After that first hour or so, it seemed like Fastlane was destined to one of those pre-WrestleMania clunkers, like the 2017 and 2015 versions of the show, the 2010 Elimination Chamber, or No Way Out 2005. Weird crowd moments, a few lackluster matches, and some pretty inspired trolling from the shot-callers had this firmly pointed southward at different junctures.
By the end, I had quite enjoyed the show. There were enough good matches and enough solid bits of plot advancement to make it an easy thumbs up, not at all unlike WWE events that I’d loved in the past. Only two matches went past 15 minutes, and only one other match went past 11 minutes, a nice reminder that a show doesn’t need seven or eight epic-length matches in order to be a crowd-pleasing one. Case in point, Charlotte vs. Becky wasn’t the expected “15-20 minutes of heat, wrestling, and counters before a finish unique to this point in the angle” that you’ve come to expect out of most PPV bouts, and that was fine.
Fastlane 2019 was a “less is more” show that, even at three hours and 45 minutes, didn’t quite wear out its welcome. If this is due to the creative overhaul that’s happened in recent times, I say, “More like this, please.”
And as always, another WWE pay-per-view proves to be an educational experience. Here’s what I learned.
10. Kickoff Matches Can Be Ambitious
When it was announced that Rey Mysterio and Andrade would face off on the freebie hour, disgust gushed from the fanbase like water from a fire hydrant. That match would be upgraded in several ways, but we did get a kickoff bout: Big E and Xavier Woods vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (qho lookws like Bill Murray’s Ernie McCracken character in Kingpin) and Rusev.
You kind of expected a basic 10-minute match that’s a bit more ambitious than house show, but what we received was much more inspired. The last five-plus minutes saw all four men bringing the goods, with one memorable spot seeing Woods taking a harsh double powerbomb after his flip dive was caught. Granted, the 205 Live guys always go balls-out in Kickoff matches, but for some reason it’s more pleasantly jarring when the main brand guys who are relegated to this spot go above what you might expect.