WWE SmackDown rolled into Ontario, CA with only a few days to go until the Fastlane pay-per-view event. The prospect of Brock Lesnar hung over the entire show, which was headlined by the brothers in arms Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose taking on the newly heel Dudley Boyz. It’s the SmackDown Report…
1. Lucha Dragons and Dolph Ziggler vs. League of Nations
It’s becoming something of a trend for SmackDown to start with a match rather than the in-ring promos that always kick off Raw. This week was no different, with Kevin Owens hopping on the commentary table for this bout, running down Michael Cole for seemingly having chased popular newcomer Mauro Ranallo from the SmackDown announce team. The match itself was the kind of unremarkable fare that too often fills time on WWE TV, culminating in Owens interference. The Intercontinental Champion’s distraction allowed Sheamus to nail Ziggler with a Brogue Kick in order to score the win for the heel stable.
2. Sasha Banks vs. Tamina
This was yet another case of Tamina proving that she should be anywhere other than in a wrestling ring. She was several steps out of time on just about everything and even managed to botch tapping out to the Bank Statement. At least they didn’t give her the win over Banks. Naomi and Tamina attacked Banks after the bell, but Becky Lynch ran out to make the save. Banks was angry, claiming she didn’t need the Irish star’s help.
Backstage, Banks and Lynch had a nice little moment where they pledged unity for Fastlane, with both hoping to ride the momentum to a Divas Championship match at WrestleMania.
3. Chris Jericho vs. Miz
Jericho came out to address the challenge issued by AJ Styles on Raw, but he was interrupted by Miz in traditional loudmouth form. The match that followed was another deeply impressive one for Miz, who is doing his best in-ring work in years at the moment. Jericho won when he finally managed to trap Miz in the Walls of Jericho. After the match, Styles made his arrival. Jericho turned down his Fastlane challenge, saying he was happy to leave the rivalry having won the last match. A brief brawl ensued, which encouraged Jericho to accept, setting up a hell of a pay-per-view clash.
Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose had a tense encounter backstage, but said they would stay on the same page for their match with the Dudleys later in the show. Ambrose then ran into Paul Heyman, who warned the Lunatic Fringe that Brock Lesnar was in the building.
JoJo interviewed New Day about their appearance on the Cutting Edge Peep Show at Fastlane. It’s glaringly obvious that WWE has nothing for them right now, at least until they begin to establish the inevitable multi-team bout at WrestleMania.
4. Charlotte vs. Natalya
Given the terrific match that these two had down in NXT, it was sad to see them get another below-par television bout on the main roster. Charlotte won with the Figure Eight after a brief battle. She did the “Yes” chant in the ring after the bell, which brought out Brie Bella. She brawled with the champion and stood tall in the ring with the title belt as the segment came to an end.
R-Truth ran into Goldust backstage. They exchanged raps before Truth shot down Goldie’s tag team requests once again.
5. Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns vs. Dudley Boyz
This was an awkward, messy match that never really got going. The Dudleys seemed to botch everything they attempted to do and it was blindingly obvious that the in-ring action was just a preview for Brock Lesnar to turn up. The Beast arrived as Reigns was winding up for the Superman Punch and distracted the babyfaces long enough for the Dudleys to attack. The legends were soon dispatched, but Lesnar started beating down both men and delivered a series of huge suplexes. There was tension between Ambrose and Reigns, which Lesnar exploited to lay out the two brothers in arms. Triple H arrived on the ramp and stared down the Beast as SmackDown went off the air.
The episode of SmackDown before a PPV is always a bit of a snooze and this one was no different, despite the star power of Brock Lesnar. It’s unclear where the TV time went here, given that so many of the matches felt far too short to make an impact. Everything was simply a time filler before Lesnar started throwing people around.
WWE Fastlane Predictions
- Kalisto will retain his US Title on the pre-show over Alberto Del Rio.
- A new rival for New Day will be revealed on the Cutting Edge Peep Show.
- Kevin Owens will defeat Dolph Ziggler in convincing and brutal fashion.
- Charlotte will retain her Divas Championship over Brie Bella.
- Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks will beat Naomi and Tamina. Charlotte will then arrive and a three-way brawl will break out.
- The Wyatt Family will completely destroy Big Show, Kane and Ryback. They will then interfere in the main event to cost Lesnar the match.
- Chris Jericho will defeat AJ Styles, using nefarious tactics to cement his heel turn.
- Dean Ambrose will become number one contender for the WWE Championship.
Tom Beasley – Follow me on Twitter for movies, wrestling and jokes about David Cameron.