Lets Fantasy Book!: WWE Fastlane Part 1
We're on the fast track to Fastlane (Maggle), and road related puns are running wild. Fastlane stands to be WWE's newest final pit stop on the road to Wreslemania, WWE's marque event of the year. After a very visceral and successful Royal Rumble, the Internet Wrestling Community (IWC), is finally starting to pay positive notice to our work last month and over the recent weeks.
Word is spreading that WWE is starting to turn a corner. New faces are getting pushed and belts appear to be getting the attention they deserve. There's a huge wave of momentum behind us and we can't squander this unique opportunity to save this billion dollar business. Lets do this.
Before we dive into our three hour show, lets recap our ongoing storylines and results from our previous edition, The Royal Rumble. In addition, lets see what direction (if any) creative has taken with these respective programs.
The Lucha Dragons defeated The New Day, clinching the WWE Tag Team Championship
Kevin Owens defeated Dolph Ziggler, prolonging this 'go nowhere' stop gap feud. I would like to see this program culminate as a main event on Raw, rather than keep it going in a Pay Per View capacity.
Jack Swagger Defeated Stardust, ending a very short program. In the interim, Swagger has been booked rather strongly in the midcard while Stardust is seeing a resurgence by way of a push. We need to get gold around Stardust's waist.
Charlotte defeated Becky Lynch for the WWE Diva's championship.
Brock Lesnar defeated Roman Reigns by way of disqualification, however Roman Reigns remains WWE World Heavyweight Champion (Editor's Note: Let's Fantasy Book! WWE's 2016 Royal Rumble was composed prior to the announcement that the WWE World Heavyweight Championship would be defended during the Royal Rumble Match.) Lesnar is not happy.
Kevin Owens wins the Royal Rumble at Number 20. Chris Jericho has entered a program with Dean Ambrose. Luke Harper was booked very well.
Despite us using the “fantasy” title, for the purposes of this year long project, there are rules we must follow. We cannot outright hire people or call up talent from NXT, “just because.” If something happens, “In real life,” this must affect our booking. This is a recap of real life events that will affect our booking decisions... it's quite a list folks.
John Cena is injured
Sheamus is injured (This has huge implications for our Wrestlemania Main Event)
Alberto Del Rio is nursing a hurt lower back
King Barrett is injured
Finn Balor is injured (This has huge implications for our Undertaker Match at Wrestlemania)
Titus O'Neil is suspended
Daniel Bryan has retired (This has huge implications for the United States Championship)
Sasha Banks has returned from injury
Nikki Bella has suffered a career threatening neck injury
Seth Rollins remains injured
Paige is injured (This has implications for the WWE Divas Championship)
Randy Orton remains injured
Sin Cara has returned from injury
AJ Styles has debuted with WWE
Cesaro remains injured
Stardust vs Dolph Ziggler to determine No. 1 Contender to the WWE United States Championship
With WWE Fastlane still in it's infancy, we currently possess a large amount of freedom in determining what type of show we'd like to see Fastlane become. Seeing Fastlane become an opportunity to reinforce high profile feuds and determine contenders for titles does much good for our creative mission. By returning focus to contendership and the match that accompanies it, we return a much needed aura of legitimacy to the product.
Dolph Ziggler and Kevin Owens' program has come to a conclusion earlier in the month on an episode of Raw, with Owens coming out on top. While Owens has moved on to bigger feuds, Ziggler remains. While still a huge draw for the crowd, I'm not convinced that pushing a man who's declared his intention to bail in two years is the right business decision. Perhaps with a push, we can convince “The Showoff” to stick around. But that's a job for Human Resources and Talent Relations.
As stated prior, Stardust is World Champion material. Unlike his predecessor, we cannot make the same mistake and keep the big belt out of his reach. Cody Rhodes was an amazing Intercontinental Champion, and Stardust will surly be the same. However, we need to get the ball rolling to give some legitimacy to Stardust's character. Giving the strange one he first opportunity for a Title shot is the way to do it.
A short stroll down memory lane will reveal that sending stars down this path to greatness yields excellent returns. Triple H, Shawn Michaels, The Rock, and Chris Jericho are examples of men who've held the undercard belt before graduating to the IC strap. Starting Stardust down this road has the potential to place his name alongside that of his father's.
Winner and Number One Contender to The United States Championship: Stardust
Ryback Vs Braun Strowman
Braun Strowman, at present doesn't appear to be a good wrestler. As a matter of fact, i'd argue that he is an awful wrestler, a point backed up by his botch heavy performance during the tables match with The Dudley Boys at WWE TLC. Vinnie may believe he's the next big thing in WWE, but I couldn't imagine this man gaining much traction with the performances he's put on. If the decision were completely mine, I'd ship him to Full Sail to train off camera for a month or so to allow his in ring talent to get to the point where it needs to be.
Meanwhile, Ryback has been floundering without direction for some time now, a point further evidenced by the rampant boos accompanying his entrance music. I see Ryback being a part of the talent spotlight going forward. Giving him a throwaway win in a pointless feud is a merely a means to keep him involved in the overarching narrative of WWE, while giving the fans a chance to gather themselves after the Stardust victory. A Strowman loss also sets up the presentation for our main event.
Winner: Ryback via Clean Pinfall
Adam Rose Vs Neville
Adam Rose is going to be a big part of our undercard and midcard going forward. Given the right amount of booking, Adam Rose's talent and “Party God” gimmick are destined to become great things in WWE. Given the right amount of foresight and booking, Adam Rose's name will come up in the same conversation as Val Venis and The Godfather.
Rose's brand of high impact wrestling and delivery in regards to his gimmick are going to carry us far in terms of connecting the brand with our target audience. History has shown that fans tend to connect with gimmicks like Rose, particularly when the booking is done properly. It's going to take some hard work to shake the damage done by the Today Show segment, but with proper care, we can do it.
Neville's star has fallen and landed with a thud. Neville, simply put is another case where a talent exists that our predecessors have failed. A secondary issue weighing Neville down is The Red Arrow finisher. It's flashy, it's cool. However, when every Neville match ends with it, suddenly a Corkscrew Moonsault into a pin loses the appeal rather quickly.
Winner: Adam Rose via Clean Pinfall
AJ Styles Cuts a Promo
AJ Styles is a genius. Very few posses the kind of ring awareness and psychology required of a professional wrestler that this man has. Styles is one of the greatest wrestlers of all time. If the “WWE Hall of Fame was actually the “Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame,” Styles would have been inducted years ago.
I would like to see Styles booked similar to Heel CM Punk. He's not quite a “bad guy,” but he's an amazing wrestler and he'll tell you about it until he's blue in the face. Styles is cool, cocky and bad. Styles says he's one of the greats, and he has the skills to back it up. Styles by all accounts and by his own admission, a fantastic wrestler. He is...Phenomenal.
But there is another. There is one who walks among us who is also, “Phenomenal.”
There is one who is... a Phenom.
Styles poses. The Gong hits. History is made.