reverting to a sleeper. Nia uses the nearby corner post to break Sasha off, but Sasha takes herself atop the turnbuckle regardless, leaping off them onto Nia’s back to apply the sleeper once again. Sasha ends up easily tossed over the shoulder by Nia, who goes for a corner assault that Sasha blocks with an elbow. Sasha follows with a knee and a kick before fleeing from the corner to escape a running shoulder block. Sasha comes back with a DDT into the Bank Statement, looking for the hopeful finish. Nia helps herself to her feet despite struggling in the submission, to a load of boos, looking for a counter. Sasha slips free and utilizes the ropes, only to dart right into a huge chokeslam. Nia delivers her single leg drop to the back of a fallen Sasha Banks, but rather than pin, Nia makes the mistake of taunting, mocking and ragdolling, proven such a mistake as to be caught in a surprise roll up from Banks, who also places her hand on the rope last minute during this. Sasha pins Nia and wins the match.

Lana is also on hand for the show, as Jinder Mahal and Rusev find themselves booked in singles matches to fill up the Pay Per View, matches that lead to the dissolution of the duo. While Mahal is fed to Cesaro, Rusev is given the hard work of facing one big opponent in Big Show, who returns the Knockout Punch to establish the dominance hes surely bringing to WrestleMania. Looks like the once dominant duo need some needed re-establishment before returning to the Grand Stage.

Now to the final women’s showcase of the night, the booked rematch from the Royal Rumble between Bayley and Charlotte, only this time Bayley walks into the said match as the RAW Women’s Champion. The Streak Holder that is the 4x Women’s Champion Charlotte walks in with the streak currently intact, but may leave without that and her partnership with Dana Brooke, as she angrily dismisses her assisting protege off the stage upon making her entrance. Standing and competing alone, Charlotte, having made it to the ring, awaits Bayley, who enters as the defending champion. Once Bayleys entrance is complete, note without the presence of Sasha Banks, introductions are made, with Charlotte this time as Challenger and Bayley as Champion by JoJo. Introductions are close and Bayleys first ever main roster title defense is underway via the ringing of the bell.

The Two ladies lock up, with Charlotte getting the advantage first off by pressuring Bayley to the ropes. Charlotte releases her grip on Bayley and avoids a second lock up to instead provide a struggle for Bayley with a waistlock applied. She turns it into a takedown, scrambling into a pin attempt right after, but the defending champion Bayley kicks out right at the count of one. Bayley counters their third engagement into a drop toe hold that sends Charlotte downward to the mat, also trying to match with an instant pin attempt like Charlotte had, one that Charlotte also escapes from at one. Once Bayley and Charlotte are back to a vertical base, its another lock up for the two, this time countered into a side headlock by Charlotte on Bayley. Bayley pushes Charlotte to the ropes and is quickly knocked down by Charlotte’s running shoulder block. More follow from a fired up Charlotte, who motivates Bayley into her next onslaught as the Champ regroups quietly in the corner. Bayley tries to get the upper advantage in the next attack with a takedown into a bridge pin, but Charlotte is as swift as she was before in escaping a pin attempt, doing so again. Bayley tries to force her to the mat, but Charlotte finds herself out before the ref can make a count. Bayley rolls up Charlotte for a one count, then met with a knee to the gut that allows Charlotte to reverse momentum. Bayley tries to take back momentum by reversing the follow up whip by Charlotte, but the former champion floats over and onto the apron, averting Bayleys next attack with an outside shoulder tackle.

Charlotte’s plotting of complete domination isn’t done there as she attempts to send Bayley face first into the opposite corner turnbuckle, only for Bayley to block using her boot, then mirroring Charlotte’s potential assault by taking her face first into the top turnbuckle. Bayley runs the ropes, also elbowing Charlotte who remains on the outside. Charlotte falls to the floor with Bayley taking herself outside and continuing her momentum there with a hurricanrana onto the floor. Bayley meets Charlotte back in the ring with a flying crossbody, enough to get her a near fall on the challenger. Bayley tries to execute her finisher after, but Charlotte clings to the nearby rope desperately, preventing her falling into the potential trap and ultimate finisher. A Wild Goose chase follows outside, ending with Bayley collapsing to the floor per an elbow from Charlotte. With that done, Charlotte has overturned momentum, pounding the defenseless Bayley with elbows in the ring. She follows with a kick and standing rear chokehold, also diverting Bayleys attempt to send her into the corner post. Bayley blocks the next attack with a back elbow, following with a arm drag off the ropes that sends Charlotte all the way to an opposite corner. Charlotte executes a series of offensive moves to overturn momentum, and after a number of knee drops, Charlotte goes to pin, but to her dismay, the champion kicks out at two again.

Charlotte locks a headscissor, also connecting with headscissor stomps while keeping this intact. After catapulting Bayley around the ring, Charlotte takes some time to taunt, then returning the focus to Bayley with a knee to the back of her neck, driving her to the mat face first in turn. Regardless of this and all else inflicted, Bayley still finds a way out of Charlotte’s next pin attempt, kicking out at two once more. Charlotte utilizes the famous flair chops against Bayley, who soon fires back with her own, also responding to the claims from the angry former champ that she is a cheater along the way with the such offense. Charlotte counters with a back elbow following up with a standing neckbreaker and big boot that sends the champ into the middle turnbuckle. Charlotte drags Bayley away from the ropes, proceeding to pin once more, but again its a near fall. Charlotte reverts to working on Bayley from the outside, but only for a small amount of time as she returns to the ring, where shes again trying to pin the champ, with another near fall to follow.

Charlotte reverts to a stretch while ramming her knee into the back of Bayley. Charlotte is barely moved by the retaliating punches from a struggling Bayley, countering into the Summer Crush, shades of her NXT companion Summer Rae. Even that doesn’t flatten Bayley like it once did back there, as Bayley fights out of yet another pin attempt from her contender at the count of two again. Charlotte is fuming that she hasn’t yet put away the champ, making her way to the top turnbuckle for the next move, her famed moonsault, one of which connects successfully. Charlotte follows this with a senton, but the athletic move hasn’t put out Bayley, as yet another near fall follows. Charlotte smacks Bayley with her flair esque chops, but a third doesn’t connect as Bayley slams Charlotte with a big clothesline out of nowhere. Bayley uses this to try overturn momentum next, using various chops and clotheslines following with punches following one clothesline taking down the former champ. Charlotte slips free but it isn’t long before shes in Bayleys hands again, on the receiving end of the DDT/Stunner on the ropes from Bayley. Bayley executes her traditional corner offense from there, including a back suplex that is enough to get a two count from Charlotte, but not the desired three count.

Bayley whips Charlotte to a corner, striking her back as Charlotte floats. Bayley executes enough hits for Charlotte to end up in the tree of woe position, but Charlotte keeps trying to force herself upward in some way, and not even a diving elbow drop can set Charlotte fully free. Charlotte eventually falls on her back onto the mat and after delivering elbows to Charlotte, its Bayleys turn now to use the turnbuckles. She looks for the elbow drop, used by the likes of the late Macho Man, but Charlotte moves from the mat and the two meet between the turnbuckles. Charlotte rams Bayleys shoulder into the ring post then clambers back to the apron, ascending up the turnbuckles. However, Bayley is back on her feet, aiming a high elbow at Charlotte to try stop the ascent, and a few more follow before Bayley helps herself onto the ropes. Bayley connects successfully with a top rope hurricanrana, following into the diving elbow drop off the top turnbuckle, only enough to get a near fall on the challenger to Bayleys dismay.

Charlotte throws off Bayleys next offense and takes her to the floor, then awaiting for her to make it to the apron, striking once shes done so with a big boot that leaves Bayley flat on the apron. A Furious face to face exchange follows in the ring between the two ladies, reminiscent of their first NXT Takeover singles clash, before Charlotte connects with the Natural Selection. This is the believed finish, or so thought as Bayley stuns by kicking out of the challengers next pin attempt at two. Charlotte is overcome by shock, and as she tries to soak it in that Bayley hasn’t fallen just yet, shes surprised by Bayleys next roll up pin out of nowhere, but Charlotte kicks out in time. Charlotte takes Bayley down, readying her figure four, only to be kicked by Bayley, sending the former champion to the floor. As Punishment, Charlotte arm drags Bayley to the floor. Charlotte stalls the ref count by readying a moonsault onto the floor, but down comes Sasha Banks. Charlotte sees Banks coming, ridding of her, though as Charlotte scrambles back over to her opposer, she seems to have made use of Banks showing up to connect with her finishing Belly to Belly suplex move, only onto the floor thus she cannot pin. Bayley crawls back in the ring after Charlotte, caught in a small package, though Sasha leaps up to notify the ref in time that Charlotte has Bayley hooked at the tights, therefore her sneaky pin is cancelled. Again Bayley capitalizes on another Banks related assist to hit the finisher again to Charlotte, this time pinning her and ending her infamous Pay Per View Streak. Bayley wins, retaining the RAW Women’s Championship.

(Rich Swann and Akira Tozawa vs Noam Dar and Brian Kendrick w/ Alicia Fox; Kickoff Match 40.38 – 54.12)

(Nia Jax vs Sasha Banks)

(Big Show vs Rusev w/ Lana)

(Charlotte vs Bayley; RAW Womens Championship Match feat Sasha Banks)

Thoughts On:
Sasha/Nia: Another good encounter showcasing the resilience of Sasha against one of her toughest opponents, if not her only groundbreaking opponent following the Charlotte v Sasha era. The Only negatives to me were how it all felt like Night of Champions 2014, where they hyped Paige as Champion only to lose the match, like Nia’s package pre match hyped her as a force only to succumb to a roll up. The ending was also mistimed as Sasha was supposed to place her hand on the rope a little earlier to back the belief that shes resorting to heelish tactics like she has as of late by helping Bayley without consent. Not to intentionally spoil, but with that ending stare-down, im stunned how Nia wasn’t booked to get revenge and to just basically bulldoze Sasha and everyone else. Too Many losses can hurt Nia, so to mention a slowly building streak for Nia pre match only to have it taken away, has highly confused me.

Bayley/Charlotte: The Confusion follows here too. While Bayley and Charlotte proved again they can put on a great match regardless of minuscule chemistry, its how and when it ended. Sasha assisting Bayley has three factors to it. Shes doing it because she can only face a title holder that isn’t Charlotte, one shes setting out to eventually target, Distracting Charlotte is retribution and revenge and because its following up on her helping Bayley winning the title, to put more controversy on Bayley to eventually have Bayley question those such antics and for Sasha’s true motives to be revealed, a character built on self success as mentioned on commentary. Its an interesting note that Charlotte’s loss meant 16 pay per view wins, tying with the number of championships her father has held, but on a less important, more flat Pay Per View like Fast Lane, in comparison to Charlotte putting over Bayley and actually letting Bayley show she can win on her own at WrestleMania, its again confusing. The Only thing i can think of right now is that if Nia isn’t being thrown into the match in the near future, and even if she is, Sasha is taking the pin for a second year, but for the motive of triggering her heel turn officially. Sasha will see Bayley pinning her as a betrayal, a moment of hogging what should have been shared spotlight to her, and seeing it as happening at WrestleMania as an embarrassment. All this being if Dana Brooke isn’t the factor in Charlotte losing at the Pay Per View, as it probably wont be as importance appears to lie on only a particular few on the RAW brand sadly, even if they could book for both moments to happen in that one match. All eyes on the next few weeks,

– Catherine

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